But I write about the deep, founding roots of rowdy, American populist protest and insurrection, often visionary and even utopian, yet informed and practical too, specifically over money, credit, and the purpose and nature of public and private finance. And despite my pop-narrative books on the subject, and despite my articles here, and in such place as Newdeal20.org (articles picked up by AlterNet, Huffington, Salon, Naked Capitalism, and others), key indicators of my relative impact (like royalty statements!) give me a sneaking suspicion that most people still don’t connect the American founding period with a rugged drive on the part of ordinary people for equal access to the tools of economic development and against the hegemony of the high-finance, inside-government elites who signed the Declaration and framed the Constitution and made us a nation.The TYDK team does not necessarily agree with the too-vague accusations being thrown at the protestors, the number of which grows on weekends, when people are off from jobs that pay wages that have fallen (in real dollar terms) since the seventies. We tend to think of the protest cellularly, and we are not talking phones: the encampment is like a nucleus, the cell growing in times of greater protestation activity, such as tomorrow. We were there last week, on the portion of the Brooklyn Bridge where the cops didn't arrest people, and we saw plain clothes police, plainclothes nuns, people with dreads and people who dread drinking decaf in the afternoon, since they wake up in the night as it is. A mix, in other words. (And a guy standing beside us, who was ostensibly not part of the protest, said that though he was himself making six figures, and though he could, as he put it, make fun of about a group of "people who might smoke weed," he was pleased that it was happening. "I'm happy they are out here," the six figure-er said. "Things are screwed up.")
Hogeland, though, presents an (excellent) reading list, which I hereby re-present:
I would only add How Not To Get Rich, which is already currently in the Occupy Wall Street library.
The Putney Debates. 1647. Rank and file in Cromwell’s Army believed they deserved the vote. Cromwell disagreed. The “Levellers” lost — but this is one of the first articulate demands for disconnecting rights from property.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail. 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr., argues for the validity of taking direct action in the street, not just waiting for courts to catch up.
The Port Huron Statement. 1962. In a time not of recession but of immense prosperity, students who had benefited from that very prosperity questioned its basis and demanded a renewal of American political values, at home and around the world. Prescient or self-fulfilling or both? Anyway, at once passionate and crystal clear.
The Populist Party Platform. 1892. “We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists.”
Common Sense. 1776. Paine’s call not only for American independence but also, and more importantly — and this is the part routinely and deliberately ignored or marginalized by liberal “consensus” historians — for social equality, in a new kind of American republic.
That’s a start. . . .