New piece up at In These Times

by J.A. Myerson

In 2006, Christopher Hayes, in the pages of this publication, outlined “a continuum that ranges from pearl-clutching pity through sympathy and empathy to arrive finally at solidarity, wherein you are propelled to do something for your fellow human beings, to act as if their interests were your own.” That is the basis on which labor unions (whose structural organization clashes with that of Occupy Wall Street) and groups like MoveOn (whose entire political philosophy does) are moved to support the efforts of the campers at Liberty Plaza Park. When solidarity operates, the minutiae of tactical strategy is subject to de-emphasis, and the shared ends take precedence. As the rapper Guru said, “It’s the message in the song that makes you rock on.”

That message is a potent one. “We are the 99%. (And so are you.)” This is not an injunction to unite against the right wing, which is welcome at Liberty, or the cops, with whom the Wall Street occupiers have forged a good rapport, sensationalist reportage notwithstanding. It is an attempt to move beyond these false divisions and work to liberate the steamrolled from the steamrollers – somehow a parallel of the Obama philosophy and its simultaneous negation. If that liberation project is to stand any chance of success, its advocates will have to commit to solidarity, whatever apparent theoretical or organizational conflicts become apparent.

Read the rest here.