Archive for "occupy wall street"
“What is he doing back here? Didn’t he graduate already?”
What can I say, I just couldn’t stay away. Plus I had some unfinished business here that needed tidying-up, and the new staff of The Advocate was gracious enough to allow me this final – albeit lengthy – submission: The last of a three-part series I was writing on populism and politics.
The first two columns in this set were my attempt to make some hay of what the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements meant for America. Feel free to go back and freshen up if you like, but I won’t hold it against you if you don’t – catching up on missed episodes of Homeland is serious business that requires our full attention…I get it.
Anyway, I left off with the thought that while the Occupy movement was successful in bringing about a change in our national political discourse, it was unlikely that it would have a direct effect on the ballot box this November. On the other hand, the Tea Party movement stood a much greater chance of generating an electoral impact, although just what impact that would be was a more complex matter.
That’s exactly what I’d like to try to untangle in this column.
In order to understand the impact of the Tea Party in 2012, it helps to first take a walk down memory lane back to the tumultuous year of 2010 – the first election cycle of the Tea Party era. We all remember the circumstances that year. The economy was still in the tank, unemployment was through the roof, and things were looking pretty bad for President Obama. On the other hand, the Tea Party was coming into its prime and the enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP was considerable. This all added up to a landslide victory for Republicans, not just in the Congress, but also in state and local elections around the country.
And yet many on the right were left unfulfilled by their historic gains, feeling instead as though they had failed to capitalize on the momentous opportunity with which they were presented.
Indeed there was a case to be made for such discontent. Despite regaining control of the House of Representatives – via the largest electoral swing since the Great Depression – the GOP failed to win a majority in the Senate. No doubt such a feat would have been difficult – Democrats held a 59-41 seat advantage at the time – but a ten seat swing had seemed achievable just a few months earlier.
So what happened to change things? The answer, quite simply, is that the Tea Party happened. True enough, the Tea Party was able to help unseat dozens of Democrats in Congress that year. On the other hand, the Tea Party spared no opportunity to thumb its nose at the GOP establishment by bringing primary challenges against Republican incumbents deemed to be too moderate. These challenges would have a massive impact on the Republican Party, both in obvious and in more subtle ways.
Let’s go to the videotape!
We start the highlight reel in Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentuckian himself, strongly endorsed Secretary of State Trey Greyson for the open Senate seat that year. The Tea Party had other plans, helping to nominate libertarian firebrand Rand Paul for the job. Paul would go on to win the election and McConnell would learn that being in a leadership position in the Republican Party doesn’t carry the clout that it used to – even in one’s home state.
Moving on to the Sunshine State, Charlie Crist learned the hard way that even Republican Governors with sky-high approval ratings were not immune from the Tea Party wave. Crist would have cruised to victory in this Senate race in any other year. But this was not any other year. Instead, Marco Rubio, perhaps the most adored of all Tea Party-backed candidates, dispatched Crist – who had committed the unthinkable act of appearing in public with the President – in a heated primary and won the Senate seat for himself in November. Crist was left to ponder his future in the Republican Party. More on that in a bit…
In Alaska, Tea Party challenger Joe Miller won the Republican Senate primary over the incumbent Republican, Lisa Murkowski. Miller was deemed to be more conservative and had the backing of the illustrious Sarah Palin – back just in time from a taping of DWTS – among other national conservatives. In the end, Miller proved to be so unpalatable to the Alaskans in the general electorate that Ms. Murkowski won an historic write-in campaign and was re-elected.
In Utah, Sen. Bob Bennett lost a battle waged by the Tea Party for the GOP nomination to retain his Senate seat.
In Arizona, the Tea Party even tried to unseat John McCain that year, though McCain was able to beat back the challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
These are but a few examples of the cannibalizing that went on within the ranks of the GOP that year, and even though all of these races were ultimately won by Republicans, they nonetheless produced lasting effects, both for the Republican Party and for American politics at large.
First of all, the Tea Party candidates were more conservative than many of their Republican colleagues, and they felt a need – even a mandate – to demonstrate it. It was also clear from the start of the ensuing Congress that the Tea Party freshman felt no need to show fealty to their leaders in the GOP establishment. They had already proven the ability to out-maneuver their more moderate counterparts on the campaign trail, and they intended to do the same on Capitol Hill.
All of this could be seen in the polarizing rhetoric and sharply partisan stances following the 2010 elections. Indeed this would come to symbolize the new normal in an increasingly dysfunctional Washington. Of course, not only were the Tea Party candidates affected by this sea change. A very clear message was sent to the surviving moderates in the Republican Party, and many clearly felt the need to move to the right or risk being swept away in their next primary.
At no time was all of this more evident than in the catastrophic debt ceiling debates in 2011, when Speaker of the House John Boehner was forced to withdraw from negotiations with the White House over a proposed “grand bargain” – the contents of which may very well have helped to solve a host of serious problems facing the nation – because he had lost the support of his rank and file membership, much of which was now dominated by Tea Party influence.
All of this demonstrates the profound impact the Tea Party has had on our elections and politics. However, none of it fully explains how the Tea Party affected the balance of power in the Senate.
For this, we have to go back to the video tape!
In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was in deep trouble in 2010. To say that his re-election prospects were less than rosy would be like suggesting that Gangnam Style has received a modest amount of attention outside of Korea. Reid was a dead man walking. But then, as if from out of nowhere, he was handed the greatest gift of his political career: Sharon Angle. In point of fact, Ms. Angle came not from nowhere. She rode in aboard the Tea Party Express. The epic implosion that followed saved Mr. Reid from certain failure. I would say that Ms. Angle was the only candidate on the planet who could have lost that election for the GOP, but then how could we explain everything else that went on that year.
Across the country in Delaware, Republicans threatened to embarrass Democrats by winning the Senate seat most recently held by Vice President Biden. Going into the fall, Rep. Mike Castle was considered the likely GOP nominee in the race and polling showed him to be a strong favorite over his Democratic opponent, Chris Coons. But the Tea Party would have none of that. And so they brought in…ahem…a witch! Christine O’Donnell went on to lead what was, quite possibly, the worst – and funniest – campaigns in the history of American politics, and Coons went on to represent the people of Delaware in the Senate.
Moving north to Connecticut, Democrats nominated Attorney General Dick Blumenthal for the open Senate seat vacated by Chris Dodd over an ethics scandal. Things were going fine until news broke that Bluenthal had made false statements about serving in Vietnam. Ouch… Surely no politician could survive that and win an election in the same year, right? Wrong! Not if your opponent is the heiress to the WWE. Somehow Linda McMahon’s attacks looked better when performed within a wrestling ring – and they looked a whole lot better before YouTube took down all the AMAZING clips… Anyway by November, Mr. Blumenthal had apologized all the way to Washington.
Back west in Colorado, Democrat Michael Bennet was viewed by many pundits as one of the incumbents most likely to lose that fall. Once again, the Tea Party came to the rescue, securing the GOP nomination for Ken Buck over a field of more moderate candidates. In the end, Mr. Bennet won a razor-thin victory and, once again, Democrats were able to hold onto a Senate seat that had once seemed all but lost.
Republicans won a net of six Senate seats from Democrats in 2010. But, with these four races, the GOP could have flipped the 53-47 advantage Democrats currently hold in the Senate to a 51-49 edge of their own. It’s fair to call that a missed opportunity and it’s certainly understandable why some Republicans felt that they had left quite a bit on the table that year. The Tea Party giveth and the Tea Party taketh away…
That brings us to the 2012 election cycle – which of course began the day after Election Day in November 2010. Let’s imagine the outlook for the many candidates who fancied themselves as potential standard bearers for the GOP in the upcoming presidential election. Your party is moving to the right and is now dominated by a hard-line wing that has thoroughly proven its willingness to bite off its nose to spite its face.
What’s a candidate to do? Simple: Move to the right – hard and fast – and pretend that no one noticed the last twenty years of your public life.
What’s that? Your health insurance model got turned into ObamaCare? Health care is the devil!
You said you would protect a woman’s right to choose? Down with Roe v. Wade!
You went on the record saying humans have contributed to climate change? Science sucks!
You supported tough gun control laws? I just got my NRA card tattooed on my forehead, yo!
Any of this sounding familiar to anyone? Anyone?
The fact is, the GOP and the Tea Party did everything they could to nominate someone not named Mitt Romney as their candidate in 2012. The chart of the polling averages from Real Clear Politics demonstrates that better than any words ever could. They tried everyone. They even flirted with Donald Trump as a nominee. They were all but ready to go with the fuckin’ pizza guy, for cryin’ out loud. Apparently Barry Goldwater’s corpse wasn’t available.
In the end they were stuck with the one guy they didn’t want, never wanted – in part because some potentially strong candidates simply chose not to run when faced with this new Republican reality. To make matters worse, in constantly vying for the unattainable affections of the party’s right wing, Romney transformed himself from a viable moderate candidate into a severely compromised shell of his former himself.
Everyone knew going into this election just how difficult the President’s position was. The economy has improved, but it is still bad. Unemployment is down, but it is still far too high. ObamaCare was upheld by the Supreme Court, but it is still unpopular. No post-war president has ever been re-elected when the fundamentals of the nation were in such poor condition. A strong Republican challenger should have been able to win this election. But there was no such challenger to be found.
In the end, this will be the Tea Party’s greatest impact on the 2012 election, and this is why President Obama will eke out a close victory tonight, defying history once again and leaving Republicans to curse themselves – along with their new favorite nemesis Nate Silver – as he moves into a second term.
Oh, and by the way, remember that popular Governor who lost the Republican primary in Florida? Well, he went on to endorse Obama and gave a speech at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. Somebody remind me, is Florida a swing state this year? Take that, Face!
But what will the Tea Party’s reaction be? Will they lament the impact of their efficacy, regretting how they forced Romney to contort himself into so many ever-less believable incarnations? Will they simply put the blame on Romney’s weakness, eschewing any responsibility for the impending debacle? Or will they be too distracted by the other happenings of this election to focus solely on the top of the ticket?
Let’s remember, of course, we’re electing more than just a president today. There are Senate and Congressional seats up for grabs, among others. Once again, there is a possibility that Republicans could retake control of the Senate this year. How will the Tea Party impact those races? Surely they wouldn’t make the same mistakes twice…would they?
For that, we must go, once more, to the video tape!
In Indiana, six-term GOP Senator Dick Lugar – a shoe-in for re-election – loses a primary challenge to a Tea Party-backed insurgent, Richard Mourdock. Mourdock proclaims divine inspiration for pregnancies via rape during a televised debate. Democrats claim possession of a Republican-held Senate seat Tuesday night.
In Missouri, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was on life support in her efforts to maintain her Senate seat. The Tea Party was kind enough to help select her challenger, Todd Akin. Akin, in turn, was kind enough to educate the nation on the physiological distinctions of “legitimate rape.” Ms. McCaskill will surely be kind enough to send her Thank You card to the appropriate address.
It’s like these guys are having a contest: Who can say the dumbest shit the loudest and screw the GOP in the most uncomfortable place?
In Connecticut, Linda McMahon is running for the Senate again. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
In Texas, the Tea Party defeated the establishment GOP candidate, whom was backed by none other than three-term Governor Rick Perry – my, how the mighty have fallen – in the nomination for the open Senate seat.
The Tea Party even tried unsuccessfully to unseat nine-term Senator Orrin Hatch – the longest-serving Republican in the Senate! – just as they did his junior colleague from Utah, Bob Bennett, in 2010.
The list goes on and one, but I think the point has been made – and beat to death – by now. The political effectiveness of the Tea Party has been, and will always be, nullified by their unwillingness to compromise on any level and their fundamentalist insistence on ideological purity.
All of this now brings me back to Occupy. In the end, what the hippies and their drum circles wanted to do was to change the tenor of our political discourse and help ordinary American to focus on the realities of inequality in this country. I’ve made the case that they were very successful at this, and that their success has endured long after the physical presence of the movement has faded.
Perhaps the biggest bombshell of this presidential campaign was the release of the video of Mitt Romney maligning the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. It came on the heels of public sentiment moving in the direction of President Obama and it had the feeling of a turning point in the election.
Somehow, categorizing people in terms of cold percentages creates a powerful, almost visceral, image in our minds, reinforcing divisions which perhaps we can feel, but may not want to acknowledge. Putting those divisions into numerical form makes them harder to ignore.
But I think there was something more at work. It almost felt that, as a society, we had already been conditioned to respond to rhetoric like this, as if we had heard it from somewhere before.
I don’t know. Anyone have any ideas on where that might have been? Anyone? Bueller?
– Mike Berman graduated from BLS in 2012 and recently learned that he passed the July administration of the New York State Bar Exam. He is excited to be returning to a career in the hospitality industry with the Gerber Group. He can be reached for comment on Twitter.
Last time out, I took a look at the recent growth of populist activism in America, both on the right and the left, and the impact it has had on our politics and national discourse. There is no question that we currently have a more engaged electorate than at any other time in recent history, and the effects of this have been quite substantial. However, attempting to discern what this might mean for our future requires a closer look at the individual movements themselves. Upon such an examination, it becomes pretty clear just how different these movements are and how much those differences will affect the impact they have on our politics going forward.
On one hand we have Occupy Wall Street and the related demonstrations that have taken place around the world. At first, this movement was largely dismissed by commentators as disorganized and lacking in a cohesive message. In the end, Occupy’s initial “defects” may have proven to be its greatest strengths, as the movement was never about bringing change from the top down, or even via the ballot box.
Occupy was about changing the way we all think about the problems facing our society, and, the organically democratic message which eventually grew out of the movement was able to accomplish this in a way that no set of pre-planned, focus-group-approved platitudes could ever even approach. “We are the 99%” is the wet dream of every political strategist from K Street to Wasilla, and yet not one of them can take any credit for it. Like everything associated with Occupy, it belongs to the people.
It is this very strength, however, that also serves to limit Occupy’s direct impact on our political process. Surely the ideas that have arisen from the movement will continue to resonate with both politicians and voters, but it seems unlikely that Occupy will take any formal role in the upcoming election.
For one thing, the movement just isn’t built for it. Campaigns require hierarchical control systems and business-like efficiency. The individual volunteers don’t get a say in the message or the medium. On the other hand, Occupy encampments operated like Marxist communes, each individual getting a say on everything from the wording of official statements to how many times the bathrooms would be cleaned each day. It’s pretty hard to run a campaign that way…
Furthermore, the Occupy movement never had any interest in connecting or integrating itself with the Democratic Party (or any other major political party for that matter). Its ideals are, without doubt, much further to the left of anything the Democratic Party could ever publicly embrace. So, although many Democratic politicians can now be subtly, or even overtly, heard invoking the language of Occupy, no effort was ever made to formally join the two – any such attempt would have surely ended in failure or worse.
Plain and simple, it’s pretty hard to imagine Occupy Wall Street having a direct impact at the ballot box in November.
But, what about on the other side?
Personally, I think it is on this point that the Tea Party and Occupy movements are most different – even more so than in their core ideologies, which share many basic elements of populist outrage.
From day one, the Tea Party was determined to make changes within our political system, first via constituent pressure on elected officials and then via the ballot box. Before long, the Tea Party had structured itself into a network of semi-autonomous organizations, capable of acting independently, yet able to work in cohesion through coordinated messaging from Americans for Prosperity and massive funding from the Koch brothers. Although infighting and competition would eventually fracture this network to an extent, there still exists a clear consensus on matters as pivotal as the movement’s very moment of origin: Rick Santelli’s visceral 2009 rant on CNBC. So long as that degree of commonality is present, there will always be the potential for great unity in this movement.
And, unlike Occupy, the Tea Party was bred for politics and structured to be maximally effective in that arena. Despite its populist roots, there is definite potential for top-down control of the movement through its organizational structure. When wielded properly, the movement can be focused on particular targets and goals to great effect. The historic electoral gains made by the GOP in 2010 are a resounding testament to this.
Again, unlike Occupy, the Tea Party became the twinkle in the eyes of the Republican establishment. If only it could be harnessed, the movement represented a coalition of energized voters that could deliver electoral majorities for years to come. The thought was simply too good to be true.
And, indeed it was, as this was a tail that refused to be wagged on command by a dog that it viewed as unfit to be giving out the orders. Like any real populist movement – heads or tails – the Tea Party cannot be simply co-opted by party bosses in Washington, and they have proven that beyond any shred of a doubt.
True enough, the GOP rode the Tea Party to victory in the midterm elections, but at what cost? Looking ahead to November, that cost just might be more than the Republicans can bear.
Let’s pick up from there next time…
– Mike Berman, a graduating 3L and life-long lover of all things politics, was proud to serve as Speaker of Assembly A at the 2002 New Jersey Youth and Government Conference. He can be reached for comment through his publicist: @bermorama.
Greetings and Salutations!
My name is Mike; my friends call me Bermo. I’m a half Italian-half Jew from Jersey who likes to tell people he’s from Baltimore. I’m 27, I’m a Leo, and I’m the new resident columnist in these parts. Nice to have you on board as I present my take on the events and issues that matter to you – the students of BLS – and me – a 3L counting down the days ‘til they let me walk out of this place with a shred of dignity still intact.
In my column “Notions to Dismiss,” I hope to explore what it really means to be a graduating law student these days – exhausted, debt-ridden, and unemployed – and to provide you with another excuse to surf the web when you’re in class. Let’s be honest, you can only shop for shoes or read sports blogs for so long every day. And when that’s over with, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to drop by this spot and check out the veritable cornucopia of borrowed wisdom, clichéd platitudes and stale jokes I plan on offering up twice a month. I promise it’ll be worth the time.
Ohhh, who the hell am I kidding? I can’t even promise myself to take my meds every day… Never mind, let’s just get started.
So, I was one of the 20,000 people who marched from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park last Wednesday as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest. I can’t say that I believe in every cause being represented there. Who could? Those people are rallying for everything from radical socialism and wealth redistribution to ending agricultural subsidies and banning frack drilling. Some people want all student loan debt to be forgiven; others are marching for better jobs. I even saw one numb nuts with a pizza box that said “Legalize Online Poker.” It’s impossible to be for everything being advocated across the river – although that thing about the student loans sounds pretty good right about now. Instead, the real reason I wanted to be there was to see this phenomenon play out in person and to tap in to the raw energy and passion of all those people. Nothing gets the blood running like a good, old-fashioned protest, and this one did not disappoint.
As a lot of commentators have pointed out, there is no clear narrative to these protests; no cogent list of demands; no single message. Some call this a weakness, others a strength. I call it the inevitable reality when you have that many people all feeling like they got the short end of the stick. Interestingly enough though, the actual protest was like a microcosm for the lack of clear direction that surrounds it. There was no epicenter of activity; no single platform for speeches; no ring master leading the charge. Instead, there were all these seemingly self-contained pockets of frenetic activity, brought together by a common sense of injustice and packed on top of each other by the marked lack of square footage in Foley Square. It was quite a sight.
My purpose here, however, isn’t to recap the event or advocate for the protests – far better writers than myself will be handling that task for this publication. Instead, what I saw on Wednesday got me thinking a lot about my own situation and that of my peers who also plan to graduate in May. Never in my life have I wanted to reach a milestone so badly, yet been so afraid about what will happen when I get there (except for that one Christmas when I asked Santa for a Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle…but the settlement agreement says I’m never supposed to talk about that ever again). Anyway, here I am, sitting on the precipice of a frighteningly unsettled future – the first loan payments just months away – hopelessly second guessing what was supposed to be the safe choice to go to law school, and all the while lamenting over how this is not the way this was supposed to work!
To that end, I can’t help but feel some parallels between our situation here and the core motivations behind the protests that are currently spreading from lower Manhattan to other parts of the country and the world. In fact, these comparisons work on multiple levels. The people in the park are surely divided by their individual causes, but they come together out of a common purpose. My classmates and I don’t share all the same goals for our futures, but our common needs are undeniably in sync. You don’t need to have everything in common with another person to stand beside them make your voices heard. That’s what’s going on in Lower Manhattan now, and I wonder if the needs of Brooklyn students won’t soon manifest in a similar outcry here.
And, to bring this analogy home, it is simply impossible to see some of the messages being espoused by the protesters and not be consumed by a sense of impending solidarity. So many young people at that protest carried signs telling stories of massive college debt, no health care, and only minimum wage jobs to cover irreconcilable expenses. Is that me in nine months? Is that you? Will that be all of us? It’s simply impossible to know now – unless you’re one of the lucky few who have a job already – but for me, it’s a notion that I cannot easily dismiss from my mind.
I guess we’ll have to wait a few more months to find out. Until then though, maybe I’ll just head on back to Zuccotti Park and rejoin all the action over there. Besides, some of those protest chants they had us doing were pretty catchy: “WE ARE THE 99%!!! WE ARE THE 99%!!! WE ARE THE 99%!!!”
“What are their demands?”
“Have you seen them? They’re so dirty and smelly!”
“Why are they protesting at Wall Street?”
“They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
These are a few of the questions and statements I’ve heard from many of my fellow law students about the Occupy Wall Street protest over the past few weeks. Many Brooklyn Law students seem to misunderstand, express unease, or even have outright contempt for what’s happening down in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street. I think that this protest is important to understand, because these protests demonstrate an intense disapproval with the corruption and greed that led to the current economic crisis. Some students have participated, either as protesters or legal observers, but this is addressed to the majority of students.
I was excited to join this protest when I first got a Facebook invite in August just after I moved to New York. I spent most of last spring in Madison, Wisconsin protesting the highly undemocratic and anti-worker legislation pushed by Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. As an labor organizer, I was horrified that the current economic situation in the US was blamed on “greedy” public sector workers whose pensions were “too rich” and out of line with everyone else’s meager benefits. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in those protests and are still fighting to repeal that law. I feared that Wisconsin would be forgotten quickly and we would continue to allow the rich and powerful to scapegoat the working class and the poor. When I saw the invite from Adbusters, I could only hope that this fight against greed and inequality might spread beyond a single issue or locality.
The protests give voice to the anger and frustration many feel today. They focus that general dissent on the symbolic focal point of greed in America: Wall Street. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman acknowledged in his editorial “Confronting the Malefactors” on Thursday: “The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.” Sure there are other places that deserve a good protest, but the bottom line is that Wall Street is symbolic of the excessive greed and total irresponsibility infecting our economic system. They were a significant hand in our current economic mess.
Saying that we should be protesting in Washington D.C. or in Midtown isn’t a valid criticism for two reasons. First, if we started these protests somewhere else, we would have been told why those places were inappropriate. Those who criticize our choice of location don’t really think we should be protesting at all. Second: we’re getting to it! Protests have sprung up all over the country and internationally. Friends of mine have participated in #OccupyLA (which was also endorsed by the LA City Council), #OccupyMN (bold people that sleep outside in Minnesota), and my cousin has even found sympathy protests in Korea, where she is teaching. Over 200 protests have sprung up and are growing more sophisticated. Occupy D.C. is picking up steam with marches on the US Chamber of Commerce and the IMF, a gathering at a church near Dupont Circle to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and a rally at Freedom Plaza with Ralph Nader as a speaker. And the Occupy protests are simply part of a larger movement. The organizers take their inspiration from Tahrir Sqare and the Arab Spring. The uprising in Madison this spring and the general strike in Greece last week indicate a growing opposition to global anti-worker austerity measures. Whatever it is that is happening is big and would be a mistake to ignore.
In response to the criticism that the protests have been incoherent in message and demands, I would argue that the protests have been wisely inclusive. There are protesters against the war, against the death penalty and the execution of Troy Davis, against money in politics, for taxing the richest amongst us, for workers’ rights, and other issues around on economic equality. I personally agree with many of the causes, but not always. The fact is, people are angry and frustrated with the way things are going. What I see is a wide variety of citizens finding common ground. And that common ground is the growing social and economic inequality in our society. They are bound together as “the 99%.”
What the protesters want is big, ambitious, and it brings people together. It is unlikely that we will change the way this country fundamentally works over the next weeks and months, but pressure is mounting for the-powers-that-be to make changes to appease the protesters and their sympathizers. Without protests in the streets and without growing numbers of Americans openly voicing their disapproval with our system, politicians will continue to choose corporate money over the greater good. So if you think there is something wrong in our society and that the gap has gotten too big in our economy, stop worrying if these kids should take a shower, or if their messages haven’t been vetted by focus groups and policy institutes, and get down to the protest and make your voice heard.
Ben Ward is a 1L member of the BLS National Lawyers Guild. He was most recently the organizer of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).