Part of The Best of 2011

Why Occupy Wall Street is Not the Tea Party of the Left

The United States’ Long History of Protest

"There's a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement," former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young said recently of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. "This is an emotional outcry," he went on. "The difference is organization and articulation." Young knows something about social movements: as a young pastor in the South, he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was jailed for participating in demonstrations in Alabama and Florida. But his suggestion that what is happening today in lower Manhattan lacks real momentum rings false -- the civil rights movement is not a precedent one can use to understand Occupy Wall Street. Neither is this movement a Tea Party of the left, as some observers have suggested. Occupy Wall Street is a movement of a completely new type.

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