From Joe McCann:
Something most people do not understand about the form of capitalism we have.
The central idea is that all wealth should be extracted from the general population and handed over to a tiny "capitalist class", as supposedly they can more "efficiently" apply that wealth as capital. It's a similar idea to Soviet state capitalism - except in our instance, it's a social class confiscating property and not the state. And yes they have been confiscating your property and wealth, with a little trompe l'oeil.
Of course what the capitalist class really do is apply the capital to buying big houses and private jets, gated compounds, armed guards.
We've been duped into a system that just makes most of us poorer and poorer.
In the US in 1960, a single average wage was all it took to support a family, buy a house and a car, and not live in poverty. Supposedly we're wealthier than we've ever been. When you take rubbishy hi-tech gadgets out of the equation we're worse off than 1960. Though our rich are outrageously better off than they've ever been. How in a democracy can the majority chose a path that makes their live worse.
Our elites are just as bad as Mummar Gaddafi when it comes to screwing their own people.
Public demonstrations still seem to have an effect in nations where civil society is restricted or non-existent (see the "Arab Spring") and in France (in the form of the general strike), but this political style is pretty much exhausted in the USA, almost to the point of becoming a cliché. The declining significance of street protests is made worse when organizers promise more than they can deliver, in this case occupying Wall Street. Until what happens? The closing of the DJIA? What Graeber purports to be one of the signs of the fall of the American empire, the tribal drumbeats echoing through the canyons of lower Manhattan, is nothing more than a local spectacle; meanwhile, for criminal banksters and feral traders (like the USB thug Kweku Adoboli) it's back to business as usual.
The anarchist vision apparent in this commentary ("This is why protesters are often hesitant even to issue formal demands, since that might imply recognising the legitimacy of the politicians against whom they are ranged") is no substitute for a real political theory of how the widespread change its author envisions might be actualized. Hardt and Negri suffice for the sound bite imagination of the well-meaning demonstrators; the rest of us can still hope for something more profound.