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What do the Wall Street activists even want?

This is a movement in search of a message, a community trying to define itself by listening. There seem to be two broad camps: one believes Occupy Wall St. should adopt a specific demand to address unequal distribution of wealth in America (views vary, of course, about what policy should be advocated to achieve this); while the other camp is focused on creating a spectacle that will create its own momentum, grow larger, and define its goals at some undetermined point in the future.

Greenwald fumes:

Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else?

Yglesias points out that specific demands make protests more effective. John Cassidy thinks the NYPD made their jobs much harder by pepper-spraying protesters:

If the cops had kept their cool, the occupation, which is meant to last several months, might well have declined over time to a hard core of a few dozen. Now the protesters’ numbers are growing, presenting a dilemma for [Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly] and his billionaire boss Mayor Bloomberg. Should they leave the kids alone or present them with another publicity coup by attempting to break up their encampment?

(Photo by Flickr user Paul Stein)