As the “Occupy Wall Street” movement gains nationwide momentum, pundits and critics nationwide are wondering about its aims and its broader significance. Here at Yale, professors have been watching the movement carefully, with their deep historical perspective. Sterling professor of law Bruce Ackerman ’67 even co-authored an op-ed in the Huffington Post proposing an $80,000 safety net for each high school graduate.
“America is allowing the children of the rich to thrive while the overwhelming majority are left to struggle against economic forces beyond their control,” Ackerman wrote.
Here’s what a few others had to say to the News:
“The originators did not appear to be protesters, but anarchists — of the kind I last saw in California about ten years ago. It seems strange that legitimate protest organizations would want to associate themselves with this phenomenon.” -Charles Hill, diplomat-in-residence and professor of “Grand Strategies,” former advisor to George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Ronald Reagan
“I am enjoying watching it. It seems to me like the Tea Party of the left, although it is obviously not as well organized as the Tea Party. I suppose it brings out the anarchist in me.” — Steven Smith, Alfred Cowles professor of political science
“I don’t have any coherent thoughts about it. Perhaps my mind has been pre-occupied.” -John Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History, professor of “Grand Strategies”
“The Occupy Wall Street movement represents a widespread socially diverse sense of frustration with current socio-economic inequities. While profound and potentially important, this does not seem to me a revolutionary movements. Revolutionary movements are usually reactions against state innovations, attempts by the government to transform social, political or economic life. This movement, by contrast, is complaining about government inaction or the continuance of government policies that are perceived to be unjust.” -Steve Pincus, director of undergraduate studies in History