Is Occupy the Start of a New Progressive Era?

Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

In a must-read New York Times Op-Ed over the weekend, economist Jeffrey Sachs – an erstwhile villain in the eyes of the anti-globalization left – hailed Occupy Wall Street as the start of a new progressive era in American history, defined by the challenge of restoring "prosperity and power to the 99 percent." The movement, he writes, should aim concretely for three things:

The first is a revival of crucial public services, especially education, training, public investment and environmental protection. The second is the end of a climate of impunity that encouraged nearly every Wall Street firm to commit financial fraud. The third is to re-establish the supremacy of people votes over dollar votes in Washington.

None of this will be easy, obviously. The movement will have to up its strategic game, Sachs writes: consumer and shareholder activism needs to play a bigger role, and the movement also needs both a public policy platform and a cohort of change-makers willing to run for public office propelled by social media, not corporate cash. But make no mistake – something's happening here. "A new generation of leaders is just getting started," Sachs writes. "The new progressive age has begun."

In other OWS news

• This Thursday, the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters will join forces with labor unions and to hold a "day of action," aimed at encouraging federal funding of infrastructure projects. [The Hill, Occupy Wall Street]

• Jay-Z's Rocawear clothing line has stopped selling a $22 "Occupy All Streets" T-shirt after getting flak for cashing in on Occupy Wall Street but not donating any proceeds to the movement. [E! Online]

• Occupy Wall Street has successfully brought the term "income inequality" into the national conversation, according to a search or news from the last two months. [Politico]

• From Wall Street to college green? The New York Times looks at the growth of Occupy movements on university campuses across the country. [New York Times]

• Police are cracking down on Occupiers across the country, break up encampments and making arrests. [NPR]

• Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's senior legal advisor resigned after the "tragically unnecessary" police raid of Occupy Oakland. [SFGate]

• Occupy encampments across the country are straining local officials and police forces, meaning increased crackdowns in cities such as Portland and Philadelphia. [CNN]

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