Occupy lives

I was listening to the New Yorker political scene podcast today and they were talking about how inequality was now a regular theme in President Obama’s speeches.  It got me thinking that, fortunately, it’s very much become a regular theme in American political discourse.  And whereas some on the left were talking about it a few years ago, it was still kind of a niche issue.  That’s changed and surely the lion’s share of the credit for that has to go to the Occupy movement.  No matter what else they did or accomplished (which, on its face, is little) they most definitely served to change the political conversation in this country in a very needed direction.  Though that has not borne policy fruit yet, over time it surely will.

I thought I should put a few number with this to emphasize my point, so I searched Lexis/Nexis for the use of the term “inequality” in a variety of news sources from January through July 2011 (Occupy started in September 2011) and compared it with January through July of 2013.  The results:







New York Times



Washington Post



Associated Press



Some pretty dramatic increases.  No matter what else, that is an important and ongoing legacy of Occupy.  And, hopefully (2017?) we’l see this start to bear meaningful fruit in policy.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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