Rising Class Tension

People, my own daughter for one, often asked “What do they want?” when the Occupy movement jumped into public awareness. A common perception, maybe a desire, spread by some unsympathetic media opinion-makers spread that because they lacked demands they lacked ideas, and lacking ideas they were bereft of value and so inconsequential.

The more sympathetic, like me, just read the signs and took them at their word, figuring that what they wanted was what they wrote, and although the activists wanted lots of different things, many, maybe most, seemed to simply want economic justice, or at lease the increased awareness that the current economic system was decidedly not just.

Now, some cold weeks later, with camps broken up or abandoned, the injustness of our economic system has bubbled up into our collective mind — the Pew Research Center survey has found that 50% more people in the U.S. believe that strong conflicts exist between the rich and poor than held that opinion in 2009, and that this conflict is a more important source of tension than either race or immigration.

And THAT, the increase in perception that there is a problem, is large. A large effect, if not a large accomplishment.

The Pew survey is here, an analysis by the N.Y. Times here.

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