Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Wall Street v. Indian Fasting

I would like to highlight some of Bill Keller's op-ed piece, Beyond Occupy, which appeared in the New York times on October 31.

Mr. Keller, writing from New Delhi, attempted to interview the" contemporary Indian 'Ghandi'", Anna Hazare.  Mr. Hazare, as you may know, had been on a recent hunger strike in order to exert pressure on the Indian government to institute reforms.  These fasts have apparently resulted in a number of successful results.  Keller points out that Hazare's Indian campaign is hardly anti-capitalism.  Hazare's aim, says Keller, "is to stop a political class from usurping the fruits of capitalism."  A Hazare spokesman (Hazare himself has taken a "vow of silence") is quoted as indicating "we're not anti-capitalism.  We're pro-integrity."  Hazare's spokesman called the Occupy Wall Street movement "engaging," but lacking in a destination!  "We had a destination," he said.

Keller summarizes his column a follows:  "I'm prepared to celebrate when the Occupiers - like the lone hunger artist of India - accomplish something more than organizing their own campsite cleanup, demonstrating their tolerance for tear gas, and distracting the conversation a little from the Tea Party.  So far the main achievement of Occupy Wall Street is showing up."

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