As the Wall Street sit-ins spread, we are hearing more accusations of “class warfare.” Those accusations come from both ends of the political spectrum: the wealthy–particularly those whose wealth comes from the financial sector–accuse the protestors of enmity aimed at the “haves,” and the protestors and their supporters respond that corporate “fat cats” started the conflict by engaging in unethical practices motivated by greed that harmed “the other 99%.”
I actually don’t think what we are seeing is class warfare. I doubt if many of the protestors really have animus toward all those who are better off. They are just really, really angry at the increasingly successful efforts of bankers and others to shield themselves from the consequences of their own (mis)behaviors.
Nor do I think that corporate bigwigs are motivated by a desire to harm the (dwindling) middle class or poor. I doubt they even think about what their “Masters of the Universe” game-playing does to other people. (This lack of awareness–let alone concern–is in fact one of their most distasteful characteristics.)
Rather than dismissing these demonstrations by mislabeling them, I think they are general expressions of discontent with a political system that increasingly favors the well-positioned and well-resourced over other Americans.
The “other 99%” don’t hate rich people. They hate a system that increasingly takes from the poor to give to the rich.