Back in the glory days of the downtown campout the twinge of self-righteous superiority was mostly subsumed by the clarity and force of the 99 metaphor. But out of the parks and into the mall, I guess the campers are casting off the metaphor and giving in, full bore, to their simmering sense of moral superiority. Instead of sticking it to The Man, they spent the day mocking the average folks hunting for sales. "Hurry!" "Buy more stuff."
That’s not collective action, it’s moral preening. The movement now seems mostly interested in itself — its squabbles with the cops, its self-pitying exclusion from the parks, its own righteous rejection of capitalist wealth culture. When all OPS can think of is itself, it’s easy to understand how they can imagine that the common people at the mall are as much a part of the capitalist-consumerist axis of injustice as the fatcats sipping kiwi daiquiris in the BofA Tower. That’s all fine I suppose, but if that’s OPS then OPS isn’t a social movement, it’s a clique.
There are few things — yachts, silk sheets, and penthouse apartments, included — as gratifying as a robust conviction in your own righteousness. Moral bling is every bit as shiny as that ring on Kim Kardashian’s finger. When OPS gets 100 people to help the poor instead of wag its collective finger at them, the 99 will be inspired.