October 27, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

[Dave Zirin has replied to my response. This issue about strategy is critical and important. Let me try one more time.]

Still missing the point. Let me try, Mr. @EdgeofSports, one last time. This time with a sports metaphor:

Imagine you’re a player with the Chicago Bears. You’re on the field, about to begin a game with the Green Bay Packers. Just before kick-off, someone races onto the field screaming: “Guys, please, can’t we all just get along? Enough of this fighting. Let’s just shake hands and go get a beer.”

I am not that guy, Dave. That’s not my argument (now stated again and again and again). Instead, I’m the guy saying something like: “Hey, Bears and Packers: Can we have a conversation about whether a tackler should be allowed to use his helmet when making a tackle?” Or translated for the non-sports-readers (which, before my friend Mark Snyderman gave me these examples, I, too, would have been), I’m the guy saying: we need to have a conversation about the rules of the game, because they are not working for any of us.

Or once again: Imagine you’re the pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (as most of the kids (boys and girls) where I come from do, at least once a day). You’re on the pitching mound, about to throw against the Yankees’ star batter. You look up, and some guy is flying a plane pulling a banner that says: “Look, I know some of us are Sox fans, and others of us are Yankees fans, but we’re all baseball fans. Let’s just stop all this fighting, link arms, and learn to work together.”

I am not that idiot either, Dave. Instead, and again, I am your teammate (no doubt, I’d be in the dugout and you’d be pitching, but still), asking whether it might make sense to sit down with the Yankees (and others in our league) and rethink the instant replay rule. Baseball, I believe, should be governed by honest umpires, not HD cameras.

In both cases, I’m the guy saying we should think about the rules. I’m not trying to say we should dampen the competitive passion of our own team. Or deny the justice in our own cause. Or to betray our own objectives. But competition happens on a field; that field is governed by rules; those rules only get changed if everyone (or at least the 99%) on the field agrees. So I think we need to find a way to talk to the 99% — Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, Libertarians — about whether and how those rules should be changed.

Now as crazy as it is to race onto a football field and urge a kumbayah moment, or to buzz Fenway Park to urge inter-team love, it is just as crazy to label as disloyal a team member who is arguing that we need to sit down to talk about the rules of the game. It may be disloyal to argue that you shouldn’t fight hard against the other team. It is likely stupid, as a coach, to start a game with a lecture about how decent and hard working the other side is. But it is neither stupid nor disloyal to push for a respectful conversation with the other side when you believe the rules of the game are not working — for you and for the other side.

And that is my belief. I believe this system is corrupt. I believe that corruption hurts both the (populist) Left and the (populist) Right. And because I believe it hurts both of us populists, I believe there is a reason to try to engage with people I otherwise disagree with to see whether we can, first, agree about this corruption, and second, take steps to reform it. I believe that 99% of us — Liberal and Conservative, Leftist and Libertarians, Moderates, Tea Party supporters, Coffee Party Activists, much of the ACLU — could actually agree about the corruption that is this system, and agree to work together to change it.

It won’t be easy to get that agreement. It isn’t obvious how to even facilitate the conversation. But a good first step in that project would be to resolve not to call (again, baselessly, but put that aside) the other side “racists.” Instead, that conversation begins by acknowledging our differences, and accepting our different loyalties, yet working with respect to engage people we disagree with about the possibility that there might be something more fundamental — like changing the rules of the game — that differences notwithstanding, we might agree upon.

I get that respect is not your style. I doubt our politics are much different, but I do lean more to Gandhi (“What makes you think I hate the British?“) than to Malcolm X. But you rally hate not only of your opponents, but also of your allies, with prose that reek of condescension (“put down the high school citizenship textbook”), attack with falseness (“Please don’t tell me to love the Tea Party” — where have I ever told anyone to support, let alone, love the Tea Party?) and repeatedly demand that I just go home (“please get out of the way”; “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”). I get that makes things simpler — the Tea Party is racist, and I’m ignorant — but in my experience, I’ve not actually seen that style do much to convince anyone of anything.

At the very least, you’ve not shown me how hate gets you to 67 Senators, or 75% of the States. Dr. King didn’t need to change the Constitution. We do. And nothing in what I’ve said suggests anyone should “wait” to fight for anything of substance: please, coach, rally the team to fight for all the things you and I believe in. What I’ve said, again and again and again, is that as well as fighting for what we believe, we need to identify what we all believe, and use that common belief to end the corruption that blocks us, and them, from getting what we, all of us, want.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 27, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

[Dave Zirin has replied to my response. This issue about strategy is critical and important. Let me try one more time.]

Still missing the point. Let me try, Mr. @EdgeofSports, one last time. This time with a sports metaphor:

Imagine you’re a player with the Chicago Bears. You’re on the field, about to begin a game with the Green Bay Packers. Just before kick-off, someone races onto the field screaming: “Guys, please, can’t we all just get along? Enough of this fighting. Let’s just shake hands and go get a beer.”

I am not that guy, Dave. That’s not my argument (now stated again and again and again). Instead, I’m the guy saying something like: “Hey, Bears and Packers: Can we have a conversation about whether a tackler should be allowed to use his helmet when making a tackle?” Or translated for the non-sports-readers (which, before my friend Mark Snyderman gave me these examples, I, too, would have been), I’m the guy saying: we need to have a conversation about the rules of the game, because they are not working for any of us.

Or once again: Imagine you’re the pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (as most of the kids (boys and girls) where I come from do, at least once a day). You’re on the pitching mound, about to throw against the Yankees’ star batter. You look up, and some guy is flying a plane pulling a banner that says: “Look, I know some of us are Sox fans, and others of us are Yankees fans, but we’re all baseball fans. Let’s just stop all this fighting, link arms, and learn to work together.”

I am not that idiot either, Dave. Instead, and again, I am your teammate (no doubt, I’d be in the dugout and you’d be pitching, but still), asking whether it might make sense to sit down with the Yankees (and others in our league) and rethink the instant replay rule. Baseball, I believe, should be governed by honest umpires, not HD cameras.

In both cases, I’m the guy saying we should think about the rules. I’m not trying to say we should dampen the competitive passion of our own team. Or deny the justice in our own cause. Or to betray our own objectives. But competition happens on a field; that field is governed by rules; those rules only get changed if everyone (or at least the 99%) on the field agrees. So I think we need to find a way to talk to the 99% — Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, Libertarians — about whether and how those rules should be changed.

Now as crazy as it is to race onto a football field and urge a kumbayah moment, or to buzz Fenway Park to urge inter-team love, it is just as crazy to label as disloyal a team member who is arguing that we need to sit down to talk about the rules of the game. It may be disloyal to argue that you shouldn’t fight hard against the other team. It is likely stupid, as a coach, to start a game with a lecture about how decent and hard working the other side is. But it is neither stupid nor disloyal to push for a respectful conversation with the other side when you believe the rules of the game are not working — for you and for the other side.

And that is my belief. I believe this system is corrupt. I believe that corruption hurts both the (populist) Left and the (populist) Right. And because I believe it hurts both of us populists, I believe there is a reason to try to engage with people I otherwise disagree with to see whether we can, first, agree about this corruption, and second, take steps to reform it. I believe that 99% of us — Liberal and Conservative, Leftist and Libertarians, Moderates, Tea Party supporters, Coffee Party Activists, much of the ACLU — could actually agree about the corruption that is this system, and agree to work together to change it.

It won’t be easy to get that agreement. It isn’t obvious how to even facilitate the conversation. But a good first step in that project would be to resolve not to call (again, baselessly, but put that aside) the other side “racists.” Instead, that conversation begins by acknowledging our differences, and accepting our different loyalties, yet working with respect to engage people we disagree with about the possibility that there might be something more fundamental — like changing the rules of the game — that differences notwithstanding, we might agree upon.

I get that respect is not your style. I doubt our politics are much different, but I do lean more to Gandhi (“What makes you think I hate the British?“) than to Malcolm X. But you rally hate not only of your opponents, but also of your allies, with prose that reek of condescension (“put down the high school citizenship textbook”), attack with falseness (“Please don’t tell me to love the Tea Party” — where have I ever told anyone to support, let alone, love the Tea Party?) and repeatedly demand that I just go home (“please get out of the way”; “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”). I get that makes things simpler — the Tea Party is racist, and I’m ignorant — but in my experience, I’ve not actually seen that style do much to convince anyone of anything.

At the very least, you’ve not shown me how hate gets you to 67 Senators, or 75% of the States. Dr. King didn’t need to change the Constitution. We do. And nothing in what I’ve said suggests anyone should “wait” to fight for anything of substance: please, coach, rally the team to fight for all the things you and I believe in. What I’ve said, again and again and again, is that as well as fighting for what we believe, we need to identify what we all believe, and use that common belief to end the corruption that blocks us, and them, from getting what we, all of us, want.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 27, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

[Dave Zirin has replied to my response. This issue about strategy is critical and important. Let me try one more time.]

Still missing the point. Let me try, Mr. @EdgeofSports, one last time. This time with a sports metaphor:

Imagine you’re a player with the Chicago Bears. You’re on the field, about to begin a game with the Green Bay Packers. Just before kick-off, someone races onto the field screaming: “Guys, please, can’t we all just get along? Enough of this fighting. Let’s just shake hands and go get a beer.”

I am not that guy, Dave. That’s not my argument (now stated again and again and again). Instead, I’m the guy saying something like: “Hey, Bears and Packers: Can we have a conversation about whether a tackler should be allowed to use his helmet when making a tackle?” Or translated for the non-sports-readers (which, before my friend Mark Snyderman gave me these examples, I, too, would have been), I’m the guy saying: we need to have a conversation about the rules of the game, because they are not working for any of us.

Or once again: Imagine you’re the pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (as most of the kids (boys and girls) where I come from do, at least once a day). You’re on the pitching mound, about to throw against the Yankees’ star batter. You look up, and some guy is flying a plane pulling a banner that says: “Look, I know some of us are Sox fans, and others of us are Yankees fans, but we’re all baseball fans. Let’s just stop all this fighting, link arms, and learn to work together.”

I am not that idiot either, Dave. Instead, and again, I am your teammate (no doubt, I’d be in the dugout and you’d be pitching, but still), asking whether it might make sense to sit down with the Yankees (and others in our league) and rethink the instant replay rule. Baseball, I believe, should be governed by honest umpires, not HD cameras.

In both cases, I’m the guy saying we should think about the rules. I’m not trying to say we should dampen the competitive passion of our own team. Or deny the justice in our own cause. Or to betray our own objectives. But competition happens on a field; that field is governed by rules; those rules only get changed if everyone (or at least the 99%) on the field agrees. So I think we need to find a way to talk to the 99% — Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, Libertarians — about whether and how those rules should be changed.

Now as crazy as it is to race onto a football field and urge a kumbayah moment, or to buzz Fenway Park to urge inter-team love, it is just as crazy to label as disloyal a team member who is arguing that we need to sit down to talk about the rules of the game. It may be disloyal to argue that you shouldn’t fight hard against the other team. It is likely stupid, as a coach, to start a game with a lecture about how decent and hard working the other side is. But it is neither stupid nor disloyal to push for a respectful conversation with the other side when you believe the rules of the game are not working — for you and for the other side.

And that is my belief. I believe this system is corrupt. I believe that corruption hurts both the (populist) Left and the (populist) Right. And because I believe it hurts both of us populists, I believe there is a reason to try to engage with people I otherwise disagree with to see whether we can, first, agree about this corruption, and second, take steps to reform it. I believe that 99% of us — Liberal and Conservative, Leftist and Libertarians, Moderates, Tea Party supporters, Coffee Party Activists, much of the ACLU — could actually agree about the corruption that is this system, and agree to work together to change it.

It won’t be easy to get that agreement. It isn’t obvious how to even facilitate the conversation. But a good first step in that project would be to resolve not to call (again, baselessly, but put that aside) the other side “racists.” Instead, that conversation begins by acknowledging our differences, and accepting our different loyalties, yet working with respect to engage people we disagree with about the possibility that there might be something more fundamental — like changing the rules of the game — that differences notwithstanding, we might agree upon.

I get that respect is not your style. I doubt our politics are much different, but I do lean more to Gandhi (“What makes you think I hate the British?“) than to Malcolm X. But you rally hate not only of your opponents, but also of your allies, with prose that reek of condescension (“put down the high school citizenship textbook”), attack with falseness (“Please don’t tell me to love the Tea Party” — where have I ever told anyone to support, let alone, love the Tea Party?) and repeatedly demand that I just go home (“please get out of the way”; “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”). I get that makes things simpler — the Tea Party is racist, and I’m ignorant — but in my experience, I’ve not actually seen that style do much to convince anyone of anything.

At the very least, you’ve not shown me how hate gets you to 67 Senators, or 75% of the States. Dr. King didn’t need to change the Constitution. We do. And nothing in what I’ve said suggests anyone should “wait” to fight for anything of substance: please, coach, rally the team to fight for all the things you and I believe in. What I’ve said, again and again and again, is that as well as fighting for what we believe, we need to identify what we all believe, and use that common belief to end the corruption that blocks us, and them, from getting what we, all of us, want.

October 26, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

Sometime-HuffPost blogger, and Nation contributor Dave Zirin has written a brilliant barn-raising response to my last HuffPost piece. Please read all of it, but here’s the bit I want call out. Zirin states: “But by going to Occupy sites and arguing for a Tea Party alliance, Professor Lessig, to put it mildly, isn’t helping.”

Helping what, exactly, Dave?

Helping the Left rally the Left? Agreed. That isn’t my aim. The #Occupy movements are doing that quite well on their own. As a Liberal, I celebrate that rally.

Helping the Left lead a movement for real reform? You tell me how your path does that better.

Here’s the fact about America: It takes an insanely large majority to make any fundamental change. You want Citizens United reversed, it is going to take 75% of states to do it. You want public funding of public elections? It’s going to take 67 Senators to get it. You want to end the corruption that makes it impossible to get any of the things liberals push? It’s going to take a broad based movement that cuts across factions, whether right (as in correct) or Right (as in not Left).

So you tell me how calling people you disagree with “racists” (which you predicated of the Tea Party because of the behavior of some of its members, even though an ABC analysis has concluded that views on race “are not significant predictors of support for the Tea Party movement”) is going to get us to 38 states? Or 67 Senators? Or 80% of the public’s support, which any fundamental change is going to require? Explain how chest-thumping self-righteousness about how hateful “they” are “is helping” that?

Maybe you don’t think such fundamental reform is needed, Dave. Maybe you think the political system is just fine. That the poor do perfectly well in a system where the rich fund political campaigns. That the middle class can hold its own in a world where corporations are free to spend endlessly to push the most ridiculous bullshit as “public” policy.

But if you think that, you’re from Mars. I’m from Earth. And here on Earth, here in America, our political system is f*cked, and your self-righteous indignation “is not helping” us to get it fixed.

It’s great to rally the 99%. It is a relief to have such a clear and powerful slogan. But explain this, because I’m a lawyer, and not so great with numbers: Gallup’s latest poll finds 41% of Americans who call themselves “conservative.” 36% call themselves “moderate.” Liberals account for 21%. In a different poll, Gallup finds 30% of Americans who “support” the Tea Party.

So who exactly are we not allowed to work with, Dave? 30% of America? 41% of America? All but 21% of America? And when you exclude 30%, or 41%, or 79% of Americans, how exactly are you left with 99%?

Talk about wanting to have it “both ways”! How can you claim to speak for 99% but refuse to talk to 30%? (And just to be clear: the 30% of Americans who support the Tea Party are not the 1% “superrich.” I checked. With a calculator.)

And finally as to one of the commentators on Dave’s essay who finds me “poisonous,” and said I said: “OWS needs to drop the ‘We are the 99%’ slogan because it might hurt the feelings of the rich.” What I said was not that the movement should give up the slogan 99% because it offended. I said it should instead talk about the 99.95%. That’s the percentage of Americans who did not max out in giving in the last Congressional election. That is the percentage that becomes invisible in the money-feeding-fest that is DC.

So if you really want to rally the 99%, you might begin by identifying those things that 99% might actually agree about. That the 30% of Americans who call themselves “supporters” of the Tea Party are racists is not a statement likely to garner the support of at least that 30%. (And again, as ABC found, it’s not even true).

On the other hand, 99% of America should be perfectly willing to agree that a system in which the top 1% — or better, .05% — have more power to direct public policy than do the 99% or 99.95% is wrong. And must be changed. Before this nation can again call itself a democracy (for those on the Left) or a Republic (for those on the Right). This “Republic,” by which the Framers meant a “representative democracy,” by which they intended a body “dependent upon the People ALONE,” is not.

That, too, must change. Meaning, in addition to all the things we Liberals want, we must change that as well. And my view is that if we changed that corruption first, we might actually find it a bit easier to get those other things too.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 26, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

Sometime-HuffPost blogger, and Nation contributor Dave Zirin has written a brilliant barn-raising response to my last HuffPost piece. Please read all of it, but here’s the bit I want call out. Zirin states: “But by going to Occupy sites and arguing for a Tea Party alliance, Professor Lessig, to put it mildly, isn’t helping.”

Helping what, exactly, Dave?

Helping the Left rally the Left? Agreed. That isn’t my aim. The #Occupy movements are doing that quite well on their own. As a Liberal, I celebrate that rally.

Helping the Left lead a movement for real reform? You tell me how your path does that better.

Here’s the fact about America: It takes an insanely large majority to make any fundamental change. You want Citizens United reversed, it is going to take 75% of states to do it. You want public funding of public elections? It’s going to take 67 Senators to get it. You want to end the corruption that makes it impossible to get any of the things liberals push? It’s going to take a broad based movement that cuts across factions, whether right (as in correct) or Right (as in not Left).

So you tell me how calling people you disagree with “racists” (which you predicated of the Tea Party because of the behavior of some of its members, even though an ABC analysis has concluded that views on race “are not significant predictors of support for the Tea Party movement”) is going to get us to 38 states? Or 67 Senators? Or 80% of the public’s support, which any fundamental change is going to require? Explain how chest-thumping self-righteousness about how hateful “they” are “is helping” that?

Maybe you don’t think such fundamental reform is needed, Dave. Maybe you think the political system is just fine. That the poor do perfectly well in a system where the rich fund political campaigns. That the middle class can hold its own in a world where corporations are free to spend endlessly to push the most ridiculous bullshit as “public” policy.

But if you think that, you’re from Mars. I’m from Earth. And here on Earth, here in America, our political system is f*cked, and your self-righteous indignation “is not helping” us to get it fixed.

It’s great to rally the 99%. It is a relief to have such a clear and powerful slogan. But explain this, because I’m a lawyer, and not so great with numbers: Gallup’s latest poll finds 41% of Americans who call themselves “conservative.” 36% call themselves “moderate.” Liberals account for 21%. In a different poll, Gallup finds 30% of Americans who “support” the Tea Party.

So who exactly are we not allowed to work with, Dave? 30% of America? 41% of America? All but 21% of America? And when you exclude 30%, or 41%, or 79% of Americans, how exactly are you left with 99%?

Talk about wanting to have it “both ways”! How can you claim to speak for 99% but refuse to talk to 30%? (And just to be clear: the 30% of Americans who support the Tea Party are not the 1% “superrich.” I checked. With a calculator.)

And finally as to one of the commentators on Dave’s essay who finds me “poisonous,” and said I said: “OWS needs to drop the ‘We are the 99%’ slogan because it might hurt the feelings of the rich.” What I said was not that the movement should give up the slogan 99% because it offended. I said it should instead talk about the 99.95%. That’s the percentage of Americans who did not max out in giving in the last Congressional election. That is the percentage that becomes invisible in the money-feeding-fest that is DC.

So if you really want to rally the 99%, you might begin by identifying those things that 99% might actually agree about. That the 30% of Americans who call themselves “supporters” of the Tea Party are racists is not a statement likely to garner the support of at least that 30%. (And again, as ABC found, it’s not even true).

On the other hand, 99% of America should be perfectly willing to agree that a system in which the top 1% — or better, .05% — have more power to direct public policy than do the 99% or 99.95% is wrong. And must be changed. Before this nation can again call itself a democracy (for those on the Left) or a Republic (for those on the Right). This “Republic,” by which the Framers meant a “representative democracy,” by which they intended a body “dependent upon the People ALONE,” is not.

That, too, must change. Meaning, in addition to all the things we Liberals want, we must change that as well. And my view is that if we changed that corruption first, we might actually find it a bit easier to get those other things too.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 26, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

Sometime-HuffPost blogger, and Nation contributor Dave Zirin has written a brilliant barn-raising response to my last HuffPost piece. Please read all of it, but here’s the bit I want call out. Zirin states: “But by going to Occupy sites and arguing for a Tea Party alliance, Professor Lessig, to put it mildly, isn’t helping.”

Helping what, exactly, Dave?

Helping the Left rally the Left? Agreed. That isn’t my aim. The #Occupy movements are doing that quite well on their own. As a Liberal, I celebrate that rally.

Helping the Left lead a movement for real reform? You tell me how your path does that better.

Here’s the fact about America: It takes an insanely large majority to make any fundamental change. You want Citizens United reversed, it is going to take 75% of states to do it. You want public funding of public elections? It’s going to take 67 Senators to get it. You want to end the corruption that makes it impossible to get any of the things liberals push? It’s going to take a broad based movement that cuts across factions, whether right (as in correct) or Right (as in not Left).

So you tell me how calling people you disagree with “racists” (which you predicated of the Tea Party because of the behavior of some of its members, even though an ABC analysis has concluded that views on race “are not significant predictors of support for the Tea Party movement”) is going to get us to 38 states? Or 67 Senators? Or 80% of the public’s support, which any fundamental change is going to require? Explain how chest-thumping self-righteousness about how hateful “they” are “is helping” that?

Maybe you don’t think such fundamental reform is needed, Dave. Maybe you think the political system is just fine. That the poor do perfectly well in a system where the rich fund political campaigns. That the middle class can hold its own in a world where corporations are free to spend endlessly to push the most ridiculous bullshit as “public” policy.

But if you think that, you’re from Mars. I’m from Earth. And here on Earth, here in America, our political system is f*cked, and your self-righteous indignation “is not helping” us to get it fixed.

It’s great to rally the 99%. It is a relief to have such a clear and powerful slogan. But explain this, because I’m a lawyer, and not so great with numbers: Gallup’s latest poll finds 41% of Americans who call themselves “conservative.” 36% call themselves “moderate.” Liberals account for 21%. In a different poll, Gallup finds 30% of Americans who “support” the Tea Party.

So who exactly are we not allowed to work with, Dave? 30% of America? 41% of America? All but 21% of America? And when you exclude 30%, or 41%, or 79% of Americans, how exactly are you left with 99%?

Talk about wanting to have it “both ways”! How can you claim to speak for 99% but refuse to talk to 30%? (And just to be clear: the 30% of Americans who support the Tea Party are not the 1% “superrich.” I checked. With a calculator.)

And finally as to one of the commentators on Dave’s essay who finds me “poisonous,” and said I said: “OWS needs to drop the ‘We are the 99%’ slogan because it might hurt the feelings of the rich.” What I said was not that the movement should give up the slogan 99% because it offended. I said it should instead talk about the 99.95%. That’s the percentage of Americans who did not max out in giving in the last Congressional election. That is the percentage that becomes invisible in the money-feeding-fest that is DC.

So if you really want to rally the 99%, you might begin by identifying those things that 99% might actually agree about. That the 30% of Americans who call themselves “supporters” of the Tea Party are racists is not a statement likely to garner the support of at least that 30%. (And again, as ABC found, it’s not even true).

On the other hand, 99% of America should be perfectly willing to agree that a system in which the top 1% — or better, .05% — have more power to direct public policy than do the 99% or 99.95% is wrong. And must be changed. Before this nation can again call itself a democracy (for those on the Left) or a Republic (for those on the Right). This “Republic,” by which the Framers meant a “representative democracy,” by which they intended a body “dependent upon the People ALONE,” is not.

That, too, must change. Meaning, in addition to all the things we Liberals want, we must change that as well. And my view is that if we changed that corruption first, we might actually find it a bit easier to get those other things too.

October 25, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

At the end of September, I helped organize a conference at Harvard about the idea of calling a(n Article V) constitutional convention. The event was co-hosted by the Tea Party Patriots. And although that organization has not endorsed a convention, there are many conservatives and libertarians who do support such a call. The conference was designed to explore the possibility, and to demonstrate that people from the Left (my friends) and that people from the Right (the Tea Party Patriots, and some of my friends) could discuss these issues like decent souls do.

At the opening session, Tea Party Patriot co-founder Mark Meckler gave by far the most impressive speech of the event. In it, he condemned the business model of hate. “The politicians profit,” Meckler told us, “when we are inflamed against each other.” It was an inspiring charge to launch our two day conference, and it set the tone for an extraordinary and productive weekend.

Dial forward one month: A few days ago I received an email from the Tea Party Patriots. The aim of the missive was to insist that the #Occupy movement was not the Tea Party. The #Occupiers, the letter stated, were “America-hating anarchists who want to take their anger out on ordinary, productive citizens.” And then immediately after that charge, the letter had a link in bold: “Please make an urgent online contribution of $15, $20, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots right away.”

This same dynamic happens the other way round.

On Saturday I was wandering through the #OccupySeattle protest. I checked my email, and someone had forwarded a link to a tweet about a speech at the #OccupyChicago event. David Zirin, a writer for the wonderful, and left-wing, The Nation (and sometimes, for HuffPo), was leading a teach-in. He was also leading the audience in a chorus of boos about an idea that I had advanced at a teach-in at #OccupyKSt earlier that week. The tweet quoted Zirin saying “I can tell by your boos you agree with me that that’s horseshit.” Shortly afterwards, there were echos in the twitter-verse about my “dumb idea.”

Here was my “dumb idea”: At the @OccupyKSt teach-in, I told the audience that they should hold firm to their liberal views. That I did not believe in compromising one’s values. That liberals had compromised enough.

But that if the #Occupy movements are to have any long term effect, they need to recognize the diversity that is this Nation, and to reach out to others whose beliefs they don’t share. That the movement needs to find the common ground between the populists on the Right and the populists on the Left. And that in that common ground lies the only potential for real reform. “You may or may not believe in capitalism,” I told the #Occupiers, “but no one believes in crony capitalism, and crony capitalism is precisely the corruption that is our Congress.” So build two lists of demands, I said later at that event: One of what “We believe.” One of what “We ALL believe.” And let that second list then found a movement that will restore this Republic.

That was my “horseshit,” as Zirin tagged it. And as he tweeted me in a followup, “Given the Tea Party’s politics, I don’t think you can have it both ways.”

“I’m not having ‘it’ both ways,” I responded. “There are two ‘its.’” And “If you can’t rec[ognize the] diversity of US, [you are] not US.”

“If you champion tea party alliances,” Zirin retorted, with the almost irresistible snarkiness of Twitter, “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”

I’m a fan of The Nation. I wish more people would read it. And better, subscribe to it. I hope it succeeds in seeding the spread of activism on the Left. I hope we on the Left can once again find the courage to call ourselves “Liberals” and be proud of it. The Nation is a constant argument for that courage.

But I increasingly think that we all — on the Left and the Right — need to carry around two hats. One hat should say, “Working for my side.” The other should say, “Working for U.S.” Both vocations are noble and fair. But they are different. It is completely legitimate for the Tea Party to rally its troops. It is the nature of modern organizing that you rally to raise money. But rallying Americans to the Right is different from rallying Americans to fix the corruption that is this government: one speaks to some of us; the other speaks to all of us. And if anyone in the Tea Party movement believes their values or ideas are going to get 80% of Americans to unite, they’re deluded, or worse.

The same is true on the Left. I love the #Occupy rallies. I wish we on the Left had more of their energy to get our side off the couch and to the polls. I wish we had 10,000 teach-ins across the Nation, in living rooms as well as with #occupiers. But if some on our side think that a rhetoric rejecting free markets and demanding socialized banks (in the Left wing version of socialized, not the crony-capitalist version — socialized risk, privatized benefit — that they enjoy now) is going to get 80% of Americans to unite, then they are deluded or worse.

We Americans are diverse. We have different views. Some of us want more government. Some of us want less. Some think the state has done enough to achieve equality. Some think it’s not begun to do its job. Some want flat taxes. Or no taxes. Some want progressive taxes. Or at least more taxes. We are different in a million ways, we Americans, but we are all equally Americans. And if you’re leading a movement that won’t acknowledge that difference (or more frighteningly, that believes that mere rhetoric is going to erase that difference), then you’re not looking for fundamental reform. You’re looking for a putsch.

This Nation needs fundamental reform. For that, our constitution requires 75% of states to agree. Thus, if we want real change, we must find those ideas upon which 75% of states can actually agree.

The challenge for all of us is whether despite our differences, there are those ideas. Whether there is common ground enough to bring about real change.

That is the question I care most about right now: finding common ground. It may not be there, but I believe it is. I’ve built organizations, mobilized thousands of volunteers, given hundreds of lectures, and now written a book to argue that it is. But regardless of whether there is, when I or others try to find it, or motivate people to find it, or to talk about it, or to dream for it, we’re doing something different from what we do when we wear the “Working for my side” hat. Something different. And IMHO, right now, something critical and important.

So I get the need for the Tea Party to practice the politics of division. No movement does anything more. But the hard question now is whether we can also play the politics of “e pluribus unum.” At Harvard, Meckler told us that the Tea Partiers “are not racists. They are not homophobes. They are your fellow citizens.” That is no doubt correct — even if there are individuals in that movement who are what the movement is not. But I’ve seen the #Occupiers, in now at least three cities. The same must be said of them: They are not “America-hating anarchists” — even if there are anarchists among them. “They are our fellow citizens.”

And I get the need to rally souls, as Zirin did, to address the important “issues of race, sexism, LGBT.” But it can’t be “horseshit,” can it?, to also ask us to practice another great liberal value — tolerance — at least enough to talk about an alliance with those with whom we disagree. It can’t be betrayal to ask whether despite our having few common ends, we might indeed have a common enemy.

Almost 225 years ago, seventy-four men huddled in a stuffy hall in Philadelphia. They met in secret and did much more than was planned when their meeting was called: they crafted a new constitution. Our constitution.

We today think of those 74 delegates as all the same: white men, who dressed the same, all coming from essentially the same class. But they were very different. There were men in that room who believed in slavery. There were men in that room who believed slavery was the moral abomination of their time.

Yet they bracketed those differences long enough to craft a Republic within which differences could be worked out. It took too long to get to the right answer about slavery. But there was ground enough in their new government to work through differences enough to save this nation.

Whatever the differences are between the Tea Party and the #occupiers, they are not as profound or as important as the difference between slave holders and abolitionists. And whatever the challenges we face today, they are not as great or difficult as the challenge of crafting a whole new form of government.

We need the courage to practice what they did. We need to put aside the business model of hate, and focus on the common ground of possibility. Americans, whether Left or Right, have lost faith in this government. Americans, whether Left or Right, believe this Congress is bought. We need a movement that can say, “whatever else we might disagree about, we all agree that this corruption must end.”

For we can’t afford to simply indulge the passion of our differences. Not anymore. The challenges we face as a Nation are just too great. It is time for us to practice a politics that doesn’t fit the business model of Fox v. MSNBC, of The Nation v. National Review, of the Tea Party v. the gaggle of Left-leaning organizations that would claim the #Occupiers. It might not pay, it might not drive ad revenues, it might not rally members: but sometimes those goals are just not the most important.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 25, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

At the end of September, I helped organize a conference at Harvard about the idea of calling a(n Article V) constitutional convention. The event was co-hosted by the Tea Party Patriots. And although that organization has not endorsed a convention, there are many conservatives and libertarians who do support such a call. The conference was designed to explore the possibility, and to demonstrate that people from the Left (my friends) and that people from the Right (the Tea Party Patriots, and some of my friends) could discuss these issues like decent souls do.

At the opening session, Tea Party Patriot co-founder Mark Meckler gave by far the most impressive speech of the event. In it, he condemned the business model of hate. “The politicians profit,” Meckler told us, “when we are inflamed against each other.” It was an inspiring charge to launch our two day conference, and it set the tone for an extraordinary and productive weekend.

Dial forward one month: A few days ago I received an email from the Tea Party Patriots. The aim of the missive was to insist that the #Occupy movement was not the Tea Party. The #Occupiers, the letter stated, were “America-hating anarchists who want to take their anger out on ordinary, productive citizens.” And then immediately after that charge, the letter had a link in bold: “Please make an urgent online contribution of $15, $20, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots right away.”

This same dynamic happens the other way round.

On Saturday I was wandering through the #OccupySeattle protest. I checked my email, and someone had forwarded a link to a tweet about a speech at the #OccupyChicago event. David Zirin, a writer for the wonderful, and left-wing, The Nation (and sometimes, for HuffPo), was leading a teach-in. He was also leading the audience in a chorus of boos about an idea that I had advanced at a teach-in at #OccupyKSt earlier that week. The tweet quoted Zirin saying “I can tell by your boos you agree with me that that’s horseshit.” Shortly afterwards, there were echos in the twitter-verse about my “dumb idea.”

Here was my “dumb idea”: At the @OccupyKSt teach-in, I told the audience that they should hold firm to their liberal views. That I did not believe in compromising one’s values. That liberals had compromised enough.

But that if the #Occupy movements are to have any long term effect, they need to recognize the diversity that is this Nation, and to reach out to others whose beliefs they don’t share. That the movement needs to find the common ground between the populists on the Right and the populists on the Left. And that in that common ground lies the only potential for real reform. “You may or may not believe in capitalism,” I told the #Occupiers, “but no one believes in crony capitalism, and crony capitalism is precisely the corruption that is our Congress.” So build two lists of demands, I said later at that event: One of what “We believe.” One of what “We ALL believe.” And let that second list then found a movement that will restore this Republic.

That was my “horseshit,” as Zirin tagged it. And as he tweeted me in a followup, “Given the Tea Party’s politics, I don’t think you can have it both ways.”

“I’m not having ‘it’ both ways,” I responded. “There are two ‘its.’” And “If you can’t rec[ognize the] diversity of US, [you are] not US.”

“If you champion tea party alliances,” Zirin retorted, with the almost irresistible snarkiness of Twitter, “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”

I’m a fan of The Nation. I wish more people would read it. And better, subscribe to it. I hope it succeeds in seeding the spread of activism on the Left. I hope we on the Left can once again find the courage to call ourselves “Liberals” and be proud of it. The Nation is a constant argument for that courage.

But I increasingly think that we all — on the Left and the Right — need to carry around two hats. One hat should say, “Working for my side.” The other should say, “Working for U.S.” Both vocations are noble and fair. But they are different. It is completely legitimate for the Tea Party to rally its troops. It is the nature of modern organizing that you rally to raise money. But rallying Americans to the Right is different from rallying Americans to fix the corruption that is this government: one speaks to some of us; the other speaks to all of us. And if anyone in the Tea Party movement believes their values or ideas are going to get 80% of Americans to unite, they’re deluded, or worse.

The same is true on the Left. I love the #Occupy rallies. I wish we on the Left had more of their energy to get our side off the couch and to the polls. I wish we had 10,000 teach-ins across the Nation, in living rooms as well as with #occupiers. But if some on our side think that a rhetoric rejecting free markets and demanding socialized banks (in the Left wing version of socialized, not the crony-capitalist version — socialized risk, privatized benefit — that they enjoy now) is going to get 80% of Americans to unite, then they are deluded or worse.

We Americans are diverse. We have different views. Some of us want more government. Some of us want less. Some think the state has done enough to achieve equality. Some think it’s not begun to do its job. Some want flat taxes. Or no taxes. Some want progressive taxes. Or at least more taxes. We are different in a million ways, we Americans, but we are all equally Americans. And if you’re leading a movement that won’t acknowledge that difference (or more frighteningly, that believes that mere rhetoric is going to erase that difference), then you’re not looking for fundamental reform. You’re looking for a putsch.

This Nation needs fundamental reform. For that, our constitution requires 75% of states to agree. Thus, if we want real change, we must find those ideas upon which 75% of states can actually agree.

The challenge for all of us is whether despite our differences, there are those ideas. Whether there is common ground enough to bring about real change.

That is the question I care most about right now: finding common ground. It may not be there, but I believe it is. I’ve built organizations, mobilized thousands of volunteers, given hundreds of lectures, and now written a book to argue that it is. But regardless of whether there is, when I or others try to find it, or motivate people to find it, or to talk about it, or to dream for it, we’re doing something different from what we do when we wear the “Working for my side” hat. Something different. And IMHO, right now, something critical and important.

So I get the need for the Tea Party to practice the politics of division. No movement does anything more. But the hard question now is whether we can also play the politics of “e pluribus unum.” At Harvard, Meckler told us that the Tea Partiers “are not racists. They are not homophobes. They are your fellow citizens.” That is no doubt correct — even if there are individuals in that movement who are what the movement is not. But I’ve seen the #Occupiers, in now at least three cities. The same must be said of them: They are not “America-hating anarchists” — even if there are anarchists among them. “They are our fellow citizens.”

And I get the need to rally souls, as Zirin did, to address the important “issues of race, sexism, LGBT.” But it can’t be “horseshit,” can it?, to also ask us to practice another great liberal value — tolerance — at least enough to talk about an alliance with those with whom we disagree. It can’t be betrayal to ask whether despite our having few common ends, we might indeed have a common enemy.

Almost 225 years ago, seventy-four men huddled in a stuffy hall in Philadelphia. They met in secret and did much more than was planned when their meeting was called: they crafted a new constitution. Our constitution.

We today think of those 74 delegates as all the same: white men, who dressed the same, all coming from essentially the same class. But they were very different. There were men in that room who believed in slavery. There were men in that room who believed slavery was the moral abomination of their time.

Yet they bracketed those differences long enough to craft a Republic within which differences could be worked out. It took too long to get to the right answer about slavery. But there was ground enough in their new government to work through differences enough to save this nation.

Whatever the differences are between the Tea Party and the #occupiers, they are not as profound or as important as the difference between slave holders and abolitionists. And whatever the challenges we face today, they are not as great or difficult as the challenge of crafting a whole new form of government.

We need the courage to practice what they did. We need to put aside the business model of hate, and focus on the common ground of possibility. Americans, whether Left or Right, have lost faith in this government. Americans, whether Left or Right, believe this Congress is bought. We need a movement that can say, “whatever else we might disagree about, we all agree that this corruption must end.”

For we can’t afford to simply indulge the passion of our differences. Not anymore. The challenges we face as a Nation are just too great. It is time for us to practice a politics that doesn’t fit the business model of Fox v. MSNBC, of The Nation v. National Review, of the Tea Party v. the gaggle of Left-leaning organizations that would claim the #Occupiers. It might not pay, it might not drive ad revenues, it might not rally members: but sometimes those goals are just not the most important.

(Original post on HuffPo)

October 25, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

At the end of September, I helped organize a conference at Harvard about the idea of calling a(n Article V) constitutional convention. The event was co-hosted by the Tea Party Patriots. And although that organization has not endorsed a convention, there are many conservatives and libertarians who do support such a call. The conference was designed to explore the possibility, and to demonstrate that people from the Left (my friends) and that people from the Right (the Tea Party Patriots, and some of my friends) could discuss these issues like decent souls do.

At the opening session, Tea Party Patriot co-founder Mark Meckler gave by far the most impressive speech of the event. In it, he condemned the business model of hate. “The politicians profit,” Meckler told us, “when we are inflamed against each other.” It was an inspiring charge to launch our two day conference, and it set the tone for an extraordinary and productive weekend.

Dial forward one month: A few days ago I received an email from the Tea Party Patriots. The aim of the missive was to insist that the #Occupy movement was not the Tea Party. The #Occupiers, the letter stated, were “America-hating anarchists who want to take their anger out on ordinary, productive citizens.” And then immediately after that charge, the letter had a link in bold: “Please make an urgent online contribution of $15, $20, $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots right away.”

This same dynamic happens the other way round.

On Saturday I was wandering through the #OccupySeattle protest. I checked my email, and someone had forwarded a link to a tweet about a speech at the #OccupyChicago event. David Zirin, a writer for the wonderful, and left-wing, The Nation (and sometimes, for HuffPo), was leading a teach-in. He was also leading the audience in a chorus of boos about an idea that I had advanced at a teach-in at #OccupyKSt earlier that week. The tweet quoted Zirin saying “I can tell by your boos you agree with me that that’s horseshit.” Shortly afterwards, there were echos in the twitter-verse about my “dumb idea.”

Here was my “dumb idea”: At the @OccupyKSt teach-in, I told the audience that they should hold firm to their liberal views. That I did not believe in compromising one’s values. That liberals had compromised enough.

But that if the #Occupy movements are to have any long term effect, they need to recognize the diversity that is this Nation, and to reach out to others whose beliefs they don’t share. That the movement needs to find the common ground between the populists on the Right and the populists on the Left. And that in that common ground lies the only potential for real reform. “You may or may not believe in capitalism,” I told the #Occupiers, “but no one believes in crony capitalism, and crony capitalism is precisely the corruption that is our Congress.” So build two lists of demands, I said later at that event: One of what “We believe.” One of what “We ALL believe.” And let that second list then found a movement that will restore this Republic.

That was my “horseshit,” as Zirin tagged it. And as he tweeted me in a followup, “Given the Tea Party’s politics, I don’t think you can have it both ways.”

“I’m not having ‘it’ both ways,” I responded. “There are two ‘its.’” And “If you can’t rec[ognize the] diversity of US, [you are] not US.”

“If you champion tea party alliances,” Zirin retorted, with the almost irresistible snarkiness of Twitter, “don’t be surprised if theres no US. Just ‘you.’”

I’m a fan of The Nation. I wish more people would read it. And better, subscribe to it. I hope it succeeds in seeding the spread of activism on the Left. I hope we on the Left can once again find the courage to call ourselves “Liberals” and be proud of it. The Nation is a constant argument for that courage.

But I increasingly think that we all — on the Left and the Right — need to carry around two hats. One hat should say, “Working for my side.” The other should say, “Working for U.S.” Both vocations are noble and fair. But they are different. It is completely legitimate for the Tea Party to rally its troops. It is the nature of modern organizing that you rally to raise money. But rallying Americans to the Right is different from rallying Americans to fix the corruption that is this government: one speaks to some of us; the other speaks to all of us. And if anyone in the Tea Party movement believes their values or ideas are going to get 80% of Americans to unite, they’re deluded, or worse.

The same is true on the Left. I love the #Occupy rallies. I wish we on the Left had more of their energy to get our side off the couch and to the polls. I wish we had 10,000 teach-ins across the Nation, in living rooms as well as with #occupiers. But if some on our side think that a rhetoric rejecting free markets and demanding socialized banks (in the Left wing version of socialized, not the crony-capitalist version — socialized risk, privatized benefit — that they enjoy now) is going to get 80% of Americans to unite, then they are deluded or worse.

We Americans are diverse. We have different views. Some of us want more government. Some of us want less. Some think the state has done enough to achieve equality. Some think it’s not begun to do its job. Some want flat taxes. Or no taxes. Some want progressive taxes. Or at least more taxes. We are different in a million ways, we Americans, but we are all equally Americans. And if you’re leading a movement that won’t acknowledge that difference (or more frighteningly, that believes that mere rhetoric is going to erase that difference), then you’re not looking for fundamental reform. You’re looking for a putsch.

This Nation needs fundamental reform. For that, our constitution requires 75% of states to agree. Thus, if we want real change, we must find those ideas upon which 75% of states can actually agree.

The challenge for all of us is whether despite our differences, there are those ideas. Whether there is common ground enough to bring about real change.

That is the question I care most about right now: finding common ground. It may not be there, but I believe it is. I’ve built organizations, mobilized thousands of volunteers, given hundreds of lectures, and now written a book to argue that it is. But regardless of whether there is, when I or others try to find it, or motivate people to find it, or to talk about it, or to dream for it, we’re doing something different from what we do when we wear the “Working for my side” hat. Something different. And IMHO, right now, something critical and important.

So I get the need for the Tea Party to practice the politics of division. No movement does anything more. But the hard question now is whether we can also play the politics of “e pluribus unum.” At Harvard, Meckler told us that the Tea Partiers “are not racists. They are not homophobes. They are your fellow citizens.” That is no doubt correct — even if there are individuals in that movement who are what the movement is not. But I’ve seen the #Occupiers, in now at least three cities. The same must be said of them: They are not “America-hating anarchists” — even if there are anarchists among them. “They are our fellow citizens.”

And I get the need to rally souls, as Zirin did, to address the important “issues of race, sexism, LGBT.” But it can’t be “horseshit,” can it?, to also ask us to practice another great liberal value — tolerance — at least enough to talk about an alliance with those with whom we disagree. It can’t be betrayal to ask whether despite our having few common ends, we might indeed have a common enemy.

Almost 225 years ago, seventy-four men huddled in a stuffy hall in Philadelphia. They met in secret and did much more than was planned when their meeting was called: they crafted a new constitution. Our constitution.

We today think of those 74 delegates as all the same: white men, who dressed the same, all coming from essentially the same class. But they were very different. There were men in that room who believed in slavery. There were men in that room who believed slavery was the moral abomination of their time.

Yet they bracketed those differences long enough to craft a Republic within which differences could be worked out. It took too long to get to the right answer about slavery. But there was ground enough in their new government to work through differences enough to save this nation.

Whatever the differences are between the Tea Party and the #occupiers, they are not as profound or as important as the difference between slave holders and abolitionists. And whatever the challenges we face today, they are not as great or difficult as the challenge of crafting a whole new form of government.

We need the courage to practice what they did. We need to put aside the business model of hate, and focus on the common ground of possibility. Americans, whether Left or Right, have lost faith in this government. Americans, whether Left or Right, believe this Congress is bought. We need a movement that can say, “whatever else we might disagree about, we all agree that this corruption must end.”

For we can’t afford to simply indulge the passion of our differences. Not anymore. The challenges we face as a Nation are just too great. It is time for us to practice a politics that doesn’t fit the business model of Fox v. MSNBC, of The Nation v. National Review, of the Tea Party v. the gaggle of Left-leaning organizations that would claim the #Occupiers. It might not pay, it might not drive ad revenues, it might not rally members: but sometimes those goals are just not the most important.

October 12, 2011  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Huffington Post

Like a fever, revolutions come in waves. And if this is a revolution, then it broke first on November 4, 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, second, on February 19, 2009, with the explosion of anger by Rick Santelli, giving birth to the Tea Party, and third, on September 10, 2011 with the #Occupy movements that are now spreading across the United States.

The souls in these movements must now decide whether this third peak will have any meaningful effect — whether it will unite a radically divided America, and bring about real change, or whether it will be boxed up by a polarized media, labeled in predictable ways, and sent off to the dust bins of cultural history.

In the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., championed a strategy of non-violence: that in the face of state sponsored and tolerated aggression, the strongest response was a promise not to respond in kind.

In this movement, we need a similar strategy. Of course a commitment to non-violence. But also a commitment to non-contradiction: We need to build and define this movement not by contradicting the loudest and clearest anger on the Right, but instead, by finding the common ground in our demands for reform.

So when Ron Paul criticizes the “Wall Street bailouts,” and attacks government support for “special businesses” with special access, we should say, “that’s right, Congressman Paul.” Bailouts for the rich is not the American way.

And when Rick Santelli launches a Tea Party movement, by attacking the government’s subsidies “to the losers,” we should ask in reply, what about the subsidies “to the winners” — to the banks who engineered the dumbest form of socialism ever invented by man: socialized risk with privatized benefits. What, we should ask Mr. Santelli, about that subsidy?

Or when Republican Senator Richard Shelby tells NBC’s Meet the Press that the message in bank reform “should be, unambiguously, that nothing’s too big to fail,” we should say that’s right, Senator, and it’s about time our Congress recognized it.

Or when Sarah Palin calls GE the “poster child of crony capitalism,” we should say “Amen, Mamma Grisly”: For whether or not we are all believers in “capitalism,” we should all be opponents of “crony capitalism,” the form of capitalism that is increasingly dominating Washington, and that was partly responsible for the catastrophe on Wall Street in 2008, and hence the catastrophes throughout America since.

We should practice “non-contradiction,” not because we have no differences with the Right. We do. We on the Left, we Liberals, or as some prefer, we Progressives, have fundamental differences with people on the Right. Our vision of that “shining city on the hill” is different from theirs. Our hopes for “We, the People,” are more aspirational. More egalitarian. More ideal.

But even though our substantive views are different, we should recognize that we have not yet convinced a majority of America of at least some of our fundamental views. And that in a democracy, no faction has the right to hold a nation hostage to its extreme views, whether right or not. We should fight in the political system to win support for our Liberal views. But we should reject the idea that protest, or violence, or blackmail are legitimate political techniques for advancing views that have not yet prevailed in a democratic system.

Instead, we should use the energy and anger of this extraordinary movement to find the common ground that would justify this revolution for all Americans, and not just us. And when we find that common ground, we should scream it, and yell it, and chant it, again, and again, and again.

For there is a common ground between the anger of the Left and the anger of the Right: That common ground is a political system that does not work. A government that is not responsive, or — in the words of the Framers, the favorite source of insight for our brothers on the Right — a government that is not, as Federalist 52 puts it, “dependent upon the People alone.”

Because this government is not dependent upon “the People alone.” This government is dependent upon the Funders of campaigns. 1% of America funds almost 99% of the cost of political campaigns in America. Is it therefore any surprise that the government is responsive first to the needs of that 1%, and not to the 99%?

This government, we must chant, is corrupt. We can say that clearly and loudly from the Left. They can say that clearly and loudly from the Right. And we then must teach America that this corruption is the core problem — it is the root problem — that we as Americans must be fighting.

There could be no better place to name that root than on Wall Street, New York. For no place in America better symbolizes the sickness that is our government than Wall Street, New York. For it is there that the largest amount of campaign cash of any industry in America was collected; and it was there that that campaign cash was used to buy the policies that created “too big to fail”; and it was there that that campaign cash was used to buy the get-out-of-jail free card, which Obama and the Congress have now given to Wall Street in the form of a promise of no real regulatory change, and an assurance of “forgiveness.”

“Forgiveness” — not of the mortgages that are now underwater. The foreclosures against them continue. “Forgiveness” — not even of the sins now confessed by Wall Street bankers, for our President has instructed us, no crimes were committed. “Forgiveness” — just enough to allow candidates once again to race to Wall Street to beg for the funds they need to finance their campaigns. The dinner parties continue. The afternoons at the golf course are the same. It’s not personal. It’s just business. It is the business of government corrupted.

There is no liberal, or libertarian, or conservative who should defend these policies. There is no liberal, or libertarian, or conservative who should defend this corruption. The single problem we all should be able to agree about is a political system that has lost is moral foundation: For no American went to war to defend a democracy “dependent upon the Funders alone.” No mother sacrificed her son or daughter to the cause of a system that effectively allows the law to be sold to the highest bidder.

We are Americans, all of us, whether citizens or not. We are Americans, all of us, because we all believe in the ideal of a government responsive to “the People alone.” And we all, as Americans, regardless of the diversity of our views, need to stand on this common ground and shout as loudly as we can: End this corruption now. Get the money out of government. Or at least get the special interest money out of government. And put back in its place a government dependent upon, and responsive too, the people. Alone.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil” — Thoreau, 1846, On Walden — “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one striking at the root.”

If this fever is to have its effect, if this revolution is to have any meaning, if this struggle — and the carnival notwithstanding, it is an obvious struggle to sleep on the streets — is to have real consequence, then we all, Left and Right, must strike first at that root.

“It is the duty of youth,” they say Kurt Cobain said, “to challenge corruption.” He may have meant a different corruption, if indeed he uttered this poetry too. But whatever he meant, embrace his words. It is your duty to challenge this corruption. And once you have ended it — once we have restored a government that cares about what its people care about first, and not just its funders — then let us get back to the hard and important work of convincing our fellow citizens of the right in everything that is left.