Rich’s Letter to Washington Post, published Oct. 16

by Rich Rubenstein on October 20, 2011 · 0 comments

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Letter to the Editor

A protest movement in its infancy

Published: October 16

Dana Milbank’s put-down of the Freedom Plaza and Occupy D.C. demonstrators [“A movement in no need of a leader,” Sunday Opinion, Oct. 9] makes one wonder where he was during the ’60s and ’70s and whether he has any sense of how a mass movement develops.

“Where are the numbers?” Mr. Milbank complained. The answer seems obvious. The Occupation movement, though surging nationally, is at the stage civil rights demonstrators occupied in 1963-64, when a few hundred protesters staging sit-ins and Freedom Riders lighted the fuse of what was to become a social explosion. Occupation’s position is analogous to that of the antiwar movement in 1966-67, when several hundred students burned their draft cards and a couple of thousand turned up later at the Pentagon, harbingers of the hundreds of thousands to come.

More than a thousand people were in Freedom Plaza on Oct. 6 — and not just “the usual suspects.” If Mr. Milbank is sincere about hoping their numbers will increase, my advice to him is: “Wait a little while. They are coming!”

Rich Rubenstein, Washington

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