The protesters occupying Wall Street have been famously without a formal manifesto. But if they wanted one, firebrand Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig's new book about how money has corrupted Congress might be a contender.
Lessig had hoped to lay the underpinnings for a popular mobilization in his book. Instead, on the day of the book's publication, he is headed to what could be that movement's nascent heart. "I'm going to go down there and hang out and do whatever I can," he told the Huffington Post on Thursday, from the train.
Lessig's contention in his book "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress -- and a Plan to Stop It" is that Congress's overwhelming addiction to special interest money is at the root of the problems facing the country and the unprecedented levels of disillusionment with government.
In a Thursday morning blog post on The Huffington Post, Lessig cheered on the protesters. "#OccupyWallSt, Then #OccupyKSt, Then #OccupyMainSt," he wrote, calling the mass arrests on Saturday possibly "the first real green-shoots of this, the American spring."
But at the same time, Lessig said he is worried that the protest "will become too diffuse and not focused" on that root issue. "The key messaging strategy here is to try to get people to focus on what is the core problem," he said.
Similarly, for a protest to work, it needs to grow, he said. This one will only grow "if a wide range of people can be part of it." And that means coalescing around an issue "as fundamental as the corruption of the system," he said.
"People realize that it's a show; it's a charade," Lessig said of the modern American political process. "When you just look a little bit deeper, it's clear that what's driving both parties is whatever is the thing that's going to maximize the money."
Read the rest at The Huffington Post, Lawrence Lessig's New Book On Political Corruption Offers Protesters A Possible Manifesto by Dan Froomkin
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