By Mohamed A El-Erian Reposted from Huffington Post
To those wondering whether to pay attention to the "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS) protests, the answer is yes. This is more than just a nascent movement that will grow in the weeks and months ahead. It is part of a worldwide drive for greater social justice.
Like recent examples of peaceful grass-root protests -- from those that delivered the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions to the massive street demonstrations in Israel -- OWS has taken many by surprise. In just a few weeks, a self-organized group of diverse individuals planted the seed for what is becoming a national movement that exponentially gains energy and visibility.
Yet some observers seem to be repeating a mistake that many made in Egypt, Israel and Tunisia -- that of falling hostage to an outmoded way of thinking about seemingly-leaderless grass movements.
Such observers are quick to dismiss OWS because it is fragmented and lacks a detailed list of demands. They argue that it is long on criticisms of the past and short on solutions for the future. They note that it is not structured to navigate the current political setup. Accordingly, they conclude that the impact will be transitory and inconsequential.
By Mohamed A El-Erian - Reposted from Huffington Post
While these reactions are understandable, this conclusion about OWS is likely to be proven wrong as it ignores a powerful reality: A peaceful drive for greater social justice can unify people from diverse cultural backgrounds, political affiliations, religions, and social classes.
If you doubt this, go ask the Arab governments overthrown by secular forces that they were slow in understanding and inept in reacting to. You could also ask an Israeli government recently forced to modify its policy stance in an attempt to pacify a national movement that, only a few months ago, did not even register on its radar screens.
OWS may pale in comparison to these country examples. Yet it would be both foolish and arrogant to dismiss three important similarities: read more