Class warfare always sounds good. Taking action against the rich and the powerful and making 'em pay for what they do, it always sounds good. But that's not the job of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court standing on the side of the American people? The Supreme Court adjudicates the law. The Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of things and other things. The Supreme Court's gotten way out of focus, in my opinion.
Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything, This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything.
Similar (of course, far from identical) irritations in similar conditions call out similar reflexes; the more powerful the irritation, the sooner it overcomes personal peculiarities. To a tickle, people react differently, but to a red-hot iron, alike. As a steam-hammer converts a sphere and a cube alike into sheet metal, so under the blow of too great and inexorable events resistances are smashed and the boundaries of "individuality" lost.
I think the Occupy movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters. We need to preserve the element of an intellectual ambush and a physical manifestation that takes the government and the police by surprise. It has to keep re-imagining itself, because holding territory may not be something the movement will be allowed to do in a state as powerful and violent as the United States.
One should be cautious about "general conceptions. " I think a strong case can be made that activism today is as high as ever, perhaps more so, and is also taking new and significant forms. There has never been anything like the international solidarity movements that began to take shape in the 1980s, right in the mainstream, or the global justice movements that have become a very powerful force in later years. It's true that the society is highly atomized, which does induce a sense of hopelessness often - quite mistakenly I think.
We might have been ready to offer sympathy, but in actuality there were stronger reasons to want to congratulate her for having found such a powerful motive to feel sad. We should have envied her for having located someone without whom she so firmly felt she could not survive, beyond the gate let along in a bare student bedroom in a suburb of Rio. If she had been able to view her situation from a sufficient distance, she might have been able to recognise this as one of the high points in her life.
Wasn't it Bertrand Russell who used the phrase 'The superior virtue of the oppressed'? There is always this temptation amongst people that see themselves as progressive, and on the side of the weak. They demonize the powerful, but over-romanticize the weak. I think we should recognize that. If you take seriously the idea that people are always going to use truth claims as a means of powering their own agenda, that is going to happen whether you're weak or powerful.