Occupy Wall Street is going pro.
You might have thought they were just a bunch of grumpy college kids who couldn't find a job -- but more and more they are starting to look like -- well, like the very corporations they despise.
Consider -- they now have property -- which can be hard to come by in pricey lower Manhattan -- a bank account with $300,000 and a bunch of committees and "working groups."
Let's break it down: The property is a storage space loaded with supplies -- all donated -- located a block from Wall Street on Broadway. They've stashed blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, medical and hygiene supplies (no word on what that really means) plus some oddities like a box of knitting wool and 20 pairs of swimming goggles -- apparently to protect protesters from pepper spray. Occupy Wall Street is receiving 300 boxes of "stuff" a day from supporters all over the country.
The property comes gratis from the United Federation of Teachers. Naturally, we've already seen websites and other support from the unions for Occupy Wall Street.
Then there's the bank account -- and the money -- some $300,000 in cash donated through the movement's website and by people giving money in person at the park. You should know the group has parked its cash at a union-owned bank -- not one of the big money center banks they are protesting.
And, then, there's the "Demands Working Group" -- these protesters who meet once a week to try to figure out --well, why the group is protesting in the first place. So far the New York group seems to agree that jobs and civil rights should be part of the agenda but others say that even having an agenda would be a bad thing.
So there you have it -- people protesting evil corporations who have managed to attract capital, property and put in place a bureaucracy with no discernible product or goal! Only in America.
But that is where the parallels with Corporate America stop. Normally you'd expect to find some sort of charismatic leader inside an organization which has momentum like occupy Wall Street -- but it doesn't appear to have one.
Instead, the old radical thought leaders from the past keep cropping up -- like Saul Alinsky -- the '60s radical that transformed protesting and viewed Al Capone as a positive social force.
President Barack Obama has been accused of inspiring occupy Wall Street with his severe public condemnation of bankers and brokers.
Democrats, though, would do well to remember another protest movement -- the 1968 riots in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Thousands of protesters rioted setting in motion a wave of violence that ultimately led to Richard Nixon's election.
It is undoubtedly true that it's not clear where occupy Wall Street will lead, if anywhere. But the tacit backing of the group by Obama is a poor substitute for actually leading us out of our economic and political morass.
Because the President is not a disenfranchised college student. He's the leader of the free world. And he has a responsibility to set us on a better track.