But in just a few weeks, what a disappointment the Occupy movement has become — especially in Oakland.
Endless camping for fragmented goals seems at best uncomfortably vague. And, especially in recession-wracked Oakland, attempting to close the port, disrupting struggling businesses and tangling with exhausted police (not to excuse overreaction by some police) do nothing to help the 99 percent that the supposedly leaderless Occupy movement claims to speak for.
Which brings me back to Minsk. I was working in Belarus 17 years ago when a rigged election brought President Alexandr Lukashenko to power.
Local journalists told me it was dangerous for them to speak about politics, and that they expected life in Belarus to deteriorate.
It did. Today, the country continues to be a relic of its Soviet past, with Lukashenko acting as a dictator while the economy collapses.
Occupy-like protests are unheard of there. Participating in an unauthorized demonstration against government policies is a crime; police break up those few that occur, arresting participants and hauling them off to what can be long prison terms.
Hey, Dr. Laufer, fuck you.