The Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary talks about the future of the Occupy movement in this Web exclusive:
What are the ethical roots of the Occupy movement?
The ethical roots of the Occupy movement are as various as the widely various individuals and groups that identify with the movement. Many of the Occupy organizers are young anarchist activists, or anarchist veterans of the anti-globalization movement. Others are new or longtime proponents of Alinsky-style community organizing or other grassroots radical democracy organizations. Others, who came in a bit late, but who gave the movement a real surge when they did, come from traditional progressive organizations and unions involved in electoral politics. Others come from the peace and social justice fellowships that exist in most American religious denominations.
The moral language that you speak is always influenced by the community of memory to which you belong. If you don't have one, it is harder to fight off the dominant culture that commodifies everything that it touches. Many people in the Occupy movement have been deeply wounded by the nihilistic commercial society in which they have grown up, and they are searching for a community of meaning.