Over the last few months, thenation.com has made an effort to foster a robust and thoughtful comments section befitting the mighty intelligence of our readership. We’re pleased to report that the shoe ads are gone, the name-calling is at a minimum and astute and witty commentary is on the rise. Here are our favorite comments from the last week. Let us know what you think — in the comments!

Suzy Parker: Beautiful distillation of our too-often infuriating New York situation. The constant nudge in me wants to remind the "activists" that the "occupiers"–whether "enough like us" that we invite them to sleep in our homes, or, god forbid, socially inept/economically distinct in some fashion that we have no problem calling them "other"–are at the heart of this movement, both on the ground, quite literally at occupations and protests, and in spirit, the people most affected by the corporate politics we seek to disband. We are all one, and cannot move forward with any integrity or chance of lasting success unless we do so together…
In response to J.A. Myerson’s “The Fracturing of Occupy Wall Street.” December 9, 2011
Inaru: Priorities, good intentions, etc. Just as they secured lawyers to get out of jail, and medics, nurses and even doctors to help the sick/injured, they can get lawyers to help the mentally ill especially apply for SSI as legitimately disabled people. The homeless will never get housing without income. I did it for a homeless young man. I had to make his appointments, first at an independent living advocacy organization, then with the lawyer who took little or nothing from the approved SSI application, and the doctors, drove him there and back to where he camped, but after less than 3 months, he had SSI, a legal guardian who handled his rent/bills, and a room in a shared living building. In big cities especially, with a dedicated working group, OWS can do this for some of the homeless, and leave a worthwhile legacy.
In response to J.A. Myerson’s “The Fracturing of Occupy Wall Street.” December 9, 2011
afrankel: We are a highly stratified society. So it’s no mystery why the process that has made the Occupy movement so attractive has been its commitment to inclusiveness.
It was initiated by a network of techno-savvy people who, from their own past experience in protests, and learning from the experience of the Arab Spring launched a democratic and decentralized movement so attractive to many of the disillusioned 99% that it grew organically. In just two months, Occupy’s presence everywhere shifted the national conversation away from the deficit, and toward the unaccountable wealth and concentrated power of the top 1%. Nothing like it has taken place in the past four decades. Occupying together in the park, participants worked to stay united as members of 99%. But once evicted from their encampments and disbursed back into the stratified world, many, but not all the participants can afford to take a long view and regroup to launch new actions and activities, while those at the bottom of the 99% who struggle daily to get the food and shelter become understandably impatient with them. Activists are faced with the challenge of respecting the immediate needs of these ninety-nine percenters,while having the time and energy to plan and show up for new kinds of Occupation. As one who was an activist in Berkeley in the 1960s, I respect the level of difficulty this presents. The new Occupy Our Homes movement against foreclosures is taking the movement out of the financial district in New York. The initial welcome from homeowners foreclosed upon seems promising. Yet, new threats of “fracture” lurk in yesterday’s efforts to Occupy the Ports up and down the West Coast. Longshoremen in some ports are in an ongoing struggle to protect the recognition of their unions, by means of which, over the past century, they slowed the loss of jobs in their industry, raised wages to livable levels, and gained entry into middle class. As the Occupy movement looks to occupy such real estate investments belonging to the 1% such as the nation’s ports (in this case, Goldman Sachs), they are asked to be sensitive to the parameters of the longshoremen’s own struggle to remain in control of their strategy of resistance where they work. Coalitions take time and sustained effort. I’m hoping that Occupy will pay attention to its own footprint, and continue to innovate with as much determination, but with more modesty and curiosity, than those of my generation who tried to spark a revolution with our eyes too narrowly focused on a utopian future.
In response to J.A. Myerson’s “The Fracturing of Occupy Wall Street.” December 9, 2011
Bobzz: So it is the "unions, pension, govt run health care, public services that could be done cheaper privately…is EXACTLY WHAT HAS CAUSED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS." There is no denying that unions crossed the line at points, but there is no denying that they created the middle class—well you could deny it of course, but they did. Nonunion employers had to match union wages to attract workers. Those days are diminished and so is the tax base. Pensions are tapped now, and we are not any more well off. Before American bankers destroyed Europe’s economy they had universal health care at HALF to cost of American private health care. A huge chunk of health care premiums go to management salaries not patient care, which brings up the next point. Private industry is not always cheaper than public service. The collective student debt to private schools like Phoenix is higher than that of public universities with more students. Privatization imposed by the IMF and WBO has weakened the economies of Russia, South Africa, South and Central America, Iceland, et. al.
In response to Laura Flanders’ “Depression and Autocracy From Merkel to Michigan.” December 14, 2011
DHFabian: When I read that the Democrats and Republicans were reaching an agreement so that they could go home to their mansions for the holidays, I knew it meant that they had decided which people to target for budget cuts. While this generation remained apathetic, it’s important to keep in mind that Clinton eliminated the entitlement to basic poverty relief (welfare). All of that money was drained out and put into ongoing corporate tax cuts, always on the pretext that this is necessary for job creation (forgetting that we already redistributed several trillion dollars to corporations since Reagan). As a result, we have a fraction of the jobs today, but we maintain those corporate tax cuts, allowing corporations to take our money and to export our jobs. Since the money is gone from our former welfare programs, it’s (obviously) necessary to move up to the next socio-economic class for needed revenues. Of course UI needs to be phased out, and we must start redistributing Social Security disability and retirement benefits directly to corporations (for "job creation," of course). Gov’t must then legally compel Americans to somehow provide for their elderly and disabled relatives, themselves (cheaper than building institutions to house them), so that should finish off the rest of the middle class. All it takes is our continued apathy toward those who are currently worse off.
In response to Betsy Reed’s “Occupy the Safety Net.“ December 14, 2011