In this post-Citizens United era, as Republicans become increasingly beholden to the oligarchs, their electoral strategy will require keeping the middle and working classes filled with a simmering resentment of the poor. This accounts for right-wing’s ferocious attack on Occupy Wall Street, for the movement represents a direct challenge to a critical Republican propaganda tool called the “Last Place Aversion Paradox”.
From Scientific American:
Can Occupy Wall Street overcome people’s inherent focus on being in last place and reverse the trend toward greater opposition to redistribution? Our results suggest that they may have chosen a promising strategy for doing so. Last-place aversion — and the accompanying lack of support for redistribution — is particularly pronounced when people near the bottom of the distribution have their attention focused on keeping the people below them down, rather than on redistributing wealth from those at the top. The messaging of OWS, in contrast, divides the world into just two groups: the top 1 percent, and the bottom 99 percent. Framing the issue this way focuses the attention of people at the bottom of the distribution on those at the top — rather than on each other — and implicitly suggests that anyone not in the top 1 percent (“them”) is one of “us.” While it is too soon to tell if OWS has staying power, their rhetoric has the potential to reframe the discussion on redistribution and inequality.
Read more here. Good stuff.