Enter Occupy. Rushkoff has watched the movement with cautious optimism, penning editorials on CNN and organizing November's Contact Con, a powwow of net roots activists and open source hackers working to foster new civic-minded apps and hardware.
The goal: to wrest control of our democracy back from the robber barons and CEOs that systematically block any effort to create an economy and a body politic that serves the needs of the vast majority of Americans and not the elite few.
"Occupy," says Noam Chomsky in his new book, "is the first major public response to thirty years of class war." One of the movement's greatest successes has been simply to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda, influencing reporting, public perception and language itself.
May Day started here, but then became an international day in support of American workers who were being subjected to brutal violence and judicial punishment. If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions.
Where are the songs for Occupy's time in history? Who will write the words and music and poetry? Will we find our voice? These questions have been answered in full and emphatically with OccupyThisAlbum.
What happens next is anyone's guess. Is the Occupy movement poised for a comeback? Or is it about to be co-opted altogether? Can both, in fact, happen simultaneously, and would that be a good thing or not?
Like many in my generation, it seems, I had waited my whole life for a social movement whose dimensions and ambitions were commensurate with the shortcomings I saw in the world around me. By now, I am convinced that OWS is not that movement.
The problem with groups like Take Back NYU! and OccupyNYU is not that their criticism of John Sexton is inane and childish -- it is -- the problem is they've lowered the bar of discourse at NYU so low it's embarrassing to look at.
The idea of Passover is that the issues of slavery and freedom are for all of us. If that is so, we need to confront slavery not only in the most obviously brutalized parts of the world, but in ourselves as well.