Michael Goodwin | ‘Lord of Flies’ in Zuccotti Park

They’re railing against freeloaders and ex-cons for stealing their stuff and  spoiling their utopia. They’re squabbling with each other over money and power.  The weather is turning frightful and a cumbersome bureaucracy of their own  making is strangling their spontaneity.

Their invasion is costing downtown Manhattan businesses and residents a  boatload of money. But watching the  Occupy Wall Street vagabonds bang their heads against the laws of human  nature — that’s priceless!

Oops, I just echoed a dreaded corporate slogan. My bad — but somehow it fits  the moment.

In fact, the problems the protesters face are almost enough for me to hope  the police don’t break up the party. The “Lord of the Flies” descent from utopia  to petty power struggles, in front of TV cameras, is a political-science lesson,  not to mention deliciously ironic.

Running a protest movement apparently involves a lot of dirty work and isn’t  so much fun. Imagine how hard it will be to run the world!

Six weeks after turning a small park into a fetid slum and spawning ratty  imitations across the country, the socialist-inspired movement with a union face  and bulging bank account is at a crossroads. The insistence that there are no  leaders and that everybody gets a say on everything is yielding a gridlock to  make Washington proud.

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