A friend sent me this youtube link that captures, more than anything else I've seen/read, what the Occupy Wall St movement is protesting against. The bit about the Berlin wall is very interesting.
As any card-carrying Morris fan knows, in the 1880s our William was one of the founding members of the British socialist movement. In the extract below from "How I Became a Socialist" Morris shares his views on the link between the welfare of the working class and the vitality of art.
"A last word or two. Perhaps some of our friends will say, what have we to do with these matters of history and art? We want by means of Social-Democracy to win a decent livelihood, we want in some sort to live, and that at once. Surely any one who professes to think that the question of art and cultivation must go before that of the knife and fork (and there are some who do propose that) does not understand what art means, or how that its roots must have a soil of a thriving and unanxious life. Yet it must be remembered that civilization has reduced the workman to such a skinny and pitiful existence, that he scarcely knows how to frame a desire for any life much better than that which he now endures perforce. It is the province of art to set the true ideal of a full and reasonable life before him, a life to which the perception and creation of beauty, the enjoyment of real pleasure that is, shall be felt to be as necessary to man as his daily bread, and that no man, and no set of men, can be deprived of this except by mere opposition, which should be resisted to the utmost."
You can read the entire essay here.