Another note for Occupy Wall Street.
One of the problems with the rhetoric of populism is that it has a tendency to lead one to the individual malfactor - which has its uses, but often masks the larger structure that normalized malfeasance. And so it is with the charge that the bankers are greedy. Well, they are. However, it has two bad side effects: it can be used to trivialize the protest, and it displaces the real focus, which should be on the banks themselves. I don't really care whether individual bankers are greedy - I care that the system in which they operate doesn't constrain their greed, as it should. Thus, greed becomes not a personal trait, but a standard operating procedure incorporated impersonally into the way business has to be conducted.
Long ago, at the very beginning of the capitalist mentality, Mandeville wrote about the fact that private vices can be public virtues. Greed and envy can very well motivate moneymaking as well as the sense of justice among individual players. But their effects are secondary to the systems in which these passions are allowed to operate. Or, in less muckity muck wording, greed and envy can operate for the general good, as long as constraints are in place to keep them from becoming perverse incentives. It is the general good that counts, and that fills the charge of greed with a political content.
It is the systematic will to power of the investor class - however motivated - that needs to be counter-acted. It is impossible to predict whether a protest movement will actually generate a real and successful antidote to our general ills. Most protests do fail. Some succeed. I doubt that the roots of success or failure can be predicted outside of the particular situation of the protest. But one of the things we can do is use the protest and the attention space it takes up to propose the most radical changes to the system possible.
There as a slogan in 1968, be realistic, demand the impossible. I think that slogan may once again come into play in the current situation.