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Occupy Wall Street Protests

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  • #463128

    cheap
    Member

    Herman Cain says:

    “I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these protests are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration”

    way to go,Herman.

    #463129

    Mr. Peabody
    Member

    But Hippies! Smell!

    ——-

    NEW YORK — Sal Cioffi and Randy Otero are union electricians from Local 3 of the IBEW in New York. They’re working on the Freedom Tower a few blocks over in lower Manhattan. Over the past couple of days, they’ve taken to having their lunch in Zuccotti Park, in the middle of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have set up camp here. The event has grown sufficiently that it’s now attracted almost as many food trucks and mobile falafel units as it has television-news trucks, so there’s always some place for Sal and Randy to buy lunch. So they park themselves on the stone bench, put their hard hats on the ground and, almost organically, they become part of the event.

    READ MORE: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/occupy-wall-street-demands-6506089

    #463130

    Mr. Peabody
    Member

    ….here is some hazy utopianism in a lot of the rhetoric here in the park, but not as much as you might have been led to believe, and certainly no more than there is in the average gathering these days of Republicans, who believe in a land where the “job creators” are stifled by the mere possibility of returning the top tax rate to where it was under Bill Clinton, let alone to the 91 percent that prevailed under that Socialist bastard, Ike Eisenhower. There is some Truther nonsense being peddled, if you stop long enough to listen, but it’s no more or less crazy than what I heard two weeks ago in Florida — from the podium — about the U.N.’s Agenda 21, a fairly tedious sustainable-development program that many of America’s prominent conservatives believe soon will have the black helicopters landing in every American driveway, securing our SUV’s and herding us all into Priuses for the drive to the internment camps. The difference is, of course, that the Republicans tend to elect these people to Congress. They make them governors.

    The Tea Party, for all the protestations of how organic and spontaneous it all was, still grew out of the deep and tangled root-ball of politics and corporate money and from which all of modern conservative politics springs. Somebody had to pay to rent the buses. Somebody had to coordinate all those signs with pictures of President Obama as a witch doctor, or Hitler, or the Joker. Somebody had to pay to convert all that anger and paranoia into field organizations that put kooks like Allen West into Congress and actual thieves like Rick Scott into the governor’s mansions. What’s going on in the park these days is something that defines its target not so much as a who, but as a what. There’s no sign at all that many national Democrats — with the possible exception of Elizabeth Warren up in Massachusetts, who’s built a career on many of the same issues that have brought people to the park — are willing even to co-opt the message here. The national media largely have blown off the protests because none of the people on their speed-dials have had anything to do with it. Surely, in a presidential campaign year in which the effects of a savage economic downturn are the primary issue, an ongoing protest against the people largely responsible for that downturn is as worthy of inclusion in the national debate as something as useless as the Iowa Straw Poll.

    Instead, we get snotty New Republic reporters on play dates among the hippies, and insufferable Chaunceys from the conservative press exercising the half of the wit they have, and Erin Burnett, who’s never met a hedge fund she didn’t adore, launching her new CNN show with video of a longhaired guy with funny glasses. And everybody else gets on the bus to drive around New Hampshire, mourning the loss of the transformational figure that is Chris Christie. Unlike the Tea Party, which ultimately became a vehicle for electing fringe Republicans, and, thereupon, a vehicle for instituting policies that the corporate class has been swooning over for decades, the people in the park are praying far outside the camp.

    “Not anti-anybody. We’re pro-American citizen,” says truck driver Brendan Burke. “It’s serious out there, but it’s quiet, because it happens at everyone’s kitchen table.” There is order here, and a kind of vague organizational structure. There is a schedule of activities posted for every day. People get fed from a kitchen in the middle of the park. The marches generally go off on time, and the park is developing its own internal institutions, like the free library that Eric Seligson tends along one wall— battered paperbacks, everyone from Howard Zinn to Robert Ludlum, donated by the protesters or by passers-by. The first batch of books got ruined in the rain when the police forced him to remove the blue tarps because they were “opaque” and you couldn’t see what was underneath them. Seligson replaced them with clear plastic bins. “You know, this is sort of an anarchistic bunch — kids — but I really am amazed for the respect they have for the word,” he says, “for literature of all different kinds, not just political. There’s a real reverence for what has been written that has surprised me, since they eschew whatever came before, all the thought that came before. They entertain everything. You know, all the Isms, as well as the entertainment reading. We have the romance novels, too.”

    It is entirely possible — even likely — that the protests themselves will sink into history. Already, there’s an effort underway to marginalize them in the public mind, and not entirely because so much of the media is owned and operated by the same corporate class that runs the institutions against which these protests are aimed. This a movement based on class, which, as an issue, most Americans don’t much like to confront, largely because to admit that it is an issue is to admit that a great part of the American self-image is a delusion. We do not all have an equal chance. The game is rigged. The economy has been turned into a casino and the house always wins, and we are not the house any more. Not for a long time. Not by the longest shot. And if that’s all these protests ever say, if that’s all that ever gets shouted into the rising autumn wind, then that’s an effort worth making.

    People looking for “a coherent message” in the park would do well to talk to Brendan Burke, a tall, tattooed truck driver with a degree from NYU and The New School, who’s based at the center of the park, where four or five young people are crouched over laptops, shouting into the wind in their own way.

    “People are informed today. People are online,” Burke explains. “People in Kansas do yoga, you understand. Country’s different, you understand? There’s no more mooks in the citizenry. We are working people and we’re not getting a fair shake, so we took to the streets. It’s an irrational act, an act of passion, but we need to use self-control and respect. Those who want to go down with the ship will go down with the ship. Those who will be there will be sensible people who are out here for a reason. The kids who are out here who just want to party, well, they’re beautiful children and we protect them every night. I can’t even tell you what’s going to happen after today. The cops may sweep this when the landlord says I want them out.

    “Not anti-anybody. We’re pro-American citizen. Millions of Americans are getting kicked out of their house. They’re losing their education, their health care. They can’t take care of their parents. This is about people. Republicans are opening their bills. Democrats are opening their bills. I’ll go all the way to $250,000 if you want. Everybody’s opening their bills and they’re thinking, ‘Who’s protecting me from people stealing from me?’ This isn’t what I agreed on when I signed this agreement with this company. You add all these hassles up in your life — your hospital, your credit card, your education, your mortgage — and you’re getting nailed. And there are a couple of banks who created the instruments that made that happen. This is not a physical war. This is an oppression that’s quiet, and through money, and through services, and through small print. They want you to be afraid, and not to know, and they want to bewilder you. Between you and me, I shouldn’t get a credit card. But I got one. I didn’t even apply for it. Why am I getting a credit card?

    “This is not Tahrir Square. This is not Tompkins Square Park. This is not Yuppies against squatters. This is about minds. We need help from people who know. We need help from people in the financial industry who know. They should be here, too. He should want to see a better community. I want to see change in a systematic and legislative way. We’re looking for real results. We’re looking for protection for people. We’re down here trying to play bills. It’s serious out there, but it’s quiet, because it happens at everyone’s kitchen table. It’s happening household-by-household. There’s a sense out there, which I hope what’s going on here will dissipate, that there’s something wrong with me. I’m a jerk because I can’t pay that bill. There are working men who will march tomorrow. It’s all about people, who feel they got duped. There needs to be a systematic legislative change, so that this cannot happen any more.”

    Brendan Burke’s head is shaved. He doesn’t wear funny glasses. He doesn’t beat a drum, or look like he failed an audition for a Radiohead tribute band. He is not what the smart people come down here expecting to find. He looks like the truck driver he is, and he talks like someone who works for a living. For a long time in this country, that was enough. That country is what the people have come to find in this little park, where the wind is getting colder.

    #463131

    clancy12
    Participant

    JonMyers said:
    Yeah Snarf – I am referring to hustle. I’d also add focusing on doing things that will have immediate impact. A lot of people are “doing things”, but they aren’t doing things that will return value any time soon, if ever.

    While, I would love to see even more people starting businesses, I realize that it’s probably unrealistic. I do believe most people posses skills that can be turned into products and services that others will pay for. That said, if people are to survive moving forward in the workforce then at the very minimum an entrepreneurial mindset will be necessary for many jobs.

    This whole angle reminds of Friedman’s Sunday op-ed:

    It has never been harder to find a job and never been easier — for those prepared for this world — to invent a job or find a customer. Anyone with the spark of an idea can start a company overnight, using a credit card, while accessing brains, brawn and customers anywhere. It is why Pascal Lamy, chief of the World Trade Organization, argues that terms like “made in America” or “made in China” are phasing out. The proper term, says Lamy, is “made in the world.” More products are designed everywhere, made everywhere and sold everywhere.

    The connected world was a challenge to blue-collar workers in the industrialized West. They had to compete with a bigger pool of cheap labor. The hyperconnected world is now a challenge to white-collar workers. They have to compete with a bigger pool of cheap geniuses — some of whom are people and some are now robots, microchips and software-guided machines.

    How Did the Robot End Up With My Job?

    There is one hell of a sense of urgency out there. I do have a plan, am a fortunate guy and am fine, and still get nervous as all hell, which is a motivation to take action. If I was sitting on my ass protesting and waiting for something life changing I would be terrified because I’m not taking action on something that will get immediate results. Those without a plan, doing something about it and testing it should be terrified. I’m scared for them.

    Pardon me, if I do not share your enthusiasm for Mr. Friedman’s utopia where engineers with PhDs are poor, hungry and motivated and fighting over the right to sell their services to the lowest bidder.
    Do you have a PhD in engineering or one of Mr. Friedman’s other approved fields? If so, are you really thrilled by this prospect? Is this some wonderful future where people are afraid and must concentrate on getting ahead 24/7. Do you realize it is not possible for everyone to be “above average”?
    Do you not find it ironic that this man who has never worked in the science/engineering field, who makes his living writing opinion pieces for the old media, whose writing may charitably called “below average” (indeed, parodies of his writings abound and are a genre unto themselves), a man who is married to a billionaire and never has to worry about being hungry pens these little lectures week after week?
    I don’t think the protesters are “sitting on their ass”. I think they are trying to make this country a better place. There are all sorts of ways to contribute in this world. I’m grateful for their contribution.

    #463132

    Andrew Hall
    Member

    clancy12 said:
    Pardon me, if I do not share your enthusiasm for Mr. Friedman’s utopia where engineers with PhDs are poor, hungry and motivated and fighting over the right to sell their services to the lowest bidder.

    While I agree about Friedman’s style of writing, I am pretty sure neither he nor Jon (nor myself)consider the outcome as utopian. It is just inevitable.

    For example, there is/is going to be a surfeit of products like engineers in the world market. The cost of making that product is higher in the US than lots of elsewheres. So there had better be a distinction of worth that price. Barring forms of economic nationalism (ie that distinction of worth being domestic over foreign), it is going to be the hustle.

    A.

    #463133
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    cheap said:

    Herman Cain says:

    “I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these protests are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration”

    way to go,Herman.

    “I don’t have the facts to back this up, but the Tea Party is a creation of right wing news outlets”.

    #463134

    kit444
    Participant

    What a great new meme!

    “I don’t have the facts to back this up, but Superman can turn back time by reversing the spin of the planet.”

    “I don’t have the facts to back this up, but every photograph takes a piece of your soul. That’s why everyone on Facebook has no soul.”

    #463135
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    kit444 said:
    What a great new meme!

    Yeah, I’m liking this…

    “I don’t have the facts to back this up, but if there was more sharing and caring there would be no poverty.”

    “I don’t have the facts to back this up, but if everyone hugged more there would be no war.”

    #463136

    cheap
    Member

    lmao

    #463137

    JonMyers
    Participant

    Andrew Hall said:
    While I agree about Friedman’s style of writing, I am pretty sure neither he nor Jon (nor myself)consider the outcome as utopian. It is just inevitable.

    For example, there is/is going to be a surfeit of products like engineers in the world market. The cost of making that product is higher in the US than lots of elsewheres. So there had better be a distinction of worth that price. Barring forms of economic nationalism (ie that distinction of worth being domestic over foreign), it is going to be the hustle.

    A.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I see. I don’t see Friedman as someone selling a “utopian vision”. He’s a reporter reporting on the realities of globalization. You can wait for the government to put a wall around the country and live in denial of the rest of the world our ideals help create or you can jump into the platform feet first, compete or do your own thing.

    #463138
    rus
    rus
    Participant
    #463139

    clancy12
    Participant

    JonMyers said:
    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I see. I don’t see Friedman as someone selling a “utopian vision”. He’s a reporter reporting on the realities of globalization. You can wait for the government to put a wall around the country and live in denial of the rest of the world our ideals help create or you can jump into the platform feet first, compete or do your own thing.

    I guess I’m glad the protesters are not so pessimistic and are saying “it doesn’t have to be that way”.
    You know, while small businesses may be the biggest drivers of job growth they also account for the largest amount of job losses. Everyone cannot be successful.
    By the way, Friedman is really not the last word on globalism.

    #463140

    myliftkk
    Participant

    Interesting viewpoint of the stage of the protests: four habits of highly successful social movements

    The Wall Street protests seem to be gathering strength and expanding beyond the geographic limits of downtown Manhattan. The media, too, is finally amplifying the story. Whether they will grow larger and sustain themselves beyond these initial street actions will depend upon four things: the work of skilled organizers; the success of those organizers in getting people, once these events end, to meet over and over and over again; whether or not the movement can promote public policy solutions that are organically linked to the quotidian lives of its supporters; and the ability of liberalism’s infrastructure of intellectuals, writers, artists and professionals to expend an enormous amount of their cultural capital in support of the movement.

    Americans–infatuated with the next new thing, and proud to believe they are outside the constraints and burdens of history–love neophytes, gifted amateurs. We’re action-oriented and suspicious of elitist expertise, and we thrill to the idea that anybody with moxie can jump in and deliver a baby or land a 737. Right now, it appears that anti-hierarchical, relatively inexperienced people are “running” the Wall Street protest. And they are doing big demonstrations really well. So far, so good. Anger can beget action. And action itself can be a battering ram that knocks down the doors of history.

    But anger alone can’t sustain action. And action alone can’t sustain political militancy. Much like today’s Wall Street movement, the French students who struck their universities during the Events of May 1968 had a charming way with utopian sloganeering: “Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible!” as they said back then. But the students couldn’t work out a sustained alliance with their working-class allies or move to making structural demands for change that their militancy could leverage. They were not, in fact, realistic. In the end, a massive Gaullist backlash cleaned their clocks.

    Movement building is exhausting, highly skilled work. What appears to be “spontaneous” is the result of painstaking organizing and–just like Oscar Wilde never said–constant meetings. Over the decades, social movements have convened meetings of every kind and size, from the farmer’s alliances of the Populist movement to the consciousness raising sessions of the second women’s movement. There have been meetings to assign mundane tasks of list building and phone calling to volunteers; meetings to debate and decide changes in strategy; meetings to hold people accountable for the stuff they promised to do at the last meeting—meetings meetings meetings.

    #463141
    Snarf
    Snarf
    Participant
    #463142

    clancy12
    Participant

    SusanB said:

    Actually, it would be more accurate if they said “We work for the 1% but someday, because we are super-super special we will be the 1%. We just know it!”
    They really are not the 1%.

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