Sunday, October 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street 

I wanted to see what you guys thought of this thing. I'm not sure what exactly my opinion of their grievances are, but I admire the act of activism, which is just so much better than apathy. I've been checking a few newspaper websites about this thing, but they only really describe the number of people who have been arrested (around 800 so far? 700 got arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday) and not the size of the protest itself.

While I think that the protests are vague, and they don't list any real demands, maybe it'll be enough to shift public opinion, or at least get them off the couch on Election Day.

Anyway, Release The Hounds!


By Blogger Foxfier, at Sun Oct 02, 03:15:00 AM:

From the idiots they had speaking to the press when they went to the bridge-- fellow couldn't figure out why anyone would object to a large group of pedestrians "just walking on" the bridge-- the only part of public opinion they'll shift is those... er... lacking in reason.

Then again, I don't have any admiration for "just do something"-- I think that you should do something that actually helps a situation.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Sun Oct 02, 05:11:00 AM:

I agree. Anarchy, civil disobedience, hate speech, socialism and class warfare are so 20th Century. If those rubes really want to accomplish something they should start a company, produce a product or service and employ some of the unemployed. They might learn a thing or two about the real world.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Oct 02, 06:20:00 AM:

I'm thinking that most of the people with the free time to spend a few days protesting don't have the capital to start a business, and those that HAVE a business already probably count Big Business (read: Wal-Mart and its ilk) as one of their grievances.

Tyree, I'm pretty sure that of the 5 things you mentioned, the only two things they're really doing is class warfare and civil disobedience, and small doses of both are healthy. Obama and the people in positions of power are waging a lot more Class Warfare than anyone there. Millennials and Gen Y feel pretty disenfranchised, and many of us feel like selfish old people are hogging all the life boats on a sinking ship.

Standing outside with a sign is a pretty good way to tell people what you want.

I'm sure most of them aren't Communists or intent on getting *free* stuff, I think that they'd just like to get a decent job to pay off their $160g student loans, the job and the security they were promised when they were offered those loans.

"It's not that we don't care, we just know that the fight ain't fair/so we keep on waitin' (waitin')/Waiting on the World to Change" - John Mayer  

By Anonymous Coach Paul, at Sun Oct 02, 08:18:00 AM:

Why in the world is activism necessarily "better than apathy?" Are neo-Nazis - "activist" by any definition - a force for good? Apathy has lots going for it.

Apathetically yours.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 02, 10:03:00 AM:

Understand the problem that these folks have. They are ordered to be anti-Bush protestors when there is no Bush. They can't be anti-Obama because their masters want to destroy America as much as Obama does.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Sun Oct 02, 10:06:00 AM:

Standing outside with a sign is a pretty good way to tell people what you want.

I want, I want, I want. Gimme, gimme. Their beef is with an overreaching, over-regulating Federal government that drives "Wall Street" into the moves it makes. But they're too busy "participating" to be spending any time thinking about what they're doing, and then doing something concrete.

Yes, I'm eliding the bad actors--they'd exist in any environment. But the current environment makes it difficult to sort out those bad actors from others trying to cope with the government interventions. For instance: did BAC make a bad choice with their debit card charge? Maybe. But why were they forced to make the move at all? Because Dodd-Frank is engaged in price-fixing.

many of us feel like selfish old people are hogging all the life boats on a sinking ship.

That's just a copout. There are things in the way, so it's hard. However, "hard" means "doable." Tyree has the right of it. While it is harder today than it should be, see above about intrusive government. Do something concrete about that.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Edward Lunny, at Sun Oct 02, 10:42:00 AM:

Would that they put as much effort into working as they have into protesting. From the admittedly few interviews I've seen, coherent,cogent discussion would be an improvement.  

By Blogger pam, at Sun Oct 02, 11:09:00 AM:

I am glad they are out there. Having been to a few non-permitted protests myself, I hope many become empowered by this experience.

As for their vague message, well, yeah, it's true. I sense the disgust--and it's tinted both red and blue. And, not for nothing, Sunday's talking heads can be pretty vague, too. :)  

By Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck", at Sun Oct 02, 11:27:00 AM:

They are camped out across from my office, so I've had a sense of them each day. Last week they got a shot in the arm from Tony Baloney, then by Wednesday it was down to the dregs again. They have NEVER been near 700 on a weekday.

No coherent center to the protest, it includes commies, Ron Paul supporters and union agitators. There is a lot of drumming. When they walk around the neighborhood there is practically one-to-one police coverage.

with all the bank HQs up on Park Avenue, it is unclear why they are where they are. Are they hoping to annoy the operations professionals, accountants and residents of lower Manhattan? The financial system's plumbing is down here. They haven't been anywhere near Goldman Sachs yet. If they are so "internet savvy" as Kristof says, are they incapable of looking up an address?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Oct 02, 11:29:00 AM:

They look and sound like spoiled, ignorant children who want... something they aren't quite sure of.

"maybe it'll be enough to shift public opinion, or at least get them off the couch on Election Day."

Nope. Protestors and 'activists' are always, ALWAYS overestimating their own persuasive power and importance. Your participation in a protest is nothing but evidence of your own personal opinion. See the numerous large anti-Bush protests of 2003-04 accompanied by fiery rhetoric, concerts, reasonably competent organization, etc... and Bush's subsequent victory over John Kerry, which was also accompanied by Republican gains in Congress.

That New York organizers were able to round up 700 people (about 0.000037% of the population... on a weekend) to go 'protest Wall Street' is not impressive. At all. And apparently most of the people there were there because there was a rumor Radiohead would play.  

By Blogger cruiser, at Sun Oct 02, 11:29:00 AM:


Exactly right. Here's a note about Somalia concerning, I suspect, some people without advanced degrees describing in perfect clarity how economics works (Sorry about the Huffington Post link):


By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Sun Oct 02, 11:33:00 AM:

These protests might be a sign of something good, or irrelevant. It's hard to tell. The target and methods muddy the message.

Our Young will get screwed on current trajectory. But can they figure out how they're getting played by the likes of Obama & Co (many Republicans too).

The Young get promised idealistic things in exchange for their votes. They pulled the lever for Democrats more than they usually do in 2008 to vote for Peace and to stop Global Warming. How's that working out?

Meanwhile the Democrats buy the votes of the Old and other select constituencies with post-dated checks that the Young are expected to pay for. The Democrats are worse at this than Republicans at the moment, but the Republicans were bad back in 2004-2006.

e.g., ObamaCare is premised on the Young giving up their Beer Money so someone else's Grandma can get a hip replacement.

This is a serious problem, because on current trajectory the effects won't just be financial. It'll have profound social effects over time. We may even see some Bad Shit soon.

But if the Young can gain clarity over what's going on, and then achieve class consciousness, it'll be a political game changer.

I can't wait for the day when the Young vote to put the Old on an ice flow. And I know someday that will include me.

... and so it goes ...  

By Blogger TOF, at Sun Oct 02, 11:36:00 AM:

Fox News Channel had some man-in-the-street interviews with some of that bunch a couple of days ago. The one that stuck in my mind the most was the deer-in-the-headlights look that one young man (late teens/early 20s) had when the interviewer asked him what he was demanding. The look and the silence said it all.

And then there were some who were demanding a dictatorship ala Mao Tse Tung.

Aegon01: You are being way too kind in your assessment.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Sun Oct 02, 04:33:00 PM:

Aegon01 wrote, "small doses of class warfare and civil disobedience are healthy".

Not from what I have seen. I have been treated as a member of a class in my lifetime, and been punished for it. I have been treated as a participant in a religion in my lifetime, and been told that opinion did not matter because of that association. I have bee treated as a member of one sex in my lifetime, and been told that the there were already enough candidates promoted from that sex.

I kindly demand to be treated as a free willed individual, so no class warfare for me.

As for the civil disobedience part. Some of it is good, most of it is not, and until the protesters start also demanding answers from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they are editing the narrative for political purposes, which is not admirable.  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Sun Oct 02, 06:42:00 PM:

Again, I can't really say if I agree or not with their demands. And in my previous comment I was mostly trying to guess at their motivations, some of which I think are legitimate issues with the amorphous entity known as "The System, Man." I think they're motivated by the same problems as the Tea Party, but their solution is different (and probably wrong). I don't really know what's wrong with their protest methods either, they're just doing the same thing hippies did 40-50 years ago.

I'll believe the testimony of the people who actually live and/or work in the city as to the size and composition of the protesters. I hardly think this thing is some sweeping, revolutionary movement that's going to change the nation, or even the city. My interest is out of curiosity more than zealotry.

Coach Paul-
Yes, yes. There's plenty of unsavory motivated characters who go to protest, like members of WBC for example. Generally speaking, though, I think encouraging more participation in democracy is good, even if it means that something I disagree with comes about.

I don't trust man-in-the-street interviews because they're all edited a lot, which almost always means they'll pick the most ignorant people to represent the whole movement. The MSM does the same thing at Tea Party rallies, they look for the racist homophobes and put them on, and no conservative appreciates being compared to that.

Based on talking to friends WAY more liberal than I am, many of them are incredibly pissed with how Obama turned out, not just because he didn't deliver all the Hopeychangy stuff he said he would, but because the stuff he did deliver on turned out to be crap. I think if the Republicans field someone who doesn't seem ignorant and talks honestly, they'll stand a really good chance. A thread for another time might discuss what the Republican political strategy might be.  

By Anonymous Tom, at Sun Oct 02, 07:04:00 PM:

I think Aegon01 has a good point when he says in part these people are motivated by some of the same things as the Tea Party.

I think if the Tea Party were any good at talking to outsiders (which in my experience they aren't), they could have picked up some recruits here, and they probably could in just about every disaffected group in the US. They just have to coherently and knowledgeably explain how the government has caused the problems the protesters are upset about, and how the Tea Party's solutions could solve them.  

By Anonymous J, at Mon Oct 03, 06:59:00 AM:

@tom ... the TEA party is talking to outsiders, that's why it's not exclusively made of a bunch of "right wing nut jobs". It's a cross-section of America, pissed off that we pay taxes and our government pisses them away.

@Aegon ... 160K for 'education'? Sounds like you've been ripped off. An education worth the buck starts with the library or your father's bookcase. Mine started working around the house, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, delivering papers. I'd wager most of these losers never had a job, and just thought bambi would give them more hope and change.

And, I wholly doubt these are college kids just torqued that they can't get a job, because some crusty old white guy has theirs. We ALL (or almost) started out working long hours for dogshit money. These demonstrations are just the tail end of 20-30 years of America getting soft in the middle, and losing her way.

Those tying up bridges or roads should be manhandled in a way that discourages repeat. I'll leave it to the attorneys who read this board, but I didn't think your rights to speech and assembly extended in the ways these persons are using them.

Still, these Greece-like 'protests' will likely persist ... especially when Obama has no where else to go but to double down blaming Bush.

I want more from the guv-ment. Where my free shit at? How about a little spaulding (you'll get nothing and like it)?  

By Blogger pam, at Mon Oct 03, 08:24:00 AM:

These protests have me waxing nostalgic for my ACTUP days. Initially vague, often abrasive, sometimes downright wrong, in the end ACTUP groups accomplished something. I hope these blokes do, too, because I don't know a single person--left, right, middle, anarchist, minarchist, you name it--who is more happy than not about this President and Congress. Or for that matter, who has been happy say, since 1999-2000.  

By Anonymous Tom, at Mon Oct 03, 08:24:00 AM:


First off, the Tea Party draws heavily from the Republican Party and Republican-leaning independents. If it really drew from a cross-section of America, it would be about 1/3 Democrats.

Second, the Tea Party's issues SHOULD draw a huge swathe of the American electorate, but because they couch everything in conservative / republican (note the small 'r') terms, they simply can't communicate with a lot of people who should be their natural allies. They often don't even understand that they have some common issues with many disaffected liberals and could easily work with them on those issues (though of course they also have big areas of conflict with them).  

By Blogger darovas, at Tue Oct 04, 11:24:00 PM:

Was George Carlin a prophet?  

By Blogger Aegon01, at Wed Oct 05, 04:11:00 AM:


A video of FOX interviewing someone coherent and thoughtful, if a little bratty. They ended up not using the footage, if the video title isn't lying (and since when has the Internet lied about anything?).  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 05, 09:47:00 AM:

I don't watch Fox all the time, but I've watched it a lot. I don't recognize that interviewer, there's only one very brief, oblique shot of his face, and he's definitely not wearing what FNC interviewers normally wear during a broadcast. I'm just sayin'...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 05, 09:59:00 AM:

I don't recognize that interviewer, there's only one very brief, oblique shot of his face, and he's definitely not wearing what FNC interviewers normally wear during a broadcast. I'm just sayin'...

"If it really drew from a cross-section of America, it would be about 1/3 Democrats"

It doesn't draw from a cross section of America; it draws from a cross section of those who pay taxes.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 05, 10:02:00 AM:

Sorry for the pre-edit version of the post. Not sure how it got posted, but I didn't mean to repeat myself.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 05, 02:08:00 PM:

Given that the protesters are almost exclusively composed of entitled, over indulged white people I honestly feel nothing but disdain for them.

Also, after watching numerous interviews most of them say they have no coherent and articulated set of political beliefs, but that's OK- plenty of pundits seem to be projecting beliefs onto them.  

By Blogger Foxfier, at Wed Oct 05, 04:49:00 PM:

At least one of the totally normal representative" people turned out to be...um... a known lib organizer. (Details at "former staffer.")

And that's before we get to the issues with their demands list.

Possibly, if you think that the way they're talking is a great way to reach the bulk of reasonable folks--as opposed to the TEA party's approach-- it says something about you, not either group. These folks are far out in any group that isn't very solidly leftwing. (Say, sectors of Seattle or San Fran, and stereotypical colleges....)

I see no reason to support a bunch of folks who want to dehumanize me by shoving me into this or that class and demand that I behave as they think I should, or I'm not "really" a woman, not "really" working class, not "really" this or that thing that I quite factually am; ditto for expecting me to pay debts they've projected on to me for this or that characteristic, such as being pale.  

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