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Tag: Occupy Wall Street (Page 1 of 2)

Re-Occupy Wall Street?

The Radical Rich: Moving From Romney to Re-Occupy | OurFuture.org

David Frum, a conservative and former George W. Bush speechwriter, gets it. Frum writes that “what makes it all both so heart-rending and so outrageous is that all this is occurring at a time when economically disadvantaged Americans have never been so demoralized and passive, never exerted less political clout. No Coxey’s army is marching on Washington, no sit-down strikes are paralyzing factories, no squatters are moving onto farmer’s fields.”

Beautifully said. Frum’s batting average dips slightly as he continues: “Occupy Wall Street immediately fizzled, there is no protest party of the political left.”

Occupy didn’t “fizzle.” It attracted massive support almost overnight. Within weeks it had dramatically transformed the national conversation. Democrats from the president on down were forced to address issues of economic injustice, at least rhetorically, instead of negotiating destructive (and pro-wealthy) austerity deals with the Republican counterparts.

But the powers arrayed against Occupy – in the media, in politics, and elsewhere – combined with the winter winds to force it into hibernation.

Frum’s absolutely right, however, when he says there’s “no protest party of the political left” – although I’d drop the word “protest” and make it simply a party, one that can win rather than just siphon off votes. That won’t happen without a mass movement.

That’s why it’s time to re-Occupy our country. In fact, maybe it should’ve been called “Re-Occupy” all along. It was, and it remains, a re-occupation – of our privatized public spaces and our privatized political discourse. Occupy, or something like it, is the only force that has a chance against the power of the Radical Rich.

The Radical Rich: Moving From Romney to Re-Occupy | OurFuture.org

 

The 1% Get Richer

Occupy Wall Street isn’t dead. Is it morphing into something new, Re-occupy Wall Street? What that is, I am not able to clearly define. No one can. A collection of individuals determined not to be co-opted by the existing political parties is bound to seek an independent course.

I like this piece by Richard (RJ) Eskow. I have seen it quoted many times in the blogs I read but I am using a part  seldom quoted. I have spoken to wealthy individuals on a few occasions and Eskow is quite right, they are enraged at a nation in which their money goes to support the “entitled.” They go to enormous lengths to remain uninformed and their resentment can even fall on their employees (and the occasional waitress.) They burn with disgust at how others are not like them. They see themselves as virtuous, hard working and vital to the nation. The others they see as parasites. Whether or not, they follow Ayn Rand, they have the John Galt thing down perfectly.

This is a pretty incredible amount of hubris. The Classical Greeks would have been appalled. I am appalled. To whom so much has been given and so little asked, there is so little perception of being fortunate just persecuted.

Whether justice in this matter will be settled in this world or the next, is not something I am given to know.

James Pilant

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Is Giving to the Democrats Pointless?

What Occupy taught the unions – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

Unions are in a death spiral. Private sector unionism has all but vanished, accounting for a measly  6.9 percent of the workforce. Public sector workers are being hammered by government cutbacks and hostile media that blame teachers, nurses and firefighters for budget crises. To counter this trend organized labor banked on creating more hospitable organizing conditions by contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party the last two election cycles. In return Obama abandoned the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made union campaigns marginally easier, failed to push for an increase in the minimum wage, and installed an education secretary who attacks teachers and public education.

What Occupy taught the unions – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

You support the Democratic Party. You organize. You get your friends to vote. And then after speaking many fine words most eloquently, they forget you. They ignore you. They insult you. corporate-profits-and-compensation 2000 2011

Those are the friends of the 99%? Those are the friends of the Middle Class? These are the people you can depend on to defend public school, control bank fees and rein in the disastrous casino capitalism that has wrought havoc on the world’s economy?

The current belief of Progressives and Liberals is to vote for the lesser of two evils. May I point out that the lesser of two evils is still evil and you are making a deal with the devil, a devil who delights in betraying your interests.

Consider your options.

James Pilant

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The 1% Hit Back

The knives are out. The corporations, the wealthy and their well paid minions (think of a crowd of Igors in an old Frankenstein movies) are going to portray the Occupy movement as anarchists and Marxists. An even casual reading of the news stories shows that as a lie. Can you find anarchists and Marxist in the movement? Of course you can; the same as you can find Klansmen and Christian Reconstructionists in the Tea Party and the Republican Party.

The question isn’t whether there are unpopular political beliefs in some participants of the movement but do they run it or is their influence the deciding factor in decisions. Neither of those things are true. I have no doubt that the primary motivations of Occupy Wall Street movement is the predominant influence the financial sector has in the government. There are also concerns for the decline of the middle class and the lack of penalties for those on Wall Street who did so much harm to the world economy.

Those are legitimate complaints held by millions of American. Take a look at this poll, this poll or this poll.

Does this new documentary wish to identify millions and millions of Americans as closet Marxists?

The hit job on the movement is expected. All criticism of the 1% is answered immediately, often borderline slander and almost always lies. The crude right wing message machine will say anything to keep Americans divided and powerless.

We can do better.

James Pilant

Right-wing documentary targets Occupy

Citizens United, which specializes in making documentaries with strong right-wing messages, is currently in production for a film about the Occupy movement, a spokesman for the group confirms to Salon.

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Occupy Wall Street – Peace, Unity and Equality

I was reading this little snippet from Rousseau the other day, and couldn’t help but think of Occupy Wall Street although the passage refers to a simple government and the OWS movement is more of a pursuit of a better government, I still believe the passage is relevant.

James Pilant

This is from Rousseau, Book IV, Page 1, first paragraph of The Social Contract.

Phan studied the works of Enlightenment philos...

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As long as a number of men gathered together regard themselves
as a single body, they have only a single will, which
is concerned with the survival and well-being of all of them.
In this case, the state’s machinery is all vigorous and simple
and its rules clear and luminous; there’s no tangle of hidden
agendas; the common good is always obvious, and only good
sense is needed to perceive it. Peace, unity and equality are
enemies of political subtleties. Simple straightforward men
are hard to deceive because of their simplicity; lures and
ingenious excuses don’t work with them—they aren’t even
subtle enough to be dupes! When among the world’s happiest
people we see a group of peasants gathered under an oak

to regulate the state’s affairs, and always acting wisely, can
we help scorning the sophistication of other nations, which
put so much skill and so much mystery into making make
themselves illustrious and wretched?

I’m not the only person to see Rousseau as being applicable to the Occupy Wall Street, there’s a fellow named Jason J. Campbell. His take is based on Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality. Please click on the link to see a very thoughtful, intelligent discourse on Occupy Wall Street and it meaning.

Occupy Wall Street and Jean-Jacques Rousseau\’s A Discourse on Inequality.mpg

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Ethics Bob Journeys to Zuccotti Park, Home of Occupy Wall Street

"Thousands gather at the Subtreasury Buil...

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Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street; Ethics Bob

My buddy, Ethics Bob, has journeyed to the wilds of New York, in particular, the semi-encampment of Zuccotti Park, the home of Occupy Wall Street.

Here’s a little of what he has to say

Zuccotti Park was a friendly place, surprisingly orderly, contrary to expectations from television. People sweeping, others staffing the free food tent, others reading or cheerfully chatting with visitors like me. There was a library, several pet dogs (apparently OWS is dog-, not cat-friendly) and a few baskets seeking donations. I saw lots of American flags and posters, but nothing ugly or much beyond run-of-the-mill progressive political ideas.

That’s been my perception as well, that Occupy Wall Street is replaying elements from previous eras of American Progressivism. Certainly, you can catch glimpses of the Grange, early labor organizers like Samuel Gompers and more than a little Chautauqua.

But there is definitely some new stuff here. These guys are very media savvy and, however, much disdain the fact attracts, the truth is that the Occupy Wall Street Movement is part and parcel of the demonstrations across the Arab World a few months ago. Citizen activism is catchy like the flu. And there is a lot of this flu going around. I expect to see more and more in Europe as their austerity budgets kick in.

Please go to Ethics Bob’s web site. I have provided several links. You should never rely on one paragraph to get the whole sense of his writing.

James Pilant

 

Map of Wall Street and the surrounding streets...Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street « Ethics Bob

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The Police Used Flashbangs on the Crown in Oakland

Scott Olsen injured by the Oakland Police

I’ve watched the film and I can’t draw any other conclusion from the flash of the ordnance on the ground. I’ve attached the You-tube video.

Watch the film –

Aerial view of tear gas crowd dispersal – Occupy Oakland

Here are some new articles about the use of force at the protests:

Occupy Oakland: Did police use flashbangs and rubber bullets on protesters?

Occupy Oakland Protests: Did Police Use A Flash-Bang Grenade?

This is from Think Progress  –

VIDEO: Oakland Police Toss Flash Grenade At Protesters Helping Injured Person | Despite initial denials, Oakland-area police deliberately fired and tossed flash-bang grenades at Occupy Oakland protesters last night, even ones who had been visibly harmed by the police assault. Video shot by KTVU shows flash-bang grenades fired by riot police deep into the protesting crowd. Near the barricades where a Veteran for Peace holds his flag amid tear gas, a protester is knocked down by a flash-bang grenade. After a crowd surrounds the victim, riot police toss more flash-bang grenades into their midst. The police initially denied that officers had used flash-bang grenades. “The loud noises that were heard originated from M-80 explosives thrown at police by protesters,” a statement from the department falsely claimed.

It appears that the police claims that they used neither flashbangs or bean bag or rubber bullets were just nonsense. There are too many films and recovered fired ordnance.

James Pilant

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Brooks Is Wrong: The OWS Crew Is Against Redistribution | Beat the Press

Beat the Press points out that Occupy Wall Street is against the redistribution that has already taken place. David Brooks wants to brand the movement as some form of socialist redristributionists but they are responding to changes in the laws that have made it ever more difficult for Americans to become educated, employed or secure in any financial sense.

They don’t want the rich’s money. They just don’t want the rich continuing to take theirs.

But this kind of criticism will continue. Every kind of calumny and insult will be directed against these Americans who dare to ask the questions that so many of those in power wish never to answer.

James Pilant

Best paragraph –

The country has been seeing enormous redistribution over the last three decades, but it has all been in an upward direction. For example, the government gave trillions of dollars of below market interest rate loans to the largest banks to save them from collapse. The big banks continue to benefit from a too big to fail subsidy.

Brooks Is Wrong: The OWS Crew Is Against Redistribution | Beat the Press

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Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna says He’d Do It Again!

‘I’d do it again,’ says police commander filmed pepper spraying the faces of women at Occupy Wall Street protest

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051870/Occupy-Wall-Street-pepper-spray-cop-Anthony-Bologna-Id-again.html#ixzz1bRO8GF3p

Well, the raw courage of firing pepper spray into the faces of women safely behind a barrier and then quickly walking away once again demonstrates on the part of Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, a monumental lack of understanding of police procedures and department guidelines.

Don’t give me any nonsense about police fearing for their lives or any other crap. I’ve seen the video several times. I teach courses in criminal justice and know police procedure. You do not quell crowds by pepper spraying peaceful protestors behind barricades. That is likely to provoke the crowd which could endanger other officers. It’s exactly the opposite of what you are supposed to do. It’s difficult to come up with any other interpretation than Anthony Bologna did not like the politics of the demonstrators and misused his authority to harm them to send a message. The worse interpretation possible is that he may  have intended to incite the crowd to violence.

Two weeks loss of pay is a pretty thin penalty for this kind of action. I would go for six weeks suspension without pay.

James Pilant

 

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Ethics Bob Takes on the Topic of the Wall Street Protests

I consider Ethics Bob to be a buddy. We often write about the same topics. Here is his take on the wall street protests.

James Pilant

From Ethics Bob,

Ethics Bob

entitled –

 Take “Occupy Wall Street” complaints seriously, don’t use force to disperse them

Americans pay attention when a lot of people turn out. And so there’s lots of attention for “Occupy Wall Street,” or OWS for short. Thousands of people, mostly of the Millennial generation (born since 1982) are camping out in Zuccotti Park, just two blocks from Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange.

The Right doesn’t like OWS: “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Mitt Romney opines. “Growing mobs,” snarls Eric Cantor. “Anti-American,” Larry Kudlow charges. “The beginning of totalitarianism,” warns Ann Coulter.

OWS comprises lots of people, diverse in temperament, opinion, and goals, but they are engaging in old-fashioned American protest, this one against corporate greed, social inequality, and joblessness.

Some dismiss them as incoherent, but that’s a mistake. They’re angry about the way our society has moved away from the American dream and toward greater and greater inequality. Like them or not, OWS is a growing force. Our country needs to take their complaint seriously. They may be as consequential as Tahrir Square. Or more. Or maybe not.

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The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

There are a lot of good reasons for centering the protests in New York, the proximity of the video and print media, the enormous number of opinion leaders in the area, and certainly the ability to recruit and maintain large numbers of protestors.

This would have been very difficult in Washington. Most of that city is a ghetto with little of the private infrastructure available in a modern metropolitan area.

But the history of Wall Street has to be a factor. It’s been a center of corporate power in the United States for almost two full centuries, and only the excesses of the Gilded Age rival the current levels of self-contentedness and pride among the wealthy today.

But there is also this article below. It has some powerful observations about why New York is such a good venue for the 99 percenters. —

Christopher Ketcham writing in McClatchy’s has a new article entitled –

Occupy Wall Street: The new populists?

The focal point, however, is specific: Manhattan. The capital of the finance corporations whose speculation, chicanery and outright fraud have produced havoc and pain for so many Americans. It sets the model nationally for a metastasizing economic regression: the maldistribution of wealth into the hands of the few.

Out of the 25 largest cities in the United States, New York is the most unequal when it comes to income distribution. In New York, the top 1 percent of households claimed 44 percent of all income during 2007 (the last year for which data are available). That’s almost twice the record-high levels among the 1 Percenters nationwide, who claimed 23.5 percent of all national income in 2007. During the housing bubble that ended in our current calamity, the average income for the 1 Percenters in New York went up 119 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless in the city rose to an all-time high last year, with 113,000 men, women and children retreating night after night to municipal shelters. The real hourly median wage in New York between 1990 and 2007 fell by almost 9 percent. Young men and women age 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree and a year-round job in New York saw their earnings drop 6 percent. Middle-income New Yorkers – defined broadly as those earning between $29,000 and $167,000 – saw a 19% decrease in earnings. Almost 11 percent of the population in New York, about 900,000 people, lives in what the federal government describes as “deep poverty,” which for a four-person family means an income of $10,500; the average 1 Percenter household in New York makes about that same amount every day.

(Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/07/126534/occupy-wall-street-the-new-populists.html#ixzz1aKQk8zI2)

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