Are there any books inspiring people to occupy wall street? I'm not there, but I was curious if there are any recent books that inspire protest on any level?
I just picked up a book by my Senator Bernie Sanders (The Speech). It is less a book and more a transcript of his 8 1/2 hour speech filibustering the extension of the Bush tax cuts. It is such an amazing read.
I don't think so, there is no manifesto, direction, or leadership.
I believe it was started by Adbusters, if you wanted to check them out.
But, if I understand properly from the hours I've spent watching the livestream and the twitter hashtag and the local meeting I went to the idea is a proccess of democracy through democracy. Stand in the middle of the street with a dozen friends and split hairs about the meaning of the word "Occupy" and holding intermittent votes about random crap. It is actually a pretty good protest strategy. It isn't unprecedented, it's modeled on Tahrir Square.
The majority of the momentum has been generated because of police mistreatment of aimless protesters (much like Tahrir). If you are looking for a single uniting message you will not find it, it is a movement based on dissatisfaction with the economy and perceptions of the social power of the top 1% of income earners being disproportionate to their number of votes, when police started pepper spraying and corralling and arresting people then the media showed up.
I have a friend that just began an experimental journey of hitchhiking and train hopping. She is currently there occupying Wall Street. Personally I have mixed feelings about it. I love the idea and its about time we saw some real "change" and if this makes a great turn in history, I will always be disappointed that I didn't take part in it, but logically thinking. This will end, be swept under the rug and hardly ever be spoken of again.
"WELCOME TO 1984!
Are you ready for the third world war?!?
You too will meet the secret police.
They'll draft you and they'll jail your niece.
You'll go quitely to boot camp.
They'll shoot you dead, make you a man.
Don't you worry, it's for a cause,
Feeding global corporations' claws!"
For those who can hear... this is for those standing out there right now! Take down the machine minds!
Personally, I resent their lumping me in with them with ther 99% bullshit; I do not support them, nor the groups marching with them. Though I am highly amused by their ready consumption of corporate goods and services as they protest corporations.
And yes, I believe it was Adbusters that got the ball rolling, with financial backing from several Soros front groups.
We will win... corporations will fail. The corporation and capatalism is failing without the protests, they will just help it along. and like it or not, you are the 99%. You are a serf, you are trash just like the rest of us. The corporation will chew you up and spit you out just like the rest of us, no matter how much you support them. They don't love you, because they can't, because they don't even exist. Phantoms really... Phantoms to distract us from the real men who cause real harm.
They aren't protesting all corporations, just irresponsible ones who want to continue the same behavior that started this mess in the first place. Why is it that reform gets knocked down before it is even enacted? Why is it that the economy is soo bad, but these industries can spend billions on lobbying and more on campaign donations? Why is it that only the top few percent have been climbing the ladder for decades? Why is it that America is so far down the list on countries with income equality? Why aren't the billionaires experiencing a recession? Why is it that average working class people lose all of their services when they need it most? Shame on the unemployed for being unemployed, shame on the poor for being hungry, shame on any working class American for believing that their children are going to be able to get a good education. This is quickly becoming a plutocracy.
You know, if the protesters had to choose ONE thing as a goal, I bet it would be to overturn the Citizens United ruling so that our democracy would be fair, and that through participation in local, state, and national elections, they could get the change they seek. You see, they don't want to tilt the tables in their favor...they really just want the table to stop being tilted.
While I respect your enthusiasm I doubt that rhetoric is the way to go with it, in light of the concerns that have been raised.
"The 99%" is neither a voluntary nor a political designation, the protesters at Occupy Wall Street do not claim to agree... on anything. The list of grievances was voted on on site and the demands... I don't think they have been ironed out yet. They also do not claim to represent the political choices of all Americans, they are simply a protest movement designed to target and work against the top income earners in the country. The reason they have chosen to do this is because of the electoral system in the United States.
Because political campaigns cost money, they eat through it, and with the Citizens United ruling, with the emergence of PACs and Super-PACs, it is possible for individuals to channel their personal wealth into disproportionate political action. What this means is that the candidates the top income earners want get chosen, they book more ad space, they get better coverage in media outlets, which are owned by top 1% income earners. Perhaps this is fair, it is the purer capitalist manner to handle elections, money is how you keep score and candidates like Ron Paul and Ralph Nader will never go anywhere.
This is not, however, particularly democratic. The will of most people will always be interpreted through the lens of "what would the top earners prefer" rather than through actual competition of ideas and publicity strategies.
Your comments about Soros, though, worry me. Would you mind linking the source? What I know about Adbusters makes me reluctant to doubt that they would do such a thing, but on the other hand the twitter chatter I've heard and my talks with members of Anonymous did not seem to show a well funded organization. They aren't bussing people in, some protesters with cars have driven to pick people up, but they have also complained ad nauseum about getting gas money, the deluge of Pizza that happened in the first week was crowdsourced, I talked to a lot of people on both sides of that (people who donated, people looking for more donations), and none of it seemed to me indicative of a well funded backer.
Again, my trust for Adbusters and the "purity" of their "vision" isn't very high, it isn't that I don't believe it is possible, but, as they say on the internet "pics or it didn't happen."
What I mean is that the protestors do not represent me or my views- I am anti-union, anti-communist, pro-capitalist. I believe in self-responsibility, self-reliance. I believe in small government, I believe in a free and open markets and secure borders. Capitalism will not fall, not matter how many people who made bad degree choices in college protest their self-made unmarketability in the job market. They are a collective child crying because they did not get the pony from their parents that they demanded.
If the protesters are the 99%, I am not one of them-- I stand firmly against them.
I know that they don't represent your views, they don't represent anyones views, they have yet to even list their demands. You are projecting all of these things onto them because of the rhetoric of a few people who aren't affiliated in any way with the movement.
The 99% is not a political designation, it does not imply any set of political beliefs. It is an economic designation designed to illustrate the inequal distribution of wealth and political influence in the country.
They are not Communists, they are not all Art Design majors. They aren't even Pro-Obama.
I wish you had read my post. I hope you read this one. I still want to hear about this Soros thing, and not because I'm trying to "get" you, I really want to know where the information comes from to back this up, because I do not trust Adbusters, but I hadn't heard of this Soros connection or found any reliable evidence for it.
A. I heard about occupy wallstreet from anonymous two months ago. I am not sure where this talk of adbusters is originating.
B. This guy has no concerns. He is trolling you or he was raised by the glowing box so he only understands sound bites. I will not waste any real energy arguing any real point with him.
C. Why is there always somebody at every protest or discussion like this that is like, you are not as edgy as me! Or as informed. Take your comment about my rhetoric and shove it. Are u really that guy? You seem reasonable but on the outset you set yourself up on a mini pedestal to what end. Don't tell me you care about reaching this guy. It was clear you wanted to define yourself with that comment.
"Change is made by the thoughts of a single human brain, those thoughts are then shared with other brains; the human minds conspire creation, adding on to ones own idealization. You sit idly by, just watching, and waiting for someone to do that work for you.
We are a society of brains, a super computer of idealizations and personal opinions that could be used for the good of nations and the worldwide population. You sit by, watching the world slowly die and it's not the politicians or the corporations to be blamed, it's you for allowing your voice to be refrained."
He is not a troll, sure, maybe he's trolling right now, but it isn't because he is a troll. He's Polish. I've known my share of Poles in my day and they tend to express dogmatic pro-capitalist opinions in a similar manner as he does. It might seem like trolling but it is not as though he is a bot, he is a human being, and he is influenced by personal experiences regarding the Soviet Occupation of his ancestral home and the resulting stresses in the lives of his family members.
You make a mistake if you want to see this as an ideological movement. If you want to impose the left-right paradigm on occupy wall street then you are missing the point. This is not a place where we need to be drawing lines in the sand between the 99%, we need to embrace Ron Paul supporters, Tea enthusiasts, anyone who understands that the current system is not working. For many people, far left rhetoric is not appealing. At some point you have to ask, do you want to bandstand or do you want to actually accomplish something?
Now, in the sense that a forum post can define a person. If it is a personal definition, for intellectual masturbation when I look at the post and think "God I'm cool, posting on internet boards" I don't think that is plausible.
If it is to define myself with regards to how the internet perceives me, I feel like I've already done enough work on that in my novel, my album, and my extremely detailed eHarmony page, so perhaps it is possible that I just wanted to push the cause of the 99% forwards. Maybe I was saying something like, "Do not rely on the arbitrary political distinctions that the powerful in society have created to divide us, work against them by keeping your rhetoric from being offensive or difficult to sell to the rest of the 99%."
It's kind of funny that you mentioned Ron Paul. I don't watch cable news much but I learned from my twitter stream that Ron Paul basically endorsed Occupy Wall Street in an interview on MSNBC. If it was someone else, I might have thought that he was playing to the audience (everyone knows that MSNBC is pretty liberal) but his track record suggests that he probably wouldn't pander like that. I don't like Paul (he strikes me as a massive ideologue) but it was one of the first things that told me that this movement might have some degree of bipartisan appeal. Of course, that assumes that some people will actually turn off Fox News and think about it for a few minutes.
Paul is as much of a free-market-fetishist as we'll ever see. So if he thinks there's something to this protest, what does that say about the system? At the very least, it makes it tough to label all of the protesters as "Communists."
I've done a lot of hippie things (we won't go into details) and if there is a protest near Louisville, KY then I'll be there. There is just something fulfilling about turning on the news and seeing people protest because they believe in fighting for what is right. It just feels like were in the 60'-70's again. It makes me happy to see that American citizens aren't going to take any shit anymore. Its all just very exciting to see and be apart of. It just seems that we went through a dry spell for a while and it was starting to be like 1984. Theres my caffeine driven mini-rant.
(Also yes I know the hippies weren't the ones protesting in the 60's but I think you get my point.)
I've been following this stuff and from what I hear, there are protests in over 800 cities now. Check out OccupyTogether.org. You might find something near you.
I know they're in Tempe now but since I'm moving back to Kentucky...
People in Kentucky aren't protesters but i'll check out the site.
Personally, I think that capitalism in its "free market" incarnation is falling. Capitalism without regulation is a system that eats itself. All the wealth accumulates at the top until the middle class is gone and no one has enough money to buy products. The economy crashes for good when that happens and the only thing the wealthy one percent will spend money on is to purchase more home security and personal armies from preventing millions of starving poor people from beating down their doors.
The purpose of capitalism is to win. When you understand that you can't win, you look for a better way. I am not saying that capitalism is a disease, but the best solution in my mind would be a hybrid solution. Why do we have to completely accept or reject an entire system? Pull what works and scrap the rest.
@Tejun- sorry pal, not trolling. I support the free market, I support open capitalism. I was aware of and participated in Anonymous before the Scientology protests which I took part in and even effected change in my town; as soon as Anonymous started looking at itself as a more coherent group (whyweprotest forums) and started attacking sites because of the WikiLeaks founder's legal issues I dropped out. I am glad I am out as I have, of course, been keeping tabs on Anonymous' doings.
We have wildly divergent world views- and while you feel the need to attack me personally (which shows you are arguing out of ignorance- I was raised before cable TV was common and rarely watched TV, playing outside or drawing or writing indoors) it reveals more about you than me and your own prejudices and inability to conceive of others having a different opinion yet being worthy of respect.
This is not an attack, Tejun, this is a suggestion: grow up a little, drop the rhetoric and calm down. I predict this will not change the world, certainly not in a meaningful way.
Your B) is spot on. Also various communist organizations as well as unions which I regard as communist sympathizing are a huge part of the protests.
Frankly I think we need some banking reforms to prevent cronyism between mutual and commercial banks, former bank regulators must not be allowed to take jobs at any institution which was related in anyway the the institutions the regulator oversaw. Of course the current administration is all about crony capitalism so I doubt we will achieve that goal with him in office. Ron Paul really needs to be president.
@No one person
I look at how these anti-corporate protestors are shitting up that park, the neighborhood, the local businesses, I listen to the disparate and way out there rhetoric and all I can wish for is someone with a goddamned brain to speak to a cogent set of on topic points which could be spoken to and about.
Also, if they are not radicals bent on changing society wholecloth and are just fed up with Wall St. (itself an abstraction at best), why so many anti-Christian signs? Why so many anti-American signs? Oh, that is right, because radicals of all stripes are pitching into the protest and turning the mainstream public you *want*, fuck it, that you *need* on your side off as well as diluting any message the anti-bank protesters have.
And that is why this ultimately will be a drop of piss in an ocean of piss.
EDITED to add: If you really wanted to protest the core of the problem, you really wanted to get after those whose fault the current economic crisis is, you should protest the Federal Reserve and London Central Banking systems. They control the currency, its value, interest rates.
@EM: The problem is that since 1913 we have not had true capitalism and *that* is why we see the failures we do. Over regulation, closed shops with unions foisted on the company, and other such hobbles cripples capitalism.
Overall the poor in this country are better off then most people in the world- thanks to our hobbled capitalism; I can only imagine how much better off they would be beyond that level if it were not hobbled.
I had the flu recently and I was bed bound for about three days. During that time I watched a thirteen hour marathon of Revolutionary War History Channel special. LoL I have been considering doing something close to what Thomas Paine did. He wrote two catalyzing pieces. One of which came early in the revolution and it was a piece that pretty much did what you suggested. He had his own printing press and he wrote this document called Common Sense. It was pretty much what pulled everyone together to form a nation. Before that there were many factions and many goals, mainly, fuck these taxes. (he wasn't solely responsible and all that so please lets not make this about Thomas Paine's importance to the revolution)
My point is as writers, we should all endeavor to make this document. Make it a writing contest. Does anyone wish to participate? 3000 words, A. define the issue(antagonist, victims) B. rally people to the cause C. provide not a definitive plan of what we are to do, but a end goal!
This could be fun and who knows, you may become the next Thomas Paine.
Saying that our poor are better than the worlds poor is a cop out. We are competing with slave wages because of globalism, and saying that this capitalism is demented because of regulation is ridiculous. The reason the housing/banking crashed was because banks stopped being banks...sold bad mortgages, bet against them, took them back, packaged and sold them. That should have been regulated/outlawed.
EM Gray, it was regulated/outlawed. But it was dismantled. Glass–Steagall Act was taken down by a bill introduced by Republicans and passed during the Clinton administration. The Republican congress passed it and Clinton signed it. This is actually evidence that shows the 1% reach spans across party lines. But Clinton was also known as being fiscally conservative in some things.
It has been said this is what took the leashes off the banks. Making it so they could act with impunity.
No EM it is not ridiculous. What we have is not Free Market Capitlism. It is unionized and regulated, it is in a sense a mixed system, with some central control by the government. Sometimes, with banks especially, or food and drug related industries, that is not a bad thing... too much cronyism and back door dealings with banks, and we need to make sure we do not go to preFDA days of bad food and medical quackery. I still maintain that the root of the disease in the economy is the Federal Reserve System, and its world counterparts.
Also it is not a cop out; it is an observations. If you do not think that has meaning then that is up to you and I respect your viewpoint but I do think it has meaning for a potentially better future for all, of which we see just the tantalizing first bit; I believe full capitalisim, throughout the world will bring great benefits to all citizens of this world.
Banks are resources, not markets. I am speaking of production and buying and selling when I am talking about free markets. Banks do need to be kept honest, they need to be kept open to public as well as government inspection through published prospectii and meeting minutes, interbank transaction publications and the like. I agree that banks, which can at near whim cause a crisis are in need of some regulation, as I noted above.
I oppose all forms of government, non-government, tyranny, lawlessness, economics and ideology! I am free like the sand and just as formless. Like doves but dead through my livingess. Balls.
likes phil :)
Oligarchical multinational corporations and central banks do not equate to free market capitalism. We live in a mixed economy with self serving politicians making the system condusive to crony capitalism and special interests. I don't agree with all that Ron Paul says but potentially he could be the much needed shock to the system. A thousand apologies if this all sounds like a bumper sticker but in a very general sense it is what I believe.
@Tejun I like the Thomas Paine idea. When the deistic treatise The Age of Reason was published it sparked a revival in deism then ended up disenfranchising a lot of people, pissed others off and those once close fled from him. Ultimately he went too far for most people, although it is one of my favorites by him.
On a more serious note, the myths that support the capitalist enterprise are nice and neat and thoroughly unconvincing, but that's what we're stuck with, that's what's made the world as I've experienced it, and it's a horizon that I can't see us losing anytime soon. Protesters can protest, but peaceful protests are easily appropriated by the society they're protesting against.
What change do these folks want? Let them fight for it. Sitting around with signs accomplishes very little. So let them fight for it and if they fail, well, they failed, they'll get jailed, they'll get released, and THE SYSTEM will perpetuate itself. OMG!
Phil the Arab sprin protests started peacefully. I welcome arrests and oppression, because that is usually protesting fuel. When people feel the injustice first hand upon release they are more driven than ever. Mass arrests and clashes are next. We may enter a very trying time soon but i think it needs to happen. For us to succeed
Who is "us"? What will "we" do when we've overthrown the bad guys? Who will grow our weed?
The solution is simple: port-o-potties.
Complete de-regulation and complete regulation are both utopias.
Waterhouse, why is it radical to not be Christian?
I understand, although I don't get where anti-Union sentiment slips in. You know Walesa was a Union leader, right? If you hate Communism for what it did to Poland, then how can you not be equally thankful for Unions like the ones who enabled the people of Poland to organize and collectively bargain the Soviets all the way back to Moscow?
And, do you realize that the Occupy Wall Street protesters want to end the Fed? I have heard that sentiment far more than I have seen anti-Christian sentiment.
Do you understand that no matter how many pure-hearted disciples your boy Paul rallies, he isn't going anywhere because the big money doesn't back him? That's messed up, and it shouldn't be that way. I would love to see a Ron Paul ticket in 2012, but without campaign finance reform it will never happen.
In any event, you have to at least sympathize with them when the police violate their constitutionally protected freedom to assemble.
The lack of a message, the constant evolution, some see it as a bad thing, but it confuses the hell out of the media. That in itself is good, the message hasn't gotten co-opted because there is no message. By allowing people to imagine what their message may be they have enabled people to speculate on what sort of problems they know this country has. Do you need people on Wall Street to let you know that the electoral system is fucked? Or that firms are laying off huge numbers of American workers just to make their numbers look better on the Quarterly report when they dump payroll? That our economy is focused on getting investment, or making profit off of a financial investment rather than actually producing anything? That the Fed is a corrupt failure? That the cops aren't serving and protecting anything but corporate profits? People know what is wrong, they just need someone there to remind them, and to help illustrate the attendant frustration.
@Phil Canada will grow our weed.
It's probably better than letting mexico do it. That Mexi-reggie is bs, they spray all this crap on it and I've never seen a high grade strain that claimed to originate in Mexico.
I grow my own! This STATE issued card is expired now but I have my growers card also! :) Oh and I grew it before there were cards..shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh dont tell the Government!
Thats awesome. You can grow like 25 plants or something can't you? Maybe a picture if your brave ಠ⌣ಠ
As much as I would like to, and as brave as am, my partners, yes it is a co-op situation, totally organic, but yeah they would dump me in the ocean, without arms or legs and that makes it extra hard to swim... lol
Proud to be among these names.
@Liana :from Greek ou not, no + topos place
I don't think that complete deregulation is a utopia because there is no morality in completely free markets, they take advantage of slavery. You can't ask a corporation to be responsible in a kill or be killed economy which is what a purely "free market" would be. Remember free markets allow for monopolies which is why regulation was invented in the first place. Workers would have no rights, wages would have no floors, if there was no regulation.
I can agree that too much regulation would be stifling, but only if we allow foreign companies to have an upper hand...meaning that they don't have the same rules applied to them. We can do this as a country and as individuals by being aware of the products we buy. I will pay a few dollars more for a local product made responsibly because those extra dollars get fed back into the community, or at least the state/country.
I see what you are saying EM, though I'd ask, morality according to whose definition? I think even monopolies create their own moral system - I'm sure, in their mind, controling the market is for the good of the ones deserving enough to be part of the hierarchy of power. There is almost a monarchical concept of worth, of chosen ones, which can be traced back to some form of a metaphysical concept. The masses lose because they didn't try hard enough to reach the top, so their "work morality" is called into question. Maybe I'm stretching it but I don't think monopolies float in amorality. Big projects like slavery and colonialism were making use of moral concepts, such as being civilized or not civilized. Except all empires of this kind fail in the end.
Complete regulation, or totalitarianism, is a form of slavery too. I was talking abstractly of the possibility to even have such a thing as complete regulation, meaning you would get all citizens to agree to support and work for a strictly regulated system where all individuals are asked to give up any personal freedom. You can't completely suppress individual choice, plus those enforcing the regulations end up being above the regulatory system (or exempt themselves).
In the particulars of the real market place, I agree with you - that's why I'm bothered to hear that deals are made with countries with questionable policies and regulations, which defeats the purpose of having regulations in place here.
Liana, I think I agree with most of your thoughts. Complete regulation or totalitarianism is a form of slavery. I agree. Although, when you say that even monopolies create their own moral system, that sounds to me like justification and not morality, but I would like to leave a definition of morality out of it because it is so widely subjective while most of us can agree on at least a narrow margin of what we would define as immorality. This brings me to my next point, because I think that slavery is alive and well in this country/culture today. Not even talking about the corrupt wages offered to immigrants, I am talking about paying a legal citizen such low wages that they may have to chose between being late on rent, or buying dinner. A person or family might be able to float with their necks above water for a little while, but eventually something unexpected happens; a car breaks down, or someone gets sick. This is where my definition of our current slavery becomes more clear. In order to continue living, we have to incur debt. We have to take out credit to buy a new car, or pay the hospital bills. This is the same when we have extremely high costs for college, etc. So, now what we have is a family barely keeping afloat while being in debt which restricts their opportunities, allows them no more risk for upward mobility or to better themselves. To me, this kind of slavery is particularly frightening because it is never really publicly articulated or debated. When we did have institutionalized slavery, they were beaten, but guaranteed shelter and food enough to physically survive and continue working. I am not saying slaves had it good, but our current situation does not guarantee food or shelter enough to survive even when a person works for a living and we have gotten away with this kind of abuse to working people for so long because we distract ourselves with this misguided notion that our freedom is defined by our "rights" to ownership of personal property. We often value ourselves according to our purchasing power, which perpetuates the cycle of debt because we give away credit to anyone so they can blow money on junk they don't need; which brings me to my final point. In order to combat that, we must evolve as individuals and recognize the difference between want and need and become personally more responsible and more aware of our purchasing decisions.
I went off on a tangent. Its 2am, I don't even know if it makes sense.
I've heard Batman might be there. Seriously.
EM, sadly, I tend to think of most moral systems as justificatory, but that's just me. A moral system that is attached to a social system is used as the justification for that system. That's why I'm very uncomfortable whenever religion is brought up in politics (not that religion is the only originator of moral systems). In fact, if it's a "moral system" then I don't see it as moral at all. I prefer personal morality - the kind a person internalizes and doesn't proclaim to others.
I don't disagree with your understanding of slavery in consumer societies. It's just too easy for us to go along because it's hard to give up short term comfort.
@ Gonzo: If Batman is here, I hope it's Christian Bale! I'll let him save me from my various miseries.
Nolan's just finished shooting in LA and it's all moving to New York. It's rumoured he may use some of the happenings when filming.
Oh!! Well let me know if they plan to film in Texas...
I'm still not sure what this is all about, I need to ask a Giggan. When I heard of it I said, "Occupy my CACK!" and I stand by that.
Are they still doing this?
Yesterday Albany police refused an order to arrest Occupy Albany protesters en masse.
It's day 39, the livestream is still going at occupywallstreet.org
My response to the opposition.
dumb fox news. I hope Anonymous hurts you.
My account of the Oakland strike.