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Do you support the Occupy Wall Street movement?

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Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:21 pm
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Jas says...



Honestly though, they are a nuisance for people living and working in New York. I can't go on the subway without protesters screaming and blocking up the area. The trains are slower and on the 17th, the day of action, my bag was checked and I had to stay on line for two hours because someone named 'The other 99%' called in a bomb threat.

Yeah, it's a great cause and woop-de-doo, go revolutions and people standing up for what they believe in, but OWS people are annoying for those who don't really care.
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:53 pm
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tr3x says...



...the day of action, my bag was checked and I had to stay on line for two hours because someone named 'The other 99%' called in a bomb threat.

Whose fault was it that your bag was checked? There was no bomb threat, that was a fabrication that gave the NYPD an excuse to detain and search people.

Yeah, it's a great cause and woop-de-doo, go revolutions and people standing up for what they believe in, but OWS people are annoying for those who don't really care.

Really? You're 'annoyed' and 'don't really care' so they should stop for your convenience? A whole lot of people care, that's why they're protesting.
I agree that protests don't have the right to hold up businesses, but it isn't their fault if the authorities choose to do so. Do you have any legitimate criticism rather than "they're annoying, make them stop?"
Last edited by tr3x on Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:00 pm
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Jas says...



tr3x wrote:
Do you have some any legitimate criticism rather than "they're annoying, make them stop?"


Nope. :]
I am nothing
but a mouthful of 'sorry's, half-hearted
apologies that roll of my tongue, smoothquick, like 'r's
or maybe like pocket candy
that's just a bit too sweet.

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Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:53 pm
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Nightshade says...



I consider OWS to be the most inspiring political act I've seen in my lifetime. I remember reading Slaughterhouse Five and coming across this section:

Spoiler! :
"America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves."


and it was one of those moments where something that has been living in the back of your mind for years suddenly reveals itself. On every comment board you will see people calling OWS protesters just a bunch of whiny entitlement kids who want everything without having to work for it. It's this concept that if the poor question the rich, they're being lazy. In America, the rich are rich because they're hard-working and smart and just plain better than everyone else, and the poor are poor because they're stupid and lazy. A common criticism of OWS is that it doesn't have specific demands, but I see that as part of what makes the movement so special. It's not about particular laws or people or parties, it is merely a collection of people who contend that something is wrong when a hard-working American can't survive. Really, that's the only criteria I see for the movement: Do you think an American that is willing to work should earn enough to provide food, shelter, and possibly healthcare for his/her family? If so, then congratulations, you are an OWS supporter. The goal of OWS shouldn't be to be a force in the political sphere. I see it more as a mechanism for making Americans look at our own hatred of the poor, and a way to put doubt in the public's mind that America is the just and fair meritocracy that it claims to be.

Now, the concept is nice, you say, but that doesn't mean they're going about it the right way. Why break the law? Why camp in illegal places? The issue is visibility. What Americans see on the news is largely decided by the very forces that OWS is protesting. If these people walked around New York waving signs and chanting and then went back to their homes at 8:00, they would never be covered. OWS needs to be a constant force to get any coverage whatsoever. It needs the clashes with police and the pepper spray and the beatings. Guys with signs won't make the news, police in riot gear launching tear gas will. I'm not saying that OWS should be inflammatory on purpose. In fact, the idiots taunting police and the entitlement kids wanting their way paid for them are constantly weakening the movement by providing opportunities for opponents to use them to generalize about the whole group of protesters. However, the rules are stacked against the protesters, so they have to be stubborn in order to be heard.

A wonderful side effect of this movement has been the realization that if you're going to protest in America, expect to be pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested. I think a lot of Americans took for granted the idea that it's a place where freedom of assembly and press are sacred. I know I did. The response to the protests has made it clear that the police protect the current power structures, not the public. As a result, the public gets only as much freedom as those in power want the public to have.

I hope that sometime soon the protests will break up smoothly and not devolve into a lingering radical group that overstays its welcome in the public mind. OWS has largely accomplished what it needed to do, although there is a little more it can achieve. Once that has been done, it will be time for it to disappear and a new group of leaders in arts, education and politics to emerge and start working towards concrete solutions for giving the middle and lower classes the respect they deserve.




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Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:05 pm
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Lumi says...



As a side-note, this would be the perfect time to launch the Old Writers Society.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:30 am
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inkwell says...



Jas wrote:Honestly though, they are a nuisance for people living and working in New York. I can't go on the subway without protesters screaming and blocking up the area. The trains are slower and on the 17th, the day of action, my bag was checked and I had to stay on line for two hours because someone named 'The other 99%' called in a bomb threat.

Yeah, it's a great cause and woop-de-doo, go revolutions and people standing up for what they believe in, but OWS people are annoying for those who don't really care.


That is the price of democracy. People like you are the reason things get to this point.

Jas wrote:Nope. :]


If you agree with OWS then surely the inconvenience is worth it to you.

@ Nightshade:

Terrific quote.

A wonderful side effect of this movement has been the realization that if you're going to protest in America, expect to be pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested. I think a lot of Americans took for granted the idea that it's a place where freedom of assembly and press are sacred. I know I did. The response to the protests has made it clear that the police protect the current power structures, not the public. As a result, the public gets only as much freedom as those in power want the public to have.


Truer point than ever, and perhaps one of the most revealing of insights gleamed by this movement.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:03 pm
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Kamas says...



A wonderful side effect of this movement has been the realization that if you're going to protest in America, expect to be pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested. I think a lot of Americans took for granted the idea that it's a place where freedom of assembly and press are sacred. I know I did. The response to the protests has made it clear that the police protect the current power structures, not the public. As a result, the public gets only as much freedom as those in power want the public to have.


Lad dear, that's nearly offensive in the light of the Arab Spring. Life sucks and then you die, but don't expect any pity from me when you have a couple people getting shoved a little harder then they're used too. In Libya, from the beginning of the regime in February it is estimated that there are somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 dead in the name of regimes that are truly oppressive and corrupted. Are you willing to set yourself on fire in front of some large corporation building to protest the inequality of your position? Maybe you are, but it doesn't have quite the same effect as it had in Tunisia.

I hope that sometime soon the protests will break up smoothly and not devolve into a lingering radical group that overstays its welcome in the public mind. OWS has largely accomplished what it needed to do, although there is a little more it can achieve. Once that has been done, it will be time for it to disappear and a new group of leaders in arts, education and politics to emerge and start working towards concrete solutions for giving the middle and lower classes the respect they deserve.


This, however, I can give a nod at. They've gotten the message they needed to get across, across. I'm not pleased to see groups planning on resisting their eviction notices as seen in my surrounding area. I feel like sticking around longer then this, and trying to maintain the movement will only prove destructive to their cause. I'm indifferent to it, but it's important for them to realize how to make what they want most effective.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:38 pm
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Nightshade says...



Lad dear, that's nearly offensive in the light of the Arab Spring. Life sucks and then you die, but don't expect any pity from me when you have a couple people getting shoved a little harder then they're used too. In Libya, from the beginning of the regime in February it is estimated that there are somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 dead in the name of regimes that are truly oppressive and corrupted. Are you willing to set yourself on fire in front of some large corporation building to protest the inequality of your position? Maybe you are, but it doesn't have quite the same effect as it had in Tunisia.

That would be true if mistreatment was relative, but it's not. Just because someone is being killed somewhere else in the world doesn't make it ok for me to go beat someone with a baton. I am not making any claims that the government retaliation to OWS is even remotely close to some of the terrible events of Arab Spring. However, the fact that the American government's response was less severe than the responses of other nations doesn't make it right. I'm curious about what level of mistreatment you consider worthy of your caring. Will you care if a peaceful protester is pepper-sprayed? What about beaten? Or maybe if they're beaten so hard their spleen ruptures? If that's not horrific enough to be worthy of your interest, maybe a fractured skull from being shot in the head with a tear gas canister is. Or maybe you need death to care? How many need to die before a people are reasonably allowed to complain about their government? 1? 100? 10,000?
I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I'm actually curious. How much violence is enough that you'll say, "ok, this is wrong"?




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Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:29 pm
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Kamas says...



I'm curious about what level of mistreatment you consider worthy of your caring. Will you care if a peaceful protester is pepper-sprayed? What about beaten? Or maybe if they're beaten so hard their spleen ruptures? If that's not horrific enough to be worthy of your interest, maybe a fractured skull from being shot in the head with a tear gas canister is. Or maybe you need death to care? How many need to die before a people are reasonably allowed to complain about their government? 1? 100? 10,000? I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I'm actually curious. How much violence is enough that you'll say, "ok, this is wrong"?


No need to double blade your argument, I never said I didn't care. Ignoring harm on people is unnecessarily cruel, I just feel it's hard to take the concerns of OWS concerning police corruption seriously with the backdrop of the Arab Spring. I understand there are missteps that have been made and I certainly don't think the fact someone only broke a bone therefore should be disregarded.

As you said, OWS has gotten what they needed to across. Overstaying their welcome will only lead to further injuries such as the ones listed above.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:58 pm
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sandayselkie says...



I agree with it. I feel that people have a right to how their government works and the banks should not rule. They are also peaceful no matter how violent the police get. I fully support them. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say "We have had enough". The people even have a small community building up. A community that we use to have in the past were their is no predjudice or ranking. People are one and work together. These people have the right idea to show how the government really act when faced with a dilemma. No, these people are the brave ones who stand for what is right.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:58 pm
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joshuapaul says...



The most recent bill to pass through congress declared Pizza(or rather the sauce they use as a base) was in fact a vegetable.

The bill was drafted by two lobby groups, one represented the tomato farmers who supplied the tomatoes to be puréed and one represented the pizza company that is the chief supplier of pizza to public schools.

Now my point is this, Obama introduces a bill to incorporate more vegetables into school lunches to make them healthier, Lobby groups quickly amend the bill making French fries a vegetable (which they technically are) and now pizza a vegetable effectively making the bill nullified, and perhaps this example establishes an insight into the importance of OWS.

America is insanely corrupt and by the day slips further toward the right. Right wing policies are generally tapered to favour the wealthy and affluent, this is why special interest groups and PACS pay huge corporate money to see Bush has a second term or to see the public over look Cain/Gingrichs indiscretions. Corporations not only have a say in whom gets elected, they also use their money to employ lobbyists to write bills stocked full of loop holes and over ambiguity, to the point congressmen and senators can no longer decipher (no bother to read, with the some bills now approaching a whopping 1000 pages and usually a short period provided to read it,) the language.

Furthermore, the process of election to either house or presidency isn't proportionate. That is to say, for a country that claims to be free and pure democracy, some votes just don't mean a damn. Proudly I will assert that New Zealand (:D) and Germany employ a system that is proportionate to a few percent, votes for a member or a political party directly translate to a percentage of power. This allows minor parties with special interests, namely the greens, Maori party, NZfirst, to determine bills and represent minority groups.

Without this facility available in the US, the political system has skewed and become polarized. The right slips further right and now, it seems, the left slips further left. This basically provides a premise for perpetual grid lock.

Now earlier Snoink mentioned the tea party, and what an observation to make. The parallels between the TP and OWS are clear. With that considered, why wouldn't you support OWS? (Assuming you are liberal.) With the way the TP saboteurs entered with 10% of the voting rights in congress, and consequently voted down any bill with Obama's name on it, why wouldn't you support Occupy. The longer they Occupy, the louder the message gets, and the more votes for recall elections and liberal candidates. If you think they aren't achieving anything, consider what you are doing right now. You are reading someone elses opinion on the matter and engaging in a healthy debate.

Don't buy into the crap on the news. Big money owns D.C. but they also own the media corporations. I have lost count of the number of times I have been watching the news and a hippy at OWS makes a statement of grand hyperbole then as he/she begins to explain their point the footage is cut short, leaving the world with an image of filthy drum circles and homeless people leading the cause. I was in Seattle when the movement was beginning and let me say, the crowd was diverse and they had some good ideas.

The shutting down of the protests reinforces my belief that the USA is a very right wing country. They clutch at their precious Bill of rights, but neglect to truly understand or advocate the amendments. And the media show riots, what sparked the riots? Were they rioting before the tear gas. Opinion is divided on this one, Wolf Blitzer and Steve Doocy are on one side and the people who were on the scene seem to be on the other.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:46 pm
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inkwell says...



Kamas wrote:No need to double blade your argument, I never said I didn't care. Ignoring harm on people is unnecessarily cruel, I just feel it's hard to take the concerns of OWS concerning police corruption seriously with the backdrop of the Arab Spring. I understand there are missteps that have been made and I certainly don't think the fact someone only broke a bone therefore should be disregarded.


Could you explain this? I think it's the heart of what you're arguing at the moment, but I frankly don't understand a bit of it.

Here's a snippet from a very recent Psychology Today article(I want to draw your attention to the bold):

The video is shocking. (See it here.) A line of students sits on the ground, heads bowed. A police officer dressed in riot gear walks up to them, holding a pepper spray gun. He theatrically raises his arm, as if about to carry out an execution, and presses the trigger. A foul-looking orange spray shoots out.

Methodically, deliberately, he walks to the end of the line, saturating each student. He might as well be casually spraying bug spray. When he reaches the end he begins walking back in the other direction, spraying each of them again. The students huddle in obvious pain. People in the crowd nearby gasp in shock and began chanting, "Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!"

This event is powerfully symbolic. It is about contempt from those in power and the wanton use of force against the powerless.

We have seen similar things over and over again in the past few years. We have seen it in banks lobbying for public handouts and then denying relief to millions of exploited homeowners. We have seen it in tax breaks and bonuses for the rich while millions of Americans are out of work. We have seen it in church and university officers abusing children and then covering it up. We have seen it in the censorship of climate science performed in the public interest. We have seen it in the absurd declaration that corporations are "people" and entitled to spend billions of dollars to elect representatives that they will then own. We have seen it everywhere we turn.

The police officer is Congress. Our banks. Our clerics.

The students are us.

If I had to sum up the attitude of America's governing classes in one word, I would say: contempt.

We are seeing the beginning of a worldwide movement to fight for dignity and intelligent, collective governance. It is remarkable, the parallels between what we see in Tunisia, in Cairo, in Rome, in Zucotti Park, in Oakland, California, and now at UC Davis.


Is there anything really separating us, Kamas? Borders, sure. But that's about it. I mean, I've seen the videos surfacing from this year's Syrian protests. They make me want to vomit. Don't misunderstand me to say that Americans are struggling against the same severity of abuse. Is it not the same struggle, though?

@Paul:
Great points. The pizza thing is such a telling and enraging example, if not funny.

The only thing I think you might want to reconsider is over-labeling this as a right-wing problem.

Furthermore, the process of election to either house or presidency isn't proportionate. That is to say, for a country that claims to be free and pure democracy, some votes just don't mean a damn. Proudly I will assert that New Zealand D) and Germany employ a system that is proportionate to a few percent, votes for a member or a political party directly translate to a percentage of power. This allows minor parties with special interests, namely the greens, Maori party, NZfirst, to determine bills and represent minority groups.


^ I'd like to add the idea of instant runoff elections too.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:36 pm
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Kamas says...



inkwell wrote:
Kamas wrote:No need to double blade your argument, I never said I didn't care. Ignoring harm on people is unnecessarily cruel, I just feel it's hard to take the concerns of OWS concerning police corruption seriously with the backdrop of the Arab Spring. I understand there are missteps that have been made and I certainly don't think the fact someone only broke a bone therefore should be disregarded.


Could you explain this? I think it's the heart of what you're arguing at the moment, but I frankly don't understand a bit of it.

Here's a snippet from a very recent Psychology Today article(I want to draw your attention to the bold):

We are seeing the beginning of a worldwide movement to fight for dignity and intelligent, collective governance. It is remarkable, the parallels between what we see in Tunisia, in Cairo, in Rome, in Zucotti Park, in Oakland, California, and now at UC Davis.


Is there anything really separating us, Kamas? Borders, sure. But that's about it. I mean, I've seen the videos surfacing from this year's Syrian protests. They make me want to vomit. Don't misunderstand me to say that Americans are struggling against the same severity of abuse. Is it not the same struggle, though?



Your answer sir. (Slightly graphic, young'uns)

So to elaborate, no not the same thing. Not in the least. OWS is fighting what they view to be corruption, but if you're going to say that fundamentally we're fighting the same thing you're barking up the wrong alley. There's a big difference between repression and murder, massacre even, vs. the unfair distribution of money OWS is protesting, as well as the corruption of a few rough and tumble police officers.
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Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:35 pm
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StellaThomas says...



My opinions are largely in response to the OccupyDameStreet Movement, since that's the one I'm familiar with, rather than the Wall Street equivalent.

Honestly, I think I'm annoyed about the movement claiming to speak for 'the 99%.' They're not the 99%. They are a small proportion of the 99%. But the rest of them are getting on with their lives. Ireland got hit bad by the recession, yes. We found out that the bankers and builders and politicians in whom we had put our trust had been passing brown envelopes to each other behind our backs.

So we did the democratic thing. We threw the politicians out of government. As for the builders, the case of Seán Quinn has been followed with bated breath and fury here. But are people like Seán Quinn (who basically borrowed billions to set up his Empire and marinate in his own juices, only to declare bankruptancy in Northern Ireland rather than the Republic so he's still allowed to set up business here) going to listen to the people camping on the street? Of course not. He is a greedy man. When he borrowed that money he was greedy and now he has lost it he'll continue to be greedy. It's the people like Seán Quinn who are the '1%' as far as I can see, and the movement isn't going to change their way of thinking at all.

Then here, I'm just angered by ODS' general lack of direction. They say they want the IMF out of our proceedings- but they offer no alternative. I'm pretty sure that the government can't see an alternative either, otherwise they wouldn't have taken the bail-outs. Saying, 'We want the IMF out' is all very well, but does that mean that the IMF is going to pack their bags and leave? On top of this, some of the members of the movement began to verbally abuse my friends when we were charity-collecting for the local hospitals- telling them that it was wrong to be taking money for any government institution. Which seems to me to be a rather warped view of the world. To combat the corruption is one thing, but to simply oppose everything the government does is quite another...

So no, I don't particularly support the movement because, at least here, unrest and annoyance has been evident the entire time, and I'm more inclined to support those that have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis- the ones sleeping on the streets without the tents that ODS have.
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Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:06 am
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inkwell says...



Kamas wrote:Your answer sir. (Slightly graphic, young'uns)

So to elaborate, no not the same thing. Not in the least. OWS is fighting what they view to be corruption, but if you're going to say that fundamentally we're fighting the same thing you're barking up the wrong alley. There's a big difference between repression and murder, massacre even, vs. the unfair distribution of money OWS is protesting, as well as the corruption of a few rough and tumble police officers.



Yes. We've already distinguished the degrees of abuse. Please focus on the protest themselves for a moment. (Also: I think you're being too facetious in this discussion).

It really goes back to what has been touched on by others. Just to say that they're worse off somewhere else is not a reason to say that Americans should shut up and lie down. They want democracy, we want democracy. They want justice, we want justice. I don't see why you must pick and choose one protest over the other. Or are you saying that you honestly don't agree with OWS's grievances?
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