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Do you support the Occupy Wall Street movement?

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Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:24 am
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Attolia says...

This is a great discussion guys. I didn't have a strong opinion either way prior to reading this forum (and I'm not going to take sides right now), so this has been very interesting and beneficial to creep on. But, as I'm inundated with political theory in university right now (which I hate bc it's so dense and pretentiously taught, but nonetheless is invaluable background knowledge to have), this makes me want to pose a hopefully relevant question.

To quote Jefferson: Periodic revolution, β€œat least once every 20 years,” is β€œa medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” (good full quote here: ... Quote.EFEC ). Jefferson thought we needed violent revolution every generation to repel corruption and keep government healthy and just, a sentiment he likely got from Rousseau. I have to write a paper soon comparing and contrasting Rousseau's and de Tocqueville's perceptions of where democracy fails and how to best remedy it. Basically they thought the same thing: that a stagnant political elite inevitably comes to dominate democratic systems and inhibits social and political fluidity. They fail to absorb rising powers, and people have to go outside the system to met their demands ----> revolution. The difference between the two lies in that de Tocqueville was more idealistic and believed in the ability of the elite to reform enough to subvert the possibility of revolution. Rousseau believed that states were organisms with a limited lifespan - they emerge, reach maturity and prosperity, and decline; revolution is inevitable.

People were talking earlier of incorporating OWS's demands into a political platform/party in the attempts of enacting change from within. Personally, I am of the school that generally, significant change from within is difficult if not impossible. It relies on idealism to a certain degree - politicians who believe they can change the system, but find it easier said than done. In my studies, historically, most MAJOR structural reform has only ever been implemented from an single executive level (the likes of which our American political system does not have) or from revolution. (Glorious Revolution may be an exception but much violence had preceded it.) However, the history of America thus far may prove me wrong. We live in the longest lasting democracy to date and seem to still be prospering. Did we get something so right as to make ourselves an exception, or do we need revolution?

So, is America an exception to most historical examples - can we continue thriving with only gradual reform? Or is some type of internal revolution necessary to revamp the system? (OR are we doing alright, is this all moot because our system is fine?)

I personally see the two-party system as a huge downfall to our future prosperity, and I don't see that reforming anytime soon. But hey, America seems like such a weird phenomenon that I don't know what to believe about all this.
well you'll work harder
with a gun in your back!
for a bowl of rice a day

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Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:32 am
Lava says...

What amazes me is this global movement by 'the middle class'. It's seems like people are realizing that they too have a voice.

I don't know much about OWS and ODs and other O_S's but I do support the Jan Lokpal bill. What I'm apprehensive about is that this bill aims to create another body that looks into the corruption affairs. To me, that seems like another place where corruption begins.

Why corruption? Because it exists everywhere. Here are some of the things I've experienced. Not just a story.

1. I was driving my bike when a police dude caught me. I didn't have a license and he asked me to give him 200 bucks. Done.

2. I went to the RTO to take up my license test for my bike. The people in there told me to ask the unofficial folk stationed outside the building for the forms.
All documents ready, I went to the test area with my bike on the mentioned date. Fellow walked over to us and told a whole lot of things. I paid 500 bucks to get my license. Without having to drive.

3. I went with my mum for her passport renewal where the process involves applying online for a particular date. So we went on that date at 7.30 am (it opens at 9.00 am). And there was a whole Great Wall of China-long line of people. And they said our 'turn' wouldn't come today. The security folk said he could get us in for 500 bucks.

4. Colleges give you admission if you 'donate' a something over 5 lakhs.

5. The ration stores, where we buy rice, said they don't have a stock of certain rice. Give him 300 bucks and it will magically appear.

See, I'm not saying or justifying any of this. It is terribly wrong. But if you're stuck in the middle, there's no way around it. Especially when you need things. The thing is, it's huge amount over the years. And it's the middle class who have to pay because the poor get through via various freebies offered by the government and the rich are the ones who take in money. Everyone knows the rich hire tax 'consultants' who work out best strategies of tax evasion and the like. But it's that passive knowledge and people don't do anything about it. If you dared to voice out, those folks would send thugs over. Nope, not a story, 'tis true. So, it sucks.

Kamas, I agree. There are worse things happening all around us. Take Sri Lanka, our neigbouring country. And the host of refugees and Sri Lankan tamils. It's a terrible plight yes. But it's more like what you priotitize. Most people would of course prefer themselves and their community first. It's that humans are not altruistic by nature.

As to Pizza sauce. Wait, what? So, that's like calling soup a vegetable, or onion rings. A bill for that is absurd! You can't change things like that!
Pretending in words was too tentative, too vulnerable, too embarrassing to let anyone know.
- Ian McEwan in Atonement

sachi: influencing others since GOD KNOWS WHEN.

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Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:10 am
skwmusic says...

Alot of people obviously haven't done their homework. And for those who haven't done their homework I have a present. Fs! Haha don't you love it when school enters the holidays. Time to take out my red pen...

Red mark number 1: There is nothing wrong with making money.
I agree. People should be allowed to amass wealth. Do you really think that's what they're protesting? Do you see people holding signs against Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or Micheal Moore or Tom Cruise or any of these guys? They are not angry about rich people. They are angry about rich people using their moneys to turn our democracy into an oligarchy. They fund political campaigns and in return they get deregulations. Then when those politicians leave office they became "consultants" or "public affairs agent" (aka...LOBBYIST).

Red mark number 2: What have THEY done? What solutions do THEY propose?
Well have you looked at a f****** OWS sign? They're full of solutions! Haha just kidding although some of those signs do have solutions. Well first there is Wolf-PAC, a PAC dedicated to getting money out of politics, proposing an amendment that would limit campaign donations from a person/entity to $100. Also there is the 99 declaration which I haven't read in full but is basically a redress of grievances. But honestly to use that as an argument to me so ignores history. Did the MLK provide solutions to segregation beyond get rid of Jim Crow?

Red mark number 3: They're just a bunch of hippies!
Some of them I guess...I mean John Lennon was a hippie...and he was cool and all...oh right actual arguments. Well sure if you watch any mainstream media. If you watch the OWS episode of Vangaurd you'd get a different story. If you actually go down there you will see some pretty normal people from small business owners to college graduates in all fields who can't find jobs.

Now of course I do have some criticisms. Do I think they should be "occupying" wall street? I'm not too sure. I think a mass series of protests would be much more effective and in more well know places than Zucotti park (seriously I've been to New York like 5 times and I didn't hear about that place until OWS). You know places like Lincoln monument or Wash mon, or maybe even on wall street! I also agree to a certain extent that these are institutions who will do anything to stop the protests but the fact that there are institutions using cops in such an abusive manner and showing signs of being intimidated show that OWS is making progress. And though the Vangaurd OWS episode does show some organization, I think OWS needs to take it even further. I'm not sure if elected officials is the way to go since the system seems to corrupt people of all kinds, but having a more organized institution will definitely improve effectiveness and public image.
"I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." -George Carlin

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Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:13 am
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Nate says...

Just as a reminder, please no vulgarity in comments.

At any rate, my brother and I went to check out an OWS encampment down at McPherson Square in DC a few months ago. My opinion? I won't get into politics or anything like that at the moment, but I will say I'm doubtful many of them could write a critique half as good as your average YWSer.

Then again, that's probably an unfair comparison... YWSers tend to shower* ;)

* At least, I hope so!
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