Zuccotti Park

POSTED BY ORHAN

Whatever happens now to the grand experiment in authentic democracy that is #OccupyWallStreet, much has been achieved.

For those who experienced the hierarchy-free and consensus-based direct democracy of the General Assemblies, saw and lived the little anarchist society, based on mutual aid rather than personal profit, built with love and sweat on a tiny strip of land–we no longer believe another world is possible, we know it. For us normal existence under capitalism–existence for the accumulation of wealth and power–no longer holds any fascination; like the mummy exposed to fresh air, it disintegrates, leaving only emptiness.

#OccupyWallStreet is under attack, and its physical manifestation will not stand. It is under attack by the Right; by the Liberal establishment–ostensibly Left–to whom #OWS is as dangerous as it is to the Right; by the political class, obsolete when a people think and decide for themselves; and most of all, by the corporate elites who stand above Left and Right, pulling the puppet-strings in the shadow-play called American politics.

So tomorrow, we keep going. Howard Zinn wrote the following lines for moments like these, and they never seemed more meaningful:

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

Update: Friday morning from the NY Times:

The cleanup of the Lower Manhattan park that has been occupied by protesters for nearly a month was canceled Friday shortly before it was supposed to begin, averting a feared showdown between the police and demonstrators who had vowed to resist any efforts to evict them from their encampment.

The announcement was made by the Bloomberg administration around 6:20 a.m., about 40 minutes before workers were scheduled to enter Zuccotti Park, which has been the home base for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators angered by what they see as an unfair and corrupt financial system.

58 responses to “Zuccotti Park

  1. Orhan,

    I ask this questiion not to challenge you, but out of honest curiosity.

    What is this movement’s end game? What do they hope to achieve?

    I understand the frustration and anger. The movement seems to me to be the left’s analogue of the Tea Party, but the Tea Party seems focused primarily on reducing the size and scope of the government.

    However, I am still having difficulty figuring out what the point of all this activity is. If it is to raise awareness. Check. They’re accomplishing that. But at some point the movement needs to focus it’s energies on something, anything, or it will die a slow (or violent) death.

    But please help me out here. Help me understand what tangible goals this movement is seeking.

    Again, I am not trying to find reasons to discredit the movement. Lord knows I’ve already had plenty of fun poking fun of it on my site. At this point I’m trying to just make some sense of it.

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    • Sean,
      Keeping in mind I’m no spokesperson for #OWS, I put up a post #OccupyWallStreet – Demands that repeated the only official statements made by #OWS re demands so far. Other than that, I think it’s safe to say one clear goal is end corporate (and especially Wall Street) domination of the American political process. (You’d have to accept the premise, of course.) One other thing I can tell you is that there are many different political philosophies represented, including Randians and Libertarians. For example, there’s a neatly-dressed, beardless Working Group (which I guarantee you’ll never see in the media, you’d have to go there in person) working on developing a Constitutional challenge to corporate power. Also a Working Group of Libertarians is busy developing a new currency…

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      • Interesting about the Libertarians angle on OWS, Ojmo – something I wouldn’t have known, so thank you. I honestly hope OWS becomes formidable because I enjoy a battle between the best ideas to see who wins.

        Time will tell.

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      • Thanks, Ojmo.

        The one area in the movement that resonates with me is the call to eliminate lobbying in the political process — both unions and corporations. I almost think it makes sense to just have a single, special fund, in which the candidates each get half, and spend as they like. No individual donations. No corporate donations, etc.

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        • Absolutely–get the cash out of the selection process, and maybe these folks will spend their time solving the country’s problems, instead of raising funds for the next election…

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    • Ojmo is such a nice person.

      “I ask this questiion not to challenge you, but out of honest curiosity… Again, I am not trying to find reasons to discredit the movement. Lord knows I’ve already had plenty of fun poking fun of it on my site. At this point I’m trying to just make some sense of it.”

      That reads to me like the “grown-up” version of “stop hitting yourself, nerd!”

      Smirk while you still can, sucker.

      Like

  2. You say “we no longer believe another world is possible, we know it.”

    With respect, what “other world?” All you guys have proved is that people can squat in a park, stay in it when they’re asked to be moved, and get on TV.

    I ask anyone in the “movement”: What laws have been changed, what prisoner’s been released, what White House or Wall Street crony has been fired, or what company now posted record losses forcing them to change practices as a result of your sit-in?

    50,000 people “sit in” at a football game with more focus and vigor than I’ve seen OWS achieve, and they’re organized enough that people (advertisers) are able to reach out to them and engage in a dialogue.

    What dialogue has occurred between this movement and those these consider its enemy? None whatsoever. Your “enemy” is laughing at you from the balconies of Wall Street (see video) and what I think is your real enemy – the cronies in the White House – are all saying, “Close one!” and patting themselves on the back for a successful diversion.

    If you guys want to pat yourselves on the back for basically squatting, go ahead, but I think it’s far too early to be popping the champagne or putting a “Mission Accomplished” banner over your heads. Maybe that changes in the future, but in my opinion it’s off to a ridiculously bad start.

    For the rest I defer to Sean’s question.

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    • With the caveat that I’m not a spokesperson for OWS, but a person who is deeply moved by it, I reply.

      “With respect, what “other world?”

      I feel the respect very strongly. I really felt it with your spokesman Sean, too.

      “I ask anyone in the “movement”: What laws have been changed, what prisoner’s been released, what White House or Wall Street crony has been fired, or what company now posted record losses forcing them to change practices as a result of your sit-in?”

      Maybe it’s a new world where every experience in life isn’t flattened out into a two-dimensional experience as quickly as possible.

      Maybe the new paradigm is one in which, rather than slamming one’s ego down in judgment on other people reflexively, people are able to actually connect with other human beings in a cooperative mode.

      Maybe it means that rather than demanding that huge, fundamental shifts in consciousness happen with a rigidly defined focus and on a tightly wrapped, arbitrary timetable, we take an organic approach to community, giving everybody a chance to get on the same page before we try to move forward.

      “50,000 people “sit in” at a football game with more focus and vigor than I’ve seen OWS achieve,”

      Well you know, people see what they want to see and what they’re intellectually and emotionally prepared for. In the new paradigm, maybe people are open to a broader spectrum of communication with others.

      “and they’re organized enough that people (advertisers) are able to reach out to them and engage in a dialogue.”

      Maybe in the new paradigm, people who are SICK AND TIRED OF MATERIALIST BULLSHIT dialogue with each other, leaving advertisers to GFY. Maybe we can create a world where money doesn’t drive our every thought and action. Almost like human beings or something.

      “What dialogue has occurred between this movement and those these consider its enemy? None whatsoever. Your “enemy” is laughing at you from the balconies of Wall Street (see video)”

      They say Marie Antoinette was shocked when they dragged her out into the streets. That was before the 24-hour cable news cycle, but again, people only see what they’re emotionally and intellectually capable of seeing.

      “and what I think is your real enemy – the cronies in the White House – are all saying, “Close one!” and patting themselves on the back for a successful diversion.”

      Wow, I missed the whole election? I mean, I know I’ve been writing a lot, but you’d think I’d have notice the whole “game over” thing coming to a final, sealed deal.

      “If you guys want to pat yourselves on the back for basically squatting, go ahead,”

      If you and Sean want to continue to be dismissive, arrogant tools, go ahead. Your bullying won’t stop this any more than ridicule stops a river.

      ” but I think it’s far too early to be popping the champagne or putting a “Mission Accomplished” banner over your heads. ”

      That’s a very old-paradigm sort of celebration. So if you’re waiting for that to happen, no, it won’t. That’s for two dimensional people who think everything in the world is black and white, and can be easily distilled into a Boolean query. That ship has sailed. It’s a journey, not a destination. I know, that’s really frustrating when you think life is really simple and people are all stereotypes.

      This movement may be a mass rejection of the kind of idiocy that would lead the POTUS to strap on a codpiece and stand on a warship under a banner that reads “mission accomplished.” Just throwing theories around.

      “Maybe that changes in the future, but in my opinion it’s off to a ridiculously bad start.”

      You know the old saying, opinions are like buttholes – everybody’s got one.

      “For the rest I defer to Sean’s question.”

      I would recommend that if you really and truly don’t get it, and believe you have tried to, that a “talk less, listen more” approach would probably work. Like set your own agenda aside and actually LISTEN to and OBSERVE other people. Note the difference between OBSERVE and JUDGE.

      Your friend in Christ,
      Xavier

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      • Xavier,

        My question to Ojmo was an honest, not a sarcastic one. I honestly don’t get the movement. Furthermore, I think your Marie Antoinnette analogy is WAY off base. The people in this movement aren’t the types who would overthrow the system. They seem too used to their creature comforts to take that risk. They get upset when people take their tents away. They are not “hard” men and women.

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        • “My question to Ojmo was an honest, not a sarcastic one. ”

          You know Sean, I’m not cognitively impaired. So when I see someone say something like, “Now that I’ve gotten all the derision and mocking out of my system regarding your viewpoint, what’s it all about?” I don’t read that as anything but bullying. Passive aggression is just another form of hostility. I don’t have any respect for it, though, so I just do either assertive or directly aggressive.

          “I honestly don’t get the movement.”

          I bet you don’t.

          “Furthermore, I think your Marie Antoinnette analogy is WAY off base.”

          Since by your own admission you don’t get what this conversation is about and I do, I’ll go ahead and agree to let you think whatever you want.

          “The people in this movement aren’t the types who would overthrow the system. They seem too used to their creature comforts to take that risk. They get upset when people take their tents away. They are not “hard” men and women.”

          One thing that this movement is about, for me, is dignity. And because this is Moe’s blog and not mine, out of respect for her, I won’t tell you my actual response to the above. Let it suffice to say that pigeonholing and stereotyping are not perhaps the wisest way to approach a group that you’d like to learn more about.

          In case you’d like to know who “we” are in real life and what we are or are not capable of, here are a few little facts about me.

          I’ve had PTSD since 1972. I’m a firefighter and paramedic. I am unmarried and have no family at all. A few years ago I had a small chip of a human skull get lodged in the tread of my boot, trapping some brain tissue in there. I had to find a little stick, wedge it in there, pop the bone fragment out, wipe my boot in the grass, step in a little puddle a few times, then go back to shoveling. When I was done, I ate a sandwich — after washing my hands, of course. I’m a stickler for hand hygiene. What I’m saying is you, Vern, and a Koch-funded schoolbus full of people with teabags clipped to their hats couldn’t make me cry. But enough about me.

          I don’t know you personally, either. You may be an epic badass. I’m really not. I’m soft in a lot of ways, when I get a chance to be. In the picture next to your post, you look like a man whose feet may be softer than my hands, and that may or may not be true. I’d like to recommend you go to an IVAW meeting and tell them how soft and ineffectual the OWS people are, solve that mystery once and for all.

          Xavier Onassis

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          • “One thing that this movement is about, for me, is dignity. And because this is Moe’s blog and not mine, out of respect for her, I won’t tell you my actual response to the above. Let it suffice to say that pigeonholing and stereotyping are not perhaps the wisest way to approach a group that you’d like to learn more about.”

            That’s fine. Feel free to tell me what you really think at: http://reflectionsofarationalrepublican.com/2011/10/05/my-occupy-wall-street-demands/

            “I’ve had PTSD since 1972. I’m a firefighter and paramedic. I am unmarried and have no family at all. A few years ago I had a small chip of a human skull get lodged in the tread of my boot, trapping some brain tissue in there. I had to find a little stick, wedge it in there, pop the bone fragment out, wipe my boot in the grass, step in a little puddle a few times, then go back to shoveling. When I was done, I ate a sandwich — after washing my hands, of course. I’m a stickler for hand hygiene. What I’m saying is you, Vern, and a Koch-funded schoolbus full of people with teabags clipped to their hats couldn’t make me cry. But enough about me. ”

            I’m not impressed.

            “In the picture next to your post, you look like a man whose feet may be softer than my hands, and that may or may not be true. I’d like to recommend you go to an IVAW meeting and tell them how soft and ineffectual the OWS people are, solve that mystery once and for all.”

            Since I had the opportunity to march tens of miles through rugged terrain with an 85-pound ruck during training until my feet bled, my feet have an extra layer of calloused skin. Every time I went to the field, I slept under the stars, sometimes in freezing temperatures, and always without a tent. Once, during a military exercise, I split open my chin when it hit my 0.50 calibre machine gun. I didn’t notice, until the humvee driver saw my blood pooling on the floor of the humvee. I closed my chin with duct tape and fought for another 3 hours until the mission was over. It was only then that the medics stitched me up. On another occasion, my humvee driver flipped our humvee after making a sharp turn, after which I was briefly reported dead. Fortunately, I survived the incident, a wrecker put the vehicle back on its wheels, and I continued my mission.

            But I’m not remotely anything close to a badass. My friend who pulled his buddy’s head out of a wrecked humvee after an IED attack is. Another friend who led a 9-man team on a rooftop against 75 insurgents in Afghanistan, and killed every last one, is also a hero.

            Why do I think these protestors are soft? Because in comparison to the hard men I know, they would not stand a snowball’s chance. That’s why.

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        • Yes indeed, #OWS is a non-violent movement; not sure why the comment about the tents, though; with respect to Zuccotti Park, tents were never permitted in the park at all. That was also the problem with “cleaning” the park; the protesters were told that sleeping bags (and other gear) would be prohibited when they were allowed to return; occupying the park through the winter under those conditions would be problematic to say the least.

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      • Yes, the notion that the market can satisfy all human needs, that we can commodify every aspect of our existence and still maintain our humanity, has to go…

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    • [What laws have been changed, what prisoner’s been released, what White House or Wall Street crony has been fired, or what company now posted record losses forcing them to change practices as a result of your sit-in?]

      Vern – a bit early to measure outcomes? In any case, the target isn’t those guys on the balconies. The target is the corner office where criminal acts are committed every day under cover of laws passed by the policitcal class nearly owned by those in the corner office.

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      • “a bit early”
        Agreed, Moe. Very early, but I’m just saying. I’m not going to celebrate anything until something significant happens. Until then, “I’m one of the 53%.” 🙂

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        • Hey Vern, it’s Xavier again. I wanted to mention one other thing. The irony is patently obvious to me.

          “I’m not going to celebrate anything until something significant happens. Until then, “I’m one of the 53%.”

          The “53%” people, those who absolutely refuse to fight for the rights of us all, operate under the delusion that they contribute, work and sacrifice so that those lower on the totem pole can ride free. The 53% crowd aggressively fights to maintain the status quo, where the richest 1% owns our government and enslaves us all.

          When — not if, WHEN the OWS people force a change toward equity, the 53% people will share in those benefits. All of you who ridicule, scoff and obstruct remember which team you were playing for all along. You’ll still get the benefits. But make sure that every time you look in the mirror you say, “Now there’s a person who let others work and sacrifice so I could benefit from their contributions.” Just make real good and sure you stay honest about who the freeloaders are.

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        • HEY VERN I’M TALKING TO SEAN NOW, FYI.

          Sean

          “I’m not impressed.”

          I wasn’t asking you to be impressed. I was confronting the stereotype you threw out, which was pure bullshit.

          “Since I had the opportunity to march tens of miles through rugged terrain with an 85-pound ruck during training until my feet bled, my feet have an extra layer of calloused skin…”

          Well good for you, Sean. Remember when I mentioned that I don’t know you, and that I could be wrong, because I’m just judging from a thumbnail? That wasn’t just rhetoric, I meant it. That’s part of the new paradigm that I see in OWS. Recognizing that people are 3-D, and you really don’t know what’s inside them until you find out. It’s a skill that can be learned and practiced. And incidentally, I don’t think all of the OWS people have it 100% mastered, either.

          In terms of the war stories, I didn’t read them. I listen to a lot of trauma stories from a lot of different people, including combat veterans as well as cops and firefighters, who basically stay deployed continually for decades.

          If you want me to engage with your trauma I will hear out anything and everything you’d care to share, but only in the context of two 3-D people trusting and respecting each other.

          Is that what you want? If not, what is your goal in sharing such experiences? If you want to shock me or make my cry, good luck. If you want to relate to me as a human being, like I said, I’m as soft as people let me be.

          “Why do I think these protestors are soft? Because in comparison to the hard men I know, they would not stand a snowball’s chance. That’s why.”

          Yeah, that’s definitely your option. If you want to continue thinking of people as 2-D stereotypes there’s no law against it.

          Xavier Onassis

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      • The only quibble I have with your assessment, Moe, is the inclusion of the word “nearly”…;-)

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    • Well, if you wanted to, you could attend a General Assembly yourself, and explain to all why the politicians, not the corporations, are the real enemy. Your voice would be heard, and the assembly would listen to and at least consider your ideas. Granted, it would be a very hard sell, but at minimum you’d gain a deeper understanding of, and possibly appreciation for, the meaning of the terms “non-hierarchical” and “consensus-based”.

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      • Not sure if this was @ me, Ojmo? My position is that the politicians are the real enemy because they, ultimately, are the lawmakers. If we want them to make better laws, or enforce those laws more effectively, then they should be the ones we are protesting.

        Also to me, life isn’t non-hierarchial. That sounds all nice and rosy, but reality is life’s survival of the fittest, and the majority of these whiners are those who were already at the bottom of the pile, and will forever stay there. They should just be thankful we don’t let them starve off somewhere.

        Maybe the Eugenicists were onto something? Haha! Oh well, back to work.

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        • Yes, I was suggesting you have more experience with non-hierarchical ways of relating to others; but somehow I sense you’re not with me on this one, Vern…;-)

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          • In some ways yes, some ways no, Ojmo, as far as relating to others. I definitely don’t have my “compassionate hat” on today That’s Monday. 🙂

            As for being “with you” on your comment, I actually think I am. You say that after being down at the assembly, you believe the primary goal is to end the Wall Street domination of the political process. I easily agree with that premise, I just think it’s got one arm tied behind it’s back at the moment and take exception to the bulk of the people being called “heroes” just yet, that’s all.

            You make a very solid point, though – one really needs to get down to one of these things to really get a sense of who’s there and what’s going on. Libertarians coming up with a new currency? That’s one I have to see up close! (And here I was anxiously awaiting the Amero! ;))

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  3. “Like set your own agenda aside and actually LISTEN to and OBSERVE other people.”

    Thanks, Tips. Funny how thin-skinned some people are when people criticize to even a 10th a degree their little movement compared to the Tea Party when it was going. Yet the Tea Partiers went through it and for better or worse things changed.

    One thing with the Tea Party vs. OWS, the Tea Party never pretended to say that they were “me”, or that they represented me. OWS ISN’T the “other” 99% yet arrogantly claims to be. How do I know that? Because only 9% of the country is unemployed enough to fill a flea bag in some park somewhere for weeks on end.

    Like I said, I hope they get their act together and become a serious movement.

    On a positive note, this came across my reading…

    Geithner: Action Against Wall Street Coming
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65969.html

    Putting the irony of this aside, perhaps things are happening.

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    • “Thanks, Tips.”

      You’re welcome, Sneers. Since we’re giving each other little love names based on what we have to offer.

      “Funny how thin-skinned some people are when people criticize”

      I thought you were asking what it was all about? Was it merely criticism that we were not supposed to respond to? Funny how sometimes people think someone is thin skinned when they rebut bullying.

      Funny how little of the concepts I articulated you actually grasped or addressed. I counted zero. But I did get an attitude critique, which was worth every penny I paid for it.

      I will stand up to you not because I’m thin skinned — which would be a really hard case to make if you knew anything about me at all — but because what you are peddling is the problem destroying our country. Here’s a standing invitation for you, my tea sipping friend. Take any shot at me personally in the entire world, to your heart’s content. Please believe me, I would never ask you to pull your punches. I’m not afraid of anything you’ve got.

      Your ideology is a house of cards. I’ll be happy to debate you on facts and reality, things that are proveable and objectively demonstrable. And you’re free to critique me personally, i.e., the thickness of my skin, whatever other character traits about me you find unappealing. And I will take a flamethrower to the ideological house of careds that is the tea party. As Bush once said, “bring it.” Except unlike Bush I have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and take the hit myself when I say it.

      “One thing with the Tea Party vs. OWS, the Tea Party never pretended to say that they were “me”, or that they represented me.”

      Uh. That statement boggles the mind. And I’m sure the opinions you’ve stated here all make sense to somebody. Some “real American” who lives in the “real America.”

      “OWS ISN’T the “other” 99% yet arrogantly claims to be. How do I know that? Because only 9% of the country is unemployed enough to fill a flea bag in some park somewhere for weeks on end.”

      Oh, is THAT what you think the 99% is? No wonder you don’t get it. That loud whistling sound was the clearly stated overview concept whizzing past your head at a high rate of speed.

      You ARE in the 99%. Because there’s no way you’re in the wealthiest 1% of society. Get it? We’re not saying 99% of the country is unemployed. We’re saying 99% of us are getting screwed by the to 1%. Get it? No? I can provide all kinds of facts and math if you’d like some study aids.

      “Like I said, I hope they get their act together and become a serious movement.”

      Hey thanks for the good wishes. I hope the tea party gets their act together too, goes to counseling and gets math tutoring.

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      • I’m confused.

        Am I Vern’s spokesperson or “sucker”?

        Please advise.

        It sounds like one of the critical premises of your ad hominem argument. So it is an important thing to clarify.

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        • Vern said he would defer to your questions, so you’re his spokesperson.

          As far as an ad hominem attack, you’re right. I shouldn’t have called you a sucker. I should have just called out the passive aggressive tone of your comments. Done.

          Xavier Onassis

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          • Xavier,

            You completely misread my question. Furthermore, I am anything but a passive aggressive person.

            In fact, I am a very aggressive person when challenged. I don’t start fights. But I certainly finish them. Feel free to pick a fight, but you might want to do it on my site. I don’t want to embarrass you in front of Moe.

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      • Hey Anonymous, thanks for the whining.

        Let me clarify something for you:

        1) Yes, I’m not one of the “wealthiest 1%” but that doesn’t automatically entitle the low-end 1% to act like they represent me or my views, or that they represent the 53%. In essence, it’s more like they represent the 9% of the country who’s unemployed right now. Maybe a few percentage points more. That’s hardly anything to be impressed by but if you want to idolize them, knock yourself out.

        2) OWS is spewing up the “oh how I’ve been victimized by life” arguments down on Wall Street and you’re doing the “oh how I’ve been victimized by life here”. Sorry life has sucked for you so far, but others have it far worse and they’re not whining for the sake of whining.

        3) For the record, I’m not necessarily a Tea Party supporter. I do, however, have respect for the fact that they’ve actually ACHIEVED SOMETHING despite the whiny-assed criticisms thrown at them from the very beginning. I like the fact that they shower, hold jobs, and VOTE. If your movement does the same I’ll be the first to give it credit but until then they still just sound like a bunch of whiners and bums, like you do.

        Brains in your boot? Seriously? Everybody’s got their sad stories so please spare me yours.

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        • “Hey Anonymous, thanks for the whining.”

          Hey Vern. Actually it’s me again, Xavier Onassis. I’m posting anonymously right now because I’m on a different computer where I can’t sign in. I don’t have good enough computer skills to be in Anonymous, or I totally would.

          “Let me clarify something for you:”

          Yay! I love education.

          “1) Yes, I’m not one of the “wealthiest 1%” but that doesn’t automatically entitle the low-end 1% to act like they represent me or my views,”

          So you’re saying that 1% of the population supports OWS? That doesn’t sound right at all, where did you get that number? That almost seems like something you might have made up. You saw the Fox News poll where 70% of their viewers supported OWS, right? I think that number is even higher on the left. It’s definitely higher than 1% overall, which orifice did you pull that number out of?

          ” or that they represent the 53%.”

          Yeah, that 53% number is problematic. It’s basically a distortion designed to trigger an emotional response among people who refuse to acknowledge the contributions of others. It’s just wrong-headed in too many ways to address right now.

          “In essence, it’s more like they represent the 9% of the country who’s unemployed right now. Maybe a few percentage points more. That’s hardly anything to be impressed by but if you want to idolize them, knock yourself out.”

          Actually we specifically represent the working poor, i.e., all the people who work at Wal-Mart, gas stations, fast food chains, etc. And I don’t idolize them, I’m one of them, and am not interested in being idolized.

          “2) OWS is spewing up the “oh how I’ve been victimized by life” arguments down on Wall Street and you’re doing the “oh how I’ve been victimized by life here”. Sorry life has sucked for you so far, but others have it far worse and they’re not whining for the sake of whining.”

          Thanks for that! I’m on my dinner break, and I needed the laugh. It kind of seems like “whining” in this conversation is going to be a euphemism for “expressing views that Vern doesn’t like.”

          “3) For the record, I’m not necessarily a Tea Party supporter. I do, however, have respect for the fact that they’ve actually ACHIEVED SOMETHING despite the whiny-assed criticisms thrown at them from the very beginning.”

          Yes, those scrappy litle “come from behind” underdogs, the tea party. Hey I read something interesting about them the other day in Forbes:

          “After all, the Tea Party is not an organic uprising of ordinary Americans. It is the result of decades of political bricklaying both outside the electoral process and within the tightly woven local grassroots electoral process. The cabal of conservative think tanks and legislative groups like ALEC as well as an elaborate web of special interest groups such as the anti-tax lobby headed by Grover Norquist, all provide fertile soil for national electoral success.”
          http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/09/26/the-decline-of-populist-left-rise-tea-party/

          It is really a triumph of the human spirit, how they managed to take over the GOP with only the world’s richest people backing them.

          “I like the fact that they shower, hold jobs, and VOTE. If your movement does the same I’ll be the first to give it credit but until then they still just sound like a bunch of whiners and bums, like you do.”

          So wait, Vern, while you’re clarifying for me. Are you saying that I don’t shower, work, or vote? Or just that I don’t sound like I do? You may want to get a hearing check done, especially since you keep hearing a whining sound that isn’t there, too. Might be tinnitus.

          “Brains in your boot? Seriously? Everybody’s got their sad stories so please spare me yours.”

          Well gee Vern, I hate to say it but that wasn’t the best job of reading comprehension you’ve ever done. As I mentioned in the story, I was so upset that after I finished putting her into the body bag and dropping her at the morgue, I washed my hands and ate lunch. Now, if that sounds to you like I was sad, then it’s easier to understand why you think some of the other things you think.

          So not to get too factual on you, because I know how that messes up your whole house of cards, but that was a direct response to Sean’s assertion that people like me are too soft to be effective when the going gets tough. Not only was I neither talking to you nor looking for sympathy, I was playing that pesky REALITY card about who I am in real life, and how effective I might be when the rubber meets the road.

          So lest your sacred cows go unslaughtered, I’ll drop a REALITY card on you, too.

          Before I do, I’ll offer to put in big letters at the top when I’m talking to somebody else, to spare you. Ok, and just so Sean doesn’t then have to post about why don’t I stop bragging and spare him:

          HEY SEAN I’M TALKING TO VERN NOW, RESPONDING TO THE STEREOTYPES HE THREW OUT, NOT YOUR ONES. SO DON’T READ IT IF YOU WANT TO BE SPARED.

          I am a paramedic. As a healthcare provider, personal grooming and hygiene are part of that lifestyle, as are drug testing and criminal background checking. Remember I told Sean I’m a stickler for hand hygiene? I really am. Respiratory hygiene, too. I have voted in every federal election since I turned 18, and almost every local election. I even have DOD security clearance, as I have recently worked on a military installation. I own a home, and pay taxes. I AM THE 99%

          Your Friend In Christ,
          Xavier Onassis

          Like

      • “Your ideology is a house of cards.”
        Really? Because based upon your profession I know I make at least 3x as much as you, feed more people than you, and care for more people financially who go beyond my immediate family. .

        You’re in the helper-profession, I respect that. I’m more/less in the financial profession which isn’t as honorable but spare me your judgment of what’s thoughtfully kept me from every single economic challenge you suffer from because I 1) didn’t try and blame someone for my circumstances (which weren’t always cozy, btw), and 2) I worked not just to sustain myself, but also get ahead and create a better life for others.

        Like

        • “Your ideology is a house of cards.”

          “Really?”

          Yes Vern, Really. See below.

          “You’re in the helper-profession, I respect that. I’m more/less in the financial profession which isn’t as honorable but spare me your judgment”

          Hold the phone, Vern. I wasn’t holding myself out as more honorable than anyone else based on my profession. I mentioned it to rebut Sean’s assertion that people like me aren’t tough enough to be effective, and your assertion that we’re dirty and don’t pay taxes or vote.

          I wasn’t judging anyone based on profession, and I try not to judge people at all, on that level. Since you’re the one doing the judging, maybe you could just stop judging me, yourself, and everybody else and spare us all.

          “of what’s thoughtfully kept me from every single economic challenge you suffer from because I 1) didn’t try and blame someone for my circumstances ”

          Jumpin Jehosephat Vern, do you ever actually listen to other people? Or do you just make up 100% of who the other person is and what they think and say? Cause I have to say, you don’t know a damned thing about my personal financial circumstances, and since I haven’t discusssed them beyond saying I own a home and pay taxes, I haven’t blamed anyone for anything in my life. I suffer from what and blame who? Focus, man. Copy and paste what i said that you’re referring to, or cop to the fact that you’re just making stuff up.

          Which brings us to the house of cards. Step one in building a house of cards is disconnecting from reality. Numerous examples of that above. Pigeonholing everybody in the world into one stereotype or another puts you at a real disadvantage in life, because a lot of the time your ideas about other people are just plain wrong. And when you talk to people the way you’ve talked to me, a lot of people are going to go, wow, what a dick, and then look for ways to screw you. Because whether or not you get it, the way you think about others comes off as “screw you.”

          The bigger problem, though, is the idea that money equals virtue.

          “Really? Because based upon your profession I know I make at least 3x as much as you”

          “the low-end 1%…That’s hardly anything to be impressed by but if you want to idolize them, knock yourself out.”

          “50,000 people “sit in” at a football game with more focus and vigor than I’ve seen OWS achieve, and they’re organized enough that people (advertisers) are able to reach out to them and engage in a dialogue.”

          Rich people aren’t morally superior. Poor people aren’t lazy trash. Everybody in the world isn’t a fucking cardboard cutout who exists only to play their assigned role in your idiotic narrative.

          Money isn’t the root of all evil — the LOVE of money is. Gaming the system to the point where you starve and kill people all over the world so you can grab up more money than you could possibly spend in 50 lifetimes doesn’t make you virtuous, it makes you an asshole. That’s who the 1% is Vern, the world’s biggest assholes.

          They’ve rigged the game to the point where they have half of all the money in the world. In other words, if all the money in the world is a pizza with 10 slices, we pay for half and they pay for half. Then we all share 1 piece and they take 9. Is that what you call whining, thinking that’s fucked up? Did they get that money fairly, or did they use dirty tricks?

          I guess they neglected to factor in that we outnumber them 99:1. We’re done taking their shit, Vern. 99:1 = house of cards.

          Like

  4. I was concerned that the proposed clean-up would exacerbate tensions between police and the OWS demonstrators. I’m relieved that it was cancelled.

    Like

  5. Damn…..

    That’s alot of comments!….

    I just came from Dave’s Oligarch Kings….

    My advice….

    Let the thing run….

    The more cops vs protestors the more media and crowds…

    Let the Wall Street Bosses suffer a little after all the stuff they’ve done….

    Like

  6. VERN – THIS REPLY IS TO SEAN NOW

    Sean

    “You completely misread my question. Furthermore, I am anything but a passive aggressive person.”

    You know, what’s really interesting is that when I went to copy and paste the snotty, passive-aggressive part of your post, I found that it has been edited out. I’m referring to the part where you said you were being sincere and not trying to make fun, because you’ve already done that plenty on your own blog.

    So the question then is, did you remove the rude part of your original post? And if so, does that mean you’d like to start over on a different footing?

    “In fact, I am a very aggressive person when challenged. I don’t start fights.”

    Yeah, actually you did start this one. The question is do you want a do-over where we treat each other with respect, or do you want to double down on the hostility?

    “Feel free to pick a fight, but you might want to do it on my site. I don’t want to embarrass you in front of Moe.”

    There is nothing on this big blue marble that you could say or do that would embarass me. I suspect Moe doesn’t care so much for the unpleasantness. I’m not interested in having a flame war on your site, either. I have a limited amount of patience for arguing generally. Once it stops feeling like part of the solution I have no interest at all.

    Like

  7. “You know, what’s really interesting is that when I went to copy and paste the snotty, passive-aggressive part of your post, I found that it has been edited out. I’m referring to the part where you said you were being sincere and not trying to make fun, because you’ve already done that plenty on your own blog.”

    This was a statement of fact. It was an honest disclosure of the fact that I had posted snarky articles on the movement, yet that I was still interested in learning more. I certainly did not edit my comment. I don’t have the ability to do that on this site.

    “Yeah, actually you did start this one.”

    No, I did not. You did. I quote: “Smirk while you still can, sucker.”

    You came out of nowhere with an ad hominem attack. I wasn’t even talking to you. I was asking Orhan a very legitimate and honest question. I am happy to have an intelligent discussion, but when you make comments like this, I can do nothing other than fight back.

    “The question is do you want a do-over where we treat each other with respect, or do you want to double down on the hostility?”

    Focus on the issues, rather than demeaning everything I have to say, and I will certainly be happy to treat you with respect.

    Like

  8. Sean
    Would you be willing to post this link on your blog? I noticed you had some pictures of a small group of people on the street, and some other pictures that seemed to me pointedly unflattering. The balance might be good.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/14/8321580-the-awesome-moment

    For anyone who truly wants to understand what this is about and what it means to those of us who automatically got it, this video is a primer. It’s people of both genders, every race and age, every background, working together and finding new ways to communicate. The way we deal with and talk to each other has to change.

    XO

    Like

    • XO,

      I would be happy to post both links, but I don’t think it would achieve balance. I simply think it would reconfirm both sides’ views of the movement.

      To me, efforts to connote the movement with the Arab Spring seem a bit much. While social networking may have enabled both revolutions, Arabs were reacting to skyrocketing food prices and a distinct lack of a representative system, more than anything else. Here, even poor people are fat. The movement certainly has its grievances, but they do not seem on par with those of the Arab Spring.

      Second, the first video may look like a demonstration of police brutality to some, but a group of individuals desperately seeking victimhood to others. I fall into the latter camp.

      The last video also confirms some biases many of us hold about the movement, with students protesting against corporate interests with the very products that corporate interests provide them.

      With these caveats in mind, if you still think posting these videos will still help achieve some balance on my site, I will gladly post them. If you have a blog, I will even be happy to give you credit for the idea.

      Just let me know.

      Like

      • Sean

        I was really only talking about the second video. I agree to some degree that there was much greater inherent risk and sacrifice for those protestors.

        However. I also think that context is everything. Since we are the hegemon, the OWS action stands to benefit the protestors in other countries as well. I suspect that if you polled disenfranchised people around the world and asked them what they’d like US citizens to do, you’d get a response something like OWS. They bear the true brunt of our corrupt government.

        “Arabs were reacting to skyrocketing food prices and a distinct lack of a representative system, more than anything else.”

        I believe that this definitely applies to our citizens. Our system is broken. Our working class has become the working poor – the 47%. And our government dances with the one that brung them – the 1%.

        “The last video also confirms some biases many of us hold about the movement, with students protesting against corporate interests with the very products that corporate interests provide them.”

        This argument gets used a lot about the environmental movement, too. I don’t think it’s fair in either case. People are part of the society they live in. There isn’t really a feasible way for them to opt out of corporate America and still live within their homes and families. It’s difficult to impossible to abstain from corporate America, even for the Unabomber.

        “Here, even poor people are fat. ”

        That’s definitely a byproduct of the same corporate greed subject to the protest. I don’t know how much you’ve researched the American food supply. It’s a really insidious and disturbing problem; the more you learn about it the creepier it gets. Now that corporations are citizens, I’d like to prosecute ADM and Monsanto for crimes related to the food chain.

        “Second, the first video may look like a demonstration of police brutality to some, but a group of individuals desperately seeking victimhood to others. I fall into the latter camp.”

        I am not at all happy about the way the police are being used as pawns. Ask Moe, I recently wrote a feature-length piece about how OWS protestors need to re-think their attitude toward police. Here is a recent blog post where I take a pimp hand to prominent progressives who abuse the police:
        http://medic343.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/good-people-reporting-badly-drive-by-media-at-its-worst/

        However, the other side has been using the police (and soldiers) as pawns for a long ass time, which is a fundamental part of the problem. The interface of public safety, media, government, and citizens is the primary focus of my blog.

        “With these caveats in mind, if you still think posting these videos will still help achieve some balance on my site, I will gladly post them. If you have a blog, I will even be happy to give you credit for the idea.”

        I think that posting the second video would be a demonstration of good faith effort to be part of a respectful dialogue. Rachel Maddow is the person who should be credited for that idea, I got it from her blog.

        If you’d like to check out my blog you’re welcome to, it’s at http://www.medic343.wordpress.com. I’m working on a large, time-sensitive project regarding a local election in Renton, Wahshington right now. My partner in that is a marine veteran, former deputy sheriff, tea partier. It’s a First and Fourth Amendment issue, among other things, the tag is Mr. Fuddlesticks.

        XO

        Like

  9. Trader: I dream of another recession… Goldman Sachs rules the world.

    Like

  10. Orphan,

    From the original Subject post.

    ” For those who experienced the hierarchy-free and consensus-based direct democracy of the General Assemblies, saw and lived the little anarchist society, based on mutual aid rather than personal profit, built with love and sweat on a tiny strip of land–we no longer believe another world is possible, we know it. ”

    You are describing a commune. Historically they can only work with a small homogenous group. Every time it is tried with a large or diverse group it will always collapse. The occupation forces are large and diverse. The producers will tire of supporting the rest of the community. The hippie communes of the 70s had no longevity. The communes of the early North American colonies always failed.

    Like

    • True, Alan, most of the isolated communes trying to survive in the larger culture failed. And you’re correct in another sense: What you describe is what we already have right now–a system ruled by parasites who merely consume and produce nothing in return. That’s why we’re working on ridding ourselves of them. Beyond that, something I’m learning from all this is that there are different, better ways for human beings to relate to one another. No matter what we’re told, what this system calls normal human relations–the system of submission to authority above and domination of those below–is not normal, not natural, not “human nature”, and there are real alternatives.

      Like

      • “No matter what we’re told, what this system calls normal human relations–the system of submission to authority above and domination of those below–is not normal, not natural, not “human nature”, and there are real alternatives.”

        Beautifully put. Thanks for the insight.

        Like

  11. Pingback: Occupy Wall Street: Understanding the Movement | Reflections of a Rational Republican

  12. @XO,

    “I don’t know how much you’ve researched the American food supply. It’s a really insidious and disturbing problem; the more you learn about it the creepier it gets. Now that corporations are citizens, I’d like to prosecute ADM and Monsanto for crimes related to the food chain.”
    And how much of that is getting headlines? Docs like “Food, Inc.”, “The Future of Food”, and “The World According to Monsanto” were eye-opening and sickening at the same time. Was reading further about Monsanto in Mexico, but it appears that Mexico is fighting back:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/031295_Mexico_GMO_corn.html

    Like

  13. Vern

    I haven’t seen any of the things you referenced, but I’m especially interested in the one about Monsanto. I put them on par with Goldman Sachs, or possibly even above them, in terms of destructiveness and greed run amok. Horrifying, isn’t it? I don’t know if we’ll be able to undo what Monsanto has done. Two documentaries you might also like would be “The Corporation” and “Blood and Oil.” I look forward to seeing the link you provided when I get a chance. My foster parents were Mexican, so I have a beloved place in my heart for Mexico and its people.

    And your comment about the lack of media coverage, brings us right back to your original question.

    OWS is about letting the people who are so rich that they think they can do whatever they want find out that they are seriously outnumbered. We’re on to them. And we’re not having it. They want us to get out of sight? I bet they do.

    They have “the people’s mic” at OWS; the government told them they couldn’t use microphones or megaphones in their consensus-seeking meetings. So they worked together and used their individual human voices to convey messages far and wide. That’s what’s in the video I shared with Sean.

    Watch that clip and think of it in terms of a metaphor for society as a whole. When the richest 1% own all the national media outlets as they do now, it’s almost impossible for an ordinary person to get a story told, even if — and sometimes because — it’s really important. Part of that has been degradation of local news media. Remember when local news media used to do investigative reporting? The disappearance of that sort of media is no accident.

    However, we do outnumber them 99:1. So if we decide to ignore them and work together, we can create a whole new communication paradigm and they can GFY. We may not be able to get on the mic at Fox or CNN, but if every one of us stands in the street and shouts, we won’t need to.

    The people’s microphone requires that people (a) pay attention, (b) participate and contribute, (c) wait their turn/cooperate, and (d) be patient.

    Every one of those traits, if implemented by every citizen in America, would radically transform our society in ways that I suspect almost everyone, left right and center, would appreciate. Notice that the way things are now, only the 1% get their voice heard. In Zuccotti Park, every voice counts.

    XO

    Like

  14. I just read my way down this thread – which at first devolved into a bit of a shouting match but stepped back and became a genuine dialogue and ended with a sincere exchange of ideas.

    Nice. Really nice.

    Like

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