A different flavor of Koolaid

They must be putting some good acid in the punchbowl at Zucchini Park.

Matt Stoller:

What do the people at #OccupyWallStreet actually want? What are their demands? For many people, this is THE question.

So let me answer it. What they want… is to do exactly what they are doing. They want to occupy Wall Street. They have built a campsite full of life, where power is exercised according to their voices. It’s a small space, it’s a relatively modest group of people at any one time, and the resources they command are few. But they are practicing the politics of place, the politics of building a truly public space. They are explicitly rejecting the politics of narrow media, the politics of the shopping mall. To understand #OccupyWallStreet, you have to get that it is not a media object or a march. It is first and foremost, a church of dissent, a space made sacred by a community. But like Medieval churches, it is also now the physical center of that community. It has become many things. Public square. Carnival. Place to get news. Daycare center. Health care center. Concert venue. Library. Performance space. School.

Few people, though an increasing number daily, have actually taken the time to go through a general assembly, to listen to what the people at #OccupyWallStreet actually want. General assemblies are the consensus-oriented group conversations at the heart of the occupations, where endlessly repeating the speaking of others is the painstaking and frustrating way that the group comes to make decisions. I spoke with a very experienced older DC hand who told me that he hasn’t been because he doesn’t have the patience of the young. This is as different a way of doing politics as distributed computing was to the old world of mainframes. So it isn’t surprising that the traditionalists are reacting as perplexed and dismissive of this new style of politics as the big iron types were with the rise of PCs.

I have been through a few general assemblies now, and they are remarkable because the point of the assembly is to truly put listening at the heart of decision-making. There’s no electronic amplification allowed in Zuccotti Square. So the organizers have figured out an organic microphone system. A speaker says a half a sentence, everyone in earshot repeats, until the whole park can hear that half a sentence. Then the speaker says another half a sentence. People use hand signals to indicate approval, disapproval, get a move on, or various forms of objections and clarifications. During these speeches, speakers often explicitly ask for more gender and racial diversity, which is known as “progressive stacking”.

At first it’s extremely… annoying. And time-consuming. But after a few hours, it’s oddly refreshing. I felt completely included as part of a community forum even though I had not been a speaker. But what I realized is that the act of listening, embedded in the active reflecting of what the speaker was saying, created a far richer conversational space. Actually reflecting back to one another what someone just said is a technique used by therapists, and by pandering politicians. There is nothing so euphoric in a community sense as truly feeling heard. That’s what the general assembly was about, not a democracy in the sense of voting, but a democracy in the sense of truly respecting the humanity of everyone in the forum. It took work. It took patience. But it created a communal sense of power.


This dynamic is why it’s so hard for the traditional political operators to understand #OccupyWallStreet. It must be an angry group of hippies. Or slackers. Or it’s a revolution. It’s a left-wing tea party. The ignorance is embedded in the questions. One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering “get a job” line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to “help” by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.

Matt was born in 1978, so he doesn’t remember the Sixties. Otherwise he might recognize some of the recycled ideas. All they need is some love beads and a few psychedelic VW mini-vans and they would fit right in Haight-Ashbury circa 1966.

OWS is dependent on the capitalistic society they reject. The protesters are not producing or earning anything. They are being supported by other people (parents, sympathizers) who work for wages. Cut off the flow of support and the protest would fold within a couple days.

They also make use of hi-tech toys and an infrastructure of electricity, cellular, Wi-Fi and internet that was built by capitalism. At least the hippies moved to communes where they grew their own food and supported themselves.

As for new political paradigms, I have yet to see anything worthwhile emerge from these “general assemblies” and “consensus-oriented group conversations.” Matt watched them spend hours discussing the issues of whether to accept endorsements (along with pledges of food) from a nurses’ union and a group of drag queens. Not surprisingly they accepted the endorsements.

BTW – Someone should tell Matt that Riverdaughter said it’s not just young people.

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150 Responses to A different flavor of Koolaid

  1. myiq2xu says:

    One of the first comments at Naked Capitalism:

    This reminds me of the early days of Peoples Park. Sans the political rhetoric. I hope someone decides to build some climbing and play things for the young ones.

  2. Mary says:

    Bringing up from below:

    Mother Jones article titled “Occupy Wall Street, Powered by Big Labor”

    Says the unions are sending food, busing members to protests (paid?), strategizing with OWS organizers.

    Unions also making BIG BUCKS donations to OWS to organize in more cities , etc. BIG BUCKS.

    Includes AFL-CIO, SEIU, Teamsters, NY State United Teachers, and more.

    When’s the last time Trumka visited the WH, or visited Axelrod/Plouffe in Chicago?

    • RD says:

      Yes, unions marched with us on Wednesday. BUT how and where they marched is significant. The OccupyWallStreet crowd marched from Zuccotti park to Foley Square. During that segment of the march, there were no unions. I take that back, the nurses came by and gave us some signs about taxing Wall Street transactions to pay for health care for all. They called their campaign “Heal America” and I liked it so I took a sign. But then they must have gone to Foley Square ahead of us because I didn’t see them marching with us.
      We met with the unions at Foley Square. There were teachers and laborers and writers and screen actors guild members and electricians, well, you get the idea. There were so many people there we were packed in like sardines and no one could hear a damn thing from the speakers. Then we marched to the financial district but couldn’t get on to Wall Street and ended up at Zuccotti park. Did the unions organize this? They organized their groups at Foley Square but not at Zuccotti park. Did I feel coerced, coopted, manipulated? No, no one proselytized that I could see. Did I feel surrounded by hippies and other counter culture types? No, there were definitely some hippy types there but most of the people I was surrounded by were over 30, well dressed, middle class, professional people who were working or unemployed adults.
      Yes, and I have the pictures to prove it.
      There was only one person who was pro-obama that I could see who was representing some campaign related org.
      I did not see Richard Trumka but it wouldn’t have bothered me if I had. The world needs unions too.
      But most people were just there to be heard. They are the 99% and they have been ignored for too long. If you are not a part of the investment class, you are part of the 99% too and you are welcome down there. All they ask is that you keep your political, religious and social views to yourself and that you see yourself as a much larger tribe of people who have been very badly used by the other 1%. If you can keep that in mind and that you are going to stand up for yourself and others, you will have a great experience.

  3. RD says:

    Well, myiq, I was too young to protest during the 60s too but I did have middle school teachers who had been to Woodstock.
    Both you and Matt have it wrong. The person who got the closest to what OccupyWallStreet is all about is Stuart Zechman on last night’s second hour of Virtually Speaking. I think you should listen to Stuart’s commentary all the way to the end.
    It’s definitely not a hippy movement. It is composed of people of all ages. I don’t think these people are going away. Just remember, myiq, that there are a lot of technologically savvy middle class people such as myself who were laid off. We have worked all of our lives and through no fault of our own, we’re now left with a lot of mental and physical energy and nowhere to direct it. And we’re not happy with the way we’ve been shafted.
    As Stuart said, this is a win-win occupation. The central question is: who are the police protecting on Wall Street? Why can’t you walk down there and protest their corruption? There are barricades to prevent ordinary citizens from walking down a public street. You can’t even protest as an individual. Why?
    So, the occupation will continue until the 99% are able to protest on Wall Street. If that happens, it will be a big protest and will be significant. If it doesn’t, it demonstrates the contempt that the 1% has for the rest of us and shows unambiguously who our government taxdollars are going to protect. That message is also significant.
    Meanwhile, as the occupation continues, there is the opportunity for people of all ages to get together and it becomes a nucleation site for something else. It all evolves over time as it should. No one knows what will happen but if this was only a place for immature adults and hippies to pass the dutchy on the left hand side, it would not have the feeling of solidity that it does. You will have participants passing in and out of the sites who will keep it going until we get the recognition and respect we deserve as the 99%.
    If you don’t think it is legitimate, if you feel people are being coopted, you own it to yourself and them to go find an occupation site and see for yourself if that’s the case.
    BTW, here’s a pic of a rally on Wall Street in 1918. You can’t do this today. We aren’t going to have another 9/11 and no one down there is into violence. So, why can’t we meet on Wall Street like this anymore?

    • myiq2xu says:

      Where do the Tea Partiers and Christian fundamentalists you despise fit in the 99% you claim to speak for?

      So let’s say the police let you hold a protest on Wall Street. A million people show up. Then what?

      • Mary says:

        They don’t, in her world. She hates them. I’m done. 🙂

      • RD says:

        Privatize religion, myiq. That’s all I’m saying. Keep it out of my face. And at occupywallstreet, they are firm believers in that. Privatize it. Public displays of religion divides people. You know it.
        Tea Partiers are about as welcome as liberal Democrats. No seriously. They aren’t interested in your political views. From what I understand, they threw the socialists out yesterday. They don’t want that kind of organizing.
        So, if you can stick by their rules, they are perfectly happy to have you. If you’re going down there to make a big stink about deficit reduction and the kind of people you think don’t deserve your hard earned taxdollars, they will politely tell you to leave.
        Same with any other political group.
        Their purpose is to get to Wall Street and make the bankers realize what they’re up against. If you can get with that program, you’ll do fine.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Their purpose is to get to Wall Street and make the bankers realize what they’re up against.

          So they do have a goal. Who decided that?

        • RD says:

          The stated goal is to occupywallstreet. There is one person who has been acting as a spokesperson and that is the goal. And that is not as simple as you think.
          Think about what it means to be able to cross the barricades and stand in front of the stock exchange in large numbers. What they are trying to do is almost impossible in this day and age. Why can’t you challenge the 1%? Who is protecting them? Why do they need protection from us? We are the vast majority of people who live here. They are nothing. So what gives??
          Those are the questions your readers should be asking. Why are the 99% unable to challenge the 1%?
          All this occupation is asking is that you stand with them.

        • WMCB says:

          Privatize it. Public displays of religion divides people. You know it.

          Yes, get rid of that pesky phrase “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof” All those Christians should be put under a DADT policy, not only for their place of employment, but for any public interactions whatsoever. You don’t mind them being Christians, they are allowed, so long as you personally don’t have to look at the *shudder* ickiness of it. Ya know, you’re not bigoted or anything, but must they display it? Where normal people like yourself have to see?

          Hypocrisy much?

        • myiq2xu says:

          The stated goal is to occupywallstreet. There is one person who has been acting as a spokesperson and that is the goal.

          Who decided on that goal? Who selected the spokesperson?

        • myiq2xu says:

          Their purpose is to get to Wall Street and make the bankers realize what they’re up against.

          Never mind that the worst offender (Goldman Sachs) isn’t even on Wall Street.

          What happens if you get there and “occupy” the street? Are you going to barricade the buildings? Burn them down?

          What’s the next step in the plan?

        • catarina says:

          Who decided on that goal? Who selected the spokesperson?

          *we, they, and us*

          try and keep up!

        • RD says:

          WMCB, you’re right. DON’T go to an occupy event. It’s clear that some people feel that religion is THE most important thing in their lives and they want it to be the most important thing in other people’s lives as well. and not just any religion. It has to be a religion that other people don’t really want shoved down their gullet.
          So, if you can only see the world through some god given filter, stay at home. You won’t feel comfortable because no one down there gives a damn what you think about god.

        • WMCB says:

          😀 Actually, RD, one of the few times I ever mention God or religion is when some authoritarian bigot starts opining how everyone ought to be made to shut up about it.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Actually most of Goldman Sachs these days is across the Hudson in New Jersey.

        • Three Wickets says:

          June Gallup says 92% of Americans believe in God. So 99% minus 92% would be 7%-ers…maybe less if you subtract non-religious conservatives. Then there are all the day-to-day working shlubs in the financial service industry, not a small number. If you want to go after Wall Street, you need to go after the top guys at the investment banks, private equity and hedge funds…also the government leaders who cover for them. Call these top people out specifically by name…probably 200-300 people who run the whole show. Cross check names with Elizabeth Warren or Neil Barofsky. Now that would be a worthy people’s movement. But 99%-ers who diss the 35% plus people in the country today who say they support the Tea Party movement…that’s just being arrogant or oblivious.

      • Mary says:

        Just to clarify: I was never banned. I LEFT, at the same time she ran YOU off, had her tantrum, and ran most of the posters away. She only had 5 or 6 people after that.

        It could have been a very teachable moment for her, but was not to be. Not surprising.

        Reading her today—-she hasn’t changed.

  4. WMCB says:

    Good Gawd. Our country is going down the drain, and these idiots are navel gazing over “creating a conversational space”, and “feeling community”

    Look, if you want to wander around giving dreamy handjobs to each other’s “sense of humanity”, that’s fine. Have fun. Enjoy. I got no problem with that. But recognize it for what it is. Nothing productive. Ooooo, yes, I used an unpleasant word that is likely to harsh your mellow: “productive”. Doesn’t it just reek of “received assumptions”, also known as actual reality?

    The Matrix was a movie, guys. In the real world, we are a country in trouble that needs some concrete solutions to some serious problems. People doing the right thing and enforcing laws and demanding specific accountability for specific actions out here in the “preset creekbed of modern capitalism.” You are not going to wake up tomorrow and find that you have miraculously, with your minds and feelings, broken through!!! the lie of what is!!!! to the real reality that you always knew was there!!!!!

    Nemo was a character, darlings. And Keanu Reeves made shitloads and shitloads of dirty nasty capitalist money for playing him. Which is most likely sitting right there on Wall Street, in various investments.

    • Mary says:

      “Dirty nasty capitalist money” ROFLMAO

      And Wall Street IS where he has invested it. Sheesh

    • RD says:

      Personally, I don’t think Matt has gotten over his love affair with DailyKos and OpenLeft. He doesn’t get the occupywallstreet phenomenon yet. Stuart Zechman does. So, it’s unfortunate that myiq posted Matt’s post.
      And believe me when I tell you that the unemployed people who were marching, including me, would much rather have a job to go to. But if you are not yet unemployed in this job market, you have no fucking idea how hard it is yet. I got merit awards for the past two years and excellent job performance ratings. Don’t believe me? Go check out my LinkedIn page and read my recommendations. No one I know deserved for this to happen to them. I personally know PhDs in Chemistry with degrees from Stanford who can’t find jobs through no fault of their own. They could be curing your cancer but instead, they’re taking any thing they can if they can find anything at all. No healthcare, no bennies, low pay, away from their families, losing their houses. I just saw a former colleague who ls recovering from cancer yesterday. He’s skeletal. He’s been out of work for 18 months. He’s had ONE interview in all that time and he’s worried about losing his house. I’ve seen women who were solidly middle class two years ago who have rotting teeth because they can’t afford to see a dentist. That’s the place where I am living. If you are not experiencing these things right now, consider yourself damn lucky because you’re time may be coming any day now.
      So, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t mischaracterize those of us who are forced to look for jobs every day without success. We’re sick and tired of people acting like they’ve done something virtuous and the rest of us are lazy and deserve this. We will use our energies to do what they don’t have time for and will work very hard to make Wall Street accountable to all of us. No, don’t thank me.

      • myiq2xu says:

        She wasn’t talking about you. Neither was I in this post.

        You showed up for one march. You aren’t one of the people “occupying” Wall Street.

        • RD says:

          I’m sorry but when you refer to people who are sucking off their parents or that they are not “producing or earning” anything, I don’t like it. How do you know where people are getting their money? And who are you to say that a person who is dedicating their energy to a movement is not producing anything? Is some asshole broker at Goldman Sachs producing anything?
          As a matter of fact, there are new Occupations in Trenton and Jersey City, so I don’t have to go to Manhattan except on special occasions. I can go to an occupation with my laptop and fill out endless employment applications and write tedious coverletters and contact my network from an occupation site.
          You really are one contrary klown and for once, I don’t think I mean that in a nice way.

          • myiq2xu says:

            I was talking about the people living at the park – the ones in Stoller’s post.

            They have chosen to “occupy” a park. They are dependent on others for support while they do that.

            They are not protesting for jobs. They are protesting the system that provides jobs.

        • RD says:

          Myiq, *I* could live at that park. I have the time, I have the metro card, I have a sleeping bag and I have some not insignificant skills to lend them. Anyone who wants to occupywallstreet can do it. They even come in shifts. There are people who come regularly who stay for a few hours and leave.
          What exactly is your issue with the people who are living in that park? The place is cleaner than the subway. It doesn’t smell bad, there is no trash. Yeah, there are big blue airmattresses but it looks like a giant sleepover. I don’t get it. Your objections to this are so unlike you. I always thought of you as a renegade who doesn’t like labels. These should be your peeps, if anyone wanted to hang out with you.

        • WMCB says:

          They are not protesting for jobs. They are protesting the system that provides jobs.

          On NPR’s morning edition, Brian Phillips, the communications director for the NYC General Assembly – which is one of the biggest organizers of the NY protests – openly said that his political goal was to overthrow the government.

          Not a freak. Not an outlier. Not a weird stoned guy who happened to be there and talked to a camera. The communications director. Wants to overthrow the govt.

        • Mary says:

          That’s stunning, WMCB. Overthrow Obama’s government. Charging at the cops.

          I’m beginning to think they WANT violence.


      • Red Dragon says:

        Remember RD:

        “Don’t Socialize My Medicare!”

        I’ll quote from above….”Okay. Now I’m Done! 🙂

        • RD says:

          I think Stuart saw one sign that said “Don’t socialize my capitalism”, which I think is brilliant but will still go over the heads of a lot of people.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          HONK to both RDs! :mrgreen:

          As for many of the others, I’m getting this pearl-clutching vibe off some of you: “EEK! DFHs! St. Spiro preserve us!” 😛

        • Monster from the Id says:

          As for “a different flavor of Kool-Aid”, I’ve noticed from time to time that some of the CH denizens seem to have rejected Obummer Kool-Aid only to guzzle wingnut Kool-Aid instead. 😛

        • Mary says:

          If you mean that most of us don’t use the childish term “teabaggers” like you do, then you’re right.

          Otherwise, you’re incorrect.

        • votermom says:

          Hey, I grew up around real hippies. They were very common where we lived.
          We had the Children of God peeps right next to the schoolyard. They’d give us candy and comic books tracts and try to teach us songs, but we usually ran away to play after getting the candy. Those were the nice ones, since they weren’t usually stoned. This was before the news that they were kidnapping kids.
          Then there were the regular kind. Usually high.

        • Jadzia says:

          VM, so did I, although my “children of hippies” experience was much more Altamont than it was Woodstock. Turned me into a little Alex P. Keaton for years. : )

        • Karma says:

          My mom and step-dad were the hippies. Those college type hippies that got jobs in Silicon Valley and were sneered at constantly in stores. In fact, as a small child, my first experience with racism was wondering why someone was actually getting treated worse than us.

          I’m not hippie bashing anyone. But I’m going to stand by while some other group is getting needlessly bashed either. My hippie parents taught me to stand quiet is to agree with the bigotry. And as we’ve seen with O’Donnell bigots come from both sides.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          I will cheerfully admit that my experience of prolonged unemployment before I landed my current job–which I’ve held for nearly 19 years now–has caused me to become shamelessly prejudiced against plutocracy, conservatism (which is merely the justifying ideology for plutocracy) and all their works.

          So yeah, I’m going to talk like a sans-culotte sometimes. 😛

  5. Lola-at-Large says:

    I hold no contempt for the protesters themselves, I just don’t have a lot of faith in them either. And seeing the likes of Matt Stoller involved, as well as the rush by groups like unions, etc to participate makes me nervous about what the protests can and will do.

    I’m also concerned about the skepticism-turned-reverence of those who’ve attended. They discuss it like some people discuss church, and that is highly suspicious. Hagiography is how they built Obama, recall.

    • RD says:

      no hagiography there. I learned my lesson from the YearlyKos events. This does not have that kind of feel to it specifically because the organizers don’t want any affiliation with the Kossacks, Democrats, Libertarians, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, the unions had a separate rally in Foley Square which we joined. But unions in this context represent a lot of working people from all different professions. And you have to consider that even though unions are small conpared to what they were in the 50’s, unions are essential to fair working conditions for all of us. But even with all of their drawbacks, they are no where near as corrupt as the financial industry. Not even close.
      I will say it again, all they want is your presence. They do not want your politics, religion or social issues positions. You show up, you help out, you march, you spread the word, you help the 99%. that’s it.
      Get rid of your affiliations and their associated scripts. If anything, this is an opportunity for the skeptical and the pessimistic to get in on the ground floor.

      • myiq2xu says:

        I will say it again, all they want is your presence. They do not want your politics, religion or social issues positions. You show up, you help out, you march, you spread the word, you help the 99%. that’s it.

        Who is “they” and what is the message?

        Get rid of your affiliations and their associated scripts.

        Physician heal thyself.

        If anything, this is an opportunity for the skeptical and the pessimistic to get in on the ground floor.

        Uh, no. There is already an organization and they already have established goals. I’m trying to figure out who they are and what those goals are.

        • Mary says:

          Check out Helen’s post re who owns the park.

          And how they just got a $168 million loan guarantee from Obama’s DOE.

          I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, right?

    • trixta says:

      Yeah, Lola, I would see these protesters also waiving their banners against the WH, since it is BO and his policies that continue to support and maintain the blatant corporatist turn in this country (i.e. the incestuous relationshiop between the corporate & financial classes and the state) since GWB. Then and only then would I believe these protests to be actually genuine and not a political ploy by BO & and his re-election team to divert anger away from The One and onto a convenient straw man — in this case, Wall Street; other times, “the racist Tea Party” or “the do-nothing Republican Party” or Palin. (BO could not exist were it not for his conjured up political foils. Without them he has no ground to stand on and is thus lost as a pol.)

      This is NOT to say that Wall Street has not been ruthless and unfettered in it’s greed and should not be taken to task for it’s thievery, but to say that today’s Wall Street is symptomatic of the staggering corruption that has infected our political system since 2000. To point fingers at only one part of the problem is disingenuous at best, hypocritical at worst.

      Yes indeed, Myiq, what part of the “99%” do the Tea Party represent? Oh, I forgot, TeaPartiers are just a bunch of racists and nay-sayers and, as such, don’t really count. And Sarah Palin’s attacks on crony capitalism and corrupt union leadership is nothing but the rantings of a racist idiot. You gotta keep up, Myiq!

      • Three Wickets says:

        BO and OFA’s only chance next year may be to tap and own the anti-banking sentiment in the country, and they could pull it off. Still bit surprised the Tea Party hasn’t gone there with more heat.

  6. yttik says:

    It doesn’t even seem to dawn on anybody that their actions are being endorsed by those millionaire/billionaires they claim to want to tax and punish, like Nancy Pelosi who said, “God bless the protesters!” I’ve never seen a proper revolution endorsed by “The Man, ” supported by the politicians, promoted by the media. One would think that would be a large red flag, but I guess critical thinking is not on the agenda.

    It is a different flavor of kool aid. In the 60’s nobody was delusional enough, (even with all the drugs!) to fool themselves into believing that the system was going to support and endorse change.

    You’re advocating that the 99% foot the bill for the billionaires/millionaires in Washington and their 14 trillion dollar debt, people. Your protesting for your own screwing over.

    • Valhalla says:

      I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Yes, there are a lot of career liberals (and others) who are NOW trying to attach themselves to OWS and interpose themselves as the interpreters of the occupations, to twist the energy and protests to their own political agendas. Most fauxgressives were quite dismissive of OWS, until it started to get some attention and appeared to be growing. Now all of a sudden we have all the same old bandwagon-jumpers trying to claim a piece of it.

      It not fair to judge OWS by the slanted, agenda-driven interpretations of others who are outside it. Most of the on-the-ground accounts I’ve seen align with RD’s. Most real social movements start with some level of disarray or abstraction and coalesce into something more focused. No one can know yet whether OWS will be one of the successful ones. But this rush to proclaim every and any attempt at protest no more than astroturf is far premature.

      • trixta says:

        I’ll believe OWS is not astroturf when I see them also protesting against BO & his administration for allowing Wall Street to get away with destroying our economy. OWS might also ring true if they found some common ground with certain strains of the Tea Party that are concerned about the endemic corruption of our two-Party system and the crony capitalism that is prevalent today.

        Will it come to this? I, for one, hope so. But….

    • ralphb says:

      You’re advocating that the 99% foot the bill for the billionaires/millionaires in Washington and their 14 trillion dollar debt, people. Your protesting for your own screwing over.

      Who in hell do you think is supporting the billionaires/millionaires in Washington and Wall St now? Hint: It’s the 99% alias the rest of us.

      They are protesting the fact they we are getting screwed over. So long as they can avoid supporting any political party or individual politician, while getting the attention of those who are being screwed and don’t know it, they’ll have done something worthwhile.

      • yttik says:

        Ralph, they’re asking for two trillion dollars in additional spending on infrastructure and ecological restoration, free college tuition, universal healthcare and a guaranteed annual wage. Who do you think is going to foot the bill for all this? They have a list of demands and the Gov, specifically the Dems, are more than happy to pretend they support all these things. Just re-elect us, let us raise taxes, and give us more money. Who’s money? Your money.

        OUR money is not being taken from us by Wall Street. It’s being taken from us by Washington. These people are trapped in a circular argument. Wall street did not put us 14 trillion in debt, wall street didn’t steal our jobs, wall street is not a group of people in charge of responding to social issues.

        • votermom says:

          OUR money is not being taken from us by Wall Street. It’s being taken from us by Washington. These people are trapped in a circular argument. Wall street did not put us 14 trillion in debt, wall street didn’t steal our jobs, wall street is not a group of people in charge of responding to social issues.

          Omg, Logic! Anything but LOGIC!
          I agree. That’s why I say, their anger is real, but they are completely off target as to what to do about it.
          Vote the bums out.

        • Mary says:

          Honk! They’re so naive, they don’t even get it.

          Including you-know-who. Sheesh

        • trixta says:

          yttik, but BOTH Wall Street and government are to blame. IMHO, it’s not an either or proposition. Both need to be taken as a loose whole and must be taken to account. I agree, however, that the spotlight must be cast not just on one or the other, at any given time, but mostly on their corrupt relationship and it’s devastating effects on this country, especially the middle class. I would like to see safety nets for the poor and the disabled, but without the middle class this country ceases to be a thriving free country. I believe Wall Street and the WH have been in bed together, as it were, for a while now. The one created schemes to take our money and the other (as supported by Wall Street campaign $) removed the regulatory protections to stave off such shenanigans. It’s a vicious circle that has to be stopped.

        • ralphb says:

          OWS has actually approved no specific demands. A lot of people have made demands for them but nothing has come from the occupiers yet. Like the tea party, a lot of people claim to speak for them.

          If you don’t think Wall St has gotten a huge amount of your tax dollars, then you haven’t been really paying attention.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          “Wall Street” here is shorthand for the Malefactors Of Great Wealth, and yes, the MOGW, and the politicians whom the MOGW own, DID put us in massive debt and shipped our jobs overseas. Cussing the pols without cussing the fat cats who own them is like cussing the overseers while ignoring the masters.

        • lorac says:

          Well said! By the way, yttik, I’ve seen you in some new (to me) places on the web recently. You are an excellent writer!

        • HONK Trixta, Ralph, Monster, and {Lorac}!

        • Three Wickets says:

          Middle class savings is 90% of the money Wall Street plays with, middle class taxes is 90% of the money the Federal Govt plays with. The middle class funds the rich, the middle class funds the poor. The middle class has lost tons of money in the past decade. I’d say the middle class has a pretty legitimate reason to be pissed off. Spoiled kids just out of college, not as much.

  7. RD says:

    Thanks for taking these people off my hands, myiq. I’d almost forgotten how little I missed them.
    But I do feel sorry for you. You’re brilliant, even if you are an asshole.

    • RD,

      Thanks for giving good first-hand info!

    • myiq2xu says:

      Thanks for taking these people off my hands, myiq.

      My pleasure.

    • Karma says:

      Yeah, having to deal with people who have opinions that differ than yours is soooo horrible. How dare they not sit there and get lectured by an internet stranger who is constantly spewing off-the-wall assumptions of their life, their religious and television habits, political, educational, and social views.

      I have seen you repeatedly go so far off base on posters it is stunning. This thread is yet another example. Look in the mirror, honey you are projecting your life, your mom, your religious venom, your family issues and you job issue on everything and everyone!

      Wake up honey, it is YOU who YOU complain about!

      Now go back to your echo chamber and pretend you are the expert on what a bunch of strangers are thinking,

      • yttik says:

        I guess I’ve been kicked out that 99% again.

      • soupcity says:

        Thanks Karma from those us who were unemployed (but uneducated and really didn’t count) way before she was.

        It’s just way more comfortable here and a lot easier to get information, knowledge and insight when differing opinions are allowed.

      • trixta says:

        Karma, don’t you know that a PhD makes you an expert on everything and gives you a pass on rudeness? The point, after all is not to debate but rather to bully others to agree with you.

        To come here and continue insulting Myiq and others is truly unbelievable. It just goes to show how some people refuse to learn from past mistakes — which, in this case, is not only the mistake of intolerance, but vanity. Very sad, indeed.

        Myiq, you’re a class act.

    • WMCB says:

      He didn’t “take us off your hands”, RD. He’s not our caretaker or our thought-director, any more than you were. The difference is, he gets that.

      • Mary says:

        Correct. We left when RD arrogantly trashed anyone who didn’t agree with her, including myiq. Hell, everybody left, except for the 5 or 6 people who played the suckup game.

        Good riddance. May she never return.

        • lorac says:

          Mary, if only you had a daughter who proudly makes and wears tin foil dresses to school, you would be able to see things clearly.

          (I hope you get my joke!)

        • Mary says:

          🙂 I remember. A daughter who so bright and gifted that nary a teacher in the whole school district was WORTHY of teaching her. There’s confidence, and then there’s arrogance. Fine line between them.

    • Mary says:

      Don’t go away mad, RD. JUST GO AWAY. GO NOW.

      • myiq2xu says:

        Let’s all play nice, this isn’t a blogwar.

        I generally agree with RD on most issues.

        • Mary says:

          I know that, but you’re not as rude or arrogant as she is.

          It’s why everybody moved with YOU. 🙂

        • trixta says:

          Yes, acknowledging that there is common ground is good and well, and I hope that we can all come together in ousting BO in 2012. But it’s how others are treated who happen to disagree that has provoked the ire in the above comments. Such provocation was unnecessary and sad, since we could have just had a healthy debate about the current protests.

        • Mary,

          Both blogs are fine. A diversity of PUMA blogs is good. I added this one because a wider range of subjects are allowed. I didn’t “move [away from]”. RD is doing great coverage over there.

  8. HELENK says:

    When the group occupy Wall St, bring down wall street and the banks and the government loses much of it’s revenue and there are no outlets to get the money to start a business and create jobs, what is the plan to replace that?

    Just Wondering

    • Valhalla says:

      Well, since the banks have already taken all the money, hoarded it or used it to pay rather extravagant bonuses to their top execs, and give no sign of using even their loose change to stimulate either the economy or reduce unemployment, I’d say we’re already at the no outlets for jobs and businesses point. That ship’s already sailed, and Wall St was happy to engineer it.

      All before OWS was even a gleam in anyone’s eye. So the question about the plan (which is a very good question) needs to be directed somewhere else.

      • HELENK says:

        I agree the banks and Wall St. are not wonderful and should be held accountable for their bad actions. But what about the government that allow it to happen? Why are they being held as not liable for a lot this.
        In backtrack’s so-called jobs bill there is a 2nd bailout for GM in the fine print.
        If you organize chaos and civil unrest and point people in one direction you can hide a host of sins and make a bundle of money.
        Soros and backtrack are loving this

        • Monster from the Id says:

          Again, the government that allowed these things to happen is OWNED by the fat cats. Perhaps the protesters have decided it is futile to protest the overseers while leaving the masters alone.

        • Mary says:

          Perhaps the protestors don’t even know that the park is actually owned by a huge international conglomerate that just received a $168 million loan guarantee from Obama’s Dept of Energy.

          Perhaps they SHOULD know that, ya think?

        • Three Wickets says:

          They should rename it Obama Park then. Surprised BO’s letting that opportunity slip by. 🙂

  9. Mimi says:

    I’ll put my $.02 in and show that I have totally no clue. Until I see some busboys, hairdressers, construction workers, secretaries, hotel housekeepers, and some people in the lower wage class I will consider this movement a collection of students, student debt protesters, and “creative class” types who are not getting what they expected from this economy. If they think they have it bad they should try to live for decades on minimum wage as millions have. All I hear is about their education, what they think they have accomplished, and what they think they deserve. This is a movement about diminished expectations and they have no idea what or why it has happened. They just want to justify their own disappointment and talk about themselves. We have had a cultural shift and all they can do is talk about relating to each other because they have never done it before.

    • soupcity says:

      They are too busy trying to survive.

    • votermom says:

      Until I see some busboys, hairdressers, construction workers, secretaries, hotel housekeepers, and some people in the lower wage class I will consider this movement a collection of students, student debt protesters, and “creative class” types who are not getting what they expected from this economy.

      We have had a cultural shift and all they can do is talk about relating to each other because they have never done it before.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Ooh, that sounds spot on.

  10. HELENK says:

    remember how people were complaining the the occupy group was not diversified? Well the DC group found a way to fix that pay them to march.


  11. HELENK says:

    Mr Cannon has an plan for the occupiers

    Mr President
    Fire Tim Geithner


    • votermom says:

      It would be a start.
      Also, every other mass protest I have seen always has a lot of signs saying the President/Prime Minister/Dictator should resign. If you think the status quo sucks, you call for the removal of the guy in charge. Everyone does that. Why not OWS?

      Let’s see some “Obama Resign” placards.

      • Monster from the Id says:

        Maybe the protesters realize that the pols are merely the overseers, not the masters?

        • trixta says:

          I, for one, do not absolve political puppets of crimes and thievery that occur under their watch. The corrupt puppet / master relationship and the political system which sustains it have to be questioned and held to account. IMHO, if the protesters can’t see this, then they are just tools.

        • WMCB says:

          Oh, bull. Watch. When Obama gets kicked out of the WH and there is a new R president, these same people and organizations will suddenly decide that the leader of the free world IS the one most accountable again.

          I give no credence to these people so long as they are mostly unwilling to touch a hair on the Precious One’s head. They are busily providing a distraction for Obama’s accountability. A reinforcement for him blaming everyone but himself. Obama the WallStreet gopher will be all too happy to run against Wall Street – in fact he is already doing so. He’s thrilled. And these protestors are going to help him do it, whether they know it or not.

          So long as they keep giving him and his Goldmann Sachs administration a pass on all of it, I consider them a combination of a) astroturf, and b) useful idiots. Where is all the pressure being applied? In emotionally gratifying but in the end useless directions, that’s where. You think Wall Street is cowering? LMAO!

          We don’t have a lever with Wall Street, we have a lever with our elected officials. And this crowd is studiously, curiously, and actively avoiding touching that lever with a ten foot pole. That sets off my bullshit detector like a 5 alarm fire.

        • Jadzia says:

          I think if that were the case, then “they” (and reading RD’s comments and the responses thereto, I became increasingly confused as to who “they” really are) would be applying pressure on both the overseers and the masters, as it were.

        • Three Wickets says:

          Monster if you want to despose the masters, it helps to get specific with names, rank and title. Labeling the whole group with broadstroke amorphous cliches like MOGW only helps them get away with it imo. It’s like perp walks. When you get specific with names, faces, evidence, then they either capitulate or self-correct.

  12. HELENK says:

    this is off topic
    A good use of taxpayer money. I wish more money would go to places like this and the government would make money available when help is needed and there is no other place to go for it


  13. kc says:

    Just been reading the comments here–interesting. I don’t comment much, but I must say that until money is removed from politics nothing will change. That is the root of all the corruption. These people should be protesting that no one put some of these white collar criminals in jail.

    And about TC–I began to feel very upset with the put downs of teachers (being a retired teacher myself). It’s easy to criticize others when you haven’t walked in their shoes.

  14. ralphb says:

    Bob Somerby gets it. He seems to be part of a lonely few.

    “Occupying Wall Street: Where should things go from here?”


  15. ralphb says:

    protest picture


  16. HELENK says:

    look who owns the park and where they just got money from. It gets more and more interesting


    • yttik says:

      Ahh, I was wondering when somebody was going to ask who owns the park and why are they allowing all these people to camp there?

    • Mary says:

      Read that article, folks.

      The big international conglomerate that owns Zucotti Park just got a $168 million loan guarantee from Obama’s Department of Energy.

      It’s a “private” park. Bloomberg says he can’t do anything until this company asks the participants to go.

      Well, well, well.

      Ya reckon RD knows that? (snort)

  17. ralphb says:

    Occupy Austin protesters air grievances without drawing police ire

    Unlike the ongoing events in New York City, there were no throngs of protesters getting pepper-sprayed by police. There were no demonstrators thrown to the ground and then taken into custody. There were no marches into roadways that resulted in mass arrests.

    But what Occupy Austin had in common with the movement that inspired it was the more than 1,300 people who came together to air grievances about corporate greed, a scarcity of jobs and the growing income gap.
    Protesters praised police efforts at keeping the crowds safe and even posed for pictures with them.

    “From our end, I think it’s going about as well as it can,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Thursday afternoon. “To me, the people of Austin have shown how to exercise their right of assembly and right of free speech.”
    But about 3 p.m., things began to heat up. More than 1,000 people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the plaza by 4 p.m.; the crowd continued to increase before dwindling into the hundreds after nightfall.

    The crowds included people of all ages and backgrounds. Some wore suits and ties; others wore the Guy Fawkes masks popularized by the comic book and film “V for Vendetta.”

    John Buhler , a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and Iraq War veteran, showed up in his full dress uniform. He said that he was inspired by members of the military who stepped between protesters and police in New York.

    “Reform and change in our financial system has to happen for us to maintain life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Buhler
    Bill Edwards , an 80-year-old retired military veteran, carried a sign denouncing Bank of America, which he called “a parasitic organization.” He said he was also angry with the influence of large banks and corporations in politics.

    If citizens are constantly kept down, “you could have a revolution,” Edwards said.

    Welker said that today, the occupiers will march from City Hall to the Bank of America location at Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. Their goal is to withdraw their money from that bank and put it into a local credit union.

    • Mary says:

      Austin’s a pretty laid back town, has never been prone to violence or riots like NYC or DC.

      This is not surprising, that it’s much more civilized than others.

      • ralphb says:

        Mary, I’ve been really surprised in talking to people how many of them really have no clue about what’s happened to our democracy. I guess that’s what happens when you use your TV to only follow sports and reality shows. Not to mention never going past cnn on the intertubz.

        If the occupy stuff only gets people to look at the corruption in the government and our corporate owned politics, it’ll be a worthwhile thing. What I don’t want to see from them is support for particular parties or politicians. Oh well.

        • Mary says:

          I don’t disagree with you, Ralph. Really.

          I am, however, old enough to be a cynic, and seeing lots of bashing of Wall Street–while well-deserved—without any bashing of the very administration that was funded by them and protected by them — stirs my Scots-Irish genes into crying out BULLSHIT.

          My son lives in Austin; I visit often, especially now that I’m going to be a first-time grandma in April. I can’t imagine any demonstrations in Austin getting violent—people are just too laid back and easy-going. I completely undersand your descriptions of that OWS being very different than others.

        • ralphb says:

          Congrats on becoming a grandma! I think you’ll find it to be the best thing ever, no kidding. I’ve got 8 grandkids and they are the light of my life.

        • Mary says:

          Thank you, Ralph. That’s very sweet of you. I’m pretty excited. I’ve told my daughter in law (a real sweetie) that if it’s a boy, I’m good to go, since I know all the words to Cub Scout Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts. If it’s a girl, it will be a pleasure to do pink ruffly stuff, for the first time. If the boy wants the pink & ruffly, or the girl wants to sing Gopher Guts, I’m cool with that, too. She just laughed and laughed. 🙂

          What’s really the best, though, is watching them grow closer in planning for it all, reading baby books, picking names, loving each other.

          Good times.

        • votermom says:

          Congrats Mary! How exciting!

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Oh wow, that is exciting, Mary! Congratulations to you and your family. Babies are wonderful, and it just gets better from there!

        • Karma says:

          Congrats Mary! Have fun spoiling the lil one when he or she arrives. Cute story about the Gopher Guts too.

        • Mary says:

          Thanks, everybody!!

        • Jadzia says:

          Congratulations, Mary!!!!

  18. Monster from the Id says:

    Slightly off topic: What in Haruhi’s name is the dude in the center of the photo at the top of the thread DOING, anyway? 😕

  19. votermom says:

    This pic going around

  20. trixta says:

    According to Tarpley:

    “Media spokesmen for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations claimed that their operation is totally transparent, with everything subject to democratic discussion in a general assembly of all comers. But eyewitness reports from experienced observers on the ground in lower Manhattan indicate a much different reality behind these bland assurances. Forces appeared to be at work behind the scenes to manipulate the protest movement into a posture of supporting the presidential candidacy of Wall Street puppet Obama.”


    “Occupy Wall Street: Who Wants to Hijack the Movement?”
    Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
    October 7, 2011

  21. WMCB says:

    LOL! Admin at Hillaryis44 has this to say, and takes a shot at our old friend SpoonUpMyAss

    The puppet masters are pulling the strings and duping the willing dupes – just like in 2008. But then the puppet masters tell us there are no leaders, there are no spoons. There is only the “collective” – led by the nose to the shiny new bottles of Hopium


  22. Three Wickets says:

    Stoller’s not as bad as Yglesias. But generally all these young smartass proggers need to just STFU for a while. They’ve done enough damage bringing us Obama, and they’re sexist as hell. Even just the big mouth Harvard grads, would be an improvement.

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