I wasn’t going to do anymore OWS posts today but . . .

From the OWS website:


The opponents of this movement are using the demands posted in this forum as the official lists. And some of these lists regardless of how right or wrong are extreme points of view and will only hurt our cause by making us look like extremist nut jobs. You don’t speak for everyone in this. Stop creating public demand lists, delete demands threads. Let the organizers and the law team working for them do this.

“Let the organizers and the law team working for them do this.”

Who are the organizers?


The most ridiculous (and, if you’re sympathetic to them, tragic) thing about OWS is that they’re trying to mobilize the left against “the system” at the very moment the left is mobilizing to re-elect the guy who’s in charge of the system. In an alternate reality, state senator Obama would be giving a speech today at Occupy Chicago about how greed is the cancer of America or whatever; in this reality, President Obama needs to watch his mouth and stay on the good side of those Wall Street one-percenters who helped bankroll his campaign last time. The whole dynamic is a cosmic joke, amplified by the reality that millions of liberals have eschewed protests over the last few years out of allegiance to the current ruling Democrat and/or the perpetual fear of the imminent wingnut apocalypse that’ll surely unfold if their own party leadership is weakened. That’s why the anti-war movement has faded into nothing; that’s why there’s apprehension but no outrageously outrageous outrage over The One ignoring his own lawyers to wage war in Libya or relying on a secret national-security panel that can place Americans on a “kill list.” Those sins, committed by a Republican, would signal the end of the republic per standard left-wing blather. Committed by a Democrat, they’re merely … “troubling.” Or maybe not even that.

OWS isn’t mobilizing to reelect Obama, but they aren’t mobilizing against him either. They are directing left-wing energies away from Washington D.C.

Until they translate anger into action and start advocating for specific reforms and reform candidates, OWS is just a circle-jerk.

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76 Responses to I wasn’t going to do anymore OWS posts today but . . .

  1. crawdad says:

    I love how there is no official OWS position on ANYTHING, but lots of OWS supporters keeps telling us what the movement is all about.

  2. ralphb says:

    I basically agree with Bob Somerby. Posted this in the earlier thread but it was either missed or ignored due to disagreement.

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


    • Valhalla says:

      I just read this a moment ago (and it is a must-read, the whole thing). But a few particularly important bits:

      We’re inclined to disagree with that idea. [Krugman’s jumping on the “they must have demands!” bandwagon] In our view, this protest movement serves best as a form of “teach-in,” as a forum for helping the public understand the basic history—and the basic sociology—of our long, ongoing meltdown. As soon as specific proposals are made, many citizens who might be drawn in will find themselves getting pulled back.
      We’ll discuss the coverage of this movement all next week. But the best thing this movement has done is this: It has redefined our political math.

      Over the past dozen years, our standard political math has all turned on 50/50. We’re a 50/50, tribal nation—half red and half blue.

      The Occupy Wall Street movement has pushed an important new math—99/1, not 50/50. “We are the 99 percent,” they keep saying. Through that accurate reckoning, many people, across all tribal lines, are being told, completely correctly, that they are part of this movement too—that they’re getting ripped off by the one percent, just like everyone else is.

      We think it’s smart to stress this instruction, in both the history and the math. As soon as specific proposals are made, tribal walls will start rising again. The plutocrats will use long-established scripts to peel one tribe from the other.

      This movement should keep giving people that history. People don’t know how we got to this place. Very few people have taken the time to tell them in a simple clear manner.

      Krugman’s history is clear—and important. So is that new American math. We need more of that history, aimed at all tribal groupings, in a movement which heavily buys that new math.

      The Krugman history Bob’s referring to is:

      In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. In the second act, the bubbles burst—but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. And, in the third act, bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support—and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts—behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis.

      At this point, as long as OWS is interjecting the awareness of the 1/99% split into the national political conversation, I really don’t care who the organizers are.

      • ralphb says:

        That’s certainly my feeling and, admittedly I haven’t looked at the NY occupiers much. I’ve spent more time with the local one and they seem to be talking about political corruption a lot of the time.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        This is certainly the thing that keeps me observing the movement and withholding some judgement. There are lots of things that can’t be overlooked, namely that significant voices in this nation just spent the better part of two years tearing apart another populist movement for being too white with bogus charges of racism, and I don’t see this group, which shares significant similarities getting the same treatment, or even being questioned on their composition, or whether they were part of the groups targeting the tea party. That hypocrisy will have to be addressed or the movement will gain no traction on main street. It will continue to be a Rainbow Gathering that unemployed tourists use for cheap vacations.

        But Wall Street is a problem and the 1% is an even bigger problem. I just hope we aren’t being set up for this group to turn on 50%. That would be a terrible thing, and more of the same, which I am opposed to in any way, shape, or form.

  3. WMCB says:

    They are directing left-wing energies away from Washington D.C.

    DING DING DING!!!! We have a winner!

    Obama is more than happy to run against Wall Street. He desperately needs a foil, and WS is a handy one. It’s one he is already using – and one that the media will let him get away with using, despite the absurdity of it. Think that can’t happen? They helped him label Bill fucking Clinton a racist, people. Bill. Fucking. Clinton. No lie is too big for these asshats. He’s setting up to run against greedy greedy Wall Street and evil corporations, and these protests are going to help him do it. They are constructing a foil for the fucker, and deflecting all the angst and energy onto it.

    I said this on an earlier thread. Where is all the pressure being applied? In emotionally gratifying but in the end useless directions, that’s where.

    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.

    And that sets off my bullshit detector like a 5 alarm fire.

    • soupcity says:

      Honk! And, as always with dear POTUS, watch what the the other hand is doing. It’ll be extended for their cash. Wink and nod, remember Goolsby and NAFTA?


    • Dario says:

      The Last Word with O’Donnell (transcript)

      CAIN: Rather than going to Wall Street, complaining to people at big
      banks or big businesses, why not picket the White House because the
      policies have failed? And so, all it is, is a distraction on the part of
      those who are trying to distract from these failed policies.

      I have no problem with demonstrating against Wall Street if the demonstrators also put the blame of the current economic stagnation at the feet of the politicians in Washington, Obama and Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

    • Monster from the Id says:

      “We have a lever with our elected officials”

      I lack WMCB’s certitude about that *cough(Diebold)cough*. 😈

      • ralphb says:

        As long as you literally have to collect corporate contributions in order to run an effective campaign, the lever you have is fucking broken,

        I thought that would have been obvious by now.

        • Monster from the Id says:

          Big HONK for Ralph! 🙂

        • Karma says:

          And makes it all the more odd that they aren’t protesting the entire Wall St-DC chimera…..while shadowboxing the Wall St part of the monster.

        • WMCB says:

          It’s not perfect, ralph. Actually it’s pretty bad. I’m not ignorant of that fact. But my point is one of comparison – between the two, the politicians or Wall Street, over whom do we have the least amount of leverage?

          For the politicians, the lever is battered, but it’s still there. On Wall Street, we got nothin’.

  4. gumsnapper says:

    Will they still be occupying Wall St. when winter hits? How long exactly will the occupation last? None of it makes any sense. Are they just there to vent or do they have a goal? What do they want to see happen? Why aren’t they marching on Washington? It takes two to do the crony corporatist tango–Wall St. and Washington; politicians and bankers. I smell an Obama ratf***ing operation. The timing is curious as well–just when campaign season is underway and WH scandals are brewing.

    • Mary says:

      I’m reading that Bloomberg is getting more and more complaints from people who live in the area or have businesses in the area about noise, trash, damage to their facilities, etc.

      He may “move” within the next week. Any bets?

  5. ralphb says:

    Maybe this will explain … “Parks and Demonstration”


    • myiq2xu says:

      Instead of posting links why don’t you explain YOUR views.

      You can even do it on the front page.

      • ralphb says:

        I thought I had explained my views in comments on a couple of posts and I really don’t see the need to repeat them. Besides it gets boring and I don’t mind when people disagree.

        • myiq2xu says:

          Funny, I thought we were mostly in agreement. Now I find out otherwise.

          I don’t mind disagreement either, but when someone says they don’t agree with me I like to know why.

        • ralphb says:

          We are mostly in agreement as usual. My only difference is I don’t care if the OWS people release any kind of real agenda or not. Chances are I won’t like it when they do anyway.

          I do think it can be valuable as a teaching tool because I’ve been shocked to find out how many people have no idea how we got into the mess we are in economically. There is a shitload of ignorance about the bailouts and how big money, primarily from these Wall St players, have corrupted the political process.

          I want these occupations, protests, whatever to go on long enough for it to sink in, to even those who pay no attention to politics, that there is something wrong here. To me that means it has to be open enough for everyone to accept that problems exist.

          If they had started this in DC and made it an anti-Obama, anti-Dem, anti-Rep issue then, right off the bat, they lose the supporters of whoever they’re against. This way they can concentrate on those who bought the politicians and, if they’re lucky, everyone gets it. Or maybe no one will get it but they tried.

          As for an unaligned OWS helping Obama, I’m not sure it does. It could just as easily, more likely, hurt him if their message gets out. He won’t be able to hide being in the middle of it once people start looking. The more people who look with their eyes open, the better.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I do think it can be valuable as a teaching tool

          I’m down with that.

          But they aren’t teaching anything right now. Or if they are trying it is getting drowned out by the freak show.

        • WMCB says:

          Also, ralph, just from the clips and photos and accounts I’ve seen, I believe that what you are seeing there in Austin has a little different flavor than what is going on elsewhere.

          Maybe Austin is such a “backwater” that TPTB didn’t bother to screw with you guys.



          I keed, I keed!

        • DandyTiger says:

          See below. I started it to address this discussion, but it turned into something longer.

        • ralphb says:

          FWIW. You have a point about the circus atmosphere in NY. There’s some of that in Austin, but what do you expect when a bunch of kids get together. I kind of expect a party and there is some dancing.

          We may well be a backwater and the “big” whatever they are will leave it alone. If so, that’s all the better. 🙂

          I posted a 6 minute tour video of the austin gig and what I found pretty interesting is the speaker talking up how much in common they have with the tea partiers. She also did a pretty good job of explaining credit default swaps and putting together derivatives for a minute. Not academic but better than I would expect for that gathering.

        • WMCB says:

          I saw that clip. The Austin speaker frankly made more practical sense than most of what I’ve seen coming out of the other gatherings. I heard some exclamations of disgust when she talked about commonalities with the teaparties, but it wasn’t a majority.

          Woohoo! Go, backwater!! Maybe they will sneak under the radar.

        • ralphb, on October 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm said:
          There is a shitload of ignorance about the bailouts and how big money, primarily from these Wall St players, have corrupted the political process.
          I want these occupations, protests, whatever to go on long enough for it to sink in, to even those who pay no attention to politics, that there is something wrong here. To me that means it has to be open enough for everyone to accept that problems exist.
          If they had started this in DC and made it an anti-Obama, anti-Dem, anti-Rep issue then, right off the bat, they lose the supporters of whoever they’re against. This way they can concentrate on those who bought the politicians and, if they’re lucky, everyone gets it.

          HOnk and honk. First the diagnosis. Then let others argue about which medicine or where to inject it.

    • WMCB says:

      Watch out, Ralph. He’ll suck you in and have you churning out copy in his evil klown sweatshop. I’ve escaped so far by bitterly clinging to my gadfly dilettante-ness.

      • Dario says:

        😆 Knowledgeable people are boring. Dilettantes are much more interesting because they tend to be diverse with their little knowledge.

        • WMCB says:

          Honestly, it comes from being very much an autodidact. I never had the opportunity to get a great deal of formal education (2 years college, and that was nursing), but I have always been a voracious and curious reader.

          It makes for an interesting store of knowledge, but not necessarily an orderly one. My husband has four, count ’em, FOUR degrees, and he says he enjoys discussing/arguing with me because I take shit in directions he never thought of, because I was never schooled by academia in what the accepted connections are to make.

  6. Mary says:

    “Let the organizers do this.”

    Hmmmmm…..what organizers? Who are they? Why do they get to choose?

    (Rhetorical, of course)

  7. WMCB says:

    Okay, reading some OWS tweets, and some are just bizarre.

    Only journalists abandoning an *observation-only* role, and adopting a self-revealing *participatory* role, can produce accurate coverage.

    Participation in #OccupyWallStreet doesn’t really even mean trying to occupy Wall Street, it means learning about what it means to be there.

  8. DandyTiger says:

    OWS might turn into something eventually. OWS might never turn into anything. Something indeed may be happening, but that may be just a really great pow-wow. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to such gatherings. The energy is amazing. It’s really healthy. It’s great. But there seems to be a few things wrong from what I’m hearing:

    1) They’re focused on Wall Street. Who cares about them. I don’t. I care what DC does and what their policies are and what they’re planning on doing next. And there’s a way to have an influence about what they do. It’s called supporting candidates, pushing policies, organizing around those things, and of course voting.

    2) There are organizers and planners and they have an agenda. That may be fine, and they may have great intentions, and indeed they may just want to get things started and let it grow organically from there. But they may have something completely different in mind. Of course even if they do, it may take on a life of its own just the same. Fine. It might. Then again it might not.

    3) What is seems to be right now is a massive distraction, channeling lots of energy at nothing much, yet at least. Notice how lots of energy is there and no one is talking about these massive, possibly impeachable, scandals right now. Notice how no one is getting around to policy and politics yet.

    4) When you try to discuss the problems and concerns with people that “get it”, I notice that they get very defensive and mostly say you “don’t get it” or that you’re a winger or some such. That’s a pattern I’ve seen before. That’s a pattern we all certainly saw in ’07/’08.

    Bottom line, it may eventually become something, or it may not. Until it does everyone should keep a skeptical eye and listen to their spidey senses.

    And here’s the part that worries me most: It sure looks like people have found a new tribe, and they’re getting in on “the ground floor” and they’re defending their new tribe aggressively. Even while they say there is no agenda or purpose yet. Seriously?

    • WMCB says:

      That sounds fair enough, Dandy.

    • Karma says:

      Critical thinking served up without the Kool-Aid. That is all I have seen from the posters here. It is a shame that asking questions and staying pragmatic is seen as being an ignorant wing-nut by some.

      Thank you for taking the time to elaborate.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Many might think the Wall Street item is the least important. It’s actually the most important. In fact it’s the most pivotal aspect of the entire venture, and the most obvious give away. That’s all I’ll say for the moment, so I’ll leave that nugget as an exercise for the reader.

      • WMCB says:

        Isn’t it interesting that people are being actively encouraged to batter themselves against an entity impervious to them, over whom they have no power whatsoever short of outright revolution, and who will be left untouched and unchanged when the anger wears itself out?

        But the other half of the monster, the onlyentity over which the People exert at least some modicum of control, is hardly mentioned. Voting is so passe – drum circles will do the job!

      • WMCB says:

        Oh, and one of the things I detest and will forever despise Obama and his “creative class” for is their deliberate targeting of the young with pretty lies.

        I will never forgive them for cynically fucking with the heads of the children – using their very hopefulness and willingness to believe as a tool. Never forgive them for that. Ever.

      • Dario says:

        Honk! A total giveaway.

  9. Dario says:

    OWS might turn into something eventually.

    I agree. These kind of demonstrations can turn against the current organizers and become a real political movement for, hopefully, good change. But movements without a good leader can be dangerous.

  10. myiq2xu says:

    I appreciate all the points raised here (and at TC) today.

    I’ll put my thoughts together in my am post tomorrow.

    Tonight there are beers calling my name.

    • The Penguin says:

      Do the voices in your beer ever mention me?

    • Dario says:

      Good job. I’ve been skeptical about OWS, and the discussions here have validated my skepticism.

      • Mary says:

        For me, too. And I very much appreciate myiq and crawdad giving us a place to discuss it all , rationally, without being completely bashed/squashed. It’s why I love this board and the people who post here.

        Thanks to both of them. 🙂

  11. Dario says:

    I’ve tried to post images, but I can’t make it work

    h/t Zero Hedge (George Washington)

    Should politicians wear uniforms like NASCAR
    drivers to identify their corporate sponsors?

  12. I can’t wait until we start having “conversion” comments and posts about OWS on some other blogs.

  13. Dario says:

    I used to like Andrew Young, but he’s just as slimy as John Edwards.

    Judge may hold John Edwards aide in contempt

    RALEIGH, N.C. – A North Carolina judge is considering whether to hold a former aide to John Edwards in contempt in the legal fight over a purported sex tape involving the ex-U.S. senator and presidential candidate.

    Superior Court Judge Michael R. Morgan signed an order Thursday finding probable cause for criminal contempt charges against Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri Young, as well as the couple’s lawyers.

    The Youngs and their lawyers may have violated a protective order by giving prosecutors confidential documents, including sealed depositions, from a lawsuit that Rielle Hunter filed against them, according to the order. Morgan has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 7.

  14. 1539days says:

    I put my thoughts in a new post.

  15. Personally, I’m staying a safe distance from both Tea Party and OWS. Both vibes too extreme culturally. But I’m not dissing either one either. I’m applauding both. Both are probably mostly sensible, sincere people. Too bad the media go for the ones in the Uncle Sam costumes or the tie-died dreadlocks.

    All this hostility seems to me a tempest over some very small differences in focus. Both are going after crony capitalism. Picket Wall St vs picket DC. BOTH places deserve picketing.

    The Tea Party did DC. Now it’s Wall Street’s turn. HONK to both.

  16. Karma says:

    Congrats to the Nobel Prize winners of 2011. Here is the link to send the winners a ‘greeting’ on their awards.


  17. Three Wickets says:

    If I’m being cynical, I’d say OWS across the nation is the government’s way of releasing some steam from a national populace that’s been remarkably unagitated (in terms of violent protests) during time of great economic pain here and large scale revolts and unrest in other places overseas.

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