1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  2. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    I've done some quick searches, and I can't seem to find what these protesters...are protesting about ??

    Seems there is no clear message, other than they feel "they are the 99%", and despise the "1%" (the wealthy and the corporate elite).
    Depending on who you ask (a protester), any number of issues will be brought up.
    When asked for a solution to the myriad of woes included, most will not offer a solution to the woe(s) either.

    BTW...interesting photo catch, above !!
  3. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think that perception is partly true, but also part of the spin that many sections of the media has put on the movement. Any kind of anti-establishment protest is bound to attract anti-establishment types with differing views on what needs to change. If you go talk to a random person, you get a random answer. It's an unfortunate result of a grassroots movement that strives to be democratic that no clear leadership emerges.

    Part of the problem is similar to that of "chemtrails". It's a complicated subject. What OWS wants is an end of the subjugation of the 99% by the 1%, but how that subjugation is achieved is quite complicated. A brief list of grievances might include:
    • "personhood" status for corporations
    • Influence of corporations in political lobbying
    • The "revolving door" of government to corporations
    • Executive compensation via capital gains is taxed at a low rate, so tax burden vs income is unfair.
    • Offshore tax loopholes
    • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley act of 1999, which removed the separation between commercial banking and investment banking.
    • Regulations and lack of oversight allowing white collar crime in general, such as Enron, Madoff
    • Corporation buying elections with Super-PACs
    Many of those subjects are quite complicated, which is why they don't get much popular attention. But I think there's been something of a tipping point recently, where the 99% have finally had enough of being screwed by the 1%, even if they don't all fully understand how the 1% are doing it. Poll after poll has overwhelmingly (consistently 2-1 or higher) supported the idea of taxing the rich more. So in a democracy, how have the rich remained so under-taxed?

    There's a lot of issues, and there's a problem with dilution. But the protests help draw attention to issues that might otherwise be totally ignored, like HR 1489 and HR 2451.
  4. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    Let me give you my take on this.
    The day(s) of rage is no more grassroots than the ones in Chicago in 1969 where the name originated.
    They are the antithesis of the Tea Party, didn't you notice that grassroots group was not invited?
    It emanates from the left, plain and simple. Though I did see some Alex Jones infowars folks out there!
    It is significant that they held it on September 17th, Constitution Day.

    Their demands:
    1. They say they want a Constitutional Convention
    I say a very hazardous thing to do, because at a Convention the entire Constitution is up for grabs to be changed totally, radically, in any way.
    That is the main reason why, though the US Constitution has been changed many times, there has not been another Convention since 1787, al have considered the prospect too dangerous.

    2. They say they want an end to campaign contributions exceeding $1, to prevent "special interests" from having influence.
    I wonder, then, why the unions are so involved with this? Union membership overall in the US is at a 70 year low, below 12% of all workers.
    While only 7% of private sector workers are in unions, 36% of public sector workers are in unions. This tells us that the new strongholds for unions are in the public sector.

    What does this have to do with political special interests and campaign contributions?

    As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the 2012 election cycle pits Unions and Corporations against each other to fund campaigns through Politial Action Committees. Both entities can now use money from their general treasuries to fund campaigns.
    This is called an "exercise of free speech", which both entities have at their disposal.

    Both corporations and unions are special interest groups.

    There will not be a Constitutional Convention to change this situation before the election, and the Unions know this.

    The mainly public sector unions are facing sharp cutbacks in spending to balance our out-of-control budget deficits, their survival depends on maintaining government spending at current levels, and I suppose they expect even more in the future. (damn parasites) Unless they can maintain their traditional Democrat Party allies in power through 2012 and beyond, both their income and numbers, and consequently their power will be in decline. They know the general sentiment of the public is to reduce spending, and they would like for you to think that taxing the rich will maintain spending

    The corporations find themselves in a failing economy, and will most likely support Republicans in the election, along with right wing Tea Party allies who want to limit spending and reduce taxation.

    So the Unions are there to find a way to maintain their full rice bowl through their allies on the Democrat Left and forge a coalition of disaffected youth and unemployed similar to the Tea Party. There really isn't much of a record for the Democrats to run on, since they've held power for almost five years of an unrelenting bad economy.

    3. They want to tax the top 1% at a higher rate
    Well, the best jobs I've had, other than working for myself, were working for rich people. If they hadn't been rich I doubt that they would have had a job for me. I never worked for a poor person, except for when I paid my taxes.

    I prefer a flat tax which would actually increase tax on the poor. Yes, I said it. I don't personally think that anyone should be required to pay a progressive tax, it reeks of class envy, breeds contempt for the successful, and allows those who pay nothing very little to lose when government wastes the money, and I estimate about half of what government spends is wasted. I think we would have had better government overall by now if everyone had some meat in the game when government wastes the money they take from us.

    Oh,and I shouldn't forget to mention that I new all about these protests shortly after Tahrir Square, and that they were astroturf. Say what you want about Glen Beck, but he called it a done deal shortly after what happened in Cairo.
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I don't agree with most of what you said there Jay. But I also don't want to get into a debate over the intangible portions.
  6. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    Mick, I'm ok with that. I am interested in following the scene.

    This appears to be where the first call for "Occupy Wall Street" came from, Canada, July 13th:

    Their stock in trade is called "Culture Jamming". They publish a purportedly anti-advertising yet at the same time very slick magazine that advertises against advertising.

    Essentially, they advertise various counter-culture neoanarchist campaigns like not watching Tv as a protest against television, not buying anything to protest consumerism.

    Is it any wonder that the message is confusing?

    The situation seems to be that a diverse movement is expected to come to some sort of spontaneous conclusions.
    I am sure that there are 'facilitators' working to solidify certain messages they prefer, and hope that if anything does come of it it can be positive. These sorts of counterculture movements tend to reject institutions which does not bode well for their success when they are dealing with a structured society, and why their previous campaigns didn't really affect consumersim or stop TV watching.

    When did anarchism ever make a lasting, positive difference?
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The Adbusters magazine does not have any ads in it. It's promoting a political/economic world view. I don't think that's confusing. There's a world of difference between a Bank of America commercial, and articles on alternatives to banking.

    And I don't think not watching tv is particularly anarchist.

    I don't think they are the big organizers or masterminds behind the demonstrations. They started it. It struck a chord. It's popular. It's not cohesive - there's a lot of diverse opinions there. It's hard to view it as some big conspiracy by the unions. Seems more like the unions are jumping on the band wagon.

    I don't think it's the start of a revolution. I do think it's bringing attention to some important issues - particularly the role of money in politics. Maybe we'll get some campaign finance and lobbying reform out of it, down the road.
  8. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    I agree with you that adbusters was the premiere of the idea, and that the unions are trying to channel this, even if they didn't start it, but who really knows?.

    Are you sure they don't advertise blackspot shoes?

    One example of advertising that adbusters does is to advertise billboard "culturejamming", which in reality is vandalizing other people's property by graffiti on their advertisements.

    and of course there's the spoof ads:
    [Broken External Image]:http://www.adbusters.org/files/imagecache/item-image-full/images/adbusters_obsession-for-men.jpg
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Well yes they do. Seems a bit at odds with their "no-ads" claim. I guess they are nuancing it.

    Though I don't think this is all a big conspiracy to sell more shoes. :)

    I'm also not sure the unions are trying to "channel" it. We'll see.
  10. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    As with every "big movement", the shit follows the push. ©

    Many opportunities arise with "jumping to the front of the parade".
    It's hard (or easy) to see this......but who will decipher this ?.....certainly not the entertainment news media.
  11. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    I see that they have come out with an official list of grievances (* not all inclusive):

    Sounds like someone doesn't want to pay their college loans.

    And they grieve those who donate large sums of money to politicians
  12. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That's from two weeks ago. It sounds like a brain dump of every grievance they could possibly think of. It's a large number of serious issues (and I do consider the high cost of education to be a serious issue - mine was paid for by the state, which is how I think it should be). But I think it's not really going to help. It's also seriously verging towards conspiracy theory. All in all it's a list that will just dilute and distract.
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    And speaking of conspiracy theories, look who's jumping on the bandwagon:


  14. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    "Anyone who questions their beliefs" or any sort of asking them why they believe what and why they do, is soon deemed the enemy.
    I went on an FB site, and when my questions weren't viewed as information towards an overall uprising, I was told to go away, called a troll...the usual nudge.

    All it took was me pointing out that police were merely doing their jobs as traffic and crowd management......that a particular protest was violating the terms of the lawful assembly permit. I even pointed them to the city's agreement , the before-hand terms of the lawful protest.

    I encouraged their fight, but to expect that like any protest, "someone" has to enforce civil order. I pointed out that the police too, have unions, need to answer to a higher authority, and sometimes themselves are marchers for a cause...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiZFpQxQYgU&feature=related

    Still, (even though these terms were violated), they were astonished to have the police enforce the terms. Then the police became the object of authority which to rebel against.
    Not unlike the reaction when you bring science to the table at a chemtrail discussion and post gov't documents to the doubters of authority.

    I really did attempt to come from a standpoint of reason, encouraging them to march-on, albeit peacefully.
    Still, I was told to go away with no reasonable discussion, even though the group leader pointed out that to have all views expressed was a healthy exercise, and that censorship was something they should not practice as it is also what they are fighting against.

    I guess their intentions start as peaceful, but when in the streets and chanting, a "mob mentality" over-rides, and the bigger the scene and louder-the-voice they can make, the more impact they believe they will have (civil disobedience).
    When civil order is attempted to be enforced, they then feel victimized, often heroically.
  15. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Here's a semi-official list of causes......
  16. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Well, there is a culture and history of civil disobedience in this country. While you might argue that the police are just doing their jobs, I can undersand why people might think the restrictions placed upon them, while legal, should not be obeyed to the letter.

    Consider from the Boston Agreement:

    Now if there were some kind of authoritarian conspiracy to silence the protestors, then that would be the front line. Ten or more people not moving fast enough = you're under arrest.

    Of course it's a judgement call for the police, and perceptions of what actually happen will vary greatly on both sides. But it's unrealistic to expect protestors to do everything the police want (which ultimately is for nobody to be there, so no problem) without complaint. A balance will be struck, with which nobody is happy.
  17. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Yes..the PD certainly have their enforcement options open (or closed as it is written)....and I'm sure there is a lot of leeway allotted depending on the situation...as every situation is different.

    These activists are in essence protesting against laws and rules that they feel are unjust. Fine. I agree with some of their points.
    All the initial rally instructions were to remain peaceful, and I am sure that most of them complied. But they feel that it is their right to "occupy" public areas, and when asked (or told) to eventually disperse....many felt it was still their right to remain.....hence the conflict, and arrests.
    A "sit-in" of sorts. After all....it would not be a "true" protest about change if they did not attempt to make change.

    But as expected, photos and videos are arising showing the "worst case" arrests, which they use as fuel to bend their story into "unnecessary force" by the city's PD. What they don't really want to consider that initial crowd control methods are meant to "show" force....in order to convey the message that they mean business.....that people watching gotta disperse or look-what-can-happen.
    It's a psychological tactic by the PD....but often translated by the protesters as typical excessive-ness.

    Most of the uploaded videos won't show the PD "asking" for dispersal innitially....but cut right to the physical action of PD force.
  18. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    Where did this state get the money?
    We paid for our daughter's college education.
    It was exceptionally high ($120k) because the private school overcharged me and gave free tuition to someone else's child.
    I got over it, mostly. You do whatever you can for your children.
    I knew two brothers who went to college with me.
    The older brother worked to put the younger through, then the younger worked to put the older through.
    Both became Marine Engineers.
    They put a lot of value in that education.
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    They got it from taxes. I grew up in the UK, went to Manchester University. At the time tuition fees were paid by the Government, and I got a grant for living expenses as my family was poor. £1,300 per year.

    I don't think education needs to be expensive for people to value it. It needs to be good.

    I do think that an educated populace benefits everyone (except perhaps the super-rich). Affordable education is good for everyone. Just look at the GI Bill.
  20. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    Jay in these parts free tuition by way of scholarships, hardship funds, etc., usually comes from endowments and funds specifically for that purpose, which pay the educational institution the same amount as a "paying" student would have to.

    with 2 sons about to enter University (1 next year, the other a couple of years after) I also have a few thousand $'s set aside for each of their costs, and am getting them to apply for every scholarship they can get their hands on - competitive, social/income-based, whatever. Some of these are private, some are publicly funded.

    So universities and other tertiary training organisations do not have to put up fees in order to "compensate" for "free" students.

    Is this not how it works wherever you are?
  21. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member