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Sphinx 10-05-2011 08:25 PM

Occupy Wall Street
I can't believe none of the politically minded Yakkster's have posted about this yet - including myself!

Occupy Wall Street, the gathering that began as a relatively marginalized group in a Manhattan park, will march Wednesday with the support of union and other progressive leaders.


The group will begin marching from Foley Square in lower Manhattan, named for former New York Democratic Party leader "Big Tom" Foley, and end up in Zuccotti Park, where protesters have camped out since September 17, according to the Associated Press. Groups such as progressive organization MoveOn.org and the Transit Workers Union plan to join in. Community organizations are also encouraging college students to take part in the protests.

United NY, one of the groups participating in the march, sought a permit for the protest saying they expect 2,000 people, the Associated Press reported. The movement was brought into the national spotlight after more than 700 protesters were arrested on Saturday as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and a video of police using pepper-spray on four women involved in protests.

Since Occupy Wall Street began three weeks ago, the group has inspired protests in cities including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and Wichita. Along the way, the protesters have won endorsements from prominent figures including famed billionaire George Soros, Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Progressive organization leaders have also lent their support; the "Take Back The American Dream" conference -- a gathering of progressive leaders this week in Washington -- changed its agenda to include a plenary session that featured updates on the protests.

Still, convincing skeptics hasn’t come easy. The protesters have been widely criticized for not having a concrete list of demands, though they adopted the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” last week. Their list of grievances is long, with issues including the foreclosure crisis, work-place discrimination and student loan debt. The protests in New York and other cities focus on income inequality, a theme common in the group’s internet presence, including on a Tumblr that showcases Americans dealing with joblessness and other issues.

Even if the protesters were able to narrow their concerns to one, easily defined goal, some organizers say that would miss the point. David Graeber, one of the original organizers of the protests, told The Washington Post that making demands of institutions implies that you want them to stay in power.

“You’re creating a vision of the sort of society you want to have in miniature,” he said. “And it’s a way of juxtaposing yourself against these powerful, undemocratic forces you’re protesting.”


I'm kind of shocked. I hope this has sustainability. Needless to say, I'm intrigued. Has the Left finally gotten their progressive movement?

Sphinx 10-05-2011 08:28 PM

Declaration of Occupation:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Sphinx 10-05-2011 08:32 PM

Wow, having continued to read about this...

I kinda admire these people. I'd be out there with them.

Sphinx 10-05-2011 08:39 PM

Sorry, I'm gonna inundate this thread with things I find interesting about the movement:


It is way too early, and perhaps even a bit crazy, to see an American Spring in the growing protests on Wall Street. Yet. But there is no doubt that if there is one place in America that these protests should begin, it is there, and it is now.

Writers by the dozen have lamented the influence that Wall Street exercised over Washington throughout the 1990s, leading up to the great collapse of 2008. A multi-billion dollar lobbying campaign, tied to hundreds of millions in campaign contributions, got Washington to erase its regulations and withdraw its regulators. One statistic summarizes it all: in 1980, close to 100 percent of the financial instruments traded in the market were subject to New Deal exchange-based regulations; by 2008, 90 percent were exempted from those regulations, effectively free of any regulatory oversight.

But there is nothing at all surprising in that story. The spirit of the times was deregulation. The ideology of Democrats and Republicans alike was regulatory retreat. No one should be surprised, however much we should lament, that politicians did what the zeitgeist said: go home -- especially when they were given first class tickets for the ride.

What is surprising -- indeed, terrifying, given what it says about this democracy -- is what happened after the collapse. That even after the worst financial crises in 80 years, and even after the lions share of responsibility for that crisis had been linked to finance laissez faire, and even after the dean of finance laissez faire, the great Alan Greenspan, expressly confessed that it was wrong, and that he "made a mistake," nothing changed. A president elected with the spirit of Louis Brandeis ("[We have to stop] Wall Street from taking enormous risks with 'other people's money'"), who promised to "take up that fight" "to change the way Washington works," ("for far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans"), and who was handed a crisis (read: opportunity) and a supermajority in Congress to make real change, did nothing about this root to our financial collapse. The "financial reform bill" is the reason the English language invented the scare quote: As every financial analyst not dependent upon the corruption that is Wall Street has screamed since the bill was passed, financial reform changed nothing. We are more at risk of a major financial collapse today than we were a decade ago. And the absolutely obscene bonuses of an industry that pays twice its pretax profits in salaries are even more secure today.

How could this possibly be? Never in the history of this nation have the agents of financial collapse so effectively avoided a regulatory response to that collapse. How is it that now they have not only avoided reform, but have effectively cemented their Ponzi scheme into the core of American law?

The protesters #occupy(ing)WallSt are looking for answers to that question. They should look no further than the dollar bills that they are taping to their mouths. The root to this pathology is not hard to see. The cure is not hard to imagine. The difficult task -- and at times, it seems, impossibly difficult task -- is to imagine how that cure might be brought about.

The arrest of hundreds of tired and unwashed kids, denied the freedom of a bullhorn, and the right to protest on public streets, may well be the first real green-shoots of this, the American spring. And if nurtured right, it could well begin real change.

In my book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It-- published today by Twelve, I spend hundreds of pages trying to make clear what should be obvious to every single protester shivering in a Wall Street doorway. But the whole point of the book could be captured in the single quote that I stole from Thoreau right at a start: "there are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who is striking at the root."

These protesters should see that they are that one striking at the root. They should understand that our system has been corrupted by money -- even if the Supreme Court refuses to call it "corruption," and even if political scientists are unsure about whether their regressions can show it. And they should recognize that until this root is hacked, the weeds of this corruption will continue to destroy this democracy, and this nation.

Now conservatives are eager to insist that our framers didn't give us a "democracy." They gave us, they say, "a Republic." And so they did. A Republic -- by which the framers meant, as Federalist 10 makes clear, a "representative democracy." By which the framers expected, as Federalist 52 makes clear, a Congress "dependent upon the People alone."

But ours is not a Congress "dependent upon the People alone" -- or even mainly. It has instead allowed a different dependency to grow within its midst: a dependency upon the Funders of its campaigns. And so great is that different and conflicting dependency that even the worst financial crisis in three generations can't break their obsession with the fix. Neither party dares to cross Wall Street, since both parties know they could not win control of Congress or the White House without Wall Street's money. So they feed the addiction, and ignore the real work that they should be doing.

#OccupyWallSt needs to teach America this lesson. It needs to speak to the wide range of citizens who believe it. You don't have to be a Marxist to rally against the corruption that is our Congress. You don't have to be Dr. Pangloss to believe that people who don't share common ends might nonetheless have a common enemy.

This corruption is our common enemy. So let this protest first #OccupyWallSt, and then #OccupyKSt. And then let the anger and outrage that it has made clear lead many more Americans to #OccupyMainSt, and reclaim this republic.

For if done right, this movement just may have that potential. What the protesters are saying is true: Wall Street's money has corrupted this democracy. What they are demanding is right: An end to that corruption. And as Flickr feeds and tweets awaken a slumbering giant, the People, the justice in this, yet another American revolution, could well become overwhelming, and finally have an effect.


Sphinx 10-05-2011 08:49 PM

Found an Occupy Cleveland page on Facebook. There's a protest tomorrow downtown right at the end of my class.

I'll be there :)

Or I could go at noon...hmm, decisions, decisions...

TheKdd 10-05-2011 10:39 PM

I wish I could join them too.

terpkings 10-06-2011 11:56 AM

Time to burn the bras or would your 401k plan be more appropriate.

Sphinx 10-06-2011 11:58 AM


Originally Posted by terpkings (Post 327953)
Time to burn the bras or would your 401k plan be more appropriate.

I wonder how this will play out?

There's some serious consequences world wide currently if this thing gets any more traction.

TheKdd 10-06-2011 12:47 PM

What I like about these protests is seeing EVERYONE there. This isn't about Democrat/Republican/Independent. Most people would like to see these people pay for what they did to this economy. Yes, Washington removed so much regulation that allowed this to happen, but it's the industry that took advantage, still takes advantage, and just goes scott free. If it were any of us "normal" folk, we would have consequences. This isn't about "class warfare" like I have heard on some media outlets, this is about fairness for everyone. If we have consequences, so should they. If they have no consequences, neither should we.

Sphinx 10-06-2011 01:08 PM

They are trying to frame the issue in such a way to reach the viewers that this isn't right. What's truly remarkable is the success of the protests that use Social Media as a means to organize.

It looks like Washington could potentially square off with the people.

But let's not get my hopes up.

Also, there is going to be a WORLDWIDE March for Democracy on October 15th.


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