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What's your opinion of the "Occupy Wall St." movement?


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This was a pretty poor selection to prove your (or really, the image creator's) point. The way I see it:

On the left we have people sitting in a park. They happen to be exercising their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. It does not appear that they are "occupying" the park either as there's no camping equipment and no filth. No laws are being broken.

On the right we have 4 NYPD officers (not "riot cops" by the way) arresting a law-breaker who clearly is not being compliant; he is engaging in a known protestor tactic to "play dead" instead of just walking to the vehicle he would be led to. The police are restoring order; if there was order you would see foot and vehicle traffic there. Also NYPD does not use tear gas (NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, 9/27).

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Though I'm for a return to higher income tax rates for the rich, and for capital gains and dividends to be taxed at the same rate as work income, I'm 100% opposed to this Occupy Wall St. It's obnoxio

This is so off the mark, it made me laugh. That quote is merely regurgitating the mainstream media's portrayal of the events. Is there a protest in or near your town? If so, go before characterizing a

I cannot believe how right-leaning this forum is. You would think that graduate students and future academics would be intelligent enough to see through the propaganda and lies spewed by the mainstrea

Lost here in many of the arguments pro and con protesting income inequality is the fact that there are people living in a public park. This is not something that is necessary to have a protest (e.g. the 2004 RNC) and quite a few who go to some of the protests aren't camping out in Zuccotti Park.

People have a 1st Amendment right "peaceably to assemble". Anyone who wants to protest can do so legally by getting a permit. I took part in a protest in 2004 with lots of other union members during the RNC. There were no problems, no arrests. People showed up, said their piece, we got our media coverage, and we went home. Whether it was even effective or not or whether streets should be closed for this sort of thing is something I question now, but people have a right to do that.

On the other hand, over the past 5 weeks we have people living in a public park. There have been numerous illegal actions including blocking traffic, blocking bridges, noise complaints, and public urination and defecation. They have also attacked the police and even police animals. They pay no rent and no taxes but have cost the city over 3 million dollars so far.

The whole concept of "occupying" conveys a disturbing premise that one can take over public property by force. Again, they have no right to their exclusive use to it, it is not private property that they own or pay taxes on. For instance, if they want to open a storefront on/near Wall St. (like Park51 the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque") where they could base an unpopular operation to attack capitalism or excessive wealth, they can do that. Instead they choose to break the law and then complain about it when they get arrested.

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I would just like to say that this country was founded after a violent confrontation with the British government. I would always think that people in this county would have the right to protest things that they disagree with, whether other people agree with them or not. I think that it is what makes this country great. You can make the argument that the whole thing can be done better, sure. I am not saying that violence is needed in most protests, and is really not necessary in this one, but at times it can be a good thing.

As to other people's argument about doing this in a public park, I would like to say a few things. It is after all a *public* park. To be used by the public. It is there for the use of everybody, including those who would like to protest. Considering the history of this country, I should say that it should be encouraged. As another note, I live in NYC, and I know people who have gone to the protests who have full time jobs and *are* paying their taxes, as well as people who have had jobs and lost them, but paid their taxes when they did, and even are still paying taxes on their unemployment checks.

While some people have done illegal acts, there have also been people who have been abused by cops as well when they have not been doing anything illegal. So it has been going both ways in this situation. I would also argue that protesting excessive wealth is not as unpopular as you might think. The larger point I would make here though is that even the KKK is allowed to have protests/gatherings if they want to in public spaces, as long as no one actually gets hurt from what they are doing. So I don't see why the people in OWS can't also do so.

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long_time_lurker: all I was trying to get at is that OWS gatherings have been, by-and-large, peaceful affairs, and that the largely militarized response of the NYPD every time they march seems rather escalationist and reactionary. I have seen report after report of a calm, peaceful gathering where NYPD are ordered to show up in helmets, if not full riot gear, because...well, I don't know. it happens to be large? they're challenging the status quo of corporate rule?

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^ Because large, peaceful gatherings can turn violent and they want to be prepared. I'm going to bring up the Vancouver hockey riot again as an example

I already brought that argument up and runonsentence pretty much ignored it explicitly.

And KitKat, public parks are government-owned and have rules and regulations that are enforced: one being curfew hours. It's the right for any citizen to occupy a public zone given proper sanctions (i.e., either abiding by the curfew hours or obtaining a permit giving one a right to occupy said zone after hours). Also it's fallacious to use anecdotes like your tax-paying friends when they're not a complete representation of the entire movement. If there's no law stating that I can't occupy a public area without a permit, what stops one from building a makeshift house on public property without paying real estate taxes? That's one of the reasons for the permits being enforced for overnight occupations in public areas.

Also, if violence is being directed at OWS unfairly, don't retaliate thinking there aren't any consequences. A lot of this is being caught on video--if you want to go ahead and protest a 'militaristic' and/or fascist police, you can put a dent on them by filing lawsuits against the city and respective police departments. And as much as the KKK is obviously a group that shouldn't exist, they're at least aware of certain laws/rules so that they can't be arrested. Many people in the OWS is either ignorant or willfully ignorant of such rules and subsequently being arrested.

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Saying government owned still means owned by the public. And I completely understand the need to have them. They are there to make sure that everyone has a fair chance at them. I'm also not saying that you should not follow the rules and regulations related to them. As many people have mentioned there are plenty of people who have protested who went through the proper channels. I'm sorry if what I said came out like it should be otherwise. But I feel like some people imply that if you camp out in the park that you are not necessarily following those rules.

As a note about mentioning people I know, yes it is anecdotal, and that it is not representative of the whole movement. But it is also not representative to say that everybody who is protesting don't pay their taxes, or pay rent, which I think is what long_time_lurker is trying to say. The point I was trying to make was that that point is not true. With my statement, I was just trying to say that there are plenty of people who have paid taxes, not necessarily all of them.

You are right that if the police are behaving just as bad, there are ways of handling it that are better then fighting back. I think that with OWS there is also a much larger amount of disorganization with this.

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I cannot believe how right-leaning this forum is. You would think that graduate students and future academics would be intelligent enough to see through the propaganda and lies spewed by the mainstream media, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the other neocon corporatist hacks. The OWS protesters are doing what we should have done years ago -- standing up for our rights against the corrupt, crony-capitalist, oligarchic politicians and their masters, the super-wealthy individuals and the multinational corporations.

The "Tea Party" and the conservatives are not for you and me, they are for the richest and most powerful people in this country, and they are more than willing to destroy your livelihood (and the livelihoods of your families, friends, and communities) in order to make themselves a few pennies richer. They don't care about you, they care about feeding their maniacal avarice and ravenous appetite for more money and power. The OWS movement is finally getting our politicians to take notice of the 99% who don't fall into the wealthy class, and you guys are posting in support of the gun-toting, religion-deluded, ignorant, uneducated, greedy, corporatist, brainwashed right-wing teabagger nutjobs who are sucking you and me dry and are contributing to the downfall of this nation and this planet.

As for capitalism, it is an inherently corrupt economic system that must go in order for financial justice to exist. Under a "liberal" trade structure and capitalistic economy, the wealth gap between the rich and poor is destined to grow, with the fat cats becoming fatter, the middle class becoming poor, and the poor becoming destitute. Eventually, if left unchecked, you end up with an enormous, destitute peasant class who has nothing and a very small class of fabulously wealthy elites. Basically, you return to the feudalism of the dark ages. Capitalism must go in order for our society to move forward.

Democratic socialism is the only option for a just society.

Edited by northstar22
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FWIW, I'm of the opinion that members of this BB who have strong views about the OWS and/or the TPM who are in the process of applying to graduate school should think very carefully before posting in this thread. B)

Just because I'm paranoid does not mean that cyberspace is as anonymous than one would like to think.. Or as a citizen of the Republic of Korea with the surname of Kim asked me, "How did you find me?" (It took twenty seconds. ;) )

Edited by Sigaba
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I appreciate the number and diversity of the comments so far, even those with which I disagree. Thanks for the contributions, everyone!

Some things I want to discuss:

I cannot believe how right-leaning this forum is. You would think that graduate students and future academics would be intelligent enough to see through the propaganda and lies spewed by the mainstream media, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the other neocon corporatist hacks. The OWS protesters are doing what we should have done years ago -- standing up for our rights against the corrupt, crony-capitalist, oligarchic politicians and their masters, the super-wealthy individuals and the multinational corporations.

I agree. My heretofore stated ambivalence is mostly towards some of the local protesters I know, whom I really do see as rebels without a cause.

The "Tea Party" and the conservatives are not for you and me, they are for the richest and most powerful people in this country, and they are more than willing to destroy your livelihood (and the livelihoods of your families, friends, and communities) in order to make themselves a few pennies richer. They don't care about you, they care about feeding their maniacal avarice and ravenous appetite for more money and power. The OWS movement is finally getting our politicians to take notice of the 99% who don't fall into the wealthy class,

I concur with this as well, however...

and you guys are posting in support of the gun-toting, religion-deluded, ignorant, uneducated, greedy, corporatist, brainwashed right-wing teabagger nutjobs who are sucking you and me dry and are contributing to the downfall of this nation and this planet.

I think this is overly vehement and needlessly filled with ad hominem attacks. It's rather reductive and actually quite foolish to categorize an entire political ideology with the above.

As for capitalism, it is an inherently corrupt economic system that must go in order for financial justice to exist. Under a "liberal" trade structure and capitalistic economy, the wealth gap between the rich and poor is destined to grow, with the fat cats becoming fatter, the middle class becoming poor, and the poor becoming destitute. Eventually, if left unchecked, you end up with an enormous, destitute peasant class who has nothing and a very small class of fabulously wealthy elites. Basically, you return to the feudalism of the dark ages. Capitalism must go in order for our society to move forward.

Democratic socialism is the only option for a just society.

I completely agree with these sentiments. You mention thegradcafe.com as being rather conservative (at least as evinced here), but my political leanings are far to the left. I concur that some form of socialism, perhaps communism even, is the only way for a truly just society.

An aside: I was invited to join an OWS protest that will be held at my university in a few weeks. It may have up to 50-some participants, which I think is rather impressive for my campus's size. I've been debating whether or not I should protest with them. I read that Slavoj Žižek participated in the OWS protests recently. Not that I'm solely basing my opinion on that or anything, but I respect Žižek, and his involvement has led me to reconsider my ambivalence (as has some posts on here as well).

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Would adcoms really not admit someone because of their political views? Doesn't that violate some sort of law?

How would one ever know?

Here's my view. Believe what you want and do not compromise those beliefs. Somewhere down the line, you're going to be in at least one incredible brawl. When that time comes, knowing how to disagree without being disagreeable will be a good skill to have.

Edited by Sigaba
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@Two Espressos: yes, Slavoj Žižek spoke to those occupying NYC two or three weeks ago, there are lots of videos and transcripts up online. Judith Butler also spoke briefly earlier this week (videos are only about 3min long of that talk).

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@Two Espressos: yes, Slavoj Žižek spoke to those occupying NYC two or three weeks ago, there are lots of videos and transcripts up online. Judith Butler also spoke briefly earlier this week (videos are only about 3min long of that talk).

Thanks for the info! I watched Judith Butler's video as soon as I finished reading your post. ^_^

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I cannot believe how right-leaning this forum is. You would think that graduate students and future academics would be intelligent enough to see through the propaganda and lies spewed by the mainstream media, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the other neocon corporatist hacks. The OWS protesters are doing what we should have done years ago -- standing up for our rights against the corrupt, crony-capitalist, oligarchic politicians and their masters, the super-wealthy individuals and the multinational corporations.

The "Tea Party" and the conservatives are not for you and me, they are for the richest and most powerful people in this country, and they are more than willing to destroy your livelihood (and the livelihoods of your families, friends, and communities) in order to make themselves a few pennies richer. They don't care about you, they care about feeding their maniacal avarice and ravenous appetite for more money and power. The OWS movement is finally getting our politicians to take notice of the 99% who don't fall into the wealthy class, and you guys are posting in support of the gun-toting, religion-deluded, ignorant, uneducated, greedy, corporatist, brainwashed right-wing teabagger nutjobs who are sucking you and me dry and are contributing to the downfall of this nation and this planet.

As for capitalism, it is an inherently corrupt economic system that must go in order for financial justice to exist. Under a "liberal" trade structure and capitalistic economy, the wealth gap between the rich and poor is destined to grow, with the fat cats becoming fatter, the middle class becoming poor, and the poor becoming destitute. Eventually, if left unchecked, you end up with an enormous, destitute peasant class who has nothing and a very small class of fabulously wealthy elites. Basically, you return to the feudalism of the dark ages. Capitalism must go in order for our society to move forward.

Democratic socialism is the only option for a just society.

You assume we're all American. You also assume being against OWS is being pro Tea Party. This movement is going global, and is not limited to American politics.

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What ktel said.

I find the Tea Party completely nonsensical and find the OWS to be too vague. I'm for the restructuring of certain financial institution to prevent gross misconduct by bankers and corporate execs, but too many people in the OWS right now are advocating for explicit re-distribution of wealth, which I am not for one bit. Capitalism has some blatantly obvious problems, but so does socialism in the way it's governed in modern (and limited) society.

And just because you are passionate about a topic doesn't mean you can't argue with a more neutral voice and using such sweeping generalizations (anti-OWS => pro-Tea Party? really?). I commend people who use their personal beliefs to advance the knowledge and opinion of others, but only when it doesn't sound so accusatory.

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I didn't want to get too involved, but...

I'm for the restructuring of certain financial institution to prevent gross misconduct by bankers and corporate execs, but too many people in the OWS right now are advocating for explicit re-distribution of wealth, which I am not for one bit. Capitalism has some blatantly obvious problems, but so does socialism in the way it's governed in modern (and limited) society.

That's a lovely line to take, but the problem is that it's an empty talking point.

First of all, I presume you're talking about the pollster Douglas Schoen, whose findings got widely circulated as definitive, especially the part about them being "an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence." Problem is, the findings - drawn from a tiny sample - show only 4% agreed with "radical redistribution of wealth," and roughly the same for the bit about civil disobedience and violence. So no, they're not out for "explicit re-distribution of wealth." Only 4% are.

Unless, of course, you mean by restructuring taxes, especially on corporate earnings and capital gains. That is definitely a distributive policy that most support. But here's your fallacy: the rules already have distributive consequences that were engineered by the people who wrote the laws. To decry the OWS protesters as being in favor of redistribution is to ignore the lobbyists, bankers, and corporations that are also in favor of redistribution, with the only difference being that they want wealth to go in the opposite direction (upward), and that they have been more successful at getting what they want. The point of the protests is that these rules are out of sync with societal - and economic, given the global financial meltdown - good. That's not socialism, contra FOX News or the GOP.

(Edit: And this is why your argument about "gross misconduct by bankers and corporate execs" is short-sighted. It's not the actors within the system that are the problem. It's the way the institutions - the market, the regulatory agencies, the tax structure, the legislative relationship with Wall Street, et cetera - are structured.)

This "socialism" canard is a technology of power. The neo-liberalism strand of capitalism depends on the argument that "the market is neutral," but this is simply a rhetorical tool that allows the beneficiaries of economic liberalization and deregulation to impose their preferred distributive outcomes on voters who don't know the difference. (There's a reason why the great income divergence I wrote about [on page 2 of this thread] began in 1980; it coincided with the ascent of neo-liberalism and the Reagan Revolution.) The market is not neutral. Protesters who want to adjust its functioning to improve the lot of those at the bottom are not socialists.

End of.

Edited by balderdash
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I support it. I've been a Zeitgeist movement supporter for years, too. As Peter Joseph likes to say, we're not the 99%, we're the 100%, and everyone is to blame for this fucked-up social structure. The rich-elites are not "evil" and probably believe their lifestyle is healthy. They are victims of culture.

"Socialism vs. capitalism" is a false dichotomy, and I wish people would stop referencing either of those nearly meaningless terms. Most economic systems are fundamentally the same in the sense that they are based on monetary, interest-based accrual of debt.

The observation that activists are "spoiled white kids" is inaccurate and fallacious. The movement is now global, so it follows that activists are from a range of socioeconomic statuses and ethnic groups. Remember that this is truly a global, not a national issue. In the end, there are no "national" issues or "white" issues or "female" issues or "gay" issues. There are only human issues.

Yes, we know life is generally better now than it was in the 60s, but that is a red herring. No one is equating the current movement with counterculture movements of the past. This is arguably bigger. Simpy stating that life is better than it was in X time does not suggest that everything is fine now. Whatever problems existed in the world back then are still alive today, just in a different form. Perhaps that form was latent for a while, but now it is beginning to rear its ugly head, and people are waking up to that sad truth.

"The true terrorists of our world do not meet at the docks at midnight or scream 'Allah

Akbar' before some violent action. The true terrorists of our world wear 5000 dollar

suits and work in the highest positions of finance, government and business." (Zeitgeist Addendum)

Edited by Arcadian
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One thing I want to point out: Zuccotti Park is NOT a public park. It's a privately owned park that is publicly accessible. That's why the NYPD cannot remove them and that's why the OWS protesters can camp out there - unlike other public parks that close at dusk, Zuccotti Park closes whenever the owners want it to, and the owners of the park have not kicked the protesters out. So before you start arguing either way about whether they have the right to occupy a publicly owned park (which I don't believe) or start arguing that they are disrupting life in the city and shouldn't be able to take over the park from other users (which I also don't believe, and as I live here, I can say that 99% of the city is going on business as usual)...look up the facts.

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You're correct in regard to it not being City property, but that doesn't mean people can camp out in it or that laws don't apply. It's not as if OWS bought or rented the property. Brookfield Properites doesn't want these people there either but got their hands tied by politicians and other movers and shakers. Brookfield has posted rules for the park as is its right to do and this includes no camping equipment, sleeping bags, sleeping overnight, etc. FDNY finally removed the illegal generators and gas cans yesterday. The only reason the squatters themselves haven't been removed is because they have become darlings of the mainstream media and the mayor doesn't have the courage to order what would unfortunately likely become a violent eviction.

(this part after Edit)

Also, although it is not Public (as in owned by the City) the park is public in that Brookfield (and any other future owner of Liberty Plaza across the street) has to ensure that the park is open to the public (small "p"). This includes anyone who wants to go in there to among other things enjoy lunch, sit on a bench, etc. As it is now the place is crammed with people's private property and is being used as a de facto headquarters for a private movement. I (and others) argue that this is impeding the public's ability to use the park for its intended uses.

Edited by long_time_lurker
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Look at that, Bank of America just dumped $75 trillion in derivatives liabilities onto the US tax payers:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/301260-bank-of-america-dumps-75-trillion-in-derivatives-on-u-s-taxpayers-with-federal-approval

This country is so screwed beyond belief because we let a few wall street banksters and politicians in Washington get away with rigging the system in order to makes millions, if not billions, on it for their own personal selves while it costs us a country as a whole trillions in losses. LIke the author said, these people privatize profits, but socialize all of the losses. These criminals should be tried as a racketeering ring under RICO laws.

BoA dumping this kind of liability on the tax payers after a bailout that was only 4 years ago should be even more reason to protest for reinstatement of Glass Steagall.

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Previous peaceful protests have led me to believe that no one in a position of power is ever going to care about a peaceful protest.

Previous violent protests have led me to believe that people in a position of power respond to violent protests with the same brutal repression that probably caused the violent protests in the first place.

So unless people in the Occupy Wall Street movement start starving themselves to death (hunger strikes tend to draw more attention), it's not going to accomplish anything.

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