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Ravens in the Storm

Ravens in the Storm

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The Best Among Us

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Posted on Sep 29, 2011
AP / Louis Lanzano

Protesters pass Federal Hall on Wall Street in a recent march. The Occupy Wall Street protest is entering its third week in New York City as demonstrators continue to speak out against corporate greed and social inequality.

By Chris Hedges

Editor’s note: Chris Hedges’ weekly columns usually appear here on Monday mornings, but Truthdig posted this week’s edition early, on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the wake of controversy about the pepper-spraying of participants in the Occupy Wall Street protest.

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat. Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 

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Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant behind those metal barricades. They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children’s children. They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with the rest of us. So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation. 

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Click here to access OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St.


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By El_Pinguino, September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Here is something I wrote to another person in our group, concerning how to come to consensus and express demands. In my mind history is at a very fundamental turning point in humanity:

“i have sat around for 2 years +  and being a politically active person i
have thought long and hard about why/what is happening.

the short version is:

something has radically changed in our world. the global village. and
that change came in the form of a computer chip. while that computer
chip unleashed lots of good technological advancements, it also
unleashed a horrible force that is crippling humanity.

you and i think in terms of moral and ethics. we exchange ideas with
coworkers, family and friends. and we practice our morals and ethics
daily. and that is democracy.

every once in a while we vote. that is when we tally up democracy. and
our collective views are exposed on a large scale.

that is our side. the other side (the one we call evil):

this side doesn’t not answer to morals and ethics. it answers to power
and greed. like it or not… their world is very different.
fundamentally very very different. the average stock is held for 22
seconds. is that what we call *investing*? no. 60+% of all stock trades
are computer generated. is this some guy in a white shirt and tie making
decisions? no.

i believe that just as the printing press allowed the masses with
communication in the middle ages… the computer chip is transforming
our world. remember the first implementors of the printing press was the
church. and the church originally was part of the power structure that
kept people living in serfdom. so it didn’t work out for the serfs
immediately.

to me.. this era is a really fundamental change in humanity. and if this
is true and can be expressed simply, i think we’ll benefit. how many
times have you heard people say (especially older people)... *i just
don’t understand this new technology*... that is our ace in the whole.

people do not understand the technology that the power elite are using
to oppress us. to make us live in a *post human world*.

Chris hedges states that bluntly: “There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history.”

This is not at all about Chilean dictators… or Leninism… or if the banks stole the money. This is about fundamental human change. Humanity.

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By Annie K, September 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Chris, you are too full of yourself. For god’s sake, some of us just don’t have the money to get to Wall Street and some of us don’t have the major-league connections that you do to get you out of jail free. Some of just have to put food on the table—and use the library for internet access—and pay bills day in and day out.  Who are you to decide that only those who got themselves to NYC are “the best?”  If you would JUST once tell all your readers how extremely wealthy your background is, the Top 10 private school in Connecticut from which you hail, and how you’re just another average person? Could you?  I tried to find an affordable bus ride to NYC and DC as well as find a way to get a few days off work but no dice. No money Chris. How are you getting around?  Where does your funding come from ‘cause I could use some. I, too, remember the glorious ‘60’s and the white kids out there were funded by their parents.  They lost nothing and they actually took very little real risk.  Someone always had their back.  Can you publish the pro-bono lawyers who will help me when I do get to DC and if I get arrested?  Where’s the fund to take care of my kids?  Do you have this information to share or is it too mundane and pedestrian for your WL world?
  in solidarity but definitely not among the best of us…

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By tman, September 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Nothing draws more attention than a thief hanging from the end of a rope.

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By Mark A. Goldman, September 30, 2011 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

I certainly commend Chris Hedges on what he’s doing and on everything he has done.  I’ve posted many of his commentary and videos on my own web site http://www.gpln.com/other_commentaries.htm

But Chris said something in a prior interview a few days ago that I disagree with and I disagree that there is only one way for citizens to respond to the challenge that we face.  What he said earlier is that it is not the place of progressives to seek public office.  I strongly disagree with this.  It seems to me it would be a lot easier to elect people to office that already have an enlightened view of how to govern than it is to step aside and allow others to seek office and then spend the next 2 to 4 years trying to get them to change the attitudes they came to office with into something they don’t now believe in.  In fact we should do everything we possibly can to find qualified leaders and find a way to put them in leadership positions.  And this takes me to my second point, which is, one way we can respond to these challenges is to prepare ourselves for public office and then ask like minded people to support our candidacy when we run for office.  Chris has a brilliant brain but these two things seem to me to be no brainers.  http://www.gpln.com

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By madisolation, September 30, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

To Michael Calvin:
“Since I am a Nurse and was a Street Medic during the 2008 RNC, I will obviously be doing Street Medic duty again.”
May I say thank you for doing what needs to be done? I think you will be very much needed there.
I wish I were going, and I wish you the best.
Godspeed.

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By Josh C, September 30, 2011 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to propose in every forum available that for those who understand the need for this movement yet have a hard time explaining it to the outside world, when they ask “well what do they want?” you reply “well, what do you want?”  Because we are all not getting something we deserve.  We all deserve freedom from tyranny, clean air and water, healthy food, education, the ability to rise from poverty and freedom from violence and we all know so few of us have those freedoms any longer. 

This movement is for the rest of us 99% and it’s demands are all our demands.  We are not making specific demands relating simply to the activities of the financial corporations.  We are demanding our freedom back from the current illegal holders of that freedom.  Those holders reside and operate on Wall Street and everywhere Wall Street casts it’s ever growing shadow.  They must now bear the brunt of the power and responsibility they’ve taken from us.  We must show them how.

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By Mort Glickman, September 30, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I despise present day Wall Street as much as anyone. The problem is that the damage they have done to our economy the last 25 years is irreparable without a complete collapse, which would likely be very bloody. You might have been able to make some difference had you started protesting like this 3 or 4 years ago.

Game over.

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By Lee Oates, September 30, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Excellent Chris.  It is the 60’s all over again. We fought for major social changes (desegration, anti Vietnam war, and women’s rights), and we got gassed, beaten, shot, and jailed. We won, then we got lazy. We forgot that freedom must always be fought for.  There are too many people who are willing to give up their freedom (and ours) for profit or ideology.

We need to need to nationalize banks, firmly regulate credit cards and loan companies, institute a socialized medical system, and get over the concept that sharing and regulation are some great evil. We need to control and replace the oil and coal industries, and concentrate on saving the planet.

The US is primitive and juvenile in its social maturity. We have allowed the worst people in the country to gain control over our political structures.  We seem to believe that all problems can be resolved by throwing people in jail, or bombing and invading countries.  We all need to fight back against repression of our civil rights.

Classic example…bank of America gouging credit card users. Everyone withdrew their accounts and place their money in Co-op banks.  We can refuse to support those who harm us, regulate their actions, and elect those who will support us.  Above all, we must stop being led by all the right-wing fruitcakes in the country.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, September 30, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Ray Dural and All

You Sir and others here have proven your mettle. By helping. Spreading the word. Getting needed supplies to the young heroes at Wall Street.

As an aside, I hear that there are now 70 in progress or planned Occupations all over the country. I will be going to DC October 5th. I will then return to Minneapolis for the Occupation Federal Reserve is taking place October 7th. Since I am a Nurse and was a Street Medic during the 2008 RNC, I will obviously be doing Street Medic duty again.

My comments of sarcasm are not meant for you Sir or anyone else helping these brave young American patriots.
It is to the bloggity bloggers, blogging and bloviating their assinine opinions, with fingers flying away. Clickity clacking their own bloggity blogging sense of self importance.

Can ya Dig it? As in Truth Dig it?

I guess that yet again, I can forget the TruthDigger of the Week Award, eh?
Grin- What funn.

To Chris Hedges, I look forward to talking with you in DC.

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By Hulk2008, September 30, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Per witnesses at the scene of the police crackdown, the ordinary street cops wore blue shirts and were basically passive - they reportedly took no physical action against the protestors.  It was a flock of white-shirted police supervisors who swept in with mace and pepper spray and the like. 

Maybe the supervisors should be required to wear brown shirts and leather boots to better identify themselves. 

Note that a number of banks are already striking back at reformers by tacking on a monthly fee for having even one debit card transaction during a given month.  Other fees are being increased to circumvent Dodd-Frank.  As a former banking software programmer, I can verify that debit cards were invented to save banks real money in labor costs and to save merchants cash-handling costs, NOT as a customer convenience. 

Consumers need to go back to using cash and signing up at credit unions in droves - vote with your dollars that way.  Boycott banks and brokers - the stock market is not performing for the ordinary person’s benefit anyway.  Invest in one’s self rather than some manipulated market.  Even consider barter rather than using cash. 

Eventually things will go back to a reasonable situation once the oligarchs get the hint that we are “Mad As Hell And We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore”.

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By John R., September 30, 2011 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Just found a nice little short titled “Fight the corporate killing machine” on the
protest, out in California, Obama was attempting a fundraiser at the House of Blues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iZBNHA6qnA

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By John R., September 30, 2011 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

@ Robespespirre115

The OccupyWallStreet movement is 14 days old.

Three women were pepper sprayed by the NY police dept. a few days ago.

Is it that because violence has not escalated fast enough for you?

“I am pointing out is that the movement lacks a strong, serious, focused sense
of organization and ideas”

Once again It it you whom does not read the Official Occupy Demands. As I
have posted a link for you to read before. How many times will I be posting this
link for you to read the demands?

Left side of page Main Menu

At the bottom of box click on: Occupy Demands

http://coupmedia.org/

Really Robespespirre115,
I am getting a deep sense of someone that is unable to realize or recognize that
the paradigm, for getting demands met, must be recognized (by you) and
performed in the same manor for each country. (Like in Chile or South America)
as you continually repeat.

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By Diana Snarr, September 30, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was through Michael Moore that I first became
aware of Chris Hedges.  I’m ashamed that I haven’t
known him before now, but he has electrified me! 
He’s a great writer and hits the nail on the head. I
immediately bought EMPIRE OF ILLUSION (paper back)
and THE WORLD AS IT IS, even though I am unemployed
and saving every dime.  I read EMPIRE….until my
eyes were burning; couldn’t put it down! Hedges has
the guts and intellect to get it in print: I’m
with you Chris. I’ve lived without health insurance
for years and I hold three college degrees.  Part-
time jobs or Adjunct teaching jobs are a great
bargain for schools, colleges/universities, not so
good for the educators.  Good ole U.S.A. and the fat,
greedy cats that run the show.  Yes, it’s now or
never guys!

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By Anarcissie, September 30, 2011 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Robespierre—At this stage of things I think the movement has to be prepared to evolve.  They seem to have made a series of demands for rather mild social-democratic reforms, like the restoration of Glass-Steagall.  These will be refused, however.  The movement will then become more radical, and probably bigger, unless it’s crushed, which will have other consequences the ruling class probably doesn’t want to face.  At this point I much more interested in seeing what happens than in criticizing.

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By George, September 30, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Join me and over 6000 others who have committed to occupying indefinitely Freedom Plaza in DC beginning October 6. From the website: http://october2011.org/statement

Stop the Machine! Create a New World!

A Call to Action - Oct. 6, 2011 and onward

We call on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.

A concert, rally and protest will kick off a powerful and sustained nonviolent resistance to the corporate criminals that dominate our government.

Forty-seven years ago, Mario Savio, an activist student at Berkeley, said, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

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By CitizenJimserac, September 30, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges:

Well said.  Very well said indeed!

To paraphrase Churchill, this is not the beginning of
the end of corporate perversion of our government and
our lives, nor is it even the end of the beginning of
the end.

But it IS the beginning of the beginning, a place to
start.

There are some who wish to crush this? 

Can the oncoming wave of a giant Tsunami be “crushed”
by running into the sea and disrupting the initial
small waves?  Can an earthquake be stopped by
corporate presidents calling for their workers to
jump up and down to counteract it and then reciting
the company song, as a kind of mantra, or repeating
the company “philosophy”?

NO.  There is no stopping this.  There will be no
Exxon commercials nor Chamber of “Commerce” ads, no
rationalizations, no disinformation, no
misrepresentations, no deletions from the nightly
news broadcasts continuing their non coverage of the
history making occupation (with some exceptions, see
MSNBC), no easy dismissals, denials, obfuscations,
trivializations, attempts to use the “terrorism”
gambit, nor even appeals to that ever popular “law
and order” charade that is ever going to stop the
inevitable unification that is occurring….
occurring right now on the streets of Wall Street and
in the cities and towns and suburbs all across this
great country - a unification of thought, principles
and action that represents the final and ultimate
withdrawal of sanction for the kind of crimes that
have been perpetrated against us.  The guilty
parties now have an inkling that they WILL be held
legally and morally responsible and will soon be
unable to conduct “business as usual”.

Inevitability is a bitch!

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Dennis Leahy's avatar

By Dennis Leahy, September 30, 2011 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Chris, if we had a government of, for, and by the people, you would be our poet laureate. As it stands, I’m sure you would reject the distinction from the criminals that currently infest our government.

Please read The Reset Button document.
It is a plan to remove oligarchs and corporatists from governmental influence, and to give sovereignty to US citizens and put ordinary (non-corporate tied) citizens into elected and appointed positions.

I believe that I can guarantee that you’ll love it, and will embrace it.

=========================
http://www.ResetButton2011.org
=========================

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By Rixar13, September 30, 2011 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

“Either you are a rebel or a slave.”

My lunch is packed… wink wink

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By Tom Degan, September 30, 2011 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You say you wanna revolution? It’s here baby!

The plutocracy’s days are numbered. Weeda People are going to take this country back. Get out in the streets and let your voice be heard.

This land is your land. This land is my land. We’re not going to tolerate it anymore. I refuse to live in a country in ruins.

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan

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By El, September 30, 2011 at 7:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You’ll fail because you are weak and incompetent. If you weren’t, you’d be rich and we’d be poor, not the other way around.

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By jo6pac, September 30, 2011 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris it’s interesting to note that some so called progressive are closed to the idea of this taking off with no one in charge and no clear messager. Other’s are worried that they might not have the permits need to to it bigger. I’m sure MLK and 60s people didn’t bother with being worried about these things, if you can put 1/2 million or more people in the street the best any city police officer can do is stay out of the way and help the protestors be safe.

This person has the perfect quote.
By El_Pinguino, September 29 at 10:26 pm

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By bem1972, September 30, 2011 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

@Robespierre115, you are absolutely correct, occupation without organization - a clear and compelling plan to turn aside the relentlessly advancing forces of greed - will, in the end, prove fruitless. I am currently teaching English in Ecuador, and so I have been following the battle of the “pingüinos” to obtain the education that is their right, a right they lost during the reign of Pinochet, that execrable puppet of Milton Friedman and his ilk. As you note, the Chilean government has been forced to come to the table and begin offering concessions, but the Chilean students know that their struggle is a long way from being over. They will not disband until all of their demands have been met, and even then, they will be ready to come together once more at the slightest hint of betrayal on the part of the regime.

I applaud the efforts of those involved with OccupyWallStreet, and if I were in the States, I would be there with them. As it is, I will support them via online efforts by whatever means available. That being written, when I see “Wall Streeters” standing on balconies observing the spectacle, grinning from ear to ear and drinking champagne, I know that the efforts of these fine people are so far, and quite sadly, useless. You have to strike genuine fear into the hearts of your would-be rulers before real change can occur, and so far, that’s not happening.

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By Ray Duray, September 30, 2011 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

Michael Cavlan,

Thank you. Here’s something I hope alleviates some of your concern about blogger/slackers. This is one of many events I’ve created. This just happens to have had the best weather. You don’t need to see us in parkas. smile

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/03/355860.shtml

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By Michael Cavlan RN, September 30, 2011 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

Ray Duray and All

That is the confirmed, correct address to send donations. Most needed are blankets, medical supplies and tarps. I also know that there is a local Pizza joint near the now dubbed Liberty Park that is taking orders and helping these brave young heroes.

This is indeed spreading. There are now 44 confirmed Occupations. Some already started and some shortly to begin. The October 5th DC take over is still on. I shall be there. Then return to Minneapolis October 7th for the Occupation of the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis. Since I am a Nurse and was a Street Medic during the 2008 RNC, I am working as a Street Medic again for both events.

In the mean time, fingers are flying furiously and clicking away. Bloggity blogging about how self important, deep and meaningful are the conversations of the bloggity blogging bloggers. Prattling away in the comment sections about the bloviated opines of bloggity blogging bloggers.

How odd. While the fingers click away, one never sees the words “Well this is what I am doing or will do to advance the movement” or “I intend to show up at such and such Occupation at Wall Street or in DC.” Bloggity blog and blog blog blog.


Can ya blog it? Or is that can ya dig it? As in Truth Dig it?

Grin- What fun.

Oh and thank you Chris Hedges. You have chosen sides so clearly. Thank you for being one of those who have shown us the way.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, September 30, 2011 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Chris Hedges:

“To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing… is to be complicit in this radical evil.”
___________________

Those who vote for the corporate party’s Democrats and Republicans are not only not innocent — they are by affirmative vote-action guilty of free-will choosing to politically support all the crimes of the corporate-state.

Liberal (D) voters and conservative (R) voters are corporate party collaborators and willing accomplices together in all the crimes of the corporate-state.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Ray Duray, September 30, 2011 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

I cribbed this from Alternet’s article today on Occupy Wall Street. No guarantees on accuracy here, but its a start on how to contribute to the effort:

Mail
The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038
Money orders only please, cannot cash checks yet. Non-perishable goods only. We can accept packages of any size. We’re currently low on food.

https://occupywallst.org/

I also found this awesome link I thought you might like,

Occupy Wall Street resources. With list of states & cities. Please add your own. == See this comment here:
http://tinyurl.com/6kkdmj3

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By keratomileusis, September 30, 2011 at 4:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans fail to realize that all the effort and millions of $$ that have been poured into combatting foreign
terrorists can easily be used against Americans themselves.  Each and every one of
those protesters faces is now in the “to watch” list, thanks to the sophisticated
monitoring capability of NYPD. 1984 has arrived, albeit 25 years late…

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By Robespierre115, September 29, 2011 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

@John R., The state will always react with violence when it genuinely feels like the masses are starting to threaten the status quo, it doesn’t matter if you don’t engage in violence yourself and just quietly sit around Wall Street “practicing martial arts.” So if there were a real, major uprising in the US some form of violence would be inevitable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyib7FeuF4

And when I speak of smashing the old state it could happen either through a major uprising, or it could happen democratically as seen in South America. Either way, do you point blank seriously believe the current system of power is going to listen to you?

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By rumblingspire, September 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“have you ever made some revolution?”

“Revolution Now!”  mark wirtz and Tomorrow

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, September 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

@El Pinguino, John R, that’s just hollow, postmodern rhetoric. I’m not calling for violence in the sense of a guerrilla campaign, what I am pointing out is that the movement lacks a strong, serious, focused sense of organization and ideas. 

Consider the current protests in Chile demanding free education, the student leadership is organized, focused and linking up with the unions and workers, the result is that the government is being forced to sit down, meet face to face with them and hear their demands. The Chileans are making the halls of power tremble, and yes, they have had to engage in street combat against the state which will always respond with violence when it really does feel threatened:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHB4mykcueg

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By El_Pinguino, September 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

@ Robespierre115

I cannot answer you question better than deometer’s comment does.

Just remember what Ken kesey said when they started off on the bus trip to find a kool place:

“Since we don’t know where we’re going we have to stick together in case someone gets there.”

In case people missed it we are embarking on fundamental change in our world. This change is so fundamental that it cannot be defined before it arises.And that change is not because of Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall St is a response to the fundamental change in front of us.

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John R.'s avatar

By John R., September 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

@ Robespespirre115

“...with the expressed aim of smashing the old state”

“...needs to get deadly serious”

So - I have watched the video you linked, and saw a young man dancing, or
practicing some martial arts?

I will ask you point blank Robespespirre115, do you sincerely believe that
violence will work on a NY police force that can, within an hour, have the
National Guard move in with the entire backing of U.S. armed forces?

Because your comments (see above in the quotes) are certainly leaning into a
violent direction.

I do read each column, if now only to understand you.

Sincerely.

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By expat, September 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable” —JFK

Hats off to all of you in NY…

this movement needs to spread worldwide and, in the us, to every HQ of any financial concern.  Do the same thing on every major business street where the brokerages and banks are located (i.e. 17th Street in Denver, etc…)

go further…  i.e, put padlocks and chains on all their facilities and local branches (watch for surveillance videos).  Be creative, disturb their business to the max.  Find a way to cut communications and to just become an active nuisance.

Lobby politicians B4 elections…  NO MORE BAILOUTS of any kind…  let them fail, now that’s capitalism, enough of this socializing losses BS.

systematically videotape the pigs harassing, arresting and violating protester’s Constitutional Rights…  and SUE and PROSECUTE (call ACLU).

Be creative…  lot’s more can be done.  Don’t organize, you’ll be infiltrated.  Lone wolf style…  if you get a great idea, the copycats cometh…

this pyramidal scheme can be brought down.

Think about it, it’s nothing but a fragile house of cards.

Send mass mailings to foreign newspapers (especially tax havens and correspondent financial institutions in Europe and Asia) that you’ll do all you can to brings US financial concerns down…  you’ll get coverage and their attention. Guaranteed.

etc, etc…

the best weapon: INFORMATION.

Find out what kind of garbage assets are really on their balance sheets (thru employee friends and plants), make the info public wikileak style, watch their stock tank (plunge protection team manipulation notwithstanding).

You can bring the dow down to a realistic level of 3000!!!

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By keepyourheaddown, September 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

Look what’s happening out in the streets
Got a revolutiongot to revolution
Hey I’m dancing down the streets
Got a revolutiongot to revolution
Ain’t it amazing all the people I meet
Got a revolutiongot to revolution
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it’s time for you and me
Got a revolutiongot to revolution
Come on now we’re marching to the sea
got a revolutiongot to revolution
Who will take it from you
We will and who are we
We are volunteers of america

Jefferson Airplane…

“UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHER FUCKERS”

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By jezra, September 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i think the key to the occupations is the decentralized or horizontal form of decision making. it is only necessary for the activists to make this the demand. all institutions in society must be run in this fashion, where all those in the institutions make decisions through a consensus process. put that demand first, and everything else follows.

if, on the contrary, consensus is used to create demands on those in power then it legitimates those in power. power will usually concede something—as in the post-depression era—as it allows them to remain in control. later they gradually repeal and take back what people once won through struggle. don’t make that mistake again.

“power to the people.”

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By lainnj, September 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

They are the best among us. I am so grateful to these, mostly young, people. I hope that they can pull us out of this mess and reverse course against the greed of Wall Street and corporations that has sucked the life blood out of this country and made a mockery of our democracy. I am with them 100%. Thank you too Mr. Hedges for being there with them (and with all of us) and for writing this powerful article. I’m passing it on to everyone I know.

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By tom, September 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the victor goes the spoils, Wall Street is here to stay, there’s no breaking free as nothing on heaven or earth can change the hell it resides and the poison cast. Were shackled to the plow of traffic and buses on detour around L A’s Superior court to make way for the Dr Conrad Murray media assault. A crime indivisible of tens and tens of news vans and talking heads to reach the unemployed left with little else than a TV and air space. Squeezing along watching the trial of a man accused of killing Michael on his death bed choking to death on song with credit denied and Wall Street dissent ignore. A perfect media distracion so good as to make Ken Lay rise and give pause.

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By radson, September 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

This is very simple ,it goes back to that idiot of a President Dabya .That stated ,what side are you on ,well the answer is very simple ,I am on Mother Earths side ;are you? then join the resistance .

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By deometer, September 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Nothing short of everything will really do.”

This quote comes by way of Aldous Huxley’s Island, and it refers to the only practical way to approach and reform any system that deals with man, nature, and all their interrelated complexities. It would appear we don’t live in a world where issues or actions exist in a vacuum, things are a bit more complicated and interconnected than that. Everything has to do with everything, and it is here where our spotlight attention, and narrowed focus, prevents us from seeing (and understanding) things in a broader spectrum (the term “horse blinders” comes to mind). We do not think in terms of total transformation, we think only in terms of superficial change. And, if you look into it you will find that superficial change is no change at all. At times we may find temporary relief, but what of it?

Maybe, if we start with true transformation - like a deep psychological revolt of intelligence, where a more holistic mindset is developed - we’ll move beyond superficial reform and temporary relief (which, if people haven’t noticed, is responsible for the prevailing economic and social crisis), and enact some change actually worthwhile. The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be on to something (I’m not sure if it truly fosters that deeper understanding or even goes far enough, though I’m in no rush to judgement), but one thing for sure is that this demand that they adhere to some set structure is nonsense (“Initiative is destroyed when you are merely copying, when you are bound by tradition, following a political leader or authority figure.” - J. Krishnamurti). So what if this new kind of protest is unrecognizable? Don’t people generally bitch that protests (like those of old) hardly accomplish anything, anyway? It seems to be a double bind.

“We are not bringing about a vital change, uprooting the old ways of thought, freeing the mind from traditions and habits.
...
We want to do patchwork reform, which only leads to problems of still further reform. We do not want to strip away all our false values and begin anew. But the building is crumbling, the walls are giving away, and fire is destroying it. We must leave the building and start on new ground, with different foundations, different values.”
- Jiddu Krishnamurti

I, at the very least, admire the fact that each protestor is discovering within themselves what truths need to be heard (“I can give you a description of the truth, but it will not be the same as you discovering the truth for yourself.” - Krishnamurti) - even if it was the abstract notion of “Wall Street greed” that first brought them together. By not rushing to define it - and, as a result, limit it - they allow themselves, through time and fluid discussion, the chance to discover a deeper understanding of the endless series of anxieties, conflicts, and frustrations in which we are caught, and to demand change from that. And if they find it goes deeper, demand change from that! Aldous Huxley, once again, indicates the perils of focusing on one aspect to the exclusion of all the rest rather eloquently:

“Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is easier for us to reach our goal if we are not handicapped by a set of erroneous or inadequate beliefs about the right way to get there and the nature of what we are looking for.”

Thank you for your powerful words and tireless effort, Chris.  You, and those occupying Wall Street, are an inspiration.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, September 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

@El Pinguino, yes, how do you actually hope to have those demands implemented by the current rotten, worthless suits in power? Without a coherent, revolutionary strategy, without organization and discipline with the expressed aim of smashing the old state and putting power in the hands of the people, little will be achieved except a chance to vent. This is when we must learn from our brothers and sisters in South America. I fully support the protesters and hope people listen to what they have to say, but just saying “Wall Street must pay” without articulating how to get the job done will lead to a moment which will fizzle out.

The movement needs to get deadly serious, for example in this report, I doubt the guy who shows up 11 seconds into the clip will lead us to radical change:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF7N-2bKtRU

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By Petro, September 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“This is what it means to be alive.”

I feel the fresh, clean, new blood coursing through the body politic, the real body politic of the people.

Beautiful and uplifting essay, Mr. Hedges.

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By Ralph Kramden, September 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Beautifully written. Almost poetic. I always cringe at anything having to do with “you’re either for us or against us.” But it does come a time. We will get nowhere, until we repeal the Taft-Hartley act. It is in the labor movement where we must start. Start, not end. Too many of our labor representatives are enamored of their good hair, expensive suits, whitened teeth, to be credible. Give me a labor leader in jeans. Bring up the likes of Walter Reuther. The Union movement is not the answer, not the ultimate, but it is the fundamental start. I am a witness to my fellow union workers becoming landlords, shopping at Wal-Mart. When I asked them why Wal-Mart? Ans.: I save money. Lack of class conciousness or stupidity? Take your pick

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By bdk4, September 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

I have chosen sides. I’m pretty sure I’m a rebel. Certainly people around me think I’m both a radical and a rebel.

All I can do however is support the best of the best by giving my time and energy to keeping up with events, contacting authorities from time to time, posting information and articles of support on my website dailyfumes.com, and giving small donations here and there to support the protesters efforts.

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By El_Pinguino, September 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

For those of you still wondering….there is our list of demands.

Any questions?

http://occupytogether.org

http://occupylosangeles.org

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By Grady Lee Howard, September 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey! What happened to “Occupy Washington” next Friday
Oct. 6 ? I wanted to go to that! Ain’t they having
it? You mean I have to go to Manhattan and be
manhandled?

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By gerard, September 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you can’t go yourself, you can contribute money to help sustain, comfort, protect the people there.
AlterNet is one place accepting contributions.

Tomorrow and tomorrow:  Unions join in. Church social action groups join in. Liberal lawyers, doctors, nurses, psychologists join in.  Scientific and technical workers join in.  Teachers, book publishers, writers, film-makers join in.  Women’s groups, veterans groups join in.

Day by day, little by little, inch by inch it becomes increasingly effective every day.

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