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Reckless Endangerment

Reckless Endangerment

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Time to Start Preoccupying Wall Street

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Posted on Dec 9, 2011
AP / Seth Wenig

End of phase one: A woman waves an American flag over Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in Foley Square in New York on Nov. 15, the day police officers evicted movement members from Liberty Square.

By Lawrence Weschler

1.

Tyrannies all over the world—and here I include the tyranny of the market that the proponents of unfettered capitalism (which is to say, by and large, the system’s increasingly concentrated winners and all those handsomely paid-off apologists and retainers they regularly choose to hide behind)—exist in the ironclad certainty that people are nothing more than meat on sticks. Anything that their subordinates, their inferiors, their underlings are or have beyond that exists at the sheerest whim of the regime. Indeed, the notion that human beings have absolute rights simply by virtue of their humanity—the right, for instance, not to be tortured, on the one hand; or to secure lodging, decent livelihoods, adequate health care and so forth, on the other—arises initially as a wild, untethered assertion in the face of eons of stark evidence to the contrary. But it is a magical assertion.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The truly revolutionary advance in that declaration is contained not so much in such words as “truths,” “self-evident,” “unalienable,” or “created equal” as in the calm self-certainty of that opening phrase: “We hold.” The text does not launch out with “It is manifestly self-evident that” or some similar construction, as strict logic might seem to dictate. I mean, either it is or it isn’t self-evident, right? Except that in this instance, the self-evidence of the assertion does in fact remain hidden, fugitive, immanent at best, until people rise up to embrace it, to hold fast to its insistence (mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the process). It is holding such truths to be self-evident that first makes them so—and, more specifically, doing so in concert, alongside others.

I first began to think along these lines myself several decades back when I had the privilege of reporting from Poland during the early ’80s and thereby got to witness the astonishing Solidarity upsurge firsthand. As it happens, one of the principal architects of that seismic convulsion, Adam Michnik, was in town a few weeks back and paid a visit to the Occupy Wall Street encampment in full bloom. We were talking a few hours afterward, and he told me he’d recognized a kindred spirit. “Sort of like Poland a few years before the actual Solidarity uprising in 1980,” he explained. “The prologue to that moment, say Poland in 1976, when Polish workers began to rise up and say ‘no.’ They weren’t yet sure what it was they wanted, what they wanted to say ‘yes’ to, but they had become absolutely convinced of what they did not want, what they could no longer abide—and that is the beginning of the end for the regime.”

His comments put me back into those days, in the early ’80s, when Solidarity full throttle first got going, a movement that would, within less than a decade and notwithstanding temporary setbacks here and there, go on to utterly rout one of history’s vastest totalitarian regimes (a regime so entrenched and so stolid that hardly anyone beforehand had so much as granted himself permission to imagine its full eradication). Back in those days, the nascent mass movement’s theorists—people like Michnik—used to speak of Solidarity as an expression of “the subjectivity of the Polish nation,” by which they meant the Polish people’s sudden insistence that they no longer be treated as the objects of other people’s histories but instead start behaving as the subjects of their own. It was literally a grammatical transformation—as basic as the leap from “Please, please stop doing that to us” to “Damn it all, we simply won’t take this anymore”—and it had profound, ultimately world-upending implications.

As indeed might—one almost shudders to think it—the new movement under way here at the very heart of the capitalist market. (There’s that joke of a few years back, to the effect that in 1989 capitalism defeated communism and in 2008 it defeated democracy. That was never exactly right: In 1989 it was a mass people’s uprising that overthrew communism, albeit one that was overwhelmed by the very rampaging neoliberal capitalism that went on to overwhelm Western democracy as well in 2008, a seemingly totalizing triumph that, on the other hand, may yet now be proving short-lived.)

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And after having so brilliantly rallied oppositional energies over the past several months, one way of phrasing the question now facing the Wall Street Occupiers and their as-yet homebound supporters all around the country, as the movement enters its next phase, might well be: How do we get from that inchoate no to a more focused yes?

 

2.

That the movement is entering a new phase can hardly be doubted. Merely occupying public squares in towns and hamlets all around the country was never in and of itself supposed to have been the point (though for a few weeks there it seemed to be becoming so). For that matter, as has been noted, the encampments themselves were becoming increasingly problematic: attracting all sorts of homeless often mentally unstable elements whose care in a less savagely cost-cutting era would have been the wider society’s obvious responsibility; having to divert substantial energies to sanitation and other similar day to day requirements; gradually wearing out their welcome with neighboring residents and businesses (those nonstop bongos); etc. Given such problems, as well as the relentless onset of the coming winter, it could be and indeed has been argued that the various municipal authorities have been doing the movement a kind of unintended favor by shutting down the encampments themselves (and especially doing so in such a repeatedly ham-fisted way). 

Nor need the remarkable upwelling of a radically participatory form of democracy within the camps themselves, no matter how bracing and potentially valuable in the long run, in itself be fetishized as the point of the exercise. The fact is that at some point the Occupiers were going to need to sharpen their demands, or at least to widen their tactical and strategic vision, and that point is now. They are going to need to find a way of reaching out to constituencies well beyond their original cohort, including millions of fellow citizens who, while they may not have the time or the current life situation or the disposition to be able to join the die-hards in encampments, would nevertheless love to be offered some concrete way into the movement, a practical means of expressing their anger and frustration, to say nothing of sheer human solidarity with one another. It is becoming the responsibility of Occupy Wall Street (just as it was the responsibility of the original anti-war mobilizers back in the Vietnam days) to find some way of building bridges to those people. Sure, we may all reconvene in those encampments come the spring, and it is to be hoped in ever greater numbers, but what to do in the meantime?

 

 


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

I’m confused.  Is this yet another person sitting in an office or armchair somewhere telling Occupy Wall Street what it or they ought to do?  Or rather, telling the Truthdig audience, few of whom seem to be involved in real-live activism, what Occupy Wall Street ought to do?  I don’t get these people.  Why don’t they do the good thing, whatever it is?  Or am I mistaking what’s going on here?  Help!

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race_to_the_bottom's avatar

By race_to_the_bottom, December 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

I think we should end the practice of treating houses as commodities. The Fed could buy up everyone’s mortgage with the click of a computer mouse, just like the bank created the money it lent to the home buyer with the click of a mouse.

So now the Fed burns all the mortgages and transfers the titles to the homeowners who can live there as long as they want and transfer title to a child who wants to inherit the house for the purposes of living there, but nobody could ever sell the house.  If people want to move, they would transfer title to a democratically elected neighborhood housing committee which could then accept applications to take title of the home under the same conditions. The people who moved could get a list of vacant houses in a neighborhood they wished to live in and put in an application there.
While people lived in the house, they would pay only a small amount to cover maintenance. People would also be legally obligated to keep the house in good order. If a person wanted to build a new house, He could apply for financing and have the house built and live in it according to the same terms as above.

Treating housing this way would relieve people of most of the headaches and expense of “home-ownership”, which it really isn’t anyway, but would retain most of the advantages of owning your own home.  People would feel a new freedom without having a mortgage millstone around their necks. The money they save on mortgage could be used for any other purpose or saved for retirement.

Rental housing could be treated in the same way. Landlords would have an incentive to sell to the Fed, because rents would plunge after this program went into action. Apartment blocks would become condos and single family rentals would be treated as above.

So what would the banks do with all the newly created money? Who knows. What have they done with the QE1 and QE2 money?

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

gerard,

Nice sentiment. You fill our minds with grand celebrations bringing people together. You conjure up images of victory dances for having truly good intentions. You enable us to clearly see the warm and smiling faces of those who, nonviolently, took matters in their own hands and took control of a new home for their children. The entire idea may catch on like a wild fire raging across the plains. BRAVO, gerard! Bravo!

Tucked deeply in there, almost imperceptibly, is your not-so-subtle message: attack the lenders. They’re the ones. Hit’em where it hurts. The revolution is afoot! Passivity is not the way. It’s time to be aggressive.

-

Can you answer a few simple and direct questions just once?

What comes of the $billions in real estate across the country after millions of people, in solidarity with you and the celebrating parties, stop paying their mortgages? What happens when even more still take control, non-violently, of course, of property that does not belong to them?

Will the Teachers Unions invested in real estate simply be liberated of their ill-gotten gains? Will you be the one to decide who is worthy of retaining their own private property throughout all of this? Or will this be a ‘Horizontal’ decision process in everyone’s own neighborhood?

I’m sure you’ve fully thought this out. Otherwise you would not be so passionately in favor.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

Fox news tries to say Bush got Osama bin Laden,
psychotalk is right.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/45620032#45620032

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm…  I have no idea why that link didn’t work, well
I’ll try again.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/45606405#45606405

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

LOL….. now I’ve heard everything. Idiots

Got new talking points, did ya…

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/45606405#null

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By gerard, December 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Getting back to the theme of the article:  “The point, in sum, is for all of us, holding fast to self-evident truths, to move beyond merely occupying Wall Street and to start preoccupying Wall Street, to unsettle the nights of its denizens and to wend our way into their dreams.”
  Considering everything, the word “merely occupying” seems inappropriate. The Occupiers are still making waves of all kinds, everywhere.  Watch the video made at Lincoln Center, showing on Huff Post today. Who would have believed we would see a tribute to “Satyagraha” seriously and artfully performed in Occupier’s unique mic check style?  What a Christmas present for us all!
  And the faces of people regaining homes in spite of mortgage crooks?  How’s that for a Christmas present?
  And people thinking everywhere about the crux of our problems—greed and manipulation, lies, cheating and fear. War, hatred and pepper spray made in USA, sold and used to quell democratic protest here at home, and in Egypt on the other side of the world! Occupiers have “wended their way” into our fondest hopes—which is right where they belong!

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

bpawk, - “I suspect a lot of commenters here voted for Obama with his promise of change - unfortunately this ineffective president has kept things the same.”

-

I suspect there were a good many like myself whom were less impressed with the ‘Hope’ sloganeering and more terrified by the prospect of a Ms. Palin next in succession to the Oval Office. I believe many felt nearly forced to accept the least known, least vetted, and least qualified, candidate ever to hold that office.

If Mr. Obama generally believed the things he was saying as a U.S. Senator come candidate for president, he has shown himself to act much the opposite while in office. Particularly on matters of global affairs, diplomacy, national security and use of the military.

President Obama either didn’t believe the things he had said prior to office or, he received one hell of an education after arriving.

-

President Obama has taught us that a president’s name, his father’s religion, his ethnic background, loud denunciations of his predecessor, discomforting efforts to apologize and contextualize past American actions — none of that does anything to lead to greater peace in the world or security for the United States.

Israel, Britain, and Eastern Europe are not closer allies now than they were in 2008. Iran is still Iran — and may be even a more dangerous adversary after the failed Obama outreach. Putin’s Russia, despite “reset” (a word we no longer much hear), is still Putin’s Russia. China still despises the US, and feels in 2011 that it is in a far better position to act on its contempt than it was in 2009. North Korea never got the “hope and change” message. Europe is collapsing, reminding the world where the United States is headed if it does not change course. Outreach didn’t seem to do much for the Castro brothers, Hugo Chávez, or Daniel Ortega. Pakistan went from a duplicitous ally to a veritable enemy. The more we bragged about Turkey, the more we could feel it holds us in contempt. We hope that the Libyan rebels and the Cairo protesters are headed toward democracy, but we privately admit that they seem to have no more interest in establishing it than the U.S. has in promoting it.

In other words, Professor Obama reminds future presidents that the world will transcend their rhetoric, their pretensions, and their heritage. Other nations always calibrate their relations with the United States either by their own perceived self-interest, or by centuries-old American values and power, or both.

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By Mitch, December 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hello LW- Great article
Please read this it is our future: 
When Democracy Dies
http://planetponzi.com/?p=1203 
Join Our Movement and Pass this on!
Thanks a Million

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By bpawk, December 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

gerard,
I suspect a lot of commenters here voted for Obama with his promise of change - unfortunately this ineffective president has kept things the same (cost of middle east wars, tax breaks for the rich, high unemployment etc.) - it’s got to be frustrating - you fell for his lies and you will fall for them again - ralph nader was the only real hope but Americans pushed him aside.

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By gerard, December 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

bpawk:  Your statements imply that nobody has been trying to “go to the government” and given up hope long ago.  What do you think the election of Obama was about?  What do you think long-standing organizations who “petition the government for a redress of grievances” have been doing all these years and years? And why do you think, then, that things are not only bad, but even worse than before?
Could it be that government has been successively DENYING ACCESS to ordinary people?  Do you think it might be that media has been systematically REFUSING to “take the people’s case to the public”? Do you think that money may have “bought off” access and choked off honest information, and that unnecessary surveillance may have robbed ordinary people of their courage, their initiative and their faith in the possibility of change?
  If not, then what accounts for all the free-floating cynicism that appears in these columns, representing (for the most part) the efforts and the predominating sense of failure of the passing generation?

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By balkas, December 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

it’s a very good plan to deal first of all with people who are hundred,
hundreds, thousand[s] times richer than other americans.
and it’s ok to call this fact “wall street”.
i am very curious how wld OWS force the wall street to accede to their
rightful demands and restore their inheritance?
educating americans about their inheritance and getting onside, say, 80-
90% of americans wld work—to what degree, we wld find out after OWS
get’s that much support.

so, finally, we may change america. it is a good possibility; it’ll take
decades, i expect. tnx

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By balkas, December 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

“all people are created equal” cld be substituted with: each human is endowed by nature or
god/nature [or even goddevil] with at least one talent. that one talent does not have to be even
similar to let alone the same as anybody else’s
and it’s diversity of talents; their differing, but priceless/moneyless values and utility that
makes us richer.

fathers of the confederation may have been aware of what they must not ever say: each human
inherits at birth from god or god/nature/just-fair people the rights to work, healthcare, life,
part ownership of everything that is on or in herhis country, being equally needed/wanted, etc.

“pursuit of happiness” was and is still a vacuity; it cld mean just about anything. did they know
this when they put this dwn on paper? we’ll never know! most likely they knew that it didn’t
have just one meaning. i suggest they knew it had trillions of meanings.
thus, no one cld catch them being deceptive. tnx

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

gerard,

Yes, I am a clown. I’m the clown that began, over a month ago, pointing out the growing and persistent violence associated with the Occupy demonstrations. I pointed out at the time that if this violence were to continue the American people would turn away and tune out the OWS message.

You made a point then of telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that no violence or destruction associated with these demonstrations existed. - Today you’re warning everyone here of those things I warned of over a month ago.

Yes, I’m a clown. More importantly, however, unlike yourself, I remain honest. You should try it. Your agenda of a revolution will get more traction without the obvious hypocrisy.

Occupy the places laws are conceived, Gerard. Occupy the U.S. Congress!

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By bpawk, December 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

gerard,
A binding contract that you sign means the other party can sue you if you don’t pay - nobody promised you a job forever when you signed - you still signed a document to get money but you have to pay it back. That’s what laws are for. And that’s precisely why you have to go to government to protest - the Wall Streeters are just obeying the law because it is written for their best interest, not the 99%. Go to the government and say you want the law written for the 99% best interest.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 10, 2011 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

What about my pet commands? .... I mean if I was king of Occupy I would provide a chicken in every pot, a shopping cart for everyone and a Repulsion approach to Medicare giving out coupons letting everyone choose which Tequila they want!

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By Wallace Fraser, December 10, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...address the world at large rather than any longer
bother addressing the king, let alone his mere
representatives)...”.

This is what must be remembered.  Collective action
regarding underwater mortgages and student loans are
worthwhile tactics but attention EVERY DAY to the
inequalities is the mission. The object being to hold
ground - staying on the front page - and slowing
commerce to a crawl in order to get the attention and
engage the masters and not their errand boys - a
tiresome exercise in incremental “progress.” The
masters will pay attention if the Occupiers hold
enough leverage.

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By gerard, December 10, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

..“most people helped cause the crisis as much as the wall streeters”... “Most people” who were forced to default for reasons beyond their ability to avoid defaulting, are not “as guilty as” those who manipulated vast sums of money behind the scenes, and influenced reactive government policies that permitted massive rape of the network of economic safety, manipulating markets far beyond the ability of “most people” to control.

...“they signed a legally binding contract with responsibilities to pay back monies owing whether to banks or the government or whoever and they are legally obligated to pay it back.” People signed such contracts because they were assured by “the system” that it was “safe” to sign them because they would have jobs with incomes in the future. It is not right to exact promises from people, then manipulate away the possibilities of their living up to their promises, and then punish them.

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By BIGTHOUGHT, December 10, 2011 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

“Historically, the most terrible things - war,
genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from
disobedience, but from obedience.” ? Howard Zinn
New Music inspired by the occupy wall st movement,
revolution is now by the people, for the
people/http://youtu.be/WoENqSS-8sU

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, December 10, 2011 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

A thoughtful and useful article.  I posted it via Twitter.  I do disagree with the author that our goal should be to make capitalism more “humane” (this makes as much sense to me as talking about making rape “humane”), but that’s the kind of disagreement and difference of perspective that we sustain in a democratic movement.  Creative thinking in this piece!

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By bpawk, December 10, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

While I agree that we the 99% are getting a raw deal, most people helped caused the crisis as much as the wall streeters - people who are getting foreclosed or students who can’t pay their debt forget one thing - they signed a legally binding contract with responsibilities to pay back monies owing whether to banks or the government or whoever and they are legally obligated to pay it back.  The government gave millions to a risk-taking Wall Street - why don’t you go to the government in Washington and protest there? They took taxpayer money and are accountable to taxpayers as to its whereabouts.

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By stephan geras, December 10, 2011 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To deconstruct Mr Weschler’s ode, the obstacles to
one-pointed direct democracy are the assumptions and
compromises that have to be made to achieve one goal.
OWS has at its foundation, not only a historically
comparable dedication to direct democracy but an
unwavering basic principle to establish a leaderless
structure which enfranchises all voices in the
process, not just an elite class which is the basis
of a representational “parliamentary” process and
which has obviously failed and frankly leaves
citizens flogging a dead horse. Hard to achieve?
Possibly. I suggest that this author, if he is so
dedicated to citizen action for change should come
down to Zucotti park and participate in the process
among equals.

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By gerard, December 10, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

IMax, you act as a sinister clown, and you and I and several others know it. Your tricks do get tiresome, however.  Your tactic of habitually trying to put people on the defensive is precisely the same tactic that is used by all the simple-minded autocrats throughout world history whose impulse is to quell all opposition and distract people from what is really important. Hiding behind a mask of “democracy” is the sinister part of the act.

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By gerard, December 10, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

cts29:  And you are so right!  Being 97—almost 98—years old, I regret to say that I am pretty much out of action, physically.  Thank God I can still read and write! Anyway, my spirit (which is important, also) is with the Occupiers and if I were not such a bag of tired bones, I would be with them, literally.  I’m just so thoroughly grateful I have lived to see them rise up. They will save us all if we support and help them in every way we can.  We owe them that!

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By do over, December 10, 2011 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

A fine article on which the author was on the right track and then derailed.  OCCUPY is about UNITY.  ALL homeowners whether their mortgages are underwater or not took a 30+% hit in the reduced value of their homes.  The author selects ONLY the underwater mortgages for assistance.  It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that this is a DIVISIVE proposal because it favors only the underwater mortgages.  If UNITY is to be achieved, a policy more favorable to ALL homeowners must be developed.

The Student Loan proposal is clearly more equitable.

Finally, it is better to use the word INTENTION rather than the word DEMAND.  The word DEMAND places the action in the hands of bankers; whereas, the word INTENTION places the action in the hands of Occupy, i.e., It is the intention of Occupiers to stop paying Student Loans.  That way Occupy’s destiny is not based upon a response from the Bankers but from our own actions.
We the People are the force to be dealt with.

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By OzarkMichael, December 10, 2011 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

The truly revolutionary advance in that declaration is contained not so much in such words as “truths,” “self-evident,” “unalienable,” or “created equal” as in the calm self-certainty of that opening phrase: “We hold.” The text does not launch out with “It is manifestly self-evident that” or some similar construction, as strict logic might seem to dictate. I mean, either it is or it isn’t self-evident, right? Except that in this instance, the self-evidence of the assertion does in fact remain hidden, fugitive, immanent at best, until people rise up to embrace it, to hold fast to its insistence (mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the process). It is holding such truths to be self-evident that first makes them so—and, more specifically, doing so in concert, alongside others.

Am I going to be the only one to point out the problem with this?

If the emphasis and advance is contained in the ‘We’, then it is based merely on a faction. OWS is not the only faction, and other factions might have a lot more people supporting them.

Ah, but Leftists who emphasize the ‘We’ as the miraculous “revolutionary” aspect will never acknowledge that same principle of ‘We’ can also occur outside their own faction. In other words, all people are equal, not only if they hold the same opinion as you do.

This is why Leftists need to be reminded that Others are people too, with the same rights to creat a ‘We’...and if they cannot or will not remember that, they need to be ridiculed for the hypocrites that they are.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, December 10, 2011 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

gerard, - promote peaceful change and avoid violence and bloodshed so repulsive to the majority of ordinary citizens.”

-

It’s good to see you finally on board pushing non-violence from the Occupy demonstrators.

I have to wonder what took you so long and, why you harangued me over a month ago for writing the exact same sentiment.

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By cts28, December 10, 2011 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

Nicely written by a professional - wish I could do it.  However it made me think of a book I read once by Eric Berne - The Games People Play.  The game I thought of in reading this well-constructed piece was ‘Let’s you and him fight’...

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By Fearless, December 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A lot of us have been on strike from our student loan debt, in the sense that we have zero income to make even a fraction of our monthly payments. It’s only a matter of time.

Gerard is right, crushing debt is certainly demoralizing and there’s always the pressure to blame oneself…until you realize your creditors, the wealthy, powerful, and “successful” people of this world, are only where they are by nepotistic chance and/or lack of moral or emotional intelligence; you realize how limited in character, how soulless, how dumb, how weak these people really are; you realize the only thing giving them such a divine right to wield power over you is a piece of paper, maybe some electronic data; and then you stop hating yourself and begin to pity them. They are clueless. They are inferior. Don’t buy into the hype that these are sociopath geniuses. Sociopaths, perhaps, but geniuses? No.

For the most part, many of us struggling have the intellectual upper hand (much thanks to the internet, rage-driven yet controlled determination ...and perhaps some unwanted spare time). All of us have the experiential and moral high ground. Eat as healthy as you can. Exercise. Keep learning. Experiment. Keep fighting, but fight smart; stay out of jail. Find joy in a humble if not difficult life. That way, when we take the power back, and we will, we will not sell out our children to a world that places profit and efficiency over human dignity.

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By Textynn, December 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The process of indenturing all young professionals to the banking industry is, in and of itself, a true act of slavery.  What is the point of going to school to get a better career when working at a low skilled job will get you about as far when you figure in the omission of the crippling debt.

The current system is designed to control people, be it professional or low wage worker. The Walmart slave system that allows a multi-billion dollar profiting business to force society to pay the lion’s share of the upkeep of their slaves controls people in another way.  What I mean is Walmart doesn’t pay a living wage and their employees must seek assistance to make it.  Walmart should be paying their employees, that make them gloriously rich, a living wage. The taxpayer shouldn’t have to subsidize these people.  This is a direct subsidy to Walmart while forcing hard working people to stand in lines meant for the indigent and sick.  Then the same elites want to put the onus on these people by demanding they are taking what they have not earned and that they are dregs on society.  WTF

We have to rescue ourselves.  Sure as hell neither one of the two parties is looking out for us. Screw the election. It’s a farce anyway as is the entire political system.

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By gerard, December 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

From a psychological point of view alone, it seems to me that attacking the loan crisis—both student loans and mortgage loans—makes sense because owing money you can’t pay is so demoralizing that it weakens debtors and renders them void of hope, and lacking in the ability to think creatively. They become less and less able to manage either public or private affairs.

The debt crisis affects so many millions of people from various classes that debt relief would enlist the political interest and participation of
vast numbers and strengthen the movement for other needed changes, once the emergency situation had passed. Unified and cooperative attention could then be paid to strengthening public education, to moving the country away from dependency on the manufacturing of wars, weapons and foreign adventurisms for the sake of resource exploitation or systems indoctrination, and to concerted efforts to cut back on global warming.

A third advantage would be that capitalism might be modified peacefully to bring it into line with humane principles of financial and political management, and restore at least some of the most important democratic values that have been weakened or destroyed in efforts from the top down as it has been trying to prevent systemic failure.  Those who think in more critical absolutes might feel this to be a half-measure, but it is worth considering, in view of major circumstances involved. The Occupy Movement already shows deep signs of an inspired determination to promote peaceful change and avoid violence and bloodshed so repulsive to the majority of ordinary citizens.

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By Connie Tolleson, December 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Boycott the Banks!  Do it in September when kids are going back to school and
households are getting hit hard for school supplies,
The demand is “You broke it, you fix it! Come up with a plan that the 99% can
reach consensus about and maybe we will and maybe we won’t start paying the
banks again.:

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By thedeske, December 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Imagine 10-20 million people onto the game and willing to push back. I can dream wink

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By Connie Tolleson, December 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a member of the 99% this is what I want: to know my grandchildren have full
tummies, are tucked into a warm safe bed with a book to read, a glass of clean
water to drink and a hug.  And I want every other grandparent on the surface of
the earth to have the same sure knowledge.  I don’t think it is too much to ask, do
you?

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