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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

(Page 2)

Phrased differently, if the greatest single contribution of the Occupy Wall Street movement to the progressive cause was the way it quickened a vital sense of narrative drive that had gone all but moribund over the past 30 years (through such captivating innovations as the 99 percent meme), that sense of vitality had more recently begun noticeably to flag once again, and it is now imperative that the movement instead shift the narrative up another several notches.

In doing so, the movement ought to build on another of Occupy Wall Street’s greatest conceptual breakthroughs: the insight that it’s become pointless to address our concerns to the politicians—a political system virtually paralyzed, evenly divided between bullies and weenies, with a president for all intents and purposes veritably palsied with compunction and misgiving (who knows why and who cares anymore?). You don’t occupy Capitol Hill; you occupy Wall Street. And the formula needs to continue to be: time to stop addressing our concerns to the hired help; from now on, we deal directly with the masters.

3.

So, where are we today?

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While the big corporations sit on piles of cash, small businesses are failing to thrive because people are not spending; and people are not spending because they either have already lost their jobs or live in justifiable fear that they may yet soon. Fully a quarter of current mortgage holders are underwater, meaning they owe more to the banks than their houses are worth, with foreclosure only a family-financial-hiccup away. The possibility of moving anywhere else (where there might be a job) is likewise foreclosed to them if they don’t want to lose everything they’ve put into their houses, since housing markets generally have seized up as a result of the crisis. 

Meanwhile, recent college grads groan under the weight of unprecedented amounts of debt—loans of the sort students in most other countries were never required to take on to fund what most everyplace else is seen as a self-evident public good: an educated populace, which after all is to everyone’s advantage. These loans were taken out under the assurance that the resultant degrees would open out onto careers that would allow the loans to be repaid—jobs that no longer exist. 

With the general exception of the notorious 1 percent (who’ve been making out like bandits all through this period, just as they did throughout the previous three decades), the vast majority of Americans have pulled back on their spending, hence businesses lay off more workers. Then tax revenues decline and local governments in turn lay off more teachers, police and firefighters, who therefore no longer spend, and so forth.

And what does government seem capable of doing in the face of all this? Not much. If anything the wheels of governance seem more bollixed and mired than those of the economy at large. One party is being held hostage by a tea party pretty much entirely untethered from any understanding of its own actual economic interests, a faux populist insurgency lashed into existence by one group of billionaires (the Koch brothers and their ilk) and prodded along via the Pavlovian ravings of opinion-shapers employed by another (Murdoch and his), the rage of its members cleverly channeled onto the governments and civil servants that have (granted) proved so hapless in trying to deal with the crisis rather than onto the financial behemoths that brought the crisis on. The other party, alas, ever since the days when the Clinton-Rubin regime engineered its grand surrender (for purposes of all that excellent fundraising), has been captive to that same finance industry, a sinister embrace that its new leader, President Obama, for whatever the reason (personal psychological issues, heartfelt political conviction, meritocratic identification, Stockholm syndrome, despairing realpolitik sense of what can any longer be achieved—who knows and who anymore cares?) has proven singularly incapable of sundering. 

Bailouts—at full value, dollar for dollar—get lavished upon the banks and finance industry whose recklessness got us into the mess, without the slightest requirement that those institutions turn around and help the economy at large. While everyone else suffers, the executives take unconscionable bonuses, and meanwhile sluice good portions of the rest of their bailout funds into paying lobbyists and their designated candidates to gut even the mildest of regulations intended to forestall any further such criminal recklessness in the future. Is there any wonder that people are furious, alienated and thrashing about for a response with any hope of opening up a horizon?

 

4.

It is against that backdrop that I offer the following proposal. I should say first of all that I am by no means the first to be thinking along these lines (other such proposals have been bubbling up all over); nor is this sort of proposal the only one that need be pursued.  It would constitute one activist foray among many. But it does seem to me the sort of direct action that the recently evicted Occupiers and their sympathizers around the country ought now to be considering. 

It grows out of the marvelously suggestive insight embodied in that classic old Yiddish story, the one in which, as you remember:

Schlomo is up again all night, tossing and turning, and by 3 in the morning Rivka, his long-suffering and increasingly exasperated wife, has had it. “Enough already with the tossing and turning, Schlomo!” she exclaims. “What’s keeping you up like this night after night, and me too while we are at it?” “It’s Moishe across the lane,” explains Schlomo, veritably trembling. “I owe him 10 rubles, due tomorrow, and I don’t have it.” To which Rivka, climbing out of bed and heading over to the window, retorts, “Is that all? Geesh, no problem.” She opens the shutter, leans out and yells, “Moishe!” A few moments pass till Moishe across the way angrily flings his window open: “For God’s sake, Rivka, what could you possibly want at this hour?” “It’s Schlomo,” she explains. “He owes you 10 rubles in the morning and he doesn’t have it!” Whereupon she latches her shutter back up and returns to bed. “There,” she tells her husband, “now you go to sleep and let Moishe stay up all night worrying.”

What would it be like if activists were to spend the next several months developing, articulating and organizing toward a major national mortgage and student loan strike? Such a loan strike would be slated to begin—provided enough people signed on in advance (and I’m talking hundreds of thousands, millions), and unless a concrete set of intervening demands was squarely met in the meantime—on some specific preannounced date in the intermediate future. Why not, say, on Oct. 1, 2012, right in the middle of the next presidential campaign?

 


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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, December 15, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

‘Logical conclusion’, an oxymoron at the least in this case, more likely when Republicans fly and Democrats get some balls!

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By Foucauldian, December 15, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Fair enough.  I was just trying to carry your
discussion with Michael to its logical conclusion.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 15, 2011 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian, December 14 at 9:47 pm:

’ ... Having said that, I can well appreciate
Anarcissie’s penchant for representing the movement
as a paragon of legality….’

I think all I said—actually, all I implied—was that it was Constitutional for OWS to occupy Liberty Plaza.

Had the police not carefully and rather secretly shut off Liberty Plaza hours before clearing the protesters out, many thousands of New Yorkers would have showed up to oppose them, as they did on the previous occasion when the clearing was attempted more casually.  I believe they would have been defending the First Amendment, which explicitly protects the right of assembly.  No doubt our great leaders and their numerous servants would find their attachment to the Bill of Rights quaint and sentimental if they thought about it.

This does not say anything about the legality of all the other things the movement, or the variegated people associated with it, might do.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, December 15, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

49% or less of the population in the following countries believe
in a God, meaning 51% or more do not.  Most of the following are
more liberal in politics than conservative.  They all have democratic
governments.
Lithuania
Switzerland
Luxembourg
Hungary
Belgium
Finland
Bulgaria
Iceland
UK
Norway
Netherlands
Denmark
Czech Republic
Estonia
Sweden
Data from a Eurostat poll on the social and religious beliefs of
Europeans.  Other surveys show that the nations with the highest
degree of atheism beside those stated of the nations of Europe, include
Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Israel’, whereas ‘it is
virtually nonexistent in most of Africa, South America, the Middle East,
and Asia’.  Vietnam has 81% nonbelievers in God. (Sacred and Secular:
Religion and Politics Worldwide - Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart.

Religion was born of fear, melancholy, ignorance, and a disordered
imagination that engendered a rethinking of the human relationship to
nature seeking relief and happiiness.  Consequently, to alter such a
terrible state of human affairs, people seek to understand and change
the physical and social condition of humankind and can do this only after
they understand that the ‘force’ that governs all phenomena are the
‘necessary laws’ of an amoral uninvolved physical nature.  Atheism…
alone is what can lead humans to seek among their actual causes the
satisfaction of human needs and the reduction of their pain and
suffering. This optimism about uncorrupted human nature uninfected by
religion may be said to be the fundamental conviction underpinning the
hopes of enlightened atheists and in a relatively violence free present
and future. 

The fact is this is a pluralistic world, not a purist world.  Religion and
politics do not mix ethically or morally.  The idea of the separation of
church and state was calculated and crafted very carefully by those who
founded this Constitutional nation.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, December 15, 2011 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

Lafayette said:

In fact, countries that espouse Leftist principles are mostly those that do not believe in Christianity.

Absolutely true. Soviet Russia, China, Cuba…

Notice that the Leftist countries that espouse Leftist principles “do not believe in Christianity”,  also do not have much Liberty, and thats no coincidence.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, December 14, 2011 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

THE HARVEST OF IGNORANCE

OM: I recall my pastor quietly made sure we(mostly poor folk) understood how Christianity interfaces with civics.

Civic duty does not need Christianity in order to function properly. It is our moral duty to pursue the betterment of our fellow man and not necessarily out of any religious sense.

In fact, countries that espouse Leftist principles are mostly those that do not believe in Christianity. Religion is not necessary to treat one’s fellow man decently and with fairness.

A purely moral belief resides in the fact that doing what is good for others is also good for you - which is quite sufficient as motivational logic.

Besides, if I get my biblical history right, Jesus said “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s”.

Meaning this: The two should not be confused. It’s the Religious Right in America that is sowing the confusion in hopes of reaping the harvest of ignorance.

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By Foucauldian, December 14, 2011 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

And btw, Michael, I failed to respond in full to your
post, especially the part which dealt with your
experiences with the Church.

I’ll do it tomorrow, if you don’t mind,.

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By Foucauldian, December 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Michael,

If you’re indeed a conservative, and I have no
reason to dispute your statement since you stick by
it, let me tell you that you more enlightened than
most people I’ve ever come across, whatever their
political stripe.

Having said that, I can well appreciate
Anarcissie’s penchant for representing the movement
as a paragon of legality, as well as your concern
about risks.  Who knows, perhaps some day the twain
shall meet.

My take is—legality is not an issue, not insofar
as our “invisibles” are concerned; they’ve long
given up on the American Dream and on America.  And
when it comes to risks, we’re already in harms way,
regardless of whether we act or don’t act.

In any case, I’m quite content to let history write
the final chapter, a kind of stage where humans,
acting as agents, are but instruments or
facilitators.  In short, I’m quite content falling
on my belief that all things right themselves,
eventually.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, December 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Foucaldian said:

If OWS is not, in essence, about flaunting the rules, the rules of law and what
constitutes good citizenship, if it’s not about
questioning the very legitimacy of our government
and the attendant institutions, then for the life
of me, I really don’t understand what it is about.

Wow, thats bold. Your take on OWS is very clear and very correct. It is a little harder to be clear and correct about Anarcissie, though. I think that your ‘interruption’ was timely.

My guess: Anarcissie wants those very same things that you do, but Anarcissie also knows those things wont happen if millions of potential supporters are scared away. The masses need to be kept very aware of the evils of the 1% and the problems with our current system, but the masses must be kept in the dark about the fact that OWS calls the entire system into question. Thats why OWS needs to be pictured as defenders of the Constitution. Thats only my guess.

I’m certain that’s not the opinion shared by the many participants, let alone a majority opinion,
but by Jove, if that’s not what it is then by all
means, that’s what it ought to be.  Otherwise,
there’d be no rhyme or reason.

Ah, yes, there is rhyme and reason at OWS. There is the useful rage of the participants, but there are cooler heads at the core.  The OWS core is the very picture of “Liberal Elite”, which is the very white, very upper class folks who are superior not because of race or income, but by their knowledge of and committment to the radical cause. The Liberal Elite are the only ones who percieve the hoped-for destination, the methods needed to get there , and can do the planning because they know the pitfalls along the way. Lesser folks just supply the people power, and if they want to cling to some illusions (which the Liberal Elite ridicule behind closed doors) let them do so for now, eventually the participants will learn to appreciate where the Liberal Elite are leading them.

A neighborhood church in the city will serve its community far better than the Liberal Elite. Not to say that they are no help, but the trick is to use the Elite instead of them using you. I recall my pastor quietly made sure we(mostly poor folk) understood how Christianity interfaces with civics. At that juncture there is no servility, but only dignity. OWS has nothing on that pastor, or the deacons, or even the laity of that church. Such goodness is a joy. Now that is a radicalism i can live with.

Another guess: The economic mess and the government largess to the financial institutions merges to create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for radicals of all stripes.

I dont know if in our liftime there was ever such a good chance of bringing about entire system change in what seems to be a peaceful way. That opportunity means everything to any person(and one Anarcissie) who is quite committed to the anarchistic ideals.

Me being a conservative, all i can see is the risk risk risk entailed in overthrowing the system. I expect the best of intentions to go awry and the worst people to take advantage of that. If we end up with a dictatorship and even worse poverty, we wont be able to re-establish the old order, the old prosperity, and most of all the old liberties. Liberty is fine word, not referenced much around here.

Another problem might be that the foundational issues of equality to Anarcissie(where a successful Occupation will lead) are not the same foundational issues of equality to me(if Occupation is already unequal in its process then it will institutionalize more inequality later)

Each of us sees the other’s foundational issue as mere window dressing to the real equality which we value.

The drawback to my theories is that while we are probably right about the core of OWS, it is hard to be right about Anarcissie, who if nothing else, remains a unique individual.

I appreciate your kind words, Foucauldian.

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By Foucauldian, December 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Just done reading through the ongoing exchange
between Michael Ozark and Anarcissie.  Fascinating! 
You two would be far better served if it were not
for the intermittent and unrelated comments
breaking up the flow, but we can’t really complain
about the peculiarities of a public forum, such as
this one, or the oft-times odd behavior of the
participants.  I’m certain Anarcissie appreciates
the sharp mind of Michael, for I certainly do.  But
to cut to the chase.

I think it’s time for fresh blood to save this
debate from a near-certain impasse, and that’s
where yours truly comes in.  So do forgive me for
butting in, but I must.  Let me be the one to
answer the remaining twenty five percent.

I think it’s about time, Anarcissie, to abandon all
pretenses, such as cloaking OWS in issues of
constitutionality and all such.  I understand the
motivation and the underlying tactic, which is to
represent OWS as legal and respectable, a tactic
all too often employed both by the opponents of any
true democracy as well as its foes.  Do we really
need that kind of defense?

Let’s face it.  If OWS is not, in essence, about
flaunting the rules, the rules of law and what
constitutes good citizenship, if it’s not about
questioning the very legitimacy of our government
and the attendant institutions, then for the life
of me, I really don’t understand what it is about. 
I’m certain that’s not the opinion shared by the
many participants, let alone a majority opinion,
but by Jove, if that’s not what it is then by all
means, that’s what it ought to be.  Otherwise,
there’d be no rhyme or reason. And all the talk
about rising tuition costs and mounting student
debt, unless it’s but a pretext, is certainly going
to fall on deaf years.  And I’m certain neither you
nor I would settle for this kind of future.

So let’s call a spade a spade.  Michael is right. 
You can’t have it both ways.  So let’s act and
speak as the anarchists we truly are and be true to
our principles.  No sense beating about the bush.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

I didn’t say anything about shutting down ports.  I said I thought that OWS had a Constitutional right to occupy a park and be annoying.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, December 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I would say anti-abortionists would have a Constitutional right to occupy a park or another public area…

Of our own choosing? Our own discretion of appropriate proximity? Isnt proximity what generates the needful “nuisance”(your word not mine)which you claim is an integral part of free speech?

Trying to close down individual businesses or harass individuals may be right and good in some cases, but I don’t think it’s a Constitutional right.

Ah. You are saying its not a Constitutional right for OWS supporters to Occupy(shut down) ports. Nor for OWS to Occupy the Trinity Church lot. Good to know. Maybe we will approach some equality after all.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I would say anti-abortionists would have a Constitutional right to occupy a park or another public area if they could not get a hearing any other way.  Trying to close down individual businesses or harass individuals may be right and good in some cases, but I don’t think it’s a Constitutional right.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, December 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

Occupy Wall Street, however, famously hasn’t made demands, or at least it hadn’t the last time I looked, except the demand for an agora, a public space in which to make its complaints known.  That sort of thing is specifically guaranteed by the Constitution.

An agora to speak? Ok. The rest of us find those.  Some places you have to pay for if you plan to stay all day, especially in a city where large groups inconvenience everyone and cost the city some money. And get permits so you can march on busy streets at a certain time. If you dont like that, others places are free. Go there. Gather. Speak.

You want more than that. You want to commandeer a particular place that attains a close proximity and high nuisance level against your target, the proximity and nuisance level of course is completely of your own choosing, and this choosing is seen by you as a Constitutional right.

However, you deny me a place of my own choosing to attain proximity for what i consider to be an effective nuisance level against my chosen target, the abortion mill.

Actually you want even more than that. You want to claim that space as an encampment. For how long? Again, that time frame is also of your choosing and its also a “Constitutional right”. Will you pay rent, or the expenses? Of course not! Why should you pay for your rights?

Again, you do not extend those rights to me.

If I follow your logic, one of the reasons you discriminate against me is because my message is particular, while your message is so pure that it doesnt actually demand anything in particular, yet i point out that you certainly do demand something extremely particular. You demand special speech privileges. What is more valuable than special free speech rights that no one else can use?

Special speech privileges for one group… that is too high a price for the rest of us to pay, i dont care what your cause is. In fact, if you think free speech is so important, you are demanding far more than your share, far more than i could ever have. 

That is the whole point.

Free speech is the commodity that you are trading right now. Yours is worth a great deal and demands its privilege, and mine is worth very little by comparison and cannot make such demands.

This is what the Constitutional issue boils down to. Is “Occupy” a constitutional right? If so, then I should be able to “Occupy” as part of my speech rights too. 

One last thing, thanks for being honest with me about the abortion Occupy protest concept. It would be very easy for you to give lip service to my abortion Occupy rights and pretend we are equal. That would shut me up, but you have too much integrity to lie and i appreciate that.

73.98%

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By Foucauldian, December 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

redteddy, December 14 at 8:21 am

I appreciate the link, redteddy. 

In this connection, I’d like to refer to my own
article on the subject, “OWS:  The Prospects”
(http://tinyurl.com/6mo3zlz), in which I express
similar concerns.  (In comment #82, I believe I
make a reference to the link you cited.)

I’m afraid I’m somewhat at odds with Anarcissie on
that.  The movement is by all means polymorphous,
as she said, and it can and does mean all kinds of
things to many people; furthermore, we shouldn’t be
trying to straitjacket it, as it were, either
trying to outguess it or saying what it ought to
become.  It’s an organic thing with many possible
and not necessarily mutually-exclusive futures; and
that I see as strength.

Nonetheless, I do argue on behalf of a voice—a
voice that would speak to the African-Americans and
our poor, so as to make this ever-growing segment
of our population embrace the movement one way or
another, take part in it, identify with a common
cause.

Again, I don’t argue that voice ought to come from
within the OWS.  Given its present composition and
the underlying set of concerns, that is highly
unlikely.  But none of this argues that an
independent voice on behalf of some of the OWS
causes, a voice to the people who thus far have
been ignored, would not be a good thing.

Thus far, Cornel West has been the only such voice. 
Well, we need more people like that.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I think an issue like choice versus abortion is outside the realm which the Constitution can deal with.  After all, it’s a liberal document which assumes people can get along to some extent even if they’re not happy with the sum of things.  However, it you have two parties, one of which believes abortion is murder, and the other that they have absolute freedom as to the disposition of the interior of their bodies, then I don’t see how liberal compromise is possible.  There is no common ground.

Occupy Wall Street, however, famously hasn’t made demands, or at least it hadn’t the last time I looked, except the demand for an agora, a public space in which to make its complaints known.  That sort of thing is specifically guaranteed by the Constitution.  This is like an anti-abortionist saying ‘I think abortion is murder, but I’ll be satisfied if I can just say so in public now and then.’  It’s a demand of a considerably lesser magnitude than what is usual in abortion debates and it seems to me it is well within the Constitutional realm.

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By Leefeller, December 14, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

If I want to find Murdoch’s and the Wall Street Journal’s opinion on anything and especially their personal interpretation of Occupy, I would subscribe to the WSJ or watch Fox News!

Disenfranchisement is not just a new discovery for the white folks, many people have known it for a long time now, the advent of Occupy has provided a much needed sounding board for the taboo subject to be heard loud and clear! Far as I can tell the Wall Street Journal is not the voice of the black community nor is anyone person a speaker for the black community,  just as not one person speaks for all the white folks.

Occupy is not a black white issue, unless one is attempting to divide and conquer, I saw many people of different persuasion marching in Occupy, some appeared to be other then white, actually seemed like many!  The argument Occupy is a White thing only seems just more political divisive ricocheting.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, December 14, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

People have different beliefs about things and sometimes there is no way of resolving them within a satisfactorily universal theory.  They just have to fight them out.

Except you have claimed in the past that Occupation causing nuisance or perhaps a shutdown of that place is a Constitutional issue of free speech. And yesterday you mentioned getting arrested for the sake of “the defense of the Constitution”.

So you appeal to a wonderful universal theory(the Constitution), yet when i ask to be included in that universal theory you find an excuse to shut the theory down. And now you inform me that I will just have to ‘fight it out’.

The next time you appeal for support of OWS on the basis of any principle or law, we will all know that you are only fooling, merely using universal theory as a smokescreen for your own cause.

Down to 74.31%

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redteddy's avatar

By redteddy, December 14, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

@Foucauldian

Here is a Washington Post piece addressing why blacks have not joined the OWS
movement: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-blacks-arent-
embracing-occupy-wall-street/2011/11/16/gIQAwc3FwN_story_1.html

Some excerpts:

“Occupy Wall Street was started by whites and is about their concern with their
plight,” Nathalie Thandiwe, a radio host and producer for WBAI in New York,
said in an interview. “Now that capitalism isn’t working for ‘everybody,’ some
are protesting.”

Beyond a lack of leaders to inspire them to join the Occupy fold, blacks are not
seeing anything new for themselves in the movement. Why should they ally with
whites who are just now experiencing the hardships that blacks have known for
generations? Perhaps white Americans are now paying the psychic price for not
answering the basic questions that blacks have long raised about income
inequality. New Jersey comedian John “Alter Negro” Minus says he won’t
participate in the Occupy protests because black people are being besieged by
so many social injustices, he can’t get behind targeting just the 1 percent.
Banks’ bad behavior “just gets lost in the sauce, so to speak,” Minus said. “High
joblessness and social disenfranchisement is new to most of the Wall Street
protesters. It’s been a fact of life for African Americans since the beginning. I
actually think black people are better served by staying out of the protests. Civil
disobedience will only further the public perception that black people like to
cause trouble.”

Is there a chance that the movement can become more diverse? Leslie Wilson, a
professor of African American history at Montclair State University, is not
optimistic.

“Occupy Wall Street cannot produce enough change to encourage certain types
of black participation,” Wilson said in an interview. “The church cannot get
enough blacks out on the streets. Some students will go, but not the masses.
Black folks, particularly older ones, do not think that this is going to lead to
change. .?.?. This generation has already been beaten down and is hurting. They
are not willing to risk what little they have for change. Those who are wealthier
are not willing to risk and lose.” Black America’s fight for income equality is not
on Wall Street, but is a matter of day-to-day survival. The more pressing battles
are against tenant evictions, police brutality and street crime. This group
doesn’t see a reason to join the amorphous Occupiers.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, December 14, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

redteddy—I’m just fascinated by the number of people who know What OWS Must Do Now.

As I may have said before, knowing What X Must Do Now seems to be a proggie reflex.  Or maybe it’s just a columnist-bloggist reflex.  For instance, as soon as Obama had been elected, there were hundreds of articles on this site and others like it about What Obama Must Do Now.  As far as I could tell, none of the writers had ever been involved in real-life politics, and likewise, with regard to OWS most of them had never been involved with street activism.  But they all know What OWS Must Do Now.

I don’t see why I shouldn’t make fun of it, or whine about it, whatever.  It is pretty irritating; but it does have its humorous aspects.

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By redteddy, December 14, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

@Anarcissie who wrote: “Lawrence Weschler, a longtime contributor to the New
Yorker (where he covered popular upsurges in Poland, South Africa, Latin
America and Belgrade, among other places), is currently the director of the New
York Institute for the Humanities at NYU.’  In other words, it seems very likely
that he has money, a nice place to live, an office, high social status, and all
kinds of connections and access to important people and institutions.  Why isn’t
he using these tools, or if he is, why isn’t he telling us about it, instead of
telling other people, a bunch of scruffy activists, what to do?”

You don’t know what to do and with all of the counter-points and diverse
opinions not to mention the tug of war for control going on in OWS neither do
they.  You are assuming too much about Mr. Weschler, kind of assessing and
judging him and then blaming him for doing the same towards OWS.  He’s only
making a SUGGESTION, he’s only analyzing the situation as he sees it,
something I believe is entirely fair.  OWS can do whatever it likes and can ignore
whatever it likes…even to its own demise.  Truth is truth no matter who speaks
it and a suggestion worthy of consideration remains worthy no matter who its
offered by.

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By Shenonymous, December 14, 2011 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Politicians and politics are not apathetic.  Both are as committed to
their partisan viewpoints as ever they were.  It must be assumed that
by ‘politics’ is meant the body politic, those who vote.  I’d say the
body politic is listening intently… and waiting… and is not apathetic. 
They are listening with both ears and eyes to hear and read the magic
words that pumps dark red blood in their veins.  They are listening for
the best demogoguery.  For that is what a hoi polloi does.  It wants to
hear what “seems” propitious for themselves.  Politicians are also not
apathetic.  Most who are engaged in their partisan politics are vigorous. 
But as an aggregate,  they have to be split up since not all are of the
same cloth.  It is sophistry to lump them all together, and we know it is
intentional to build a view, but we also know that view is partisanly
skewed.  Careful listening and reading is what is called for… and an
acute search for a sense of decency. There is none among the
Republicans, not one ounce of decency.  There is no one in the
Republican Party that has even one thought for the welfare of the
American people. They are sharply after power and pointedly after
money and only the power that money brings.

Speaking about The Movement as if it was supposed to be a cached
savior, a deliverer, The Rescuer from Dread, is a Sin of Self-Serving
Immoderation. It is committing the same sibling sin against those whom
The Movement protests.  It is unconsciously effortless for the mind to be
seduced into excessive irrationality… when it is primed for it.

It is ambiguous to call for The Movement to “morph” into a full-fledged
campaign and to participate in the 2012 presidential campaign. 
Progressive values must start at the grass roots, and even deeper into
the home, then into the mind of the individual.  It is individuals who
make up the composition of The Movement, and the entire nation for
that matter.  The present situation has come about as a consequence of
our collective…and individual…ignorance.  The dynamics of the present
situation seeped into our lives in spite of ourselves, caught unawares.

Before it can be said what is a “progressive candidate,” that abstraction
Progressive Values needs to be specified, which has not been done. 
Before a national consciousness of liberal values, which compared to
Republican values are “progressive,” can be attempted without spinning
wheels like a hamster going nowhere, those “values” need articulated,
clearly defined.  For that is exactly what The Movement is being criticized
for what self-styled Progressives are committing themselves.

It is incipient wisdom that recognizes the time factor for change, that is,
it would take to reform, to redescribe, America.

Just as it is a fallacy to attribute to an individual the responsibility for the
behavior of a group, it is just as fallacious to attribute the liability of
action of a group to any individual.  How we are to proceed consciously
to construct indelible liberal values in the psyche of the American people
will be a struggle against our own sentimentality.

To call for combining the strength, voice and massiveness of OWS with
the anger of “most” Americans is rhetoric without substance.  Unless
there is a viable plan to do that, it is mere sophistry.  It sounds nice but
that is all.  It has no path to action.

To find out what OWS is and is about, visit its website.  Anything else is
pure speculation.

A Progressive Agenda for national Reform is a nice description of what
kinds of things need done, but there is no hint on how to get the
electorate involved.  Without electing effective legislators who will create
enforceable laws, it is mere wishful thinking.

Getting the money out is the basis of several bills presented to Congress,
but with the Republican death grip on legislation, there is little chance of
any reform.

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By Anarcissie, December 14, 2011 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I don’t think of an abortion clinic as the usual agora.  But if you believed that the only way you could defend your Constitutional rights (or some other important cause) was to occupy an abortion clinic, then it would be reasonable for you to occupy it, I suppose.  People have different beliefs about things and sometimes there is no way of resolving them within a satisfactorily universal theory.  They just have to fight them out.

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By IMax, December 14, 2011 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael,

Your points are well received.

Might you look back at the exchange between myself and Anarcissie on the subject of MLK and Civil Rights and put your observations in context for me?

I admit that I take exception to anyone who makes an issue of me not providing ‘resource material’ for simply offering an opposing point of view. Particularly after no supporting resources were offered to begin with.

Whining about ‘Trolls’ and ‘Agent Provocateurs’ is a transparent cop-out. A divergence.

You wanted to request a favor?

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By OzarkMichael, December 14, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

I did intend to get arrested in defense of the Constitution but the cops outsmarted me by bagging the protesters at an ungodly hour unsuited to my decadent habits.

This reminds me of one of those 25% questions that you have not answered with clarity, because being arrested in defense of the Constitution would involve being arrested for the issue of rights for everyone. Since you have not demonstrated or agreed to that idea, I still question that you really think it is a Constitutional issue. I think you reserve Occupy for your own cause, and to hell with everyone else.

Let me give an example. If you were arrested for Occupying an abortion clinic I would know for certain that you were doing it purely for the “defense of the Constitution”, since i know you were actually pro-choice. Then i would know that you truly believed that a Right to Occupy is sacred and part of everyone’s free speech rights, including and especially the folks you disagree with. That is the crux of the matter. If Occupy isnt everyone’s free speech right, then what you desire is a special free speech entitlement for yourself and your cause. One can hardly say it is a “defense of the Constitution” if all you really will get arrested for is not paying student loans or disrupting the interests of the 1%.

So now your success rate just dropped to 74.63%

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By Lafayette, December 14, 2011 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

SELF-EVIDENT

Lf: I have been saying as others, we need to get the money out.

The Political Agenda I linked contains just such a suggestion.

But for progressives in Congress to pass legislation that tightly regulates electoral funding, it is necessary to get them first elected. Thus in the present manner,  with electoral donations as actually allowed.

Guess what I am saying is there seems a discomfort in naming or lumping of people in political groups

Yes, too true and which is the error we are presently committing in forums around the Internet. Showing our disgust at “them” for what they did to “us”. That’s popular stereotyping and useless victimization. 

Rather, let’s get the finger out and militate for political reform. Which means becoming a participant in the process rather than just a (complaining) spectator.

Admittedly, “militating” is not easy. In fact, I had to find if the French word translated into English, and it does. Militate means to have an effect upon an outcome. In fact, in French, in means to campaign or to be a political activist.

Maybe that’s the right meaning? To become active instead of remaining passive.

I suggest that no reform of American can happen until the grassroots and middle-class understand how they are being abused and exploited. That will be a longer process to undertake than just the forthcoming elections next year.

POST-SCRIPTUM

The Europeans suffered greatly from the devastation of WW2, but at least they sat themselves down and said to themselves, “Well, now that we have a clean slate, what sort of democracy do we want?”

It took a while (more than 40 years), but they have managed to develop a Social Democracy based upon egalitarianism and fairness. No we cannot all have an equal share of the economic pie. But, let’s hold it to be self-evident that we should all benefit from a equitable share.

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By Leefeller, December 14, 2011 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

I have been saying as others, we need to get the money out.  94 percent of the candidates with the most money win the elections, this may be changing with Occupy exposing so much of the political hubris!

(Imagine if that “litmus test” became a criteria for soliciting electoral campaign funding ...

I say….. imagine if we really knew who our candidates were and who they represent, this would be a part of it. Lafayette your link goes to a Google Chrome chat room?

How does one know if they are progressive, liberal or centrists, I know I am not right, because I am usually wrong!

Every time I listen to the conservatives on the right, it is like finger nails on a chalk board,  I think they are insane or clearly imbecilic so this must mean I am on the left and possibly progressive, but I do not support radical left with the same fervor I do not support the radical right or even the middle right.

Guess what I am saying is there seems a discomfort in naming or lumping of people in political groups which seems to smack of stereotyping and I feel uncomfortable with stereotyping, I feel it can paint one into a corner?

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By Lafayette, December 14, 2011 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

A PROGRESSIVE AGENDA

Why not, say, on Oct. 1, 2012, right in the middle of the next presidential campaign?

Because that is far too late and will have only a “Gadfly Effect”. That is, “I bite therefore I exist”. But the movement remains nothing more than a public nuisance. (Which is nonetheless goodness in a nation apathetic of politics and politicians.)

The movement must morph into a full-fledged campaign and participate in the pre-November electoral debate. That is, if we want to implement Progressive Values to reform America - which I hold to be self-evident as a need - then we must start building that political base.

That can only be done by (1) influencing the Dem PotUS candidate (who will be you-know-who) but also, and perhaps more importantly (2) electing more progressive candidates to Congress. That latter objective can be non-partisan, but lets not expect much progressivism from the Troglodyte Right (either the Republicans or the Dem BlueDogs).

But what is a “progressive candidate”? One who adheres to Progressive Values and distinct objectives necessary to reform America. That is, such a movement would need a “litmus test” of national reform objectives to which a candidate would pledge to adhere if elected. (Imagine if that “litmus test” became a criteria for soliciting electoral campaign funding ...)

Where is such a litmus test? For the moment, nowhere. We remain in the stage of rabble-rousing polemic and populist action. Nice, but not nearly sufficient to have a profound impact upon the elections next year.

So, here is (yet again) my contribution (free, gratis and for nothing) to the debate of a Progressive Agenda for National Reform.

Let’s get the ball rolling ... but intelligently. It will take more than just one election to reform America. The sooner we get started with a Progressive Agenda, the sooner the job gets done.

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I am kind of surprised you think that I answered 75% of the questions about OWS, or that I have been their particular defender.  A lawyer who knew as little about his client as I know about OWS would be a very poor advocate.

I think all I’ve done is pass along observations and URLs, and grind out a little theory, no?  I did intend to get arrested in defense of the Constitution but the cops outsmarted me by bagging the protesters at an ungodly hour unsuited to my decadent habits.

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By OzarkMichael, December 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Imax, I request a favor. Anarcissie is the one who answered our questions about OWS, no one else came close. Anarcissie was practically the defense attorney for OWS here on Truthdig. Lets consider the following:

1) A good attorney does not advise answering all questions all the time. 

2) We all have our disagreements, I know of no-one here who answers every question put to them. Its a bit like torture after awhile and no one should submit to that.

3) It is much easier to defend a distant event, or an ideal, than to defend a present and palpable event. All events/movements/factions/phenomenon that enter the realm of actuality are full of apparent contradictions. It is a huge load upon anyone to try to explain them, especially in a fluid situation.

4) Anyone who defends an actuality finds out how difficult it is to be a “conservative”. The larger the event to be defended, and the longer it exists, the harder it becomes to defend it all at every point. For example, I often find myself defending a political view but the proof is buried in our system of government, or is traced back to past events, which sometimes means comprehending more of history. Sometimes it traces back to the history of Christianity, or further to Judaism, or back beyond the history of Europe to Rome, or back even further to ancient Greece. Things that everyone should know and appreciate, but which are forgotten, or slandered, or reviled in the popular modern Leftist mythos. There are so many points to defend, much of it requires complex interactions and comparisons. And if people already hate it, what can i do? I cant explain everything about a subtle concept while you are resisting and mocking the effort.

5) Anarcissie got a taste of what its like to stand and deliver, and although it really isnt fun to explain subtle concepts while people are incessantly attacking everything that they dont understand, Anarcissie stood there and tried to do it.

6) When a person senses that overall they are working towards an important truth, but cannot explain what appears to be a small contradiction along the way, we cant expect them to drop everything else and stare at the little contradiction. They are committed to the bigger picture and cant waste too much time staring at one smudge in the corner.

7) There were rules in antiquity concerning arguments which the attacker never follows today. The onus and burden was placed on the attacker. We have long ago trashed those rules and yet suddenly we ask the defender to sit still as if the old rules are in effect. Thus the defender in a modern debate never wins anything.

So finally, with attackers all around, accusations originating from conservatives to liberals to violent revolutionary communists, OWS was attacked from every conceivable angle. Anarcissie answered about 75% of the questions successfully, while 25% of the questions exposed a possible problem for Occupy Wall Street that were not answered with clarity.

Thats actually pretty good. True, we happen to think that the 25% is the key to the important truth, but we have to realize that the onus and burden of proof was on us, not Anarcissie, otherwise defending anything is a waste of time.

No one plays by the old rules anymore, so defending is pretty much impossible. One is better off ignoring questions and just attack-attack-attack since one unanswered attack allows you to declare instant victory. (I learned that from Leftists here) Frankly, i no longer constantly defend, I constantly counterattack instead. Much easier.

Defending will always be a losing proposition, and it will always be unfinished work, Imax. Lets not declare victory because it was unfinished, and blame Anarcissie overmuch, since thats just the way of it.

Be grateful to Anarcissie for playing the role of defender practically alone. Be glad it was done at all. Few people successfully answer 75% of the objections put to them, so lets admit it was well done.

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By kulu, December 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

I think the Occupy movement is brilliant and there are a lot of very clever and thoughtful people supporting it, not to mention brave and intrepid ones. The Occupy Foreclosure and student loan boycott pledge campaign are two of many offshoots of the Movement.

I think what it has done is embolden many to come up with new ideas on how to progress as well as gather together significant support, active and passive to actually implement those ideas.

Gerard,

I think your comments hit the nail on the head and generally have me nodding my head in approval of the sentiments you express.

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By Foucauldian, December 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, it’s our own messes that needs cleaning
after.  And looking to China or India doesn’t even
come close to a semblance of a solution.

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By gerard, December 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me, all, for butting in again and again, but—questions like “more billionaires in China and India produced by such-and-such a system” just set my teeth on edge.  My definition of a democracy does not sum up the number of its billionaires, but the overwhelming (and overwhelmed) number of poverty-stricken, problem-ridden, sick, abused, exploited men, women, children—babies, even—from which those billions were “legally” (or “illegally”)stolen. 
  Also, comparing this country with others is to some extent a cop-out because improvement comes from being aware of our own deficiencies and cooperating to do something to improve destructive situations. What they do in China, or don’t do, is, in my opinion, a secondary or tertiary concern, relevant to the world as a whole but not primary until we ourselves clean up our own messes.
  But all the above seems so self-evident that it is hard to understand why anyone raises the point at all.

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, - “As to your insistence on “sources,” their value in my opinion is exaggerated as histories continue to be written and re-written.”

-

On the first part: The insistence on source material was not mine. In most cases I could not care any less. I can do my own research. My insistence was only in proving a point about Anarc’s lack of sources while insisting I must always provide sources when I add my own opinions to these threads.

On the second part: I could not agree more.

Anarc will not speak to the situations in either China or India. She avoids those topics like the plague.

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By Foucauldian, December 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

I daresay I’m more of a “purist” than she is, IMax
(although my positions aren’t quite as well-formed
as hers since I’m “newer” at this game.)

Re: your question on China and India, I’m certain
she’ll answer if she cares to, but here’s my stab
at it.  Capitalism does have the immediate and
intermediate effect of uplifting living standards
(even for the masses) beyond the original condition
(I don’t think anyone’s going to argue this point),
until it maxes out; from then on, it’s a downward
spiral.  Besides, what we have in China is an
economic system run by the State—statism, in
short (possibly the direction we may end up going);
and I don’t think it’s desirable because statism
eventually translates to fascism or totalitarianism
with all the attendant accoutrements.

As to your insistence on “sources,” their value in
my opinion is exaggerated as histories continue to
be written and re-written.  They’re no substitute
for clear thinking and sound judgment.  In any
case, the insistence on “facts alone”—only the
facts, ma’am—is also misguided, since what
counts as “facts” is also, at least partly,
determined by the underlying theory/conceptual
schema.

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By bob zimway, December 13, 2011 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

The name of the Movement is OCCUPY WALL STREET. Goldman Sachs is the squid
brain, so don’t get all tangled up in the tentacles. KILL THE BIG BANKS.

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian, - “I think it’s to Anarcissie’s credit she’s not an ideologue.”

-

Sorry to disagree with you again. I see a great deal of ideology driving Anarc’s views and opinions. - Although I honestly see no problem with one being ideologically driven. My problems with Anarc is not her opinions or views but the hypocrisy.

I am a ‘troll’ because Anarc cannot, or will not, answer specific and direct questions pertaining to the things she writes. Yet, in turn, when I write my own opinions this one whines in complaint about a lack of ‘source material’. - Source material that is, as far as I can tell, rare for Anarc to offer. - I also have a problem with anyone who changes the subject whenever they are shown to be, well, not so correct.

Try and ask her what common denominators has lifted billions of people out of homelessness and poverty in China and India. Ask her for the reasons why both India and China produced more billionaires in the past 10 years than any other nations on earth. She’ll refuse to answer. Why? Those economic models fail to fall within her ‘ideological’ economic models.

-

Question: What source(s) did Anarc offer in support of her opinions on MLK? - Aside from what I previously offered I would ad that Rev. King, in his time, was named ‘Man Of The year’ in Time Magazine 1963.

Question: Is Anarc correct in her perceptions of contemporary American life? Is it a fact that most of ‘white America intensely disliked’ the civil rights movement?  On both counts, I think not.

When I am wrong I say I am wrong. I then reevaluate. I’ve yet to see the same from Anarcissie.

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By J. X. Rodriguez, December 13, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe the time has come to refer this troll to the management of the web site.  Nobody could be as dumb as he pretends to be, so it’s obviously a game.

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By Foucauldian, December 13, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

“Question: Why would an anarchist offer a balanced
opinion on U.S. race relations? Wouldn’t balance be
antithetical to the anarchist’s agenda?”

—IMax, December 13 at 5:01 am

I don’t see any contradiction there, IMax. 
“Anarchism” is the default ideological position;
realism is something else.

I think it’s to Anarcissie’s credit she’s not an
ideologue.

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, - “I think a debtors’ strike falls well short of the sort of thing Lenin and Hitler went in for.”

Source material please.

Anarcissie, - “the Civil Rights movement, was intensely disliked by most White Americans and many Black ones as well.  In his day, Martin Luther King was the most hated man in America.”

Source material please.

wink

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I think a debtors’ strike falls well short of the sort of thing Lenin and Hitler went in for.

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By Anarcissie, December 13, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Cicero was just the tip of the iceberg.  Even as late as ten years ago, a friend of mine who works as a real-estate broker told me a number of tales about the elaborate tactics landlords and sellers went through to edit the ethnicities of their potential renters and buyers.  I was surprised, because New York City, including even its most conservative suburbs, is fairly liberal, and the laws of the state and city include dire punishments for discrimination.  During the 1960s and 1970s, on Staten Island (one of the boroughs of NYC) houses which had been sold to Black persons were vandalized or burned down, and there were a number of racially motivated attacks and killings there and in other supposedly civilized areas like Brooklyn and Queens.  Of course now everything is wonderful and we can forget about the bad old days.

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Ooops, I intended to add this entry to my previous post.

“After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, King turned his efforts to registering African American voters in the South. In 1965, he led a march in Selma, Alabama, to increase the percentage of African American voters in Alabama. Again, King was arrested. Again, the marchers faced attacks by the police. Tear gas, cattle prods, and billy clubs fell on the peaceful demonstrators. Public opinion weighed predominantly on the side of King and the protesters.”

Anarc was correct. Source material does help. It’s important, however, for one to know how to utilize such material (apart from Hollywood films).

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Anarc, - “the Civil Rights movement, was intensely disliked by most White Americans and many Black ones as well.  In his day, Martin Luther King was the most hated man in America.”

-

Remember, Anarc, you keep telling us that nothing is valid without accompanying “source material”. - Which, after looking back, you offer on only rare occasions. - I waited to see if you would offer a source on this. You did not.

“As the unquestioned leader of the peaceful Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was at the same time one of the most beloved and one of the most hated men of his time.”

“Boycotts, sit-ins and marches were conducted. When Bull Connor, head of the Birmingham police department, used fire hoses and dogs on the demonstrators, millions saw the images on television. King was arrested. But support came from around the nation and the world for King and his family.” - U.S. History.org

Question: Why would an anarchist offer a balanced opinion on U.S. race relations? Wouldn’t balance be antithetical to the anarchist’s agenda?

Anyhow, I do sincerely hope everyone checks this grossly misrepresented claim you offer. They will see that you likely referenced a collection of Hollywood films and, in your view, mistook Hollywood for reality.

-

I realize this is not the subject of this thread. But, hey, Trolls do what Trolls do. wink

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By IMax, December 13, 2011 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian,- “Everything’s relative, ain’t it?”

-

Yes, of course.

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By Foucauldian, December 13, 2011 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

“Cicero was taken up and abandoned several times as
site for a civil rights march in the mid-1960s. The
American Friends Service Committee, the Rev. Martin
Luther King, and many affiliated organizations,
including churches, were conducting marches against
housing and school de facto segregation and
inequality in Chicago and several suburbs, but the
leaders feared too violent a response in Chicago Lawn
and Cicero. Eventually, a substantial march (met by
catcalls, flying bottles and bricks) was conducted in
Chicago Lawn, but only a splinter group, led by Rev.
Jesse Jackson, marched in Cicero.[3]”

Wikipedia

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By 51st Stater, December 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any modern revolution NEEDS the participation of the middle class, (especially the smug and self-satisfied).

The only way to get their involvement is by warning/scaring them that their comfort zone will become very uncomfortable.

That can only be achieved by media saturation, perhaps in the form of Hollywood “propaganda” films, or dare I suggest, protest pop songs.

It is a giantkilling task, but hey, David did it.

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By Anarcissie, December 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Cicero, Illinois.

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Or how else shall we say, IMax?

Everything’s relative, ain’t it?

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

This is great. I mean, truly, this one made me squirt my ice water out my nose….LOL

This very passionate anarchist on Truthdig, who happens to believe the whole of the American democratic party is rooted in conservationism pegs me for a fan of Limbaugh.

After I literally Laughed Out Loud I thought to myself, well, yeah, from the perspective of an anarchist, I must be a raving Limbaughzombie.

Thanks Anarc. You can be very entertaining. smile

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, even the antiwar protests, even at their
height, were met by sneers and occasional violence on
the part of the hard hats—a synonym for
construction workers—on Wall Street, of all
places.  I was there! 

And if such was the general sentiment on the part of
our lower middle-class, and urban too, towards the
unkempt and “dirty” hippies—all lily white, by the
way, barely an exception—I can only imagine what
the sentiment would be like when it came to
“Niggers.”

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By Anarcissie, December 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, December 12 at 2:12 pm:

‘... I wonder from where does IMax derive his ideas as to
the widespread support among America’s whites of the
black cause. ...’

I’m tempted to say he made them up, but his mention of ‘Hollywood’ reminds me that history has been rewritten a great deal in the popular media.  Of course, if there had been widespread White support for Civil Rights and Black Power the movement would have taken about two days to secure total victory.  I’m guessing iMax gets most of his material third-hand from someone like Limbaugh; this is why he’s weak on source material, evidence and logic.  Which, of course, a troll doesn’t need.  In fact, it’s the very absence of them that riles people up, which is the point anyway.

As for history, I was there, of course; no use to lie to me.  And anyone who wants to know the truth can look it up.  There are plenty of books, and probably a lot of good material available on the Net.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

JohnSwims,

Yes, yes, and Yes!

Keep posting, please.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian,

After reading your last post I think we’ve found much more to agree on. At the same time, however, I’ve yet to see any more bigotry or racism from the ‘far Right’ than I have witnessed on these pages. - The ‘far Left’.  Apart from the most pessimistic among us, most people, I believe, are fair minded.

Polls, I think, are interesting as a tool for the tracking of trends. I think it’s no accident that polling data reflecting the over-all attitude inside United States coincides with the U.S. being one of the more racially diverse countries we see today.

-

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a businessman from the former Soviet Union in the 70’s. He commented on the racial problems within the United States. He commented on the problems Negros, yes he called black people Negros, faced in U.S. society. I quickly agreed and asked about racial problems in the Soviet Union. He told me they had no such problems. He said, and I quote, “we just don’t allow them to enter Soviet controlled countries”.  That man was deadpan serious and I’ve never forgotten that illustrative conversation.

If anyone here would like to see an example of a basically kind, highly educated, highly motivated, highly modern and forward thinking society which happens to be, by all conventional terms, fundamentally racist look toward Japan. I say that while holding in high regard Japanese culture. As an example of a highly oppressive and racially divided society I would present Saudi Arabia.

While no society can afford to stop learning, the United States leads the way in racial diversity and opportunity. I have every right to be very proud while, at the same time, say we -black and white- must strive to do even more.

Sorry to go on like a ‘Troll’ changing the subject. wink

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By JohnSwims, December 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Correction.  I’m John, a swimmer.

Democracy, not in America.

I believe a powerful way to bring democracy to America is to vote out all the corrupt and
controlled politicians which basically includes most of Congress and politicians at all
levels, federal to local.

The American government, Congress, the mass news media, education, healthcare industry, FDA and many other aspects of America are corrupted and controlled by the billionaires and their families, corporations and puppets.

How to iniate real democratic voting?

By combining the strength, voice and massiveness of Occupy Wall Street with the anger of most Americans with our government, force Obama to change election laws and processes and the Electoral College such that 3rd party candidates can be put on all ballots, run reasonable and honest campaigns and win by popular vote.

Money must be taken out of politics!  That means, take away the billionaires’ power.

All qualified candidates get equal time, coverage.
Perhaps, all campaigning to be controlled and done on all public media: tv, radio, online,
newspapers, etc.  I’m too politically ignorant to spell out how to qualify candidates,  but
definitely not by money or stupid manipulated quiz show debates.

The electoral congress is made obsolete by the computer age.  Popular vote must rule, not the democratic or republican party. Gerrymandering to be stopped, eliminated.

About 50% of all college students never finish their college or university education.  With
the scandal of the “education for profit” industry, 10’s of thousands of students are stuck
with loans that they cannot repay, let alone get reasonable jobs.

White collar crime to be dealt with some criminals subject to life in prison.

The corrupted Supreme Court to be made honest and democratic and non-partisan.

Get the picture?

America needs help.  American elections must be observed by the United Nations authorities to stop election fraud.

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Fair enough, IMax, you do make some points.  Of
course, we’re not talking here about what I happen to
believe as to what the right pulse on America happens
to be, nor about what others happen to believe. 
That’s neither here nor there.  But what we are
talking about is what the reality is.  Of course, the
reality may very from place to place, from location
to location, from North to South and from East to
West, so it’s kind of hard to make a hard n fast
generalization that will stick, I grant you that too. 
And yet, can we really ignore the Tea Party movement
and what it represents?  Can we ignore the vehement
opposition to Obamacare, however flawed, again we
both agree, it was?  Can we really ignore the
religious Right which sponsors would-be presidential
candidates such as Rick Perry or Michelle Backmann? 
And lastly, can we ignore the thus-far successful
obstructionism in both our Houses on the part of the
Republican delegates?  Unless you subscribe to the
wholly cynical outlook whereby all conservative
delegates have been bought and sold by the corporate
interest, you must come to at least partial
conclusion that these people do express and represent
the wishes of their respective constituencies.

Besides, I don’t put that much faith in polls which
are bound to reflect more noble sentiments on the
part of the people polled than those they actually
subscribe to; no one, at least in public, wants to be
seen in bad light.

Sure, we’re all motivated more or less by our ideas
of what justice is; even the clansmen do.  But it’a
precisely the differences between the whole gamut of
different conceptions which is at stake—so on my
view, attributing such motives to everyone doesn’t
really settle the issue.

I’ll tell you what I think will contribute a whole
lot to bridging the racial or whatever other divide: 
the idea of self-identification, that all of us are
getting screwed, and equally, by “the man.” 

Nothing is more likely to produce the desirable
leveling effect and sense of solidarity, IMHO.

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

If you know anything about Anarcissie, Michael, I think
you ought to know she’s not idealistic at all. 
Pragmatic would be a far better word to describe her.

But being pragmatic doesn’t necessarily preclude one
from being hopeful at the same time, does it now?

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian,

I believe most people don’t believe as you do. I believe a large majority of Americans, no matter the race, are decent people who handle race differences like any human tribe has through all of human history. By and large once the natural feelings of a barrier passes, most Americans, at least most of ‘middle America’, will go out of their way to be kind to the other.

Every poll I have seen in the past three decades displays fundamental American support for equal rights and pay between races and genders. The rest is up to each one of us as we go about our day.

Apart from the most pessimistic among us, most people, I believe, are fair minded.

-

Of course none of this has anything to do with the reasons most Americans are either indifferent or flat-out disagree with what Occupy has become.

Level-headed Americans, white-black-man or woman-democrat or republican, are not looking for a revolution. 90% of Americans understand that any demonstration that ‘Occupies’ property belonging to another, a lending institution or another family, these types of demonstrations throw up leaders no one wants to see.

Strengthen Democracy. Occupy the places laws are conceived.

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By OzarkMichael, December 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: “This doesn’t invalidate OWS’s basic complaints, however.”

Well, true that. All complaints can stand up in spite of everything else about the people who make them. Unfortunately ‘everything else’ is what matters. How we make our complaint and what we propose as a solution is actually more important than what we say. Little details like that really matter!

I mean, Vladimir Lenin had excellent complaints, so did Adolf Hitler. Those complaints might resonate to this day, but does this force us to support them? No it must not. So we must admit that using ‘basic complaints’ to justify a movement is a real mistake.

I wonder how many Anarchists helped Lenin along, perhaps helped Stalin when he was young, all because their “basic complaints” couldnt be “invalidated”?

Anarcissie, please dont allow your idealism to help you ignore those ugly little details, those little warning signs of perhaps a Lenin or Trotsky in your midst.

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By joegod, December 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The true spirit of the initial OWS protests and all of the others that it
sparked was to address all corruption,all inequality,all injustice…the
reason it was difficult for anyone to focus on specific “demands” or
“grievances” is because everything is corrupt now. Everything. Every
institution,every corporation, any far-reaching system that is supposed to
function for the greater good and is controlled by layers of bureacratic and
administrative levels..nothing is working the way it’s supposed to or can
be. It is inherent. It is built-in. It is incestuous and destructive. The fact
that societal ills and problems get worse year after year and the general
public accepts it is a very deep,complex issue. I know that if OWS does
morph over the winter it will be into a movement that addresses not only
current political and economical issues,but the Big Picture. The media has
done a terrific job of discrediting the Occupiers; now most people see it as
a pointless endeavor but if they thought about it no decent person in the
country can disagree or not relate to wanting to right what is wrong and
above all,getting involved. We have unwittingly allowed the corrupt and the
greedy to run things and in the process destroy lives. For it to stop,or even
begin to stop, We the People must stop it. No one believes they can do
anything about anything when it comes to the Big Picture. Wrong. There
are ways. We need to talk to eachother and we need to organize. An
authentic,national united people’s party is what the powers that be fear
the most. There was a flickering moment this fall when they thought that
OWS and its sister-protests would catch on,and they handled it. They
smeared and discredited the movement and most people either a)don’t
know or understand what it is about ,b)see it as a bunch of lazy spoiled
good-for-nothing whiners and degenerates, or both. Let’s hope fall 2011
was just phase 1. The ideas and conversations generated by the genuine
participants and activists are real and relevant. I’m with them in their fight
to keep the ball rolling and people’s eyes,ears and minds open….

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

... an idyllic picture of America as undivided ...

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By Foucauldian, December 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

An instance of trolling?  Just wonder.

Indeed, it took Bobby Kennedy to capitalize on both
kinds of discontent—antiwar and Civil Rights.  And
even then, he was assassinated. 

I wonder from where does IMax derive his ideas as to
the widespread support among America’s whites of the
black cause.  Even to this day, fifty years into the
passage of the Civil Rights Act, the sentiment hasn’t
changed very much except for lip service.  Even to
this day, the plight of our poor, whether black or
white, is conspicuously ignored, and never really
addressed to even during electoral politics, by the
Democrat establishment, again white or black.  It’s
always “the middle class,” never the underclass.

To fall for IMax’s demagoguery would be synonymous to
falling for an idyllic picture as undivided along
racial and economic lines.  Needless to say, such a
picture is the furthest away from the underlying
realities.

Indeed, even OWS, for all it’s good intentions, has
failed to embrace the people of color as the primary
victim of our growing income inequality as well as
inequality with respect to economic and educational
opportunity.  No different, I suppose, than the
antiwar protests of the sixties or the counter-
culture revolution have.

Things haven’t changed all that much since.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

“The most successful protest movement in America, the Civil Rights movement, was intensely disliked by most White Americans and many Black ones as well.  In his day, Martin Luther King was the most hated man in America.”

-

The problem being, none of that is true outside of Hollywood films.

Strengthen Democracy. Occupy the places laws are conceived.

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By Anarcissie, December 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Protest movements don’t work through popularity.  The most successful protest movement in America, the Civil Rights movement, was intensely disliked by most White Americans and many Black ones as well.  In his day, Martin Luther King was the most hated man in America.

Protest movements function by causing trouble and impeding business as usual.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Look, I get that you’re upset that very little you wrote a month and two ago has come to pass. But I am not the cause of that. I beg you to stop your incessant whining. You’re costing Occupy it’s original message and support.

Please, I beg you, locate yourself a mirror.

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By Leefeller, December 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Imax an experts voice on focus and equality, well I guess this is it then ...Disenfranchisement is not an issue, inequality is not real, unfairness is not even on the radar and 99 percent is not the 99 percent because Imax is not with the 99 percent!

Tea Party is the new Occupy according to Imax!

Trolls R US seems to exist, for never is the discussion to be on disenfranchisement, for it must go right back to the the real people where money is speech and where corprations are people too, the Koch/Fox Brothers and the corporate crony Tea Baggers!

I am reminded of the Camel and horse attackers on the crowds in Egypt, they were opposed to the movement going on in Egypt and of course there are people like the Camel riders opposed to idea of the 99 percent and their are reasons for their opposition, I refuse to speculate on what other people are thinking or as I see it not thinking!

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Please, no whining.

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By Leefeller, December 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Imax the expert voice on focus and equality, well I guess this is it then ...Disenfranchisement is not an issue, inequality is not real, unfairness is not even on the radar and 99 percent is not the 99 percent because Imax is not the 99 percent!

Tea Party is the new Occupy according to Imax!

Trolls R US seems to exist, for never is the discussion to be on disenfranchisement, for it must go right back to the Koch/Fox Brothers Tea Baggers!

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By ellemarz, December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

“the odds are the signers would never even be called
upon to make good on their threat, so spooked would
the financial powers that be have become at the
prospect”

Although I agree wholeheartedly in the idea of a
mortgage/student loan payment “strike”, and indeed,
think we should just stop consuming/purchasing
ANYTHING for even few days (toppling the current
markets completely), I disagree that those in the
1%—the powerholders, as it were, would merely bend
over at the thought of even 50 million signatures
“saying” they’d stop payments on loans.  No, these
financial institutions will make the people put
their action where there signatures are—and call
our collective bluff when those who sign chicken out
at the last minute. 

If we should have learned one thing from this
economic crisis is that the financial institutions
are great at gambling.  That’s why they’ve got the
money and we don’t—they know how to bluff, cheat,
lie and steal—all without getting punished (or
caught in some cases); and isn’t that the definition
of a “good gambler”?

I think that people really need to be hurting hard—
and so desperate for ANYTHING that they will be
willing to put their lives and bodies on the line—
not just their mortgages and credit ratings.  I
don’t believe we are collectively “there” yet.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Today OWS’ basic complaints include everything Anarc mentioned, along with roughly two dozen other perceived grievances. The effect, as I had warned several weeks ago, has been a visible fracturing of focus and the diminution of the original message.

I also warned that if the petulant children remained front and center, if Occupy continued on it’s path of lawlessness and violence, the spectacle of Occupy would erode support across the country.

-

“Occupy Wall Street Favor Fading”

“The Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement’s support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street’s goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.”

“What the downturn in Occupy Wall Street’s image suggests is that voters are seeing the movement as more about the ‘Occupy’ than the ‘Wall Street.’  The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message.”

“The poll asked: “Do you support or oppose the goals of the
Occupy Wall Street movement?” The result was only 33% support, to 45% opposed.”
- Public Policy Polling

-

Meanwhile, according to USA Today/Gallup, there has been an increase from 20 percent to 31 percent disapproval of how the protests are being conducted. And even more, 59 percent, told pollsters they don’t know enough about the Occupy movement to form an opinion on it, despite the extensive media coverage it has received.- Politico

More people now support the Tea Party over Occupy.

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By Leefeller, December 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Disenfranchisement has many faces and Occupy has called them all out!  I suppose different faces for different people to focus on, I find the general unfairness and inequality good enough for me, the clear picture of the 1 percent doing what they do, which can be seen watching the Republican Presidential so called debates as the Newt and Romney slither to the top, showing themselves to be purely orthodox 1 percentiles.

No, Occupy is not over, it is just beginning, after only two months they even got the Repulcians talking about Occupy, as the Repulcians tried to ignore Occupy or make snide remarks, Republicans hate the Occupy message because they hate the truth!

Disenfranchisement is real, we need to get the money out of politics, I continue to be optimistic, one vote, one person, one dollar!

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By Anarcissie, December 12, 2011 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

It was my impression that complaints about student debt were at the top of Occupy Wall Street’s list from the beginning.  Many of them are, after all, students.  The mortgage thing was added as people from that area of concern showed up.  Implicit in both complaints is a complaint about the failing economy.  People with good jobs would probably grumble about their debts, but they wouldn’t go into the streets over them.

It would no doubt be more inspiring and edifying if they were going to the wall in opposition to imperialism and war, the destruction of the environment, the intensification of class, the move toward censorship and repression represented by the latest excesses of IP law, ubiquitous police surveillance, and so on, but I guess that’s not the way people are.

This doesn’t invalidate OWS’s basic complaints, however.

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By OzarkMichael, December 12, 2011 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Those damned agents provocateurs have finally wormed their way into the Occupy Central Committee.

It wasnt that long ago that OWS defenders were complaining that the issue of student loan repayments was the work of ill-informed people not actually part of OWS, and the promulgation of the idea was made by secret Rightist agents to make the idealistic OWS look bad. We were told time and again how selfless the Occupiers are. We were told that they are doing all this for us, sacrificing for us, that they are the ‘best’ of us, the selfless heroes of our time.

The only concrete idea emerging from the ashes of OWS is “We are not paying our student loans”, which is finally something very specific, but lets admit that is not exactly altruistic, because it means that the rest of us will have to pay the loans for the students. Occupy Wall Street is hoping to Occupy our wallets. No surprise. At every step of their existance OWS expected everyone else to pay for their ‘direct action’, and so far we have paid for it, so the OWS kids have precedent on their side as they hope we will pay for their student loans.

How this proves they are better than everyone else, that they are selfless heroes, that we all should act as they do to bring about a better world, well, its a bit hard to understand. Hopefully Anarcissie can provide evidence of evil Tea Party secret agents at work here.

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By IMax, December 12, 2011 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Anarc,

Troll alert:

There’s no place for such nonsense amongst people who care as much about hearing as being heard.

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By EmileZ, December 12, 2011 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Occupy Student Debt:

PAMELA BROWN: Well, the campaign involves taking a pledge of refusal. At the time that we would gather 1 million pledgers, then we would, in essence, have a debt strike.

AMY GOODMAN: How many pledges do you have so far, how many signatures?

PAMELA BROWN: Well, in less than a week, we’ve already amassed almost 1200 signatures last I checked, and it’s constantly growing, and we’ve barely rolled out this campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: What are people committing to when they sign?

PAMELA BROWN: People are committing to, once we reach 1 million signatures, that they would refuse to continue paying, refuse to continue to be complicit, in the devastating student loan system we have today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW3yyTCfm6Q

Perhaps by the time this movement reaches a critical mass, an Occupy Mortgage Debt movement will be able to really take off.

In the meantime… we need to be able to demonstrate success and the Occupy Homes movement is doing so already. Let us all support it and get involved to the best of our abilities.

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By Connie Tolleson, December 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The troll is probably a sick mind whose only intellectual triumph was winning a
debate in high school. Did you know that humans have such sophisticated sensors
that if they have a food sensitivity they can tell by the third time they eat it that it
disagrees with them.  Really observant people, or people with strong allergies can
tell with just a taste. Or their mother can tell. Of course it just takes a tiny taste of
a potent toadstool to destroy a person’s liver.  I endeavor not to take a tiny taste
of toadstool soup as served up by “those whose names must not be spoken”  and
their henchmen.  There are key phrases and words that alert me.  It is sort of like
the old TV show, “Name that Tune”.  I can tell its a troll in three notes and then I
shun them.

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By Anarcissie, December 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Actually, back in the day on Usenet, master trolls considered starting a fight in a discussion group and leaving while it was still raging, indeed, while it had just begun to rage, to be a perfect exploit.

If someone is being paid, however, it’s probably easier to just make the rounds and run through the scripts.  And probably the same is true of compulsive trolls.

Paid manipulation isn’t always trolling.  When Christine Aguilera was being pushed for top-tier attention, her publicists employed people do go on forums, newsgroups, blogs and so forth to create a buzz.  All of a sudden, everyone on the Net was mysteriously talking about Christine!  She had to be wonderful!  (I’m not disparaging her talents through sarcasm here; I’m just describing how the publicity worked.)

Some attempt has been made to write AI programs that could do the same sort of thing.  Labor is getting cheaper every day, however.

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By Foucauldian, December 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

I should think one distinct characteristic would be—
no matter what insults are thrown their way, they won’t
go away.

But then it stands to reason.  If there are plants and
agents provocateur at real-life gatherings, why not on
the net where it would be even tougher to flush ‘em
out?

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By Anarcissie, December 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

No, I’m not confused.  I’ve been on the Net a long time and I know a troll when I see one.  I’m not telling people not to read and respond to trolls; they can do as they please, but they ought to be aware that they’re being trolled and maybe not get too excited at the real or pretended obtuseness, hostility, anger or dishonesty of the troll.  It’s usually a put-on.  Although as I say in the last several years corporations and others have come to realize that Internet discussions can be manipulated and will pay people to do it.  This doesn’t mean all trolls are all employed; most, I think, are volunteers, or are even compulsively attracted to the practice.  Examples and anecdotes on request.

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By Outraged, December 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie

Regarding IMax’s comment to you: “I’ll not talk to you any
longer.”

If only…....IF ONLY IMax would follow through! IMax
“threatened” me that same way…...but no luck so far.

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By IMax, December 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

gerard, The animus against Occupy and all who support and sympathize with the 99% is baring its teeth.

-

Animus with teeth: Stop. Please. No more images of bogy-men (trolls) conspiring against the pure of heart. Jesus, as another long-time liberal, you embarrass the hell out of me.

You simply cannot admit you’ve not thought this through yourself. You simply cannot admit you have not the most basic answers regarding the positions you advocate.

I care a great deal about the original Occupy message. I, like 90% of Americans, want nothing to do with your Revolution. While you’re on a joy-ride of excitement you leave others to do the heavy lifting for real and lasting change.

And don’t you dare claim to speak for the ‘99’. You hold zero empirical evidence to suggest anything of the kind. Occupy doesn’t enjoy the support of most liberals, let alone moderates and conservatives in the U.S. as well.

99% - Know a slick ad slogan when you see one. Those are to be viewed and discussed. Not ingested.

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By Foucauldian, December 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

I wasn’t aware Anarcissie was puzzled.  I thought her
point was that talk is cheap.

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By IMax, December 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

I’ve yet to see anyone here use the term, Troll, as intended. On this Web site the term is used as a childish and week-minded cop-out. Usually it’s leaned on after one fails to either answer direct questions or fails to persuade.

Your typical “Troll Alert”: You’ve so frustrated me, Anarc, that I’ll not talk to you any longer. Not only will I not talk to you, I’m so frustrated over my inability to persuade you, I believe, nobody should listen to “trolls like you”.

It’s weak. There’s no place for such nonsense amongst people who care as much about hearing as being heard.

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By gerard, December 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

KA-BOOM!  SMASHED TO SMITHEREENS!

SOCKO!  GOTCHA THAT TIME!  BAM!  WAR-OF-WORD-GAMES FOR IDIOTS!

The animus against Occupy and all who support and sympathize with the 99% is  
baring its teeth..  Proof that sore points are being addressed here as elsewhere,
even if only verbally/  At long last, and maybe better than nothing ???

An ugly spirit behind Season’s Greetings.  Nevertheless,  deck the halls!

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By Foucauldian, December 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps I should, too, shut up that is, unless struck
by an epiphany.  And forgive me for having been on the
defensive.

Bad form.

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By OzarkMichael, December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

Me, I get top dollar as long as I dont blow my cover.

...

DOH!

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By Anarcissie, December 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian—Weschler can read it here, same as I read his, if he wants to trouble himself with the rants and babbles of the lower orders.  Sometimes they do, you know.  Do you think my comment is particularly brilliant, though?  I don’t.  I should really shut up when I have nothing amusing or enlightening to say.  No wonder EmileZ hates me.  I am certainly not going to email my idle cranking to an eminent bourgeois like Weschler.

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By Anarcissie, December 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

IMax, December 11 at 2:43 pm:

‘... Calling anyone here a troll is completely childish and weak-minded.’

On the contrary, it’s often quite accurate.

The antisocial use of Internet discussion media has been noticed and studied for years.  The interesting question these days is how much of it is paid for.

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By IMax, December 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Anarc, - “Apparently I am the only person on earth who does not know What Occupy Wall Street Must Do Now.”

-

You repetitiously write that same sentiment when the subject is OWS. What, exactly, do you find so remarkable about everyone having an opinion on these matters?

Of course you know my opinion. Occupy the places laws are conceived. Occupy the Congress. - Understand that less than 15% of liberal-minded Americans take the time to decide issues in their own cities, counties, and states is humiliating. It certainly does little to help the liberal agenda across the U.S..

YES, revolution! We can change the world. Let’s get off our complaining asses and make some decisions for ourselves. We can know the issues. We can vote our conscience on how our children are educated and the closing or expansion of the nearest military base.

Occupy your School Board. Occupy your State House. Occupy the U.S. Congress!

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By Foucauldian, December 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Well, perhaps you should email him this message.

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By IMax, December 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

gerard, - “Your questions are not questions; they are traps and accusations”

-

And there we have it. You feel trapped by a few fundamental questions that speak to the very heart of what you advocate. What does it tell you when you are unable to answer tough, albeit truly basic, questions regarding the things you’ve been reading and repeating of late? - Anarc, I now know, does the very same. Questions send him into an odd repetitious fog of non-answers.

If you truly believe in what you advocate, and have put some real thought to it, you must conclude that your prescriptions will cause horrific pain and suffering for millions upon millions of people. - Just what is this cause that makes this pain worthy? Why not tell us all? Plainly.

YES, I did make an accusation. It’s the precise accusation you continually make. And see what happened when I put that same accusation in writing? You thought it unfair. Well, no shit, gerard. Simple-minded accusations are, more often than not, completely unfair. - I’ll hope I made my point.

Teachers Unions invest hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars into real estate. These are the people you keep claiming are the cause of many ills. The fact that Teachers Unions would invest their pay checks and expect a profit for their investment (retirement) is, according to you, an evil we could all do without. NO interest. NO profit. NO investment. NO retirement funds for teachers.

Basic cause and effect 101. I will ask one more time. Who will be harmed if hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of people begin taking control of property that does not belong to them? What effect are YOU advocating here?

-

To all: No whining, please. It’s unbecoming and adolescent.

Calling anyone here a troll is completely childish and weak-minded. It’s an obvious and simple cop-out. The constant, idiotic, whining about “Trolls” means only one thing on this Web site. Different points if view, questions that tax others beyond their abilities, are not welcomed.

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By Anarcissie, December 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

According to this web site, the author, ‘Lawrence Weschler, a longtime contributor to the New Yorker (where he covered popular upsurges in Poland, South Africa, Latin America and Belgrade, among other places), is currently the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU.’  In other words, it seems very likely that he has money, a nice place to live, an office, high social status, and all kinds of connections and access to important people and institutions.  Why isn’t he using these tools, or if he is, why isn’t he telling us about it, instead of telling other people, a bunch of scruffy activists, what to do?

Apparently I am the only person on earth who does not know What Occupy Wall Street Must Do Now.

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By gerard, December 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

IMax:  Your questions are not questions; they are traps and accusations—largely unanswerable insofar as what happens to people is more important than “billions in real estate” and “what happens to it.”  Likewise, The “Teachers’ Unions” and their “ill-gotten gains” is an accusation to begin with, let alone whatever problems they may or may not have with “property.” The “property” held by Wall Street is of course no problem by comparison!

Unions, (for all their flaws) so far, have done more for economic justice in this country than Wall Street, Washington or any other organization, including churches—which is sad, but true—and teachers’ unions have done more to try to keep public education out of the iron grip of “private enterprise” (so-called) than any other
social force including parents, (most of whom don’t have a clue about what’s going on). Unions are just a traditional kicking-post for the (ignorant) Right Wing who are told what to support and what to attack, and do so with unfailing insistence, talking mostly to themselves, thankfully.

Frequently there are warnings online about “Don’t feed the trolls,” and I allow myself to be tempted, nevertheless.  Why?  Am I stupid?  No, it’s just that I find it hard to endure the simple-minded, childish tripe that you and others like you put up here, all the while hiding behind your faces of self-righteous virtues.  Eventually, I will stop.  Meanwhile—scroll on by; nothing new here.

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By Foucauldian, December 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, December 10 at 8:06 pm

I have no idea who is the intended target of your
comment, Anarcissie, the article’s author or some
other commenter, but I don’t think you’re being fair. 
No everyone is in the position “to do something
good.”  In between my rent, utilities and car
insurance, I have $100 “discretionary income a month;
that’s three stinking dollars a day.  My sister and
brother-in-law were kind enough to donate one of
their cars to me, so once I save a few hundred
dollars, I’ll return to California when I’ll
reconnect with the movement; but at present, having
been stuck in this rural town, I don’t really have
any other options but to write.  Besides, I’m no
longer twenty.

Lots of people have been beaten by the system,
Anarcissie, and by life.  I spoke earlier of the
African-Americans and our poor; they don’t have the
luxury to get involved, not when the first order of
business is to be able to make it from day to day.

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By IMax, December 11, 2011 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

gerard,

You have a flair in how you avoid answering questions.

The questions I asked have nothing to do with the world you envision. The questions I asked concern the world as it is today. - Might you try, just once, answering the questions put before you?

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?

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By race_to_the_bottom, December 11, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

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By balkas, December 11, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

people say [i used to also]: people never learn!! i say, people [say, 99% in
u.s] are not allowed to learn.
and THEY [ who hold, i think, apsolute power/diktatorship] will never
allow vast numbers of americans to ever KNOW.
vast numbers of people in all of asia, europe, and later in americas,
afrika had been deprived of knowledge [our greatest wealth] millennia
ago by the old and neo sacerdotal-noble class.

folk, there is nothing new in neoconservatism, liberalism, or godology.
tnx

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By gerard, December 11, 2011 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

IMax You fell into this one:  The problem with lending is that it encourages (often forces) borrowers to pay the lenders more than the lending is “worth”—called “interest”—in which lenders
are very “interested” as long as they can collect it.
nd if they can’t, strangely enough, they are permitted to take the entire property back, regardless of past payments or other extenuating circumstances. 
  In a fair system, there would be no such coercive dealing.  (Somebody once said—was it POrtia in “The Merchant ... ” ...“Neither a borrower nor a lender be, and it shall follow as the night the day, thou can’st not then be false to any man” (or words to that effect, which was the meaning of the entire play).
  Perhaps you were taught to obey the rules without thinking about what the rules say, what they do, whom they benefit, whom they harm, how much, etc. Once you start thinking about things like that, you never give up on trying to establish a fairer system because, even if the system doesn’t punish you at the moment, you can sympathize with those whom it does punish—regularly and mercilessly. In fact, that’s the crux (cross) of our problems today.  In a word—exploitation—of the human being, body and soul, daily, everywhere.  You, too, IMax, are a victim.  You are not exempt from being exploited.  Just maybe at the moment you are “free”—which largely means not really “free” but at the moment unexploited relative to others who are more exploited.
  Neither an exploited nor an exploiter be ... Interest is not in a borrowers interest, never was, never will be.  It is called that probably because “exploitation”, though more accurate, is also “dirtier.”

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By Textynn, December 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another very important thing Americans need to do is take our Universities back.  Not only have the elites taken the Universities, built by the people, and privatized them, and then charged obscene prices to attend, but something worse is happening and has been happening.

That is, private industry is stealing all the wealth of research and creative and intellectual property that is archived and belonging to these Universities and patenting and copyrighting this info.  Then they will control who knows about information, and who can access it, and speak of it.

They will eventually be able to hold the people in various levels of ignorance and disinformation paradigms.  It works like this. I want to find the cure for breast cancer but a private business owns the patents to breast cancer and I have to pay them to study it or discuss it.  This will slow the flow of learning and evolution and put these people in a position of playing God with our lives.  Particularly if you believe that the cancer industry might actually prevent the study of cancer because it is their cash cow.

It will also be a mechanism to control people and keep the masses dependent on them while they operate above us with access to the best info and the info that will be censored. 

University of California is Obama’s biggest donor, out paying Goldman Sachs by over a half million.  Keep your eyes on the Universities and the goings on. The elites have come to “capture” them and their wealth and their role in society just like they have the US government and our democratic seats of power. These schools belong to the people.  We must stop it now.

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

Did you guys ever notice that the longer these Truthdig articles are, the less they actually say?

Hedges wrote a six-pager once that was so forgettable I cant remember the title.

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