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We are the 99 percent.
September 30, 2011 12:58 PM   Subscribe


 
MML: A tumblr featuring people participating in the Wall Street protests.
posted by zamboni at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2011


I've been reading through this over the past two days. Incredibly moving and heartbreaking.
posted by naju at 1:02 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it possible that student loans are so easily available that colleges raise tuition fees since they know they can get it?
posted by stbalbach at 1:03 PM on September 30, 2011 [38 favorites]


Or people supporting the Wall Street protests. Anyway, from the about page:
We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?
posted by zamboni at 1:03 PM on September 30, 2011


Is it possible that student loans are so easily available that colleges raise tuition fees since they know they can get it?

stbalbach, I can't tell if your question is charmingly naive or masterfully wry.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:05 PM on September 30, 2011 [26 favorites]


Argh, too much class warfare in that link.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:06 PM on September 30, 2011 [42 favorites]


While I can sympathize (I lost my job in 2009, and it's been a scary couple of years), somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.

That said, something has to be done to address youth unemployment.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:07 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is it possible that student loans are so easily available that colleges raise tuition fees since they know they can get it?

It was before the collapse of easy credit.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:11 PM on September 30, 2011


... somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.

Truer words never spoken. When I was reaching the end of high school, I was receiving a ton of pressure from every quarter to go to college, but not one person bothered to even mention much less explain the extent of the damage that debt would do to my future. Had somebody sat me down and explained the situation to me, my choices about college would have been very different.
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:13 PM on September 30, 2011 [41 favorites]


no, its cool, the youth will do something

really, they will
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:16 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I'm supposed to feel sorry for people who have made bad choices in their lives? I feel sorry for them for not having been coached to live within their means, something that alot of us HAVE been able to do AND get post graduate degrees.
posted by TheBones at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this one bugs me. No one is putting a gun to her head and making her take loans. She needs to spend some serious soul searching time and decide if $136k in debt makes sense for her life plans.

It's people like her that end up joining the Peace Corp. and whining about how they can never pay off the debt.

Seriously, take 8 years and work your way all the way through. Or maybe decide you weren't meant for a law degree (assuming 136k of debt is the cheapest you can get one).

I had 15k in debt. I'm 41 and will have it paid off this month. If someone told me I had 136k I don't think I'd even try. That's some fucked up math there.

Unless she thinks she's going to be making twice that a year I don't see going down that path as being sane.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.

We know that now, but for decades that's just what you did if you wanted a middle class life. It's just what was done. If you want a better life, you go to college, and you graduate and get a job and pay them off. And it actually worked, is the crazy thing! With parents for whom it worked for and culture and high school counselors saying you have to...I think it's a lot to ask that a 17-year-old know better. At 17, you still look to 'adults' to have the answers on what the best path is.

I'm one of those who will be paying off student loans til the day I die. I wish someone had sat me down to explain the truth of it all.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I live in a city where I need no car, I rent, we no plans to have children, and have good HMO that has covered my ass many a time. Sad that it takes those things to be "lucky." God forbid I that I was "unlucky" enough that I wanted kids or a car or to own a house.
posted by Windigo at 1:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [106 favorites]


Its pretty important to note that the unemployment rate for people over 25 with a bachelor's degree is 5%. 4.6% for whites with a bachelors degree. The trough unemployment rate was 3%.

Its 9% and 4% now vs trough for HS diplomas. So an incremental 5% vs 2% of the workforce are unemployed. And there are more people with a high school diploma or less than there are people with bachelors degrees.

Remember that - this recession like every other recession is disproportionately hitting the less educated. Student Debt is sideshow.
posted by JPD at 1:18 PM on September 30, 2011 [36 favorites]


The system of governance and regulation won't bow to the pressure of ~500 people (plus radiohead! wooo) on wall st. Even if you add a heartbreaking tumblr to the mix it's not even worth thinking about. Dissatisfied people are dissatisfied...

People need to take the power back via the political process, which is slow, but at least it actually does something.
posted by nutate at 1:18 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


no, its cool, the youth will do something

really, they will


Someone observed that the last time the youth did something - the protests against the Vietnam War - it was because their asses were on the line.

I think the people in these photographs know what that feels like.
posted by Trurl at 1:19 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


That said, something has to be done to address youth unemployment.

Well, China's economy is booming, so why not a travel abroad program? Solve youth unemployment with youth in Asia.
posted by zippy at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


What I like about a project like this is that it doesn't take much to participate in, so you get a broader range of voices, and it also shuts up the people who complain about what a waste of time and effort it is, and how you could be doing blah-blah instead if you REALLY wanted to get things started.

Oh wait, this is MetaFilter -- you are way smarter than these people, and can do more with less, and if you were in their shoes you'd do xyz instead, and you can think of far better ways to stick it to Wall Street.

Which you're currently doing... right?
posted by hermitosis at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [91 favorites]


I disagree - you can take power back outside of the political process - but by being for something, not by being pissed off.

This isn't to say people shouldn't be pissed off, just that its not very effective in attracting support for a movement.
posted by JPD at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


People need to take the power back via the political process, which is slow, but at least it actually does something.

Protests are a traditional way to gather support for political action.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2011 [35 favorites]


We know that now, but for decades that's just what you did if you wanted a middle class life. It's just what was done

When I got divorced in the early 2000s, my ex got the house. I rented an apartment. So very many people told me how sad they were for me that now I had to "throw my money away on rent" etc. The prevailing opinion seemed to be that I was missing out on the American dream.
In the last year or two I have been hearing the opposite. It's all how lucky I am I do not own! How happy I must be, etc. It has really brought home to me how much has changed in perceptions and opinions.
posted by pointystick at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


Interesting how many common themes you see among the stories- student loan debt, medical bills, military service, single parenthood.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


What I like about a project like this is that it doesn't take much to participate in, so you get a broader range of voices, and it also shuts up the people who complain about what a waste of time and effort it is, and how you could be doing blah-blah instead if you REALLY wanted to get things started.

Project? It's a tumblr blog. I hardly call that a "project" other than a crappy blog with a somewhat ho-hum, not very original idea.

That being said, I am not attacking you, hermitosis, I usually agree and like what you have to say, I just disagree with your use of the term "project."
posted by TheBones at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one is putting a gun to her head and making her take loans. She needs to spend some serious soul searching time and decide if $136k in debt makes sense for her life plans.

That's true, but not really the point. The point isn't that people sign student loan agreements under physical duress. The point is that our entire education system is set up to tell kids "go to college. Get good grades, go to college, get a job, and you'll be fine." That's the promise. That's what every single authority figure tells any kid who is even of average intelligence. Every. Single. One. Parents. Teachers. Aunts and Uncles. Pastors and Priests and Rabbis. Television. Older siblings.

Every financial advisor I've ever met has told me that student loans are "good debt." It's the surest way to get me to stop listening to their advice, for what it's worth.

So yeah, once somebody turns eighteen, I'm sure it's realistic to treat their decision to take on $100,000 in student debt as a completely free-standing decision that is being made by an adult who is fully informed about the risks that they are taking.
posted by gauche at 1:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [108 favorites]


Soooo many of my "projects" are tumblr blogs, or started as one.
posted by hermitosis at 1:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


*ahem*
posted by penduluum at 1:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


What I dislike is that all of it is unverifiable. A coupled decided the day before their kid was born to give it up for adoption? Highly unlikely.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.

I agree, but I also think it's disingenuous to say this to people who were told -- probably starting from the age of six or so -- that a degree was the only way to go. Expecting college kids to "know better" than their parents, their teachers, Financial Aid, and the US government is more than a bit much.

Besides, many of these people barely missed out on the future they were promised. I'm Class of 2000, and almost everyone I know is doing better than fine, but it seems like the Class of 2005 may as well bring a Sharpie and a big piece of cardboard to the reunion. That's not their fault, and for the most part they did not make "unwise decisions", certainly not any more than any of us did. It's the economy, stupid.
posted by vorfeed at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [65 favorites]


Inevitably the logic of particular posts on the site are being criticized, which is unfortunate, because I don't think the goal of this collection is to put particular individual's loan-repayment scenarios up for debate, but to build a consensus among those who, for varied reasons, feel that their economic situation is unlikely to be improved, ever.
posted by odinsdream at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


//quote//While I can sympathize (I lost my job in 2009, and it's been a scary couple of years), somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.//

I lost my job in 2000. Went back to school on my own dime & got a degree (actually, finished my undergrad) & thought about jumping back into the job market. Instead, I got a lot of encouragement from profs & family to stay in school to become a prof myself. Now, in debt up to my keester--beyond my keester--I am having a hard time finishing up my PhD b/c I lost my job (AGAIN) in 2011.

I wish there was a program in my field to work off school loans by working in some sort of work-for-the-public-good capacity. I'd jump at it in a heartbeat.

Instead, I apply for hundreds of jobs & barely get a response.

I am the 99%. And I'm planning to take my social security dollars to Meso- or South America in 8 years.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:26 PM on September 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


Oh wait, this is MetaFilter -- you are way smarter than these people, and can do more with less, and if you were in their shoes you'd do xyz instead, and you can think of far better ways to stick it to Wall Street.

Which you're currently doing... right?


First post i've seen about the wall st protests on Mefi, last stop on the meme train etc.

Having said that, i'm pleased to see people in the US doing something about economic injustice, even this - it's a bit collegey but anyone with a mobile phone can upload to this site I think, so it should hopefully show quite a broad spectrum.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:26 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'm supposed to feel sorry for people who have made bad choices in their lives? I feel sorry for them for not having been coached to live within their means, something that alot of us HAVE been able to do AND get post graduate degrees.


Those silly rabbits! They should have made good choices, like knowing about the economic collapse in advance. Why didn't they pick a job they wouldn't get laid off from? Yes, they obviously have made some terrible decisions to be where they are now.

Let me know if you need a hand down from that pedestal you built for yourself there.
posted by Windigo at 1:28 PM on September 30, 2011 [120 favorites]




The us vs them "99% of the US population get nothing while 1% get everything" sloganeering seems bogus. The exaggeration aside ( the great majority in the US is better off economically than the ~80% of the world's population which count as poor by international standards; also the more salient point is the that the rich in the US have too much relative to what they give back, not that they have "everything"), the richest 1% in the US own about 35% of private net worth in the country (2007 estimates (http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html , most recent available), so expect the middle class and bottom shares to decline), the next "middle class" 19% owns about 50% while the bottom 80% has about 15%... so "99% vs 1%" evades more complicated inequalities.
posted by Bwithh at 1:30 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's people like her that end up joining the Peace Corp. and whining about how they can never pay off the debt.

Yeah, you just pulled that out of your ass, didn't you?

Peace Corps: Cancellation of Student Loans

Only Volunteers with Perkins loans are eligible for a partial cancellation benefit. Fifteen percent of your Perkins loans can be cancelled upon the completion of each 365 days of service during your first two years of service, and 20 percent can be cancelled upon completion of each of the third and fourth years. Therefore, four full years of service would equal a 70 percent cancellation of your existing loan.

Benefits of AmeriCorps Service

Each AmeriCorps member who successfully completes a term of AmeriCorps service will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award*. You can use your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay educational expenses at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans...

..The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 created two new federal programs: a new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR) for the repayment of federal loans. The new Income-Based Repayment plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an AmeriCorps member living on a stipend; AmeriCorps service is also recognized as equivalent to a public service job for the purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

posted by charlie don't surf at 1:31 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm surprised that the response here is to blame the people in the photos for their "poor life choices" instead of looking at the truth of the poisonous system created by the disgustingly biased tax laws, job outsourcing, healthcare clusterfuck, Wall-Street bailout bullshit that created this terrifying situation in the first place.

Oh wait. No I'm not.
posted by tzikeh at 1:32 PM on September 30, 2011 [108 favorites]


somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.
We know that now, but for decades that's just what you did if you wanted a middle class life. It's just what was done. If you want a better life, you go to college, and you graduate and get a job and pay them off. And it actually worked, is the crazy thing!

It worked because the economy was in expansion, and there were good jobs to be had that made it possible to cover the debt. That dynamic is what a well-thought-out economic policy will seek to restore.
posted by homerica at 1:33 PM on September 30, 2011


That said, something has to be done to address youth unemployment.

I would suggest that they rise up and loot properties of the 1%, kill them and eat them. Burn anything they cannot carry away.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


Solve youth unemployment with youth in Asia.

So you think we should kill the ones who are suffering the most? I approve of your modest proposition.
posted by Edgewise at 1:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


somebody needs to point out that borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision.

The bigger issue here is the death of the American dream. Higher ed, home ownership, kids, higher ed for the kids and then a better future that they had. These made our lives better for over 60 years now. And even back then, we borrowed to get them. But now all of that is eating up more of our income, to the point where we have to choose...college for the kids or retirement? An advanced degree or kids? And eventually it comes down to rent or medicine.

Meanwhile, the money that was invested in workers or teachers or college scholarships gets siphoned up into that 1%. Is it smart to take on $136k in student loans? No. But it's more than just one person making bad decisions. There's a machine here that used to work well, but is now running haywire.
posted by PlusDistance at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


Re: poor life choices... what's disingenuous to me is the use of the 99%. My husband and I are in the 99%, I guess. We're not wealthy. I work for a not-for-profit. Among people who live in Manhattan, we probably make towards the bottom of the rung.

And you know what? We don't have kids. I would like kids, but we can't afford them, and do not want to get evicted. We do go out to eat a lot, but we don't spend more than we can cover per month. We save as much as we can.

I lost a job last spring when my company closed, and had we been overspending, it would have ruined us financially. As it was, the three weeks I was out of work (I was lucky, I know) didn't make any difference in our yearly budget, saving the cancellation of a vacation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


blargh, that is depressing :(
posted by supermedusa at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2011


Having sympathy for people who made the wrong decisions is part of realizing that everyone makes some wrong decisions, and that we'd all like our wrong decisions to be treated with kindness and assistance.

There are some reasonable complaints about moral hazards, but then, wouldn't those complaints be better aimed at the large institutions that compounded billions of those bad decisions and have profited from those moral hazards, rather than aiming smug condescension at people who took bad but understandable risks?

I'd rather have more men like Debs saying, "Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free," than another round of sycophantic dedication to comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted by people who by smarts or luck ended up one rung higher on the ladder.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [231 favorites]


It's people like her that end up joining the Peace Corp. and whining about how they can never pay off the debt.

Sounds like anyone eligible to join the Peace Corp could be one of the lucky ones! Might work for some, but no way would it work for someone with chronic medical problems and/or children.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


America the forgetful just knows in its bones, this time, the free market will work out to all our benefit without further need for the ugliness it took to get rid of child labor, debt bondage and mandatory overtime.

All these people need to do is trust the market, and get out there and get a job, rite? Because all that matters in this world is working for somebody else, on whatever crappy terms they offer you, and that's all there is. Asking for more than that just show's you've got a hightoned way of thinking about yourself and won't accept your rightful place in the world.

Like all those striking coal miners in the twenties. Which of course never actually happened, since the markets self-regulated all those problems away, like it always does, and that's what will happen now if all y'all hippies just quit yer yapping and get a job. Rite?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wow, the vitriol in this thread is...palpable.

In America, we like our poor to be embarrassed, because we are embarrassed by them. They are a reminder that the American Dream is really a pyramid with most people at the bottom making it grand for the lucky few at the top.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2011 [93 favorites]


Whether or not it's a poor decision to go into debt for school - these are young people who were told that this is what is done, that higher education was a ticket to success and financial security. Our entire educational system hammers that message home and sells it from the moment you're in grade school onward.

It's what honest, hard-working people were told to do, a key component of the so-called American Dream.

Regardless of whether or not someone went into debt to own a house when they shouldn't have been approved for a loan. Again, it's what people were told to do to achieve admission to the middle class and this so-called American Dream.

And what about the people in debt from medical issues? Did they choose that? Did we choose a health care system with costs spiraling out of control? Did they choose to get sick? Did we choose to make it impossible to get affordable coverage?

No we did not.

Yet - there is and was enough. There used to be enoug. There was enough for a safety net. There was enough money to be compassionate. There was enough for us to share and get along instead of teetering on the edge of inflation-driven food riots and 1/6 below the already incredibly low poverty line.

This is what happens when we spend a trillion dollars on war. Money, time and energy is destroyed. Each bomb is an expensive technological sigil sacrificed in a burnt offering. It would be arguably cheaper socially to simply burn that money.

This is what happens when oligarchs and the unaccountable fictions of corporate personhood buys and sells our democracy wholesale.

This is what happens when an entire global economy is diverted to the greedy and the already-haves on the backs of the already-don't-have-enough.


You need to be mad as hell, but not at our neighbors. Not at the man by the freeway begging for spare change for enough beer to sleep and forget. Not at the college kid struggling with 100k in debt and no job because all the jobs have been outsourced overseas.

We need to be mad as hell at the banks that ripped us off, the politicians in bed with them that gave them the blank check and the blind eye turned. We need to be mad as hell our natural resources are being auctioned off at below a fair value to bad corporate citizens, who then sell us *our* resources at a dear premium of wasted environments and corrupted governments.

We need to be mad as hell at our dwindling, dying rights to protest, to freely assemble, to photograph public servants like police, to travel freely.


We need to be mad as hell. Real anger has been warranted for some time now. If you don't fight back now, you won't be able to fight back at all in the near future. It will be too late.
posted by loquacious at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2011 [202 favorites]


I am basically living paycheck to paycheck, working seven day weeks, forsaking many of the comforts that most people my age grew up thinking they could reasonably expect. And I am one of the lucky ones, because I'm actually working and thriving in my chosen field, and I have no debt and no kids. But every time I ride my bike or run down a flight of stairs, all I can think of is how if I break my leg, it basically ends. Seriously, that could put me right back on my mom's couch in Arizona where I was about 11 years ago.

Can't wait to get back in NYC next week so I can participate somehow in what's happening there.
posted by hermitosis at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2011 [25 favorites]


Just to be clear, I'm not being judgmental. I'm 20 years older than most these people and I made the mistakes they are about to. Taking on massive debt is dumb. I was dumb.

Also, a lot of these decisions aren't in the past, but are current or future choices. Setting out to make the wrong decision is different in my mind than realizing you've made the wrong choice, but perhaps you have to do the first before you can recognize the latter.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:42 PM on September 30, 2011


Something that I do appreciate from one of my most "conservative" (well, Oakeshott scholar) poli-sci profs was a consistent critique of the general American (and classical liberal) assumptions of individualism that are necessary to underpin a lot of political rhetoric.

(That, and if you really want to get into it, it's hard to argue that choices aren't post-hoc rationalizations anyway, loathe though I am to commit to a hard-determinist position.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh wait, this is MetaFilter -- you are way smarter than these people, and can do more with less, and if you were in their shoes you'd do xyz instead, and you can think of far better ways to stick it to Wall Street.

Or maybe you people just don't want to listen to people like me who agree reform is needed, but that the world isn't some manichean conflict over the financial services industry. Instead you just want to scream and yell about banksters and Bank of America debit card fees.

Come up with a platform that says something.

here I'll through a few ideas out.

1) Ring fence commercial and consumer banks
2) Create laws the prevent the Fed and treasury from supporting investment banks
3) Regulations that dis-incentivize excess risk taking and allow compensation clawbacks
4) Progressive Capital Gains Taxes
5) Elimination of the Carried Interest Tax Loophole
6) Elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction paired with a revenue neutral reduction in tax rates
7) Mandatory Say on Pay regulations for public companies to eliminate excessive compensation.
8) Elimination of "Right-to-work" statutes
9) Un-cap Social Security contributions and means test Social Security Benefits
10) Reform Corporate Taxation to eliminate things like the use of third nation tax shelters

that's ten real ideas right there. I could probably think of 20 more if I had a few more minutes.

Stop talking about student loans for christ sakes - it makes you sound like a bunch of spoiled middle class kids, not a bunch of revolutionaries. It isn't something that has appeal to the vast majority of Americans - either the never went to college, went to a community college when they were at home, or they are 35+ and don't think of student loans as a problem, even if they are a little worried about how their kids will pay for school. It just isn't a issue that wins. I mean there are 2.2 million people with a bachelors or higher who are unemployed in America. There are 8 million people w/o a bachelors degree who are unemployed.
posted by JPD at 1:45 PM on September 30, 2011 [59 favorites]


I'm lucky. I'm underemployed and paying $500 for health insurance for my unemployed husband and I and I'm lucky. I'm lucky because he's wealthy, has retirement savings he's been able to live off of that his grandfather set aside for him before he was ever born. Since dropping out of graduate school after one semester (he didn't want to take on the debt; realized the hopelessness of his own employment prospects)--a life plan that everyone told him was a good idea, was worth it--he's filled out hundreds of job applications but not gotten a single interview. But like I said, we're lucky. I can continue paying off my student loans; I can eat. I'm supported.

(I may be feeling less lucky in a year if things are the same.)

Some people I know are not so lucky. Like my best friend from college, who went away to law school just before the bubble burst. Over a hundred thou in debt--debt that everyone told him not to worry about--and hasn't been able to get a job in the two years since graduation. You know where he works? Applebees. You know where he lives? With his parents Drowning, drowning under debt. He writes me letters--the depression is palpable. He recently began to look into joining the military, but they don't want people with high debt, bad credit. Other kids from my college are unemployed kindergarten teachers, people who have never worked the jobs they were credentialed for.

There's a restlessness, a growing misery. It's scary and dangerous and . . . just bleak, really.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:47 PM on September 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


Oh and of course I forgot the most obvious - Single Payer Universal Healthcare.
posted by JPD at 1:47 PM on September 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


If appealing to the "vast majority of Americans" is what it will take, then as a homosexual, let me tell ya something: we're really fucked.
posted by hermitosis at 1:48 PM on September 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm surprised that the response here is to blame the people in the photos for their "poor life choices" instead of looking at the truth of the poisonous system created by the disgustingly biased tax laws, job outsourcing, healthcare clusterfuck, Wall-Street bailout bullshit that created this terrifying situation in the first place.

Oh, imagine the outcry from those who made 'good life choices' if something like a large-scale student/mortgage debt forgiveness program was enacted. There would be such handwringing over how 'unfair' it is to the people that paid off debt while they all completely miss the point: if you can get these people out from under their debt, they will be able to spend more money immediately, which will boost the economy for everyone.
posted by ndfine at 1:49 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sounds like anyone eligible to join the Peace Corp could be one of the lucky ones! Might work for some, but no way would it work for someone with chronic medical problems and/or children.

I thought I should clarify my remarks about Peace Corps and AmeriCorps student loan reduction programs.

In 2008, many of the young college grad co-workers at the temp job where work, were solicited by AmeriCorps for disaster relief from a monumental flood. I considered joining, to reduce my $30k in student loans. But then I discovered the majority of the work was shoveling toxic mud and debris from houses. As a 50 year old guy, my health was not up to the task. Later on, I heard from some friends who were around 22 years old who entered the program. The work was so grueling, most of them dropped out.

So if you think the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are a way to escape your student loans for little effort, think again. For this kind of backbreaking effort, it would be much easier to just get a job (if you can find one) and work your ass off to just pay the loans off. Public service is one of the most difficult tasks in the world and the student loan forgiveness is not sufficient to attract people.

BTW, as I read these responses, I thought I'd note: I am one of the 99%ers who has also spent years sacrificing in service of others. I am sitting here sewing a huge rip in a pair of pants I bought in 1992. I haven't bought a single new item of clothing in over 5 years. I am dressing in rags.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:49 PM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Vocational education. Like any other good or service, college education should be limited to those who need to prepare for a job in a field requiring that education.
posted by mfoight at 1:50 PM on September 30, 2011


Oh and of course I forgot the most obvious - Single Payer Universal Healthcare.

The most obvious and important one to me is the elimination of corporate personhood.

If a corporation wants the same rights and freedom of speech and the same freedoms in general of an individual, they need to be held accountable - including capital punishment.

They need to be held accountable for their taxes as well as their mistakes. They need to be able to be held accountable for murder.

But a legal fiction can't be held accountable in the same way as an individual - therefore it must be eliminated.
posted by loquacious at 1:51 PM on September 30, 2011 [71 favorites]


All my life I've been told to go to college. When I would ask, "Why do I want to go to college?" The closet authority figure, a parent or a teacher or a family friend, would point to road crews or sewer workers or landscapers and say, "Because you don't want to do that all your life. Because if you don't go to college, you'll end up getting work digging a ditch."

I don't believe at all that these people were trying to mislead me. This is how their world worked. They lived in a world with unions and pensions and job security. These would be the same people who, a decade later, would glibly tell me that it was ridiculous for me to expect those things. That's not how the world works anymore.

Five years out of college and I make $11 an hour making phone calls that most people don't want to deal with.

I could make twice that digging a ditch.

But I'm lucky. If I keep at this rate I'll have my student loans paid off in ten years. But at the moment I don't have healthcare, and I certainly don't have enough money to pay for any major health problem that could happen any time.

What this Tumblr did for me was show me that there are other people out there who feel hopeless about their future. It showed me other people are angry. It showed me that I am not unreasonable for being upset at employers that use the recession as an excuse to pay workers lower wages for the same job. It showed me that it's okay that I'm not thankful for that. And it showed me that, given the circumstances, despite my anger, despite my hopelessness, despite my resentment, I have it okay.

For now.

Something is going to happen. The more people find out that other people are in the same position as they, the more people are going to think about what they can do together.
posted by gc at 1:51 PM on September 30, 2011 [41 favorites]


I think I agree a little with JPD, here. The platform could use some work and would benefit from being a little more substantial.

I would also add public campaign financing to the list, for one, and restoration of the universal right to strike.

Those issues, and the ones JPD mentioned, are really at the root of our current problems.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:52 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stop talking about student loans for christ sakes - it makes you sound like a bunch of spoiled middle class kids, not a bunch of revolutionaries.

I have $160,000 in debt from law school; this week I had 13 hours of work that I got paid for, so I think I'll still talk about that. That's a much bigger deal that sounding like a revolutionary.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:53 PM on September 30, 2011 [23 favorites]


Those of you who went to college in the 80s or even the early 90s do not know what it's like for those of us who graduated high school after '95 or so.

I started college in 1998. I got scholarships and I went to a cheaper, second-choice school and I worked the entire time I was in school even though my professors were not sympathetic to my need to work at all and I lived off of crackers and ramen in a crappy off-campus apartment with no doors on the bedrooms and I busted my ass to graduate in four years despite dealing with all manner of economic hardship and more than one family crisis. Despite working hard and trying to be frugal I STILL wound up with $25,000 in student loan debt. And I graduated in 2002, right after the post-9/11 economic crash and accompanying unemployment jump that mostly only affected young people just out of school, and so for years I could not get a job related to my degree. For years I had no health insurance. For years I had no car. And just as I was finally getting my financial feet under me in my late 20s, along came this second, much worse recession.

I'm doing better than most of the people on the 99 percent blog. I can afford my one child (though probably just the one). I own a decent house that is only slightly underwater, and one car that I share with my husband. We have (expensive and not so awesome) health insurance. But I'm only this well off because I'm married to a web programmer (one of the few fields where jobs still exist). I'm a writer; I were on my own right now I'd be screwed. And yes, I knew going into school that writers don't make any money. But when I was 17 and starting college I thought I was choosing a charming bohemian shopping at thrift stores sort of not making money, not a do I pay for food or medicine sort of not making money. And sure, maybe that dream of a not luxurious but sustainable life doing what I loved was sheer folly on my part, but you know, things were different when I started school -- remember the 90s, when people could get a job with almost any kind of degree? Besides, I believe the world needs people with degrees in things other than business. Just because the market isn't currently willing to pay fair wages for the sort of work I do doesn't mean it has no value to society.

We probably do need a different education paradigm for the different world we live in, but don't blame the people who got ground up in the gears of progress for doing what every responsible adult they knew told them was what they should do.
posted by BlueJae at 1:54 PM on September 30, 2011 [53 favorites]


I've said it before: college, home ownership, and retirement are twentieth-century concepts.
posted by incessant at 1:54 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I would give almost anything for the chance to go back in time and convince 25-year-old me not to go into debt for law school. I went to a top-tier law school at a well-regarded, nationally-known university. Like a lot of people, I was laid off in 2009, after two years of practice, and have been trying to work for myself since then. I've billed out approx. $14,000 to date this year. I've collected $4,000 of it. People just don't have the money.

Next week, I will go for an interview at a firm. If I get the job, I will be making a salary that works out to between $7 and $10 per hour after my student loan payments. After ten years of this, (because, let's face it, raises aren't what's happening) I can begin to save for a down payment on a house.

I would give almost anything not to have gone to law school.
posted by gauche at 1:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [26 favorites]


Oh, imagine the outcry from those who made 'good life choices' if something like a large-scale student/mortgage debt forgiveness program was enacted. There would be such handwringing over how 'unfair' it is to the people that paid off debt while they all completely miss the point: if you can get these people out from under their debt, they will be able to spend more money immediately, which will boost the economy for everyone.

maybe, but I'm guessing allowing the discharge of student loans in bankruptcy wouldn't ruffle too many feathers. A judge basically saying "yeah these people are broke" would make a big difference.

This could be a plank in your platform, but probably not your first talking point.
posted by JPD at 1:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've said it before: college, home ownership, and retirement are twentieth-century concepts.

That's for all of us to decide. Not just some.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


Those of you who went to college in the 80s or even the early 90s do not know what it's like for those of us who graduated high school after '95 or so.

I think I do. I graduated from university in 1994 (this was in Canada) and people were lining up on the street to interview for jobs as cooks and dishwashers. I ended up leaving Canada and living overseas for 10 years.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:56 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have $160,000 in debt from law school; this week I had 13 hours of work that I got paid for, so I think I'll still talk about that. That's a much bigger deal that sounding like a revolutionary.

listen I have all the compassion in the world for you, I'm just telling you "We can't pay off our law school debt" is not something that a mass movement can build upon.
posted by JPD at 1:57 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here's the root of the problem (without denying that we have a tragedy in the making):

I wrote in this venue some time ago some of the reasons for our current malaise; I still stand by that post.

There's more: America came out of WWII with a surfeit of advantage - huge advantage. After the war, Asia and Europe were crushed - almost to smithereens; America had easy access to capital; established channels of distribution; management talent; manufacturing capacity; etc. etc.

Between 1950 and 1970 everything was roses; the American economy expanded; success was almost "on automatic". If you wanted a job, and looked hard enough (even without a degree) you could often find something that would sustain your needs.

During that time, our industrial, financial, and political leaders lived off the fat of our advantage; they didn't reinvest any of our profits back into American educational, manufacturing, transportation, etc. etc. infrastructure. They didn't have to, because we had no competition.

Women entered the workforce in larger numbers in the '70's because wages had started to ossify; it took two incomes to keep everything level. Then, when that play dried up, we started tapping into credit-related debt to make up the difference.

Then, little by little, the Asia and Europe recovered, and the advantage we had pretty much vanished by the mid-1990's. From that point on, we were screwed, without realizing it. Now we do.

Collectively, since WWII, we have become habituated to small interruptions in what seemed like our "automatic" American Dream. We pulled out of recessions and other glisches quite easily, because we had no competition. That advantage is gone.

It just so happens (brain science, here) that people pretty much get hooked on their linear history. We got used to coming right back up after a recession, oil shortage, banking scandal, etc. We expected that to happen again. It hasn't, and it won't.

In the meantime, our political system has become corrupted with corporate money.

So, we're left with outsized expectations that "everything will be OK, again" because that's what we've been conditioned to, and we're also operating under the false belief (myth) that our policy makers operate independently from money influence. Wrong, on both counts.

What is going to have to change? You, me, and everyone else. We are going to have to change our expectations about returning to the kind of relatively easy guarantees to success - especially material success - that we came to expect over the last several decades.

Along with that we are going to have to take the necessary (legal) actions to put an end to the plutocracy that our government has turned into.

This will be the work of a generation, or two. It will be a period of adaptation, for everyone. There is going to be a lot of anger and frustration during this period, because it's human nature to blame others for trouble. But, we have nobody else but ourselves to blame.

We took our democracy for granted, and we lost control of the "people's government". It will take time to get it back.

The Wall Street protests are just the beginning.

Last, I can pretty much guarantee that we are going to see one politician after another thrown out of office, because we still operate under the belief that someone can come along and "save" us. (I predicted this some time ago, via published essay in a well known newspaper, and was roundly criticized for saying such a thing). This trend will continue until we start looking in the mirror to see how our behavior has been conditioned from years of thinking that we are "entitled" to the American Dream (really, an American Nightmare, when one considers the global cost), and then start taking individual efforts to change our expectations. Thus, the two generation time frame.

Right now, we have many young people who will literally be underemployed for years, if not decades. Many new social problems are on the cusp (e.g. seniors with no pensions - 10's of millions of them, etc.). We are going to ave to get busy and become more aware of our rights as policy-impacting citizens at local, state, and federal levels. That, and we are individually going to have to learn what "enough" is. We cannot tell others what that is; we have to decide for ourselves.

I'm optimistic, overall, because we have more intellectual and cultural diversity than any nation on earth. We will adapt; it won't be easy, but our strength is our diversity. When we start creating - mandating - public policy that truly unlocks that diversity - intellectual, subcultural, etc. - we will begin to see positive change. Until then,prepare yourself, and hang on!
posted by Vibrissae at 1:59 PM on September 30, 2011 [63 favorites]


"We can't pay off our law school debt" is not something that a mass movement can build upon.

How about "Sending your kids to college is so expensive they'll be crippled by debt forever, but if you don't, they'll have to work in manual labor till their body gives out, so basically everyone's kids are screwed?"

That's pretty damn compelling.
posted by emjaybee at 1:59 PM on September 30, 2011 [61 favorites]


And for JPD and others, one of the best things about an amorphous protest like this is that if you think those things are important (and I support basically all of your planks), you can articulate them with and to the other protesters.

The protest is a wiki — you can change it by participating.
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


How does someone amass $350,000 in school debt?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2011


Is it really such a problem?
If these people had just not had kids, got married to the wrong person, got divorced, had unhealthy parents, had financially unsound families, been diagnosed with a medical condition, gone to college, skipped college, bought a house, used credit, or opened a bank account they would be just fine.
posted by Winnemac at 2:02 PM on September 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


listen I have all the compassion in the world for you, I'm just telling you "We can't pay off our law school debt" is not something that a mass movement can build upon.

Maybe we're not trying to build a platform. Maybe we're trying to find solidarity and common ground because the alternative is shame, silence, and isolation.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:02 PM on September 30, 2011 [26 favorites]



Re: poor life choices... what's disingenuous to me is the use of the 99%. My husband and I are in the 99%, I guess. We're not wealthy. I work for a not-for-profit. Among people who live in Manhattan, we probably make towards the bottom of the rung.


Um, you know that countless, COUNTLESS people would love to be able to afford to live in Manhattan but can't. Right?

Right?!?

I am really sympathizing with many of the people on 99%...but this is seriously in tiniest violin range.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Emjaybee said it. The people without college degrees are suffering most in this recession -- facing the lowest wages and highest unemployment rates -- and many of them specifically did not get college degrees because they couldn't afford it because tuition is too damned high. The people with college degrees, meanwhile, are much more likely to be able to make a living wage but are slaves to college debt. It's two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
posted by BlueJae at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


for not having been coached to live within their means

I don't speak for any one particular person but let me just put this out there.

1.) You make no money. You can't afford to eat. You have no retirement. You have no advancement options.

2.) You're offered a loan to go to college, to make something of yourself. You give up on life and work McDonald's forever, or you take the loan and worry about it later, hoping for the best.

3.) Chances are you either a.) don't finish college because of debt or some other reason, or b.) you finish college and realise there's no jobs. There are no freaking jobs right now.

4.) You have debt you now cannot pay off whether or not you graduated because you cannot get a job and the house/apartment/trailer/whatever you pay rent on is most of your current paycheck if you're even making one, struggle to pay the electricity, water, phone, gas, and then food of course comes last because you know it's better to have a place to sleep than nothing even if the grass is starting to look edible to you.

5.) You get spit on by people who make comments like the above thinking they could have done better with nothing.

Big middle finger to you, guy.
posted by Malice at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2011 [60 favorites]


You know, I always encourage friends to look for programs abroad (think south America or eastern Europe). With the way things happened in my life, I got a degree back home for peanuts (about 200 USD a semester, just because I came for private school, with three subsidized meals a day and half priced bus tickets and cultural event tickets) and then moved here. After paying 150 USD to an "evaluator" I got the equivalent of a BS in the US. I have no debt. We are considering finishing my husband's school back in his country for the same reason.

When it comes down to it, My BS was just as good as an American one. I have a dreamy job at a non profit.
posted by Tarumba at 2:05 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


After looking through these I feel fortunate I only have $17k in student loan debt. My friend missed getting financial aid for college because his parents make $3.75 to much a year so he wasn't able to go to college.
posted by lilkeith07 at 2:11 PM on September 30, 2011




The ____ of Justice, we only live in Manhattan because of rent control from the 1970s. We cannot afford a studio in Queens.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:12 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


People aren't complaining about having the debt, they're complaining because there's no earthly way to get rid of it right now. They're complaining about doing everything they were told to do and still finding themselves unable to feed and shelter themselves independently.
posted by bleep at 2:13 PM on September 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I married Sallie Mae in 1979. We got divorced in 2007. I had help getting out of that relationship, and I know I'm lucky and phew am I still grateful. I don't know if, in 1979, somebody said it will be 28 years would I have signed on for a trip through purgatory.
posted by datawrangler at 2:13 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's two sides of the same counterfeit coin.

This. A thousand times this. This is what makes it nearly impossible to hope: you can see, first-hand and at every turn, how people's individual attempts to better themselves and their situation are co-opted left and right by middlemen that add virtually nothing and are simply well-positioned to collect rents.

I think people are starting to see this, though. I was talking with friend of a friend this summer, one of these super-duper-wealthy types (but a great guy). He told me he couldn't believe there isn't a radical left-wing uprising in this country yet. I told him basically what Vibrissae said above: we are in denial about how little we matter. We still believe in the American Dream.

I think that is starting to change.
posted by gauche at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [22 favorites]


You live in one of the greatest and most interesting cities in the world. You have rent control.

Methinks the tiny violin is getting tinier. And tinier.

Not trying to be too hard on you, but geez.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'm supposed to feel sorry for people who have made bad choices in their lives?

Yes. That's what we call compassion. I'm told there are even some conservatives who have it.
posted by Hoopo at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [43 favorites]


I work at a not-for-profit and just forwarded this link to my coworkers as a reminder of what we are working for. My boss and I agreed on one big point: we Canadians need to protect our health care. We can't let the cons take it away from us.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think student debt is definitely a problem and people need to make choices about their education wisely including but not limited to deciding whether they should pursue a given major or career. That isn't to say that Higher ed still isn't worthwhile. Like others have mentioned you are less likely to be unemployed with a college degree and unemployed for less time in your life. You are more likely to have health insurance, higher lifetime earnings, etc.

It's just averages don't really illustrate the very real problems people are facing.

Part of the problem is that careers that might've been a sure fire ticket to prosperity and upper middle class status (law, medicine) aren't guarantees anymore and the costs of entering those programs is still built on the assumption that people can make a good living and can pay off those debts after 10 years or so.

Another part of the problem is that we have a big demographic pushing into the workforce right now and in the next couple of years and there simply hasn't been job growth to accommodate them. Combined with boomers putting off retirement this means that what jobs there are out there are lower paying with crappier benefits.

I think even if I was facing grim job prospects I'd still consider a university to be a good potential investment in my future. I'd just be much more careful about what I'm buying and not just leap into it without really evaluating the cost-benefits.
posted by vuron at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2011


And my last comment was directed to roomthreeseventeen.

I WOULD LOVE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION, ROOMTHREESEVENTEEN.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:16 PM on September 30, 2011


The ____ of Justice, seriously? We lived in Manhattan too; paid 950 for a rundown two room in Hell's Kitchen, for 3 ppl and a cat. Not luxury living, especially if all your money goes to rent and so you can't afford to go to shows, or great restaurants, or leave the city in the summertime.

Manhattan /= wealthy.
posted by emjaybee at 2:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's sort of convenient that they chose 99% as the cutoff line, since these people seem to be overwhelmingly college-educated (or becoming college educated) which will generally put them north of the 66% line, even if they don't hit that 99% threshold.

I could write my own -- nobody would feel sorry for me, nor should they. I am a professional. My wife stays home because I make enough that she doesn't need to work. I own a $500,000 house. Aside from the mortgage, I have no debt. I have ~$25,000 in my checking account.

I am the 99%. 95% even. Probably not 90%, though.

This arbitrary 99% number that everyone loves to rally around is just lost on me entirely. It means essentially nothing.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Similar to emjaybee. We cannot afford to have kids. We go to shows because my husband is in that industry. We are not rich. We made choices.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2011


we Canadians need to protect our health care. We can't let the cons take it away from us.

It's going to be tough though; it takes between 2 and 4.5 volume units of health care to extract a single volume unit of synthetic crude oil from the tar sands.
posted by Hoopo at 2:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I would give almost anything for the chance to go back in time and convince 25-year-old me not to go into debt for law school. I went to a top-tier law school at a well-regarded, nationally-known university. Like a lot of people, I was laid off in 2009, after two years of practice, and have been trying to work for myself since then. I've billed out approx. $14,000 to date this year. I've collected $4,000 of it. People just don't have the money.

Next week, I will go for an interview at a firm. If I get the job, I will be making a salary that works out to between $7 and $10 per hour after my student loan payments. After ten years of this, (because, let's face it, raises aren't what's happening) I can begin to save for a down payment on a house.

I would give almost anything not to have gone to law school.


I sympathize, but let me give you a pep talk. I graduated from law school in 2005. Top tier for intellectual property, low for everything else. Because of my particular interest in entertainment/IP law, my wife's desire to stay in the New England area, and my absolute refusal to go the BigLaw route, my options post-graduation were somewhat limited. I ended up working at the bagel shop I worked at in college for about $9/hour, and my wife, newborn daughter and I lived with her parents.

I convinced a schoolmate of mine to start our own practice. We found some space, bought phones and computers, and hit up every attorney we knew for work. That was early 2006. I did consumer protection, random contractual stuff, even a real estate closing. Money was crazy tight. My wife went back to work for not much money. We signed up for state-sponsored health care for our kid. We drove some pretty old and busted cars. We ate lots of rice and beans. My wife started going to grad school part time.

Mind you, we were lucky. We lived in a condo owned by my in-laws, paying only the fees and taxes. My student loans are pretty reasonable. We had help when we needed it. Still, three or four years into the practice I was taking home not a lot of money. I had to borrow from my very much not wealthy mom to pay my taxes. I was tempted every day to give up and try to find a job at a firm or in-house. There were some bleak moments.

Then things started to click. The firm landed some great clients, the referral network starting to hum, and we started making real strides. Over the past few years we've hired a paralegal and an associate. My wife got a great job right out of grad school. We bought new clothes for the first time since I was in law school. We've saved money. We bought the condo (not really a great move, but whatever). We went to Disney!

If you have the desire to do your own thing, and you have a support system to encourage you and help you when you need it, don't give up. Both sides of my family are full of what I'd call accidental entrepreneurs, and we're not particularly special. We just don't stop. Even when you think you have to stop, it's impossible, don't stop. In the legal field, it can take years for the seeds you plant now to bear fruit. That attorney you talked to at a bar association meeting last year, she'll probably call you with a referral soon. Make sure you're there to answer the phone.

/pep
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


Actually, Tyler, it means that you should be angry about what's happened, because it's happened to you too even if you haven't felt the cut yet. But it's there.

And Schoolgirl, you realize that you had significant support outside your own bank account while you built your entrepreneurial spirit? And you are the exception, not the rule? That's not a pep talk -- that's a "hey, you can do it if you have six arms just like me!" talk.
posted by incessant at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'm enjoying (not really) how many people are contributing input about the cool lives and dreamy jobs that are their just rewards, all thanks to how much smarter they are about education. It's important to let poorer people know how little the non-ignorant class is affected by their concerns. It helps reaffirm the belief that poverty is due to a failure of personal morality on the part of the impoverished.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


I believe that nobody owes me anything. Apparently, I'm the 1%.
posted by hanoixan at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not to continue the derail, but in addition to hosting some of the world's wealthiest and most interesting people, Manhattan also houses many small, odd communities that haven't exactly been welcome in other places. Cultures that have flourished here include immigrant populations, homosexuals, jews, African Americans, etc. etc.

So yeah, I guess there are people out there who'd think "Yay you live in Manhattan, hooray for you," no matter what your address there is. But that's about as smart as me thinking someone else is rich because they can afford a car and have a home with lots of privacy.
posted by hermitosis at 2:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, hanoixan, that just means you don't believe in society.
posted by incessant at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2011 [29 favorites]


The ____ of Justice: "COUNTLESS people would love to be able to afford to live in Manhattan but can't. Right?"

I think that her point is that if she didn't make the choices she did (savings, not having children) she wouldn't either.
posted by falameufilho at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2011


If you have the desire to do your own thing, and you have a support system to encourage you and help you when you need it, don't give up.

Yeah, marrying money is one of the best things I ever did, too.

That is not sarcasm.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I believe that nobody owes me anything. Apparently, I'm the 1%.

There's a difference between feeling like somebody owes you something, and feeling like you made costly decisions based on lies that other people are profiting from.
posted by gauche at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


And Schoolgirl, you realize that you had significant support outside your own bank account while you built your entrepreneurial spirit? And you are the exception, not the rule? That's not a pep talk -- that's a "hey, you can do it if you have six arms just like me!" talk.

No doubt, no doubt at all. As I said, a support system is crucial, whether that means financial or otherwise. I don't know the particulars of gauche's situation, so yeah, YMMV.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2011


To all the "good decision makers" hating on pretty much, you know, everyone else:

Bless your heart. I hope you never get diagnosed with a terminal or chronic disease, find yourself unable to support an elderly loved one, have dependents who get in accidents, get laid off from your job, wreck your car, lose everything you own in a fire or flood, or any other one of the many unforeseeables that can bankrupt you in this country and make you unable to afford the roof over your head, or the food on your table, or the sustenance of the people you care about.

Because obviously if people are poor, it is because they made terrible decisions ALWAYS and not because LIFE IS HARD and YOU ARE MAKING IT HARDER FOR EVERYONE (including yourself) with your attitude.

**We should not make it suck for others just because it has sucked for us. If anything, we should know, intimately, the pain in life, and ease it when we see that pain in others. When we get self-righteous about "good decisions" we are in a race to the bottom, scrambling on top of our neighbors to prove we are the best, the smartest, the most righteous.

Good for you for doing well. Instead of standing on the pile, maybe you could extend your hand and show someone else the view.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2011 [59 favorites]


If you have the desire to do your own thing, and you have a support system to encourage you and help you when you need it, don't give up.

And if you don't have a support system, well... them's the breaks.
posted by mightygodking at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


stagewhisper, if you meant me, I do not at all think I was smarter. I think I was lucky, which is why I give that information to as many people as I can.
posted by Tarumba at 2:28 PM on September 30, 2011


As I said, a support system is crucial, whether that means financial or otherwise. I don't know the particulars of gauche's situation, so yeah, YMMV.

How, exactly, do I make a face with rolling eyes in ascii?
posted by incessant at 2:29 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think that her point is that if she didn't make the choices she did (savings, not having children) she wouldn't either.

Thank you for clearing this up. My bad then. I misread room317's post as being part of this 99%.

My apologies room317. I think I read your post incorrectly.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:31 PM on September 30, 2011


The only thing we're "owed" is living wage jobs to support ourselves if the government isn't going to do it for us.
posted by bleep at 2:31 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is what happens when we spend a trillion dollars on war.

Maybe. But it's also what happens when we spend about $1 trillion every year for health care on just 5% of the population. (Total expenditures, concentration).

Yes, the wars were something we couldn't afford and arguably shouldn't have done. Admitted. But that isn't the cause of our budget problems. No, the problem is that we're spending way, way too much on health care for way, way too little effect. Who do you think that 5% are? Clearly, they're not the people in those pictures. Nor are they generally people with chronic diseases like diabetes. That stuff is cheap. No, the really expensive stuff is for things like cancer and massive trauma. Those two things can run up hundred thousand dollar tabs in a matter of months. Also, genetic disorders, which are even worse: a family in my church has had about $1.5 million spent on their infant son in the past 18 months.

Why is this a problem? Because not only does it represent something like half of Medicare expenditures, but it's also massively driving up the cost of health insurance. All those sick old people? They're in the same risk pool that you are, and their costs drive up your premiums. So the reason you can't afford health insurance isn't because you're a terrible risk, but because oncological treatments and trauma surgery is so blasted expensive that they need to charge you your left kidney just to let you in the program at all. This is how risk is spread.

And it's not just that either. Increased health care costs make jobs harder to come by, as employers are inexplicably considered to be responsible for health care. If you take health care benefits into account, real wages have actually done quite well for the past fifty years, than you very much. But the fact that real wages have stagnated just shows how much of our collective substance we're throwing at this thing. That's right: your wages are falling because we, as a society, have decided that no amount of money is too much to give grandma an extra few weeks of misery.

Single-payer will not fix this. End-of-life care (the majority of that 50% on 5% is spent in the last six months of life) is inherently expensive, and there's just no two ways about it. And preventative care is no real help here, because guess what? Everybody's gonna die. Preventative care may delay that for a bit, but the fact is that you are going to get cancer, or cardiac disease, or have a stroke, quite possibly all three, unless you get hit by a bus or something. Which is almost as expensive!

No, the solution here is the American populace losing its taste for extravagant expenditures on futile, wasteful health care spending. For each octogenarian we manage to keep alive for an extra three months at a cost of $250,000, we can send a few kids to college. For each $1 million we spend in critically-disabled children who would in previous centuries have never even survived their first few days, we can fix a few crumbling bridges.

So where's all the wealth going? A lot of it is going to the very rich, and there's an argument to be had about that. But an unimaginable amount is simply being poured down Death's gullet in our frantic and delusional attempts to live forever, no matter the cost or consequences.
posted by valkyryn at 2:32 PM on September 30, 2011 [47 favorites]


It's one thing to describe your problems and another entirely to propose a remedy.

This was the frustrating thing about the endless procession of petitions and protests in college and it's the frustrating thing about the Occupy Wall Street people. Describing your anger is not a political platform. Airing frustrations about a financial system you don't understand is not effecting change.

This blog is alright for what it is, which is a catalog of lots of undesirable economic situations Americans are in these days. If that's all it is, then fine. But it's just tilting at windmills until someone develops a workable idea of how to improve things. This means: what concrete steps need to be taken, who needs to do them, and how that can occur, all in non-conclusory terms.

Is it unfair that people advocating change have to bear the burden of having a coherent vision of what that change will be, while those who want to perpetuate the status quo merely have to continue showing up every day? Probably, but it's undeniably true.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh hey, I literally just checked in to see how things where going down at liberty plaza.

The overwhelming impression I got was that these people are fucking doomed.
posted by The Whelk at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Whelk, can yup expand on that?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel for the people out there suffering and and posting to the Tumblr page. Having suffered through the pain of my wife and my student loans and credit card debt, I know what it's like to feel like you are one step away from collapse.

The thing is, as with the larger Occupy Wall Street protests, I'm not sure what people want done, other than improving somehow. There are many things to protest, but I'm not seeing a realistic set of goals/demands.

JPD posted a good list of changes, but they would affect mainly generating revenue for the government and deeper regulation of the financial industry. I'm not opposed to those things, but they don't create jobs, eliminate existing loans, or resolve the growing cost of healthcare.

Creating jobs is the key to most of what ails us, that and writing down the rest of the housing bubble.

Without clear, understandable goals for the change that the protesters want, the majority of the country will look at them as complainers with too much time on their hands that dress funny. Sad but, unfortunately true.
posted by Argyle at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, the solution here is the American populace losing its taste for extravagant expenditures on futile, wasteful health care spending. For each octogenarian we manage to keep alive for an extra three months at a cost of $250,000, we can send a few kids to college. For each $1 million we spend in critically-disabled children who would in previous centuries have never even survived their first few days, we can fix a few crumbling bridges.

Yeah but with the arctic ice melting and the Northwest Passage opening up we won't even have ice floes to put them on, so what are you gonna do?
posted by Hoopo at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]




hanoixan: "I believe that nobody owes me anything. Apparently, I'm the 1%."

It's like people don't understand math.

Do you own 35% of all wealth in the US?
Do you hold 60% of all business equity and financial securities?
Do you pay less of your income as taxes than the next 9% down?

If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, then, no, you're not in the 1% and you would be chuckled at by those who are.

Actually, we could raise this to 99.9% vs the .01% and still be in pretty good shape, as far as revolutions go.
posted by danny the boy at 2:42 PM on September 30, 2011 [20 favorites]


End of life care is a big problem valkyryn but that isn't to say that there wouldn't be enormous societal benefits towards having universal health care.

Lost productivity due to untreated conditions are enormously wasteful. Decreased early childhood academic performance due to missing days, or food insecurity, or low birth weight because your mom couldn't afford prenatal care are all massive drains on the economy.

I'm not enough of a health care policy expert to know the exact figures but it does seem possible that the net societal benefits would outweigh the net cost to society.

Right now medical emergencies are one of the top (if not the top) reason for bankruptcies. That we have people dying because of easily preventable conditions is completely horrible.

That we could solve those problems by implementing single payer health care and we choose not to is insane and incredibly wasteful. The only real answer is that there are plenty of people that make more money with the status quo than they would otherwise anf they are rich and powerful enough to drive policy.

So while we need to really question whether life extending treatment at the end of life is a good thing it's also besides the point.
posted by vuron at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, the solution here is the American populace losing its taste for extravagant expenditures on futile, wasteful health care spending. For each octogenarian we manage to keep alive for an extra three months at a cost of $250,000, we can send a few kids to college. For each $1 million we spend in critically-disabled children who would in previous centuries have never even survived their first few days, we can fix a few crumbling bridges.

And if we raised the taxes ON the top 1% of the population BY 1%, we'd HAVE that extra money.

Just sayin'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Describing your anger is not a political platform. Airing frustrations about a financial system you don't understand is not effecting change.

First comes awareness, then comes change. This tumblr is just one part of a large effort, run by people who have well-articulated grievances (such as David Graber). To the extent that a clear platform for change is not easy, it's because politicans on both sides of the aisle have resolutely made change difficult. As for whether the protests will contribute to effecting change, I like what Matt Taibbi had to say about them:

"There are times when one wonders how effective marches are – one of the lessons that the other side learned from the Vietnam era is that you can often ignore even really big protests without consequence – but in this case demonstrations could be very important just in terms of educating people about the fact that there is, in fact, a well-defined conflict out there with two sides to it.

"There is a huge number of Americans who simply don't realize that they've been victimized by Wall Street – that they've paid inflated commodity prices due to irresponsible speculation and manipulation, seen their home values depressed thanks to corruption in the mortgage markets, subsidized banker bonuses with their tax dollars and/or been forced to pay usurious interest rates for consumer credit, among other things.

"I would imagine the end game of any movement against Wall Street corruption is going to involve some very elaborate organization. There are going to have to be consumer and investor boycotts, shareholder revolts, criminal prosecutions, new laws passed, and other moves. But a good first step is making people aware of the battle lines. It sounds like these demonstrations have that potential."
posted by naju at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Without clear, understandable goals for the change that the protesters want, the majority of the country will look at them as complainers with too much time on their hands that dress funny.

Our One Demand.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2011


Our One Demand is like a single-page example of everything that is wrong with protest movements. They're angry about Troy Davis AND American militarism AND the economy AND money in politics AND corporate censorship AND...!

Pick one fucking thing and agitate about it. One thing. Just one thing. Preferably one thing ostensibly related to where you are agitating. (Why mention Troy Davis in an Occupy Wall Street movement? Christ.)
posted by mightygodking at 2:50 PM on September 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


I think saying that there's one demand, then listing eleven, but calling each "our one demand," is the kind of furry manifesto language that makes it so easy to ignore real problems.

If only revolutions didn't always borrow so heavily from failed revolutions...
posted by sonascope at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


And if we raised the taxes ON the top 1% of the population BY 1%, we'd HAVE that extra money.

alas while your sentiment is well intentioned - your math is almost certainly not right. There is a reason why Obama's stupidly named "millionaires and billionaires" tax starts at 250k - which is like the 98th percentile. And that isn't enough cash to solve any problems.

Our One Demand.

See that list is exactly what I'm not talking about

you need things that are simple actionable policy change. Things that read like mediocre undergrad poetry and use a hackneyed literary device like that are just too easy to marginalize. You aren't making your opponents fight against an idea. You aren't creating a conversation.
posted by JPD at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately, this kind of thing isn't limited to the USA. I live in Ireland, which is currently on a downward spiral that I can't imagine it pulling out of any time soon. I went to college to get an English degree, which cost me nothing because I (barely) qualified for a maintenance grant and lived close enough to my college to commute every day. Instead of continuing my education, I started working for a nursing assistant agency, where I made 10 euros an hour and routinely worked 70-80 hour weeks because my mother was drowning in debt.

She's still drowning in debt, despite me giving the majority of my money to her. Oh, and I recently had to stop working because I've developed severe depression and couldn't handle the massive amounts of responsibility my badly-paid job required. I'm not sure how I'm going to afford medication and therapy.

But in the spirit of 'taking responsibility for my life', I'm going to assume this is all my fault. If only I'd _____, we wouldn't be in this mess.

(And despite all of that, it looks like I'm still better off than most of the people in those photos.)
posted by anaximander at 2:53 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


While the One Demand has some problems (like piling on, even starting with only vaguely related issues like the death penalty) it IS simple and easily comprehensible and contains all the core issues. It's a document from early in the movement, and as it grows, the message will become clearer.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:54 PM on September 30, 2011


Here's the list of demands from the site charlie don't surf links to:

Ending capital punishment is our one demand.
Ending wealth inequality is our one demand.
Ending police intimidation is our one demand.
Ending corporate censorship is our one demand.
Ending the modern gilded age is our one demand.
Ending political corruption is our one demand.
Ending joblessness is our one demand.
Ending poverty is our one demand.
Ending health-profiteering is our one demand.
Ending American imperialism is our one demand.
Ending war is our one demand.

How do the protesters expect any of this to be achieved?

What are their proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?

This list is exactly what makes it hard for me to see that the Occupy Wall Street protests are something that I and others should support.
posted by Argyle at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


you need things that are simple actionable policy change. Things that read like mediocre undergrad poetry and use a hackneyed literary device like that are just too easy to marginalize. You aren't making your opponents fight against an idea. You aren't creating a conversation.

But what if the problem is so complex that you CAN'T crystalize it down into one single demand?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's going to be tough though; it takes between 2 and 4.5 volume units of health care to extract a single volume unit of synthetic crude oil from the tar sands.

More like the other way around. What do you think is paying for our (Canadian) health care system right now?
posted by Urban Hermit at 2:55 PM on September 30, 2011


If the problem is so complex it requires a multi-faceted, multi-pronged approach then protests aren't going to work anyway.

Pick a issue or at worst a small set of closely linked issues and focus on implementing change concerning them. Realize that incremental changes work better than big sweeping demands.

That's the way to build a large consensus across the nation rather than creating a small protest movement that is incredibly easy to marginalize.

Even though I'm completely sympathetic to the list of demands and would agree with all of them I also realize that by spreading yourself too thin you waste what power your voices have.
posted by vuron at 3:00 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


But what if the problem is so complex that you CAN'T crystalize it down into one single demand?

I think you pick one thing you think you can in on, do it well, succeed and let the momentum snowball. Like say pick the "ringfence commercial and consumer banks" thing. (make it sound less technical first) - agitate for that, get it done, then move on to the next thing. With each success your movement becomes bigger.

Look at how the progressive movement a hundred years ago started off.

If you try to fix everything at once you are doomed.
posted by JPD at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, there actually is a sort of faction-split amongst the people who want the amorphous-demands approach, and people who are trying to focus attention on corporate corruption. It sounds like the corporate corruption people are coming up with their statements still.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2011


All of the people in these pictures are the 1 percent. The rest of the world is the 99%.
posted by straight at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


How do the protesters expect any of this to be achieved?

Start at the bottom of the list. How to end war and American imperialism? End our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is it really that difficult to see solutions? This is the same basic protest as the Democratic Convention of 1968, which was (arguably) the turning point in the Vietnam War. That war didn't end until the protests broke through into the wider public consciousness and fomented a broad consensus against the war. You have to start someplace, and that place is in the hearts and minds of the American people. Cynical conservatives have worked to harden those hearts and minds, it will take considerable effort to win them back. This is where it starts.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:01 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Blame The Victim level in this country is way, way, way too fucking high.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:02 PM on September 30, 2011 [47 favorites]


So, are the people who complain that the We Are The 99 percent / Occupy Wall Street / One Demand folks need more small-bore, detailed, well-thought-out policy proposals the same people as those who complain that activist groups are thinking too small / are too parochial / too busy giving boring detailed policy prescriptions, and not enough time on big meaty concepts, framing, and moving the conversation wholesale?

Or do y'all take turns?
posted by feckless at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


For those of you wishing the Wall Street occupiers would clearly articulate goals or ideas for solving the economic crisis: Isn't it true that most educated people already know what needs to be done? Bring back reasonable regulation of banks and the financial services sector. Stop allowing egregious interest rates on consumer loans. Undo the travesty that was Citizens United. Get some real help to the homeowners suffering through the housing collapse by forcing the banks to eat some of the losses. Stop spending billions on illegal wars and start spending that money on job-creating infrastructure, public education, and health care instead.

Oh, and tax the top 1% at a fair rate.

It's not that people don't know what needs to be done to better America's economic future. People have known since the collapse what needs to be done. Economists have already written reams on it.

It's that there is no political will in Congress to do the right things to fix the crisis, because our politicians are bought and paid for by corporate interests and the 1% of the population that is doing just fine.

These protests aren't about building an agenda; what needs to be done is already obvious. The protests are meant to flush public resentment out into the open. They're to get the attention of the ordinary majority and remind people that there's strength in numbers. The message is not logical because the protests are not about logic. They're about emotion. Emotion is what you need to get average Americans calling their Congresspeople.
posted by BlueJae at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [39 favorites]


No, hanoixan, that just means you don't believe in society.

It's like people don't understand math.

I take my comment back, just this once. I agree with the basis that there is a huge wealth ownership disparity in our country. The sarcasm of my post was a very knee-jerk reaction based on the idea that people thought that because they went to college they deserve a job, or that because they desire to go to a top-tier school, they should be able to. They don't, and they can't. Nothing is guaranteed, and you better have a backup plan without spending 10x your worth to get there.

But that's not really what this post is about, sorry for not realizing it right away.
posted by hanoixan at 3:06 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pro tip, just say you went to college. No one checks and as long as you're not in medicine or engineeing no harm done.
posted by Damienmce at 3:06 PM on September 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


You don't get the perfect protest movement with succinct, substantive policy change. You get the one grassroots movement that people are responding to, the one that conveys their anger and their (correct) sense of being screwed over by vastly unjust systems and policies. If you choose to disengage and wait around for the right movement that looks good on paper, I can assure you that you're just going to keep waiting while things don't get any better.
posted by naju at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


End of life care is a big problem valkyryn but that isn't to say that there wouldn't be enormous societal benefits towards having universal health care.

That's as may be. But imposing universal health care without fixing end-of-life (and other extraordinarily wasteful spending) would make things worse, not better.

And if we raised the taxes ON the top 1% of the population BY 1%, we'd HAVE that extra money.

Not by a long shot. There aren't enough rich people--we're only targeting 1.5 million taxpayers, mind you--and they don't make enough money. You're about an order of magnitude off, at the very least. The entire accumulated wealth of the richest 1.5 million Americans couldn't pay for a single year of what we spend on end-of-life care.
posted by valkyryn at 3:08 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


How do the protesters expect any of this to be achieved?

What are their proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?


"They" may be inarticulate, but one thing is certain: there are not enough jobs.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Pick one fucking thing and agitate about it. One thing. Just one thing. Preferably one thing ostensibly related to where you are agitating. (Why mention Troy Davis in an Occupy Wall Street movement? Christ.)"

Most of them are fucking related, and picking just one thing allows easier marginalization than picking a bunch of things that will separately resonate.

Why mention Troy Davis? He's a poor black guy murdered by the state and a lot of people are angry about it. It's a symptom of a larger system of institutionalized violence, and if you'd actually like a fucking poli-sci lecture about the connections, I can fucking give you one, but I'm a bit fucking sick of people like you fucking pretending that you'd fucking sign up if only there were a clear fucking message instead of realizing the reason for multiple messages and goals.

It's fucking concern trolling, and it's fucking bullshit. Fucking got it?
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on September 30, 2011 [36 favorites]


Seriously, if you have an overwhelming student loan debt, find out if you are eligible for income based repayment. The rules have just changed. The results might pleasantly surprise you. I am adjunct faculty, with all the lack of income that that entails, and my IBR adjusted loan payments are $35 a month. Instead of $500 a month.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 3:13 PM on September 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


This arbitrary 99% number that everyone loves to rally around is just lost on me entirely. It means essentially nothing.

I'd put it this way: If you are wealthy enough to not worry a major medical long term illness (out of work, no insurance, with dependents and mortgage), then you are probably in the top 1%.
posted by benzenedream at 3:18 PM on September 30, 2011


Americans are starting to remind me of that girl in that Willy Wonka movie (the good one with Gene Wilder) during that scene with the geese and the eggs and the singing. Not the Americans who have no food, the other 99%.
posted by kenaldo at 3:19 PM on September 30, 2011


You don't get the perfect protest movement with succinct, substantive policy change. You get the one grassroots movement that people are responding to, the one that conveys their anger and their (correct) sense of being screwed over by vastly unjust systems and policies. If you choose to disengage and wait around for the right movement that looks good on paper, I can assure you that you're just going to keep waiting while things don't get any better.

I think I agree with you, but the only problem is historically successful grassroots movements had one tangible thing to grab at. Whether it was workplace safety 100 years ago, Unionization 80 years ago, Civil Rights 60 years ago, or an End to the Draft 40 years ago - those were all easy simple things people could rally behind - but those were also positive things - "Do this"

What's the "Do This" the Occupying Wall Street people want? You have a simple sentence to say it, and in that sentence it should be clear what the policy responses needs to be.

"Mortgage Forgiveness"
"Bank Nationalization"
posted by JPD at 3:19 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am the 99%. And I'm planning to take my social security dollars to Meso- or South America in 8 years.

No worries, Charles Koch encouraged Friedrich Hayek to draw on his benefits outside the country too.

Charles Koch to Friedrich Hayek: Use Social Security!
posted by homunculus at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Give me a fucking break. Where are the non-stop demands for the Tea Party to "pick one fucking thing and agitate about it"? Where are their their "proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?"

Oh, that's right, they don't have to have any. And neither do we.
posted by vorfeed at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


"That's as may be. But imposing universal health care without fixing end-of-life (and other extraordinarily wasteful spending) would make things worse, not better."

I think there are definitely significant beneficial externalities towards imposing universal health care. Quantifying that exact value can be difficult but things like decreasing infant mortality, improving medical access for children, providing good prenatal care, etc all create massive net benefits for society due to improved academic performance, improved life time earnings, etc.

That's why we do programs like head start and S-Chip and TANF because the societal costs of not taking care of children are simply too high. What we need to decide on as a country is if the societal costs of not taking care of the rest of the 50 million or so uninsured are worth it.

Personally I think when you factor in stuff like that even the ever increasing cost of staving off death for another day can be borne.

But inevitably people bring up death panels and right to pursue whatever means possible to extend life as a way of undermining a push towards universal health care. People are afraid of death and afraid that the government might tell them they have to let someone die and that allows people in to forestall any concerted push for universal payer systems.

Is a universal payer system going to be perfect? Of course not but it's exceedingly apparent to anyone that looks at health care for any extended period of time that the status quo is simply not sustainable.

It's on us to decide just how many medical bankruptcies and deaths, etc we are willing to suffer until we decide that something needs to be done.
posted by vuron at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't get the perfect protest movement with succinct, substantive policy change. You get the one grassroots movement that people are responding to, the one that conveys their anger and their (correct) sense of being screwed over by vastly unjust systems and policies.

Correct. This is the anti-Tea Party. This is the real movement that expresses the sentiments of the vast majority of America: the 99%. The Tea Party is a bunch of political dupes who were convinced to become activists for corporate interests. So their message was clear, and crafted by billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

This is more messy. But it is a real outlet for expressing the real anger of millions of people who have been basically disenfranchised from the political sphere. They demand only to be heard. Corrupt corporate interests want to silence them. That's why this movement is centered on Wall Street.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


We, as humans, are mutually obligated to each other for everything required to live. Some people think that if we weren't mutually obligated to each other for everything,[1] then they wouldn't be held back by their responsibilities toward others, and that therefore life would be easier.. This is retarded. Being mutually obligated to each other — in Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, being caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny — serves to make life almost infinitely easier; mutual support is the required precondition for a good life.

The role of the state, in countries that are less suicidal than ours (neglecting our mutual obligations is a form of slow suicide) is to be the in-laws who can help us out with paying for school, and maybe let us stay at their condo — because we (and that's what the state is, we — are obligated to do so. This is what a state is for, just as surely as a state is for maintaining decent roads and paying crews to put out fires and police to deter crime and soldiers to defend borders. A nation that fails to give its citizens (all of its citizens) a chance for a decent education is a nation that will be eaten alive by other nations, in the rare event that it doesn't destroy itself first.

All y'all people calling people stupid for taking out student loans are consistently failing to note that the institution of the multi-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars student loan is itself a symptom and signal of the death throes of our country. And y'all can kindly go to hell. People aren't out protesting because they have crushing student loan debt loads. They're out protesting because we do. They are brave and hugely admirable for taking the time to organize and protest. You, on the other hand, your shortsightedness and stupidity is disgusting and I expect better from this site.


[1]: Or, rather: since we're members of a species that are in fact mutually obligated to each other for everything, and cannot change that, these people want to pretend that we're not mutually obligated to each other for everything.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:21 PM on September 30, 2011 [32 favorites]


straight: "All of the people in these pictures are the 1 percent. The rest of the world is the 99%."

Do you think there's anyone in here that doesn't realize this? How would you propose achieving a more equal world, that doesn't begin with working on the inequalities of the society we currently live in?

Think globally, act locally, motherfuckers.
posted by danny the boy at 3:21 PM on September 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


4-Year College Costs 1958-2006 compared to other goods and services and median family income

This generational disparity lets me know I'm officially old at 38. I paid a lot of college (two years at a state school followed by five at a first class private institution). But it is nothing compared to what students face today.

When my parents graduated high school New York State offered a Regents Scholarship to top students. Getting that scholarship paid most of your tuition. By working a job in school you could cover room and board. It was possible to work hard, get a decent degree and graduate debt free. That showed determination.

When I got out of high school I also got that same scholarship. It barely covered book costs for a couple semesters. But, it was still possible to get reasonable government loans, hopefully a grant or school scholarship, work hard for some pizza money and graduate with student loan debt equal to perhaps 150% of your starting annual salary (as I did in 1998). I'll be paying it for a while, but at an effective interest rate under 4% it isn't unreasonable for someone with a job.

Anyone who graduated in the last six years or so has had a completely different world. Cost to attend is literally twice what it was just over fifteen years ago. Jobs are fewer, and pay is often lower for starting positions now than it was five years back. And, without the experience they won't be getting a good salary any time soon. My particular experience is the architecture profession, and I think we are looking at a real "lost generation" here.

I don't blame anyone for complaining that a dream of getting an education and a good job is unattainable if you aren't already wealthy. That pretty much is supposed to be the American Dream. And it is clearly broken.
posted by meinvt at 3:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


"How do the protesters expect any of this to be achieved?"

Well, through an incredibly complicated series of policy changes that require a lot of nuanced discussion over several years. But when the general rhetorical counterpoint is the emotional narrative of "Taxes = socialism," you might forgive people who aren't economic policy scholars for not having a program that involves every jot and tittle of state level agricultural development planning reform.

What are their proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?

What are yours? Are there any of these things that you don't think are problems?

This list is exactly what makes it hard for me to see that the Occupy Wall Street protests are something that I and others should support.

Why?

I mean, honestly, do they compete with other goals that you have? Will supporting them make you materially worse off in a way that's unacceptable? What do you lose by supporting this that you'd gain by not supporting it?

Again, if you have policy recommendations, articulating them would be an excellent start, but complaining that without a clear technocratic program, you can't support any of these goals seems rather self-defeating and silly.

This is amplified by the general failure of Obama's technocratic rhetorical style to achieve the nuanced policy advances he campaigned on.

Fundamentally, you're arguing that the perfect should be the enemy of the good in a way that's kind of baffling.
posted by klangklangston at 3:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


Give me a fucking break. Where are the non-stop demands for the Tea Party to "pick one fucking thing and agitate about it"? Where are their their "proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?"

and what lasting change to American society has the tea party achieved? the tea party is what you don't want to be. They were a chimera - they mattered for one midterm election and one congress. Watch where they are are in five years. Hell if they manage to select the republican nominee watch where they are in 14 months when Obama Mondale's their guy.
posted by JPD at 3:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is a universal payer system going to be perfect? Of course not but it's exceedingly apparent to anyone that looks at health care for any extended period of time that the status quo is simply not sustainable.

Yo, everybody gonna get sick someday
But nobody knows how they gonna pay
Health care, managed care, HMOs
Ain't gonna work, no sir, not those
'Cause the thing that's the same in every one of these
Is these motherfuckers there, the insurance companies!
[Insurance! Insurance!]
Yeah, yeah
You can call it single-payer or Canadian way
Only socialized medicine will ever save the day!
Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word
SOCIALISM!
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice revolutions.
posted by Wordwoman at 3:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Military action going down tonight at Occupy Wall St. Should be interesting.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:27 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dunno, I've made nothing but the wrong descisions and due to luck, or something, I'm doing ok. Can't hate on these folks, e3ven the ones that did things metafilter doesn't approve of. I certainly can't hate on the ones that did what they were supposed to do, what everyone told them what right, and find themselves holding the short end of the stick.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:31 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


"I think I agree with you, but the only problem is historically successful grassroots movements had one tangible thing to grab at. Whether it was workplace safety 100 years ago, Unionization 80 years ago, Civil Rights 60 years ago, or an End to the Draft 40 years ago - those were all easy simple things people could rally behind - but those were also positive things - "Do this""

That's not actually accurate, and shows a really simplified view of the history of grassroots organizing.

One hundred years ago, it was workplace safety, housing reform, fair labor practices, a living wage, immigration reform, anti-war isolationism, anarchism, socialism, social welfare, women's suffrage, ending segregation and prohibition. The "Civil Rights Movement" was about equal treatment in myriad forms, including Rev. King's "Operation Breadbasket" and LBJ's "War on Poverty."

In every single effective political movement in America, and indeed, in every single one of them that I'm familiar with around the world, they're built on a coalition that has common goals and a whole raft of other policy wishes that aren't necessarily shared. And they weren't all simple things, they weren't all "do this." They were huge, amorphous back-and-forths of different popularities.

Hell, even the American War for Independence had only around a popular support of 35 percent; likewise, ending slavery wasn't a popular Northern motivation in the Civil War (preserving it was the motivation in the South, however).

Don't be fooled by the vanishing point of historical perspective.
posted by klangklangston at 3:32 PM on September 30, 2011 [29 favorites]


The exaggeration aside ( the great majority in the US is better off economically than the ~80% of the world's population

But we're talking about America and Americans. A poor American might be considered wealthy in Bangladesh but they're not in Bangladesh. It's all relative.

the richest 1% in the US own about 35% of private net worth in the country

Nope, nothing amiss there...
posted by MikeMc at 3:34 PM on September 30, 2011


Oh, kenaldo. That's so charming that you think only 1% of Americans don't have food. Do you live in America? If so, perhaps you should get out of your neighborhood more often. You might run into the one of the 1 in 6 Americans who doesn't regularly know where his or her next meal is coming from.

There are more Charlie Buckets here than Veruca Salts.
posted by BlueJae at 3:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


More like the other way around. What do you think is paying for our (Canadian) health care system right now?

I was actually making kind of a nonsense joke there. We pay for healthcare through taxation, and I really have no idea what % of health care dollars spent come directly from tar sands revenue.
posted by Hoopo at 3:36 PM on September 30, 2011


This generational disparity lets me know I'm officially old at 38. I paid a lot of college (two years at a state school followed by five at a first class private institution). But it is nothing compared to what students face today.

I work at a state school. And one huge driver of tuition at my institution is that my state, like most states in the US, has continuously cut support to Higher Education over the last few decades. It's really not a complicated calculation -- if the state stops putting tax money toward education (ie, if we stop shouldering the burden together, so we can all benefit from an educated workforce), the only way for the colleges and universities to make that up is by raising tuition. And that has come to mean that it is very very hard to complete an undergraduate education without some (and, in many cases, heavy) debt. Which means that we have the current generation trying to enter the workforce (already hampered by a messed up economy) hobbled by debt that is unmanageable.

It seems to me that the Baby Boom basically went to school on the state's dime, then decided that they didn't want to pay for the following generations to do the same.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [33 favorites]


One hundred years ago, it was workplace safety, housing reform, fair labor practices, a living wage, immigration reform, anti-war isolationism, anarchism, socialism, social welfare, women's suffrage, ending segregation and prohibition. The "Civil Rights Movement" was about equal treatment in myriad forms, including Rev. King's "Operation Breadbasket" and LBJ's "War on Poverty."


My impression was that they evolved into all of those things, but that they started out as much simpler more focused efforts on one particular issue. LBJ was ten years after Brown vs Board of Ed and the early sit ins. Montgomery was '55 no? This isn't to say that those broader issues were not on the agendas of the leadership from the get-go.

I'll admit my grasp of the early progressive era is much hazier - I though it was responses to things like the triangle shirtwaist fire and the Haymarket fire that were the first big outpourings of support for reform.

I'm not saying a movement shouldn't or can't evolve to encompass a broad array of efforts at all though if that's how you interpreted my statement.
posted by JPD at 3:41 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


shit haymarket riot.
posted by JPD at 3:45 PM on September 30, 2011


I was actually making kind of a nonsense joke there. We pay for healthcare through taxation, and I really have no idea what % of health care dollars spent come directly from tar sands revenue.

And I responded with unwarranted snark and a bit of hyperbole - sorry for that. Nationally, the percentage is not that large, though here in Alberta it's quite significant. Probably no need to derail things any further on this point.
posted by Urban Hermit at 3:45 PM on September 30, 2011


I think the ones against this - are just angry that someone finally came up with a slogan that appeals to the masses.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 3:45 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


gauche: Every financial advisor I've ever met has told me that student loans are "good debt."

The term is a bit misleading at first glance. He was referring to the fact that student loan debt is looked on more favorably on a credit report than, say credit card debt of a similar amount.

Not that that helps if you can't pay, but there you go.
posted by dr_dank at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2011


I think the ones against this - are just angry that someone finally came up with a slogan that appeals to the masses.

Not seeing anger so much as skepticism here. This is a good slogan indeed, and a much more well-focused campaign than RCP-type GRAR: it has excellent potential.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:50 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The us vs them "99% of the US population get nothing while 1% get everything" sloganeering seems bogus.

You're totally right. It's actually the top 0.5% that gets everything.

See dtb's link.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2011


and what lasting change to American society has the tea party achieved?

They've managed to change the debate, to the point where their talking points are catered to by the media. They've managed to elect a bunch of their candidates to a bunch of offices -- and may do so again in 2012. They've managed to shift the direction of the Republican party to a surprising extent (really, you think Bachmann would have been a serious front-runner pre-Tea Party?) And they've managed, quite frankly, to get a shocking amount of grassroots action going.

The idea that Tea Party is "what you don't want to be" is exactly what's wrong with activism on the left: it's all about being "right" with regards to ideology and tactics at the expense of winning elections, setting policy, influencing society, and everything else that actually changes lives.
posted by vorfeed at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” -Malcolm X
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2011 [37 favorites]


I think the Tea Party is successful only to the extent that its ostensibly populist goals actually align with those of entrenched interests. I.e., tax cuts and less government regulation.

It also benefits from having a foothold in areas of the country that contain more swing votes. Unless these Occupy Wall Street folks are going to move to Florida, Ohio, etc. and vote there, then I don't know whether they are ultimately going to have much pull.

I think this, like so many other political problems, boils down to the Electoral College. Who gives a shit what some New York hipsters think? They are quite literally disenfranchised from national politics.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:10 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Military action going down tonight at Occupy Wall St. Should be interesting.

Holy shit, I thought you meant the military was going to break it up, not JOIN THEM.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:11 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just hope these essentially harmless protests remain peaceful. The last thing anyone needs is Wall St., the engine of America's prosperity, endangered by acts of violence or property destruction.
posted by Renoroc at 4:11 PM on September 30, 2011


Unless these Occupy Wall Street folks are going to move to Florida, Ohio, etc. and vote there, then I don't know whether they are ultimately going to have much pull.

Occupy Wall Street spreads to other cities.
posted by emjaybee at 4:13 PM on September 30, 2011


Occupy Wall Street spreads to other cities.

Yeah... San Francisco. Not really changing the calculus there. But I will be happy to admit my mistakes if it catches on further.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:16 PM on September 30, 2011


Give me a fucking break. Where are the non-stop demands for the Tea Party to "pick one fucking thing and agitate about it"? Where are their their "proposals, their solutions, their recommended laws, the proposed regulations?"

The Tea Party has the tacit or open support of much of corporate America and an immense amount of money devoted to getting out their various messages nonstop. They can afford to agitate about seventeen different unrelated things and not propose anything as a solution for any of them because they have an entire TV news network and an entire sector of the media devoted to talking about their seventeen different things and quietly ignoring their lack of proposals or solutions.

Occupy Wall Street has none of this. They have a bunch of people in the street and a blog, and maybe some support from other people who hang out on the internet.

If you want to be annoyed about the fact that the left is handicapped from the get-go in America, I share that frustration. But quit bitching at those of us who want to acknoweldge that said handicap exists, and want the left to have a coherent messaging strategy, because we're not saying this for lolz - we're saying it because the get-out-in-the-streets-and-have-a-drum-circle-while-chanting-about-The-Man style of protests has been not working for nearly thirty years, and because we're tired of your endless insistence that this time things are bad enough that it's gonna work any second now.

The left in America needs to come to grips with the idea that tailoring a message to be more attractive and easier to hear by the ears of the centre is not dishonest or corrupt.
posted by mightygodking at 4:18 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Actually if you read that link, commenters mention protests in Spokane, L.A., Boston, and Denver. More are planned per here.
posted by emjaybee at 4:18 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got my four-year degree and finished it pretty much debt-free. I did it by working my ass off in school, taking advantage of Running Start to get 2 years of college knocked out while still in high school, and distance learning. Lots and lots of distance learning, because I'd been working since I was twelve just to help keep the family's bill collectors at bay. I didn't go to any fancy schools, but four years after high school, I got what I wanted.

So I'm having a bit of a hard time working up a lot of sympathy for these people who willingly buried themselves in student loans, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I get that banks are douchey and corporations are scum, but please stop acting as if your crushing student loan debt is anyone's fault but your own.
posted by xedrik at 4:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Wall Street spreads to other cities.

Yeah... San Francisco. Not really changing the calculus there. But I will be happy to admit my mistakes if it catches on further.


Occupy D.C.
Occupy Portland

Occupy Together lists about 50 cities in the U.S. and abroad.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm terribly sorry, xedrik, that you got all that distance learning instead of a college education. You were owed better, and if you had grown up in a 1st world country, you would have gotten better.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Xedrik, you've worked very hard and achieved much. Part of the issue here is that not everybody had the same opportunities, but they did expect that they could work hard, make the best of the world they have, and pay off their student loan debt. Problem is, no job means paying off the debt is just a scoche harder.

It's easy for people posting on this thread to say "tough luck" when their own luck (in combination with hard work) has been smooth and creamy and deelish.
posted by datawrangler at 4:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


So I'm having a bit of a hard time working up a lot of sympathy for these people who willingly buried themselves in student loans, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I get that banks are douchey and corporations are scum, but please stop acting as if your crushing student loan debt is anyone's fault but your own.

Oh for . . .

You do realize that many students live in states that don't have programs like Running Start, right? I went to a public state school in the state of New Jersey, graduated in the top 10% of my class, maintained a four point oh average in college, worked since the age of fifteen, graduated in three years, lived at home for my last year of college, and still graduated with $30k in student loan debt. Know why?

College in NJ--public college--cost somewhere in the ballpark of $6,000 a semester for tuition alone. Factor in a few semesters of living on campus (because God forbid someone want the typical college experience of living on campus, rather than commuting an hour up and down the NJ Parkway, as I did in my last year when I just couldn't deal with the expense anymore) and you're looking to shell out substantially more than that. And how does distance learning help anything? At my school those classes cost the exact same amount as any other.

Sheesh.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2011 [19 favorites]


borrowing money for a college degree is not always a wise decision

Borrowing money for anything ever can be pretty much categorised as a "bad idea", but most of us don't have a choice. For 12 of our formative years we are told we need to "go to college/uni" so it's not much of a surprise that many of us borrow money to do so, not because we want to but because we don't want to let people down.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:28 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if you have an overwhelming student loan debt, find out if you are eligible for income based repayment. The rules have just changed. The results might pleasantly surprise you. I am adjunct faculty, with all the lack of income that that entails, and my IBR adjusted loan payments are $35 a month. Instead of $500 a month.

On the plus side, it looks like I could currently be paying $0 a month toward my federal loans, rather than the $150 I have been paying. So, yeah, there's that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


we're saying it because the get-out-in-the-streets-and-have-a-drum-circle-while-chanting-about-The-Man style of protests has been not working for nearly thirty years, and because we're tired of your endless insistence that this time things are bad enough that it's gonna work any second now.
The left in America needs to come to grips with the idea that tailoring a message to be more attractive and easier to hear by the ears of the centre is not dishonest or corrupt.


I never said it was dishonest or corrupt. I'd be fine with "tailoring a message to be more attractive and easier to hear by the ears of the centre"; I'm just tired of your endless insistence that we do nothing (but tear each other up, of course, because nothing says effective like spitting on the only people who care enough to protest) in the meantime.
posted by vorfeed at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Two thoughts: I've been wondering for about 3 years now when there would be enough resentment against how the system is structured for meaningful change to occur. I realized, that I'll be wondering that until there's a crystalizing event, a catalyst, that finally gets the momentum moving back the other way. Is Occupy Wall St. it? Does it rank with with images of civil rights protestors being hosed down and attacked by dogs? I fear we have not had that crystalizing event yet.

The second thought is how much the 20th Century (and it's middle class prosperity) reads like the post-plague middle ages to me now. Great calamity (or in the 20th c. case: calamities) leaves behind fewer survivors and huge opportunities for economic growth and social change. In other words, it was a blip, an outlier from how things normally work. Perhaps the pain and suffering we are seeing is like others have said, the resumption of a status quo that we are finding painful to adjust to.
posted by gofargogo at 4:32 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whatever moral judgement anyone wants to make about student loans doesn't matter. When that bubble bursts it's getting on everyone. I think people don't even understand. That money is gone. Loans are never going to be able to be fully repaid by hundreds of thousands of people and there is no bankruptcy for that money. No matter what happens, it's going to be fucking huge. It doesn't matter who's fault it is because it's so many people and so much money and it's inevitable.
posted by fuq at 4:33 PM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


"We are the 99%" is certainly a catchy angle, but as a protest there's not much of a goal except for self-expression and self-acceptance. And I think that's fantastic, and helpful for people to know that, if nothing else, they're not alone in what must be a very claustrophobic and disheartening situation.

On the other hand, people saying stuff like "forgive my debt because I was misled" are as socially responsible as people who say we should dump bags of money out of a helicopter. That is just avoiding ALL responsibility for their actions instead of PARTIAL responsibility.

Most people are going to feel somewhere in the middle here, and the real issue is many people don't have a path to get out of debt. They can't work their way out, they can't "smart" their way out, they can't even bankrupt their way out - what are they supposed to do? This is going to be an ugly cultural shift from debt being socially promoted to what it's been throughout most of history - a dangerous option where you put your fate in the hands of others. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is going to come back in vogue. But meanwhile, there needs to be a path for people to work their way to that place.

Making it about the 99% vs 1% is stupid though - this is about the bankers and the banking system that forcibly led us to this point. In other words, it's not at all about MONEY, it's about debt and LENDERS.
posted by lubujackson at 4:33 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So you really want to do this, Klang, OK.

First, Fundamentally, you're arguing that the perfect should be the enemy of the good in a way that's kind of baffling.

No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm asking why I should support these protests if I don't believe that the all requests are realistic or reasonable.

Don't turn my feelings toward the Occupy Wall Street people into somehow I'm supporting the Tea Party. My feelings toward them are the same kind of thing. I understand they are angry, want someone to blame, and want change, but what they are asking for doesn't make sense IMHO.

What are yours? Are there any of these things that you don't think are problems?

As I've stated before, I feel the greatest problem in the US is the role that political donations play in our political process. It is basically legal bribery that gives the advantage to the wealthy in getting politicians to act on their behalf at the expense of those that do not fund them. I feel this is _the_ fundamental cause of income disparity and our current economic slump.

However, I do believe that the Supreme Court was right to declare political donations as free speech. Thus, I believe the an Amendment is needed to specifically limit the role of donations in our political process. I believe that this change would lead to fundamental reverses in the policies and platforms of both major parties.

This list is exactly what makes it hard for me to see that the Occupy Wall Street protests are something that I and others should support.

Why?


Because without some context and structure to the request, it's hard to decide whether to support the ideas. Sometimes an admirable goal, done badly, makes everything worse.

What am I supposed to make of "Ending the modern gilded age is our one demand."

Am I supposed to be against the rapids improvements in industry, medicine, and technology we've seen over the last 40 years? Am I supposed to be against vacation homes and expensive jewelry and we should ban it? Am I supposed to be angry at rich people for wearing expensive clothes?

Or "Ending health-profiteering is our one demand."

Does that mean all private health care disappears? Does my not-for-profit health insurance provider disappear? Are we going single payer? Are we eliminating state laws that reduce competition? Are we requiring people to buy health insurance? Are we stopping people from risk adverse behaviors like taking drugs and smoking?

Or "Ending capital punishment is our one demand."

OK, if we say no more capital punsihment tomorrow, does it fix the underlying problems of unreasonable searches, wiretap and warrant abuses, lack of adequate counsel, private prisons, overcrowded prisons, mandatory sentencing guidelines, the jury voir dire process, etc. No, it doesn't.

Again, I'm not against substantial reform. But everything is in the HOW.

Want more jobs? Two popular ideas on how to do it, stimulus packages or lower taxes. Which do you choose? As a Keynesian, I'm with a big stimulus package that even Krugman would find large and against lowering taxes, even though I would personally benefit. Everything is about HOW you try to decrease unemployment.

Without knowing the HOW of a change, why should people support the change? Or should I just accept the groupthink and focus on my two minute hate?

Don't draw the "If you're not with us, you're against us." line in the sand.

I agree that true reform comes from interlocking coalitions of ideas and that protest played a large part in getting reform. But to compare the turn of the century efforts that took decades and involved many strategies to foment cultural change to the current protest in New York is simply not equivalent.
posted by Argyle at 4:36 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Making it about the 99% vs 1% is stupid though - this is about the bankers and the banking system that forcibly led us to this point. In other words, it's not at all about MONEY, it's about debt and LENDERS.

I'm willing to be that there are more lenders in the 1% than the 99%.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:37 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The schadenfreude towards the unfortunate in a minority (a blessed minority) of comments makes me think of this scene from one of Jack Vance's novels. I don't have it in front of me, but it's Araminta Station or one of its sequels.

Vance grew up during the Great Depression, and it left a certain mark on his imagination.

The main characters are visiting a casino on another planet that showcases various sadistic "traditional" practices. Two old men are standing in glass cylinders connected by a pipe; each cylinder is half filled with water and each cylinder has a hand pump that the old guys use to pump water out of their cylinder into the other guy's. Spectators bet on who drowns first.

If you're congratulating yourself on your good decisions and blaming other people for their bad ones, you're pumping water into the other guy's cylinder.
posted by bad grammar at 4:49 PM on September 30, 2011 [28 favorites]


Oh wait, this is MetaFilter -- you are way smarter than these people, and can do more with less, and if you were in their shoes you'd do xyz instead, and you can think of far better ways to stick it to Wall Street.

is someone sticking it to wall street? - i'm seeing a lot of people complaining justifiably about how they've been screwed by the circumstances of our times, but that's not sticking it to wall street

neither is a few hundred people marching on wall street

no, i'm not way smarter than these people, so i can't say i know

but our society's mind and heart is dependent on the media - and our every day lives are dependent on the road system - and our financial system is dependent on the internet - and on bills being paid

hmmm ...

---

I'm willing to be that there are more lenders in the 1% than the 99%.

which kind of means that those 1% feel that someone DOES owe them something, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It struck me that the one thing that sums up the 99% demands -- all of them -- is:

"Make our money worth it."

I'm in the middle of writing an essay explaining what I mean; it could take me a while. But whether the money you want to be "worth it" is your own money -- as in, you want to earn more, pay less of it towards debt, and have it go further towards home ownership -- or whether the money you want to be "worth it" is tax money -- as in, you want it to go to something like education and infrastructure, rather than pointless wars -- what you want is for your money to be worth it.

We want our money to be worth it, and right now it's not.

Make our money worth it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:53 PM on September 30, 2011


with all due respect, empress, i think the real message should be this -

"make our LABOR worth it - and make sure we HAVE some"
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 PM on September 30, 2011


No, see, "make our MONEY worth it" would also address the "end the war" aspect -- because our taxes are going to FUND that war, and the war is not worth the tax money being spent on it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:59 PM on September 30, 2011


Personally I think when you factor in stuff like that even the ever increasing cost of staving off death for another day can be borne.

That's a very interesting hypothesis. Unfortunately, we know what end-of-life care costs--way too freaking much--but a significant portion of the alleged gains from better access to universal care are either 1) moral rather than financial, or 2) sound a lot like the tax-cut crowd's theory that we can increase revenue by cutting taxes.

We can't spend less on health care by spending more on health care any more than we can balance the budget by cutting taxes.
posted by valkyryn at 5:01 PM on September 30, 2011


but much of the lower half of this country aren't even PAYING taxes, they're so damned poor - how can they demand that their money be worth it when they don't HAVE any?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:02 PM on September 30, 2011


The ____ of Justice, we only live in Manhattan because of rent control

You have rent control and you aren't going to have kids??? Who's going to get the apartment? Are you interested in adopting? I could make myself available :)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:02 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


but much of the lower half of this country aren't even PAYING taxes, they're so damned poor

No, they aren't paying income tax. They're paying all sorts of other taxes; sales taxes for one.
posted by Justinian at 5:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


If I went to a medium-prestige college, studied hard, entered a solid profession and plan to gradually pay off my student debt while enjoying a moderate lifestyle and enjoying publicly funded institutions like libraries and free art museums, and a reasonable expectation I will continue to be employed but never become wealthy, am I in the 99% or the 1%?
posted by fraxil at 5:04 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


of course all of the 99% planned to enjoy a moderate lifestyle, or did you think they were planning to not pay their debt or not work? I hope you can find a job and do everything according to plan.

shit happens.
posted by Tarumba at 5:07 PM on September 30, 2011


please stop acting as if your crushing student loan debt is anyone's fault but your own.

Yeah bad choices and shit. I get it. But, say, anyone remember how the recession started? Bunch of Wall Streeters made some bad choices in their loans. But we felt their pain and bailed 'em out. So now, lets all fight among ourselves about whose fault it is.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:07 PM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


but much of the lower half of this country aren't even PAYING taxes, they're so damned poor - how can they demand that their money be worth it when they don't HAVE any?

Those are the people who will be responding to the "make what little money I have go further" meaning of "make my money worth it."

Look, we're going for one pithy statement that will cover a myriad of causes. Different people are supposed to find different meanings in it depending on their individual priorities.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:07 PM on September 30, 2011


klangklangston: "In every single effective political movement in America, and indeed, in every single one of them that I'm familiar with around the world, they're built on a coalition that has common goals and a whole raft of other policy wishes that aren't necessarily shared. "

That may be true, but it seems to me that, in order to be effective, a grassroots movement must eventually seize upon specific goals, and the more focused the better. Taking your example of the civil rights movement, ending Jim Crow in the South, in specific cities in the South, was a concrete goal around which the movement coalesced, and the movement was 100% successful in that regard. MLK's opposition to the Vietnam war might be another example. The movement's later focus on more general social welfare concerns might also have done some good, but only to the extent that the concerns inspired people to work on specific anti-poverty programs (or, perhaps, to vote for politicians who would in turn support such specific programs).
posted by lex mercatoria at 5:08 PM on September 30, 2011


please stop acting as if your crushing student loan debt is anyone's fault but your own.

Tell corporations to please stop acting as if their corporate losses are anyone's fault but THEIR own first.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:08 PM on September 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


No, they aren't paying income tax. They're paying all sorts of other taxes; sales taxes for one.

but those don't go to the feds - and therefore, aren't paying for the war

also, the EIC probably makes up for some of that, for some of them

my point remains that many are so damned poor that to talk about them getting their money's worth is missing the point
posted by pyramid termite at 5:10 PM on September 30, 2011


Look, we're going for one pithy statement that will cover a myriad of causes.

and will reinforce the capitalist mentality that got us into this

it's about labor - what it is for us, whether we have it, whether it gets us the things we need, whether it's being used to build a better world for us

sam walton fully supported the idea of "make my money worth it" - has it gotten us a better country?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


my point remains that many are so damned poor that to talk about them getting their money's worth is missing the point

You're actually saying that POOR PEOPLE wouldn't want to get MORE VALUE for their money?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 PM on September 30, 2011


It seems to me that the Baby Boom basically went to school on the state's dime, then decided that they didn't want to pay for the following generations to do the same.

The terrifying part is how many things you could replace "went to school" with and this statement would still be true.
posted by jeffen at 5:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [26 favorites]


You're actually saying that POOR PEOPLE wouldn't want to get MORE VALUE for their money?

they get MORE VALUE for their money at walmart and what good does it do them?

why not more value for their labor? - which doesn't just include what they can buy with their wages, but how much of a say they get in the circumstances that surround them
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on September 30, 2011


why not more value for their labor?

Yeah. A living wage. Enough money to justify what they do to earn it. Making the money they get worth it.

"Make our money worth it." It still works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


... and thus the consumer culture, after a few adjustments, rolls merrily onwards ...

i give up
posted by pyramid termite at 5:27 PM on September 30, 2011


And how does distance learning help anything?

Sure, distance learning wasn't really much cheaper per-credit than attending class, but it let me "attend class" when I wanted, where I wanted, so I could still work a full-time job (or more) while completing my degree. For much of my time in college, the only thing I had to do on anyone else's schedule was the proctored exams. In the end, I still got my degree, indistinguishable from anyone else's.

Sure, I missed out on "the college experience", but I also missed out on tens or even (how???) hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I think I can live with that.

And, please. Of course programs and costs will vary by location. I mean, duh. I'm just saying that college doesn't have to be stupid expensive. Live at home, like you did. That was smart. Maybe take an extra year or two to finish instead of blasting it out in four years. It may not be quick and certainly won't be easy, but there's almost always a way to earn a degree and stay debt-free or damn close to it while doing so. And if not, well, maybe college just isn't the right choice for you at this time.

That's what I'm getting at. So many people these days just grab all the "free money" and jump right into college, and then despair when they realize how far they've gotten themselves into debt.
posted by xedrik at 5:29 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Make our money worth it" presumes that people have money. I'd rather see agitation for a guaranteed minimum income. (Yes -- something for nothing. We all have the right to be here.)
posted by Wordwoman at 5:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Make our money worth it" presumes that people have money.

It could also mean "make the amount of money we get worth the labor we expend to get it." A guaranteed minimum income would be one way of doing that.

... and thus the consumer culture, after a few adjustments, rolls merrily onwards ...

If people aren't making enough to pay their rent, how are they part of the "consumer culture"?

And if people are being told "labor" is a dirty word, how do you win them onto our side?

"make my money worth it" is a sentiment more people can get behind.

Jesus, at least I'm TRYING to come up with a single sentiment rather than nitpicking other people's efforts. If you don't like it, let's see YOU try.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:40 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


i already did - see above
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2011


And I pointed out how "make my money worth it" also covers "make our labor worth it." You haven't explained how this somehow ties into "the consumer culture".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:47 PM on September 30, 2011


I feel a facepalm coming on.
posted by desjardins at 5:58 PM on September 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


and you haven't explained how "make my money worth it" ties into the labor movement - of which, i should point out, i am a dues paying member of, affiliated with the teamsters, a working-class factory rat

the left would be a lot better off if they'd listen and stop telling us what they think we want

and "make my money worth it" doesn't get it - it doesn't give us bosses who treat us fairly - it doesn't give us justice in the workplace - it doesn't give us stable jobs in a stable economy

and frankly, if "labor" is a dirty word, then i'm all for offending as many people with it as possible
posted by pyramid termite at 6:00 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


and you haven't explained how "make my money worth it" ties into the labor movement

You may have missed where I did a few comments up: "Make the wages I earn worth the labor I expend to get it."

Or, "Make my money worth it." With "My money" being a fair wage, and "labor" being the "it" in that instance. Fair wages and fair working conditions are tied into that "worth", are they not?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:04 PM on September 30, 2011


and "make my money worth it" doesn't get it - it doesn't give us bosses who treat us fairly - it doesn't give us justice in the workplace - it doesn't give us stable jobs in a stable economy

Bosses who treat us unfairly aren't worth the money we earn. "making our money worth it" includes "make the conditions we work in to earn that money better".

And a fair living wage, one that would ensure we could PUT aside some savings to tide us by during periods of unemployment, is also part of "make our money [wages] worth it [the effort we expend to get them]".

It also covers the income disparity -- "our" labor earns just as much money for the company as "their" labor, and we deserve to have that worth acknowledged just as fairly. Corporations need to acknowledge that our money is "worth it" to them too, by providing fair wages.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 PM on September 30, 2011


I mean, duh. I'm just saying that college doesn't have to be stupid expensive. Live at home, like you did. That was smart. Maybe take an extra year or two to finish instead of blasting it out in four years.

I finished in three years because it was the cheapest possible way to do it--after 12 credits, your rate doesn't increase. So I took 16-21 credits a semester. While working.

What I'm saying is: not everyone had the opportunities you did. Not everyone was lucky enough to live in a state with those opportunities. That doesn't mean other people didn't work hard, or make the best possible decisions they could with the info they had at the time.

So give them at least some modicum of respect.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:10 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


you keep talking about what we can buy and i'm talking about what we can BE - people who work for something and get it - including things that can't be bought or created with money, but must be worked for

get your mind off of those dollar bills - they're not the solution, they're the problem

good night
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to laugh when I hear people indignant that their taxes might be raised to pay for all the social-commons advantages they like to take for granted while they grumble about big government.

Here's my picture of real class warfare: hundreds of thousands of "the 99%" roaming in enormous human wave after wave (like the proverbial lemmings) through suburb after fancy suburb, jumping over the fences and walls tearing down the gates, rummaging through the fancy houses for food and anything saleable. Limousines scooting away from "The Great Debacle" like cockroaches when the light's turned on. People with big forks gripped in one fist, the other hand pointing out which way the limos went.

(Hunter Thompson would spell it out much more graphically.)
posted by Twang at 6:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm just saying that college doesn't have to be stupid expensive. Live at home, like you did.

That's not an option for many students.
posted by Windigo at 6:24 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


you keep talking about what we can buy and i'm talking about what we can BE - people who work for something and get it - including things that can't be bought or created with money, but must be worked for -- get your mind off of those dollar bills - they're not the solution, they're the problem

Erm, I'm not seeing how disregarding "those dollar bills" or "working for things that can't be bought with money" is going to help the people who are going hungry for lack of food or cold for lack of shelter.

I get what you're saying, but before we can enlighten people to want to work for a cause or labor towards something that can't be bought, we need to ensure everyone is SHELTERED, CLOTHED, and FED first, and in this current day and age, "those dollar bills" are the only way to get that.

Get everyone enough of "those dollar bills" to be able to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate themselves, and THEN we can talk to them about working for things that can't be bought.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 PM on September 30, 2011


And it strikes me that that's yet ANOTHER definition of "worth". I see "those dollar bills" as nothing more than a means of exchange, to get the things that I really do consider worth working for. I'm not working for the size of a paycheck, I'm working for a house, an opportunity to travel, enough food to support myself.

But in order to OBTAIN that house/travel/food, I need to have sufficient means of exchange to receive it. If my place of employ was paying me in steaks or air miles, that'd be different. It's not.

"Those dollar bills" are the way we OBTAIN the things that we all are REALLY working for; it's not like we're all taking our cash and putting it in a big room and swimming through it like Scrooge McDuck going "wheeeee!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you'll only be satisfied by fixing everything at once, you'll never be satisfied. Protest movements need tangible, concrete victories to gain steam, or else they can get burned out. It's not concern trolling to point that out. In Egypt, as in most successful actions in US history, they had lots of grievances but a single, concrete, unifying goal: Mubarak had to step down. The protesters didn't stop until that happened because that's what they were there to do. When will Occupy Wallstreet know its done with its first big battle? Honestly, this isn't meant as concern trolling or as deriding or poo-pooing the efforts here, just what I think would be helpful advice, if followed.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


The movement's later focus on more general social welfare concerns might also have done some good, but only to the extent that the concerns inspired people to work on specific anti-poverty programs (or, perhaps, to vote for politicians who would in turn support such specific programs).

Actually, there are accounts from many people close to MLK that claim he'd been actively promoting the idea that renewed attention to the labor movement would be the next great chapter in America's Civil Rights struggle, and that his final speech to the striking sanitation workers in Memphis was meant to mark a turning point in his career, as he began focusing on the cause of labor more generally, rather than on narrower racial issues alone.

Of course, that's when he was shot.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:56 PM on September 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Regardless of the fact that they are people worse off, regardless of whether it as always been so, regardless of whether people have 'behaved themselves' into this position, regardless of whether 99% is accurate or not, regardless of whether this is a biased selection of individuals, regardless that these are people from the richest nation on the earth, regardless of all of that, and more, my heart still aches to see good, decent, hardworking people in this situation.
posted by vac2003 at 6:56 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


pyramid has a good point: labor is something that everyone has the same quantity of. Whether you come from money or are dirt poor, there are only so many hours in the day. If you make $100,000 a year you may not care as much about getting your money's worth as someone who makes $10,000 a year...or you may care more. But everyone wants to believe hours they spend working have as much meaning as the same hours the next guy spends, doesn't matter if they're doing vastly different jobs. It's simple respect.

The guy standing behind the counter at McDonalds understands the physician buying a burger from him gets paid much more and does work which he doesn't have the skill to do; however, the counter guy deserves as much respect for working hard to do his job well as the physician does for working hard and well at his own job. Society values the tasks differently, and that's where the money comes in, but the actual act of working hard and well is something each should be equally respectful and proud of.
posted by maxwelton at 7:09 PM on September 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


(And which is why it is criminal that you can work hard and still be poor. It doesn't speak highly of a society when someone who works full-time can't make ends meet because their wage is below the poverty line.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:12 PM on September 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


"So you really want to do this, Klang, OK."

Yeah, sure.

First, Fundamentally, you're arguing that the perfect should be the enemy of the good in a way that's kind of baffling.

No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm asking why I should support these protests if I don't believe that the all requests are realistic or reasonable.
"

Argyle, you're a smart guy. Surely you can see why saying that if you don't support all of the goals you shouldn't support some is making the perfect the enemy of the good. It's pretty much the textbook definition.

Don't turn my feelings toward the Occupy Wall Street people into somehow I'm supporting the Tea Party. My feelings toward them are the same kind of thing. I understand they are angry, want someone to blame, and want change, but what they are asking for doesn't make sense IMHO.

I'm not at all. I think you're misreading me pretty seriously.

As I've stated before, I feel the greatest problem in the US is the role that political donations play in our political process. It is basically legal bribery that gives the advantage to the wealthy in getting politicians to act on their behalf at the expense of those that do not fund them. I feel this is _the_ fundamental cause of income disparity and our current economic slump.

However, I do believe that the Supreme Court was right to declare political donations as free speech. Thus, I believe the an Amendment is needed to specifically limit the role of donations in our political process. I believe that this change would lead to fundamental reverses in the policies and platforms of both major parties.
"

I disagree with the ruling on political speech; I'm much more swayed by the dissents in the Citizens United case, but I agree that the best remedy is likely a constitutional amendment (or the retirement/death of one of the conservative justices). However, I also realize the huge barrier that is, I also realize that we can work to mitigate the evil effects of money in the political system and simultaneously push for more progressive policies.

But none of this is stopping you from telling the protesters to agitate for said constitutional amendment.

Because without some context and structure to the request, it's hard to decide whether to support the ideas. Sometimes an admirable goal, done badly, makes everything worse.

What am I supposed to make of "Ending the modern gilded age is our one demand."

Am I supposed to be against the rapids improvements in industry, medicine, and technology we've seen over the last 40 years? Am I supposed to be against vacation homes and expensive jewelry and we should ban it? Am I supposed to be angry at rich people for wearing expensive clothes?
"

Well, "the gilded age" is a historical reference to the extreme disparities in wealth that are accelerating in America. That doesn't mean being against technological progress, unless you believe that this progress necessitates further inequality. And I think that looking at it as a call for a ban on expensive jewelry is a bit of a straw man, even as I can honestly say that the money that expensive jewelry represents could probably be turned to some better use, and I'd think that if you're honest, you'd agree.

Or "Ending health-profiteering is our one demand."

Does that mean all private health care disappears? Does my not-for-profit health insurance provider disappear? Are we going single payer? Are we eliminating state laws that reduce competition? Are we requiring people to buy health insurance? Are we stopping people from risk adverse behaviors like taking drugs and smoking?


In the broadest sense, it'd be an elimination of the rent-seeking that underpins a great deal of the insurance business as it exists today. But the rest of the questions seem like you're objecting to policies that haven't been mooted here.

Or "Ending capital punishment is our one demand."

OK, if we say no more capital punsihment tomorrow, does it fix the underlying problems of unreasonable searches, wiretap and warrant abuses, lack of adequate counsel, private prisons, overcrowded prisons, mandatory sentencing guidelines, the jury voir dire process, etc. No, it doesn't.


No, but it fixes the problem of the state murdering innocent men, or at least mitigates against it in an important sense. Once again though, that there are other problems doesn't mean that moving against the death penalty is bad — you seem to be suffering from a paralyzation of utility, where the lack of absolute knowledge of process is making you argue that we shouldn't do any of these things.

Again, I'm not against substantial reform. But everything is in the HOW.

Want more jobs? Two popular ideas on how to do it, stimulus packages or lower taxes. Which do you choose? As a Keynesian, I'm with a big stimulus package that even Krugman would find large and against lowering taxes, even though I would personally benefit. Everything is about HOW you try to decrease unemployment.


And that's a pretty reasonable position. I'm not sure why you think that the Occupy Wall Street people would be against stimulus and for tax cuts, or if you don't believe that, why that would be relevant to whether or not you support them.

Without knowing the HOW of a change, why should people support the change? Or should I just accept the groupthink and focus on my two minute hate?"

But again, you're not really against any of these goals, and because this is a fairly open movement, you can work to articulate your preferred mode within that constituency. There's nothing about a two-minute-hate here.

Don't draw the "If you're not with us, you're against us." line in the sand.

I'm not, and I'm sorry if you think I am. What I'm saying is that you generally support these goals, right? They're fairly stock and pretty reasonable, on the whole. And the methods of achieving those goals haven't been set at all, so I'm not sure why you think it's someone else's responsibility to articulate to you why you already support these goals in order for you to support them.

I agree that true reform comes from interlocking coalitions of ideas and that protest played a large part in getting reform. But to compare the turn of the century efforts that took decades and involved many strategies to foment cultural change to the current protest in New York is simply not equivalent.

They're not exactly the same, if that's what you mean. But the comparisons hold up in a lot of ways, and I'm not really sure why that would be a sticking point either. This is one moment in a larger expression of popular and progressive dissatisfaction.

Let me sort of offer an analogy: Right now, I'm writing a story about the Tulare County general plan update. Now, there are two big parts of the general plan: In the first part, they lay out the predictions they have for the future and the principles by which they'd like to order the development. The principles in this case involve a lot of statements like "Preserving natural beauty" and "Promoting smart growth." The second part is the plan for implementation and evaluation. As far as the principles go, they're all pretty great and even fairly progressive for such a conservative area. However, the implementation and evaluation parts are often vague, and the plan has been rightly criticized for that.

I think of these protests and those manifestinos as the statement of principles, and I think that you're trying to criticize their implementation when relatively little about implementation is being done, but the principles are being contested. I think you agree with a lot of the principles, and that's why it seems a little silly for you to argue that you shouldn't support this because they haven't articulated an implementation, especially when there are a lot of people who wouldn't even support the principles.
posted by klangklangston at 7:19 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do all these self-described highly-educated people lack the ability to use basic farking English grammar?

And why do people apparently not read the contracts they sign? #4 pretty much cinches it - These people don't deserve oxygen, much less homes.


maxwelton : the actual act of working hard and well is something each should be equally respectful and proud of.

Uhhh, no, for the simple reason of "scarcity".

I can find 5.99 billion people on this planet who can manage to successfully serve me a machine-grilled burger. How many of them can successfully open up my chest and give me another 30 years of life by swapping out a few arteries for less critical ones from my leg?

We occupy the top of the food chain because of our brains. Saying the burger flipper "deserves" as much respect as the doctor means nothing less than saying your dog deserves steak as much as that homeless guy you pass (and ignore) every morning on your way in to work.
posted by pla at 7:22 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't speak for every high school student out there, but in the late 80s I got a crazy amount of pressure from my parents to go to college. I don't think I had any particular goals or dreams of the future, but my dad started telling me about all the money I could make and I was hooked.

In retrospect, I can't even count the number of stupid decisions I made about college - about my major or where I went, or my expectations of what college would do for me.

I had a full scholarship my freshman year to an expensive private school, but my grades were so low that I flunked out and lost the scholarship. There were several other people I knew who didn't flunk out - but did lose their scholarships - and continued on, paying private school tuition themselves.

Fortunately I was smart enough once I was paying my own tuition (read: my parents convinced me) to go to a state school and work three fucking jobs - while going to school full time - to graduate with less than $5K in debt.

The point is that I was lucky. I didn't want to be a lawyer or a doctor, I got a generic BA at a giant state school and have done OK for myself.

In retrospect, I wish I had gone to community college for a couple years, or gone to vocational school, or started with the scholarship at a different school that I may have succeeded at. Based on my own experience, I just don't think it's right to blame every 18-year-old for the choices they made about college.
posted by bendy at 7:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pla, Maxwelton is saying that the fast food worker deserves basic respect, simply because they are a person who does works hard and does their job well.

I don't think many would argue that the physician deserves to be paid more. But should the burger flipper be respected less because of his job? Fuck no. Respect is not a commodity like money; I can respect Maxwelton all day and also respect you, and every other person in this community, if they act like decent human beings and deserve it.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 7:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


charlie don't surf: "Correct. This is the anti-Tea Party. This is the real movement that expresses the sentiments of the vast majority of America: the 99%. The Tea Party is a bunch of political dupes who were convinced to become activists for corporate interests. So their message was clear, and crafted by billionaires like the Koch Brothers. "

Is this sarcasm? Because this is so delusional I can't even.
posted by falameufilho at 7:44 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


all people deserve dignity and respect. and no one is entitled to reap such disproportionate gains for their skills that they all by themselves control enough of the entire nation's wealth to destroy entire markets and decades of accumulated personal wealth with their blunders.

when only 400 individuals command more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans combined, the free market doesn't work anymore, because for all practical purposes, they become the market. the invisible hand doesn't work anymore--all the collective crowd wisdom that almost makes all that efficient market theory crap sound plausible--well, it all goes right out the window when so few people command so much of the wealth in an economy.

personally, i'm as grateful for my neighborhood sanitation workers as i am for my doctor, but both are without doubt worth far more than a good number of highly paid business management types i've known.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:46 PM on September 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


We occupy the top of the food chain because of our brains. Saying the burger flipper "deserves" as much respect as the doctor means nothing less than saying your dog deserves steak as much as that homeless guy you pass (and ignore) every morning on your way in to work.

You occupy the top of the food chain because you were born in the United States. Imagine that you were born in sub-Saharan Africa: if you weren't dead by now, you'd still spend the majority of your days looking for clean water. Just as Bill Gates, or Sarah Palin, or Donald Trump would if they had been born there.

Instead of fending for yourself, you get to benefit from the generations before you who built the roads, and the sewers, and the water treatment plants, and the schools to graduate the engineers who designed and built them, and even the lowly burger flippers who paid in to the same till to make sure the government had funding. You are the end result of countless burger flippers, teachers, seamstresses, sanitation workers, fisherman, farmers; all who would gladly call you a citizen, happy that you had the opportunities that they perhaps did not. (In the 30s they would have called you brother or sister, perhaps until they got to know you.)

What I'm saying is that you are not special. You are lucky. And you owe your life to everyone in your society who came before you, not to yourself. You owe your life to burger flippers.

In return for this opportunity, your society asks you to contribute to a progressive tax system that ensures the next generation of the society has the same opportunities you were lucky enough to have. (If you happen to begin making loads of money, your burden may seem high, until you realize that your fortune would not be possible without the infrastructure your country gave you.) We also ask that you be respectful of everyone's job, because without everyone, your doctor wouldn't be giving anyone breakthrough heart surgery. He'd be looking for water.

So, let me start off: pla, you are welcome for the amazing opportunities that we have given you. Now please apologize for being such a schmuck.
posted by notion at 7:53 PM on September 30, 2011 [123 favorites]


pla: you don't know your damn history, is the problem. the market has never taken care of the middle class. look it up in a history book. not one of the social and political changes that created the modern American middle class came about because people just trusted the free market to protect their interests--all of them came about because people, en mass, demanded them.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


"All of the people in these pictures are the 1 percent. The rest of the world is the 99%."

Do you think there's anyone in here that doesn't realize this?


If so, that's even worse. Because from the perspective of the starving billions who are the real 99%, the consumption of these relatively wealthy people who are falsely claiming that mantle are more part of the problem than part of the solution.

I'd wager that the collective impact of all of us in the USA who this website calls the 99% is doing more harm to the actual poor of this world than the "Wall Street 1%" is doing to harm us.

This is not to say that we shouldn't work toward reforms in this country, but this particular rhetoric strikes me as tone deaf and almost disgustingly self-centered.
posted by straight at 7:57 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


notion : You occupy the top of the food chain because you were born in the United States.

Along with everyone else on the linked site. Next...


saulgoodman : the market has never taken care of the middle class.

Then I guess I have no special edge here, since I sure as hell don't come from money. Next...
posted by pla at 7:59 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well one thing that history has proved is that shit can go per shaped fast for just about anyone, no matter what plans you make. Those of us who are ok today may not be so lucky tomorrow.

I guess I take solace in the fact that I spend most of my time while I am working on wall street commenting on metafilter, so in that respect, I am sticking it to the man.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:23 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I'm saying is that you are not special. You are lucky. And you owe your life to everyone in your society who came before you, not to yourself. You owe your life to burger flippers.

Ah-fucking-men.
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


We occupy the top of the food chain because of our brains.

and yet, unless we do something selfish like have ourselves cremated, the roaches, flies and worms feast on us

that should be a lesson in humility
posted by pyramid termite at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Right-leaning opinions definitely have their say here, and can even moderate the site's tone into meaningful multisided discussion (see recent I/P posts.)

More to the point, lockstep opinions are generally frowned on. If you don't have much to contribute that is thoughtful and genuine, and you can't contribute it in a relatively non-confrontational way, you're doomed to deletion or worse. Too often these days conservative thought is plagued by sophistry masquerading as socratic dialectic... go for the cheap rhetorical score, and deliberately confuse or conflate issues with unrelated or incorrect trivia.

It is very unfortunate the media-driven part of the conservative movement has abandoned intellectual rigor and moral center. Expect to be called out on it frequently, and if you are not up to the task of explaining and promoting your politics honestly, rationally and civilly, expect to have your comments flushed down the drain.

On the other hand, I understand some hard-left-leaning site members have been coping with this as well... grudge matches and tit-for-tat flamewars based around inflexible talking points go over like lead balloons... so it's not a left/right issue with the site mods.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:32 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


You occupy the top of the food chain because you were born in the United States.

*snort*

People still buy into that myth?
posted by Windigo at 8:34 PM on September 30, 2011


[few comments removed - dial it back, quit with the "fuck you" talk and take the one person vs everyone stuff to email or MetaTalk. Thank you and goodnight.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:35 PM on September 30, 2011


as for that "actual poor" nonsense upthread (which i'd almost put money down comes from somebody with at least aspirations of being among the "actual rich"):

if you only work to protect the poorest of the poor, and then turn your back on them as soon as they aren't the poorest of the poor anymore, you'll never get the job done!

but i guess playing jesus under the spell of that kind of self-defeating false-consciousness at least comes with a certain degree of built-in job security.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:37 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lol! Me, my girlfriend, and twenty people I know have stories like those. And, 99 percent of the people on my block. I make good money, and don't have any kids, and won't either. I work hard as hell for this cash, and give way to much of it to people who I think need it. I'm lucky, I only have myself to keep above water. Those stories are so sad, but they're good too. It's a tough wake up call. Furthermore, if you're African American, or Native American.. you ought to know this shit already. Shit, my grandmother had to scrub floors for a living. And I mean HAD to. But color is not so much an issue now. I'm glad it's boiling down to this.
posted by Flex1970 at 8:39 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then I guess I have no special edge here, since I sure as hell don't come from money. Next...

Let me at least address this point in an impersonal way, then.

Even before we had a middle class at all in the US, some people managed to make it up the ladder. But not enough of them. If you've studied your history, you know it only took a couple of generations to build the American middle class--arguably, the first modern middle class in the world. It won't necessarily take that long to see it disappear. So don't get cocky just because you haven't gotten hit yet. And even if you don't, that just means you got lucky. Our relationships with each other might be, but the broad sweep of history is not and has never been about personal responsibility.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:42 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


We occupy the top of the food chain because of our brains. Saying the burger flipper "deserves" as much respect as the doctor means nothing less than saying your dog deserves steak as much as that homeless guy you pass (and ignore) every morning on your way in to work.

Someone has to do the rest of the jobs in society besides the one you do. If you have such disdain for working people that you feel they don't deserve a living wage and respect because they weren't born with the brain you have, then be careful on whom you depend to perform all the menial tasks which are beneath you, to do the work which you and the rest of society require to function. Eventually they may decide forcibly to take what they feel they deserve from you whether you deign to give them any respect or not. If you fail to give respect and don't treat others who work as deserving of it, torches and pitchforks are where conversations like this eventually end.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:55 PM on September 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


There's quite a bit more going on in this situation than meets the eye, especially if your eyes are only focused on what has happened recently in places near you.

Looking at the big picture, we can see that in the last month, there have been many protests all over the world and a lot of these have been protests against governments or the power elite. Looking at a time-lapse of global protests during the first months of this year, we can see a steady increase in the number of protests as the year progressed. Looking at a timeline of usage of the word "protest" during the last decade, we see a definite upward trend. Looking at usage of the word "protest" the last 500 years we see that protests are reaching their highest frequency in centuries.

We can't dismiss these protests by pointing to a singular cause such as "unpaid student loans". It's a systemic thing, and it's getting worse.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:56 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to college, but don't have a degree. That supreme luxury put me in 80k worth of debt.

I will never be able to pay that off. I get paid around 18k per year, and most of that goes to rent/food. I will be working until I die just to survive.

If I could go back in time and tell 18 year old me "Hey, look, I know that everybody is telling you that this is a great idea, but you really shouldn't take out those huge private loans right now," I totally would. I cannot.

I don't think that this particular action is going to metamorphosize into something effective. Most likely, it's going to fizzle out when things get cold, or we have a haymarket moment. Either way, this probably isn't the big one.

I'm still going to do everything in my power to make it there and set up a med tent. Just because there are a bunch of hippies trying to set up a drum circle doesn't mean that they won't catch tear gas or OC. I will try and spend as much time there as a medic as I possibly can. You can talk shit on their tactics, but they're doing the things that you wish you had done when you were younger.

"Making the right choices" and losing makes us bitter. Years spent working at minimum wage make us bitter. Compound that with austerity measures that promise to make it even more difficult to get by and you get a rage diamond. You've turned apathetic bitterness into pure, unadulterated hatred.

I graduated high school in 06. Since then, me and my cohorts have constantly been shit upon. You who pull the levers have created a massive shitstorm for yourselves. We are young, healthy, strong, and just educated enough to be dangerous. This particular action might be nice and harmless, but don't rest on your laurels. We are getting hungry.

Steel yourselves.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:58 PM on September 30, 2011 [22 favorites]


Funny thing is that the financial industry doesn't even know this happening. Impact zero. Might have helped if the protesters realized that only three of the main banks, and virtually none of the asset managers, is actually downtown. Vast majority of the financial workforce is in midtown or Connecticut. Guys might notice if the occupation were at Park and 47th or something...

Also, while our higher education finance system leaves a lot to be desired, it isn't the 1% that owns student loans, it's your mother's life insurance, your dad's 401k, or your grandmother's pension fund.
posted by MattD at 9:08 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Looking at usage of the word "protest" the last 500 years we see that protests are reaching their highest frequency in centuries
Eh. Google doesn't work in the way you think it works here. Also, the common usage of the word "protest" in the sense you are thinking of only dates back to the 1950s.
posted by Bwithh at 9:08 PM on September 30, 2011


If you've studied your history, you know it only took a couple of generations to build the American middle class--arguably, the first modern middle class in the world. It won't necessarily take that long to see it disappear.

And if you've studied your history, you know the Colonies were established in an environment of anti-aristocracy, even as the founders were a type of aristocracy. The United States is an experiment in political technology, and the middle class is its great laboratory. The results of the experiment are intended to benefit We The People, not the 1% exclusively. What is this country for? Is it for creating wealth beyond measure for a very few, or is it to create a better life for everyone?
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:14 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd put it this way: If you are wealthy enough to not worry a major medical long term illness (out of work, no insurance, with dependents and mortgage), then you are probably in the top 1%.

Higher than 1%, I'd say. Top 1% is what, 300K a year or something? Let me tell you, 300K a year does not make the worries of losing your job and having a major medical long term illness easy to deal with. Losing your job and having a major illness bankrupts most people that depend on job-based income. Health care can be outrageously, absurdly, preposterously expensive right now, especially when you're talking major illness. It is such a drain on society. I guess the only "good" thing one can say about it is that it is such an equalizer that we really, truly, must do something about it, because even the top 1% can't be sure that it won't wipe out everything they've worked for in a matter of months should the worst of luck occur.
posted by ch1x0r at 9:17 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google doesn't work in the way you think it works here. Also, the common usage of the word "protest" in the sense you are thinking of only dates back to the 1950s.

Why doesn't Google work the way I think it does when looking at the last decade? I'd agree that the phrase "protest march" didn't show up until the late 1950s, but the word "protest" in the sense of an expression of disapproval dates to the 1700s.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:17 PM on September 30, 2011


Twoleftfeet: If this year's earlier uprising was the Arab Spring, then I guess you call this time now the American Fall.
posted by the fish at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I graduated high school in 06. Since then, me and my cohorts have constantly been shit upon....

This is purely anecdotal, but I've been hearing a lot of this kind of talk from young men and women who have been out of college...a whole year now. I supposed constantly for a year is tough. To my ears it sounds hyperbolic. What are the expectations for a newly-minted (or recently abandoned) Bachelor's degree? With an unemployment rate around 9%, that means 90% or so of us are employed. Times are tough, but let's not unleash the zombie hoards hungry for the flesh of Fidelity Investment project managers and customer service reps yet.
posted by Cassford at 9:26 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't afford my degree. My degree is the only way that I can make enough money to live on. I cannot afford leaving my degree.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:30 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm just telling you "We can't pay off our law school debt" is not something that a mass movement can build upon.

How on earth do you know that? Look, my literal job is to help build a mass movement. I work with brilliant people who are are trying to do the same thing. I've read everything I could get my hands on about the topic and met countless other brilliant people who have or are trying to build movements.

And I do not pretend to know the exact way to build a movement. No one does. You just work really damn hard, try a lot of different stuff and hope that 1. something catches fire and that 2. when it does, you have the grassroots power and infrastructure to support it so that it can be channeled to make real change.

However, you simply cannot underestimate the power of powerful personal narratives in building a movement. That's why my facebook feed has been full of this blog this week.

Also, another thing I've noticed: people who say things like "you can't build a movement doing xyz" are NEVER the people who are actually making concrete change. The people who are making concrete change are too busy working their asses off to criticize other people's efforts, and they're smart enough to know that you can never tell what will work and what won't.
posted by lunasol at 9:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


This is purely anecdotal, but I've been hearing a lot of this kind of talk from young men and women who have been out of college...a whole year now. I supposed constantly for a year is tough. To my ears it sounds hyperbolic. What are the expectations for a newly-minted (or recently abandoned) Bachelor's degree? With an unemployment rate around 9%, that means 90% or so of us are employed. Times are tough, but let's not unleash the zombie hoards hungry for the flesh of Fidelity Investment project managers and customer service reps yet.

It's not hyperbolic. I dropped out in 2009 when I ran out of citibank loans to pay tuition. If things continue the way that they are going, I will die with my debt.

Employment does not equal prosperity, btw. 90% employment isn't anything to brag about either. That means that one out of ten people you see every day are broke. That ain't exactly a cornerstone of nation prosperity.

I'm not hungry for your flesh yet. 18k per annum is enough for me right now, but amongst my friends, I'm the LUCKY one.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's an idea for something specific to demand: get congress to vote up or down on Obama's job proposal, since even his own party in congress seems reluctant to take it up (because many of them are cowards and others among them are jerks).

He's been going all over the country promoting it, Krugman endorsed it, and it includes the Buffet Rule (making the upper income tax rates fairer).

So--just say you won't leave until congress passes the bill, and then make yourselves really obnoxious until they take it up and either pass it or not. If they don't pass it, the congress-folks will at least be forced to go on the record as for or against it, and we can punish them appropriately come the primaries. If they do pass the bill, great! There'd still probably need to be a lot more similar actions in the future, but at least it would be a start, with a concrete victory.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:47 PM on September 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


[Empress, pla, drop this. Take it to email if you have to, it's toxic and unhelpful here. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Countries that are not the US just stare in sort of horrified amazement at the way the place is run. The only sound you can hear is the WHOOSH of the vacuum which sucks money from the poor to the rich, via corporations. The pain you are going through now is the pain of learning that US#1 was an artifact of post WWII hegemony, that in fact you have been robbed blind with promises of careers and social security, and have paid over on the basis of those promises the lifelong fruits of your labor.

The interesting moment will be when the 99% and Tea Party dudes realize they are flip sides of the same coin.
posted by unSane at 9:57 PM on September 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


10% unemployment is bad, that's true. And it's worse if you add the people who are working part-time, but want to be working full-time. That brings it up to 18 or 19%. But I think special pleading for the folks just starting their careers brings to mind You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby and not The Marx-Engles Reader.

Luckily, I left corporate America years ago to work in the nonprofit sector, so my gizzard is safe from the young, healthy, strong (yet hungry) marauding 20-somethings.
posted by Cassford at 10:04 PM on September 30, 2011


Cassford: You know, that ten percent unemployment rate figure doesn't properly account for people who never get onto the unemployment rolls in the first place. And a lot of states have recently adopted policies to preemptively disqualify people from getting on the unemployment rolls.

Here in Florida, for example, the governor just pushed through new unemployment rules designed to disqualify an estimated 40% of new unemployment benefit applicants (in part by giving employers more power to penalize their employees for behavior they don't approve of outside of the workplace).
posted by saulgoodman at 10:13 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Point being, I'd guess the actual rate is even higher. And the poverty rate among families with children rose to nearly 1 in 4 in the US last year.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:15 PM on September 30, 2011


Here in Florida, for example, the governor just pushed through new unemployment rules designed to disqualify an estimated 40% of new unemployment benefit applicants (in part by giving employers more power to penalize their employees for behavior they don't approve of outside of the workplace).

I was curious, so I read some other sources about the change.

It looks like what they did was change the phrase by which employers can deny unemployment from "willful and wanton" to "conscious disregard" disregard of an employer's interests. That also changes it to allow that definition to include things people do outside of work.

That is an exception big enough to drive a truck through. And yet again another argument against the 'online privacy is not necessary' crowd. Would you want some vengeful ex-boss combing your internet history to find reasons to deny you unemployment?
posted by winna at 10:20 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know, winna. It's funny how actual free speech issues like this don't get much notice in the quarters that are most vocal about free speech. My tea party leaning acquaintances were all too busy gloating over how Scott stuck it to all those druggies good with the new drug testing requirements to notice the new rules were practically designed to make it easier for employers to penalize controversial political speech and labor activism. Personally, I don't give a damn.

It's not worth any job to give up feeling like an American.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:33 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I think special pleading for the folks just starting their careers brings to mind You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby and not The Marx-Engles Reader.

I don't see any special pleading going on. I do see a lot of young kids who are completely fucked and can't even start a career in the first place, university graduates or not. Smugly dismissing their concerns doesn't help them, or your country's future.
posted by cmonkey at 10:35 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The problem is the college grads we dismiss as not the actual poor, are turning into the actual poor.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:05 PM on September 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've said it before: college, home ownership, and retirement are twentieth-century concepts.

i hate it when i see people saying this about home ownership. if middle class people don't own their homes, who does? the rich do, that's who. if you don't own your home, you rent... and you spend your life tithing a percentage of your income to some rich guy with nothing to show for it at the end.

yes, if you borrow money to buy a home, you pay interest to the same rich people. but at least every month you are building equity in something that's real.

saying something like this is a huge cop-out. it amounts to saying "i'm happy with the rich taking all of the nation's assets for themselves." that's BS.

what we're seeing now is the result of 30+ years of a coordinated attack on the middle class by the rich. it did not have to be this way. we let them do it. but like the proverbial frog in the pot on the stove, it happened so slowly that apparently no one noticed. easy to do when the news media have been completely corporatized.
posted by joeblough at 11:41 PM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lunasol, your comment "people who say things like "you can't build a movement doing xyz" are NEVER the people who are actually making concrete change" is really sensible.

I have to admit I used to be one of the people saying that-- until I rather accidentally fell in with some people working as grassroots organizers for a non-profit. It was one thing to read about "social change" in books, and to talk about it in some denatured It was easy for me to stand on the outside and talk about "hippies" and "looking unprofessional." As my new acquaintances turned into new friends, I spent more time with them. I discovered how challenging it is to do something "simple" like put together a youth-gang-violence intervention program, and then fight desperately to keep it funded. I watched my friend struggle for low pay and few accolades and in a time when the attention of America was on dreams of limitless wealth. Yes, even after I myself clerked at a non-profit I still had criticisms of the traditional conventions of NGO activism. Yet, I also realized the ways in which many of my earlier criticisms missed the mark entirely, and were nothing more than arrogant untested speculation. It was a profoundly humbling experience for me.

The thing that really gets me about the criticisms of the way the protesters dress, is how much of it apes media commentators. That is, just like in presidential elections, media commentators turn it into a horse race, where they talk about what "looks best." It's sort of meaningless, because in reality the mark of an effective political campaign is that it changes the discourse. Moreover, with respect to direct action, like today's protest in NYC at the 1 Police Plaza, effective direct action prevents the functioning of a critical piece of government or physical infrastructure. This delivers direct pressure to resolve the situation in the favor of those bringing the pressure. It is well known that people want to side with winners-- and prevailing in a dispute naturally attracts the uncommitted to the side of the marchers.

People who really want to stop the onslaught of the finance sector aren't going to care if some long haired hippies are marching for it-- especially if they see other people who do look like them and aren't just bohemians or would-be pagan ascetics.
posted by wuwei at 11:56 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know what makes a successful protest movement, or for that matter, revolution?

It's not a good slogan, and it's not a single issue that people can get around. It's that general feeling of desperation that cuts a person to the heart, that gets them to throw off the weight of a social contract, and go stand around in the street for days on end with a few hundred other desperate people because there's no where else for them to go. Because you know what happens when you get together a lot of desperate people without any other options left to them but standing around in the streets surrounded by police and tea partiers and champaign swilling corporate whores? They talk. At length. And they come up with a thousand righteous causes to support, because they've got nothing else to do, and they shout from the streets three thousand forgettable slogans supporting those thousand unwinnable causes until the sun goes out and then they march around supporting the causes some more. And out of all that mess of talking and shouting, maybe somebody says 'Down with Mubarak!' or 'Give me liberty or give me death,' and it's a note that sticks amongst the noise and the tumult, something that lodges in the hearts of a million other desperate people who are standing around hungry, fucking each other over in a million little ways, waiting for something to change, while whole systems that have been constructed for the purpose of fucking over everyone carry right on doing exactly what they were designed for.

You can see it directly in Libya or Egypt or any of the Arab countries where spring came early this year: Massive unemployment amongst the youth turned directly into long-run street protests. Listless desperation is the blood of popular movements. It bleeds out from inequality, from the failed promises of society, but most of all from hunger and too much time on one's hands. Because that's the idea of work: you trade moments of your life for the right to live decently, one hopes, and when the work isn't there you find yourself living indecently, and why not do something indecent? Maybe something simple, like standing in a street, chanting out your grievances, waiting and maybe slightly nudging for that change you were promised? And you're out there for days with these thoughts and jokes running through your head - how many punks does it take to change a light bulb - but you stick around anyways because there's nothing else to do, no other way out, unless you count addiction or suicide but which aren't really options if you're over-educated to the point of thinking that you're worth anything, even though the answer is that punks can't change anything.

So eventually you're just waiting for it to be different this time, because there's nothing else to do.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:10 AM on October 1, 2011 [18 favorites]



It seems to me that the Baby Boom basically went to school on the state's dime, then decided that they didn't want to pay for the following generations to do the same.


Yeah, no shit. But I'll blame the older-than-boomers, too (is that the "greatest generation", maybe?). They were happily voting for lower taxes in the 1980s and 1990s, which is what started the massive defunding of education. The boomers have continued that push; maybe it is purely demographic and when I get old and cranky I'll start voting to defund those nasty kids. I sure hope not; the selfishness and meanspiritedness of it all is just so depressing.

Personally I'm a long way short of the top 1%, but also a long way above the bottom, not to mention how far I am above the bottom globally. Just because I am doing ok right now doesn't mean that I'm not feeling the pressure of an eroding safety net, and the general crappiness of living in a country that can't get it together enough to pay for basic social and physical infrastructure.
posted by Forktine at 12:13 AM on October 1, 2011


With an unemployment rate around 9%, that means 90% or so of us are employed.

No, it doesn't. If you think that the official Department of Labor stats that get repeated in news articles even begin to cover the actual numbers of unemployed people in the US, you're mistaken. The official monthly stats only cover people who report that they have been actively looking for work in the past month.

During 2011, the U-6 unemployment rate in the US (which adds in people who are underemployed and people who have given up looking for work) has varied between 15.7% and 16.2%. Even those numbers don't count the self-employed with no income coming in, people who aren't working because they're in school living on loans, etc.
posted by blucevalo at 12:27 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ya, government stats are highly skewed with political motive. Take the CPI for example...
posted by sdari0 at 12:53 AM on October 1, 2011


I think if you look at the rambling, discursive course this thread has taken, you will begin to understand the problem with holding a protest without having a specific set of goals in mind. Everyone has an axe to grind. It is eminently understandable these days, but it is not a coherent message.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 12:59 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


So--just say you won't leave until congress passes the bill, and then make yourselves really obnoxious until they take it up and either pass it or not. If they don't pass it, the congress-folks will at least be forced to go on the record as for or against it, and we can punish them appropriately come the primaries. If they do pass the bill, great! There'd still probably need to be a lot more similar actions in the future, but at least it would be a start, with a concrete victory.

Thank you. Wanted to say just that.

In your view, what do you think will it take for a politician to head over to the protest zone and basically take control over the narrative? More to the point, what will it take for, say, Obama, to head there and give a rousing speech acknowledging the concerns, but effectively saying that the jobs bill is the way forward? From my decidedly non-American (but political-spectator) viewpoint, I'd think this would be a killer for the Dems; it'll be a massive shame if they don't utilize this groundswell.
posted by the cydonian at 1:25 AM on October 1, 2011


So I'm supposed to feel sorry for people who have made bad choices in their lives? I feel sorry for them for not having been coached to live within their means, something that alot of us HAVE been able to do AND get post graduate degrees.
Right, everyone who isn't rich isn't rich because of their 'bad choices'. It should have been perfectly obvious that they... should have done what exactly? What are the bad choices that they made?
Its pretty important to note that the unemployment rate for people over 25 with a bachelor's degree is 5%. 4.6% for whites with a bachelors degree. The trough unemployment rate was 3%.
An important point. First of all most of the people criticizing people in these threads are doing so for them having taken loans to, for example:
I had 15k in debt. I'm 41 and will have it paid off this month. If someone told me I had 136k I don't think I'd even try. That's some fucked up math there.


(Nevermind college classes are 2-3 times the price they were in 1990, at least). So basically comfortable rich people damn them for making 'bad choices' if they decided to go to school and get an education so they could get a good job because by the time they graduated there were no good jobs. Or they damn them for not getting an education. It's lose lose. Either you go to school to get a shitty job that doesn't cover student loan payments or you don't go to school and don't get a shitty job. You're fucked either way.

---

Reading the thread, there's lots of discussion about how "these people" are all relatively well off class wise while they should be going after the really poor. But that's not really a good assumption to make. If you have a college education but no job and no money you're still poor even though, hypothetically, you might get another job some day when (if ever) the economy recovers.

But there are a couple points: One, the trouble that better educated people are having now is the same as the trouble that poor people had earlier. But better educated people are better able to express themselves and organize, which is obviously important if you're going to have a revolution. They make better spokespeople because the people who do have jobs are better able to identify with them.
So where's all the wealth going? A lot of it is going to the very rich, and there's an argument to be had about that. But an unimaginable amount is simply being poured down Death's gullet in our frantic and delusional attempts to live forever, no matter the cost or consequences.
The money doesn't disappear it goes to doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and medical device makers and so on. Also, adding people under 65 to government healthcare wouldn't raise those costs much, it would only have a moderate impact.

---
This arbitrary 99% number that everyone loves to rally around is just lost on me entirely. It means essentially nothing.
Have you taken any math classes? It means a very specific thing, everyone who's not in the 99th percentile and below in terms of income. It comes about because people often refer to the "top 1%"
and what lasting change to American society has the tea party achieved?
They got every republican in the country swearing fealty to them, they got massive representation in the house of representatives. They've had a huge impact.

---
i hate it when i see people saying this about home ownership. if middle class people don't own their homes, who does? the rich do, that's who. if you don't own your home, you rent... and you spend your life tithing a percentage of your income to some rich guy with nothing to show for it at the end.

yes, if you borrow money to buy a home, you pay interest to the same rich people. but at least every month you are building equity in something that's real.
This is pretty dumb. Remember, houses require maintenance. They don't just sit there, you have to buy stuff for them and make repairs. The other problem is that you don't "build equity" if the price of the house collapses. Your 'equity' gets whiped out. One of the people in that 99% blog said he couldn't afford his daughters college because he lost $70k he put into his house and now he's underwater.

A person who pays rent every month and invests a portion of that may end up having more money at the end of 20 years then the person who bought the house.
With an unemployment rate around 9%, that means 90% or so of us are employed.
Hahahaha, no. The employment to population ratio is 58.2%.


---

Also, arguing that the protesters should demand a vote on Obama's jobs bill is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's way, way to small to have the kind of impact that the protesters are looking for. It's $450 billion, compared to $800 billion for the first stimulus, and what did that $800 billion do? It got us slightly less massive job losses then we otherwise would have. We needed $1.2 Trillion at least, and that was then. Now unemployment is still flat and we're looking at another recession exacerbated by what's going on in Europe. And the president is offering a plan that's half as much as the one that didn't do enough the first time.

I don't know how much it would take to actually "fix things" but it would need to be a couple trillion I'm sure.

I love all the people who seem to think that borrowing money to go to college was some kind of horrible life mistake that people need to 'accept responsibility' for so that all the people who aren't in their situation can feel smug.
posted by delmoi at 1:56 AM on October 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Unemployed and disenfranchised students and youth are the vanguard. They essentially have the time and energy to mount actions. Student loans may be their personal issue, like the draft was in times before, but it is emblematic of the general issues, as articulated in the demands. So yeah, the vanguard may be shaggy looking and/or privileged, but once a certain momentum is achieved, more regular people with more to risk can join in. That's how it has always worked.

The demands do not have to be a plan. The people are demanding a result, they are telling their leaders to come up with the how. As stated above, the how of ending a war is simple, you end it. Likewise more complicated processes of reform have been researched and proposed, the how is well known. All that's needed is the will and the desire. People in the streets right now are expressing that desire for the rest of us. Expect to see more action, even more inchoate but no less determined. Hopefully it will grow.
posted by bonefish at 2:38 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently read a book called The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. I cannot recommend it enough. It explains in detail how so many parts of society are influenced by income inequality (healthcare, justice, quality of life, education) and justifies its arguments using data from 23 OECD counties, and 50 US states (the USA is one of the most unequal societies in their sample). Their measure of inequality does not consider total wealth, but rather how it is distributed through society.

I many ways their observations are not very surprising, but they observe is a very consistent relationship between inequality and society, as a whole.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 3:05 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I went to college ('95-'99) because that's what was done if you could afford it. I'd been raised to believe that I needed to go to college. School counselors, teachers, family, friends, every reasonable adult who I should have looked to for help and advice told me the same thing: go to college. I was lucky, I'm good at taking tests, I was able to finish high school by moving in with much better off relatives in one of the best high schools in the nation, and my mother is an artist in an incredibly small and non-lucrative niche. For the most part, I got to go to school liable only for Stafford and Perkins loans. That meant I still graduated with $24,000 in debt, roughly. The thing is, all of that debt was just one of those things that we go through. Everyone has student loans, everyone bitches about paying them back. I know some of my friends are still paying those loans. All the people saying "you should have realized how much debt you'd have, you were stupid for going to college," you should really take a look at the culture you live in, the one where success means a degree and home ownership. That's the myth that's been crammed down our throats since we were born, and this "maybe college isn't worth it" running idea wasn't anywhere to be found when I signed my loan agreement.

As it is, there's literally only one thing that my degree has helped me do, and that's get a job in Japan (can't get a teaching job without a degree, but any major will do).I'm grateful that I didn't get into any of the MFA programs I applied to. I'd have been buried under a mountain of debt, and I'd most likely be unemployable. Instead, I paid off my debt! I'm mostly debt free! Except that I took the most reliable way I could think of to do it, I left the country. Living overseas, not having to deal with the absolute absurdity of healthcare back home, I managed to pay off my loans over the course of 5 or 6 years. If I'd stayed home, I'd most likely be broke. I know I wouldn't be able to afford any kind of health coverage.

So, yeah, I'm living a great life, as long as I don't mind living thousands of miles from my friends and family, many of whom I'll never see again. If the solution to surviving the system is leaving the system, maybe the system isn't running all that smoothly.

my solution wouldn't work for all people, and certainly wouldn't have worked for me without the immense number of people who helped me to get where I am. I was surrounded by a loving, supportive family, some of whom had the means to dramatically improve my life. God, I miss them, and would love to be back home with them, except I'd be just as broke as they are.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:35 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got 99 problems but the 1% ain't one.
posted by Cerulean at 4:02 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm 50 years old. I have a college degree. I own a home (for how much longer I don't know). I've played by the rules. And I'm sinking. Fast and hard.

The absolutely insane thing is many of us have seen this coming for 30 years. I was in college when Reagan was president, and I know all these issues were heated topics of discussion back then. We saw the tables turning; we understood the philosophical changes taking place. And we knew where they would lead.

I'd like to think I've gained at least a little wisdom in my time here, but where will wisdom get you these days? The game is rigged, plain and simple. The American Experiment has been hijacked and playing by the rules ain't gonna fix it. These protests are just fits and starts; the first gasps of the canary in the coalmine.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:11 AM on October 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


The handwritten "notes" seem to be very similar in composition, font, underlining, style. Which leads me to believe that that this is political propaganda and staged outrage. And that is a problem because it corrupts authentic protest.

In tough economic times the country needs to watch both the extreme right and left... in the depression both the communists and the fascists sought change through violent organizations so now we have the "Tea Party" on one hand and the "99 %" groups on the other.. and the center cannot hold.
posted by mfoight at 5:56 AM on October 1, 2011


Benny Andajetz: "I'm 50 years old. I have a college degree. I own a home (for how much longer I don't know). I've played by the rules. And I'm sinking. Fast and hard.
"

Welcome aboard my brother!

In 2008 I lost my full-time job and was contracting until I could find something permanent. We own a condo, have a 10 year old daughter and yes, we carried quite a bit of debt but we always paid on time and had money left over. In 2009, prior to my contact running out, we applied for the MHA (Making Homes Affordable) program and "qualified." By qualified I mean we were able to refinance through the bank and lower our payments by $75 provided we paid a $275 home inspection fee. This fee could NOT be rolled up into the closing unlike any other closing that I've ever been involved in. Fucking racket and we weren't going to stand for it. We continued to pay our mortgage but since I was making 15K less that I was the previous 10 years of my life, things started to suffer. We had to juggle and juggle some more. I had two ER visits which added $10,000 to the mess (hooray for no insurance!). We applied again for MHA. Same fee, same bullshit. In April of this year we had enough. We quit paying our mortgage. We will be filing Chapter 7 next week. We've lawyered up and got our ducks in a row. We will stick it back to these motherfuckers. Let some cocksucking banker have a heart-attack over this shit. We are sick and tired of it. Christ, when Suze Orman is telling middle America that home-ownership is fucked, you know it's time to get out of the game!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:22 AM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The handwritten "notes" seem to be very similar in composition, font, underlining, style.

...Or maybe somebody only posts after having read many of the OTHER posts on the site, and either accidentally or deliberately take a similar tone.
...Or maybe they are from similar economic backgrounds, and therefore were taught easy-to-read block script the same way.
...Or maybe the stories all sound the same because they're in the same boat?

Which leads me to believe that that this is political propaganda and staged outrage.
...Or maybe you'd rather just not believe this is happening, or worse, that it could happen to you.

Seriously - There's around 250 different postings on that tumblr alone. Leaving aside the idea that the reliability of graphological analysis is debatable, even when performed by professionals, Could you show me ten that are 'very similar' in your opinion? Five?
posted by Orb2069 at 6:24 AM on October 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pardon - Ment to link to The Straight Dope on the last link. My underwater kingdom* , for an edit window!
(* I bought less than a year ago and got a great bargain, but I'm awfully leery about sinking money into the house.)
posted by Orb2069 at 6:34 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Relevant
posted by jet_manifesto at 6:38 AM on October 1, 2011


Get rid of the 9/11 conspiracy freaks, the face tattoo people, the Alex Jones acolytes, and then maybe regular people wouldn't be so hesitant about joining your protest. I wouldn't enter a party with some if these folks, much less an occupation.
posted by weinbot at 6:57 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


charlie don't surf: "Correct. This is the anti-Tea Party. This is the real movement that expresses the sentiments of the vast majority of America: the 99%. The Tea Party is a bunch of political dupes who were convinced to become activists for corporate interests. So their message was clear, and crafted by billionaires like the Koch Brothers. "

Is this sarcasm? Because this is so delusional I can't even.
posted by falameufilho at 7:44 PM on September 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


Really? Falameufilho, this piece in The New Yorker pretty much covers how charlie don't surf is right about the Tea Party.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 6:58 AM on October 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Do you notice how they took all these shots so they wouldn't show these folks bedroom slippers?
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:58 AM on October 1, 2011


The Rich get richer. Everyone else gets poorer. That's what America is right now.
posted by Malice at 7:14 AM on October 1, 2011


Countries that are not the US just stare in sort of horrified amazement at the way the place is run. The only sound you can hear is the WHOOSH of the vacuum which sucks money from the poor to the rich, via corporations. The pain you are going through now is the pain of learning that US#1 was an artifact of post WWII hegemony, that in fact you have been robbed blind with promises of careers and social security, and have paid over on the basis of those promises the lifelong fruits of your labor.

The interesting moment will be when the 99% and Tea Party dudes realize they are flip sides of the same coin.


I've been thinking about this post last night and I still don't entirely get some of it. To me, it sounds like if America isn't exceptionally good, then it's exceptionally shit. Like there's no middle ground. Other countries either have to be in awe of us or they have to stare in "horrified amazement".

Most people in other countries just don't care. They have their own domestic problems to be concerned about. And really when they see something bad about America, they shrug their shoulders, and think, "America's not that awesome, it's about as good as things are here." We'd be considered a regular country.

I thought American exceptionalism was an artifact in itself, but apparently a lot of people are still fond of it. Yes, you guys have problems, but let's not let old attitudes about American exceptionalism inflate them into exceptional problems.
posted by FJT at 7:20 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


As someone said above, the "99%" (pffff) and the Tea Party are both sides of the same coin. Basically what we have on both sides is a mob of populist ideologues railing against a fast changing world they don't understand, and they're unwilling to even try. It's a sad spectacle, pretty much like a dog barking at an airplane.

So yeah, dissmiss the Tea Party as bred in a lab with money from billionaires and validate the 99% as authentic. If the New Yorker said it, it must be true. The fact is: it doesn't matter. The medium is the message. The fact that there are idiots on the street asking for amnesty for student loans and idiots on the street asking for the return of the gold standard is what matters. The message, as all things spewed from the mouthes of idiots, matters very little.
posted by falameufilho at 7:29 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


bonefish : Unemployed and disenfranchised students and youth are the vanguard. They essentially have the time and energy to mount actions.

And very, very few of them actually vote.
posted by pla at 7:33 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


And really when they see something bad about America, they shrug their shoulders, and think, "America's not that awesome, it's about as good as things are here."

No, honestly, you execute people, you imprison vast numbers of your population, you have a bunch of religious nutjobs holding the country hostage, you bankrupt yourself through pointless military excursions overseas, you treat universal healthcare as a communicable disease, you consider corporations as person, and you socialize losses while ensuring benefits remain private. For decades your government has been borrowing and borrowing to sustain the mirage of a stock market which always goes up. Your young people must now become massively indebted to gain access to anything but unskilled employment. You are now treading an impossibly thin line between depressionary deflation and Weimar inflation. Your politicians are almost entirely beholden to corporate interests and billionaire power brokers, while continuing to parrot phrases about the American dream that they know are manifestly false. Honestly, I like Americans, but America is broken.
posted by unSane at 7:33 AM on October 1, 2011 [44 favorites]


I wouldn't enter a party with some if these folks, much less an occupation.

Those folks are at all the protests, leftist, right wing and all manner besides. Sorry to break it to you. There's really no way around it. Also not worth making the perfect the enemy of the good. FWIW numerous labor unions are joining in this particular protest.

However, I do think that the best way to organize any protest is in the most dignified way possible. I have seen the way unions and in particular how the AFL-CIO organizes marches, which is not suit-and-tie but in neat lines of working class people marching in unison, chanting. They were at the worldwide protests against the Iraq war (in San Francisco at least), and they were incredible and garnered a lot of respect just by their presence. They marched and chanted, "The union works!" Most everyone who encountered them was silent and just watched. That's the way to do it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:42 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


delmoi: (Nevermind college classes are 2-3 times the price they were in 1990, at least). So basically comfortable rich people damn them for making 'bad choices' if they decided to go to school and get an education so they could get a good job because by the time they graduated there were no good jobs. Or they damn them for not getting an education. It's lose lose. Either you go to school to get a shitty job that doesn't cover student loan payments or you don't go to school and don't get a shitty job. You're fucked either way.

YES. THANK YOU.

I worked my way through college. In 1988, at a state school. Twenty-three years later, tuition at that same school is 3.5 times what it was when I went there. Rents and utilities have doubled. Food prices continue to rise. Minimum wage, however, is just a touch over twice what it was, and jobs are scarce as hell.

Five years ago, when Elder Monster was in 8th grade and being given the Grand Tour of the high school, he was really drawn to his school's vocational program. So he asked us on the way home: "How pissed would you guys be if I didn't go to college?" And the answer was "Not every career requires college. What are you intending?" So he entered the school's Culinary Arts program, graduated near the top of his class, and is now working two part-time jobs - one as a chocolatier two days a week, and one as a prep cook at an assisted living facility four or five evenings a week. And he is hounded constantly by people in our extended family, demanding to know when he's going to "get real and go to college".

He looked into going to a culinary college, and determined that even living at home and working, he still couldn't afford it, and he didn't think he could afford the loans, either. He has chosen the traditional restaurant path of clawing his way up the ranks, and he considers himself very lucky to have the opportunity to do so. His friends who didn't take a vocational path are having a really hard time finding jobs to supplement their student loans, and they're pretty frightened of what's going to happen when those loans come due.
posted by MissySedai at 7:53 AM on October 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


You are now treading an impossibly thin line between depressionary deflation and Weimar inflation.

There is a lot of truth in what you say, but this is false. We have nowhere near the problems that the Weimar Republic did, nor the conditions to create hyperinflation - the Treaty of Versailles in particular crippled their exports, and the government literally printed money to pay its workerss, which is vastly different than quantitative easing. At worst our currency would end up like the Japanese Yen, which is to say a stagnant economy for over a decade due to numerous conditions but still able to finance the debt on their currency.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:54 AM on October 1, 2011


Honestly, I like Americans, but America is broken.

The same can be said for China, India, Russia, the EU, Indonesia, Brazil...

Maybe it's being a naturalized American originally from a non-Western country that makes me have this perspective, but I'm still not really convinced. Obviously, the streets aren't paved with gold, but the problems you've listed are still lots of problems and concerns other countries go through. I'm not saying to dismiss these issues, as they all need to be solved. And because America is the third most populous nation on the planet and still the one with the highest GDP, things are a little different or bigger. But not something that strikes me as "horrible amazement."
posted by FJT at 8:04 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean "horrified amazement".
posted by FJT at 8:06 AM on October 1, 2011


And very, very few of them actually vote.

Once they become engaged politically (e.g., by showing up at a protest) they typically do vote in much higher numbers. One of the ways to ensure this happens is to register people to vote at protests.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:09 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


"a mob of populist ideologues railing against a fast changing world they don't understand, and they're unwilling to even try. It's a sad spectacle, pretty much like a dog barking at an airplane."

How hard is it understand a vast and ever growing disparity in wealth distribution? You know that old saying "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer"? It's like that, on meth.
posted by MikeMc at 8:14 AM on October 1, 2011


Maybe it's being a naturalized American originally from a non-Western country that makes me have this perspective

We are unique among western democracies in many cases, including capital punishment and lack of universal health care. The fact that we are sliding down the scale in terms of life expectancy, education, health care, etc., is troubling.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:17 AM on October 1, 2011


In your view, what do you think will it take for a politician to head over to the protest zone and basically take control over the narrative? More to the point, what will it take for, say, Obama, to head there and give a rousing speech acknowledging the concerns, but effectively saying that the jobs bill is the way forward? From my decidedly non-American (but political-spectator) viewpoint, I'd think this would be a killer for the Dems; it'll be a massive shame if they don't utilize this groundswell.

I think if most Democrats see that they can get more leverage and achieve concrete, political gains by riding the wave of mass protest mobilizations, they will gladly hop on the bandwagon.

As distasteful as it might seem to some of us, the practice of politics is all about deal making and favors for favors. And Obama, in particular, seems to be the kind of guy who at least feels some sense of obligation to pay back political debts. If this or any other mass movement helps him achieve specific political goals, and he sees he can draw on the power of such movements to gain real political traction (that supporting them can benefit him politically in a tangible way), he'll naturally be more sympathetic to the protesters' cause and be more inclined to give more concessions to them as a bloc. That's how these kinds of things have tended to work in the past, in my analysis. To some extent, FDR for example exploited the political muscle that came from the populist movements of his day for personal political gain, and those movements likewise exploited him to push their agenda. There's a certain ruthlessness to this way of thinking, but it's how the sausage gets made. Effective protest movements are basically just a form of non-violent warfare (Gandhi wrote extensively about that, for one): just as in war, its important to have both immediate tactical and longer-term strategic aims in mind. The Freedom Riders, for another example, also knew that and have talked a good deal about that.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:29 AM on October 1, 2011


The difference between Tea Partiers and these people is that these people are arguing for changes which will directly benefit them, and Tea Partiers are arguing for changes they don't realize will directly harm them.
posted by incessant at 8:37 AM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Going down there now with a tape recorder and a microphone. Maybe I'll post what I record later.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:46 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This dog is growling. If he doesn't tell us whether he's growling because we're poking him with this stick or because we're twisting his tail, his growling is pointless and doomed to fail. Stupid dog.
posted by Trochanter at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Er as for elaborate, I've had several threads in my head about why I got this crushing feeling of doom when there but I haven't quite been able to express it in a coherent way - and granted I was there during the height if the radiohead hoax nonsense so that could have colored it - but the core idea was, if there is any group Americans blindly and passionately hate, it's poor people.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The people who are doing something -- however little it is and futile it may seem -- are making me look bad for doing nothing, so I'd just like to say that those people are stupid and I am smart."
posted by Legomancer at 9:55 AM on October 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


It would be political suicide for Democrats to endorse the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. A few inner-city politicos and union bosses can demagogue in safety, but the party as a whole can no more turn its back on its financier, lawyer, real estate developer and media tycoon faction than Republicans can spurn the NRA. Obama's already paying a steep price among his backers for his "Jobs" bill / "Buffet tax" foray into soak-the-richism, and that's even with hsi backers knowing that all that stuff is as dead-on-arrival as can be in the current Congress.
posted by MattD at 10:09 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


i hate it when i see people saying this about home ownership. if middle class people don't own their homes, who does? the rich do, that's who. if you don't own your home, you rent... and you spend your life tithing a percentage of your income to some rich guy with nothing to show for it at the end.

yes, if you borrow money to buy a home, you pay interest to the same rich people. but at least every month you are building equity in something that's real.


This is pretty dumb. Remember, houses require maintenance. They don't just sit there, you have to buy stuff for them and make repairs. The other problem is that you don't "build equity" if the price of the house collapses. Your 'equity' gets whiped out. One of the people in that 99% blog said he couldn't afford his daughters college because he lost $70k he put into his house and now he's underwater.


believe me, if rental properties were not profitable there would be no rental properties. the cost of maintenance, etc. is already rolled into your rent. you might as well spend your money on something you own instead of putting your landlords' kids through college.

also, i didn't say it was a good idea to pay too much for a house at the top of a bubble... and as to one of those people on the 99% blog... a single anecdote makes it universally true that home ownership is a bad idea?

so go ahead and keep thinking that way. owning nothing generation after generation makes people poor. when you own the land (and the house), you own something real that has value. if you want to let the rich keep swallowing up all the real wealth in this country, great. encouraging middle class home ownership was one way that the government kept the wealth distributed here. then the rich got greedy again and dreamed up all these bullshit financial instruments based on mortgage debt and screwed all of us when it came crashing down.
posted by joeblough at 10:31 AM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


believe me, if rental properties were not profitable there would be no rental properties. the cost of maintenance, etc. is already rolled into your rent. you might as well spend your money on something you own instead of putting your landlords' kids through college.

Around here I cannot afford any but the lowest end of the housing market, and if I buy in that range I will be stuck with high taxes and undoubtedly a fixer-upper (i.e., high maintenance even to make it livable). However, I can afford a fairly nice place for a rental. There is not always an equivalent in the price of a mortgage (plus taxes and maintenance) vs. rent.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:45 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." - Steinbeck
posted by lazaruslong at 11:02 AM on October 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


falameufilho: "So yeah, dissmiss the Tea Party as bred in a lab with money from billionaires and validate the 99% as authentic. If the New Yorker said it, it must be true. The fact is: it doesn't matter. The medium is the message."

LOL WHUT

So this thing that was put out in print by a reputable source, that you didn't know about earlier today when you were calling someone delusional, doesn't matter because 'the medium is the message'? The fact is, facts don't matter?
posted by danny the boy at 11:13 AM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Single family, owner occupied home ownership is a scam. It's not an investment if you can't easily liquidate it and move on. Risk wise, you're better off investing your money in income generating property and living in a rented apartment.
posted by wuwei at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2011


roomthreeseventeen: "Military action going down tonight at Occupy Wall St. Should be interesting."

Did vets in uniform actually go down to stand with the protestors? Anyone seen photos?
posted by ob1quixote at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2011


Danny - I read the article when it came out originally. It's not the first time I see this accusation that the tea party is not really grassroots, because it's supported by the koch brothers or the evil billionaire du jour. The accusation is stupid and contrating the tea party with the 99% in terms of who's authentic and who's manufactured is delusional.
posted by falameufilho at 11:47 AM on October 1, 2011


So I went down there, but I didn't really get any usable tape. Everyone seemed very nice and everyone was being very nice to one another, which I think is great, but even within the short time I was there I saw a lot of ideological arguing. In particular, I met a woman who was very upset about the "Occupy Wall Street Journal," a 4 page broadsheet that had been printed by some of the protesters. Here were her reasons:

1.) The newspaper format is the old media format of her oppressors.
2.) There was no disclaimer on the front of it that it didn't represent the motives of everyone there, thereby potentially giving people misconceptions about the breadth and depth of the movement.
3.) The graphic design was "cheesy as fuck."
4.) The broadsheet was written by reformists, who want to work within the system to fix it, but she is a radical who wants to give up on the old system and start anew.

I was initially really skeptical and dismissive of this whole movement, but my mind has been changed to some degree. Ultimately I'm of the opinion that it's great something like this is happening. That people are demanding their voices be heard. I'm hopeful that from this inchoate beginning something a little more coherent will arise.

I've given a lot of thought to ideas about media coverage of the protests and lack thereof. From what I saw today, I'm not sure that it warrants the media coverage that the participants really want, that considering the size, scope and duration the coverage it's gotten has been pretty appropriate. However, I would like to do some research into the first few weeks/months of the tea party and see how coverage compares. I think I actually might just do that.

I understand the way some people in this thread view these protests. Going down to Wall St. and demanding an end to greed is sort of like marching on Selma and demanding an end to racism. But at the same time, a lot is to be said for just making your voice heard in a novel, constructive, interesting way. I'm looking forward to seeing what might come out of this.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:26 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The stories on that tumblr are really heartbreaking. I wish I could help some of them but am struggling myself now.

If nothing else, I hope Occupy Wall Street and associated efforts can help turn people's isolation and shame into solidarity and activism.
posted by salvia at 12:26 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just for the record, Adbusters has been planning this protest since at least July. That being said, Kalle Lasn is no David Koch.

Also, all I have is a NYT link via Twitter, but they're putting out a broadsheet named The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Before you ask, yes, it seems from the photo they're using the iconic title font and for some reason this warms the cockles of my deeply cynical, jaded little heart. Occupying, and Now Publishing, Too, Colin Moynihan, The New York Times, Oct. 1st, 2011.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:41 PM on October 1, 2011


Oh Look Who Just Donated an Unprecedented 4.6 Million Dollars to NYPD To Strengthen Security in NYC Out of The Kindness of Their Hearts

Nothing to see here folks, move along!
posted by stagewhisper at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2011 [15 favorites]


Danny - I read the article when it came out originally. It's not the first time I see this accusation that the tea party is not really grassroots, because it's supported by the koch brothers or the evil billionaire du jour. The accusation is stupid and contrating the tea party with the 99% in terms of who's authentic and who's manufactured is delusional.

As far as I can tell the first mention of the Tea Party was by Rick Santelli, who is a bond reporter for CNBC. His was a faux-populist message broadcasted from the floor of the CBOT berating the stupidity of mortgage holders who got into bad deals and now found themselves foreclosed. Never mind the fiduciary duty of the lender and broker nor the financial wizards who packaged and sold the debt, nor the ratings agencies who placed top ratings on funds full of no-doc and NJNA loans, which banks held and lent and levered against and sold to investors including pension funds and 401(k)s until the house of cards collapsed... No, he was concerned about placing fault for the entire recession where he felt it was deserved, on the middle class and lower income people who were on the short end of the stick and whose financial lives were ruined by the outright fraud perpetrated against them and countless investors all down the line, the entire US economy. And the traders on the CBOT floor cheered him on, all well within the 1% in terms of income. That's the seed that was planted which started it. So, you tell me. Grassroots? A rallying cry from the floor of the exchange in Chicago is where populist movements start?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:45 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, as the New Yorker article mentions, this stuff was planned out a long time ago. They just found the right opening and exploited it as far as they could. I have no doubt that a lot of the people who came to the game in 2009 and who call themselves Tea Partiers consider themselves grassroots, but the movement is by definition top-down and was always meant to harness the more radical elements and the activist base of the Republican Party without having to take ownership of them and the inevitable negative reactions they engender. It's a way to get the Birchers and the Southern Strategy together and at the same time outside the blame of the Republican Party proper.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2011


Nothing uploaded in pdf form yet, ob1quixote, but some photos of The Occupied Wall Street Journal are here:

front
inside pages
back

It's not a polished replica of the WSJ because the production time to get the paper put together and out of the door was a few hours in the middle of the night, so a lot of design corners were cut to make it happen, but I'm (perhaps incorrectly) assuming the next issues will hew closer to WSJ standards (and yes it warmed the cockles of my deeply cynical heart as well).
posted by stagewhisper at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell the first mention of the Tea Party was by Rick Santelli

First public mention in the media, that is.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2011


First of all, there were plenty of 9/11 truthers and other nonsense at teaparty rallies. They just didn't get covered that way, other then on liberal/democratic partisan blogs (Look at talking points memo, for example)

The tea party had corporate people managing their 'official' messaging.

--
believe me, if rental properties were not profitable there would be no rental properties.
The difference is RISK. When you own properties to rent, there's a risk that people might not rent from you. Or that the physical building will deteriorate. If your tennants lose their jobs you get screwed.

When you own a mortage the home owner takes the risk. There's the risk premium, you have to pay more to avoid risk and when times are good people taking risks make more money. But when times are bad the people with the risk get fucked.

And then of course when the market does go bad everyone calls those home owners who were suckered in with the kind of propaganda that says you should always buy instead of 'throwing money away' (never mind you give a huge chunk of money to the bank if you get a mortage) now get called 'idiots' who 'made bad choices' because now they're fucked. They own a house they can't make payments on, and on top of that stuff may go wrong and they'll need to fix it.

The other very important thing is that during the housing bubble, the cost of buying homes skyrocketed, but the rental costs didn't. Which could very well mean paying more money overall then someone who rents.

So say your rent is $1000 a month, compared to say a 30 year mortgage that costs $1000 a month. According to this mortgage calculator for someone with good credit and a $180k home will have paid $415k overall. They'll end up having paid $158k to the bank and $67k to the government (with a 1.25% property tax)

So really it's a huge lie that you 'don't' give away free money when you have a mortgage. You do, about half of it.

And with the housing market price crash, that means you're actually left with even less equity then where you started. Had you rented an appartment and invested the money, or without inflation just stuffed it under the mattress you can, from a mathematical standpoint, be better off.

The problem is that people don't think about the actual dollars and sense, just whether or not you're 'giving your money away'
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh Look Who Just Donated an Unprecedented 4.6 Million Dollars to NYPD To Strengthen Security in NYC Out of The Kindness of Their Hearts

Nothing to see here folks, move along!


Jesus christ, what's the date on that "donation" ?
posted by odinsdream at 1:04 PM on October 1, 2011


Marchers have taken over the brooklyn bridge and police have kettled them there. Live feed is pretty amazing and about to go down at any minute since OWS media is surrounded. Looks like mass arrests in 3...2...1

intermittent live feed:
http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
posted by stagewhisper at 1:42 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know very many people who actually own their home. I know a lot of people who pay their rent to the bank, though, and the bank's a shitty landlord who won't ever make repairs.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:46 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


stagewhisper: "Marchers have taken over the brooklyn bridge and police have kettled them there. Live feed is pretty amazing and about to go down at any minute since OWS media is surrounded. Looks like mass arrests in 3...2...1

intermittent live feed:
http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
"

I'm not really seeing what exactly the people being pulled out of the crowd are being arrested for. What did the little girl (and I mean little, like maybe 10 or 11) do?
posted by ob1quixote at 1:58 PM on October 1, 2011


Well, okay not little little, but still not an adolescent. A child.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:01 PM on October 1, 2011


I think they plan on arresting everyone on the bridge, starting with the front row. Could take a couple days.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2011


The problem is that people don't think about the actual dollars and sense, just whether or not you're 'giving your money away'

Agreed. You only get to count the actual equity being put into the house, not the mortgage payment which is 99% interest at the beginning.
posted by benzenedream at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2011


I'm not really seeing what exactly the people being pulled out of the crowd are being arrested for.

If it's anything like most other protests, nothing but trumped up charges which will mostly be dismissed. The conviction is not the point of the arrest, however- it's to break up the protest and discourage further participation.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:03 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nothing to see here folks, move along!

Wow! Just like the movies!
posted by Trochanter at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2011


In all of this, I wish there was more attention on the issue of money in political campaigns. if we could have elections that were more substantial choice than between corporatefundedpartymember1 and corporatefundedpartymember2, we might get some people in office who care about people. my vote doesn't count if i can't give millions to my candidate.

I wrote a letter but I don't know who to send it to that would really make any difference. there is no incentive for the people currently in power to change things.

it's terrible.
posted by sarahj at 2:36 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]




I can't speak for every high school student out there, but in the late 80s I got a crazy amount of pressure from my parents to go to college. I don't think I had any particular goals or dreams of the future, but my dad started telling me about all the money I could make and I was hooked.

My dad started when we were in elementary school. "What are you going to do with your life?" being the constant question; his implication always being that if we didn't get a college education we were dead to him, followed up by the declaration that he wasn't going to pay for our educations. Well.

So now I'm in grad school because there is no job market for people with a BS in psychology, and 25k+ in debt because why. Because I was socialized into the belief that going to college is what you do. There was never another option presented to me. So yeah, I took the loans; but I also worked my ass off to keep my debt down (at one point I was working three jobs and going to school).

I fail to see completely why there's so much railing against people for taking out college loans. College has become, in some ways, a societal expectation. In my experience there is a certain amount of shaming that goes along with not getting a degree (this may just be the circles I move in, but still). You can't blame individuals for going along with societal expectations that they've been socialized into, even if it means making less-than-optimal fiscal decisions. Broadly, this could be said to be a sad, sad case of operant conditioning.
posted by clavier at 2:45 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


And sure, maybe that dream of a not luxurious but sustainable life doing what I loved was sheer folly on my part

This, folks. An economy is a tool, a system for distributing goods and resources and organizing labor. It is not too much to want an economic system that will guarantee a livable, sustainable, if not luxurious life to everyone, and that will also allow for human dignity. Bread and roses.
posted by eviemath at 2:51 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Live Stream at The Bridge, noisy.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 2:57 PM on October 1, 2011


Truthout - Five Ways Occupy Wall Street Has Succeeded
posted by flex at 3:03 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


NYTimes - Police Arresting Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge
posted by flex at 3:14 PM on October 1, 2011


So I'm supposed to feel sorry for people who have made bad choices in their lives? I feel sorry for them for not having been coached to live within their means, something that alot of us HAVE been able to do AND get post graduate degrees.
posted by TheBones at 1:17 PM on September 30 [6 favorites +] [!]


Oh, jesus. For the record, this person isn't me. I am the 99 percent.
posted by the_bone at 3:19 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]




Woman tells @democracynow reporter that police instructed them to cross the bridge

This is also increasingly common at large protests. The police instruct the protesters to go in a certain direction, and when they end up at a desired location they start kettling and arresting.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:48 PM on October 1, 2011


Oh Look Who Just Donated an Unprecedented 4.6 Million Dollars to NYPD To Strengthen Security in NYC Out of The Kindness of Their Hearts .

You heard 'em boys. Time to crack some heads.
posted by formless at 3:49 PM on October 1, 2011


This is also increasingly common at large protests. The police instruct the protesters to go in a certain direction, and when they end up at a desired location they start kettling and arresting.

Yeah. What sucks is that there are then unsympathetic comments that act as though the protesters deserve arrest for blocking the bridge.
posted by salvia at 3:51 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the last several weeks, I've been able to find anecdotal reporting about the people speaking out at Occupy Wall Street.

There are those who didn't go to college and can't find full employment.
There are those who went to college and have huge debts and can't find employment.
There are those who went to second tier colleges and can't find employment.

And these stories I found on mainstream news sites with comments turned on, and so they all have a snarkfest at the bottom.

Didn't go to college? Your fault, loser. Should have gone to college.
Went to an expensive college? Idiot. Should have gone to a cheaper school.
Went to a cheap college? Loser. Should have gotten into a better one. No wonder nobody gives your BA a 2nd glance.

Studied the humanities? Your fault for taking a gut class. Studied computer science? Learh Hindi and leave, nerd boy. Studied engineering? Don't you know we're post-industrial, pencil neck?

And now apparently military veterans are going to show up at Occupy Wall Street. So that encompasses every path a 17 year old has available to him.

I happen to know a few 17 year olds. I am at a complete loss at what to tell them to do. It seems all their "life choices" are bound to lead them to ruin and it will be THEIR GODDAMN FAULT.
posted by ocschwar at 3:56 PM on October 1, 2011 [27 favorites]


Going down to Wall St. and demanding an end to greed is sort of like marching on Selma and demanding an end to racism.

Um....if memory serves, marching on Selma was rather helpful.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:03 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh? So racism's been over since 1965? What a relief!

Those marches were very clearly about voting rights for African Americans. In fact, "The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail." Not "The Selma to Montgomery end of racism trail."

That was my point. They were very clear about their goals, and very organized in pursuing them. As usual, you missed the point.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:10 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Riiiiiiight. Well, cool for you then, to sir with millipedes, just wait for the next mass outpouring with a slightly more-honed message, and in the meantime, just sit back and criticize this one and insult people here. Good plan. Certainly will allow you to feel more superior than trying to accomplish anything.
posted by salvia at 4:14 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Studied the humanities? Your fault for taking a gut class.

Eh ... what is a gut class? Never heard the term.

I happen to know a few 17 year olds. I am at a complete loss at what to tell them to do. It seems all their "life choices" are bound to lead them to ruin and it will be THEIR GODDAMN FAULT.

Well, for one, don't say the types of things people post on news sites. I think Steinbeck had a point when he talked about people in the US believing themselves to be embarrassed millionaires, so social movements always encounter a good amount of resistance from the status quo, but there is no need to stoop to someone else's low standards and wallow in cynicism. That is also not to say we should accept the situation as it is. I don't think you can convince all the people who will try to cut someone down any time they try to do something to improve our lot, such as taking part in a protest. That's not what these movements are about anyway.

I've come to accept that there will be a sizable percentage of people for whom nothing will be worthwhile except keeping your head down and encouraging others to do the same, get along go along at all costs, USA love it or leave it, etc. But fuck them, really. Who wants to guide their lives by such principles? They'll be there in good times and bad, so ignore them, because they're not worth your time or energy.

As to what to do ... hell, I don't know except to get involved and in the meantime plan for the life and work you really want and not what other people are telling you is the life you should want. I am planning on a sustainable farm as a long term goal at this point. It's not going to pay a lot and requires a lot of hard work and some outlay for the land, but I accept that and am looking at a few parts of the country which are still affordable to do such a thing. I am learning artisan skills to get by in addition and have ideas related to the farm, plus I can always fall back on IT work in case I need extra income (not as a career anymore). But it's a better life than the ones I see saddled by higher education debt with little except prospects which really don't interest me. My time on the rat race treadmill left me nothing except depressed and exhausted. The life I choose now is not for everyone, but the lives many other people lead will never be right for me either.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:15 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you read my comment earlier? If you had, might have found that I dropped by Liberty Plaza today and I am pretty much supportive of the movement, in spite of my criticisms of lack of message. It wasn't really all that critical. I was criticizing callipygos for being willfully obtuse.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:17 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I take it back. I was actually just scrolling back down to comment that I just saw your earlier comment (or rather, that it was you who had made it). I respect that you went out there and that you were willing to shift your opinion. I still don't think "as usual, you missed the point," is a good tone to take, but my comment was as bad or worse, so you have my apologies.
posted by salvia at 4:21 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I was being a dick too. Apologies all around.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just got clarification on that huge donation: It happened in June before any of this started. So yeah, the NYPD is beholden to Corporate Wall Street but this isn't a sudden influx of $$ in the last week or two.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:30 PM on October 1, 2011


....Well, that was the easiest defense of my statement I've ever had to make...

(For the record, Millipedes, my comment wasn't made out of a sense of "the march on Selma fixed everything," more that "it may not have done the deed entirely, but it sure did help rather a bit." Which -- as you'll note -- is why I say it was "helpful".)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 PM on October 1, 2011


If nothing else, I hope Occupy Wall Street and associated efforts can help turn people's isolation and shame into solidarity and activism.

This is Consciousness Raising 101. All historic movements look well-organized, coordinated and effective ... in retrospect. When in the middle of them, Kiddies, they are giant clusterfucks. (Apologies to the other vets who've been there, done that, know the drill).

Occupy Wall Street is birthing -- about in early-labor pains ... waves of pain! And there is a lot of crazy talk as the body-public is experiencing the 'transition' stage.

The Feminist movement, civil rights, anti-war, environmentalists -- all had difficult births. All had infighting and chaos. They learned to breathe together (con-spiracy) -- and learned to nurture self-awareness. They shared stories (and shame) -- they learned to recognize and REJECT the years and years of insults and labeling. Black became beautiful; women became powerful; war was no longer glorious; the earth became the fragile blue marble floating in space.

The poor have decades and decades of insults and labeling to face -- and to shake off. Poor will be the new Proud.
posted by Surfurrus at 4:34 PM on October 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


Just got clarification on that huge donation: It happened in June before any of this started. So yeah, the NYPD is beholden to Corporate Wall Street but this isn't a sudden influx of $$ in the last week or two.

a donation of a few million is not a huge amount of money here , relatively speaking. NYPD annual budget is in the region of $4 to $5 billion. There's probably an increased effort going into seeking philanthrophic donations because of looming budget cuts by the city.
posted by Bwithh at 5:21 PM on October 1, 2011


Disappointing to hear about the actions on the bridge. I would be inclined to believe those who said the police purposefully (if passively) allowed people to enter the bridge in order to detain and arrest them. I've been to enough parades in NYC to know that there's a cop every 15 feet telling you where you can and cannot go- go to the freakin' Halloween parade and it's clear there are streets you can walk on and streets that are completely closed to all traffic, including pedestrians. Allowing pedestrians onto the car portion of the bridge could have been extremely dangerous if people in the crowd started to panic and try to climb back to the pedestrian portion, as there's nothing between those sections and people could have fallen (correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think there's any good way for people to travel between the two sections). If there were enough cops present to control the crowds on the bridge to prevent that from happening, there were enough to spread the message among the crowd not to go on the bridge in the 1st place. And if you knew you'd be spending time on the bridge making arrests, it was closed anyway, let the people walk.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:30 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Got about half way through this thread and got too depressed, so I'm going to watch a couple of episodes of The Wire and remember the good old days.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:58 PM on October 1, 2011


Meow Wall Street

Also, Know Your Meme has an interesting history of #OccupyWallStreet.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:25 PM on October 1, 2011


I think the cynicism about the protest is that the protesters are mostly from a demographic that's doing OK. Sure, you can't graduate from college during a recession and immediately buy a house and a car and start living the middle class lifestyle. These days, you'll probably be living with roommates and taking the bus for a couple of years first. But the unemployment rate for college grads is still remarkably low, and even with the high cost of tuition going to college is still a profitable decision for most people.

The people who are getting really hurt by this recession are the people who didn't go to college, the people who, in a better economy, would have had perfectly serviceable blue-collar careers. But they can't afford to go to Manhattan and protest for a couple of weeks. Hence the cynicism.
posted by miyabo at 6:36 PM on October 1, 2011


But the unemployment rate for college grads is still remarkably low,

Do you have a citation for this? I'd be interested in a breakdown in unemployment that includes this kind of metric.
posted by odinsdream at 6:43 PM on October 1, 2011


Here's a nice chart
posted by miyabo at 6:48 PM on October 1, 2011


miyabo, as far as I learned it in history class, it's never the poor that start these things. The poor are too busy being poor. These things start in the middle class. That's how it works.

Puff Puff Puff. Grow, little fire, grow.
posted by Trochanter at 6:56 PM on October 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


That chart says it's for ages 25+.
posted by eviemath at 7:01 PM on October 1, 2011


Also, a college graduate working as a cashier at Walmart is "employed", however probably not making enough to simultaneously eat, get a roof over their head, *and* pay student loans. How many of these employed college graduates are in total shit jobs that they don't even need a high school diploma to perform? (Of course the employer may require a diploma, but that doesn't mean you need high-school-level skills to perform the job).
posted by marble at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people who are getting really hurt by this recession are the people who didn't go to college, the people who, in a better economy, would have had perfectly serviceable blue-collar careers. But they can't afford to go to Manhattan and protest for a couple of weeks.

I get this, and I think we do want to make sure that in a protest like this, the voices of the truly poor don't get overwhelmed. But also, from each according to her ability, etc. If the middle class has the time and money to spend getting attention for causes that matter for everyone, then I think they should spend it.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:22 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the middle class has the time and money to spend getting attention for causes that matter for everyone, then I think they should spend it.

I agree with this.

Probably like most Mefites, I have a lot of friends and family who are college educated and have had serious trouble with unemployment/underemployment in this recession. It sucks! But it's useful to remember that poorest people in this country actually lost a much larger fraction of their income compared to middle-class people, and suffered a much greater increase in unemployment. For some of us it's a mild recession that will be over in a year or two, for others it's another Great Depression.
posted by miyabo at 9:59 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


700 people arrested on the bridge. I'm not sure if I feel relieved or guilty that I opted to not go in to the plaza today and sit this one out.

video of a few of the arrest highlighlights

Oh look, in 1992 another large group of protesters, not nearly as well-behaved, marched across the brooklyn bridge, shutting it down. Nobody was arrested then, for some reason. I wonder why that was?
posted by stagewhisper at 11:03 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Protesting is effectively illegal now. It's not against any law on the books, but it certainly seems like authorities are just as likely to police according to laws that don't exist as they are to ignore infractions against laws that do. What a great time to be poor and lawyerless in America!
posted by tehloki at 11:14 PM on October 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think we do want to make sure that in a protest like this, the voices of the truly poor don't get overwhelmed.

Totally agree with this. Ideally, it would represent the diversity of voices of the poor, rather than being one cultural "flavor." I was talking to someone today about how this movement could take another huge leap forward if they could gain some Red State spokespeople. And I found one commenter on the Occupy Wall Street blog offering to help translate their stuff into Spanish, which is a great idea. (I was so excited to see this and so disappointed that it wasn't related: Quiénes somos? El noventa y nueve por ciento.)
posted by salvia at 12:27 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given the events of yesterday and the past week, I've got one for them to add to the list:
On October 2nd, it is clear that the bunker mentality among those who wear the shield and carry the baton is inimical to a free society.

Ending the militarization of police is our one demand.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:59 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, you can't graduate from college during a recession and immediately buy a house and a car and start living the middle class lifestyle. These days, you'll probably be living with roommates and taking the bus for a couple of years first.

A couple of years?

You live with roommates until you move in with a girlfriend/boyfriend. You continue to rent. It seems like the condo/house buying has started, slowly, for my friends in their mid-30s. But it's still just a trickle.

Granted, this is a city, so home ownership is not held at a premium. But even just having roommates is common until the late 20's for many. Instead of buying a house, the new gold-standard of 'adulthood' is being to rent a decent non-studio apartment all on your own.
posted by Windigo at 8:44 AM on October 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


miyabo- Totally anecdotal, but I finished my MS in 2009, and have been under or unemployed ever since. Just got my 3rd 'placeholder' job of the last 2.5ish years.

The unemployment for college students isn't too bad, but I think the underemployment is far worse than any statistic can show. All of those kids from the original link with signs saying 'I work 2 minimum-wage jobs and am drowning in student loan debt...etc' are counted as employed. I will be counted as employed, even though I wouldn't be able to cover my own expenses if I weren't living with my parents. I don't think the unemployment rate even begins to tell the story. Myself and people like me aren't making anything close to a living. And I am in the very fortunate situation of having no student loan debt. I can't even imagine what my life would be like if I had 5-6 figures of student loan debt....yikes.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 8:48 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huffington Post (eyewitness account of what happened at the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday) - Occupy Wall Street Arrests: An Eyewitness View

Short video (14 sec) of the police leading the protesters onto the Bridge is here
Full video (~9 min) of the police leading the protesters (same uploader) is here

(via dejah420)
posted by flex at 10:14 AM on October 2, 2011


miyabo : Here's a nice chart

Great find! Though somewhat predictable, I think (higher educated people can do menial work, so you basically have a set of progressively more exclusive work going to those qualified for it.

That said, I'd love to see a similar chart showing percent underemployment for the cert/AA/BS groups - That I suspect would look pretty damned bleak.


eviemath : That chart says it's for ages 25+

...ie, the age at which people typically have exited college (PhDs excluded, though we have few enough of them I doubt they skew the numbers much) and found employment in their field.


tehloki : Protesting is effectively illegal now.

Our right to protest died with the courts allowing "free speech zones". Nothing new here.
posted by pla at 10:16 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW numerous labor unions are joining in this particular protest.

Labor Movement Rolls Into Wall Street Occupation

USW Supports the 'Occupy Wall Street' Protest Movement
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on October 2, 2011


I'd love to see a similar chart showing percent underemployment for the cert/AA/BS groups

I don't know how you could reliably get this information. Wages for college grads are down only about 5% since 2000, so if underemployment is a huge problem it's not a new problem.

That chart says it's for ages 25+

The reason it's over 25 is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics tabulates data for 16-24 differently, keeping track of school enrollment status. Which makes sense from there perspective, since a 22-year-old without a college degree might never be getting one or might be a month away. Sadly the data for 16-24 is not released in a big database along with the over-25 statistics.
posted by miyabo at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The author of Too Big to Fail is unimpressed: New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin Sneers At Wall Street Protesters, Estimates Only 80 There
posted by homunculus at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2011


If only 80 were there how did they arrest >700?
posted by Big_B at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


What are people supposed to do when it becomes clear that peaceful protests and non-violence marches have been made to be completely useless or even antithetical to activist safety?
posted by fuq at 12:11 PM on October 2, 2011




What are people supposed to do when it becomes clear that peaceful protests and non-violence marches have been made to be completely useless or even antithetical to activist safety?

Amplify. Use the old theatrical trick when something isn't working: make it bigger. It's just not big enough yet, that's all.
posted by stagewhisper at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2011


When people critique this movement and say spurious things about the protesters' clothes or their jobs or the general way they look, they are showing how shallow we have become as a nation.
Mark Ruffalo has spent the last two days at the Occupy Wall Street gathering and writes in the Guardian
posted by adamvasco at 12:54 PM on October 2, 2011




Ah...sneaky new Occupy Wall Street thread. Found you!
posted by Skygazer at 1:27 PM on October 2, 2011


My pal Molly Crabapple has been out doing drawings in the square for a few hours now.....I'm hoping she doesn't get arrested.
posted by The Whelk at 3:32 PM on October 2, 2011


One can only hope these people become the Tea Party for the left.
posted by Jasper McLean at 4:27 PM on October 2, 2011


The Tea Party is a fully owned and bought and paid for political subsidiary of these corrupt Machiavellian Corprofascist brothers, so I truly truly hope not.
posted by Skygazer at 4:51 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Carlin on why we should Occupy Wall Street

I've seen this a few places the last couple of days, and I have to say it's misrepresenting Carlin. Taken in context, that rant is about how the game is already over, and that the vast majority of Americans were screwed from birth and cannot and will not change the way they think. It's not a big deal, but I'm pretty sure that Carlin wouldn't want to be used as a tool to promote protests he would see as pointless and hopeless. (I mean, the closer from from that special is about how Carlin wants to watch the world burn). I think the essay Metzger writes is pretty accurate, it's just the headline that is wrong.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:53 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's an interesting tweet from the Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and C Street explaining why he's just packed up the family car and is heading to Occupy Wall Street.

The Whelk, nobody, I mean *nobody* is getting arrested for sitting in the square drawing. I wish the fear surrounding this would subside enough that it's not seen as an act of stupidity or bravery to be there, but instead a rational decision. ;)
posted by stagewhisper at 5:20 PM on October 2, 2011


The Whelk, nobody, I mean *nobody* is getting arrested for sitting in the square drawing. I wish the fear surrounding this would subside enough that it's not seen as an act of stupidity or bravery to be there, but instead a rational decision. ;)

Huge numbers of people have been arrested without cause, apparently indiscriminately, at this event and others like it over the past few years.
posted by odinsdream at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2011


I really loathe how tumblr combines "reblogs" with comments in the "notes" count. I want to see a discussion of some post and all I get is a bunch of pointless +1s.
posted by Joe Chip at 7:56 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]




A little bit of history repeating itself...
Led by WALTER WATERS of Oregon, the so-called Bonus Expeditionary Force set out for the nation's capital. Hitching rides, hopping trains, and hiking finally brought the Bonus Army, now 15,000 strong, into the capital in June 1932. Although President Hoover refused to address them, the veterans did find an audience with a congressional delegation. Soon a debate began in the Congress over whether to meet the demonstrators' demands.

As deliberation continued on Capitol Hill, the Bonus Army built a SHANTYTOWN across the Potomac River in ANACOSTIA FLATS. When the Senate rejected their demands on June 17, most of the veterans dejectedly returned home. But several thousand remained in the capital with their families. Many had nowhere else to go. The Bonus Army conducted itself with decorum and spent their vigil unarmed.
More about the big demonstration you never heard of that took place during the last Depression.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 PM on October 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't gotten the impression, from any of the reporting, that a single one of the "1%ers" has cared in the least about this.

That's kind of frustrating. Albeit entirely expected.
posted by meese at 10:17 PM on October 2, 2011


More about the big demonstration you never heard of

I'm pretty sure they covered this in my highschool history classes.
posted by delmoi at 2:55 AM on October 3, 2011


It's not a big deal, but I'm pretty sure that Carlin wouldn't want to be used as a tool to promote protests he would see as pointless and hopeless. (I mean, the closer from from that special is about how Carlin wants to watch the world burn).
I think he would at least be entertained by it. He said you shouldn't vote (because voting is an endorsement of the system), he never said you shouldn't protest, as far as I can tell.
posted by delmoi at 2:57 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Donate
Find an occupy event in your city (US and international!), or organize one and have it added to the list
Watch live and pre-recorded videos of this and related protests

Donations are tax-deductible. You can order food to be delivered, send a care package to their box at the local UPS store or donate a check or money order, if you prefer.

They're going to need cold weather supplies soon - I just ordered one of these sleeping bags from REI.com and had it delivered to their UPS Store address - not much, but every little bit helps.
posted by syzygy at 3:30 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't gotten the impression, from any of the reporting, that a single one of the "1%ers" has cared in the least about this.

Oh quite the contrary. At this very moment, the NYTimes has a video on its home page from Mr. Nicholas 1% Kristof with his own commentary. It starts off by declaring how he's the expert because he just spent time abroad with Arab Spring uprisings (which I might point out is merely a continuation of the "Color Uprisings" between 2000 and 2005). He interviews a few protestors and then says the protesters are flatly wrong because "banks and corporations raise our standard of living." That's a direct quote. Well, Mr 1%, they're raising YOUR standard of living, not mine.

Then he condemns the protesters as incoherent, and lays out his 3 part plan: Implement a financial transaction tax, eliminating the Carried Interest Loophole, and reducing (oh no not eliminate) the Capital Gains Tax rate, and increasing financial regulation on banks.

What a load of crap. This stuff has nothing to do with the goals of the protest. Kristof briefly mentions "privatizing profits and socializing losses" and THAT is the problem. The big banks took huge risks and took huge profits, and when their system to suck money out of the economy collapsed, they got billions in bailouts with no accountability, and the citizens paid for it with their tax dollars and with their own loss of income and wealth. The rich got richer off the middle class and even the poor.

But Kristof had one thing right in his video. He interviews a young man who says he wants someone to he held accountable for corruption, and says "someone needs to be marched out of their office in handcuffs." And instead, we get 700 protesters removed from the public streets in handcuffs.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:53 AM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't gotten the impression, from any of the reporting, that a single one of the "1%ers" has cared in the least about this.

It's only been a couple weeks. Most of the 1%ers probably assumed they'd be petering out and going home about now; it's about NOW that they're going to start finally taking a closer look and thinking, "wait, this actually may be a THING."

I'm pretty sure they covered this in my highschool history classes.

You're the exception rather than the rule. Most people in here have reported that their high schools barely made it through the Civil War, and if any did cover the Great Depression it was glossed over as a purely economic thing.

Also, consider: one of the factors that lead to the Great Depression was out-of-control real estate speculation. If we'd covered the Great Depression more sufficiently in your average high school history class, do you think we'd be in the mess we're in now in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:20 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]




Donations are tax-deductible.
Really? I think donations need to be to a registered charity with a specific tax code in order to be tax deductible.
posted by delmoi at 11:16 AM on October 3, 2011


delmoi: I think donations need to be to a registered charity with a specific tax code in order to be tax deductible.

My understanding is that the donation will go to The Alliance for Global Justice, which claims to be a 501(c)(3) non profit, but I'm not affiliated with anyone involved, so I'm just taking them at their word.

The Alliance for Global Justice is a tax-exempt non-profit under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. As such, donations to projects of the AFGJ are fully tax-deductible on the donor’s federal income tax. For an Administrative Fee of 7%, the Alliance for Global Justice offers fiscal sponsorship for grassroots non-profits which agree with our Vision and Mission Statements but do not have their own 501(c)(3) status, thus making donations to those projects tax-deductible to the donor as well.
posted by syzygy at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2011


That last paragraph in my previous comment should have been italicized, since it's a quote from The Alliance for Global Justice website. Those aren't my words.
posted by syzygy at 11:27 AM on October 3, 2011


syzygy : Donations are tax-deductible.

...Until the DHS declares this a terrorist organization and your donations magically become "material support" overnight. ;)


More seriously... Yes, you can write off donations to a 501(c)(3). You have to actually donate to the 501(c)(3), and the money has to flow through their books, for you to claim it as a tax writeoff.

Direct-dropping a sleeping bag doesn't count.
posted by pla at 4:36 PM on October 3, 2011


Our right to protest died with the courts allowing "free speech zones". Nothing new here.

A lot of people give Rev. Al Sharpton a lot of flack, some of it deserved, but one thing I love about him is that he never gets a permit to hold a protest. He just does it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:13 PM on October 3, 2011




More seriously... Yes, you can write off donations to a 501(c)(3). You have to actually donate to the 501(c)(3), and the money has to flow through their books, for you to claim it as a tax writeoff.

IIRC, you also have to contribute at least $2500 total to such organizations over the course of the year to qualify for a charitable deduction. You don't have to contribute $2500 to one org but altogether your contributions must be at least that much, otherwise you don't get the tax deduction.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:41 PM on October 3, 2011


krinklyfig : IIRC, you also have to contribute at least $2500 total to such organizations

That may hold true in some situations, but not in general (in the US). You can pretty much claim a single dollar's worth of donations to GoodWill on your schedule-A, with no minimum cap.
posted by pla at 5:51 PM on October 3, 2011


Any 501(c)3 donation is deductible. However, it only benefits you if your total deductions are greater than the standard deduction ($5,800), which in about 90% of cases is only going to happen if you own a home.
posted by miyabo at 5:52 PM on October 3, 2011


miyabo : Any 501(c)3 donation is deductible. However, it only benefits you if your total deductions are greater than the standard deduction ($5,800), which in about 90% of cases is only going to happen if you own a home.

Ah, fair point, and quite possible what krinklyfig meant. I personally never itemized before buying a house, and even with one, only just barely come out better by doing so.
posted by pla at 5:57 PM on October 3, 2011


top headline on CNN.com just now!
Occupying Wall Street, demanding accountability
posted by flex at 6:29 PM on October 3, 2011


Occupy Wall Street Activist Slams Fox News Producer In Un-Aired Interview

Wow. Was he prepared for that? He was very eloquent, given the circumstances. I'm impressed.
posted by meese at 6:48 PM on October 3, 2011


That may hold true in some situations, but not in general (in the US). You can pretty much claim a single dollar's worth of donations to GoodWill on your schedule-A, with no minimum cap.

Hmm. That's odd. I tried that when filing this year for 2010 and couldn't claim any deductions in charitable donations because it was less than $2500 total. I was doing one of those online tax services, so maybe they got it wrong. Also, IANA accountant, but I've filled out my share of unusual tax forms for various reasons and usually do my own. But I would concede it's very possible I'm wrong about it. Will check on that later tonight so as to be able to claim it next time if I can.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:57 PM on October 3, 2011


Any 501(c)3 donation is deductible. However, it only benefits you if your total deductions are greater than the standard deduction ($5,800), which in about 90% of cases is only going to happen if you own a home.

Aha! Bingo. So that's why. In my case the $2500 was what was left of the standard deduction when other deductions were taken out. OK. Nevermind the figure I gave. miyabo has it.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:00 PM on October 3, 2011


I just saw a bit of CNN where Erin Burnett was basically mocking the protesters, saying that 1) They didn't have any specific demands (which is completely false) and 2) That they were waiting for a 'massia like figure', and then compared it to the hysteria for Obama. That seems totally absurd to me. Some of their demands are less realistic then others, and there are probably way to many specific things, but to say they don't have any specific demands seems completely wrong.

Still, the dismissive, mocking tone of the report was really grating.

And yeah, standard deduction. It's nice, but it means that whether or not something is tax deductible is irrelevant for people who don't have a ton of tax deductions already.
posted by delmoi at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burnett has been accused of being an apologist for Wall Street before, so that isn't surprising.
posted by homunculus at 8:52 PM on October 3, 2011


That Burnett piece was so dumb. TARP has been paid off so everything is fine?? Idiot.
posted by Skygazer at 10:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


pla: Yes, you can write off donations to a 501(c)(3). You have to actually donate to the 501(c)(3), and the money has to flow through their books, for you to claim it as a tax writeoff.

Not to get too far off on the tax-deductibility derail, but I'm pretty sure this is why they're funneling online donations through the AFGJ, which claims to be a 501(c)(3). Since those donations are going to a 501(c)(3), they should be deductible.

Direct-dropping a sleeping bag doesn't count.

I'm not so sure about this. I've watched them open packages on the live stream. They seem to be keeping records of who's donated what articles. If they provide receipts from the AFGJ for those in-kind donations, those doing the donating should be able to claim deductions, if my limited understanding of these things is correct (cf. clothing donations to Goodwill).

I'm not too worried about it, personally - I'm paying taxes zum Österreichischen Bundesministerium für Finanzen, so none of my donations will be deductible, anyway.
posted by syzygy at 1:51 AM on October 4, 2011


That Burnett piece was so dumb. TARP has been paid off so everything is fine?? Idiot.
Yeah, she missed the point that TARP was paid back by laundering money from the fed to the treasury and letting the banks take a cut. There was a great Daily Show segment covering this a while back. It's not something I can Google up in a second though.

What annoyed me even more about the segment (I only caught part of it) was the smugness of the whole thing. Would anyone on CNN have been so smug and dismissive of the Tea Party when that thing was getting rolling?
posted by delmoi at 6:40 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]






Chris Hedges has a real tub-thumper of a piece up now about OWS:

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

Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good.

posted by emjaybee at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Occupy Wall Street FAQ from The Nation
posted by mrgrimm at 11:08 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Movement is Born from Adbusters.

(IMO, this whole thing puts a sock in the mouth of all those griefers who say "Adbusters talks big shit but doesn't do anything." Go Kalle.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:19 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]




Awesome, really awesome that OWS is allowing the purposes and goals of the movement develop organically. It's crowdsourcing of the best sort from articulate people like Tripp, Hedges and Klein, all articulating essentially the same zeitgeist. It ensures that the movement has it's priorities straight and doesn't put the cart in front of the horse, so to speak.
posted by Skygazer at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oct. 5th - Occupy Wall Street Solidarity March

WHAT: Community and labor march to Occupy Wall Street


WHEN: Wednesday, 10/5 from 4:30pm – 7:30pm

WHERE: City Hall Park (meet at the fountain) and ending at Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza

GETTING THERE: Take the 4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall or the R, W to City Hall.


posted by Human's Nephew at 2:33 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]




How to Occupy an Abstraction

It is an occupation which, almost uniquely, does not have demands. It has at its core a suggestion: what if people came together and found a way to structure a conversation which might come up with a better way to run the world? Could they do any worse than the way it is run by the combined efforts of Wall Street as rentier class and Wall Street as computerized vectors trading intangible assets?

Some commentators have seen the modesty of this request as a weakness of Occupy Wall Street. They want a list of demands, and they are not shy about proposing some. But perhaps the best thing about Occupy Wall Street is its reluctance to make demands. What's left of pseudo-politics in the United States is full of demands. To reduce the debt, to cut taxes, to abolish regulations. Nobody even bothers with much justification for these any more. It is just sort of assumed that only what matters to the rentier class matters at all.

Its not that the rentier class buys politicians in America. Why bother when you can rent them by the hour? In this context, the most interesting thing about Occupy Wall Street is its suggestion that the main thing that's lacking is not demands, but process. What is lacking is politics itself.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but there really is no politics in the United States. There is exploitation, oppression, inequality, violence, there are rumors that there might still be a state. But there is no politics. There is only the semblance of politics. Its mostly just professionals renting influence to favor their interests. The state is no longer even capable of negotiating the common interests of its ruling class.

posted by charlie don't surf at 3:03 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know, "occupying an abstraction" fits -- I mean, we've been at war with an abstraction for ten years now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]




Smithsonian: Anger and Anarchy on Wall Street

Before the turn of the 20th century, the emotions directed toward the financial barons of New York were anything but peaceful. The vast concentration wealth among a powerful few at the expense of laborers and their unions resonated with many Americans, leading to terrorism by anarchists, including assassination attempts on some of the country’s most famous multimillionaires.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]






Related, somewhat, to Tomasky's plea: LA lawmakers support occupation.

I went down to the protests, and would have gotten more involved if I hadn't had a total blowout on my bike tire, but it was nice to see that the council members largely supported the occupation. And, as far as I know, there hasn't been any move to sic the cops on them — the police interaction has been limited to the cops hanging signs saying that the park is closed after 10 P.M., but making no real effort to enforce that. I'm more worried that the rains today will be a damper — LA's terrible at dealing with any sort of inclement weather.
posted by klangklangston at 12:33 PM on October 5, 2011


I've said it before: college, home ownership, and retirement are twentieth-century concepts.


i hate it when i see people saying this about home ownership. if middle class people don't own their homes, who does? the rich do, that's who...saying something like this is a huge cop-out. it amounts to saying "i'm happy with the rich taking all of the nation's assets for themselves." that's BS.


JoeBlough, I think you misinterpreted me. I'm not saying that we've decided that college, home ownership, and retirement aren't good ideas -- I think economic forces are going to make those decisions for us. Perhaps they've made them already.

I'd love nothing more than for my son to go to college, but I have a bad feeling it'll be economically impossible in a couple decades. I'd love to own my own home, but I can't for the life of me understand how that might happen. And don't get me started on retirement...
posted by incessant at 12:48 PM on October 5, 2011


Oh FFS, Tomasky delivers his displeasure on behalf of the liberal Punditocracy, and tells them what they should be doing. He says they should learn the lessons of the Tea Party, and thus become their enemy. I was particularly offended by this:

And finally, don’t fight the man. Maybe in 1968 in Grant Park, the cops were pigs. Today, the cops aren’t pigs. They aren’t the man. They’re working stiffs, and they’re part of the 99 percent. They have underwater mortgages in Ronkonkoma and Orangeburg. Don’t make them arrest you. Make them part of the 99 percent.

Right, tell the people who got maced that NYPD Officer Bologna isn't "The Man." These guys were working stiffs, but now they have been militarized and believe they have duty to punish "wrongdoers." I read a report from an arrested protester who was a military veteran and the NYPD showed him respect and deference because he was wearing military insignia, and signaling he was a vet. THIS is what The Man respects: power, and the people that wield it, or have wielded it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:51 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The big banks took huge risks and took huge profits, and when their system to suck money out of the economy collapsed, they got billions in bailouts with no accountability, and the citizens paid for it with their tax dollars and with their own loss of income and wealth.

And now there's this: Attorneys General Settlement: The Next Big Bank Bailout?
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah. "They're working stiffs, and they're part of the 99 percent" is precisely how The Man works, and always has -- since when do the people in power ever do their dirty work themselves?

Besides, things have gotten much, much worse re: pigs since 1968. In 1968 we were not running the world's largest prison system, with 1 in every 100 Americans behind bars and an incarceration rate which has quadrupled since 1975. We did not have SWAT teams using military tactics and equipment to kill and wound non-violent "criminals" along with innocent bystanders. More than one in four Black men and 1 in 6 Hispanic men were not certain to enter the justice system within their lifetimes, and they weren't as likely to be denied employment afterward, either.

Not only are cops The Man, pundits who use their influence to defend them as "working stiffs" even as they personally oversee the world's largest police state are -- you got it -- The Motherfucking Man.
posted by vorfeed at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"The bailed-out Wall Street megabank JPMorgan Chase gave a tax-deductible $4.6 million donation to the New York City Police Foundation, which has protesters asking: Who is the NYPD paid to protect, the public or the corporations? The 99 percent or the 1 percent?

Marina Sitrin, part of Occupy Wall Street’s legal working group, told me that the protest was going to be based at Chase Plaza, but the NYPD pre-emptively closed it. The protesters moved to Zuccotti Park, which they renamed Liberty Square."

Policing the Prophets of Wall Street - Amy Goodman
posted by mrgrimm at 1:58 PM on October 5, 2011


The Motherfucking Man
posted by eviemath at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2011


(it should probably go without saying that that link is nsfw for coarse language)
posted by eviemath at 3:46 PM on October 5, 2011


Lawrence Lessig: #OccupyWallSt, Then #OccupyKSt, Then #OccupyMainSt
posted by homunculus at 6:31 PM on October 5, 2011


I just saw a bit of CNN where Erin Burnett was basically mocking the protesters

Erin Burnett: Voice of the People
posted by homunculus at 12:20 PM on October 6, 2011




Occupy Portland is marching at least 5,000 strong today according to Portland Police. Live Blogs.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Amusing video of protestors being prevented form closing their BoA accounts.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:22 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Seattle faced eviction last night - 33 arrests (all released today with no bail) - tents removed. We are back in force tonight, though. The Mayor now allows one big service tent and people sleeping on site have donated "jacket-tents" - very cool. Lots of food (even Dan Savage sent donuts), music, experienced and wise people -- good community.

Great film of arrests by Jet City Orange (worth watching all 14 minutes). The 'aggro kids' have mostly tapered off now; the core group is dedicated to nonviolence (which does not include taunting and swearing at police). We still have lots of work to do.
posted by Surfurrus at 1:00 AM on October 7, 2011


Unwise.

/ Though personally, I consider it a plant, in the sense that the rich don't usually rub it in, they do their best to stay hidden. More likely the joke/flamebait of some peon officeworker with access to those windows, than of the actual 1%
posted by pla at 4:00 AM on October 7, 2011


jeffburdges : Amusing video yt of protestors being prevented form closing their BoA accounts.

"C. Closing an Account

You or we may close your checking or savings account at any time without advance notice, except that we may require you to give us seven days advance notice when you intend to close your savings or interest–bearing checking account by withdrawing your funds. See Notice of Withdrawal in the Other Terms and Services section. You or we may close your time deposit account at maturity without advance notice."



Not even questionably legal - The very banking laws put in place post-depression to keep banks in check, also gave them this particular safety-valve to avoid "runs" on the bank.
posted by pla at 4:17 AM on October 7, 2011


It looks like we had at least 10000 at Occupy Portland, as Pioneer Square holds up to 10000 and it was elbow to elbow full with people spilling out into the streets.
posted by anoirmarie at 10:46 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]




Possibly an inevitable meme:

Occupy ALL the places!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Paul Krugman: Confronting the Malefactors
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, these protests....

Several months ago, I unsubscribed from all of the political blogs I had been following in my RSS reader. Refused to read them -- promised myself I would avoid politics. I didn't click open political threads on Mefi. I didn't converse with my friends about it. Don't even think about participating in anything political -- too disheartening. I just stopped. For my own well-being, I stopped.

It had become too hard to deal with it. The horror. The depression. Our political system was spinning out of control, and this left me feeling numb and hopeless, because there was nothing to do about it. To keep myself psychologically well, so I could make it through the day without breaking down, I couldn't even follow the news. When my significant other told me about some protest in New York where hippies were being peppersprayed by the cops, I said, "That's awful, but I really need to not hear about it."

But then I couldn't avoid it any more. It was everywhere. I read the protest signs, I read the 99% stories. And inside myself, I felt what had been the source of my overwhelming depression flowering into something stronger, and healthier, and potent: anger.

These protesters have made me feel the deep rage I had previously not even known. The banking system had made me sad, my personal debt made me anxious, but never did it occur to me that I could be angry about it. Never before had there been any purpose, or cause, or value to experiencing such anger. Not until a bunch of punk kids decided to sit out on the streets and yell until I recognized their own anger as a reflection of my own.

Now I feel like I can do things. I'm reading the political blogs again. I'm keeping up on what's happening in our political system, and I am spitting mad about it. I'm considering driving the 90 miles to the nearest major OWS-style event and helping out. My anger will spill out into action.

This is me, but I'm pretty sure it's a lot of other people. All it took was a couple of punk kids (aw, you know I love you, punk kids!) sitting on a street. To remind us, to make us livid, to make us do. It's yet another lesson in the power of symbols in the political system, the power of crowds, the power of fellow-feeling. I'm impressed and, for my own sake, I am grateful.
posted by meese at 4:28 PM on October 7, 2011 [11 favorites]




I cannot exaggerate how encouraging that article was for me. I know that some of these kids might look goofy, and I know that the media coverage so far hasn't been flattering, but don't let that stop you from participating.

If there's an occupy movement in your city, please get involved. Make posters or write pamphlets. Go to the GA meetings and steer these kids in the right direction. You don't have to join the protests to help.

Get on the right side of history.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:05 PM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I went to my local occupation from about noon until 8PM or so. It was only Day 3, about 40 people were there. I was promoting some of the ideas in an article I posted in this thread, How to Occupy an Abstraction. The discussion circle was interested and asked me to go to the local library to print some copies for distribution and discussion at the General Assembly.

Oddly enough, just as the Assembly began, I was approached by a mysterious stranger who refused to identify himself. He said he was from another town and was looking for me. I don't know how he could have found me. Apparently he was an emissary of my long lost girlfriend, but his message was unclear. I spent an hour trying to get him to spit it out, unsuccessfully, and then he vanished.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:04 PM on October 8, 2011


#OccupyWallStreet is all over SNL tonight. Not taking the piss really, I'm sensing very real sympathy towards it. They've lampooned a number of it's detractors including the media and the Herman Cain.

Good stuff. Well done SNL.
posted by Skygazer at 9:21 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I went to the Occupy Tampa get-together today, which had a pretty good turnout despite the bucketing rain. All ages, all colors, women in hijab and men in Guy Fawkes masks, oldsters who'd done this during the sixties and seventies, high-school kids amazed at what they were seeing, children puddlehopping in bright rainboots - we even had a Buddhist monk with a giant striped umbrella.

People brought snacks and bottled water and ponchos, free for anyone who needed them. During the march we all obeyed the traffic signs, which worked out nicely as instead of having one big mob on one streetcorner when the cars went by, we had two smaller mobs on both sides. Nobody got aggressive or even rude, the mood was very respectful. Everyone was there for a reason, but they were having fun with it, too.

My favorite sign, which I can't remember exactly, was something like: I'M GETTING WET FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE! Snort.

I'll be back every time I can be.
posted by cmyk at 4:28 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]




Another 60s and 70s sounds vastly more important than another Obama term, especially when the whole world has started turning that direction. And I'd assume that Obama has made the necessary sacrifices to big business for another term anyways.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:00 PM on October 9, 2011


Keep that in mind when you wonder why the rest of the left isn't coming out to help you.

That's not really a fear I've heard expressed. The Left, and this new germinating progressive movement is there in force.

Also that piece in Hot Air is so tonedeaf and cripplingly limited in it's understanding of the shifting landscape. This isn't the 60s, and OWS is not the Left from that time, and even the GOP isn't the GOP from that time. It's something, much much more egregious.

All this conflict and contradiction that guy sees is in his head for the most part. He attributes Obama responsibility for "being in charge of the system?"

This isn't even a cyclical downturn this is new paradigm based on a systemic abuse and failure.

The extreme Right wing is being incredibly myopic. To be it just signifies more of the state of denial and narrative fog they seem incapable of seeing through.

Everything has changed. Nothing is as it was before.
posted by Skygazer at 8:19 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who is this "you" you speak of, furiousxgeorge?

That article was all kinds of crap- the movement is progressive but certainly not looking to align itself with the democratic party, it's not trying to align itself with any party at all. It just so happens that the issues it seeks to address are issues that historically the left has cared more about than the right (equal rights, civil rights, environmentalism, etc.). If OWS can apply pressure to Democrats that are part of the system to make that system more just then that's great, just as it's great if the movement puts pressure on Republicans in the system to address the system's inequalities.

Regardless, most activists aren't going to be taking advice on how not to alienate the left from Michelle Malkin's Hot Air site, particularly when it posts a video from Andrew Breitbart’s tour through the Occupy LA protest and another cherry-picked lulz hippy losers video to make its point.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:27 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


This nugget from that Hot Air piece sorta nails the quality of the crap thinking:
The rise of the anti-war left pushed the Nixon team to extreme, often illegal ends – most infamously with the plumbers, who plugged the leak of classified information, and of course the Watergate burglary.


Ah, it was the left that was responsible for Watergate crimes, and it's extensive cover-up, by Nixon.

What the shit kinda bonkers fantasist revisionist horseshit is that?!!

I mean I know many on the Right think that way, but give a break. The same brain damaged thinking also asserts that Obama is in charge of the corruption on Wall Street, and not only that, he wants the country to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan AND that the Iraq war wasn't despicable and lost support due to it's lies about WMD's and manipulation of intelligence, no it only got that way because Bush didn't take on the Left more effectively. This ame fantasy Left-wing who is now "okay" with the wars because they're giving Obama a free pass....and blah blah blah...yadda yadda yadda....bama lama ding dong....head exploding etc...

This level of cognitive dissonance from the Right is beyond retarded. It bespeaks a dogma on the verge of a spectacular nervous breakdown.

It can't come soon enough, really.
posted by Skygazer at 8:56 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops, for explanation I meant to post that over in the Maher thread in response to this sentiment: I'm desperately hoping some more adept organizers and skilled speakers from the American left see the opportunity this meme has and jump in and try to inject some coherence into the movement.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:00 PM on October 9, 2011


Correction: The quote about the Left causing Nixon to commit crimes actually came from the piece in the Weekly Standard ("Morning Jay), that the piece in Hot Air is based on. But it doesn't change anything other than making it more glaring just how out of touch and bonkers the Right has become if supposed respected Right-wing pundits are allowed to print such shit in the Weekly Standard, as opposed to it simply being Hot Air's usual load of bilge.
posted by Skygazer at 9:01 PM on October 9, 2011


(And it's entirely solid thinking guys, sorry you don't like the source, Obama is balls deep in Wall Street money and advisers, it's impossible to coherently support him and the protesters at the same time)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:01 PM on October 9, 2011


Well, he's sympathetic to OWS.

The reactionaries and Wall Street apologists aren't, and look increasingly out of touch and whorish.

What is the alternative?? Because if Obama is "balls deep," the GOP is Wall Street's never once cleaned after use, battery-powered sex toy.
posted by Skygazer at 9:09 PM on October 9, 2011


I'm not sure what your point is, he's their fleshlight and they're his vibrator. If you think he has done a good job managing Wall Street since he came into office, vote for him again.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:14 PM on October 9, 2011


No mixing of metaphors in midstream and beating them to death before they have a drink.

The thing is this: Would Obama have done more if he wasn't facing such an obstructionist and nihilistic GOP hellbent on seeing him voted out of office, no matter what the price to the country??

I think he would have.

Anyhow best not to count ones fleshlights before they hatch.
posted by Skygazer at 9:31 PM on October 9, 2011


Yes Obama is too cozy with/taking advice from the very same kinds of power OWS has a problem with, but that doesn't make this article "solid". It's semi-firm at best, and kind of runny actually.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:34 PM on October 9, 2011


Yeah guys if the GOP wasn't so nihilist Obama totally wouldn't have hired Goldman Sachs guys to be his advisers.

Damn you nihilists~! rargh!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on October 9, 2011


Sigh.

I believe it is entirely possible that the words "democrat" and "republican" will be archaic and put to rest before there is even another "election".

tipping point, folks ... tipping point.
posted by Surfurrus at 11:28 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This movement might be somewhere between then they laugh at you and then they fight you.


Something like: Then they stop laughing at you, and go into deep denial and have a semi-nervous breakdown and try and define you as something they've seen before and is really just business as usual, and don't worry folks this is just that same old silly dirty socialist unpatriotic Left that caused all that trouble in the past, and the Right's Supply-Side glory days are just around the corner once again blah blah blah...

THEN they fight you.

(without realizing they've already lost.)
posted by Skygazer at 1:32 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've seen this a few places the last couple of days, and I have to say it's misrepresenting Carlin. Taken in context, that rant is about how the game is already over, and that the vast majority of Americans were screwed from birth and cannot and will not change the way they think. It's not a big deal, but I'm pretty sure that Carlin wouldn't want to be used as a tool to promote protests he would see as pointless and hopeless.
No, Carlin thought voting was pointless and useless. He never said he thought protests were useless, and why would he care about being 'used' to promote it? Carlin thought the game was rigged, he never said that the game could not ever be 'escaped'.
What is the alternative?? Because if Obama is "balls deep," the GOP is Wall Street's never once cleaned after use, battery-powered sex toy.
Like Carlin, I think (I'm assuming) that OWS doesn't think that simply voting for more democrats is going to solve the problem.

posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Chicago protest is getting pretty damn creative.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Occupy Seattle! - amazing, beautiful, strong and peaceful -- We are Too Big To Fail! (video)
posted by Surfurrus at 7:55 AM on October 14, 2011


ob1quixote: "Did vets in uniform actually go down to stand with the protestors? Anyone seen photos?"

Just in case any of y'all haven't seen it, 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops
posted by ob1quixote at 10:28 AM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am the 2%.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:00 AM on October 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


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