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Port of Oakland "effectively shut down"
November 2, 2011 8:13 PM   Subscribe

At least 4,000 are at the gates to the Port of Oakland - San Jose Mercury News. More links inside. posted by clorox (397 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm pro OWS and very down on Occupy Oakland - it's tragic that these guys are becoming the face, and an extreme face at that of a very positive populist movement. These guys are doing more harm than good.
posted by zeoslap at 8:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why are you down on Occupy Oakland?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:18 PM on November 2, 2011


All the coverage suggests that the protesters are remaining calm and peaceful out there, I don't see what the issue is. I say thank the gods they've been able to marshal these numbers and actually disrupt things in Oakland.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:21 PM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Global Revolution Livestream showing live helicopter images from Oakland.
posted by clorox at 8:22 PM on November 2, 2011


Myself, I'm down on local governments that shoot ex-military in the face for standing in place.
posted by waitingtoderail at 8:23 PM on November 2, 2011 [91 favorites]


These guys are doing more harm than good.

Well, that's one perspective. On the other hand there's...the entire history of the labour movement.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:24 PM on November 2, 2011 [108 favorites]


I can't decide if I like this. On the one hand I want to say "woo hoo!" but on the other I can't help but being concerned that shutting down a trade lane like that might harm those that don't deserve it (a 99%er, if you will) in an unseen way.

Although the port of Oakland is tiny. 8.5ishx less traffic than the port of Long Beach/Los Angeles and almost 10x less than Newark.
posted by Defenestrator at 8:24 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


"To me this is all (baloney)," said Sam, who declined to give his last name, but said he is a hauler for NevCal Trucking out of Reno and picked up a container at PortsAmerica terminal Wednesday afternoon. When he tried to leave, the exit gate manned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection had closed early because of the impending protest.

"These people are out here trying to make a living. I get paid per run, I don't get paid by the hour,'' he said. "My personal opinion? The 1 percent down here is protesting, the 99 percent is down here working."
posted by joannemullen at 8:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I want things to change but not if it means things are going to change.
posted by gerryblog at 8:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


But really, at least it's getting attention.
posted by Defenestrator at 8:26 PM on November 2, 2011


Between that and the exploding shipping containers scare, it's been a rough couple of days at the Port of Oakland.
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:30 PM on November 2, 2011


@reclaimuc is tweeting that a protestor run over by a driver "frustrated with the protestors" is dead.
posted by gerryblog at 8:31 PM on November 2, 2011


Online stream of KRON, a local TV channel covering the events.
posted by clorox at 8:33 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


That quote, joannemullen, goes hand in hand with a consistent line of defamation of strikes and labor movements, namely, that the strikers are lazy and entitled. That the quote comes from a person that the protests represent is unfortunate but not surprising considering right wing rhetoric surrounding OWS. Even those occupiers who are doing so with a middle class cushion behind them are well short of the 1%. Yet even if they weren't, they would still be striving toward something that would help the trucker in the long term, which doesn't seem like baloney to me.
posted by Wyatt at 8:35 PM on November 2, 2011 [48 favorites]


In the late afternoon, I was at Occupy Oakland at Frank Ogawa Plaza and then walked about half-way to the port (I had to turn back because I didn't want to stay after sunset. [*]

The protest I saw was a positive, pretty mellow event. There were volunteers coordinating street crossings so cars could get through. There was a free food stand run by firefighters. The police were almost invisible.

Again, I wasn't at the port itself, but the crowd on the way to the port seemed relaxed.

* due to CHUD
posted by zippy at 8:36 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's what the strength necessary looks like...
posted by HuronBob at 8:36 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


who declined to give his last name

Ah, the old anonymous, silent majority trick. Nixon would approve.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:37 PM on November 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Although the port of Oakland is tiny. 8.5ishx less traffic than the port of Long Beach/Los Angeles and almost 10x less than Newark.

Huh? Oakland is the fourth largest port in the US. It does 2.2 TEU annually to Long Beach's 6.5. That's not tiny.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:39 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Of the crowd of thousands peppered around Oakland, Jordan said a small group of 60 or 70 people now identified as anarchists agents provocateurs were responsible for the vandalism.

Forgive the cynicism, but if the police are coming ready with riot gear, I guess they already know there's going to be a riot.
posted by Jehan at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


The driver who ran into the protesters was let go by police. (source)
posted by desjardins at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2011


"These people are out here trying to make a living. I get paid per run, I don't get paid by the hour,'' he said. "My personal opinion? The 1 percent down here is protesting, the 99 percent is down here working."

Yes, Joanne, I read the article, and I read that that man said that.

Can you explain why you thought it so worthy of note that you wanted us to re-read it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was downtown all day and it was a really cool experience. It seemed that everyone was pleasantly surprised to meet so many kindred souls.
posted by lamp at 8:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh? Oakland is the fourth largest port in the US. It does 2.2 TEU annually to Long Beach's 6.5. That's not tiny.

You really have to add Long Beach and Los Angeles together. It's essentially the same port divided into two jurisdictions. That would make Long Beach/Los Angeles 12.7 TEU annually (so about 7x as big when using TEUs).
posted by Defenestrator at 8:44 PM on November 2, 2011


The driver who ran into the protesters was let go by police.

What? That's fucking outrageous.
posted by emilycardigan at 8:44 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


If it's true, I wouldn't worry too much about in this social media day and age.
posted by mollweide at 8:48 PM on November 2, 2011


Two people were injured when a man driving a silver Mercedes drove into a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Oakland. Several witnesses say the driver was provoked by a demonstrator who banged on the hood of his car as he attempted to turn onto a street thronged with demonstrators.
posted by gerryblog at 8:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seemed that everyone was pleasantly surprised to meet so many kindred souls.

In a bit of Metafilter's favorite retailer synchronicity, I ran into someone on their way to Occupy Oakland at the Costco in Richmond. They were buying hundreds of burgers for one of the free food stands.
posted by zippy at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2011


Several witnesses say the driver was provoked by a demonstrator who banged on the hood of his car as he attempted to turn onto a street thronged with demonstrators.

Ah, yes, the "Michael Bryant."
posted by mightygodking at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you explain why you thought it so worthy of note that you wanted us to re-read it?

Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?
posted by 2N2222 at 8:52 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?

Does it hurt so much to get run over by a Mercedes?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:55 PM on November 2, 2011 [23 favorites]


The driver was irritated by protesters walking in front of him.
Onlookers said the driver deliberately ran over the pair, accelerating after a man hit on the hood of the car.

posted by emilycardigan at 8:56 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?

Does it hurt so much to get shot in the head with a tear gas canister?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 PM on November 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


CNN has got Kim Kardashian's mom.
posted by unSane at 9:00 PM on November 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


Why are they trying to shut down the port?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:03 PM on November 2, 2011


"My personal opinion? The 1 percent down here is protesting, the 99 percent is down here working."

Uh-huh. And this personal opinion, Mr. anonymous guy, is, like, wrong.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:04 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I realize that this story is still developing, but if the cops let someone go after they killed a person because they were irritated, THAT IS SOME FUCKING BULLSHIT.
posted by SharkParty at 9:05 PM on November 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


Why are they trying to shut down the port?

To make the statement that "business as usual" ain't gonna make it anymore, I'd reckon. That's the purpose of a general strike, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:06 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The local news is still trying to confirm the driver actually killed people, as opposed to merely injuring them. The death reports have been coming from people in the crowd.
posted by gerryblog at 9:06 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?

Does it hurt so much to add your own thoughts in support of that counterpoint, if you have them?

...Or is the problem that you DON'T have your own thoughts in support of that counterpoint?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:07 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


After the car stopped at the other end of the intersection, the driver switched seats with his female passenger.

This is why the police didn't stop the car, it would have been far to hard to figure out who was driving! Best to let them go.
posted by Jehan at 9:07 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


RT @abcandrea: KGO TV reports #occupyoakland demonstrator who was hit by car was taken by ambulance, not dead as has been tweeted

That's a relief.
posted by gerryblog at 9:10 PM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


That is a relief. But the situation with the driver still seems kind of funny.
posted by emilycardigan at 9:11 PM on November 2, 2011


>Why are they trying to shut down the port?

To make the statement that "business as usual" ain't gonna make it anymore, I'd reckon. That's the purpose of a general strike, right?


It doesn't make any sense... there has to be more to this. Shutting down the port will cost people jobs. The local dockworkers union does not seem to support the shutdown.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:13 PM on November 2, 2011


The problem with Oakland law enforcement in this situation so far is this:

a) Throw plastic bottles whilst in OWS: get baton charged and tear gassed.
b) Help the injured whilst in OWS: get a flashbang thrown at you.
c) Intentionally run OWS people down in a Merc: the police let you go.
posted by jaduncan at 9:13 PM on November 2, 2011 [60 favorites]


Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?

Let's try this another way:

Does repeating this "counterpoint" as expressed by "Sam" represent the reality of the situation — that protestors are really the 1% of the nation?

Is that a sensible and correct thing to quote, without offering comment?

Or does repeating this "counterpoint" represent some entity expressing its own opinion through a conveniently anonymous surrogate, a proxy who represents the opinion that the Average Working Man should be encouraged to have?

Is that more likely, given past history?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 PM on November 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Does it hurt so much to hear a counterpoint emphasized?

Not at all. But some users have a habit of leaving comments like that and then saying nothing more. This makes it look as though their main intention is to establish their political credentials (as a central part of their indentity on MetaFilter) and, as a bonus, derail any meaningful discussion on a topic where they know they'll be in a minority.

This doesn't contribute to the discussion and it winds some people up. As a result it can also look as though it is done purely to wind people up (and therefore usually attracts accusations of trolling).

Is that what this comment does? I suppose we'll see.
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


@KoKoRyu

I dislike Occupy Oakland because shutting down ports, schools and BART seems counter productive to the larger movements goals.

In my eyes - and obviously this is all just my opinion - it marginalizes the movement and gives it the appearance of promoting an extreme viewpoint instead of the eminently reasonable views expressed by the folks in NY (and SF for that matter).
posted by zeoslap at 9:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


"I'm pro OWS and very down on Occupy Oakland - it's tragic that these guys are becoming the face, and an extreme face at that of a very positive populist movement. These guys are doing more harm than good."


This whole debate reminds me a lot of spring 2003. A lot of my so-called "progressive" friends refused to take to the streets to protest the Iraq War because they didn't want to stand next to those "smelly hippies".

A lot of the same people figured the war would be over in a few months...

You know... democracy is a messy process. Sometimes you have to stand together with others -- others you might not agree with 100%, but people who are sort of heading in the same general direction you are. Because there's power in numbers.

But you disagree apparently. So go ahead and form a bloc of high-minded, intellectually-vetted, infinitely-rational voters, only those who agree 100% with what you have to say. Let me how many people you can sign up, and exactly how far you get by doing so.

And then let me know exactly how much you accomplish in the course of that endeavor. Because I'm pretty sure you'll be lucky to get a dozen or so people together, and I'm pretty sure you'll end up accomplishing exactly nothing whatsoever.
posted by mikeand1 at 9:17 PM on November 2, 2011 [46 favorites]


After the car stopped at the other end of the intersection, the driver switched seats with his female passenger.

Wondering where in the world Lizzie Grubman is tonight.
posted by wensink at 9:18 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What would you have Occupy Oakland shut down?
posted by Garm at 9:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


But you disagree apparently. So go ahead and form a bloc of high-minded, intellectually-vetted, infinitely-rational voters, only those who agree 100% with what you have to say. Let me how many people you can sign up, and exactly how far you get by doing so.

With rhetoric like this, you'll never build bridges with people who share common values but perhaps different opinions. And no one in this thread has mentioned "smelly hippies".

There are some of us (well, me) who don't live in Oakland and may be unfamiliar with the issues. Try reaching out. It's how truly democratic (as opposed to demotic) movements are sustained.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dislike Occupy Oakland because shutting down ports, schools and BART seems counter productive to the larger movements goals.

OO shut down the ports, but I don't recall the protests shutting down BART or schools. Perhaps I'm being naive, but if BART or schools closed, wouldn't that be the respective organizations shutting them down?
posted by lekvar at 9:23 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know... democracy is a messy process. Sometimes you have to stand together with others -- others you might not agree with 100%, but people who are sort of heading in the same general direction you are. Because there's power in numbers.

I'm not disputing that - but my beef is specifically with the Occupy Oakland, none of the other protests have the same kind of feeling that this embodiment of the movement has, and yet it's these guys that are becoming its face and I think in the long run these guys will push away the very folks the rest of the OWS guys were winning over.
posted by zeoslap at 9:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


unSane: CNN has got Kim Kardashian's mom.

Sadly it's easier for most people to wrap their heads around the Kardashian circus than the OWS story and all of the subplots as they unfold. The Kardashian non-story is easy to digest. OWS takes some effort to understand. It takes even more effort to take in all of the conflicting information and opinions and be confident in your understanding of the story as a whole. TV news focuses on the easy things like protestor head counts, numbers of arrests and injuries, and stories about permits. Not a lot of context for the more casual news audience to get behind. Then they move on to the next story, which, after a few fires, shootings, and sports scores, is probably another Kardashian piece.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


@lekvar - They had planned to protest BART today but then backed down because they realized folks would need to use BART to get to the port. 15% of Oakland teachers took part in today's strike.
posted by zeoslap at 9:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The local dockworkers union does not seem to support the shutdown.

It would be illegal for the dockworkers union to actively support the shutdown.
posted by one_bean at 9:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would be illegal for the dockworkers union to actively support the shutdown.

Based on what?

It seems to me that shutting down a port for a day or two will cost the port in question a little bit of money, cost longshoremen a few days pay, and cost the foreign shipping lines a lot of money. It's a kind of pressure that's not being applied at any of the other occupy locations.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:30 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


zeoslap: BART was not shut down. 12th Street Station, which is directly adjacent to Frank Ogawa Plaza, was closed by BART operations last Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Embarcadero Station, which is a few blocks from Justin Herman Plaza, was closed by BART operations last Wednesday. BART police officers closed several entrances to 19th Street Station, which is four or five blocks from Frank Ogawa Plaza, last Wednesday. No trains or lines were taken out of service.

I was listening to BART's police and operations radio last Wednesday night. I was riding on a BART train that was sent through the closed 12th Street Station last Tuesday night. If anyone should make the claim of "shutting down" BART, it should be BART itself.
posted by clorox at 9:31 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, pressuring foreign shipping lines will help resolve inequity in America.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:32 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not disputing that - but my beef is specifically with the Occupy Oakland, none of the other protests have the same kind of feeling that this embodiment of the movement has, and yet it's these guys that are becoming its face and I think in the long run these guys will push away the very folks the rest of the OWS guys were winning over.

They could help the process of winning people over. By pushing the Overton window and becoming "unacceptable" protest, it may make people look on the occupation in their hometown as sensible and measured. I'm not saying it will, as the media obviously has a large part to play in this, but it's a possibility. Oakland may make peaceful campers elsewhere look mature and respectable.
posted by Jehan at 9:33 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


@clorox - I realize that BART didn't get shut down, but that had been the initial plan.
posted by zeoslap at 9:33 PM on November 2, 2011


Yes, pressuring foreign shipping lines will help resolve inequity in America.

Yes, disrupting international commerce will help resolve inequity in America.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, pressuring foreign shipping lines will help resolve inequity in America.

The foreign shipping lines are getting paid no matter what.

It's who the goods on the ships belong to that will hurt.
posted by Defenestrator at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not disputing that - but my beef is specifically with the Occupy Oakland, none of the other protests have the same kind of feeling that this embodiment of the movement has, and yet it's these guys that are becoming its face and I think in the long run these guys will push away the very folks the rest of the OWS guys were winning over.


The activities in Oakland are absolutely electrifying the rest of the Occupations around the world. The only people who seem unhappy are adopting the position of concern trolls, who were, we're assured, on the very verge of "supporting" the movement, but are now deeply worried that the irresponsibility of Oakland will "discredit" the rest of the occupations.

The irresponsibility of Spain inspired the irresponsibility in New York, which inspired the irresponsibility of thousands of cities around the world; hopefully Oakland's rashness will inspire every other Occupation to find a way to take things to the next level, whatever that might be in their local political situatino.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 9:36 PM on November 2, 2011 [58 favorites]


The foreign shipping lines are getting paid no matter what.
It's who the goods on the ships belong to that will hurt.


The ships come and go on a schedule; they leave even if they aren't unloaded. This costs the shipping lines money.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:37 PM on November 2, 2011


Yes, pressuring foreign shipping lines will help resolve inequity in America.

The only thing that could conceivably resolve inequity, in America or anywhere else, is a mass democratisation and re-politicisation of the forbidden zone of economics, which is what you're seeing in Oakland.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 9:37 PM on November 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


Ah, yes, the concern trolls. Great way to dehumanize people with a slight difference in opinion. What's next, line them up against a wall when the revolution comes?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:38 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, the concern trolls. Great way to dehumanize people with a slight difference in opinion. What's next, line them up against a wall when the revolution comes?

Yes, that's inevitably the next step.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 9:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


I agree that the little I know about the Oakland protests seems a bit less feel-good, and a bit more aggressive or hard-edged or something than OWS in New York. I'm not sure how to feel about that, because part of what has been really compelling about OWS is how its gained some legitimacy via relatively quiet persistence. At the same time, this port closing is maybe the first major, concrete effect of the protests. The consequences of that might be mixed (no doubt someone will have trouble paying the bills this month if they can't get to work, and that sucks). Still, I have this sense that OWS is going to peter out from inertia if they don't force somebody's hand on something, so it's interesting to see some movement.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:41 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Based on what?

Based on the fact that unions are only "allowed" to strike based on very specific labor negotiations, and that the longshoremen/women of Oakland are not having a labor dispute.
posted by one_bean at 9:42 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The ships come and go on a schedule; they leave even if they aren't unloaded. This costs the shipping lines money.

I'm pretty sure they still get paid if they unload late or not at all. I worked at a freight forwarding company for a little over a year and I remember learning about how the shipping lines have to be absolute irresponsible morons to be liable for anything (damaging the cargo in a way that is very obviously their fault). Even then it's pretty limited how much they pay out.

Are you sure that they leave if they're not unloaded? It's not like the next port (typically LGB/LAX I think) will just unload for them and leave wayward containers hanging around valuable pier space.
posted by Defenestrator at 9:43 PM on November 2, 2011


Does it hurt so much to get run over by a Mercedes?

Does it hurt so much to get shot in the head with a tear gas canister?



It'd help if you addressed the actual point.

Does it hurt so much to add your own thoughts in support of that counterpoint, if you have them?

...Or is the problem that you DON'T have your own thoughts in support of that counterpoint?


I dunno... The previous commenters I quoted didn't have much.

But some users have a habit of leaving comments like that and then saying nothing more. This makes it look as though their main intention is to establish their political credentials (as a central part of their indentity on MetaFilter) and, as a bonus, derail any meaningful discussion on a topic where they know they'll be in a minority.

This doesn't contribute to the discussion and it winds some people up. As a result it can also look as though it is done purely to wind people up (and therefore usually attracts accusations of trolling).

Is that what this comment does? I suppose we'll see.


Prevailing opinion here seems quite pro Occupy Oakland. Inevitably, any posts that don't support such passionately held positions will wind up people. But what it looks like to me is that some folks are angry that the echo chamber isn't quite complete. Snarking about some comment rather than addressing the substance of the comment is derailing any meaningful discussion.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:43 PM on November 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Related: Mercedes injures two protesters. You can't make this stuff up.
posted by quadog at 9:44 PM on November 2, 2011


Snarking about some comment rather than addressing the substance of the comment is derailing any meaningful discussion.

The quote was offered without comment, thus there was nothing to address, which was the initial complaint.
posted by Jehan at 9:46 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The quote was offered without comment, thus there was nothing to address, which was the initial complaint.

The quote itself seemed substantive enough. Are people upset the poster didn't add a "Fuck yeah!" or "Run him up against the wall!" to emphasize their position?
posted by 2N2222 at 9:49 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree that if joannemullen had just dropped a choice one-line quote from a protester in here it would rack up about a dozen favorites and little further commentary. Does anyone seriously doubt this? But whatever, this place, like all others, has its bias.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:49 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ports and shipping and longshoremen were the main contributor to the financial crisis, with the help of the nefarious Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Rep. Barney Frank?
posted by raysmj at 9:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd help if you addressed the actual point.

I tried.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


they attacked the whole foods!

yeah if there's anyone who's gonna be on your side, it's the people at whole foods.

winter may break up OWS, but the worst Oakland's gonna get is some rain. this is gonna keep going on.

and when Greece falls.. I'm just having this feeling like 2008 is gonna start looking like a speedbump in comparison. fuck it, maybe the world needs to burn for a while.
posted by ninjew at 9:51 PM on November 2, 2011


The quote itself seemed substantive enough. Are people upset the poster didn't add a "Fuck yeah!" or "Run him up against the wall!" to emphasize their position?

The quote itself was responded to by Wyatt and others. If that quote is your idea of "substantive", then I'm sorry. It was a cheap talking point.
posted by Jehan at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jehan : "The quote was offered without comment, thus there was nothing to address, which was the initial complaint."

I think the original quote was offered as a comment itself. I think the point was that here's a "regular guy" being negatively affected by the protests. If that is the case, I understand the sentiment, even if I don't fully agree with the entire content of the quote. I think posting it was adding to the dialogue.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah if there's anyone who's gonna be on your side, it's the people at whole foods.

Funny, if Whole Foods doesn't represent the top 1% (expensive luxury food prepared and sold by people working minimum wage), then what does?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:53 PM on November 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


I also don't see any reason to doubt the veracity of that quote. There are plenty of good reasons "Sam" wouldn't want to provide his last name, not least of which is the prospect of becoming an enemy to a 4,000 person protest. Further, is it hard to believe that someone who works at the port is upset they can't get paid today? Finally, is it illegitimate to consider the collateral negative consequences of this port closure? If you have a sophisticated, valid theory for supporting the protest, it should be able to withstand legitimate criticism from people who are being harmed by it.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:55 PM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


without getting into a 'thing' about this, i don't look at Whole Foods being a luxury. if anything, buying brand name HFCS garbage at Safeway is doing more to contribute to corporate america than buying some $12/lb grass fed beef. Nestle, Unilever, MONSANTO, etc. yeah Whole Foods may be a corporation, but c'mon.
posted by ninjew at 9:59 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


dixiecupdrinking: "There are plenty of good reasons "Sam" wouldn't want to provide his last name..."

If we keep talking about him Sam the Anonymous Reno Truck Driver is going to end up running for Congress.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:59 PM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


There are plenty of good reasons "Sam" wouldn't want to provide his last name

I think his real name is "Bill". It's just a gut-level feeling.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:01 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Further, is it hard to believe that someone who works at the port is upset they can't get paid today?

Not at all. I just question what the goals are by repeating the line that the protestors are really the 1%, without any comment. It's trolling, of course, since it isn't true. And since this is obviously not true, is that a responsible thing to say or for the media to repeat? (Otherwise, do you really believe that protestors are privileged in some way, to justify that kind of propaganda-like, faux-contrarian response?)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Huh...I like you, Men's Wearhouse.
posted by lalex at 10:04 PM on November 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


I don't know about you Blazecock, but I can't afford to miss a day or two of work. I literally cannot afford to do that. That equals a utilities payment, or a trip to the dentist for one of my kids, or groceries for a week for my family, or winter clothes for one of them...
posted by KokuRyu at 10:07 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sam the Anonymous Reno Truck Driver

his name is "Sam"
he drives a "truck"
he comes from "Reno"
he's outta "luck"
cause he can't "drive"
his truck "today"
them "one per-centers"
are in his "way"
just how he "figures"
it's them to "blame"
is cause his "thinking"
is rather "lame"
so listen, "Sam"
let's get a "clue"
real "one per-centers"
don't give a fuck about "you"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:09 PM on November 2, 2011 [51 favorites]


flapjax, I hope that was intended to be read aloud in the manner of a Beastie Boys song.
posted by weinbot at 10:13 PM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


I don't know about you Blazecock, but I can't afford to miss a day or two of work

I'm with you. I just have a jaundiced eye about the media printing quotes from anonymous parties. Especially ones who conveniently criticize protestors while are portrayed as the token Working Class type. It's almost Murdochish, frankly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:13 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Ah, yes, the concern trolls. Great way to dehumanize people with a slight difference in opinion. What's next, line them up against a wall when the revolution comes?

This is groupthink bullshit. Does OWS require absolute fealty, in every way and means it takes place, to the cause? I support OWS, worldwide, but be sure of one thing, most people are not going to physically join these groups. Most of the 99% is hustling off to work and paying the mortgage. When the media starts to focus on asshole anarchists breaking bank windows and barging into Whole Foods it makes the best part of, and intentions of OCW, look bad.

What some of the people here need to do is get up to speed on confirmation bias, and realize that every cop and every other authority figure that is involved in making sure that citizens stay safe, and OCW people stay safe, is not a "pig". I have seen some really immature crap up top that reminds me of the worst part of the 60's, where every cop was a "pig", and soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat on.

I read this morning about a woman in Hunter's Point who "reclaimed" her foreclosed house - a house that her father built; a house that the family owned for 52 years. She took out equity loans on the property to buy shit, and didn't pay a nickel back. She claims she was robbed by the banks. People were cheering for her. Bullshit. Sorry lady, no free pass from OWS.

There are all kind of rabble that are hanging on to this very worthy protest. I was happy to see that in the Whole Foods and other vandalism incidents mentioned above, that the more peaceful protestors rushed in to stop the property destruction.

I have been down to the protests and they are really cool, but there is an edge to what's going on, and cool heads MUST prevail, or the media will co-opt this movement in a heartbeat, making it look like a bunch of wacky loons that are nothing but collective rabble.

So, please cut out the crap about "concern trolls". Some people have their own, more measured way of protest. That's OK. Some people are more resistant to overt action in the streets. That's OK? Stop judging! Some - in fact most - will quietly go about changing their and their children's lives to deal with new realities. Some will go study harder because they realize that the American Dream is a myth, and that the kids in Shanghai are already eating our kids lunch.

You want reform? Get the goddamned money out of politics!! NOTHING will change until that happens.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


weinobt: "flapjax, I hope that was intended to be read aloud in the manner of a Beastie Boys song."

I sort of heard it as a modern "Hoochie Coochie Man"/"I'm a Man".
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:22 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vibrissae, that Brooks article is a load of unresearched horseshit. For example, it's an established fact that prosperous people have LESS kids.
posted by Yowser at 10:24 PM on November 2, 2011


flapjax, I hope that was intended to be read aloud in the manner of a Beastie Boys song.

That's absolutely one way in which it could work: that characteristic BIG emphasis on the last word in each line. RUN-DMC invented it, and, as mentioned, the Beastie Boys brought it to fruition. On the other hand, a classic country & western treatment could work equally well. Also, I'm thinking Sinatra, with a splashy, brassy big band behind him. Or lunkhead surf rock, a la the Ramones. All sorts of arrangements could work, really, if done right.

And on preview, Slack-a-gogo, hell yeah.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:24 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have seen some really immature crap up top that reminds me of the worst part of the 60's, where [...] soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat on.

I agree: the worst part of the '60s was the completely fictional part.
posted by RogerB at 10:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [54 favorites]


without getting into a 'thing' about this, i don't look at Whole Foods being a luxury. if anything, buying brand name HFCS garbage at Safeway is doing more to contribute to corporate america than buying some $12/lb grass fed beef.

Whole Foods is basically step one in privatizing food safety. Weaken the FDA and USDA to the point where people don't trust any government standards, then force them to pay extra for the luxury of nontoxic food. The more mistrust of food safety we have, the better Whole Foods will do. It's no surprise the CEO is a libertarian who kisses Grover Norquist's ass.
posted by benzenedream at 10:26 PM on November 2, 2011 [28 favorites]


Wow, mass sarcasmometer failure. - perhaps but it isn't mine that's broker RogerB :)
posted by zeoslap at 10:27 PM on November 2, 2011


Get the goddamned money out of politics!! NOTHING will change until that happens.

Also, it might help to put more a lot more governmental regulation on your banking system.
posted by emilycardigan at 10:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The activities in Oakland are absolutely electrifying the rest of the Occupations around the world.

Numbers are going down everywhere, and 4000 people isn't really a general strike in any sense. This thing is going to be over completely in another couple of weeks.
posted by empath at 10:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly empath, I agree with you. It's getting too cold.
posted by Yowser at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2011


Holy hell flapjax, well done. I, too, heard the Beastie Boys.

And adding to my previous comment, I think the main objection people were having to joanne's quote was that it is both loaded and ambiguous as a standalone comment. As it was included in the FPP, restating it doesn't add much beyond granting it a little more airspace. Beyond this, though, the quote could be interpreted in many ways (as the ensuing discussion has shown). Yes, protests and strikes often inconvenience or even financially harm people who are not at fault and who the protesters may even be representing. This sucks, but it doesn't toss the whole protest into illegitimacy (provided the harms aren't gargantuan). And while it is good to consider the winners and losers of any action, the way it was done here was pretty dishonest, what with referencing the lazy protester trope AND the true-hardworking-conservative-american-patriot trope.
So while Sam might be a slight victim here, his hurt will be less than those protesters hit by the Mercedes... and may be assuaged when some goals the occupiers are pushing for come to fruition.
posted by Wyatt at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, the reason that Occupy Oakland has become the poster for the OWS movement is BECAUSE WE TOOK POLICE BRUTALITY AND ARE STILL MAINTAINING A PEACEFUL PROTEST.
posted by waitangi at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [36 favorites]


Even got a half-assed CYA apology from the Police.
posted by migurski at 10:31 PM on November 2, 2011


soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat on.

Vibrissae, you might want to look into that a little deeper. It's almost certainly a fabrication dating from the 60s, and I think you're too intelligent to stay duped by such.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:33 PM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also I'm wondering if Jean Quan is the ultimate sleeper activist fighting the system from within. I mean what better way to energize the Oakland protesters than an early morning assault rapidly followed by a hasty retreat. Genius.
posted by zeoslap at 10:34 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Numbers are going down everywhere, and 4000 people isn't really a general strike in any sense. This thing is going to be over completely in another couple of weeks.
---
Sadly empath, I agree with you. It's getting too cold.


You guys are probably right. If only this thing started in the spring sometime.
posted by Defenestrator at 10:35 PM on November 2, 2011


Ah, yes, the concern trolls. Great way to dehumanize people with a slight difference in opinion. What's next, line them up against a wall when the revolution comes?

I see concern troll has turned into straw man troll....excellent.
posted by dibblda at 10:35 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You guys are probably right. If only this thing started in the spring sometime.

Around the time of the Arab spring would have been ideal.
posted by dibblda at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2011


Although the warmer areas could keep it alive.
posted by Defenestrator at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2011


Sadly empath, I agree with you. It's getting too cold. Forcast for Oakland tomorrow is 80F and sunny :)
posted by zeoslap at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2011


YOWSER
that Brooks article is a load of unresearched horseshit. For example, it's an established fact that prosperous people have LESS kids.

Sorry, you are mistaken. Did you even read the Brooks article? - i.e. "When people are gloomy they have fewer babies, and, sure enough, fertility rates have dropped sharply, with the most dramatic plunges occurring in the hardest hit states, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. ". These are NOT prosperous people; they are people that typically exceed the median birthrate numbers.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:36 PM on November 2, 2011



Although the warmer areas could keep it alive.


pretty much knock out punch in San Diego, I saw two signs downtown a few days ago, one said "google 9/11 Israel" (eye roll). He was standing next to a crowd of cops.
posted by dibblda at 10:39 PM on November 2, 2011


What I think is most impressive about this evening, apart from what waitangi said, is the commitment to peace. There are multiple reports of protestors (at Whole Foods and various banks) who wanted to smash up the place but non-violent protestors intervened. Sure, some banks did get busted up, and that gang in all black did look rather intimidating.

The interim Oakland Police chief (the previous one resigned before the recent melee) stated that the policy of the police for now would not be to confront protestors en mass, but to go after the few troublemakers. Except, I suppose, those who drive Mercedes. But we'll see how that plays out.
posted by chemoboy at 10:40 PM on November 2, 2011


Live video from ABC helicopter

Looks like either mass arrest time or nap time in the middle of 16th Street...
posted by clorox at 10:45 PM on November 2, 2011


flapjax: Vibrissae, you might want to look into that a little deeper. It's almost certainly a fabrication dating from the 60s, and I think you're too intelligent to stay duped by such.

I saw this happening; I was there. It was not a universal thing - far from it, but it DID happen. Thus my point - i.e. that the media (who could really give a rat's ass about anything but eyeballs to sell things to) will always take the most harsh imagery, and use that imagery in ways that tend to polarize and discredit. That said, you are correct, it IS a fabrication that calling cops "pigs" and spitting on returning soldiers was universal, but it did happen, and it was largely used to help polarize this country.

One more thing: I think it's interesting to see one parallel stream between the 60's and now. During the Vietnam war, the draft hit the middle and upper-middle class hard. When the draft went away we ended up with a military composed of mostly poor and lower-middle class recruits. We didn't see too many people taking to the streets about Iraq.

Now, with this economic structural change of mass proportions impacting the middle and upper-middle classes, we are beginning to see people in the streets again. If nothing else, among many other things, I think this illustrates the value of having an economy that promotes middle-class membership, with a strong educated base. The latter know more about the system; they know more about how to impact the system because they have a deeper understanding about how it runs, and where the choke points are.

We have been asleep in this country, because we were all sitting around gorging on the advantage we took out of WWII, for several decades. Game over! It's time to protest in any number of ways. Move your bank account. Better yourself through education. Run for office. Protest in the streets (peacefully), etc.

I said that OWS was kindling; I think that's an acurate description. My hat is off to all those who have persevered through this, especially those who have had a conscious agenda to make positive change.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:47 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I can't tell what's going on here.
posted by clorox at 10:50 PM on November 2, 2011


Wow, mass sarcasmometer failure.

On the internet, sarcasm is almost impossible to tell from passion.

Honestly, I can't tell what's going on here.

*cracks open a beer*

This really just looks like a sit-in. It looks like the police are moving in though. I can't find anything on the local news that is covering this live.
posted by chemoboy at 10:58 PM on November 2, 2011


It seems like everybody is just milling about.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:02 PM on November 2, 2011


Nobody should hit anybody with a Mercedes. Obviously. Also, and unrelated but relevant: Merely because you feel like protesting, does not give you the right to obstruct traffic and prevent people from getting home, getting to work, or heck, just driving to get a latte.

Judging from the Chronicle's write-up, it seems that police allowed the man to leave after questioning him. If he intentionally rammed people with his car, then I can understand the protestors' frustration at the police decision not to arrest him. Without drawing equivalency, I note that it seems the same police officers also decided not to arrest protestors who were obstructing traffic.

Here in Boston, the Occupiers have been routinely obstructing traffic and trampling city property. There has been widespread vandalism with Occupy-related messages. There have been break-ins and minor looting. Yet apart from a few isolated arrests for drug-trafficking, and one night of arrests when the Occupiers tried to expand their encampment, the mayor and police have kept a respectful distance from the Occupiers and turned a blind eye to their "minor" crimes.

Some of us 99%-ers dislike the Occupy movement. They don't represent us, despite their claims. And we particularly dislike that the laws they are breaking aren't being enforced. So far, they are merely costing me tax dollars; I dislike it, but I can live with it. If they were also personally standing in front of my car and obstructing me from picking up my kid...? I'm not saying I would ram them with my car, even gently. I don't think I would. But I understand the impulse.
posted by red clover at 11:03 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Protestors have broken into an building and erected a sign saying "Occupy Everything." What I thought were police uniform appear to be just a large number of people dressed in black.
posted by chemoboy at 11:05 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


pretty much knock out punch in San Diego, I saw two signs downtown a few days ago, one said "google 9/11 Israel" (eye roll). He was standing next to a crowd of cops.

Long Beach is trying hard but hasn't been able to set up tents without arrests which has really hampered the whole thing. Not to mention the original location was essentially co-opted by homeless people. I have tons of empathy for the homeless but the reality is that most people aren't passionate enough to sleep on a sidewalk (they have to move out of the park at night) with a group of 30 homeless (and occasionally violent) individuals.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:07 PM on November 2, 2011


I hear LA is doing great though.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:08 PM on November 2, 2011


I think they're dancing.
posted by migurski at 11:10 PM on November 2, 2011


Defenestrator....Glad LA is keeping it up.


Occupiers have been routinely obstructing traffic and trampling city property

Running over people with your car != trampling city property.
posted by dibblda at 11:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Indeed. "Without drawing equivalency," I wrote.
posted by red clover at 11:13 PM on November 2, 2011


Udall: Amend the Constitution, Wipe Out Citizens United
posted by eddydamascene at 11:18 PM on November 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Mystery solved. They're occupying a building on 16th Street.
posted by clorox at 11:25 PM on November 2, 2011


I was in the port march. Surprising number of people...even more notable was that over half the crowd looked female from a couple of spots where I stopped and watched. I biked as far as the ramp into the port proper, and watched as thousands of people walked past up the entrance ramp. Definitely more than 4,000. My camera proved to have dead batts, but there were a lot of great signs, costumes (Halloween two days ago), all ages, very heterogenous, peaceful, upbeat crowd, singing, chanting and marching together.

Just before leaving home for the march, I heard the police had pretty much vacated the area after seeing the size of the crowd. They most likely are in no mood to see any kind of repeat of last Tuesday's debacle, which surprised even seasoned political observers around town with its savage clumsiness.

I saw the Mercedes incident. People were milling around kind of loosely in about a 3-block area downtown and lots of drivers had no warning what they were driving into. Most drivers immediately about-faced when they saw the crowd, but there were no police directing traffic away from the area at all. Some drivers tried crossing at what seemed like diffuse parts of the crowd, usually without incident, but this car was different. I didn't see the actual hit, but I saw the guy lying on the ground and someone said an ambulance had been called. Livestreamers are now saying no life-threatening injuries.

I'm not surprised the kids are still running around tonight. Oakland has about five days a year when you can move around at night outdoors in a t-shirt and this is one of them.
posted by telstar at 11:27 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like that I keep hearing about Occupy groups setting up libraries. Definitely contrasts with some of the anti-intellectual rhetoric coming out of the Tea Party rallies that happened.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:28 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Speaking as someone who just got back from the Oakland protests earlier tonight...

(My philosophy hinges on the notion that it's only human to capitalize on the opportunities in life that present themselves, and biology asserts itself by exploiting any and every available avenue that benefits the organism [i.e., absolute power corrupts, absolutely; most Americans may be among the 99% disenfranchised according to the national system, yet it's easy to overlook the 99% worldwide disenfranchisement system that benefit them. etc.])

I felt there was a lack of leadership and direction. Most people were ambling from one point to another, not really in search of anything in particular. Truckers/day laborers patiently waiting out the protests in their trucks to get home to family or finish their shift out on the port, with protestors climbing the trucks in defiance. Circles of rallying protestors declaring the streets and port as theirs, to no real audience but ourselves.

When speaking to people, I felt a good contingent didn't really understand their purpose there, other than they were unhappy with the system, or just generally enjoyed anarchy.

The only real thing that got people up in a huff was when am SUV was attempting to leave the port, and protestors stood in its way. The truck tried to go around them, the protestors moved, and a little friction took place. A swarm of people descended on the car, and a couple people jumped on it and began stomping on the windshield. The chants of, "Peaceful! Peaceful!" soon began, and all was alright. But the driver was stranded and forced to reverse. And everyone cheered. Somehow it dulled the event for me.

But this movement is important. It's the foreplay to the greater revolution that's bound to follow, and I'm proud to say I was there.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 11:33 PM on November 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


A swarm of people descended on the car, and a couple people jumped on it and began stomping on the windshield....And everyone cheered. Somehow it dulled the event for me.

That's unfortunate. I'd feel the same way.

The perils of mobs.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:42 PM on November 2, 2011


Indeed. "Without drawing equivalency," I wrote.

I apologize, a little to quick on the read.
posted by dibblda at 11:44 PM on November 2, 2011


The perils of mobs.

The chants of, "Peaceful! Peaceful!" soon began, and all was alright.

On the plus side, for now it seems like the collective can contain it's darker elements.

I saw a video on the 6pm local news of a bunch of protestors linking hands, and a dockworker trying to walk past them. He walked between two of them and they let go, allowing him to pass. There were some boos, but mainly I heard the "awws." As if the crowd was more disappointing than upset. It was pretty powerful, but I haven't been able to find that footage anywhere else.
posted by chemoboy at 11:50 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to the Occupy Asheville solidarity gathering for Scott Olsen tonight. I'm still deeply unimpressed with the lack of internal and external coherence in the movement - it was a lot of people talking at basically an open mic night with the "mic check" repetition, which I can see as a powerful tool to amplify the auditory and emotional impact of good speeches, but is an extremely unhelpful and unpleasant platform for any sort of calm, coherent discussion to take place

After about 40 protestors got peacefully arrested for refusing to vacate a public park after curfew, I wound up down at the local jail with about 15 others in a solidarity/"strategy" session, where I tried to discuss some strategy and offer ideas on tactics. It was for the most part not well received, and people mostly wanted to drift back to the vagary-filled pep talk - how the movement was taking off, banks are fearing the movement, the police sure can't keep up arresting people like this, etc etc. All completely meta, no meat

I have a hard time pinpointing what I would say is wrong with the movement, and could say this in any one of a number of ways, but I'll try this, and sadly use the e-word: many of them are not very informed politically or otherwise, and the organization hasn't structured itself - to the extent that it's been structured at all - around the most informed, coherent members. Instead it functions much more like a small social group, mostly interested in maintaining its current internal structure and relationships and "believing in itself"

They share a sentiment that we need major change, perhaps a revolution - but believe that we're entitled to one and therefore we'll get one - simply by going outdoors and saying so out loud. There's no desire to try to understand how the system has become structured the way it has and what avenues one might try to take to really strategically attack that system

Earlier in the night I'd joined a fascinating discussion with a local preacher at a non-denominational church. He had his wife and kids with him, and clearly didn't want to join in the group chanting but had been talking to a couple of protestors who were much more informed but not within the core of the group. And we all, us few hippies/anarchists and this upper-middle class Christian pastor and his wife, found a lot of common ground about the things that are wrong in this country, and talked about how the local churches could really offer some support and organizational capacity to the movement. But this was just some random people talking - the actual people in the core, I think 2-3 of the 15 were originally homeless and now just sleeping with the group. They use the term "outreach", but seem to be doing very little of it in practice

If this is at all emblematic of the way other cities are operating, I really don't see it going anywhere. And I really, really would like it to. Is anyone in MeFi involved in the "leadership" of one of the city groups, and could try to explain what the game plan is?
posted by crayz at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2011 [15 favorites]


They share a sentiment that we need major change, perhaps a revolution - but believe that we're entitled to one and therefore we'll get one - simply by going outdoors and saying so out loud.

I have been to a few of the protests, and this corroborates my experience. We are reaping the whirlwind of forgetting that our children, our youth, need more than things, entertainment, and "self-esteem"; they need ideas; they need positive social models; they need insight borne of analysis; they need to be given difficult problems to solve; they need to stop being pampered and "saved" from the world. The thing that crayz's statement (above) means to me is that there has been a sense of entitlement without struggle, for decades, in America. We have 2-3 generations that have no history with struggle, or what it means to seriously do without. They are struggling, and g'bless 'em. They will learn; they will evolve, and they will inspire. Also, the elders need to get off their asses, too. We need to find a way to take this nation back to a place where respect, responsibility, opportunity, and effort mean something again. I hope it's not too late.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:32 AM on November 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I have a hard time pinpointing what I would say is wrong with the movement

Ignorance is the principle problem. Lack of focus is the inevitable result. Lack of support is the conclusion.

When the movement started, there was a list going around that had bullshit, touchy-feely nonsense like "Greed should be illegal." Give me a fucking break.

Now it's getting more focused. Somebody must have cracked open a high school US History book. Now they want to eliminate corporate personhood. Corporate personhood is what allows individuals to create contracts with companies.

They want to end PACs and get the money out of Washington. OK, great, so that means you don't want groups like the NAACP or the Nature Conservancy or any other host of "green" political campaign contributors? No, wait, we just want the evil campaign contributions gone. What's evil depends on who you ask. Some might say "the energy industry"—oh, except those solar guys, or the wind people. They're cool.

Some want to reform student loans and make it possible for students to default en masse. Except, doesn't that fuck all the people that were fronting that money? And doesn't that just mean that banks will simply stop lending, making it that much harder for students to get into college in the first place?

Or how about mortgage reform? But why should the people that can't pay their mortgages get sweetheart deals when the people that scrimped and saved and rented the whole time—the people that are now waiting patiently for the housing prices to drop—those people are getting fucked by mortgage reform, because it keeps houses at artificially high prices (and only serves to enrich… wait for it!… the banks).

The question I want answered is the same question I wanted answered when we went into Iraq: what is the endgame? When do you declare victory? What needs to be accomplished for everyone to be able to walk away, pat themselves on the backs, and go home to their families?

SENSE and FOCUS. That's what is sadly missing, in that order.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:37 AM on November 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


I live in downtown Oakland and the occupiers have taken over a building on 16th - the foreclosed office of a former non-profit that worked with the homeless. From what I saw it seemed like a very well organized plan by the anarchists and I have to say it is pretty brilliant. People were handing out these flyers with a statement.

Every Oakland politican from the mayor to the city council members have been backtracking the last week on how they want to support Occupy Oakland and condemn the brutal violence by OPD last Tuesday. The mayor has said she wanted to work with them (and is now tweeting for protestors to "call her").

From what I just saw, no one was being violent. The building was not ransacked or broken into by force. The mood was celebratory, although teams of black masked people ran about in the background. They basically called the city's bluff - will you let them nonviolently occupy it or will the police take back the bank's building by force?

I don't know what is going to happen now, but I left when the tear gas canisters started to fly. Whatever happens tonight, the occupiers put the ball in the city's court.
posted by bradbane at 12:38 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Numbers are going down everywhere, and 4000 people isn't really a general strike in any sense.
What makes a strike “general” has little to do with surpassing some quantitative threshold of participants. What is implied in the adjective is not strictly about size—how “big” the strike is—but rather designates a political action that is qualitatively different from the typical labor strike.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 12:40 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


current live stream
posted by telstar at 12:53 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Livestream of downtown Oakland right now: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/occupy-oakland-live
posted by bradbane at 12:53 AM on November 3, 2011


This is 16th and Broadway? Where is the police line?
posted by chemoboy at 12:59 AM on November 3, 2011


wow looks like I got out in time
posted by bam at 1:00 AM on November 3, 2011


This cameraman has fucking guts. I'd vote for him
posted by crayz at 1:23 AM on November 3, 2011


I've been riveted to the stream.
posted by chemoboy at 1:30 AM on November 3, 2011


me as well, someone get hims some batteries!
posted by bam at 1:33 AM on November 3, 2011


I'm actually scared for him once the batteries run out.....
posted by bam at 1:34 AM on November 3, 2011


"It doesn't make any sense... there has to be more to this. Shutting down the port will cost people jobs. The local dockworkers union does not seem to support the shutdown."

One of the unfortunate realities of any mass movement is that it is impossible to have reform without some people suffering from the results of that reform — and that's leaving aside the totally specious claim that people will lose their jobs.

But yes, in order to have an effective strike, someone will have to be effected economically. In order to be taken seriously, a movement has to demonstrate power, and that power basically comes down to making someone else do something they don't want to do, and in specific, that means that some people will lose money.

However, you can either spin that into an apologia for capital and class warfare, or you can realize that it's the inequities of the current system that require that worker against worker decision. Union members should realize that every worker in America should have their level of protection, and work to raise up the rest that are struggling, but often those who have gotten relatively lucky economically are pitted against others who haven't in order to maintain their putative advantage — similar to how ethnic minorities are often pitted against each other in order to maintain the privileges of whites.

Likewise, if your concern is getting a latte, like mentioned above, and you play at using that to justify hitting a protester with your car — you're more of an entitled ass than any of the mythical trust fund protesters. Even if they're often ridiculous, they're not the enemy.

(I'd also like to take a moment to mention that we hear far too much rhetoric about the "job creators" and far too little about the actual job doers.)

I do worry about the lack of discipline and focus dooming the OWS movement, but I'm not going to give into premature lamentations as an excuse not to get involved; the OWS movement will dissolve in its own time anyway, there's no use cheering its future demise in the present, especially when, really, they are speaking in our economic interest. But it's also worth noting that movements like Coxey's Army were focused and had clear policy goals, especially the regiments from Los Angeles, but federal troops still smashed their movement handily.
posted by klangklangston at 1:40 AM on November 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


Oh, and for folks who want to provide coherence and information to the protesters, especially with regard to coherent goals, I'd recommend writing up broadsides and pamphlets. They can be done pretty easily at Kinko's (ask an aging punk to make you a "zine," which is what we called analog blogs), and have a couple of advantages over trying to make tactical and strategic arguments through the consensus verbal model: They can be read individually, they can support longer and more detailed arguments, they can't be interrupted and they're not as susceptible to empty sloganeering. They can also be used as a way to educate people without requiring a lot of infrastructure (they don't take a phone charge at all).

I'll probably be writing up a couple of articles and photocopying them this weekend, and passing them around at Occupy LA. I don't have a totally clear idea of what I'll write, but I'll try to identify some clear grievances and possible solutions for those, and then just leave a couple pages blank at the back for people to write comments.

If any of you out there complaining about a lack of focus have some good ideas, I'd recommend you do something similar. It's cheap and can be an easy way to add some history, perspective and ideas to a movement that can be kind of inchoate. At the very least, you can write some of your criticisms of the movement and ask for people to respond — challenging people to articulate some arguments more clearly can't hurt.
posted by klangklangston at 1:49 AM on November 3, 2011 [28 favorites]


That is a lot of police. I think this cameraman is about to get gassed, beaten, tazed (because he's mouthy) and arrested.
posted by chemoboy at 1:49 AM on November 3, 2011


I love technology. I can't believe I'm getting to watch this.
posted by Defenestrator at 1:58 AM on November 3, 2011


Nevermind, it just cut out. Are you guys seeing it still? Did his battery die?
posted by Defenestrator at 1:58 AM on November 3, 2011


Refresh and let it rebuffer. It cut out for me once before but I don't think he has cut the stream yet.
posted by chemoboy at 2:03 AM on November 3, 2011


Yeah looks like his battery died.

I guess the thing is that nobody knows OPD's laws better than Oakland citizens, just like we don't really know LAPD's because we're not Angelenos.

I just want to throw this out here, to show that every video that you've seen on youtube involving police action, every use of "crowd control chemical agents" and "pyrotechnic gas dispersal devices was illegal and unwarranted.

For those reading later you can watch the recorded stream here.
posted by bam at 2:05 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's back.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:05 AM on November 3, 2011


I still think technology is great but damn do they need to work on smartphone battery life.

"My phone is dead, call her"
"No, my phone is dead too."
"Does anybody have a battery!?"
posted by Defenestrator at 2:11 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Earlier tonight I was thinking about how the Occupy movement did not have any leaders. I'm not sure if this guy is a leader. It almost seemed to me that a wall of Police advanced up to the protestors and then there was a lot of yelling now to throw anything to antagonize the police, then there was some Football chanting. But it seemed to have changed the mood.
posted by chemoboy at 2:13 AM on November 3, 2011


Nice. Things ratchet up right after he says he has about 10 minutes of battery time left.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:16 AM on November 3, 2011


Yeah, he's a great cameraman and narrator if anything.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:17 AM on November 3, 2011


Another feed: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/anonmedics
posted by chemoboy at 2:17 AM on November 3, 2011


Does he really have 10k people or is it the ~3,600 that I see at the bottom of the screen?
posted by Defenestrator at 2:29 AM on November 3, 2011


if i know oakland, they all carrying iphones.
posted by bam at 2:33 AM on November 3, 2011


It's the 3,600. He's confusing the "current" viewers with the "total" views.
posted by robcorr at 2:33 AM on November 3, 2011


Actually, it's about 10k. Here's the livestream rebroadcast that people are talking about: http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
posted by chemoboy at 2:34 AM on November 3, 2011


I'm seeing the other one at 5,500. Not quite 10K in total, but not far off.
posted by robcorr at 2:37 AM on November 3, 2011


The paranoid part of me was thinking exactly what he just said.

"And of course the Oakland PD is probably watching this and when it dies is when they'll move" or something along those lines."

Time to switch to the other one.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:37 AM on November 3, 2011


Uh ... the first feed has just been a dude looking for a Droid X battery for 30 minutes, anonmedics is where it's at now.
posted by chemoboy at 2:38 AM on November 3, 2011


klangklangston - I think that's a really good idea. You/anyone else interested in brainstorming something in MeTa or group email as a pamphlet we could print & pass around?
posted by crayz at 2:42 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok I have to sleep
posted by bam at 2:56 AM on November 3, 2011


How is it 3am already? Okay, going to see what anonmedics finds at 13th then I'm going to pass out in my chair.
posted by chemoboy at 3:02 AM on November 3, 2011


Earlier on there was a minor kerfuffle about the solitary comment I made. It's a bit late to get into this now but I don't live on this site and I get the feeling that if I'd answered those complaints at the time I'd just have been accused of monopolising the thread - though of course if I make just one I'm hitting and running.

My point, rather obviously, was that this protest inconvenienced those it pretended to champion, the chants and drums actually drowned out the voice of the real working man and that the protesters were the real '1%' in this situation. If I'd just stated that opinion I'd have been accused of either not reading the links or not backing it up with evidence so I chose to highlight something in the OP which very clearly made my point for me. Brevity is the soul of wit and further editorialising on my part would only have detracted from the impact of the quote.

Perhaps the real beef one or two people had was not the manner in which I expressed my point, but that my opinion differed from theirs and, because of that, they think I'm somehow insincere in my intentions because nobody could possibly believe anything different from them. Well, I'm not being paid by the republicans/big oil or Goldman Sachs and I'm not "trolling", I genuinely believe what I say. I usually make one comment in a thread because I'd rather listen to what other people have to say than get involved in silly, tedious and self-aggrandising arguments which, like academic spats, get so bitter only because the stakes are so low.

Hope this clears things up boys. And now back to your scheduled programming.
posted by joannemullen at 3:10 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm not being paid by the republicans/big oil or Goldman Sachs and I'm not "trolling", I genuinely believe what I say.

Your apparently genuine belief that protesters make up the top 1% in the country is not particularly grounded in reality, though. It isn't about you, "girl". It's about the delusional aspects of the conservative "chants and drums" mythology that the press (and you) keep pushing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:35 AM on November 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


I feel bad for them. Almost all of them occupy the streets until 3am emphasizing peace and then voluntarily go to sleep in order to avoid the conflict escalating. Just like that guy said though, tomorrow the headlines will be about the handful among thousands that turned it into their own personal riot.

It must be so frustrating to be defined by the minority that you reject.
posted by Defenestrator at 3:47 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the real beef one or two people had was not the manner in which I expressed my point, but that my opinion differed from theirs

No, I don't think so. People here are, surprisingly often, quite willing to engage in discussion with people whose opinions differ from their own, provided their arguments are expressed in good faith. That you would indicate otherwise only demonstrates once again the general disdain with which you view most all of the people who make up this web community. That doesn't surprise me, of course, because a great number of your comments (a majority, perhaps) express disparaging views of the people who post here. You seem to hold the community here in generally low esteem, and I'm always a bit puzzled by why you would continue to contribute. I mean, hey, why attend a party, for example, when it's obvious that you really don't like or respect the people in attendance?

Hope this clears things up boys.

I don't think there was really anything to clear up. Girl.

In closing, may I suggest you reread some of the replies, in this thread, to "Sam's" comment that you posted? You might learn something.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:50 AM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


[and here's where we all raise our right hand and swear not to make this into the joannemullen thread. Go on now -- do it.]
posted by taz at 4:05 AM on November 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


Earlier in the night I'd joined a fascinating discussion with a local preacher at a non-denominational church. He had his wife and kids with him, and clearly didn't want to join in the group chanting but had been talking to a couple of protestors who were much more informed but not within the core of the group. And we all, us few hippies/anarchists and this upper-middle class Christian pastor and his wife, found a lot of common ground about the things that are wrong in this country, and talked about how the local churches could really offer some support and organizational capacity to the movement. But this was just some random people talking....

crayz, you say that you are becoming unsure what the purpose of this movement is. With all due respect -- I think the story you've told above is that purpose.

You say that you "hippies/anarchists" found common ground with this Christian pastor; my hunch is that if not for the protests, you probably wouldn't have even had occasion to talk to him. And you would never have known that you all agree about things.

Now picture that same conversation happening a multitude of times at protests across the country. And now each of the people in those conversations then goes and talks to their friends -- "boy, we actually all agree on a lot of things, who knew?" And maybe some people save each other's phone numbers and keep in touch even when/if the protests fold, and keep talking. And maybe some of those friends then come and join the conversation, and you find out you have even more in common.

....And then a year from now, once all of these people realize we are all on the same side, and once one of the most cohesive voting blocs in this nation has thus assembled itself, we go vote for congressmen during the regular election.

Imagine what the outcome of that election would be, as opposed to the outcome of an election in a partisan nation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on November 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


haha! done, taz!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:08 AM on November 3, 2011


What EmpressCallipygos said.

At the Occupy Times Square, there were some rightists holding up a cut up of Ronny Raygun and smoking cigars. I happened to have a cigar and they had a cutter and a lighter (a bic lighter? for a cigar? Even a low-class anarchist like me knows one should only ever use a wooden match to light a good cigar, but I digress) and we smoked our cigars and talked about finding our middle ground and having a good conversation. Ideologically we were really far apart but we still had a very good humanizing conversation about political topics.
posted by fuq at 4:23 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


If there's one thing for sure, I fully expect OPD to have surrounded the plaza if not outright raided the camp while they are asleep.
posted by bam at 4:25 AM on November 3, 2011


I hate to revert to folk sayings, but they exist for a reason. Anyway Omelettes are damn tasty.




I just find it strange that the honest to god, genuine, All-American, point of view of the authentic working man happens to back the status quo. Every single time. Oddly enough a similar thing tends to happen down here in the antipodes. 3 guesses as to the consistent variable.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:30 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, they just turned OWS into the usual anticapitalist nonsense everyone ignores. Great work guys! You are the 99%!
posted by Artw at 5:00 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


At the Occupy Times Square, there were some rightists holding up a cut up of Ronny Raygun and smoking cigars. I happened to have a cigar and they had a cutter and a lighter (a bic lighter? for a cigar? Even a low-class anarchist like me knows one should only ever use a wooden match to light a good cigar, but I digress) and we smoked our cigars and talked about finding our middle ground and having a good conversation. Ideologically we were really far apart but we still had a very good humanizing conversation about political topics.

That sounds fun. Would have been great if you'd asked them if they'd like to bring taxes on the rich back to the higher Reagan levels.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:06 AM on November 3, 2011


Vibrissae, you might want to look into that a little deeper. It's almost certainly a fabrication dating from the 60s, and I think you're too intelligent to stay duped by such.

Wouldn't the Maoist factions of the 1960s New Left have sided explicitly with the Viet Cong and against US "imperialist" troops, rather than just wanting peace?
posted by acb at 5:21 AM on November 3, 2011


Even after what it describes as a "mostly peaceful" daylong protest this is the photo the SF Chronicle is running as their front page photo under the headline: Chaos and police clashes after Occupy strike in Oakland. I guess pictures of people peacefully protesting just wouldn't sell any papers.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:43 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That the driver who hit two people wasn't immediately arrested is fucking bullshit. Completely fucking insane. I cannot even begin to understand how that's not immediately worthy of firing that fucking officer.
posted by odinsdream at 5:45 AM on November 3, 2011


It remains a bit troubling that the protesters pictured in the Mercury News photos are so overwhelmingly white. The OWS movements are part of the 99%, but they don't represent the 99%, and they are probably not part of the, say, 75%. These are meaningful distinctions. It's not the 1% who is going to clean up that Wells Fargo tomorrow.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:11 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


joannemullen: "My point, rather obviously, was that this protest inconvenienced those it pretended to champion, the chants and drums actually drowned out the voice of the real working man and that the protesters were the real '1%' in this situation."

As MeFi's own TheLastPsychiatrist rightfully put it:

"'We are the 99%.' Stop it. There is a 1%, fighting another 1%, and while both of those megalomaniancs dominate the media coverage the other 98% has no recourse, no representation, no allies, and no savings."
posted by falameufilho at 6:16 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Does anybody have any reliable evidence of the actual make-up of the protestors in either Occupy Oakland or Occupy Wallstreet? It would be nice to see an actual study.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:23 AM on November 3, 2011


Apologists gonna apologize, propagandizers gonna propagandize, co-opters gonna co-opt, headbusters gonna bust heads, scabs gonna scab, distracters gonna distract, and the entitled are still gonna call it a meritocracy in which they naturally rose to the top.

It was ever thus. Fortitude, comrades. A song. (SLWG)
posted by spitbull at 6:52 AM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Does anybody have any reliable evidence of the actual make-up of the protestors in either Occupy Oakland or Occupy Wallstreet? It would be nice to see an actual study.

I'm genuinely curious what you'd like to learn from such a study. For example, this piece of "journalism" reports that some protesters live in "mansions." Unsaid is what the fuck that has to do with economic justice and equality.

What personally are you looking for?
posted by odinsdream at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2011


You say that you "hippies/anarchists" found common ground with this Christian pastor; my hunch is that if not for the protests, you probably wouldn't have even had occasion to talk to him. And you would never have known that you all agree about things.

On a slightly different note - this is one of the things that I find so exciting and interesting about the protests. People are starting to perceive shared links of self-interest and talk about what they actually want - and as a result, they are discovering that they have far more in common than they might have thought.

Working together is fun. Making something happen is fun. I think people are starting to work together and finding that even if things don't always quite go as planned, it's actually quite satisfying to get involved - it is empowering to have a hand, however, small, in history.
posted by lucien_reeve at 7:01 AM on November 3, 2011


joannemullen: "Perhaps the real beef one or two people had was not the manner in which I expressed my point, but that my opinion differed from theirs and, because of that, they think I'm somehow insincere in my intentions because nobody could possibly believe anything different from them. "

"Hope this clears things up boys. And now back to your scheduled programming."

Somehow you think it's *not* the manner you make your point? The same, dismissive, "Oh I'm jes' sayin'" folksy hand-waving in every thread you "participate" in? Rejecting honest attempts rebuttals as dick-measuring? Indeed, surely it's the substance of your argument that's the issue.
posted by notsnot at 7:04 AM on November 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I watched the livestreams all day yesterday and the crowds were very diverse.

The anti-capitalists started this thing. Some of the newly disenfranchised middle class have joined them. Will the liberals be able to co-opt the anarchists and lib-com's? Or will they go home when it gets cold? Will the reformists come over to the anti-capitalist side? The real divide seems to be between those in the streets and those who decide to stay home...
posted by bonefish at 7:09 AM on November 3, 2011


NPR sez there's some looting and burning going on in Oakland. Anybody know what's going on?
posted by angrycat at 7:14 AM on November 3, 2011


@Odinsdream: Hi.

Pure curiosity, basically.

As with almost every popular movement since time began, there are people weighing in here to say that these protestors don't really represent the common man.

(I'm sure that during the peasant's revolts in the Middle Ages, barons would say to one another with a rather patronising air that of course these rebels were just greedy; look at how they treat their serfs in Russia!; and besides, if these peasants would just till the land a little more diligently, they would have all the food they needed and God would be less inclined to smite them with the plague).

I'm not so naive as to believe that people who want to think ill of the OWS movement will stop saying bad things about it if a reputable study does show that yes, actually, it is mostly composed of cross middle-managers and small businessmen.

But I'd like to know.

And more than that: I think that it is important to be the sort of person who wants to know.

One of the nastiest things I've noticed in modern political discourse is a tendency to, basically, lie. And then, when called on it, to start flouncing around and being generally bad-mannered and sulky and unpleasant - "all you people are just disagreeing with me because you can't stand different opinions", that sort of thing. A sort of one-two punch of dishonesty and rudeness. And I'm afraid to say that it's mostly people on the right who do it, nowadays - although the Chinese often seem to do it on an international level, so I think it has more to do with essentially comfortable people defending their unearned privileges than it does anything to do with a flag.

I'm afraid I can't shake the feeling that if you care about the truth and can discuss it in a rational and civilised manner, you are somehow just all round a better sort of person than the kind of person who doesn't. You aren't supposed to say that nowadays, but there it is. And, miserably imperfect though I am, it still feels like letting humanity in general down not to at least make the effort.
posted by lucien_reeve at 7:15 AM on November 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Perhaps the real beef one or two people had was not the manner in which I expressed my point, but that my opinion differed from theirs and, because of that, they think I'm somehow insincere in my intentions because nobody could possibly believe anything different from them.

Speaking as one of those "one or two people", you're wrong -- my beef WAS entirely with the way you expressed your point.

I am frustrated when someone "contributes" to a discussion by parroting other people's quotes and saying nothing more. I have no way of knowing what their OWN mind is on the matter. If you were to speak using your own words and your own thoughts, I would at least get your OWN perspective, and that is something I can work with.

But jsut quoting other people is NOT a way to participate in a discussion, and if you don't want to participate in a discussion, I'm not certain why you're here. Is it just to show off?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 AM on November 3, 2011


NPR sez there's some looting and burning going on in Oakland. Anybody know what's going on?

Sounds like NPR is playing its standard role of cherry-picking the salacious details out of the overwhelmingly peaceful movement.
posted by odinsdream at 7:19 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I'd like to know.

And more than that: I think that it is important to be the sort of person who wants to know.


Fair enough. What are you going to do with that knowledge, though? I can only speak personally, but as a supporter of the OWS movement, I'd be discouraged if someone dug into my tax records and "revealed" that I'm actually doing quite well financially.

The implication is that those who are doing well financially cannot or should not care about economic justice, or reformation of our economic and political system.

Of course, there are people who are financially well and also conservative (in the sense of being protective of the status quo), but as far as I can tell it's wrong to link those in a cause-effect relationship.
posted by odinsdream at 7:26 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The implication is that those who are doing well financially cannot or should not care about economic justice, or reformation of our economic and political system.

Engels was wealthy...
posted by bonefish at 7:28 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can only speak personally, but as a supporter of the OWS movement, I'd be discouraged if someone dug into my tax records and "revealed" that I'm actually doing quite well financially.

Same here. I'm far from the 1% but household-wise, we're in the top 20% (income, not assets - we own nothing). I don't see how that matters. We're still wage-slaves; if we lost our jobs we'd be in deep shit. We just get paid more than many people, and that's partly due to luck (race, education, health). Our relatively higher income means I have more resources to give the people on the ground.
posted by desjardins at 7:33 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


But jsut quoting other people is NOT a way to participate in a discussion, and if you don't want to participate in a discussion, I'm not certain why you're here. Is it just to show off?

Would you knock it off already, please? Even if a moderator hadn't already asked you not to do this, above: Treating people like trolls pollutes threads. If you genuinely think she's a troll—or if you can't muster the ability to treat her otherwise—then just quit responding to her. It makes the site worse for everybody else.
posted by red clover at 7:37 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


God almighty, Madison is discussing building a shelter made out of straw bales for the winter. Unsurpisingly, the fire department is very much against this plan. #facepalm
posted by desjardins at 7:38 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would you knock it off already, please?

Dude, I only responded this once. Chill.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on November 3, 2011


And I don't think joannemullen is a troll, either. I do see that other people are saying 'oh, just go away," I'm taking the opposite tack -- asking her to contribute, but contribute HER OWN thoughts. I'm giving her a chance, not accusing her of trolling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That quote from "Sam", BTW... any link to that, I wonder? Where is it from?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:44 AM on November 3, 2011


From the very first link.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:47 AM on November 3, 2011


My coworker and I were discussing why we weren't going to the protests in Philly, even though we're in general accordance with the OWS movement. We were of the consensus that we were both too old and tired from working.

I suppose the silver lining to any Great Depression II ushered in by the European crisis or whatever is that my co-worker would still be old, but no longer busy, and more motivated besides.
posted by angrycat at 7:48 AM on November 3, 2011


From the very first link.

Thank you!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:53 AM on November 3, 2011


i notice there isn't just one but rather two Sams from that article who didn't want their last names printed!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 AM on November 3, 2011


A lot of fighty name calling in here.

More links and discussion, please.

If you support Occupy, please don't counter other people's points by calling them names like "concern troll." That's avoiding discussion, not promoting it.

If you are against Occupy, tell us more about why you don't.

Same for the fence-sitters.

As for ripping on the "Silent Majority," Nixon cruised to a smashing victory on that. A word to the wise.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:15 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Local observation: driving down the Embarcadero and Townsend this morning, there seemed to be far more cargo ships idling in the bay than there usually are. Like, at least a dozen. I don't have any inside information, but it seems that the port shutdown was at least partially successful, at least for a short time.
posted by rkent at 8:18 AM on November 3, 2011


lucien_reeve: The demographics of Occupy Wallstreet
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:19 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Same for the fence-sitters.

For me I don't really understand what the aims are. Sounds like a fair few of the participants don't either. I don't see this as a labor movement, either. I don't understand what shutting down the port was supposed to accomplish.
posted by Hoopo at 8:27 AM on November 3, 2011


Chase Bank right now (facebook link to photo). WOW.
posted by hillabeans at 8:38 AM on November 3, 2011


As for ripping on the "Silent Majority," Nixon cruised to a smashing victory on that. A word to the wise.

I remember GW Bush's supporters using it, too. Worked then as well.
posted by Hoopo at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2011


RE: Chase Bank photo. From yesterday actually.
posted by hillabeans at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2011


Hoopo: "I don't see this as a labor movement, either. I don't understand what shutting down the port was supposed to accomplish."

I have some of the same concerns. What has kept playing over in my head since OWS began is how the Tea Party began as a small, Ron Paulish, libertarian financial concern only group and was co-opted in about a month or so by the mainstream right. I've been wondering if OWS would be co-opted by traditional liberal concerns, and the involvement of unions has me wondering more. I've looked to OWS to be more financial in outlook and while labor is part of that, I don't want to take over the message.
posted by charred husk at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2011


I don't understand what shutting down the port was supposed to accomplish.

The port of Oakland has a recent history of being a place to protest:

Hundreds in Oakland protest Gaza blockade
Police Violence Shocks Activists, Others at Port of Oakland Protest
Oakland Port Protest by Teachers & Community (Google Video)

It really is a large contributor of tax revenue to the city of Oakland as well as being a public, not private port. Shutting down the port hits Oakland in it's wallet and no one can tell the protestors to leave except for the city itself.
posted by chemoboy at 8:53 AM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


OK, thanks for the context, chemoboy. Makes a lot more sense if that's just sort of the usual place for protests in Oakland. What's the grievance against the City of Oakland?
posted by Hoopo at 9:03 AM on November 3, 2011


Whose Encampment Should Crowd-Control Police Be Breaking Up?
posted by homunculus at 9:09 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you are against Occupy, tell us more about why you don't.

Civil Disobedient said it pretty well above.

Here in Boston, the mayor and police have been incredibly hands-off the protestors. The mayor has said explicitly that as long as Occupy Boston remains peaceful, they will be allowed to stay indefinitely. I think everybody anticipated there would be a time limit to that patience, but so far, there hasn't been.

But it's completely unclear why they are there. The negatives are concrete and visible: the damage they have done to the Greenway and the cost of repair, their deliberate obstruction of traffic, the vandalism, the drug arrests, the looting that has occurred. Their illegal occupation forced the cancellation of a food festival that had obtained proper permitting (and was hardly a 1% affair). People from both sides of the aisle have complained, from the Greater Boston Tea Party to the organizers of the Hempfest, about the special treatment Occupy Boston is being given.

And nobody understands why. Here are two articles that illustrate the point well. From the first:
“I plan to be here until there’s actual change,” Ricky Wood of Malden said. “Until I can go somewhere else and feel comfortable that everything is accomplished here.”

Asked what he meant by “actual change,” Wood replied: “Equality.”

“I’m staying here indefinitely,” he added. “This is my home.”

...

Mike from Keene, N.H., who hitchhiked to the protest and declined to give his last name, said he would stay at Occupy Boston “until we see results,” although he said it was too soon to say what those might be.

“It’s so hard to answer questions like this,” he said. “I’m sure you never knew you’d be standing here talking to me when you were 15 years old. Maybe you were going to be a professional skateboarder. So to say what exactly the results are going to truly be is a question that, in my opinion, is impossible to fathom.”
These people are causing concrete problems in the city. They know it, and they're doing it deliberately. And they cannot articulate why. Consequently, I believe they should be evicted from the Greenway. If they refuse to leave, they should be arrested. If they return, escalate the fines and penalties.

One asterisk. Here in Boston, we have a major problem with homelessness and shelter during wintertime. Winters are cold, and people die. The protestors have been soliciting donations of winter clothing, and they have attracted exponentially more generosity and donations than we typically get for the homeless in Boston, and they have complained when homeless people have shown up to the camp and taken the clothes.

If I were leading Occupy Boston...? Instead of marching and obstructing traffic, we would visibly walk that same manpower a few blocks east to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. That's today, all day: We volunteer. Tomorrow, we grant sit-down interviews to any press (no matter how hostile) with any protestor (no matter how dull) on the condition that any published article note that when our occupation is finished, we have resolved to donate all tents, clothing, food, etc. to local homeless shelters.

That's my asterisk. It wouldn't give the protest direction or a goal, but at least it would make them appear less like spoiled and insufferable children. They have been talking with a lot of bravado about how they will endure the cold, and they haven't shown much understanding that some people don't have any choice.
posted by red clover at 9:18 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I understand the frustration some may feel at the lack of a coherant message from individual protestors. I agree it's a problem that some people are sort of adding their own "spin" on the message.

I don't quite think that it is fair to say that therefore, by extension, it's "unclear why they're there." From the very beginning, there have been increasingly more and more people saying quite succinctly that this is a protest against corporate control of politics, and the lack of corporate accountability. Sid Protester No. 3 who happened to be stopped and asked for a sound bite may not have said it, but enough others have, and enough people organizing the movemenet have, that I'm afraid it looks a bit naive at best, or willfully stubborn at worst, to claim that it's "unclear why the protestors are protesting" at this stage.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 AM on November 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


Also, no one was asking the Tea Party why THEY were protesting. Why is OWS, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Boston, et. al. being asked for a 25-words-or-less summary when the Tea Party never was?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Vandals hijack Occupy Oakland protests: A splinter group of protesters hijacks the day's action, cheering the political right
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2011


What's the grievance against the City of Oakland?

While I am sure there are other grievances, I think the main one is the cities handling of last weeks protests.
posted by chemoboy at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2011


Also, no one was asking the Tea Party why THEY were protesting.

That's because people generally assumed the Tea Party was stupid, ignorant, and likely racist, and mocked them and their signs and slogans. Be glad they're asking OWS "why?" instead of doing the same.
posted by Hoopo at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, no one was asking the Tea Party why THEY were protesting. Why is OWS, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Boston, et. al. being asked for a 25-words-or-less summary when the Tea Party never was?

While I agree that the Tea Party was similarly unfocused (at least at the one rally I gawked at), I think the reason people are asking this question about OWS is because of the occupation aspect, because it's a seemingly permanent protest. A tea party rally comes, lasts a day, and goes away; the OWS people are saying "we're here until you meet our demands" and people want to know what those demands are. If there's going to be a tent camp in the middle of my city, I'd like to know what needs to happen to make it go away.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The vandals have a lot of work to do if they want to catch up to the damage done by Wall Street.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, no one was asking the Tea Party why THEY were protesting.

Well, when they did it was usually

* Racism
* Reduce taxes regardless of concequences
* Dismantle any aspects of the goverment not directly serving them.

I mean, those a three fairly horrid bulletpoints, but at least it's succinct.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't quite think that it is fair to say that therefore, by extension, it's "unclear why they're there."

I know why they're there, but it's largely unclear what they want other than vague statements of equality and economic justice. The Tea Party wants lower taxes and less government. As much as I may disagree, it's a pretty clear message with achievable goals. And they've been winning elections, so they are achieving them.

"End corporate personhood" and "reform campaign finance" are the only concrete goals I've heard out of OWS, and unless they get people to the voting booths, camping out in parks is not going to achieve them. The Wisconsin rallies last spring DID get many more people out to vote in the recall elections, and we're gearing up for Scott Walker's recall in a couple of weeks. This is the kind of thing that OWS needs to have to have a chance of being successful.
posted by desjardins at 9:46 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't remember seeing this upthread, but here's an interview with Clarence Thomas who states one of the goals of the general strike was in solidarity with the ILWU, who are not legally allowed to strike.

The goal of the general strike was to close off the port, at which point the ILWU would have been allowed to strike. The talks that the ILWU are currently engaged in (with EGT) were featured on the blue about 2 months ago.
posted by fragmede at 9:47 AM on November 3, 2011


the Wisconsin rallies last this spring
posted by desjardins at 9:47 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


End corporate personhood

No idea why you would want to make it harder to sue a corporation (without corporate personhood, you must sue and serve every shareholder, which was why it was invented) and destroy the right of Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the New York Times Co. to free speech.

The problem is Speech=Money, not corporate personhood.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the aim is to undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations (and their board members) and turn the United States into a democracy. Not really sure what's so hard to understand about that. My guess is that a certain segment of the population isn't able to process or admit what the political configuration is in the US, or that things could be different. And better.

We haven't had an election cycle since the start of Occupy. And it sounds like there's going to be some serious organizing in July, 2012, which I'm guessing will have some real impact on elections next year. The movement hasn't had a chance to organize electorally, so it's a bit early to say that they've missed the mark on that front.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:58 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the aim is to undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations (and their board members) and turn the United States into a democracy. Not really sure what's so hard to understand about that. My guess is that a certain segment of the population isn't able to process or admit what the political configuration is in the US, or that things could be different. And better.

Even if you accept that aim as concrete, it's still a goal that will take decades to achieve. The same with the quotes above where people say they're staying until there is "equality." I have trouble imagining that the OWS people think they are really going to be there until 2035 or whenever corporate power is finally broken.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:01 AM on November 3, 2011


No idea why you would want to make it harder to sue a corporation (without corporate personhood, you must sue and serve every shareholder, which was why it was invented) and destroy the right of Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the New York Times Co. to free speech.

The answer to this is that corporations aren't people, but both corporations and people are specialised categories of beings capable of carrying responsibility.

What needs to be done is to make this base class of economic actor as minimal as possible, and strip corporations of the other attributes of personhood which make no sense, such as the right to freedom of speech, feelings which can be hurt, and so on.
posted by acb at 10:11 AM on November 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Zeoslap: "I'm pro OWS and very down on Occupy Oakland - it's tragic that these guys are becoming the face, and an extreme face at that of a very positive populist movement. These guys are doing more harm than good."

You do realize, of course, that this is mostly happening because the last face that was presented as representative of this movement was shot at close range by a projectile fired from a police weapon.

I don't particularly support a lot of the destruction of property in Oakland. Wrecking the Whole Foods was wanton and worthless as an action. I am less inclined to condemn the destruction of banks and ATMs, because I have a hard time seeing those things as part of an institution that is not a legitimate target.

Still, though, there is a big problem with the American left and violence. Or, rather, the left's views on violence. There is somehow a meme that runs wild on the left that there is truly no such thing as legitimate use of violence or physical force in the face of authority. All we hear is talk of the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King's reliance on nonviolence, but that was only the carrot of that particular movement. Malcolm, The Panthers, and Rob Williams were the stick, and without them looming on the horizon, I doubt the movement would have had the successes it did.

I think that, ultimately, both sides need to truly accept a diversity of tactics. To get this done, we need demographically diverse marchers dedicated to nonviolence, we need families and kids speaking out, we need direct action that costs the opposition dollars, and we need the beautiful tactics of frivolity employed by clown armies and the like. And, I hate to say it, but we need some no-nonsense black blocs who do what they do standing behind us and ready to go.

I was really saddened yesterday by the calls from some protesters to identify the "troublemakers and anarchists" and turn their information over to police. I can't even explain how awful I think that idea is. Then again, I do think there is a strong chance that we saw some impressive infiltration yesterday, and that some of those guys were agents provocateur. Still, though, the idea that people would actually call for 'snitching' is gut wrenching for me, especially considering what the OPD have done so far.

All in all, I thought that the vast majority of what I saw in Oakland yesterday was absolutely beautiful, and it certainly instilled in me the most hope I have ever had for America. Work together, respect tactics and opinions different from your own, and this might actually go somewhere.
posted by broadway bill at 10:14 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


What needs to be done is to make this base class of economic actor as minimal as possible, and strip corporations of the other attributes of personhood which make no sense, such as the right to freedom of speech, feelings which can be hurt, and so on.

So, Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club will lose the right of free speech? You are aware that they are corporations, right? The New York Times Co. and every single newspaper in the country? Again, corporations

And what about the application of the doctrine of standing? its what allows us to sue a corporation. What's your plan for that
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, I hate to say it, but we need some no-nonsense black blocs who do what they do standing behind us and ready to go.

Then I can't stand with you, and I'll oppose you and your 'allies' every step of the way.
posted by empath at 10:27 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Panthers, and Rob Williams were the stick, and without them looming on the horizon, I doubt the movement would have had the successes it did.

Laughable. The Black Panther Party came into being on October 15, 1966. After every single piece of national legislation that passed to help African-Americans. After they were formed, there were no new pieces of legislation that were passed.

The reason that violence is wrong is because it is wrong.

And, I hate to say it, but we need some no-nonsense black blocs who do what they do standing behind us and ready to go.

Then I can't stand with you, and I'll oppose you and your 'allies' every step of the way.


Exactly.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 AM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was really saddened yesterday by the calls from some protesters to identify the "troublemakers and anarchists" and turn their information over to police. I can't even explain how awful I think that idea is.

Dear god, why? Fuck those guys, any time they show up your movement is an instant fail.
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Dear god, why? Fuck those guys, any time they show up your movement is an instant fail.

Yeah, I have a friend in the Black Bloc and he just travels around the country going to protests for the sake of breaking shit and provoking the cops. He literally doesn't care what the protest is about.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


So those Black Bloc guys might have been agent provocateurs, presumably to smear the occupy Movement and its goals, but it would still be a bad idea to out them or condemn their behavior because they're the stick, to the rest of the Occupy Movement's carrot?
posted by 2N2222 at 10:47 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really interesting to me what gets labelled as violence and what doesn't.

I mean, I assume that the people loudly condemning the breaking of windows support the existence of the police and the U.S. military. But if you really want to be a pacifist, you couldn't support an armed police force and you certainly couldn't support a huge standing military with bases all over the world.

Personally, I am more concerned about the violence that is too often made invisible than I am about the destruction of some inanimate objects. I'm talking about the violence of letting people starve when there's more than enough food. The violence of locking heated, empty office buildings at night while people freeze outdoors. The violence of withholding life-saving medicine from sick people.

And that's not even getting into police brutality, the sexual violence and atrocities committed by military forces, the assassinations of leftist priests and nuns and union leaders and activists in Central and South America.

So if we want to talk about violence, maybe we should start with the elephant in the room: the system that explicitly values profit over human (and non-human) life.
posted by overglow at 10:49 AM on November 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


The New York Times Co. and every single newspaper in the country? Again, corporations

The NYT and other papers/media outlets have their own little clause in the 1st Amendment...
posted by sbutler at 10:53 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"My point, rather obviously, was that this protest inconvenienced those it pretended to champion, the chants and drums actually drowned out the voice of the real working man and that the protesters were the real '1%' in this situation. If I'd just stated that opinion I'd have been accused of either not reading the links or not backing it up with evidence so I chose to highlight something in the OP which very clearly made my point for me. Brevity is the soul of wit and further editorialising on my part would only have detracted from the impact of the quote."

There are a lot of weird assumptions being made here: That protests can succeed without inconveniencing anyone; that the OWS protests only "pretend" to champion the working man; that inconveniencing some workers undermines the broader message; that this guy represents the feelings of all working men; that the protesters are the "1%" (which is an entirely laughable assertion, and makes me suspect you don't know what the percentages refer to).

Further, it really sounds like you're the one who's afraid of being challenged on your weird reactionary reductionism that you know you can't really defend, and confusing brevity for wit is a common mistake you make.
posted by klangklangston at 10:56 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


So if we want to talk about violence, maybe we should start with the elephant in the room: the system that explicitly values profit over human (and non-human) life.

Just be aware that if you advocate for a violent revolution, 90% of the country will oppose you and your movement is over. Anarchists have been making this mistake over and over and over again in this country.

It didn't work for the anarchists, it didn't work for the weathermen, it didn't work for the anti-globalism people in the 90s, and it won't work now.

If you want change, put aside the radical agenda and make consensus with the mainstream. 10 million people in the streets is a revolution. 100 kids smashing store windows is a nuisance.
posted by empath at 11:00 AM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The foreclosure crisis in California and other states provides a perfect opportunity to build bridges with folks who in "normal" times would be committed to the status quo.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:06 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Even if you accept that aim as concrete, it's still a goal that will take decades to achieve. The same with the quotes above where people say they're staying until there is "equality." I have trouble imagining that the OWS people think they are really going to be there until 2035 or whenever corporate power is finally broken."

Well, you know, part of the problem is that these are huge, complex, systemic problems that will take decades to address and don't lend themselves to simplistic sloganeering, so if people expect and want that, they're going to be disappointed. Slogans are great for rallying and motivating, but they're terrible for actual change. But we're up against a media system that values slogans over in-depth reporting, and up against a political counterweight that repeats an endless series of slogans that are "neat, plausible, and wrong."

So, should we end corporate personhood? No, but reforming it in substantial ways would make a positive difference, including instituting a corporate "death penalty," enlarging the list of things that officers of a company can be held criminally and civilly liable for, and instituting distinction-without-difference rules to control the dissolution and reformation of corporations explicitly to avoid liability. We should also be fine with saying that political contributions are not inherently free speech and can be regulated — which will likely take a constitutional amendment. We should also reinstitute the Glass-Steagal act, reform the banks, break up credit card oligopoly, give real funding and powers to the Consumer Protection Agency, and explicitly legislate that future "too big to fail" banks will be nationalized.

That's a decent start. We should also seek another national stimulus, and a real jobs plan explicitly aimed at updating and reforming our infrastructure, including data transmission infrastructure.

We also need comprehensive, nationalized health care. That alone will do more for the 99 percent than most of the reforms I listed above, but obviously, some need to be concurrent.

And by the very nature of the Overton Window, these ongoing protests can help us articulate these concerns and shift the dialog to a place where we're not yammering about deficits in the middle of a goddamned recession.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on November 3, 2011 [20 favorites]


My point, rather obviously, was that this protest inconvenienced those it pretended to champion, the chants and drums actually drowned out the voice of the real working man and that the protesters were the real '1%' in this situation.

If this is joanemullen speaking: first of all, thank you for responding directly.

It actually wasn't all that "obvious" that this is what you were saying. Because the quote was only the opinon of one man. And we have no way of knowing how indicative of "the 'real' working man" he actually is. People were holding "Joe The Plumber" up as being "a real working man", but it turns out that it wasn't quite the case.

This is not to say that there aren't people who don't think that -- only that simply repreating a quote from the article does not make it clear what your own opinion actually may be.

If I'd just stated that opinion I'd have been accused of either not reading the links or not backing it up with evidence so I chose to highlight something in the OP which very clearly made my point for me.

On the contrary -- you've stated that opinion, and I've not accused you of not reading the links, and I have no need for "evidence" for your opinion. I've expressed a counter-argument, and I'm grateful that you've told me what your opinoin is so I can do that.

Brevity is the soul of wit and further editorialising on my part would only have detracted from the impact of the quote.

I disagree with this opinion of yours. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but only if it is ORIGINAL brevity. Just quoting someone else doesn't always do the trick.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


that inconveniencing some workers undermines the broader message

It certainly can. I can't speak to what's going on in Oakland, but it can alienate people who might otherwise support the movement. When Occupy Vancouver caused my local bank branch to shut down. I have friends that work there, they are part-time workers and do not make a lot of money. That's before we even begin to consider that Canadian banks were already under the type of regulations people want in the USA and largely avoided the same disaster that American banks did.

I am absolutely for a more equitable distribution of wealth, higher taxes on the super-rich, more social programs and universal health care, but you're not hurting the banks by "occupying" a neighbourhood branch, you're hurting people who are struggling to get by.

it didn't work for the anti-globalism people in the 90s

I was out for a few of these and also for Iraq protests in the 2000s. The only difference between OWS and what we were doing then, as far as I can tell, is that now there's such a thing as a full-time protester. Having taken part in those however, I do not share the optimism regarding what can be accomplished.
posted by Hoopo at 11:11 AM on November 3, 2011


Even if you accept that aim as concrete, it's still a goal that will take decades to achieve. The same with the quotes above where people say they're staying until there is "equality." I have trouble imagining that the OWS people think they are really going to be there until 2035 or whenever corporate power is finally broken.

Well, we better get to work now, then, because if nothing is done, things are only going to get worse. And talking about how hard the work is going to be from the sidelines does nothing but reinforce the current (dis)order.

I fundamentally think it's a failure of imagination, though. Start getting people into office, start shifting the dialogue towards putting hard limits on corporate influence in politics. These steps are already happening.

on preview: Yeah, pretty much what klang said.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:12 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally, I am more concerned about the violence that is too often made invisible than I am about the destruction of some inanimate objects.

It's possible to be concerned about both. You raise some good points, but none of them justify smashing a local shop-owner's front window and stealing cartons of her cigarettes. (That's one of the more publicized incidents that have occurred repeatedly in Boston.) The fact that I oppose some of our country's troop deployments, the fact that I am intensely bothered that military veterans come home to inadequate medical care and sometimes end up homeless, does not mean that I think it's okay to destroy other people's anything, inanimate or otherwise. I think such vandals and thieves should be arrested and prosecuted. I also think hunger and homelessness should be addressed in ways they aren't. Personally, I don't find there to be a valid link between the former as a method and the latter as a goal.

In either case, the tactic of comparing the Occupy movement's sins against those of the establishment would be more logical if the Occupy movement's sins were against the establishment. In my city, they aren't spraypainting City Hall or breaking windows at the State House. They are vandalizing private property belonging to individual citizens. They aren't obstructing the president's motorcade or stalking the mayor, or convening en masse on John Stumpf's house.
posted by red clover at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep wondering if corporate personhood means that it will soon be considered murder to declare bankruptcy in Mississippi.
posted by spitbull at 11:15 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


And no, that guy joannemullen quoted was the real working man. The one. The only. The last guy with a regular job on earth.
posted by spitbull at 11:17 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]



The New York Times Co. and every single newspaper in the country? Again, corporations

The NYT and other papers/media outlets have their own little clause in the 1st Amendment...


No. If a corporation does not have free speech rights, than a newspaper that is a corporation can be prevented from publishing. You could just enjoin them easy. Since they have no legal right to free speech, they are not able to publish. See New York Times Co. v. U.S. (Pentagon Papers Case). The entire case is founded on a corporation's right to free speech, as are hundreds more and dozens of Supreme Court cases. If a corporation does not have free speech then Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, and many others do not have free speech rights.

The people who are about getting rid of corporate personhood have no idea of the legal issues. They find the emotional issue to be good press. But they haven't spent a single second actually thinking out the legal consequences, despite the fact that its a legal doctrine they want to get rid of. Its knee-jerk without any real thought going into it.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:18 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Malcolm, The Panthers, and Rob Williams were the stick, and without them looming on the horizon, I doubt the movement would have had the successes it did.

The Panthers are a poor example. They were a revolutionary movement, meaning they didn't believe in the legitimacy of the state. Once violence is accepted as a viable tactic, it basically means that the current system is not salvageable and it's better to kill it and start on a clean slate. Thus, there's more in common with the American Patriot movement than the actual 99%.

And there's my personal concern of escalation. It's already occurring. People see what happened in NYC and are following suit across the US. Now, that it's in Oakland, we see police with riot gear and tear gas and protesters smashing some windows. How long before things get a bit worse and things devolve further?
posted by FJT at 11:20 AM on November 3, 2011


I keep wondering if corporate personhood means that it will soon be considered murder to declare bankruptcy in Mississippi.</em

Corporations may be held criminally liable.

posted by Ironmouth at 11:20 AM on November 3, 2011


Well, we better get to work now, then, because if nothing is done, things are only going to get worse. And talking about how hard the work is going to be from the sidelines does nothing but reinforce the current (dis)order.

My point was that, because their ambitions are long-term, when people ask OWS "what do you want" their real question is "at what point will you stop occupying." The answer can't be "when there's equality" unless you want people living in occupation camps for the next twenty years, but no one has said "oh yeah, if they bring back Glass-Steagal, then I'll know were on the right track and go home." My point was only on the issue of "why do people keep asking OWS what it stands for" and the answer, I think, is clear: because OWS as a constant physical presence has to end someday, the Tea Party doesn't, it can go on in perpetuity like any other party, so there's less reason to ask them what their goals are.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:25 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "Also, no one was asking the Tea Party why THEY were protesting. Why is OWS, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Boston, et. al. being asked for a 25-words-or-less summary when the Tea Party never was?"

Less government spending. Less taxes. End the bailouts. Obama will be a one-term president.

Those are 15 words. You may not agree with any of it, but you can't say the tea party message wasn't consistent and actionable. Unfortunately, you can't summarize what OWS wants in a short message that's ACTIONABLE (hint: end inequality is not it).
posted by falameufilho at 11:27 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


kaibutsu: "Yeah, the aim is to undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations (and their board members) and turn the United States into a democracy. Not really sure what's so hard to understand about that."

This is as vague as a goal as "Achieve world peace". "Undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations" doesn't mean anything.
posted by falameufilho at 11:33 AM on November 3, 2011


broadway bill: "we need some no-nonsense black blocs who do what they do standing behind us and ready to go."

And believe you, in your infinite wisdom, are volunteering for the role of being the one who chooses the windows that are spared and the ones that are smashed? Good luck keeping the genie inside the bottle.
posted by falameufilho at 11:41 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about reversing citizen's united, and declassifying money as speech? Is that concrete enough? How about putting restrictions on lawmakers working as lobbyists after their terms are up? Are these too vague? Use your imagination.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:42 AM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Reinstate basic regulation of the financial sector.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:44 AM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ensure that the wealthy and corporate interests actually pay their taxes.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Investigate malfeasance that caused the 2008 crash. Make some arrests.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Less government spending. Less taxes. End the bailouts. Obama will be a one-term president. Those are 15 words. You may not agree with any of it, but you can't say the tea party message wasn't consistent and actionable.

That's why I didn't say that. I only said that nobody kept asking the Tea Party every five minutes "but what are you all about, huh?"

I also am not so sure that "less government spending", "less taxes", and "end the bailouts" are as actionable as you may think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stimulate the economy through job-creating public works programs, instead of simply paying banks' debts.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:48 AM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Allow bankruptcy on student debt. More generally: Rebuild public universities as centers of learning, rather than jumping-off points for wage-slavery.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:51 AM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Fix the fucking health care system.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:51 AM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations" doesn't mean anything.

How about if instead they were saying "End corporate lobbying"?

Or "stop corporations from paying off politicians"?

Or "End the bailouts and arrest the guys who trashed the economy"?

Or "end government's bailout of big corporations"?

I'm not sure what sounds "meaningless" about "undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations," is it just that you're not sure what those words literally mean?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth: No. If a corporation does not have free speech rights, than a newspaper that is a corporation can be prevented from publishing. You could just enjoin them easy.

You should stick to law you know. The First Amendment contains a clause about Free of Speech and a clause about Freedom of the Press.

The decision in the Pentagon papers supreme court case had NOTHING to do with a corporation's "freedom of speech" and everything to do with the "freedom of the press."

Your argument here is just wrong and off-base. The Constitution specifically addresses Freedom of the Press in a way that does not require that personhood be granted to corporations, so that they can enjoy the Freedom of Speech.
posted by syzygy at 11:53 AM on November 3, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "I also am not so sure that "less government spending", "less taxes", and "end the bailouts" are as actionable as you may think."

I think President Obama probably has a different opinion on that after a couple of years facing the business end of that action.
posted by falameufilho at 11:54 AM on November 3, 2011


I also am not so sure that "less government spending", "less taxes", and "end the bailouts" are as actionable as you may think.

They're actionable in the sense that all you need to do to enact them is pass a law. You want lower taxes? Write a law and the top marginal rate can be 2%, if you want. It would be a disaster, but it's easy enough to do. Want to end the bailouts? Well that's as easy as removing the authority to do the bailing out. These are concrete items that can be achieved immediately. The goal of reducing corporate power or ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources is a lot more complicated and can't be achieved right away by simply writing the right law.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:55 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


How much has government spending actually been reduced, and how much have the bailouts actually been stopped?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:55 AM on November 3, 2011


How much has government spending actually been reduced, and how much have the bailouts actually been stopped?

Did anyone claim that the Tea Party was successful at achieving their goals? They haven't been (yet, at least), but how they achieve their goals is easy enough to follow. How OWS achieves a goal of "ending corporate oligarchy" is a lot harder to follow; the ideas that have been mentioned here are good ones, but it's not clear that they would achieve the desired result. If all you want to do is lower taxes, then lowering the tax rates will do that, no question.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:58 AM on November 3, 2011


No. If a corporation does not have free speech rights, than a newspaper that is a corporation can be prevented from publishing. You could just enjoin them easy.

You should stick to law you know. The First Amendment contains a clause about Free of Speech and a clause about Freedom of the Press.

The decision in the Pentagon papers supreme court case had NOTHING to do with a corporation's "freedom of speech" and everything to do with the "freedom of the press."

Your argument here is just wrong and off-base. The Constitution specifically addresses Freedom of the Press in a way that does not require that personhood be granted to corporations, so that they can enjoy the Freedom of Speech.




Be back to this after a meeting. Let me leave you with this: How about Planned Parenthood or Sierra Club? they are corporations but not the press.

the problem is money=speech. not corporate personhood, which guarantees our right to sue corporations.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:01 PM on November 3, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "I'm not sure what sounds "meaningless" about "undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations," is it just that you're not sure what those words literally mean?"

Because the definition of "oligarchy" and "powerful" can be debated until the cows come home. Your other examples are not much better. "... arrest the guys who trashed the economy" can you prove they have committed a crime under which laws? Or do you want to pass new laws to make things they did a crime and arrest them retroactively? "Stop corporations from paying off politicians" - I'm pretty sure there are already laws in place to prevent this, so do you want existing laws enforced or new laws? If new, which laws?

What about END THE FED? I went to Zuccotti park couple of times and saw some signs asking for the abolition of the Federal Reserve. Is that a proposal or not? Nobody knows.
posted by falameufilho at 12:04 PM on November 3, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: "How much has government spending actually been reduced, and how much have the bailouts actually been stopped?"

Did you follow the news recently? Did you see that ridiculous soap opera we were forced to watch about the debt ceiling? That's government spending being reduced and bailouts being stopped by all means necessary.
posted by falameufilho at 12:06 PM on November 3, 2011


Ironmouth: the problem is money=speech. not corporate personhood, which guarantees our right to sue corporations.

I agree with you, and I think that well-informed supporters of OWS understand this, as well. Of course there are plenty of OWS supporters who don't have as fine-grained an understanding of the issues. Many of them are going to say things like "End Corporate Personhood" when what they really mean is "Repeal Citizens United and Get Money Out of Politics."

I think there's been some excellent writing on these topics, by very intelligent people. If you choose to focus your laser beam of legalism on some slogan chanted by a less-informed protester rather than on the ACTUAL sentiment they're trying to express, well, you're missing the point, I think.

It's like, letter of the law, or spirit of the law? Letter of the slogan, or spirit of the slogan? I understand, you're an attorney, but sometimes I think it would pay off for you to realize that not everyone else is, and that you can't hold the average person to the same stringent standards that you would an opposing attorney in a courtroom battle.
posted by syzygy at 12:07 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did anyone claim that the Tea Party was successful at achieving their goals?

It sounds like falameufilho was indeed claiming that, yes.

> EmpressCallipygos: "I'm not sure what sounds "meaningless" about "undo the oligarchy of powerful corporations," is it just that you're not sure what those words literally mean?"

Because the definition of "oligarchy" and "powerful" can be debated until the cows come home.


So? As someone upthread told me, "just becuase you don't like the answer, doesn't mean that there wasn't an answer."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on November 3, 2011


People were holding "Joe The Plumber" up as being "a real working man", but it turns out that it wasn't quite the case.

It's funny how the press and the public have a short memory on blatantly obvious right-wing propaganda.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "It sounds like falameufilho was indeed claiming that, yes."

I'll go back to the debt ceiling debacle. I don't know if that's success, but it stopped government for weeks, had international attention and has the tea party's fingerprints all over it.
posted by falameufilho at 12:23 PM on November 3, 2011




Numbers are going down everywhere, and 4000 people isn't really a general strike in any sense. This thing is going to be over completely in another couple of weeks.


I don't think that the camps need to continue for the movement to continue, in some sense.

This has done more to raise the awareness of some kind of "class consciousness" in North America than anything else I've seen in my lifetime. What you keep from it is empowerment, and a sense of common interest with the people around you.

At the end of the day, camping in the streets isn't what matters, it's a symbolic gesture. Just because this movement hasn't overthrown the government doesn't mean it was worthless. We've seen a remarkable diversity of people brought together, including the older organizations like labor unions, and all broadcast internationally with much attention and interest. That's not nothing.

I know that most people here recognize that, but it's going to need repeating, because as soon as the streets are clear the media is going to dismiss this so fast it'll be like it never happened.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:27 PM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'll go back to the debt ceiling debacle. I don't know if that's success, but it stopped government for weeks, had international attention and has the tea party's fingerprints all over it.

You put this forward as an example of the Tea Party "succeeding" in bringing about "less government" and "less taxes". But all you are saying it achieved is "bringing government to a standstill" and "drawing international attention".

...you seem to have a very interesting definition of "success".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:27 PM on November 3, 2011


Ironmouth:

Although I did (and do) agree with you that the problem is money=speech I'll leave you with some quotes regarding corporate personhood in relation to the freedom of speech and campaign financing from someone who probably knows whereof he speaks:

In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.

...

The same logic applies to this case with additional force because it is the identity of corporations, rather than individuals, that the Legislature has taken into account. As we have unanimously observed, legislatures are entitled to decide “that the special characteristics of the corporate structure require particularly careful regulation” in an electoral context. NRWC , 459 U. S., at 209–210. 50 Not only has the distinctive potential of corporations to corrupt the electoral process long been recognized, but within the area of campaign finance, corporate spending is also “furthest from the core of political expression, since corporations’ First Amendment speech and association interests are derived largely from those of their members and of the public in receiving information,” Beaumont , 539 U. S., at 161, n. 8 (citation omitted). Campaign finance distinctions based on corporate identity tend to be less worrisome, in other words, because the “speakers” are not natural persons, much less members of our political community, and the governmental interests are of the highest order. Furthermore, when corporations, as a class, are distinguished from noncorporations, as a class, there is a lesser risk that regulatory distinctions will reflect invidious discrimination or political favoritism.

If taken seriously, our colleagues’ assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the Government’s ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. Such an assumption would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by “Tokyo Rose” during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders. More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans: To do otherwise, after all, could “ ‘enhance the relative voice’ ” of some ( i.e. , humans) over others ( i.e. , nonhumans). Ante , at 33 (quoting Buckley , 424 U. S., at 49). 51 Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech. 52

In short, the Court dramatically overstates its critique of identity-based distinctions, without ever explaining why corporate identity demands the same treatment as individual identity. Only the most wooden approach to the First Amendment could justify the unprecedented line it seeks to draw.


From Justice John Paul Stevens' Dissent on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which dissent was also joined by justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor.

These attorneys are able to look at the nuance of the matter - that is, that it's possible to see corporations as some kind of "persons" when it comes to things like contract law while, at the same time, admitting that corporations are not actual citizens, and that it is possible, therefore, to take this 'identity' into account when deciding how to restrict corporations' activities in specific arenas.

So, the next time you hear an OWS protester shouting "End Corporate Personhood," please be a little more generous and understand that it's hard to fit a whole lot of nuance into a 3 word protest slogan.
posted by syzygy at 12:29 PM on November 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


From Orange Pampelmousse's link about the demographics of OWS.

"At least 25 percent says they will not vote in 2012"

Dumb dumb dumb dumb! I hate it when I hear this. Even if you don't like the candidates available to you at LEAST vote for who you see as the lesser of two evils.

Marching around is nice and all but through the ballot box is still one of the biggest ways most of us can impact the country. Why are certain groups coddled by politicians (seniors) and others are ignored (low income minorities)? Because the latter group doesn't vote! Imagine if we had turnout in the 90s like the elections in the Middle East right now.
posted by Defenestrator at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]



Marching around is nice and all but through the ballot box is still one of the biggest ways most of us can impact the country.
posted by Defenestrator at 12:36 PM on November 3 [+] [!]

A lot of people feel that a more direct form of democracy is going to be necessary to force change. They elected Obama on the premise that change would happen, and have seen a continued downhill slide where they were promised hope.

I'd recommend the Graeber article, it sums that up nicely.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:39 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be honest, the most I hope for coming out of this is:

1) pressure to prosecute the banks for the laws they broke. It's so infuriating that even though they have all the legal decks stacked in their favor, they STILL feel the need to lie, cheat, and steal. Prosecuting them seems like low hanging fruit for some politician.

2) Politicians currently in office will feel less inclined to tow the corporate line, at least as blatantly.

3) Political hopefuls will run on platforms that cater to the OWS folks. Even if they aren't elected, they'll have enough support that the questions will be asked on a nationwide stage.

Though they've done a remarkable job of pretending Ron Paul doesn't exist, despite his having a sizable support base. It's uncanny.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"... arrest the guys who trashed the economy" can you prove they have committed a crime under which laws?

So far as I understand, the federal government hasn't run any worthwhile investigations of the banks or people involved in the crash. And that's a massive problem.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:51 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


@odinsdream: it is probably a moot point by now, but I really would just like to know what sort of people the protestors are... Whether or not they are rich is, of course, irrelevant to whether or not they are right. Anyone wealthy who has either the kindness or the good sense to see that the present system is unfair and needs to be fixed is admirable.

According to the linked article on demographics above, initial surveys suggest that only 15% of OWS protestors have an income above $75,000. That suggests to me at least that they cannot be dismissed as either hippies, scroungers or the idle rich. If anything, a lot of them seem to be the next generation of the middle class.
posted by lucien_reeve at 12:57 PM on November 3, 2011


Defenestrator: Dumb dumb dumb dumb! I hate it when I hear this. Even if you don't like the candidates available to you at LEAST vote for who you see as the lesser of two evils.

I agree with you here, and think this is a good time to trot out this link: Third Parties Don't Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party

(That entire site has some excellent resources and research on Wealth, Politics and Power in the USA - many of the famous charts we've all seen were taken from articles there.
posted by syzygy at 1:01 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


So far as I understand, the federal government hasn't run any worthwhile investigations of the banks or people involved in the crash. And that's a massive problem.

You've got it all wrong! Of course they're investigating!

They're just also systematically shredding all of the documents related to the investigation, as quickly as possible.
posted by odinsdream at 1:02 PM on November 3, 2011


Fuck those guys, any time they show up your movement is an instant fail.

So true. I was in downtown SF about 2 weeks ago when there was an Occupy march going down Market Street. This one. So I stopped what I was doing to watch as they passed by. The first guy I saw, right in the middle, carrying one side of the 99% banner, was dressed like this, except that he didn't have a beret and his balaclava was grey rather than black. But otherwise the same - combat fatigues and a woolen face helmet. You can see him at 0:30 in the video above - it helps to make it fullscreen and switch to HD.

To me, coming from Ireland, that look reads as 'IRA member.' That particular association was surely not the intention of the guy, or the people protesting alongside him, but there is no fucking way on earth that I am going to march down the street in the company of people who are dressed up as paramilitaries. Now, this is just one guy, of course. but there's a disturbing number of people wearing bandanas, and my past experience with people wearing bandanas in protest marches is that they're a bunch of antisocial fucks. This march took place before Scott Olsen got hit in the head or the Oakland PD started using tear gas. There are a lot of people in this protest who are looking for a fight with police, and the Occupy movement is just the latest protest that they have glommed onto, much like the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition hitches a ride on every. single. protest. As wisely quoted above:

"'We are the 99%.' Stop it. There is a 1%, fighting another 1%, and while both of those megalomaniancs dominate the media coverage the other 98% has no recourse, no representation, no allies, and no savings."

I agree with empath that the movement is going to peter out for a bit over the winter, simply because of the weather. That's fine, it gives people time to reflect and come back in spring and start organizing for the election. I would much prefer it without the anarchists and anticapitalists and their stupid religous-revival style chanting, who AFAICT are the same kind of people who advocate supporting the Republicans because Obama's such a disappointment to them. They day I join an Occupy protest is the day that I feel safe to do so while wearing a suit and tie.

I was really saddened yesterday by the calls from some protesters to identify the "troublemakers and anarchists" and turn their information over to police. I can't even explain how awful I think that idea is. Then again, I do think there is a strong chance that we saw some impressive infiltration yesterday, and that some of those guys were agents provocateur.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's always 'agents provocateur,' isn't it? Sure, they exist, so let's blame them for everything bad that happens in relation to protests instead of recognizing that there's a small fringe of antisocial fucks that insert themselves into the vanguard of every economic protest to push their radical anticapitalist agenda. they're not for smarter regulation or single-payer healthcare or job security, they're for smashing the state and the abolition of private property and revolution. I say so because that's what they tell me on the leaflets and flyers that they hand out, and they strike me as just as authoritarian and selfish as the miserable fucks in the Tea Party. Indeed, they've been among the most vocal admirers of the Tea Party on the left. Although they don't talk of second amendment solutions or carry weapons, that's a purely pragmatic decision; the radical right has 'don't tread on me' signs and unloaded guns, the left has placards of fists and Che Guevara and small riots.

Small riots are a regular feature of life in the Bay Area, because nothing says that you want a better and fairer society like smashing ticket machines (sure, it was a protest about a police shooting...of a guy who turned out to be on the run from WA after murdering his pregnant girlfriend and whose gun discharged when he fell over as he ran away from a fare inspector), or protesting the death of Oscar Grant by smashing up restaurants, drugstores, and other local businesses. Whenever this kind of shit happens and there's a wave of arrests, loads of them turn out to be from outside the area - 'Mickey Maoists' as one MeFites memorably called them. I've lived here for 15 years, I've known plenty of crusties and anarchists and plenty of police officers, and I can tell the difference.

So back the protest on Market Street, after I watched it go past and listened to 'Midless Chat! Mindless Chant! Call-and-response!' for 20 minutes and thought about what it all meant, I went to the ATM because I needed some food and I like to tip. Only I wasn't able to use the ATM I went to because some assholes had decided smear all the machines with hair gel or some other chemical substance. Because they don't like banks, so screw anyone who might have a bank account and need to use it, right? Oh wait, it was probably some agent provocateur. Have you heard about COINTELPRO? Wake up, sheeple!

Fuck these people. The path of change involves pushing the violent people back out to the lunatic fringe where they came from and rejecting this idiot revolutionary rhetoric, this childish drum-banging and chanting, and the self-righteous wankers who keep promoting it and recycling their lowest-common-denominator arguments. I want Glass-Steagall reinstated, I want proper single-payer healthcare, I want free trade agreements to involve free movement of capital and labor, I want prison reform, an end to militaristic drug prohibition, pension reform, transparency in public accounting, and some serious investment in infrastructure and research from both the public and private sector. I want to see capital gains taxed in line with income, an end to corporate tax evasion, and an end to abuse of the public pension system. I want political dialog that involves more substance and statistics and less hand-waving and rhetorical wank.

So, the next time you hear an OWS protester shouting "End Corporate Personhood," please be a little more generous and understand that it's hard to fit a whole lot of nuance into a 3 word protest slogan.

That's the problem. I'm tired of being generous until everything is reduced to the level of understanding of the most stupid person in the room. Just as populist right-wing thinking is stuck back in some idealized gilded age, populist leftism is stuck with the tropes of Marxist dialectic. If you ended corporate personhood then you'd also be destroying the effectiveness (such as it is) of unions, since organizations like the NEA, AFT and SEIU are some of the biggest corporate donors out there. Look at numbers for campaign donations and independent expenditures.

In ways, I'd like to ban all political donations and have publicly funded elections of some sort. Instead of handing out vast $$$ to candidates, broadcasters could just be required to donate a certain number of hours to electoral messages in particular slots as a condition of their broadcasting licenses, newspapers and magazines to do the same as part of the deal that provides them with discount mail delivery and so on. But this would require some radical rethinking of the first amendment.

I'm all for a good hook. My sole comment on the 99% movement up to now was that it showed great potential and was the first broad-based and coherent-sounding position to emerge in a very long while. But it's time to start thinking about what it really means, because I am not up for another round of the red-blue rock'em, sock'em robots, and calling it 'workers v. bosses' or 'socialism v. laissez-faire' or 'unions v. corporations' is a bunch of self-defeating bullshit in which two groups of economic rent-seekers square off against each other while claiming to represent the true interests of the majority.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:03 PM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


can you prove they have committed a crime under which laws?

Yes. And the SEC seems to be actively covering up for them. And I view the SEC as directly reporting to Obama, so a lot of this needs to be laid at Obama's feet.

On preview, odinsdream links to a good article about it. It has come up on metafilter before, but I can't find the link. Google Henry Markopolos too.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:03 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


They day I join an Occupy protest is the day that I feel safe to do so while wearing a suit and tie.

I wore a suit to the Port of Oakland last night, and I wasn't the only one.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:05 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry- that should be Harry Markolopos, not Henry.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:06 PM on November 3, 2011




They day I join an Occupy protest is the day that I feel safe to do so while wearing a suit and tie.


This is a legitimate concern. Any protest movement that wants to have currency with the majority is going to need to represent workers. That means actual workers, not just activists and those in the traditional blue jeans and hardhat trades, but IT, temp workers, food industry, and everything else.

But you know what? One of the great things about this movement is that it is starting to draw in people that wouldn't traditionally attend. The more people like you get involved, the more you can shape the direction it takes. It's a democratic movement, and it's going to be driven by the people that are the most active and engaged.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to dress as you please, or having a lifestyle or views that aren't necessarily representative of your stereotypical activist. In fact, that kind of thing is both the movement's strength, and it's hope for the future.

So keep it up. But extend that respect back to everyone else, including the kids in studded jackets or army pants, or whatever it is they're wearing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:17 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Echoing syzygy in some regard, corporate personhood is troublesome to many people because corporations are granted some benefits of being people (the ability to enter into contracts, say) but have been spared the brunt of negatives associated with personhood (like being imprisoned or executed if committing crimes). Moreover, corporations are often multinational, meaning the speech represented by these corporations may be driven not by desires congruent with the best interests of the United States. Furthermore, even domestic corporations are actively seeking the improvement of their own bottom line, which leads to privatizing profits and socializing costs. And while corporations are almost always bolstered by the investment vehicles of 99%, the voices of these shareholders only weigh to some degree on the decisions of the boards of directors.

When people say "end corporate personhood," they mean "end the weird, anti-democratic ways in which corporate personhood is applied," not "end contracts and the NYT"
posted by Wyatt at 1:18 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


It wouldn't give the protest direction or a goal, but at least it would make them appear less like spoiled and insufferable children.

Bankers won the "spoiled and insufferable" title many moons ago.
posted by telstar at 1:20 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


anigbrowl: That's the problem. I'm tired of being generous until everything is reduced to the level of understanding of the most stupid person in the room.

How else do you expect things to work? 99% of the population are not geniuses. 50% of the population has below average intelligence. OWS isn't responsible for that fact. How are you going to motivate the 50% who are below average intelligence if you're solely speaking the language of the 1% who are geniuses? I'm serious - how's this supposed to work in a democratic system?

I think there are well-informed OWS supporters who are getting the issues out there and trying to educate others who are less-well-informed. If you want the 'movement' to be better informed - you can get involved and start informing people. That's what I'm trying to do, in addition to a few donations I've sent their way.

If you wait for a movement comprised solely of geniuses to take over and fix things, well... Good luck.

In ways, I'd like to ban all political donations and have publicly funded elections of some sort.

I agree - here's a quick and dirty proposal I sent to the OWS leaders back in early August, asking that they consider adding the idea of Public Campaign Financing to their list of demands. I was pleased to see that demand #1 in this proposed list of OWS demands contains similar ideas to my proposal (see Article IV, paragraph 1).

All I can really do right now is try to help educate fence-sitters and supporters alike, since I'm an expat who can't show up to any protests. If you want the level of discussion to improve, how about jumping in and adding your voice?
posted by syzygy at 1:23 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]



I think there are well-informed OWS supporters who are getting the issues out there and trying to educate others who are less-well-informed. If you want the 'movement' to be better informed - you can get involved and start informing people. That's what I'm trying to do, in addition to a few donations I've sent their way.


This needs to be repeated. Democratic movements are shaped by the people involved.

Although the second thing to remember is that they'll often make decisions that we disagree with, and we need to be relatively graceful when that happens. It's the cost of democracy, and to most of us it's worth it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:28 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sent to the OWS leaders back in early August October.
posted by syzygy at 1:28 PM on November 3, 2011


The Graeber article has a somewhat weak start but includes some very good material:

"OWS... is at core forwards-looking youth movement, just a group of forward-looking people who have been stopped dead in their tracks; of mixed class backgrounds but with a significant element of working class origins; their one strongest common feature being a remarkably high level of education."

"given the fact that interest payments alone takes up between 15-17% of household income,[1] a figure that does not include student loans, and that penalty fees on bank and credit card accounts can often double the amount one would otherwise pay, it would not be at all surprising if at least one dollar out of every five an American earns over the course of her lifetime is now likely to end up in Wall Street’s coffers in one way or another. The percentage may well be approaching the amount the average American will pay in taxes. In fact, for the least affluent Americans, it has probably long since overtaken it."

"This has very real implications for how we even think about what sort of economic system we are in. Back when I was in college, I learned that the difference between capitalism and feudalism—or what was sometimes called the “tributary mode of production”—is that a feudal aristocracy appropriates its wealth through “direct juro-political extraction.” They simply take other people’s things through legal means. Capitalism was supposed to be a bit more subtle. Yet as soon as it achieved total world dominance, capitalism seems to have almost immediately begun shifting back into something that could well be described as feudalism. In doing so, too, it made the alliance of money and government impossible to ignore. In the years since 2008, we’ve seen examples ranging from the comical—as when loan collection agencies in Massachusetts sent their employees out en masse to canvas on behalf of a senate candidate (Scott Brown) who they assumed would be in favor of harsher laws against debtors, to the downright outrageous—as when “too big to fail” institutions like Bank of America, bailed out by the taxpayers, secure in the knowledge they would not be allowed to collapse no matter what their behavior, paying no taxes, but delivering vast sums of culled from their even vaster profits to legislators who then allow their lobbyists to actually write the legislation that is supposed to “regulate” them. At this point, it’s not entirely clear why an institution like Bank of America should not, at this point, be considered part of the federal government, other than that it gets to keep its profits for itself."

"How, then, do you expect a young American voter to feel, after casting a vote for a fundamental change to our political and economic system, on discovering that in fact, they have elected a man who twenty years ago would have been considered a moderate conservative?"

Well, quite. I suspect I share with a lot of people my age and younger a sort of baffled disgust at the attitudes self-righteously proclaimed by boomers or apathetically acceded to by generation X-ers. It would derail this thread too badly to rehearse them here - but the crucial thing about this moment is that an entire generation has been trapped, by the price of houses, by the cost of living, above all by the vile and immoral con job that is student debts. Their back is against the wall.

They were put under immense pressure to take these debts on, confronted with the diabolical choice - no choice at all - between debt slavery and no future - and then prevented from declaring bankruptcy. And then, on top of that, they were confronted with mass unemployment, proceeding directly from grossly foolish economic mismanagement driven by right-wing ideology. This is nothing less than a massive act of intergenerational predation, barely covered by the flimsy figleaf of the law.

Now, you may point out that the Obama administration has done some things to ameliorate this - and it has, in its feeble, compromising and rather pompous way. You may also think that these students have entered into this situation of their own free choice and deserve everything they get. You would be wrong to think so, but in any case that is neither here nor there. A very large number of young people now have a vested interest in working together to oppose this system - an economic interest, not an idealistic one.

I honestly have no idea how this will play out and I deeply wish that it will not lead to violence.
posted by lucien_reeve at 1:47 PM on November 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


[folks - you can email people if you wan tot ask them personal questions - DO NOT turn this into a "let's hassle on person whose opinions we don't like" situation. Let's also not endeavor to be that one person, okay? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2011


Local observation: driving down the Embarcadero and Townsend this morning, there seemed to be far more cargo ships idling in the bay than there usually are. Like, at least a dozen.

I take the Oakland/Alameda ferry to SF for work, and this is not as unusual as it might seem. I've counted that many container ships hanging in the bay on any random day. According to the Journal of Commerce:
Cargo-handling operations at the Port of Oakland returned to normal Thursday morning following a night of disruptions from the Occupy Oakland movement.

The Port of Oakland was fully operational as of 11 a.m. “All entrances to the port are open. There are truck traffic lines at some gates, and terminal operations are processing backlogs from yesterday’s operations,” the port said in a news release.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union dispatch took place on schedule at 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. start, ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said. However, a small group of protesters continued to block access on the main road in the harbor area.

Richard Mead, president of ILWU Local 10, met with the protesters, thanked them for raising important issues and offered to buy them breakfast burritos. The protesters accepted Mead’s offer and traffic began to flow back to the terminals, Merrilees said.
As always, burritos are the real currency of the SF Bay Area.
posted by sobell at 2:16 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have been doing my little bit in other places than Metafilter, and as I say I think the Occupy movement as a phenomenon is a fine thing. I am not expecting everyone in it to be genius, for the same reasons that I would rather not administer my own pension plan or investment portfolio - it's not my strongest skill, and it's not even the best use of my time, and I'd much rather get a modest return and have some long-term financial security by letting a prudent mutual fund manager look after it, instead of some Wall Street whiz with dreams of tycoonhood.

This needs to be repeated. Democratic movements are shaped by the people involved. Although the second thing to remember is that they'll often make decisions that we disagree with, and we need to be relatively graceful when that happens. It's the cost of democracy, and to most of us it's worth it.

When the Wisconsin protests against Scott Walker were in full swing, and I mentioned that there must be some reason that WI voters chose to put the Republicans in charge at the then-recent election, and that it might be worth identifying what that is in order to refute them more effectively, I got demonized as a paid shill for the Koch brothers. I'm sorry, but my experience is that it is actually very difficult to shape a movement if you touch on any of that movement's taboos, and that's why I think a winter of reflection rather than discontent would be a very good thing for the Occupy movement.

This idea that violence is a valuable political bargaining chip and that black blocs or 'second amendment solutions' are acceptable avenues of political discourse is a dangerous and self-destructive one. It's the intellectual masturbation of a privileged political class that likes to play at being in charge for the fun of intimidating people.

Unlike most of you, I'm not an American citizen. Not only can I not vote, I can't take the risk of being wrongly arrested at a protest if some jokers in the police or in the crowd decide to engineer a confrontation. I could lose my right to stay in the country in the country now or at some future date, and I could be incarcerated for up to 6 months before I would have any right to a habeas corpus hearing. Likewise, I can't just go out and buy a firearm for fun or to make a political statement without opening myself up to a raft of possible questions about my purpose, procedure, and motivation. Looking at the American political system from the outside (except as a taxpayer), I'm constantly reminded that I don't have a fraction of the rights that most of you have and that even after I am allowed to apply for American citizenship, and even if I am lucky enough to have it granted, I will still be excluded to some degree and will always have to consider the remote-but-real possibility that my citizenship could be revoked, as sometimes happens.

So no, I am not going to participate in any movement where violence is tolerated as political currency in any way whatsoever. Because if I accidentally get mistaken for someone who thinks that way, I risk being actually and permanently fucked in ways that most of you simply don't have to worry about. In a few years I will pass the bar and become a lawyer, I hope, and then I'll be more than happy to stand up in court and argue for the recognition of others' rights, because I am keenly aware of what it is like to be a bit short in the rights department. People that dress up as a paramilitaries and talk about violent revolution are a big part of why I left Ireland as a youth in the first place. Occupy still has great, even historical potential, but it needs to upgrade to a better quality of Revolution.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:25 PM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


if you wait for a movement comprised solely of geniuses to take over and fix things, well... Good luck.

I don't need them to be geniuses, but it'd be nice if they could say something to the 9/11 Truthers that keep showing up at their events.
posted by Hoopo at 2:32 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl: Because if I accidentally get mistaken for someone who thinks that way, I risk being actually and permanently fucked in ways that most of you simply don't have to worry about.

I can understand this sentiment 100%. It's why I don't feel comfortable taking part in any protests here in Austria - I'm not willing to risk losing my visa.

I don't even show up to peaceful protests - I don't want to end up on any lists, anywhere. Sucks, but thems the breaks when you choose to live life as an alien ;-)
posted by syzygy at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, the next time you hear an OWS protester shouting "End Corporate Personhood," please be a little more generous and understand that it's hard to fit a whole lot of nuance into a 3 word protest slogan.

That covers a whole multitude of sins. Do Tea Partiers get to claim this leeway for themselves, too? I tend to think if a slogan is easily misinterpreted, then its value is nil.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:36 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


.

When the Wisconsin protests against Scott Walker were in full swing, and I mentioned that there must be some reason that WI voters chose to put the Republicans in charge at the then-recent election, and that it might be worth identifying what that is in order to refute them more effectively, I got demonized as a paid shill for the Koch brothers. I'm sorry, but my experience is that it is actually very difficult to shape a movement if you touch on any of that movement's taboos, and that's why I think a winter of reflection rather than discontent would be a very good thing for the Occupy movement.


It's not a monoculture either though, and there are room for dissenting views depending on where you situate yourself.

I think that you're right, and that the right-wing has done a very good job of marketing themselves to working people, enough of them at least to get elected time and again. It's absolutely worth looking at why, but there is a popular notion that those elections must somehow be illegitimate, biased, rigged, or whatever.

Personally I left activist scenes for a more labor centered scene, gravitating to the IWW, and more importantly to the issues that shape my own life specifically local politics, my own union, and regional issues.

Those people might disagree with you, but they'd have a very hard time silencing you, and I guarantee you that you're not alone in your feelings. If your platform can incorporate other views and participants more readily than their seemingly fairly exclusive one does, then it sounds like you've got a lot room for growth in that movement.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:37 PM on November 3, 2011


Artw: I was really saddened yesterday by the calls from some protesters to identify the "troublemakers and anarchists" and turn their information over to police. I can't even explain how awful I think that idea is.

Dear god, why? Fuck those guys, any time they show up your movement is an instant fail.


Sorry if I was unclear: I wasn't particularly happy with the way those guys conducted themselves yesterday. As I said, a lot of it was wanton and stupid. My issue is with the idea that they should be turned over into the hands of an organization like the OPD. I don't support police, especially in departments like Oakland, and I think that a much more progressive way of dealing with that situation would have been to willingly engage in a dialogue with those few guys. Of course, I recognize that that is a very tough thing to do (especially when you consider the absolutely awful way they attacked the few people who did try to physically stop them), but I was specifically addressing the knee-jerk calls for police intervention.

empath: Yeah, I have a friend in the Black Bloc and he just travels around the country going to protests for the sake of breaking shit and provoking the cops. He literally doesn't care what the protest is about.

First, just as a point of clarification, there is not "A" black bloc. It is a specific tactic, and encompasses a lot of different approaches to protest. And I certainly emphatically do not support anyone doing what your friend is doing. Those people are of no help to anyone, and any militant anarchist who wants to do that stuff but can't or won't articulate some defense of their actions should stay home. We agree completely here, and I think almost the whole world agrees along with us, save for the tiny crowd of folks who act like your friend. You could see some of that attitude on display at Whole Foods, and it was ugly.

2N2222: So those Black Bloc guys might have been agent provocateurs, presumably to smear the occupy Movement and its goals, but it would still be a bad idea to out them or condemn their behavior because they're the stick, to the rest of the Occupy Movement's carrot?

As I said to Artw, I apologize if my earlier comment was unclear. I do not feel like informing on those guys is wrong because they have a place in the movement as a 'stick.' Rather, I feel it is wrong because I take issue with the practice of informing in general. I think it is wrong, and I think it is especially wrong in the context of this time and place. I do think that other protesters making efforts to document those few rogue guys is a good move, in the event that they can be identified in the future as agents provocateurs. I also completely support the efforts of the few who tried to stop the guys from smashing Whole Foods, and I think what happened there was heartbreaking.

Ironmouth: The Black Panther Party came into being on October 15, 1966. After every single piece of national legislation that passed to help African-Americans. After they were formed, there were no new pieces of legislation that were passed.

The BPP was--and is--primarily a group that advocates for self defense. They are not a policy think tank, and they are not politicians. The successes that they brought to civil rights were largely seen in the decreased willingness of Southern whites to harass, intimidate, and murder black Americans. Same goes for Rob Williams, who very directly used violence to intervene and save the lives of black citizens. I consider that a success, and I not only respect the tactic, but I can see plenty of parallels between that movement and any other movement that resists state violence (or violence bred out of a systemic social problem like racism).




Something that I think is really important here is to recognize why Oakland is so different from every place else. Of course, the city has a special and unique tradition of protest, which goes hand in hand with a tradition of criminal police who murder, terrorize, and generally harass residents. In the context of the Occupy movement, I think Oakland stood out from the crowd the minute they joined; naming the park Oscar Grant Plaza served as in immediate tell that this group had more to address than corporate malfeasance. Also, most people I know who are involved in direct actions, anarchist groups, or OWS immediately sensed that Oakland was going to be the scene of the first real "battles." It wasn't tough to predict, given the history of protest, the history of police, and the more recent history of police in the town.

My main concern is that those committed to change accept the diverse tactics of the group and find ways to fulfill their personal goals of protest. It's troubling to me to see (not so much here, but around the LeftNet in general) "FUCK THAT GUY!" comments based solely on the fact that someone wears fatigues and a mask. I don't give a damn about the stylistic choices of fellow protesters, and I can certainly understand why some adopt the black bloc dress code. And PLEASE, don't be afraid to wear a suit to an occupy protest; lots of people do, and I have never seen a protest environment that would allow anything to happen to a protester simply because they wore a suit.

Second to that, I am concerned about what happens if this thing gets to the point that the police and military (which are, in terms of tactical approach, not much different these days) show some real teeth. Some of the more militant anarchists I know seem to actually think they can win a physical showdown, and they can't. This is not 1775, and only one side has UAVs, sound cannons, and military grade assault weapons. I worry about that, and I worry that some of the people I call friends and allies will push too hard, and the ball will drop. No one wants that.

What I can support, though, is a group that demonstrates diversity. To me, that means diversity in demographics and tactics. Do I want that to include gun violence, bombs, and assassinations? Absolutely not. Do I feel particularly bad or disgusted if a bank is vandalized? Absolutely not. (As a youtube aside here, let me post this portion of a video, which I think shows a tiny example of the cooperation and dialogue that is possible here. Of course, it's tiny and short, but it's still important and moving in its own way.)

Sometimes, I think it comes down to this: protesters represent (and are) a bunch of people who have watched the uneven distribution of not only wealth, but also of violence, death, and uncertainty. Some of these tactics strike me as a way for protesters to redistribute some of that violence and uncertainty. Is that sad? You betcha. But that's life.




I also want to say that I am seeing a lot of vitriol aimed at people with approaches that differ from the norm, both here and elsewhere (more elsewhere, because MeFi is a pretty damn open community compared to a lot of others). It makes me sad to read or hear the "fuck you" and "YOU are my enemy" stuff. I honestly love each and every protester out there, for the simple fact that they are trying. I'd love to hug all them hippies and tea partiers and sideshow freaks and anarchists, if only there were more hours in the day.
posted by broadway bill at 2:39 PM on November 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Because if I accidentally get mistaken for someone who thinks that way, I risk being actually and permanently fucked in ways that most of you simply don't have to worry about.

Yes. Do what your situation allows. Getting killed, deported, beat up, fired, or whatever is no damn good. The movement should at its heart be about enlightened self interest and not massive personal sacrifice.

Some of us have a lot of space for freedom of thought, movement and speech, others don't. That's the way it is.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:39 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


They day I join an Occupy protest is the day that I feel safe to do so while wearing a suit and tie.

You should've been at the Port with us yesterday, then. I saw several men in suits and ties or blazer-and-slacks-with-tie, as well as many women in nice dresses. Also people wearing hospital scrubs with CNA slogans, tons of parents with kids and toddlers and babes in arms, folks in wheelchairs, scruffy-looking hippie sorts, hipsters with epic beards, local kids on scraper bikes — all sorts of folks.

This video shows some of the crowd setting out on the 4pm march and gives some idea of the range of people who were there.
posted by Lexica at 2:40 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"any militant anarchist who wants to do that stuff but can't or won't articulate some defense of their actions should stay home."

So that's what separates the wheat from the chaff, then - not the act itself, but the ability to whitewash it with a thick coat of 19th century ideology.
posted by falameufilho at 2:48 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes. Do what your situation allows.

Derrick Jensen talks a lot about this - our personal situations absolutely restrict our ability to protest, and each of us has to determine to what extent we are willing to commit ourselves and place ourselves in a position of risk. Becoming a lawyer can be just as valid a form of resistance as chaining yourself to a tree, or going to OWS for an afternoon with your kids and a sign, or performing a sit-in and allowing yourself to be arrested. Some of us can't miss a day of work, some of us can't risk a criminal record, but some of us can, and some of us have the freedom to put up a tent and stay at OWS for as long as it takes.

The latter are not any inherently better (or worse) than the former; we all have a duty to resist injustice insofar as we are able. It's when we abdicate that responsibility for our own self-interest that injustice continues unabated. And it's when injustice continues unabated that the possibility of peaceful resistance caves to the necessity of violent revolt.
posted by mek at 2:50 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


2N2222: That covers a whole multitude of sins. Do Tea Partiers get to claim this leeway for themselves, too?

You want to bring up a specific example here? We were talking about a single, simple example - that of corporate personhood as it applies to campaign financing which topic, as I illustrated above, has been treated seriously by intellectuals (whereas "Where's the Long Form Birth Certificate?" hasn't, as far as I know).

It does cover a multitude of sins, but the idea doesn't excuse every possible stupid slogan that might show up on some protester's sign, no matter which side of things they're on.

So there are plenty of slogans or things written on OWS signs that I, personally, don't think make any sense. The same can be said of many Tea-Party signs and slogans.

On the other hand, both sides have some core issues that require a lot more space than a cardboard sign or a 3 word slogan to really do them justice, so I'm willing to give them all a bit of slack and try to look at the actual arguments behind the short slogans.

So yeah, this isn't limited to my side, and not yours.
posted by syzygy at 2:55 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


falameufilho, I am not going to respond to you except to say that you have willfully reduced everything you have disagreed with in this thread to something to attack, and I'm not interested in those sorts of exchanges today. Hope you have a great rest of the day though!

Also, the video link I posted above was supposed to go here, but I guess I somehow borked it. Sorry!
posted by broadway bill at 2:57 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's any consolation though, the political climate in the 21st century is starting to make 19th century politics look current again.

But if you were being serious, there was always a pretty big gap between the anarchist theories and the bomb throwers.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:31 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


zunguzungu has a lot of pictures and stuff up that's worth looking at. Among other things is the story behind the occupation of the building on 16th Street (it had housed Traveler's Aid which Oakland quit funding so the building was foreclosed on and now is empty -- occupation of the building was not a decision of the OO).
posted by CCBC at 3:48 PM on November 3, 2011


The occupation of Iraq was started for nebulous reasons, had no clear end-game plan, and cost a trillion dollars. I fail to see why or how a leaderless movement should be held to a higher standard than United States Congressional and Presidential system. If these occupations last ten (or twenty) years and feed a trillion dollars into the US economy through political changes rather than violence, then I feel as though that is how you will know that they have won.
posted by JackarypQQ at 3:58 PM on November 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


> Well, quite. I suspect I share with a lot of people my age and younger a sort of baffled disgust at the attitudes self-righteously proclaimed by boomers or apathetically acceded to by generation X-ers. It would derail this thread too badly to rehearse them here - but the crucial thing about this moment is that an entire generation has been trapped, by the price of houses, by the cost of living, above all by the vile and immoral con job that is student debts. Their back is against the wall.

They were put under immense pressure to take these debts on, confronted with the diabolical choice - no choice at all - between debt slavery and no future - and then prevented from declaring bankruptcy. And then, on top of that, they were confronted with mass unemployment, proceeding directly from grossly foolish economic mismanagement driven by right-wing ideology. This is nothing less than a massive act of intergenerational predation, barely covered by the flimsy figleaf of the law.


This is a serious problem, and very close to my reading of the situation - but it also brings me into confrontation with some uncomfortable political realities. I'm studying at a no-account law school that's not accredited because the area I want to practice in pays very little and it simply makes no economic sense for me to go $200,000 in debt.

As it happens, most of the academic legal establishment is left-leaning. And they are the best-paid lawyers in the country; you can earn more as a tenured professor in a good law school than you can as a Supreme Court justice. This might explain the rush to build more and more law schools. I was in a brand new one earlier this year for an academic symposium, and a succession of scholars who earn $250,000 a year or more made jokes about that 'new law school smell' and gave speeches about the injustice of the legal system. It was the most expensive and luxurious soapbox I have ever seen. The price of education has been going through the roof because while student loans are undischargeable, the academic establishment has little incentive to keep a lid on prices, and shows little inclination to do anything about the kind of ridiculous credentialism that requires people have a hair-braiding license and so on. I think/hope that I'll be able to overcome my lack of impressive academic background and earn a living in the legal field, because I've encountered a good few lawyers who were able to put themselves through law school by waiting tables and pay off their debts quite quickly, and profess themselves friendly to the idea of paying affordable tuition out of one's own pocket instead of borrowing large sums public money to that end.

I'd also like to buy a house; I'm 41, my wife's 31, and we thought we were smart for saving money and sitting out the housing boom instead of taking on an outsize mortgage that we couldn't afford. Unfortunately, the price of housing in SF is still sky-high, so our choices are to go heavily into debt, live in a crumbling in a high-crime area, or move an hour's drive away and get a car, something neither of us like. For one thing, my wife can't drive, as in she's not able to do it. I'd like to think that the continued high price of housing is all the banks' fault, but that only partly accounts for it. As pointed out above, some people just helped themselves to free money.

That lady who 'occupied' her foreclosed house the other day? I know that block real well, because that part of town is basically the only area where we have a reasonable chance of buying a house. I've certainly seen at that house on a real estate listing, it's possible I even looked at it in person if they had an open house. So, because I have mad law skillz and because it's become part of my house-hunting routine, I looked up the property and court records about the foreclosure. She borrowed voluntarily - she gets paid fairly generous workers' comp for an accident she had while working in the Sheriff's department, so it doesn't seem as if medical or legal urgency necessitated the debt. She took out a home line of credit for $525,000 on an exploding ARM at 11.99%, and never made a single payment. Not one. This isn't a borrower that got into trouble, couldn't keep up the payments, and lost her house, she just went on a spending spree. After the house got foreclosed upon and the property company tried to evict her, she demanded a jury trial, sought multiple continuances, then failed to show up; moved to have the judgment set aside because her new landlord was providing her with substandard housing and had failed to deal with years-long maintenance problems (apparently she didn't spend any of the money she borrowed on the actual house securing the loan), and after losing that she's sought 5 extensions of time in the last 6 months to file an appeal brief, all while begging out of court fees on the grounds of poverty. So the badly-underfunded San Francisco Superior Court system is out hundreds of dollars for someone who can't even be bothered to show up for trial. I don't want to go into the particulars of her case or link to it. Let's just say that it's completely lacking in the evidence department.

For crying out loud, folks. Of all the possible people that have lost their home and are now in housing difficulties, this is person Occupy and the home defense league pick to launch their anti-foreclosure protest? A woman who sucked half a million dollars out of the housing bubble and then complained about the poor condition of her house immediately after losing legal possession of it? I'm not saying that she's typical of underwater homeowners, foreclosure victims, or that neighborhood in San Francisco, but at least half of the 40 or 50 foreclosed properties I've looked at over the last couple of years were equity drawdowns followed by bankruptcy or else slum-landlord 'investments' that it would be cheaper to demolish than to bring back up to the city's building code. I've seen houses that were subdivided into rooms smaller than prison cells with no windows that were being rented out for $500 a month. I've been in houses that were bought for the sole purpose of growing pot using power tied in from the lamppost. I've seen houses that were bought to be flipped by contractors who didn't have permits and now the house is falling into the lot next door. I won't even consider doing an inspection or making an offer if there are tenants in a house, because I got kicked out of a house once after the owner sold it and I don't want to do that to anyone else. But every case of people who have fallen into serious financial hardship that I've seen, there's another one of people who were milking the system like an overfed cow.

Now, San Francisco's history and geography made real estate prices unusually high to begin with here, so I do not think this is typical of the rest of the country - there's a whole bunch of factors that distort the market here. But I gotta tell you that combing through title records at City Hall is a depressing education in human nature, and I just can't put all the blame on the banks, just most of it. there were a lot of people out to enrich themselves, and some of them are still working away at it without much care for how the effects ripple out into the lives of their neighbors. Those people are not part of 1%, but they aren't really part of the 99% either.

I could go on but I'm hungry and need to make up study time. But I think it's time to talk about prison officers unions as well as prison-building, pension spiking and overtime abuse as well as pension funds, the actually-quite-high cost of red tape to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the appallingly low literacy and numeracy rates produced by our educational system, and a few other topics. These are not simple problems, and they can not be ascribed to one ideology or political party. There is, unfortunately, a great deal of failure to go around, and I don't think we can make progress until we let go of the illusion that it's all Somebody Else's Fault. I have made mistakes in my life, and some of my political ideals and assumptions of the past have turned out to be simply wrong. And I'm getting real tired of people with megaphones and fiery rhetoric dismissing my concerns with the suggestion that I've been brainwashed by the other side's talking points.

That's all I have to say on the subject. See you around folks.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:00 PM on November 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


"But I think it's time to talk about prison officers unions as well as prison-building, pension spiking and overtime abuse as well as pension funds, the actually-quite-high cost of red tape to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the appallingly low literacy and numeracy rates produced by our educational system, and a few other topics. These are not simple problems, and they can not be ascribed to one ideology or political party. There is, unfortunately, a great deal of failure to go around, and I don't think we can make progress until we let go of the illusion that it's all Somebody Else's Fault. I have made mistakes in my life, and some of my political ideals and assumptions of the past have turned out to be simply wrong."

Amen, all around.
posted by broadway bill at 4:11 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So that's what separates the wheat from the chaff, then - not the act itself, but the ability to whitewash it with a thick coat of 19th century ideology.

To be fair, it's not as though we don't hear enough people coating their ideas in 18th century ideology when discussing economics. It's not the age of the ideology that matters, it's whether the ideas have merit.

Personally I'm not big on smashing random shit for political ends, and if you're gonna insist on smashing something you better have a damned good reason and you better make it count. I have yet to see black bloc actions do anything useful or meaningful in any context, they have merely been a nuisance whose actions result in peaceful protesters getting beaten and arrested by police and their message undermined.
posted by Hoopo at 4:38 PM on November 3, 2011


I suspect I share with a lot of people my age and younger a sort of baffled disgust at the attitudes self-righteously proclaimed by boomers or apathetically acceded to by generation X-ers.

People are people, and don't fit neatly into pop-culture labels.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 PM on November 3, 2011


I would much prefer it without the anarchists and anticapitalists and their stupid religous-revival style chanting, who AFAICT are the same kind of people who advocate supporting the Republicans because Obama's such a disappointment to them.
I can confirm for you that your intuition is wrong: the anarchists and anticapitalists are not the people who advocate supporting the Republicans because they are sad about how Obama turned out. I am not sure if this latter category of people actually exists at all.
Only I wasn't able to use the ATM I went to because some assholes had decided smear all the machines with hair gel or some other chemical substance. ...Fuck these people. The path of change involves pushing the violent people back out to the lunatic fringe
What has led you to define hair gel on an ATM as an act of violence? Do you apply this standard universally?
The path of change involves pushing the violent people back out to the lunatic fringe where they came from and rejecting this idiot revolutionary rhetoric, this childish drum-banging and chanting, and the self-righteous wankers who keep promoting it and recycling their lowest-common-denominator arguments. I want Glass-Steagall reinstated, I want proper single-payer healthcare
I strongly recommend you look at the history of social democratic reforms in the USA, in Europe, and in the developing world, and see whether they coincided with the presence of a relatively strong or relatively week "lunatic fringe" with "revolutionary rhetoric".
posted by wwwwwhatt at 5:45 PM on November 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the long, long discussion that seems to crop up repeatedly about what OWS and the other Occupy protests are about, we have again missed one of the major, major points: it's about process, not results.

Everyone who goes to an Occupy and participates in a General Assembly and contributes their idea to the discussion and sticks around to see a decision reached is getting a new opportunity that few of us actually get much experience with: that of participating in a democratic decision-making process.

(Let's face it, although our political system is ostensibly a democratic republic, voting every couple of years for some candidate off a list of options that we had no voice in setting isn't much by way of democratic participation. And having done some citizen lobbying and tried to influence local politics, my conclusion is that many local political systems are set up in a way that is very opaque, unwelcoming, and difficult to navigate for non-insiders. Most people spend their childhoods in generally benevolent but certainly not democratic structures. Most adults spend a very large proportion of their waking time working at jobs where they certainly don't get to democratically participate in significant decision-making. So participating in a democratic decision-making process is a pretty novel experience for most people.)

Each of those people will take that experience with them, and a proportion of them will be able to pass it on by helping set up a democratic decision-making process in some other aspect of their lives, thereby giving more people the opportunity for such an experience.

Eventually, enough people will understand, firsthand, what they are missing out on in all of those other major aspects of their lives. The current undemocratic or weakly democratic processes will seem less inevitable. They will have a specific alternate option for how decisions could be reached in those other major aspects of their lives, and will thus be able to advocate for more democratic control for themselves and their neighbors, co-workers, etc. in their local political institutions, in their workplaces, in their educational programs.

Then we will have a revolution. (I strongly advocate for a non-violent one, myself personally.)

Then people, who will now have accumulated more experience with democratic decision-making, will be able to get together and democratically decide on political structure and campaign funding policies and economic structure and financial regulation policies and all sorts of other matters that affect them.


It sure would be nifty if the Occupy camps stuck around for the long haul that this process will require, though:D Another important, related, point or usefulness of the Occupies is that they are a truly public space and forum - something that has become exceedingly rare, at least in the U.S. That is exceedingly helpful in nurturing democratic participation.
posted by eviemath at 5:54 PM on November 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


I can confirm for you that your intuition is wrong: the anarchists and anticapitalists are not the people who advocate supporting the Republicans because they are sad about how Obama turned out. I am not sure if this latter category of people actually exists at all.

You can't be reading MeFi all that often then. I can think of several MeFites who consistently attack Obama from the left and expressed support for a GOP win in 2012. One of them has been calling Obama a failure since before he moved into the WH.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:41 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd also like to buy a house; I'm 41, my wife's 31, and we thought we were smart for saving money and sitting out the housing boom instead of taking on an outsize mortgage that we couldn't afford.

Similar boat. My reward for being smart, living within my means, and even warning people on this very website of the dire consequences of their actions is going to be higher interests rates that will erode my hard-earned savings, and property prices that are still out-of-reach because banks refuse to lend, but similarly refuse to foreclose. I would ask any of you "mortgage reformers" to read that link above. Read the snide confidence in the face of facts and statistics.

I saw a condo up for auction by the bank several months ago. Two bedrooms. Decent neighborhood. I call up the lawyer in charge of the auction, and they tell me I have to drop $10,000 just to bid in the auction. Oh, and there's a minimum bid. "A what?" I ask incredulously. "A minimum bid," the lady replies, "of $275,000." For a two bedroom condo in Maine for fuck's sake.

I don't understand this. Either the place is up for auction or it isn't. A minimum bid tells me that the bank has decided they're either going to get what they feel the they deserve, or they're going to take their ball and go home. Meanwhile, they get nothing if the place doesn't sell. How can they afford to do this? Because the taxpayer is their co-signer. That's how.

For crying out loud, folks. Of all the possible people that have lost their home and are now in housing difficulties, this is person Occupy and the home defense league pick to launch their anti-foreclosure protest?

Here's the thing about homes: homes need people to live in them. As soon as a house is empty, it starts to fall apart. And if you've ever seen a home that's been unoccupied for more than a year, you'll know right away why it's better to have a totally-underwater, totally-forecloseable, totally deadbeat home "owner" living in a home than it is to let it rot. The banks are getting a great deal: the home owners keep up the property and save the banks from having to pay a property management company to do the same.

Meanwhile, they renegotiate a structured payment that keeps said home owner in perpetual indebtedness with the lender. And what does the bank get? The bank gets to keep the outrageously high price on their balance sheet. It's a con. And the biggest losers are the hard-working middle class. People like me, people like you. People who struggled and scrimped and saved and played smart but played by the rules. The sucker middle class, once again getting squeezed for all their worth.

I'm sick of all the entitlement. You don't deserve a mortgage. You don't deserve a college education. Shit costs money and either you have it or you don't. When you try and manipulate the system to favor the entitled, you break the intrinsic checks and balances of the system. If houses costs too much and nobody can afford them, the prices drop. If education costs too much, less people apply and colleges lower their tuition rate, or new colleges crop up with cheaper tuition to compete. But none of that is being allowed to happen. It's like with the banks: banks made bad lending decisions, they should fail, right? If they aren't allowed to fail, they never learn their lesson. They'll keep making bad risk decisions because there are no consequences.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:58 PM on November 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


As a resident of downtown Oakland who witnessed the confrontation last night, it is interesting to me how the media and police have glossed over how organized the anarchists were and how or why they took over 520 16th Street. The building takeover has barely been mentioned in the press at all, ignoring that this was a well coordinated and premeditated plan. Even here it's barely been mentioned, even though the fires and vandalism that led the news were a small part of what actually happened last night.

To me it's very unfortunate that the black bloc was so intent on violently provoking the police. If there had been no bonfires, no rocks thrown, or no barricades built we would all be having a very, very different conversation right now. If they had opened the building and sat peacefully in the street, without egging on a fight, I do not think Quan would have sent in the police to take back a bank-owned building from them by force. With the excessive force used by OPD coming under fire and Quan's organizing background, it would not have happened.

What would that have done to the Occupy movement? Would other occupations be reclaiming foreclosed buildings in their communities to run social services themselves too? Oakland could have been an example for everyone else, we certainly had the whole world's attention. It could have been the start of something more than camping in parks.

Instead the same people who had the balls to hatch this perfect storm of a plan threw it all away so that they could throw a bottle or two at a riot cop. I'm not an anarchist, but I love Oakland and I do think something needs to change. What happened last night was a wasted opportunity.
posted by bradbane at 9:30 PM on November 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why can't other occupations reclaim foreclosed buildings in their communities and run social services, either out of the reclaimed buildings or not, themselves, using their own model of how to go about doing that? Heck, Occupy Oakland could even try again with different tactics.
posted by eviemath at 9:38 PM on November 3, 2011


Because they had the city backed into a corner. Only in Oakland, with the current situation, would they have been allowed to stay and occupy the building.
posted by bradbane at 9:48 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Squatting in the USA.

People have been successfully and unsuccessfully reclaiming and occupying buildings for a long time, sometimes for housing, sometimes as part of larger movements.
posted by eviemath at 10:12 PM on November 3, 2011


As a resident of downtown Oakland who witnessed the confrontation last night, it is interesting to me how the media and police have glossed over how organized the anarchists were and how or why they took over 520 16th Street. The building takeover has barely been mentioned in the press at all, ignoring that this was a well coordinated and premeditated plan.

That was surprising to me as well. It was well organized, but then again, occupying vacant buildings is not a surprise to anyone in the bay area. In full disclosure, I know little of the rental laws in Oakland, but I do know there is a surprising amount of protection offered to those who squat in vacant buildings in San Francisco.

I see three parties at play. The protestors, the provocateurs (identified by both protestors and the OPD), and the police. These three groups overlap a LOT. I don't know e

And an interesting point that I noticed after watching some of the news is how precise, at one point yesterday, the black bloc was. Within the same area of destruction of the anarchists there were three banks.

Bank of America, all windows broken.
Chase Bank, all windows broken.
US Bank, zero windows broken, but some vandalized.

Google is saturated so I can't back up my claim, so I will quickly cry uncle if proven wrong.
posted by chemoboy at 11:15 PM on November 3, 2011


"but there's a disturbing number of people wearing bandanas, and my past experience with people wearing bandanas in protest marches is that they're a bunch of antisocial fucks. "

As my buddy, the_bone, mentioned, he used to be really judgmental towards the folks showing up to protests with bandanas and eye masks… until he was in a peaceful Occupy march and tear gas started flying. Bandanas are smart in places where you might get gassed. They're not just for jerkoffs.
posted by klangklangston at 11:52 PM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Video Evidence of Police Agents Provocateur in Oakland
posted by syzygy at 2:41 AM on November 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


[a couple of comments deleted; conversation about the deleted FPP update really ought to go to Metatalk]
posted by taz at 4:07 AM on November 4, 2011


Income Gap Becomes Politicians' Latest Battleground; Republicans Changing Tone
posted by eddydamascene at 7:21 AM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oakland riot police caught covering their name tags.

"Each officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device on the outside of his or her uniform or on his or her helmet which bears the identification number or the name of the officer, as required by Penal Code § 830.10." via Civil_Disobedient
posted by syzygy at 7:29 AM on November 4, 2011


Video Evidence of Police Agents Provocateur in Oakland

Doesn't do what it says on the tin. Undercover police, probably, but not video evidence of agents provocateur. I see a Youtube comment saying "I'm pretty sure I saw that fucking guy spray painting tullys and yelled at him! Fuck that!", but I need more corroboration before I'm convinced that OPD went full COINTELPRO on OWS.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:36 AM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Reinstate basic regulation of the financial sector.
Ensure that the wealthy and corporate interests actually pay their taxes.
Investigate malfeasance that caused the 2008 crash. Make some arrests.


movetoamend.org

It will be so much easier to undo the effects possible by Citizens United if we can get McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform back. Rather than fighting the 1% over every issue, re-balance access and influence of government.
posted by morganw at 10:34 AM on November 4, 2011


"Each officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device on the outside of his or her uniform or on his or her helmet which bears the identification number or the name of the officer, as required by Penal Code § 830.10."

Cal. Government Code § 1222: "Every wilful omission to perform any duty enjoined by law upon any public officer, or person holding any public trust or employment, where no special provision is made for the punishment of such delinquency, is punishable as a misdemeanor."
posted by Hylas at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2011


syzygy: Oakland riot police caught covering their name tags.

That video was taken down by the user; it, or something like it, was reposted at Vimeo.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:24 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


That video was taken down by the user; it, or something like it, was reposted at Vimeo. vimeo

Looks like the exact same video.
posted by odinsdream at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2011


I saw a different side of Occupy Oakland: Before the late night violence, I went to a friendly protest that peacefully closed banks and the city's port
posted by homunculus at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


can you prove they have committed a crime under which laws?

Yes. And the SEC seems to be actively covering up for them. And I view the SEC as directly reporting to Obama, so a lot of this needs to be laid at Obama's feet.


Ok, why don't you specifically name the perpetrators and the code sections. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm saying if the people whose support we are trying to get are going to take the current critique of our economic system seriously, we have to be precise and not be unsmart and make unsupported claims.

For example, your claim that the SEC "reports to Obama." Because--it doesn't. When the Commission was set up it was made free of Presidential interference. How do I know? In my third year of law school, I interned there and my dad was a senior official there for 12 years, 2nd in command in the second largest regional office. The comissioners vote on the actions taken and removal of a comisssioner is near imposssible.

The message here is that our critiques must be well-informed and factually correct if we are to obtain our goals. We can't do things because it feels good to do them--we must do things because they advance our cause. When what we do serves our emotional desire to release anger but hinders our goal, we lose. That's what those who oppose us want.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:30 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


OPD puts Army Ranger in the ICU.
posted by ryoshu at 9:18 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oakland thinks it's going to spend only $19.8 million on settlements this year out of fund 1100.

Jean Quan should learn not to underestimate the power of the Oakland PD to piss away millions in settlements and verdicts during times of civil unrest.
posted by Talez at 11:10 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, why don't you specifically name the perpetrators and the code sections.

I'll bring up what I do every. single. time. you ask for this, MERS:
Although critics have provided a number of arguments against MERS, the most fundamental relate to MERS’ claim that it acts as mortgagee of record. While the language it uses to register mortgages in the name of MERS in local courthouses says it is both the nominee for the mortgagee and the mortgagee (a legal impossibility), in depositions its executives have repeatedly said that MERS is the mortgagee (see here and here for examples). - naked capitalism
Their operations are plain and simple-to-understand fraud. Willful fraud. The link goes into exhaustive detail, but it's all very accessible because it involves very basic concepts, unlike exotic financial instruments that most people don't feel comfortable diagnosing (even though very similar problems exist with them).
posted by odinsdream at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


OPD puts Army Ranger in the ICU.

More details here: "When his bail was posted the following afternoon, he was in too much pain to leave his cell, so he was simply left lying on the floor until an ambulance was finally called, eighteen hours after his arrest. He was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery on Friday afternoon in an attempt to repair his spleen."
posted by homunculus at 3:24 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


For example, your claim that the SEC "reports to Obama." Because--it doesn't.

You're right, that was poorly put. But Obama has a lot of influence. I am thinking of his appointees to the SEC who have stopped the GWB's appointee's rubber-stamping every no-action letter any corporation asked for (for shareholder action.) That one, little regarded appointee has made a big difference, imo.

My point is, that the administration has a lot of influence, and doesn't seem to be using it.

There was a link in a previous Occupy thread that I don't have time to track down that went through a list of specific crimes banks did that they settled, like robosigning foreclosures, and foreclosing on people who were in Iraq on active duty. They got a small fine and that was it. I have no doubt that with a little more pressure from the Obama administration- even just pointing it out from the pulpit, so to speak, would have changed a lot of this.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2011


So that ranger they put in the hospital? Turns out he had nothing to do with the protests and was walking home from the bar that he owns.

Good work, Oakland PD. Another few million doillars down the shitter on that one. You fucked with someone who can actually afford a decent lawyer not some penniless hippie on legal aid.
posted by Talez at 6:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This brings up a good point. Is there an Occupy legal defense fund? There should be.

Also, this is some horseshit, but not a surprise coming from OPD. They have zero leadership right now. What I don't understand is that the chief resigned because he was being micromanaged (how I understand it, he was unclear.) But the police claim they cracked down hard on protestors because they weren't given orders on what to do.

The fact that the police's default reaction with no orders is semi-deadly force is more horseshit. This is probably just police letting off some steam on a hapless civilian. Another veteran. It's gotten to the point where I will have to restrain myself from spitting on any OPD officer I see.
posted by chemoboy at 7:58 AM on November 6, 2011


How Police ‘Protect’: Rubber Bullets, Aiding Attempted Vehicular Homicide
posted by homunculus at 11:49 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Oakland General Strike much larger than they told us
posted by homunculus at 11:50 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That video doesn't show what that article says it shows.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on November 7, 2011


Ok, why don't you specifically name the perpetrators and the code sections.

I'll bring up what I do every. single. time. you ask for this, MERS:
Although critics have provided a number of arguments against MERS, the most fundamental relate to MERS’ claim that it acts as mortgagee of record. While the language it uses to register mortgages in the name of MERS in local courthouses says it is both the nominee for the mortgagee and the mortgagee (a legal impossibility), in depositions its executives have repeatedly said that MERS is the mortgagee (see here and here for examples). - naked capitalism
Their operations are plain and simple-to-understand fraud. Willful fraud. The link goes into exhaustive detail, but it's all very accessible because it involves very basic concepts, unlike exotic financial instruments that most people don't feel comfortable diagnosing (even though very similar problems exist with them).


MERS has nothing to do with the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission. I was responding to the following:

Yes. And the SEC seems to be actively covering up for them. And I view the SEC as directly reporting to Obama, so a lot of this needs to be laid at Obama's feet.


The SEC has nothing to do with mortgages or registrations. It could not even regulate the mortgage-backed derivatives by law.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agitators attack fellow Occupy protesters: Video out of Oakland shows "black bloc" agitators tussling with nonviolent demonstrators
posted by homunculus at 11:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way, here in Boston, rather than (as I suggested the Occupy folks should do, upthread) visibly volunteering to help the homeless shelters, instead they are now doing the exact opposite: "poaching" services meant for the homeless.

Last week, Occupy Boston yet again marched through a major commuter route at rush hour to deliberately knot traffic for the wealthier of the 99%. Now they are draining already-inadequate resources from the poorest of the 99%. They aren't helping anybody. They are causing harm. They should be arrested and jailed.
posted by red clover at 12:06 AM on November 8, 2011


Link should have gone here.
posted by red clover at 12:08 AM on November 8, 2011


They aren't helping anybody. They are causing harm. They should be arrested and jailed.

Maybe the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency could help you with that.
posted by benzenedream at 1:26 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The SEC has nothing to do with mortgages or registrations. It could not even regulate the mortgage-backed derivatives by law.

My apologies for bringing up law-breaking of a different sort than the kind you were asking about specifically, even though said law-breaking enabled the entire system we're discussing.
posted by odinsdream at 5:25 AM on November 8, 2011


"By the way, here in Boston, rather than (as I suggested the Occupy folks should do, upthread) visibly volunteering to help the homeless shelters, instead they are now doing the exact opposite: "poaching" services meant for the homeless."

Uh, the mayor's office gave them that list of shelters and services. Also, this bug up your ass about "illegal" protesting is pretty silly and unamerican. From Sons of Liberty through Selma Marches and lunchcounter sit-ins, Americans have realized that morality does not flow from the law, but from the people, and your petty authoritarianism is embarrassing.

Further, being annoyed that a group that you're not a part of isn't doing what you want them to do, even though it's not really connected with their mission or rhetoric except tangentially, is stupid. If you want them to volunteer at homeless shelters, or even create shelters for the homeless at their occupation site, go down and convince them to do it. Otherwise, it's whining from an entitled non-participant who is looking for an excuse to disagree with Occupy's actions in the face of entitlement. It's transparent and venal, and you've been harping on it far too long.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is there any effort to list online all serious injuries caused by the police attacks against on protestors?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2011


Further, being annoyed that a group that you're not a part of isn't doing what you want them to do, even though it's not really connected with their mission or rhetoric except tangentially, is stupid.

It seems to me there's a fundamental connection between protesting the 1% trampling on the little people, and demonstrating that the upper levels of the 99% can lend substantive help to the lower echelons of their ranks—or instead, as they are doing, helping themselves to coffers that were intended for those less fortunate. The 99% isn't one solid mass of equality. Helping the involuntarily homeless, instead of taking food out of their mouths, would seem to be "practicing what they preach" for the Occupy folk.

I guess we can disagree whether it's a fundamental connection or a tangential one. If you want to talk about it, cool. But lose the tone, would you please. I'm happy to have a civil conversation, but your constant need to condescend to everybody on this site is old and it's exhausting, Klang. You're clever and you're a good writer, but it's fucking tiring. You're smart and I know you've been told this often, so it must be deliberate. I'm not interested in playing.
posted by red clover at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2011


If you'd like me to lose the tone, please do participate in good faith — Your repeated contention is that you think these protestors need to be arrested, and you've gone out of your way to look for any sort of negative impact while ignoring the clear messages of the movement.

Further, if you'd read the sentence that followed the one you'd quoted, you'd see that there's a simple way to voice these concerns in a way that matters: by participating in your local assembly. I'm sure that you'd find a lot of support for the systemic changes that need to be made to ameliorate chronic homelessness, but instead you're suggesting that somehow the message of Occupy is undercut because they're not ringing bells for soup kitchens.

And as to your claim that they're taking resources meant for those even less fortunate, aside from assuming a lot about who among the Occupy folks are using those services, and aside from ignoring (again) that it was the Mayor's office that gave them the list of these services, you've ignored that those resources are actually for everyone — hence the inability to deny them to anyone. That's a funding requirement, and if you want to change that, blaming the Occupy folks is once again mistaking the cause of the problem.

Because you keep mistaking the causes of these problems, because you keep insisting on the morality — beyond the legality — of arresting the Occupiers, because you keep trying to blame protesters for the situation they're protesting, it's hard to believe that you mean any of these criticisms outside of how they support your circular thesis that the Occupy folks are bad news.

So, yeah, that's frustrating, and maybe you don't mean it to come across that way, but I stand by what I said — it comes across as entitled whining, for essentially empty reasons. Stop confusing carping with criticism.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


New police plans to oust Occupy Oakland campers

My question is, what can be done about the black bloc? Grab their bandanas and photograph them, throw tangerine paint on them to break their unity, fighting them directly doesn't seem to work. Black bloc may have a place in this movement at some point, but that place is not now. How do you counter radical black bloc with peaceful non-violence?
posted by JackarypQQ at 3:13 PM on November 9, 2011


Occupy Oakland deposits $20,000 with Wells Fargo
posted by anigbrowl at 4:53 PM on November 9, 2011


And as to your claim that they're taking resources meant for those even less fortunate, aside from assuming a lot about who among the Occupy folks are using those services, and aside from ignoring (again) that it was the Mayor's office that gave them the list of these services, you've ignored that those resources are actually for everyone — hence the inability to deny them to anyone. That's a funding requirement, and if you want to change that, blaming the Occupy folks is once again mistaking the cause of the problem.

I'm not assuming anything about the Occupy Boston folks. I see them. They are in my city, either camping outside South Station or marching through traffic. I also have experience with the homeless population in Boston. If you're implying that there is an overlap between the involuntarily homeless and the Occupy protestors—and thus, that these people would be using these services anyway—I can tell you that it's been my observation that there is not. There are exceptions, including at least one whose name has turned up in the Boston media once or twice, but for the most part the groups are disparate and interaction has been cordial at best.

The mayor certainly doesn't approve of Occupy Boston poaching services intended for the homeless. In fact, this story provoked the first critical comments that anybody has heard the mayor utter toward Occupy Boston. I haven't followed news coverage of other cities as closely as here in Boston, but I'd speculate that our mayor might be the most tolerant and supportive government official that the movement has met. There is no timetable for removal. He has stated pretty clearly that as long as they remain nonviolent, he intends to let them stay indefinitely. But now he has also stated pretty clearly that they should not be visiting homeless shelters for services they don't legitimately (as opposed to voluntarily) need.

What's kind of getting folded-into the story is that the protestors have also been using the bathrooms at South Station to bathe themselves. That's not new. It has been going on since Occupy Boston began and commuters have complained, but now their complaints are gaining some traction as protestors are showing up at homeless shelters with the arrival of cold weather. I think there's a fair distinction to be made. Tap water isn't a finite resource the way food and clothing are, and the MBTA is a public organization in a way that shelters aren't.

Which leads into your final point, about funding requirements. To be fair to them, that's only your comment and not an actual argument the Occupy Boston folks are making. They have backtracked from their initial responses to these reports and are now saying, "We haven't encouraged our protestors to use services meant for the homeless, and we are now actively advising our protestors to seek alternative options." They aren't claiming equal access the way you seem to be. If they were, I would say that it seems hypocritical. One of their ill-defined goals is to protest how the 1% have manipulated the system to hoard resources. Hiding behind a legal loophole (a "funding requirement") seems pretty clearly analogous to the practices and architecture they're protesting.
posted by red clover at 5:01 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That line of argument — hypocritical hoarding — falls down pretty quickly once you realize that describing protesters visiting soup kitchens as "hoarding" or comparing that to the divide between the one percent and the ninety-nine, is pretty clearly absurd. By that line of reasoning you both have to conclude that the real protest should be against the global north (dollar-a-day-developing-nations etc. etc.) and that St. Francis in his hairshirt is the only person who can speak about income disparity.

Because that way leads to a diffuse nihilism that permits no action for surfeit of guilt, and a cynical justification for the status quo — a justification that I think requires either laziness or a fair amount of privilege or both to embrace.

As for your assumptions about the Occupy folks, I really am not trying to be disrespectful when I say that I just don't trust your perceptions of their demographics. Not only would I be skeptical of any description of demographics from eyeballing, but also because you don't come across as a disinterested observer, but as someone attempting to marshal evidence for an argument. You might reply that I'm someone who finds that argument specious from the giddyup, so maybe I'm biased unfairly against you, but even still, I don't see a way to consider your assumptions to be reasonably persuasive.

But to elaborate — I do find the larger thrust of your argument both specious and irrelevant. It's like complaining that the barricades of the French Revolution were inconvenient to wagon traffic, or that sit-ins put other diners off their feed. Grumble about the scarcity of public accommodations, but conflating toleration from a mayor with support — especially after ignoring the over 100 arrests already made for simply being in the wrong park — and attempting to conflate the legal use of services as support for your repeated contention that these protesters should be locked up, is a simply untenable position to hold without being called out for it.

You don't agree with the protester's means; you suggest no feasible ones to achieve the changes they want save soup kitchen volunteerism but are unwilling to participate in the actual governance of the protest in order to make that happen. And from what I've seen, it's not clear that you're making these statements from a position of supporting the overall message of the Occupy movement, but rather come across as complaining that people you disagree with are doing things that you disagree with, with all the circular implications.
posted by klangklangston at 11:32 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


That line of argument — hypocritical hoarding — falls down pretty quickly once you realize that describing protesters visiting soup kitchens as "hoarding" or comparing that to the divide between the one percent and the ninety-nine, is pretty clearly absurd.

I read the rest of your comment, and I don't follow why you think it's an absurb comparison. It seems analogous to me. The Occupy movement objects to the top 1% hoarding resources, as I understand it, because they believe that (at least in part) wealth is zero-sum and that hoarding has caused hardship for those lower on the ladder. Meanwhile we have people who have trekked into Boston from some of the wealthier suburbs to protest, who are now using resources that are intended for people who are legitimately destitute.

The latter seems like a clear application of the principle. Available resources are finite, and thus somewhat "zero-sum": If you take soup, there's less soup for others. If the Occupy Boston folks continue using resources intended for the homeless, it will cause hardship for the homeless. This seems hypocritical. It seems especially so because Occupy Boston has received so much generosity itself. Donations of food, clothing, and money have flowed into the camp in ways that certain local charities don't see. For the protestors to still turn around and reach into shelter coffers seems very, very wrong.

you don't come across as a disinterested observer

Neither do you. You come across, at least to me, as someone who is taking my criticism of Occupy Boston personally. Your replies have certainly been personally directed. For my part, I'm not sure whether I'm entirely "disinterested"; I agree with some of the Occupy movement's (incredibly vague) tenets, disagree with their tactics, and mostly agreed with Menino's feeling that leaving them alone was preferable to escalation...until it became clear that they were going to continue escalating the costs and harms of their protest without getting their act together to any recognizable degree. (Here's a recent article on the latter point.)

You're welcome to trust or distrust my perception. I've got boots on the ground, so to speak, and I have also followed the local media coverage pretty closely. If you're inclined to write-off my version from 3,000 miles away then so be it, but I'm not sure I should be the one in that equation fielding accusations of bias. I'm also not sure it leaves us much room to converse. "Here's what's happening." "I don't believe you." Well...okay, then.
posted by red clover at 1:02 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I read the rest of your comment, and I don't follow why you think it's an absurb comparison. It seems analogous to me."

First off, you can't hoard services, especially like you can hoard wealth. Calling the use of services "hoarding" is nonsensical unless people are stuffing their pockets with soup and refusing to share. Pretending that's a reasonable description of the Occupy folks using services is absurd; using language like "legitimately destitute" is obviously loaded. Finally, noting again that you're neither part of nor agree with the protest, this whole line of criticism reads as disingenuous.

"The latter seems like a clear application of the principle. Available resources are finite, and thus somewhat "zero-sum": If you take soup, there's less soup for others. If the Occupy Boston folks continue using resources intended for the homeless, it will cause hardship for the homeless. This seems hypocritical. It seems especially so because Occupy Boston has received so much generosity itself. Donations of food, clothing, and money have flowed into the camp in ways that certain local charities don't see. For the protestors to still turn around and reach into shelter coffers seems very, very wrong. "

Then the answer is more services for the homeless, not blaming protesters for availing themselves of publicly provided services that, once again, can't be denied to anyone. (And that's leaving aside how governmental funding for social services works — I've set up city funded food banks, and the more we were able to exhaust our stores, the more funding we received.) Further, you've already noted that the organizers in Boston have discouraged the use of those services. As such, attempting to use that to tar the entire occupation is obviously false.

"Neither do you. You come across, at least to me, as someone who is taking my criticism of Occupy Boston personally. Your replies have certainly been personally directed. For my part, I'm not sure whether I'm entirely "disinterested"; I agree with some of the Occupy movement's (incredibly vague) tenets, disagree with their tactics, and mostly agreed with Menino's feeling that leaving them alone was preferable to escalation...until it became clear that they were going to continue escalating the costs and harms of their protest without getting their act together to any recognizable degree. (Here's a recent article on the latter point.)"

That's fine — I'm not the one making a positive claim. In an argument, a tie of bias goes to the skeptic. It's unclear how you've managed to discern the socio-economic demographics (I assume a rigorous survey with peer-reviewed methodology), keeping a detailed list of who's legitimately destitute and who's ideological purity is somehow compromised by not being the poorest one percent.

And as I've mentioned several times, if you disagree with their tactics, feel free to suggest other tactics that you'd prefer. Otherwise, it reads, again, as the Saul Alinsky "Do Nothings" or the modern "concern troll." You're repeating incredibly petty complaints (inconveniencing commuters?) and living in some sort of fantasy in which mass protests — which are necessary in order to shift the dialogue in the country — are effective without having any negative impacts on anyone. It's farcical, and makes your statement of support (even for the "incredibly vague" tenets) seem pretty disingenuous. Again, it's you who has made repeated calls for these protesters to be locked up, pretty much from the very beginning. If you can't understand why that means you're less than credible, even to me 3000 miles away, that's on you.
posted by klangklangston at 8:43 AM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


(As a side note, that Phoenix article isn't loading for me. I'll try it again in a couple hours. New Times/VVM is a nest of douchebags themselves, though.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:45 AM on November 10, 2011


Red clover, have you heard of this? Because your feeling that protesters should be locked up for using public services sure does smack of it. The intersection of occupiers with people in legitimate need of public services is very non-empty. Indeed, part of the reason there's such a sustained force of people in the streets is that we're seeing deep, long-term unemployment on a scale comparable with the great depression. I would hesitate before assuming that occupiers using homeless services don't deserve access...

(Current unemployment rates are lower than those of the GD, but the measurement methodology has changed significantly in ways that produce smaller unemployment numbers, and also the current us population is much higher than it was during the GD, meaning that there is a numerically larger group of people suffering from long-term unemployment. here's a good post running the numbers.)
posted by kaibutsu at 10:29 AM on November 10, 2011


Then the answer is more services for the homeless, not blaming protesters for availing themselves of publicly provided services that, once again, can't be denied to anyone.

I think your attempts to poke holes in my comment are silly. Increased resources would be wonderful, of course. We all hope for an ideal world. In the world we have, the fact that a shelter cannot turn people away doesn't make it ethical or moral for a middle-class family to use it as their dinner-night-out in lieu of Olive Garden. You seem unwilling to say, "Yes, it's wrong for protestors of means to be tapping resources intended for people without," apparently because you genuinely don't think it is. That's fine. We disagree.

The rest of it is old and tiring. I'm disingenuous, I'm a troll, blah-blah. When you have been called out repeatedly in threads, in MeTa, and even publicly by mods for the fact that condescension is your shtick, I think it's kind of chickenshit to pretend that you're only copping the "tone" in a given instance because you were forced into that corner by somebody else participating (according to you) in bad faith. It's a very long pattern. You're a snotty, rancid contributor. You're smart enough that you could make MetaFilter a lot better, but instead you do this routine and make it worse. My patience and civility is done. Please talk to somebody else.

The intersection of occupiers with people in legitimate need of public services is very non-empty. Indeed, part of the reason there's such a sustained force of people in the streets is that we're seeing deep, long-term unemployment on a scale comparable with the great depression.

I can't speak to other parts of the country, but in Boston the intersection appears relatively small. I've talked some above about my own observations and about some of the media coverage, but maybe the most compelling point is how the protestors reacted before that Boston Herald article and immediately after, compared to a day later. The mayor has been unwaveringly protective of Occupy Boston but that report caused even him to lash out at them, and they quickly backtracked from their initial defenses and insisted that henceforth protestors would be advised not to draw on shelter resources. I guess you could counter that this flip-flop doesn't necessarily mean their actions were wrong, only that they are doing what's politically expedient, but that doesn't really fit with their behavior in the last month, so I don't think that's it. I think they screwed up and I think (again, after that report broke and not before) they recognized it.

You're absolutely right about how the abuses and architectures that the Occupy movement is protesting have exacerbated the economic problems that send people into shelters. I don't minimize that. But it's exactly why I think it's hypocritical for protestors who don't need these services to have been drawing upon them.
posted by red clover at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2011


" In the world we have, the fact that a shelter cannot turn people away doesn't make it ethical or moral for a middle-class family to use it as their dinner-night-out in lieu of Olive Garden."

I'm sorry that you can't talk about this without making things up — that's one of the reasons why I think it's fair to treat your descriptions with a fair amount of skepticism.

"The rest of it is old and tiring. I'm disingenuous, I'm a troll, blah-blah. When you have been called out repeatedly in threads, in MeTa, and even publicly by mods for the fact that condescension is your shtick, I think it's kind of chickenshit to pretend that you're only copping the "tone" in a given instance because you were forced into that corner by somebody else participating (according to you) in bad faith. It's a very long pattern. You're a snotty, rancid contributor. You're smart enough that you could make MetaFilter a lot better, but instead you do this routine and make it worse. My patience and civility is done. Please talk to somebody else."

I was actually dealing with you in a pretty respectful way — you're the one flipping out here. Saying that your arguments come across as disingenuous and pointing out that your rhetoric is the same as that of previously noted anti-protest rhetoric and anti-progressive rhetoric (those of "Do Nothings" and "concern trolls," respectively) isn't condescending, it's an honest appraisal of your tone and arguments. If you truly believe that what I've said in this thread is rancid or snotty, I encourage you to bring that to MetaTalk. I think I've comported myself pretty well.

"But it's exactly why I think it's hypocritical for protestors who don't need these services to have been drawing upon them."

And I think your definition of need is needlessly narrow and self-serving. Especially since you seem to think that they're only going to these shelters because Olive Garden had a 45-minute wait to get a table.
posted by klangklangston at 3:40 PM on November 10, 2011


Just to be clear here, this is an actual thing that happens that people are defending as reasonable?
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on November 10, 2011


In the world we have, the fact that a shelter cannot turn people away doesn't make it ethical or moral for a middle-class family to use it as their dinner-night-out in lieu of Olive Garden.

Let's assume this happened, for the sake of argument. The individual people who did that would be assholes, that's true. It's also completely unrelated to the contention of OWS, which is that our system of government is broken. OWS as a group certainly doesn't condone such a thing, so it's unclear why you're bringing it up except to point out the obvious, that some protesters are assholes. What does that have to do with the movement itself?
posted by odinsdream at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2011


Also, while middle class folks patronizing a soup kitchen does take resources, it's also in some sense a solidarity action. Definitely a problematic one if they aren't contributing resources as well (non-obviously, at another time, otherwise it would defeat the usefulness as a solidarity action). But there are two components to poverty/classism. One is absolute poverty: lack of sufficient nutrition, safe place to sleep, health care, etc. The other is relative poverty or classism and poor bashing, where people living in poverty are discriminated against and made to feel ashamed and sub-human. Having segregated services for people living in poverty can contribute to the shame and stigma attached to poverty. As opposed to, for example, the community meals that my parents' small town holds, where folks who can will contribute food, money, or volunteer time ahead of time; but everyone sits down to eat together, with nothing to indicate that some people are contributing more resources toward the meal than others. On the other hand, sometimes having services exclusively for the poor sets up a safe space for people living in poverty where they can go and not have to worry about stigma and judgement from the rest of society for a little bit. It's a complex issue.
posted by eviemath at 7:06 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


A man fatally shot himself at Occupy Vermont camp; protesters said he was a veteran and that he seemed to be 'troubled.'

Meanwhile, in Oakland, protesters held a General Assembly meeting last night to debate whether to kick out the Black Bloc for their encampment. The resolution failed to meet the 90% threshold required for adoption. This followed a news conference held by 5 members of Oakland City Council which was swarmed by protesters who shouted down the council members. Today,
a man was shot to death near the Occupy Oakland camp. Protesters denied that there was any connection with the camp, but refused to allow a news crew to film the aftermath of the incident. Another report from the news crew, which happened to be present at the scene to document the one-month 'birthday' of the occupation. The celebration has been cancelled.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:43 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's time to break up the camp for their own good at this point. The situation is getting scary and the sooner it breaks up, the better.

I say call it a day at Thanksgiving and be done with it. Maybe pick it up again in the spring time with better organization.
posted by empath at 9:05 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issues an ultimatum.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:07 PM on November 10, 2011


Yes. And the SEC seems to be actively covering up for them.

Finally, a Judge Stands up to Wall Street
posted by homunculus at 11:51 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Protesters denied that there was any connection with the camp, but refused to allow a news crew to film the aftermath of the incident.

Well, hell, doesn't it make sense for them to, even just out of a common human decency standpoint? If you were just walking down the street and there was a drive-by shooting, and then a whole bunch of idiots with cameras were blocking the way of police trying to aid the victim, wouldn't you want to push them out of the way so the police could do their job?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:12 AM on November 11, 2011


Isn't that what the police always say when they try to stop people from filming them?
posted by empath at 8:15 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Today, a man was shot to death near the Occupy Oakland camp. Protesters denied that there was any connection with the camp

I don't know anything besides what was on DailyKos but yeah, this seems convenient.

If people are wondering why we East Bay-ers are so cynical, remember that this suddenly vigilant police force is the one who declared it would no longer respond to car wrecks, burglary, and a whole host of other crimes. Oakland also has a shocking murder rate. For them to use this one to shut down an inconvenient protest comes across as disingenuous.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:22 AM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The man who was shot was apparently an occupier, though few other details are available.

If you were just walking down the street and there was a drive-by shooting, and then a whole bunch of idiots with cameras were blocking the way of police trying to aid the victim, wouldn't you want to push them out of the way so the police could do their job?

That's not what's happening in that picture, now is it?

For them to use this one to shut down an inconvenient protest comes across as disingenuous.

The police are not the ones demanding a shutdown of OO. Most of the pressure is coming from local businesses and residents that are pissed off with the mayor. OO has alienated the people on the city council who were originally its strongest supporters. Read it again.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:00 PM on November 11, 2011


Like it or not, the Oakland PD made the Oakland movement a figurehead. Businesses can lay their losses at the administration's feet, and that's before all the lawsuits that will no doubt come out of this.

Also, I will grant you Reid, but calling de la Fuente or Brooks "strongest supporters" is contrary to anything I've heard.

If there's a way to spin any story in the favor of the status quo, or even more conservative than status quo, the San Francisco Chronicle will find it. I take everything they report with a huge grain of salt.

I don't know enough about the Oakland Occupy to know if their day-to-day stuff is that big a mess- I haven't been there since the 2nd, actually- but I do know better than to take the mainstream media's word for any of it, especially the Chronicle's.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:06 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Christian groups ask God to make Occupy Wall Street GO AWAY
posted by homunculus at 7:06 PM on November 12, 2011


Fed up with costs, college wants Occupy Seattle out
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on November 12, 2011


"The risks are too great for having an encampment out there," Quan said. "It's time for the encampment to end."
"This camp is attracting an element that's adding to the problem that already exists," said City Council President Larry Reid


Hey the mayor city and council president are tired of seeing the problems of their own city every day. Probably as good a reason as any to just pack it in and move on.
I think it's important to remind people that the surrounding streets of OO are not exactly the safest in Oakland. So when a city council member says it's attracting the wrong element, they mean it's attracting the poor and homeless from the surrounding streets.
posted by JackarypQQ at 9:31 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigh. I work nearby. Watching Occupy Oakland is like watching a train headed for a cliff, not knowing if it is going to crash or turn into a magical flying chariot. I came here hoping MetaFilter had it figured out, but I guess not. They sure do go against everything I know about politics. But hey, I haven't overthrown democro-capitalism and the police state yet, so what do I know.

One thing I can tell you is that this is not true: "Meanwhile, in Oakland, protesters held a General Assembly meeting last night to debate whether to kick out the Black Bloc for their encampment. The resolution failed to meet the 90% threshold required for adoption." First, BB is a tactic, not a group of people. Second, that's a fairly inaccurate description; the proposal basically weakly encourages black bloc tactics to be used responsibly (the full text is on their facebook page). Third, it went down as hard as it did because the non-violence contingent voted against it for not going far enough. The clarifying questions and pros & cons speakers were ... iirc, about 80% people from the nonviolence team saying that it didn't make sense. But just about everyone on both sides hated that proposal, from what I saw.
posted by slidell at 2:20 AM on November 13, 2011


Occupy Portland Resists Eviction With Huge Party
posted by homunculus at 9:59 AM on November 13, 2011


You know, any cities who dislike their OWS protests should consider offering the protestors open-return tickets to Washington DC or New York City. It's called Occupy Wall St. after all. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:21 AM on November 13, 2011


Frank Miller slams Occupy Wall Street, becomes a parody of himself
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Admits Cities Coordinated Crackdown on Occupy Movement
posted by homunculus at 3:07 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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