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Tahrir in Wall Street

October 3rd, 2011

It’s time to talk about the Occupy Wall Street movement. As with the movement itself, I have more enthusiasm than analysis to offer at this point. I’m in Washington DC at present and i went to a (very small) meeting [1] a couple of weeks ago which was part of the planning for a similar protest starting on 6 October (more info here). Things have certainly grown since then, and it could be quite a big event.

In the generally undirected spirit of the movement, here is an open thread for your comments, predictions and so on.

fn1. As a visitor to the US, I’m not actually involved in the organization, but I was interested to hear about it and sympathetic to what I heard. Those at the meeting seemed more ordinary, and of all ages, compared to the media images of ragtag youth at the Wall Street protest.

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  1. David Allen
    October 3rd, 2011 at 07:42 | #1

    Now that their constitution has been rendered quaint I certainly hope they don’t upset the King. They might be declared enemy combatants and murdered in drone strikes. I hope I’m joking.

  2. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 09:22 | #2

    The success of such movements depends on them not centralising. They should remain loose and open to many. This is essentially why the tea party has thrived and grown. I could easily be a passionate supporter or a passionate opponent of this sort of protest depending which way things go. If it is against the bailouts and against corruption it is the sort of thing I’d support. However if it’s about more taxes then I’d be against. Probably best to have a blurred message for the moment so lots of people can feel a part of it.

  3. Ikonoclast
    October 3rd, 2011 at 09:51 | #3

    Ok, some observations and thoughts.

    1. My Norton AV/Firewall says the “occupy wall street” site is malicious and blocks my entry. Possibilities here are that Nortons is over-protecting, after all it blocks Starcraft2 as malicious or at least it used to. Or some politicised hackers made the site malicious (CIA hired hackers?). Or some freelance idiots made the site malicious. Or Nortons as a corporate entity has toed the corporate line and dishonestly flagged OWS site as malicious in an effort to prevent free speech. At the moment I give all those possibilities about equal probability.

    2. The US corporate oligarchy will never tolerate dissent or the implementation of real democracy in the US. A peaceful popular revolution against this hegemonic corporate capital power will never be allowed to happen. If the peaceful revolution looks like making headway, the powers that be will put it down by force in manner that will make Tiannamen Square look mild by comparison. Have no illusions, the powers that be in the US have “wrath of god” wealth and power and high tech control systems, surveillance and weaponry to back it. They will never relinquish power.

    If I was a reasonably well off American near retirement, I would cash eveything in and emigrate to New Zealand (a reasonably developed, non-aligned nation out of all firing lines except for its geological activity). There is nothing the US public can do to reclaim their Republic now. It’s a hopeless cause.

  4. Robert Merkel
    October 3rd, 2011 at 09:57 | #4

    @TerjeP

    The fact that you might be a passionate opponent or supporter of the protest indicates the limitations of this kind of thing, and the risk of cooption by any number of malign forces. Protesting for the sake of protesting is, in my perhaps quaint view, utterly pointless. Look at the achievements of the amorphous “anti-globalization movement”.

    On the question of giving meat to such a protest’s agenda (and not specifically in response to Terje, who I have no doubts will find my suggestions anathema), for what it’s worth, getting angry with capitalists for being greedy and unprincipled in the pursuit of wealth is like being angry with sharks being carnivores. The trouble is that a) government regulations have allowed, nay encouraged them to accumulate an ever-increasing proportion of the wealth in the United States, and b) it has encouraged them to do so in destructive ways.

  5. Dan
    October 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 | #5

    It’s interesting (and depressing) that with the Arab Spring still very much resonant, where strongman despots have been overthrown, you don’t think this movement has any chances of triggering meaningful social reform.

    Unless I am misreading, that seems to lead to one place only – cynical political disengagement; the “corporates” and the “gummint” will always have us by the short and curlies, so to say or do anything in favour of a more human-centred agenda is merely a pointless risk.

    That seems to me to be a cowardly, pessimistic position, and furthermore doesn’t withstand analysis in the context of recent, inspiring, historical events.

    NB: I’m not saying everything will be daisies and sunshine (it never is).

  6. Chris Warren
    October 3rd, 2011 at 11:03 | #6

    @TerjeP

    If Terje is against more taxes – then the rest of humanity must support more taxes.

    While at first glance the Occupy Wall Street people are challenging a symptom, they are secondly responding to the economic storms sweeping Europe that also threaten US capitalism. After all, the basis of US capitalism is the same as European capitalism – it is just that the smaller economies fall first. The movement must demand greater taxation or else just fade into nothingness – just another trendy media event coordinated by new media, soon forgotten.

    Taxing capitalist profits is the only way a capitalist economy can be stabilised. There is no alternative. If governments do not have taxation then they must borrow, and obviously after the necessary ratcheting, they must collapse. The only other revenue options are:

    run lotteries
    run GBE’s for profit
    implement savage user-pays revenues
    obtain benefits from offshore
    seek gifts from the rich – Gina Rinehart, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

    Taxation is fundamental to a capitalist welfare state (for as long as it manages to survive that is). Without a welfare state – social disintegration quickly takes over.

    You cannot ignore the events unfolding in Greece – the smallest domino.

  7. Wally
    October 3rd, 2011 at 11:56 | #7

    The Occupy Wall Street movement may pick up some steam later this week as labor unions plan to join in the protests. From what I gather, the Transit Union Workers (TWU) already has a small contingent there and are planning a larger involvement – not sure if any others like SEIU are on the way or not. NBC evening news actually had some coverage of the protests and reported the unions would be joining in. The unions are dissatisfied with the plight of working people whereas the younger college people just want to have a future (good luck with that).

    This sort of reminds me of the late sixties except back then unions (hard hats) and the college kids didn’t get along too well – but they might make excellent allies now since both groups are sick and tired of the flagrant corruption that Wall Street represents so proficiently.

    Might be an interesting week – we’ll see.

  8. may
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:02 | #8

    the tea party is a bought and sold political (loud)mouthpiece of corporate interests.

    koch bros and american chamber of grimace paid the electoral expenses of the elected reps.

  9. Dan
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:18 | #9

    Is there seriously anyone who doesn’t know it’s an astroturf operation? They’re hardly coy about it; Charles Koch talking about how he and his brother founded Americans for Prosperity a few years back and how they had no idea how it would be the success that it’s been, etc. etc.

  10. Chris Warren
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:18 | #10

    Chris Warren :
    @may
    And much of the opposition and supposed free-speech is as well.
    Here is the evidence in the case of nuclear power;
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-03/japan-nuclear-companies-stacked-public-meetings/3206288

  11. Chris Warren
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:20 | #11

    @Chris Warren

    And much of the opposition and supposed free-speech is as well.
    Here is the evidence in the case of nuclear power;

    abc.net.au/news/2011-10-03/japan-nuclear-companies-stacked-public-meetings/3206288

  12. Wally
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:24 | #12

    @Ikonoclast
    If you can’t get connected using ” occupywallst.org ” you might try an end run and go through Adbusters at http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet. Also, I have Norton AV and I had no problems. Best wishes.

  13. alfred venison
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:56 | #13

    dear Robert Merkel
    “The trouble is that … government regulations have allowed, nay encouraged them to accumulate an ever-increasing proportion of the wealth in the United States”

    respectfully i disagree. there’s a revolving door between wall street and pennsylvania avenue that’s exploited by the rich to control regulation. that’s the problem in a nutshell.

    the protesters are quite right, in my opinion, to focus more on the capitalists & less on the regulators – the regulated are the regulators now. that’s why nothing effective is ever done. its a bankers republic by stealth. a potemkin republic. their gov’t has been stolen from them & “pod people” quislings in smart suits & designer haircuts, have been put in their place. and enough people carry on as if its business as usual. nothing’s in fact happened for them. don’t we still have elections, they say. that’s why its come to this. “enforcing” effective regulation won’t work until these bums are stopped from regulating themselves.

    i see its just a case of “follow the money” as far as the protesters are concerned.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  14. Bill
    October 3rd, 2011 at 13:09 | #14

    The occupywallstreeters just look like exactly the same woozy arts students and beardos that have turned up at a decade of “antiglobalism” riots or demos.

    The only even potentially revolutionary outfit in the States is the Tea Party.

  15. Dan
    October 3rd, 2011 at 13:32 | #15

    Bill – revolution to… corporatism? That sounds like 360 degrees to me.

  16. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 15:12 | #16

    Tea Party has protested the bailouts from the get go. The notion that the crowds that turn up at tea party rallies are paid to be there is simply daft. Lot’s of people rich and poor agree with the tea party agenda and they all make contributions according to their capacity. That is how civil society generally works.

  17. alfred venison
    October 3rd, 2011 at 15:22 | #17

    dear anyone
    for your information, the “occupy together” website, newly redesigned & categorized by state:-
    http://www.occupytogether.org/
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  18. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 16:30 | #18

    @Robert Merkel

    The key is to focus on the things that unite rather than the things that divide. That is why the tea party works.

  19. Freelander
    October 3rd, 2011 at 16:31 | #19

    Given that it would be too on the nose for the politicians to give themselves a hefty pay increase when the great unwashed are struggling to keep up with the CPI, what a brilliant idea to set up an ‘objective’ ‘independent’ ‘arms-length’ triumvirate to look at the perfectly reasonable pay-packets of bankers and CEOs to decide what our pollies should get. Apparently Gillard is to get double what she is getting at the moment and backbenchers not quite that percentage. Given that the President of the US only gets $400,000, some may wonder why Gillard should end up being paid over $600,000. What she is getting at the moment (ignoring comparisons to bankers and CEOs) seems about right.

    A problem with putting the pays of our politicians closer to bankers and CEOs, is that it is human nature to start to identify more with those whose pay scales you have joined and to ignore even more those from whom you are now even more distant. Research on income inequality seems to suggest that if changes in a society increase income inequality those throughout the society tend to have less concern for the welfare of those on other incomes.

    What Gillard and the others ought to be doing in fixing the obscene overpayment and annual pay increases of senior executives and bankers. Not joining them!

    If she does join them, maybe we will have to expect similar performance, and the protests about Wall Street remind us what we have to thank those with the massive performance bonuses for.

  20. Chris Warren
    October 3rd, 2011 at 17:50 | #20

    @TerjeP

    The key is to focus on the things that unite rather than the things that divide.

    That is why the Tea Party will fail.

  21. paul walter
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:20 | #21

    I’d point to Ikonoclast’s post and acknowledge from Terje’s post that he understands that the real source of despair is in the bailouts, corruption and refusal of repair of the system, hence his shared understanding with the rest that we are carrying the can for a Wall St rampant with quick buck speculation at the expense of genuine investment, loosed upon us by politicians too close to speculators. I dare say, efficent deployment of resources and wealth to some point, would increase the efficency of the system and obviate the tax burden for all, anyway.
    The real shame has come with the cowardly refusal of coverage of a debate on issues that effect all- the final triumph of Murdochism, the Kochs and Astroturfing, as Dan says.

  22. Freelander
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:38 | #22

    After Arab Spring, British summer, some predicted European Autumn, American Winter. But no, ahead of shedule, we have an American Autumn. Some might pray for Winter to cool things off.
    There are plenty of reasons for people to be mad “as hell”, but politicians in the West remain insular, unaware and unconcerned.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/201192785419837365.html
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/06/2011618123018618938.html
    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011101104439444685.html

    At least, once again, people are signalling that not all in the West support the carnage being wrought under the rubric of ‘The War on Terror’. Maybe things will turn ugly again.

    http://kasamaproject.org/2011/08/09/violence-street-fighting-who-says-it-alienates-the-people-2/

    Meanwhile, business as usual, and still work for the few…

    http://trueslant.com/jefftietz/2009/04/16/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-drone-pilot/

    Which, in turn, creates further work on the ground. Wonder when they will outsource drone piloting to India? Some in the US are again arguing for a trade war with China.

    All this distracts from the problems of climate change – Hong Kong and the Philippines the latest to suffer.

  23. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:38 | #23

    @Chris Warren

    Let me know when it is going to fail. It seems to have outlasted the forecast of most critics and even the expectations of many supporters.

  24. Freelander
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:39 | #24

    After Arab Spring, British summer, some predicted European Autumn, American Winter. But no, ahead of shedule, we have an American Autumn. Some might pray for Winter to cool things off.
    There are plenty of reasons for people to be mad “as hell”, but politicians in the West remain insular, unaware and unconcerned.

    english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/201192785419837365.html
    english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/06/2011618123018618938.html
    english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011101104439444685.html

    At least, once again, people are signalling that not all in the West support the carnage being wrought under the rubric of ‘The War on Terror’. Maybe things will turn ugly again.

    kasamaproject.org/2011/08/09/violence-street-fighting-who-says-it-alienates-the-people-2/

    Meanwhile, business as usual, and still work for the few…

    trueslant.com/jefftietz/2009/04/16/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-drone-pilot/

    Which, in turn, creates further work on the ground. Wonder when they will outsource drone piloting to India? Some in the US are again arguing for a trade war with China.

    All this distracts from the problems of climate change – Hong Kong and the Philippines the latest to suffer.

  25. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 20:42 | #25

    @paul walter

    If the tea party is Koch brothers AstroTurf and if the Koch brothers supported the bailouts then why has the tea party been outspoken against the bailouts?

  26. Dan
    October 3rd, 2011 at 21:05 | #26

    It’s good PR.

  27. John Quiggin
    October 3rd, 2011 at 21:32 | #27

    By the time the Tea Party started, the bailouts (introduced by Bush) were a fait accompli. It made sense for Wall Street to have the Tea Party condemn the bailouts to no effect, while also opposing any requirement that the banks should pay any price for the rescue.

    Note similarly the theatrics of the Repubs in Congress who voted against the bailout until it was obvious that the Dems wouldn’t wear the blame alone, at which time they switched sides.

  28. TerjeP
    October 3rd, 2011 at 22:01 | #28

    John – you seem to be implying that the tea party movement is a mere tool of wall street. Is that really your assessment?

  29. Chris Warren
    October 3rd, 2011 at 22:09 | #29

    @TerjeP

    WE already know, it will follow the same path as every similar rightwing outfit:

    Joh for PM
    One Nation

    etc.

    It may splutter on a bit longer because they do not have proper electoral systems in America.

  30. Michael
    October 3rd, 2011 at 22:15 | #30

    The Tea Party will fail when they start getting their policies enacted. I imagine the Tea Party will also vanish if the next president is a white Republican whether or not they reduce government debt.

  31. Robert Merkel
    October 3rd, 2011 at 22:19 | #31

    TerjeP, I offer you a challenge – name a single substantive policy measure that you and I would both recommend to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

  32. John Quiggin
    October 4th, 2011 at 01:37 | #32

    Not merely a tool of Wall Street, but that’s their primary role.

    There’s ample evidence that Tea Partiers are long-term Republican activists dressed up in silly costumes.

  33. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 05:33 | #33

    @Robert Merkel

    Are they there to formulate policy or to register discontentment with the status quo. If they start advocating policy measures they become easier for opponents to attack. If they stick to pointing out problems and wrong doing they will probably gather support. Leave the policy detail to politians and stick to articulating the concerns of the average people. In the Arab spring the shared message was that the dictators should go. To Washington the message should be stop the corruption and rule for the people not the special interests. If we get too policy specific you are right that you and I would disagree which is why it is problematic for a movement to get too exact it what it wants. Movements and political parties are different. Political parties do policy, movements reject it. Political parties are for specific things whilst movements are usually against something.

    For example the tea party notionally is against higher taxes and government spending. It’s critics point out that it doesn’t get specific about which taxes should be cut or what spending should be cut. The critics are right. However far from being a weakness this is a strength. If it was a political party it would at some point need to get specific but it is a movement not a political party.

  34. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 05:38 | #34

    @John Quiggin

    That doesn’t change the fact that they are now out on mass wearing silly costumes where as previously they were sitting quietly at home. The tea party is still a movement even if the participants are mostly republicans.

  35. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 05:39 | #35

    p.s. The implication you make is that 50% of Americans are tools of wall street.

  36. Freelander
    October 4th, 2011 at 06:08 | #36

    The ‘Tea Party’ was not something to celebrate. Wanton destruction of private property and the attempt to lay the blame on the indigenous people, the Indians, is something even Andrew Bolt would find repugnant. Shame, shame.

  37. Fran Barlow
    October 4th, 2011 at 06:29 | #37

    An interesting article on Media Matters setting the Tea Party into some perspective:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201109280011

  38. Dan
    October 4th, 2011 at 07:35 | #38

    TerjeP@35 – you’re quite right, that does seem like a decidedly low figure. Not all of them are *willing* tools, albeit, but when the hat was passed around for the bailouts everyone threw in. Few months later: bonusmania as usual. Inspiring stuff!

  39. Robert Merkel
    October 4th, 2011 at 07:51 | #39

    TerjeP :
    @Robert Merkel
    …For example the tea party notionally is against higher taxes and government spending. It’s critics point out that it doesn’t get specific about which taxes should be cut or what spending should be cut. The critics are right. However far from being a weakness this is a strength. If it was a political party it would at some point need to get specific but it is a movement not a political party.

    But that’s just the point, Terje. It’s easy to be for lower taxes and government spending in the abstract. But until you actually try and operationalize that – are you for lower spending on schools? are you for cutting expenditure on the military? do you want fewer, more poorly paid police? Do you want to cut Medicare (the US version, though the point applies either way)? Yes, you might well say “yes” to most of the above. But you know perfectly well that your “united” movement falls to pieces pretty quickly when it actually comes time to do anything.

    Grover Norquist has been trying this for 30 years, and has captured most of the GOP (at least in rhetorical terms). The end result? The current fiscal situation.

  40. Fran Barlow
    October 4th, 2011 at 09:10 | #40

    @Dan

    Much as is the case with words and phrases, or with aspects of culture, it’s important, in my opinion, when discussing political movements, to understand that their “meaing” is not merely the preserve of their apparent authors. While their authors provide an important clue to their likely conduct and place in public space — certainly the starting point — once they’ve been inserted into public space they are the property of the more basic conflicts over social arrangements amongst humans. This is why parties going by the name of Labor, or Liberal or Democrat or Republican or Conservative or Communist or Social|st that survive for any length of time would scarcely be recognisable to those most associated with their initial design. Political parties and movements are the result of attempts to build socially coherent constituencies for public policy, but of course, public policy in every society where resources are scarce (i.e. all the societies we have known so far) is an exercise in allocating privileges to some and denying them to others.

    How one goes about deciding how to grant or withhold privileges is not an easy task. The wider and more generous the grant of privilege, the less valuable is the privilege. The minimal nature of the claim makes it hard to sustain passion. Conversely, the more narrow the grant, the less impressive is the size of the constituency interested in it and the more aggrieved are those perceiving themselves as missing out. If a group seeking to build a constituency is to maintain discipline and adequate reach it needs some authenticating principle that is overarching — that stands above mere interest. It needs some cultural claim upon people wo have little or no material interest in the ends for which the movement is conceived. Identity politics is perfectly fit to this task.

    There can be no doubt that The Tea Party,/em> was conceived as a movement aimed at relatively improving the interests of the wealthiest parts of the US elite. However it may have appeared to those unfortunate enough to become swept up in its cultural claims, its geneisis was as a movement aimed at socially regressive income transfers, corporate control and so forth. Since hardly anyone would benefit from such a program, if it were made explicit, the authors had to trade on something else entirely. They reached deep into the past for the narrative of the pioneer American, the authentic American of times past who was independent, who trusted his or her neighbour and liked it best when those bothersome outsiders kept their distance. If government could be made unworkable, then these prejudices would be reinforced, and to do that all the authors had to do was to rouse everyone who felt cheated to express their existential angst.

    Examples of cheating by the elite were not hard to find, and the very language of public debt made it easy to allow disempowered folk to imagine that at the heart of their personal problems and their fears about their future were the cosy relationship between big government and big business. Almost anyone could hate and fear that.

    Hatred and fear is not a political program of course. What does one do about unhealthy relationships between big government and big business? Does one opt for small government and small business? And if we don’t like Washington, how much less do we like the places we can scarcely imagine — like China or Mexico? How do we protect America from foreigners? How do we do that without strong government? Dressing up in funny costumes with archaic artefacts, mouthing nativist slogans, fetishising small government and covering regressive policies with swingeing reactionary moral claims can paper over differences for only so long. No real power can be given to “average Americans” by the Tea Party movement because to do so would involved those who already have it and the associated privileges giving them up — and that is not what those who dreamed up this scam did it for. Without any clear and viable model of alternative governance, the Tea Party can at most improve the position of the elites in part at the expense of the bulk their own footsoldiers. It’s all very well venting — everyone loves that for a while — but unless you have a means to create something new and better, the amusement wears off pretty quickly for all but the cranks.

    The reality is that a movement that makes a fetish out of property, that fears the control of community, cannot impose upon the arrangements that have so ill-disposed its supporters. All it can offer them is existentially nativist and individualised squalour, tempered by nothing more than the hope that in this reactionary cultural lottery, some of them might come out ahead. That is not a movement that can hope for much more than about 10-15% of the voting public. That’s plenty enough to do a lot of damage to far more than 15% of the populace, but it cannot fundamentally change America. Moreover, as Terje intimates above, the moment they begin advocating anything specific, their usefulness to big business will largely be spent.

    The Tea Party are your classic ignorant and angry mob. They don’t quite know what they want. They aren’t sure they can have it. They are sure they want it now though and are convinced that the people they hate and fear are stopping them. Yet IMO, the time is at hand when the majority of them realise that they have been involved in the political equivalent of an artistic “installation” — witless participants in mere political theatre organised by people who impersonated them and stole from their credit cards to pay for the show.

  41. Dan
    October 4th, 2011 at 09:36 | #41

    I agree with all of the above; and yeah, I assume the thing’ll burn out as people realise they’re just acting as pawns spending their time and money entrenching the same big-money interests that they were less active pawns for before.

    Yawn.

  42. Sam
    October 4th, 2011 at 10:50 | #42

    Reminds me of that scene from “Network.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxxhPKSeMR0&feature=fvst

  43. paul walter
    October 4th, 2011 at 11:01 | #43

    “Funny Hats”…Like these bods with pointy hats and sheets over their heads that have the big bonfires. Onya Fran.

  44. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 17:25 | #44

    Fran – my point was not that the Tea Party would fragment if you got too specific. My point was that all movements tend to fragment if they get too specific. The term “broad church” is often used to describe the principle.

    Your analysis of the how the spoils would be split if the Tea Party was successful is naive. You assume your distributionist mindset drives the Tea Party activists.

  45. October 4th, 2011 at 18:55 | #45

    Brisbane even has an “Occupy” group!

    https://www.facebook.com/TheOccupyBrisbane

    #occupybris and #occupyoz

  46. October 4th, 2011 at 19:27 | #46

    It reminds me much more of THIS scene from ‘Network’,

    “The WORLD is a BUSINESS Mr Beale”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI5hrcwU7Dk

    The people doing “Occupy” are mad as hell because they understand that the world IS being run by business as a business (ie: for the “shareholders” not the “customers”).

  47. shocked (just like Kylie)
    October 4th, 2011 at 20:33 | #47

    @Wally

    I have Norton and had issues. It let me through when I chose to risk having my computer contaminated by viruses from the nasty occupywallstreet site. (It was fine, of course).

    I thought I was the only one with this problem.

  48. alfred venison
    October 4th, 2011 at 20:50 | #48

    dear TerjeP
    “The implication you make is that 50% of Americans are tools of wall street.”
    maybe just 50% of voting americans.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  49. Fran Barlow
    October 4th, 2011 at 21:03 | #49

    @alfred venison

    Not even that Alfred. Apparently, the Tea Party is less trusted than even Muslims and atheists.

  50. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 21:04 | #50

    Maybe Alfred but it’s a big call to imply all those people are purely voting on behalf of wall street. John seems to be pursuing an all to typical strategy of the left. And that is that rather than refute opponents they simply dismiss them as not being genuine. That is an intellectually lazy approach.

  51. TerjeP
    October 4th, 2011 at 22:35 | #51

    As I said earlier I’m conflicted over whether to support or oppose this movement. I certainly feel that the US federal reserve ought to be reined in and in Boston some protesters who claim to be part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement also seem to have a similar sentiment. Although they are a bit more emphatic with their language.

  52. October 4th, 2011 at 23:39 | #52

    And how should one engage or deal with others who actually ARE not really genuine?

  53. Dan
    October 6th, 2011 at 21:51 | #53

    Just for everyone’s reference, here’s the statement, read with appropriate *Good Night and Good Luck* gravitas by Keith Olbermann:

  54. gerard
    October 7th, 2011 at 20:37 | #54

    I just visited http://www.nytimes.com/

    there are dozens of stories on the front page, but literally no mention of these protests at all – this is the day after 15,000 – 20,000 marched all night through the center of NEW YORK, getting kettled and beaten up by police

    instead, the top story is this:

    Some Unemployed Find Fault in Extension of Jobless Benefits
    Dan Tolleson, a researcher and writer with a Ph.D. in politics, has been out of work since 2009, except for brief stints as a driver. Still, he opposes President Obama’s call for Congress to renew extensions on unemployment benefits.

    “They’re going to end up spending more money on unemployment benefits, while less money is coming in on tax returns,” he said, suggesting that the government should focus on measures that might encourage businesses to hire. “Far better to relax some of these outrageous regulations.”

  55. gerard
    October 8th, 2011 at 07:46 | #55

    great, they’ve finally got a story on OWS now: about how protestors are using a local cafe’s toilet without buying anything.

    For Some, Wall Street Is Main Street
    Panini and Company normally sells sandwiches to tourists in Lower Manhattan and the residents nearby, but in recent days its owner, Stacey Tzortzatos, has also become something of a restroom monitor. Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, who are encamped in a nearby park, have been tromping in by the scores, and not because they are hungry.

    The rest is just generally about how local residents hate the protesters and want them to go away.

    Steve Zamfotis, manager of another nearby store, Steve’s Pizza, said: “They are pests. They go to the bathroom and don’t even buy a cup of coffee.”

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