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 Post subject: The Occupation of Wall Street Spreads PostPosted: 2011-09-17 11:50pm
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NEW YORK — Hundreds of people marched near Wall Street in New York in a failed attempt to occupy the heart of global finance to protest greed, corruption and budget cuts.

Plans by protesters to turn Lower Manhattan into an "American Tahrir Square" was thwarted when police on Saturday blocked all the streets near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.

The demonstrators had planned to stake out Wall Street until their anger over a financial system they say favors the rich and powerful was heard.

"The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99 Percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the one percent," said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.

By noon, about 700 people, many carrying backpacks and sleeping bags, had gathered near Wall Street to search for a place to camp amid a heavy police presence.

That was far less than the 20,000 people that the online magazine Adbusters, which launched the movement in July, had hoped to see "flood" the neighborhood for a months-long occupation.

The protesters who did arrive were full of zeal and righteous indignation.

"This is a protest against corporate greed and we come to Wall Street because Wall Street is the Ground Zero for corporate greed," said Julia River Hitt, a 22-year-old philosophy student.

"We are here just to say we are fed up, we are not gonna take it anymore."

The protesters gathered in Trinity Place, some some 1,000 feet (300 meters) from Wall Street, which they hope to turn into the US version of the famous square in Cairo that became the focal point of protests that led to the ouster of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in February.

"No more corruption," read one sign a demonstrator brandished. "Wall St Greed, New Yorkers Say Enough," read another.

"I will sleep here. A lot of us we will sleep here," said Steven Taylor, 24 a protester who arrived equipped with a backpack and a sleeping bag.

Youths shared food and discussed the economic crisis in groups of 15 and 20. Others marched around the square.

Among the group was Javier Dorado, a law professor from Spain who compared the protesters with the mass "indignant" demonstrations in his country against high unemployment, welfare cuts and corruption.

"This is a global phenomenon that is taking place in Europe and many countries," Dorado said.

The protest came as the United States struggles to overcome an economic crisis marked by a huge budget deficit that has triggered cuts in the public service sector while unemployment hovers stubbornly above nine percent.

"There's a war in Libya, there's a war in Afghanistan, there's a war in Iraq and we have cuts in education, social programs," said a masked protester who declined to be identified.

"We know where the money is going! Revolution in America!"

Well, so much for that. Now, let's organize another global financial crisis and make billions!

Needless to say, not the outcome I've been hoping for, but the outcome I've been expecting.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:15am
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I actually didn't find out about this movement's existence until Friday when reading about it in the Metro... so the lack of visibility for the attempted occupation leading to sub-1000 turnout doesn't surprise me at all.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:11am
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Yeah.

Of course, there have been plenty of events like this in the history of real revolutions- you don't read about them in the history books for obvious reasons.

I wonder what a more organized campaign to march on Wall Street, using the basic minimum level of brains and effort that go into other such marches on a semi-routine basis, would look like?



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 07:19am
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I read the police were preparing like crazy despite the movement being almost a non-threat from the very beginning. Well, all good efforts start with futile acts. I hope that wasn't the end of it.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 07:34am
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They really think they could have shut down wall street? They would have been dispersed with gas and riot control by monday morning.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 07:40am
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CaptainChewbacca wrote:
They would have been dispersed with gas and riot control by monday morning.

This would've been probably a result as well. Escalation. Radicalization. All necessary pre-requisits for formenting a real resistance movement.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 11:43am
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They shouldn't have chosen a Saturday when most people on Wall Street aren't at work.

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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 12:06pm
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Alphawolf55 wrote:
They shouldn't have chosen a Saturday when most people on Wall Street aren't at work.

Probably a concession to practicality. The people with the most personal stake in the subject of the protest aren't likely to be in a position to take a day off work without repurcussions.

Stas Bush wrote:
This would've been probably a result as well. Escalation. Radicalization. All necessary pre-requisits for formenting a real resistance movement.

Don't forget the additional prerequisite for a successful resistance movement, and that's conflicted loyalties on the part of a non-trivial percentage of military and law-enforcement personnel. The US still has a way to go on that.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 12:09pm
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Yeah, I specifically missed out the "successful" bit. You can be real and nontheless unsuccessful. ))



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 12:28pm
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That said, even real yet ineffective resistance in the US could change the political dynamic.

Wall Street isn't actually all that popular among Americans right now. Even many whose fidelity to predatory capitalism is unquestioned harbor lingering resentment and doubts. Obama did strike a chord when he talked about the difference between "Wall Street" and "Main Street," even if he went on to prove that he was firmly on Wall Street's side.

Remember the civil rights movement? The protestors who got attacked with dogs and blasted with firehoses lost, in a real sense. But they also won, because they made it very obvious to other Americans who had no great sympathy for segregation just how ugly the segregationists could be when the white gloves of the 'Southern gentleman' came off.

Of course, the institution of professional protest-suppressing learned from that, and is now more reluctant to be seen as vicious than it once was. But this is still an issue in a society with a free press and a great deal of undirected and under-directed anger at the status quo. The mere fact that large scale protest against the great villains of the system is possible can encourage others to do it.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 12:47pm
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Something kind of like this happened on Canary Wharf (London's other financial district) a couple of months back. A protest group promised a huge afternoon invasion on their web site, everyone was talking about it at lunch time and several investment banks sent warnings out to their staff. In reality about 20 people turned up (that I saw) and stood in a small group in front of the tube station entrance, holding their placards and looking miserable. A little entertainment for all the quants downing shots on the Roka* terrace.

* A bar in front of 1 Canda Square.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:25pm
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Starglider wrote:
Something kind of like this happened on Canary Wharf (London's other financial district) a couple of months back. A protest group promised a huge afternoon invasion on their web site, everyone was talking about it at lunch time and several investment banks sent warnings out to their staff. In reality about 20 people turned up (that I saw) and stood in a small group in front of the tube station entrance, holding their placards and looking miserable. A little entertainment for all the quants downing shots on the Roka* terrace.

* A bar in front of 1 Canda Square.

That meshes with Simon's point about the valuable lessons learned by the institution of professional protest-suppressing. (Now there's a trade union with bipartisan appeal!) There is no point in going on protest marches and demonstrations in Britain anymore because the British government has hit on the most effective suppression tactic yet devised: Completely and totally ignore them as long as they remain peaceful. I guess everyone finally got fed up of giving up their time and money for nothing in return but a few condescending soundbites if they were lucky, and the ones that don't just write off active involvement in politics as a waste of effort turned to more aggressive tactics... at which point they were painted as militant anarchists, professional troublemakers and members of the "feral underclass" and thrown in jail.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:29pm
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There is, I think, a critical mass where such protests do start to snowball- but Britain and the US definitely aren't there yet.

Does Britain really have a tradition of mass rallies and protest events? In the US such a tradition at least exists; gatherings of thousands on the National Mall are hardly uncommon and tens of thousands happen every... what, year or two? You even get hundreds of thousands now and then, which pretty well packs the city.

But in Britain? How far back do you have to go before such things become common?



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:46pm
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Wow, I get e-mails from liberal interest groups and NGOs, close to a dozen a day, and this is the first I've heard of this. They really failed to get the word out.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:05pm
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I can't say I am particularly impressed by a 22 yr old philosophy student whose "had enough". I'd be more concerned when protestors are saying things like "and I'm here because I lost the home I built for my family" or even "My entired retirement is gone so some investor could gamble my future to make a buck".

I mean WERE those people here, and the media is undermining the cause by interviewing the loudest asshole, or is it more that Americans aren't quite as ready to revolt as they are to apple picking and watch baseball.




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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:17pm
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Themightytom wrote:
I can't say I am particularly impressed by a 22 yr old philosophy student whose "had enough". I'd be more concerned when protestors are saying things like "and I'm here because I lost the home I built for my family" or even "My entired retirement is gone so some investor could gamble my future to make a buck".

I mean WERE those people here, and the media is undermining the cause by interviewing the loudest asshole, or is it more that Americans aren't quite as ready to revolt as they are to apple picking and watch baseball.


I suspect that the kind of people you talk about, at least those of them who aren't too emotionally invested in the status quo, would be be as willing if not more so to take part in such actions were it not for circumstances. A lot of those worst hit by the excesses of capitalism simply won't have the time or the energy for activism - they have dependents to look after, job opportunities to chase, and so on. Students (among others) tend to have fewer such constraints and thus can spend more of their time and energy on what they percieve as the wider problems of society. Of course, they are rewarded for their public spirit by being completely ignored by the establishment and by being labelled spoiled layabouts by reactionary turds.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:18pm
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Stas Bush wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
They would have been dispersed with gas and riot control by monday morning.

This would've been probably a result as well. Escalation. Radicalization. All necessary pre-requisits for formenting a real resistance movement.


I think that if they had gotten thousands to attend there would have been too many for NYPD to round up.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 05:23pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
There is, I think, a critical mass where such protests do start to snowball- but Britain and the US definitely aren't there yet.

Does Britain really have a tradition of mass rallies and protest events? In the US such a tradition at least exists; gatherings of thousands on the National Mall are hardly uncommon and tens of thousands happen every... what, year or two? You even get hundreds of thousands now and then, which pretty well packs the city.

But in Britain? How far back do you have to go before such things become common?

They're more common than you might think, going back to at least the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. It's just that getting your average British prime minister to change his mind usually demands a credible threat of either losing the next general election or being murdered by a lynch-mob. And thanks to the nature of of our party whip system, a British prime minister can rule pretty much by diktat and fiat.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 09:49pm
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The failure of this attempt suggests that despite all the harm caused by the rich in America, people still believe in the effectiveness of Capitalism. Which is why nothing will get better, EVER.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 10:03pm
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Or, perhaps that the people organising the protest didn't do a good enough job advertising it, given that no one on the board had even heard about it until after it happened. Protests like that don't just happen, they require communicating to a large number of angry people to be in one place at one time and don't happen if there are not people angrier with the status quo than they are scared of the police, and if the organisers don't mobilise them properly. I'm willing to bet more than 700 people are pretty pissed at Wall st right now, so number 2 is more likely. (I'm not saying it would have been a huge protest, just that for an issue like this 700 people is a pretty poor turnout, and better communication that it was happening would probably have resulted in a larger, if not more effective event)

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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-18 11:13pm
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Or, perhaps, people simply don't feel things are bad enough to warrant a revolution?

Crazy idea, I know.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-19 12:03am
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SpaceMarine93 wrote:
The failure of this attempt suggests that despite all the harm caused by the rich in America, people still believe in the effectiveness of Capitalism. Which is why nothing will get better, EVER.
Drama queenery aside...

Alkaloid wrote:
Or, perhaps that the people organising the protest didn't do a good enough job advertising it, given that no one on the board had even heard about it until after it happened. Protests like that don't just happen, they require communicating to a large number of angry people to be in one place at one time and don't happen if there are not people angrier with the status quo than they are scared of the police, and if the organisers don't mobilise them properly. I'm willing to bet more than 700 people are pretty pissed at Wall st right now, so number 2 is more likely. (I'm not saying it would have been a huge protest, just that for an issue like this 700 people is a pretty poor turnout, and better communication that it was happening would probably have resulted in a larger, if not more effective event)
Lord Zentei wrote:
Or, perhaps, people simply don't feel things are bad enough to warrant a revolution?

Crazy idea, I know.
Both these things.

On the one hand, the protest was badly organized- not publicized, so any idea of it becoming a truly mass scale event was out of the question. On the other, there are a lot of Americans who genuinely do not see publically moving against Wall Street as the solution to their problems- yet.

I think this is likely to change over the next several years. Obama in 2008 took a lot of advantage of the general frustration of the left, and their willingness to rally behind someone who offers them a way to stop the decay of the system. He didn't deliver what people hoped for from him, granted, but that's somewhat beside my point.

It's going to get worse before it gets better, and because it will get worse, we will see more and more people upset with the system, and increasingly convinced that rewarding Wall Street, tax cuts for millionaires, and welfare cuts for the unemployed are not a winning combination. The Tea Party works, for now, largely because before this year it was not given a chance to show what it was capable of. It will be something of an albatross around the Republicans' necks in 2012, and it's only going to get worse as long as we stay at 10% unemployment, stagnating salaries, and rising costs of living.

Zentei, I'm not saying "Capitalism Is EVIL!" or anything here, but it's getting out of hand. Health insurance, high frequency stock trading, student loans, it's all gone from "I make a small profit by providing a useful service" to "I skim as much money as possible off the medical needs, pension funds, and educational ambitions of the middle class."

The problem is not "capitalism is evil." The problem is that the sheer volume of institutionalized greed and the veneration of greed-heads is choking us alive. It's not a healthy market anymore, even if it was some decades ago, because it's dominated by people who are simply too ruthless and too greedy to care that their efforts to secure a larger slice of the pie are going to destroy the pie as a whole. The health of the market cannot be secured by people operating within its constraints, and it is not. Levels of people who can't afford health insurance, can't find jobs that permit them to raise a family under decent living conditions, can't realistically expect to retire on any income other than the state-run pension funds that for all they know won't even be there in twenty or forty years, all are rising.

And so much of this comes back to policy platforms which enshrine, for all practical purposes, greed. It's not sustainable, and more people are going to become discontented with it. It's unfortunate that it's going to have to get worse to make this happen. But that's what you get in this political environment, after this much time building up the notion that because capitalism has won the Cold War and we've reached the end of history, it's now safe to take the governor off the engine because we can get even more success by doing exactly what we used to do, only harder.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-19 12:33am
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The problem is that the sheer volume of institutionalized greed and the veneration of greed-heads is choking us alive.


The problem is that America has become a corporatist state and is not a proper capitalist democracy anymore. The government is at the beck and call of special interest groups, and games the system for their benefit and at the expense of their competitors. A proper market system does not dole out handouts to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to a select group of people, nor does it allow the lobbyists of said people design the regulations which are supposed to provide a framework for arbitration.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-19 02:00am
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I would argue that what you say is fully compatible with what I'm saying.

A healthy market requires that the participants accept, or be forced to accept, certain limits on their behavior- that they not be allowed to game the system via lobbying, that government handouts will be applied cautiously and with the public interest in mind, and that corporations do not have an intrinsic right to exist at the nation's expense.

There have to be limits to the degree to which society will tolerate greed, exploitation, and skimming of the public and private purses for the sake of the enrichment of a few. To me, this is fundamental, and is about the vice of greed- the desire for massive accumulation of wealth, no matter who it hurts. You can take that greed and harness it for good, but if I make the mistake of thinking the greed is good in itself, and that whatever is done for greed will be good for the public, then I fall predictably into corporatism.

A healthy market is in the public interest, but greed is not. I would argue that at some basic level, corporatism stems from the idea that greed is respectable, and can override other people's well-being without anything actually being wrong. I find that I can no longer really call it anything less than this, when we see it so obvious that there are people who want more tax cuts for millionaires even as the poor suffer, and who merrily consider major financial companies "too big to [be allowed to] fail" without accepting that cities and towns and demographic groups can be "too big to [be allowed to] fail."

Call it what you will, but it cannot really be explained except in terms of granting licenses to harm the public for the sake of greed, just as feudal aristocrats were granted licenses to harm the public by raiding and fighting one another. In both cases it's justified by saying that if these people don't indulge their vice (greed, violence), they will be unfit to perform some necessary role (organizing economic resources, fighting off foreign invaders).

And in both cases there has to be a limit- a healthy warrior-aristocracy cannot rape its people indefinitely, nor can a healthy capitalist market.



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 Post subject: Re: The Occupation of Wall Street Fails PostPosted: 2011-09-19 02:24am
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Location: Ulthwé Craftworld, plotting the downfall of the Imperium.
While I hear what you're saying, the problem I have with that way of formulating the problem is that "greed" is such an ephemerally defined concept and often bandied about knee-jerk style as a blanket pejorative against self-interest. There's nothing inherently wrong with the desire for greater wealth, indeed it is this which drives the market system. Neither is there anything wrong with the concept that "people acting in their self-interest with mutual consent is not inherently destructive to society"; after all, a consumer who chooses a product does so in the interest of himself and his family and little else, a worker works with the expectation of payment and not for the joy of working, and the capitalist runs the company with the expectation of profit. You can't really separate "greed" from the desire for personal success, unless you provide an adequate definition of the term, and in such a way that distinguishes personal self-interest from it. IMHO, it's better to drop the buzz-phrase and focus instead at the extent to which favoritism is made possible by the government (a problem faced by all economic systems), and the general tolerance of such.



CotK <mew> | HAB | JL | MM | TTC | Cybertron

TAX THE CHURCHES! - Lord Zentei TTC Supreme Grand Prophet

And the LORD said, Let there be Bosons! Yea and let there be Bosoms too!
I'd rather be the great great grandson of a demon ninja than some jackass who grew potatos. -- Covenant
Dead cows don't fart. -- CJvR
...and I like strudel! :mrgreen: -- Asuka

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