I Was Wrong About Occupy Wall St.

Well played…

It’s September 17th, 2012. One year ago, the Occupy movement began its first action in Zuccotti Park. My initial response to the movement was that of skepticism. Having come of age during the anti-war protests of the early 2000’s, I felt certain the movement would devolve into nothing more than a couple of drum circles and masturbatorial street art exercises limited to the Berkeleys and Cambridges of the world. I used to say that while I agreed with the grievances expressed by the movement, I thought the tactics ineffective and doubted there would be any major policy changes as a result of such an unfocused mess.

I believed that the major social changes would not come until the next collapse, and assumed that our civilization was too complacent to sustain any real direct action.

One year later, I look back and find myself guilty of cynicism. In the past year, this social movement has stopped foreclosures, helped to provide legal assistance to the working class and brought the idea of democratic empowerment and participation back into our consciousness.

It’s so easy to write off the drum circles and dread-locked white chicks. The street artists and homeless. The young. We always look upon the young with suspicion. But what happens when the young are joined by the old? The poor with the middle class? We often forget that the pillars of the middle class were fought for and spearheaded by the undesirables of the previous generations. Anarchists, European immigrants, coal miners, etc.

These movements started small and disorganized. Poor Italian immigrants of the early 20th century formed much of the American radical left. They weren’t political when they got here, but they got organized. They experimented, they starved, they disobeyed, they educated.

Minimum wage, the 40 hour work week, child labor laws. All championed by the fringe, the unwashed, the same people who were accused of being lazy and entitled.

What I see today is the beginning of a new shift towards a redefining of democracy. As more and more Americans realize the slow and gradual coup d’etat that’s been occurring over the past decades, the current power structure will eventually fail. It won’t happen soon. But it will happen sooner than we think.

The more times the social contract of the working/middle class Americans is broken, the less we are inclined to obey.

The radicals, the poor, the “weirdos” are energized in a way we have not seen in decades. The next step is for the middle class and those who consider themselves part of the American mainstream to realize the only way they can have a stake in their future is to participate.

This is not a political movement. It is a social movement. We aren’t running Occupy candidates for Congress. Like the American middle, we no longer recognize their legitimacy. We want money out of politics and greater accountability from our government. The only way to achieve that goal is through engagement, direct action and disobedience.

It’s unlikely that we’ll have another Kent State. I still believe the social capital of American society is strong enough to avoid any major conflicts. So my question is: What are we so afraid of? People have fought against worse and won!

Occupy won’t go anywhere. I’m cautiously optimistic about the future, though I anticipate there will be failures. There will be bad press. There will be moments when we lose focus and perhaps even fight amongst ourselves. But we must remain focused and, most importantly, continue to listen to each other. Solidarity must exist for the working poor, the middle class and the wealthy who stand with our message.

Middle America, we want to get to know you better. Since the shrinking of the middle class, we’ve seen our numbers increase. But to those of you who are still doing okay: What are you waiting for? Don’t wait for the next crisis or collapse. The government will not bail you out. The 1% will not invest in your communities. And they will not create jobs, they will create a new serfdom.

Only we can create our own future. Not the government, not the financial institutions, only our own will and drive towards self-sufficiency.

We are the 99%.

Read Part II Here!

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100 responses to “I Was Wrong About Occupy Wall St.

  • nonviolentconflict

    Reblogged this on NonviolentConflict.

  • rami ungar the writer

    I like the idea that we’re in a period of social change and there’s plenty to corroborate it. I just hope that someday, power won’t be decided by money like it is now and instead governments will truly be elected by the people.

    • Vincent Borgese

      As long as we allow those in Washington to write their own rules (for themselves), I’m afraid nothing will change. WE are their employer, and they work for us — seems they’ve forgotten that.

    • The Butcher

      Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street—the movement that was to be the Left’s answer to the Tea Party, the one that had the chattering classes abuzz with excitement that History had reached an inflection point.

      Instead, the slow process of attrition has all but killed off the movement. As MercuryNews reports, fewer than 500 people showed up for an anniversary demonstration in San Francisco, and very small numbers turned up in New York as well, considerably fewer than the thousands who were turning out at events late last year.

      OWS, like John Cleese’s parrot, is still dead. If you can’t get more than “hundreds” of demonstrators to turn out in San Francisco, it’s past time to call the hearse.

      • rami ungar the writer

        but you can feel the effects of Occupy Wall Street, right? I mean come on, half the ads are about middle vs. upper class and how each candidate will treat them.

      • The Butcher

        Re: “but you can feel the effects of Occupy Wall Street, right? I mean come on, half the ads are about middle vs. upper class and how each candidate will treat them.”

        Yes. Mostly negative, counterproductive, wasteful effects. Pointless at best, at worst, mutually destructive. Divisive class-warfare rhetoric is like going into battle facing the wrong way. Not knowing the difference between an enemy and a fellow citizen. Demonizing the opponent rather than honest engagement.

        You accidentally revealed it “middle class VS. upper class”? The false “this group” vs. “that group” mentality is amateurish, dishonest, and ultimately, poisonous.

      • rami ungar the writer

        i’ll concede that you have a point there.

      • posimosh

        OWS=Tea Party (without the AstroTurf funding and PR people). Both are captivating those who are disillusioned with the disconnect between rulers and those they purport to represent. Where they differ is in motivation, and inspiration. One is dedicated to improving the commons and ensuring everyone has a voice, so much so, they have been dubbed “scattered”. The implicit openness makes them disorganized by definition and pathologically unpredictable. However, this also ensures that the movement is more inclusive, democratic (thats small “d”) and, populist.
        The other is a cynical attempt to sway public opinion by playing off of peoples’ fears bias’ and anxiety. It is autocratic, monarchical, and is deliberately unfocused focused. They advocate for the short term through division and fear. Possibly the most subversive thing about this group is that it misleads its followers in to advocating against their own self interest and is diametrically opposed to thoroughness and complexity.
        To equate the two is to overly simplify the two groups at best naive or an oversimplification, or, at worst, dishonest.

  • Mei

    I too was guilty of being cynical toward the occupy movement a year ago…mostly because I was confused about what the point of the whole thing was. I’m glad that some things have changed. Wonderful post.

  • free penny press

    Great post and certainly worthy of being Freshly Pressed..!

  • prairiemuffins

    A-freaking-men. Thanks, from Occupy Portland. Congrats on the Fresh Press!

  • Vincent Borgese

    Kenny, you used the term “drive towards self-sufficiency,” yet one of the OW protesters was championing a sign that read,”Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.” Sounds to me more like a dependency on government than self-sufficiency. I’m cynical of any grassroots movement that gets hijacked by big ANYTHING, whether it be big business, big government, or in this case, big unions. The OW movement must be careful it is not used as a tool to achieve other goals — away from their original message — like we see happening in the Arab Spring movements throughout the Middle East.

    • chris

      hi Vincent,

      your post has me wondering what unions took part in the OW phenomena, to what degee, and how early on was their support noticed?

      do you know off-hand?

      thanks-Chris

      • Vincent Borgese

        As reported in an October 5, 2011 article in the NY Times, the following: Legal Aid Society, United Auto Workers, Retail Wholesale Department Store, A.F.L.-C.I.O., Transport Workers Union, Service Employees International, and United Federation of Teachers. According to the Times, the more conservative unions like construction opted out. Many OW protesters felt their cause was being hijacked by organized labor, who was in bed with many of the politicians they were rallying against.

  • ladydeedge

    I am definitely one who never really understood the point of what the movement was about. People left trash everywhere, their refuse and waste…it was hard to respect it from an outsider’s point of view. So, how do you link these things with this movement? What were your sources and how did you find them? Sometimes when I want to get to the root of something to understand it…I have a hard time finding things that give a true account without an agenda of some sort. Asking honestly here…

    • posimosh

      Where did this happen? This was not my experience at all. Sure, I read about such things, but I never saw anything that you mentioned. Perhaps you could point to an actual source….
      The thing that is beautiful about ows is the same thing that puzzles people who tend to opt for top down, authoritarian government and leadership (many will find examples in their close group of friends or coworkers.) this is not to say it is a zero sum game but I found that some people just couldn’t or didn’t want to get “it” when they visited an ows encampment. They were standing around waiting for someone to explicitly or implicitly tell them what to do while the GA is going on and people are announcing motions (coincidentally I noticed these sheeple… Errr… People would tend to vote abstain from voting in the affirmative on just about motion put forward). I digress however, in order to answer more of your questions.
      If you are looking for sources, your local chapter of ows almost certainly has posted the minutes to their assemblies, the findings of their working groups, and any progress on projects affirmed by the group. The point of ows is populism, on a micro level. The almost exclusively national news media, which is all that is left in this country anymore, did not know what to do with a hyper-local group that was so malliable and democratic (in the small d sense of the word). Outside of right wing rags, and community news letters written by hippies for free, the media is set up to do macro stories provided by competing press relations departments (or a the occasional freak show train wreck that makes national headlines. ironically much of the national reporting is based on local part time or volunteer journos) Where the confusion arose about the motives of ows is obvious, it was too complicated, too fast moving, and too local for their purpose to be boiled down to a sound byte. So, if you want to know what ows is about, get in touch with the closest chapter. Most major cities have chapters and are anxious to tell people about local issues and what their group is doing to help.
      I just have to conclude with asking where you heard about the garbage and “refuse” left by ows campers? Anyone who has ever been friends with a hippie knows that they compost obsessively. To them, the stuff you are describing is great plant food and would not go to waste.

      • ladydeedge

        Here is a link to what I am describing. 30 TONS of trash in LA alone… onehttp://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/occupy-la-30-tons-of-debris-left-behind-at-city-hall-tent-city.html

        Regarding recycling, etc..I have no issue with composting; my family does that and I have a brother in law with an organic farm. However, on the city streets, leaving behind feces, etc…it just doesn’t inspire respect from me. I’m far less likely to hear what anyone has to say, that trashes the area they are staying in while protesting. It seems defeatest to me. That’s all. Pick up after yourselves, behave more maturely than the average college student camping out in tent cities for entrance into a coveted sports bar, and I can take more seriously what you might be trying to say. I work hard, speak articulately, and treat others around me with the same respect I would expect; and I also treat the environment, wherever that may be (whether camping or sitting on a city street) with respect by leaving it as I found it. Why wouldn’t they?

      • posimosh

        Are you aware of the reasons that this and many other ows encampments “left” (in your words) “trash” (not what I would call what they couldn’t take with them.)? The places in which stories have been published like this, with misleading headlines and following reports that range from quite good (like the la times one you pointed to) to completely fanciful press releases from local pd repurposed as news stories.) I’m curious if you read the report you pointed to or others around that time in the la times?
        The story goes something like this, ows replicates the NYC encampment in your local city or town. Like minded folks join and/or bring supplies to donate or use as a collective to serve and enrich the encampment. Police start directing people to ows encampment who are either homeless or just getting out of jail, or getting released from lagh’s mental health unit after an involuntary admission usually for a 51/50, or some combination of all three. Ows grows and grows, however, many of the people who arrived later on in the process came in as transient. The us populous gets bored with riot porn and hippie punching by police (or stop finding it objectionable anyway). Football season starts (and mayors from major cities in the us have a conference call about subverting ows), people wonder, aren’t the packers playing the giants tonight? Police give ows only hours to “disperse” (even though many of them have nowhere to disperse to). More riot porn, followed by a refashioned episode of junkyard wars. Then the local pd arrests the people that won’t or couldn’t have left, and then issues all of their worldly belongings “refuse” and “trash” (though I believe the people whose stuff it was would likely disagree). Don’t believe me? Go ask your local homeless person what happened to their stuff last time they were arrested for being on the wrong public sidewalk/having brain damage/being at all… They will tell u, the cops laugh as they throw all of their belongings in the closest dumpster (even though they are supposed to retain anything that is in the arrestee’s possession. If you are comfortable calling characterizing what went down with ows, the way the headline you pointed to (though strangely not the story) does, that’s fine… But I would submit to you that any rational examination of the facts would describe people’s belongings in terms of property damage not “waste and refuse”.

  • Kathleen Hoffman, PhD

    Great post…I like your third paragraph which gives positive examples of this social movement’s impact…thanks

  • ashanam

    There is certainly a place for direct action and disobedience for creating change, but I think we sometimes forget that other kinds of change come from communication and consensus building. Those who create policies and laws were voted in by someone. If we want change, we need to change the minds of other voters

    What Occupy mainly accomplished in Los Angeles was the closure of a farmer’s market for several months and decreased safety and recreational use of a nearby public park (which continues to be a problem), so I think it may be a matter of perspective and location. I am not a fan. I am very attached to my neighborhood, and I dislike it when people from other areas come in and trash it, which Occupy did.

    However, I appreciate the good intentions, and I expect Occupy may have been more effective and positive elsewhere.

  • SimplySage

    “We want money out of politics and greater accountability from our government. The only way to achieve that goal is through engagement, direct action and disobedience.”
    This was a good line but I think you need to put the word “civil” before the word “disobedience”. The movement quickly became uncivil, violent, and destructive. And there is never a place for that in America. Tax-payer dollars are paying for all the damage they did. And the crime became horrific.
    Our government is so guilty. I am the middle-class and so you asked to hear from one of us. So here goes.
    I’ve been working hard for so many years and I have no idea when our government voted in so many perks for themselves. It’s unconscienable! I was disengaged because I was so busy, and still am, working my fingers and brain to the bone.
    However, I am very engaged and in touch since the collapse of the housing bubble created by the Clinton administration, coasted by the Bush administration, and now choking on Obama’s government dollars (i.e. mine) in astronomical amounts, stuffing them down a drain of no return. The bubble was the form of legislation (Clinton’s watch) that “required”, which is a nicer way of saying “forced”, banks to make risky loans to finance homes, which is what started the collapse of our economy to begin with. I do remember the difficult hoops I had to go through to get my first home loan. I remember being shocked at all the signs I began to see that said “Home Financing, no money down”. Little did I know it was because of our government. Little did I know that it would result in nearly half my hard earned retirement savings gone. I’m still working but that hurt!
    I don’t have a lot of sympathy for homeowners who purchased what they could not afford to begin with. Besides, there is nothing wrong with renting.
    Now all that said, from me, a middle-classer—I always said the Occupiers needed to relocate to Washingtion DC. Staying civil would have helped them tremendously, too. (I read yesterday they still had $80,000 in their bank account—I’m starting to smell a rat here.) Had they stayed civil and occupied Washington DC, maybe then I would have joined them, at least for one week, not protesting Wall Street but protesting my bloated government, who has exempted themselves from Obamacare, by the way. Sorry, but my job does not afford me extended time off for protesting. And I’m not willing to let go of my other week, which I really need for a vacation.
    I do like the rest of your post, especially since I am the descendants of immigrants like the ones you say. But I would be very hesitant to say I support the Occupiers or that they were an impetus of positive change. Again, had they stayed civil, they might leave a better tasted in my mouth.
    The collapse of the economy was what got my attention.
    Sincerely,
    A middle-classer who will probably never be able to retire, planning already to work in a Hover-Round till the day I die. 🙂
    Alexandria Sage

    • A in Cali

      Alexandria Sage, I am sorry to tell you that you have been badly misinformed about the origins of the crisis. E.g. there was no new legislation to force banks to make risky loans under Clinton (this might refer to the ‘Community Reinvestment Act of the 1970ies), the companies that made risky loans were not the ones covered by it. Companies like Countrywide made risky loans, as they thought they could fast unload them on unsuspecting investors, aided by ratings agencies declaring them all ‘AAA’ grade. (Mortgages by local banks covered by the CRA normally performed – better -).
      Try reading the blogs by Profs. Krugman http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ or Brad DeLong
      http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/. Or the ‘Occupy Handbook’.
      The ‘bloated government is also a Republican talking point, as is the ‘exempted themselves from Obamacare.’

      • The Butcher

        Citing Paul Krugman as a credible source for anything is highly questionable, to say the least…

      • SimplySage

        A in Cali,
        I am in no way taking sides. Both parties are so, so guilty. Wouldn’t it be great if they just ‘fessed up to us, the American people? First by saying, “We screwed up things so bad and we’re all going to have start over. The buck stops with us and we need to change immediately. We will start with a 10% cut to the entire government first, looking over departments that are no longer needed and have run their course. And start term limits. And vote out the life-long pensions we voted in for ourselves.”
        And if our President and his wife would set an example by scaling down their lifestyle that would make huge strides for the American people. Heavens, I know they need a vacation but give me a break! Their lifestyle is absolutely outrageous and excessively lavish. Even now, we are footing the huge bills for his campaign, including their little stops on celebrity shows. Think of what kind of personnel and security is needed for each touch down with Air Force One. Think of the fuel cost alone! I believe when he came to Charlotte he touched down for the speech and was immediately out of there. What a waste!
        My uncle, a decorated World War II veteran, retired from the Federal Government, says he was talking to a guy in the military who served in Afghanistan and he said it is a mess over there. Total chaos. No leadership. Utter and total chaos. My uncle knows military and knows how to win a war. He was shocked to hear of the void of leadership. Once again, it starts at the top. Why? When our military knows sequestration will begin, how can they have any passion for war? Why sequestration? Because the President let a deadline pass. Just didn’t deal with it.
        I’m sorry but I can’t excuse any of them. I would have so much more sympathy if they would just be honest with us. But four years of the blame game is ENOUGH. Even for our President, who has dug in his heels and not even tried to bring both sides together. He cannot point fingers when the first two years he had everything and passed another bloated government program called Obamacare in the near middle of the night with barely enough votes, which once again is being footed on the backs of people like me, the middle-class. For instance, my health insurance premiums increased immediately $100/month. Then last year they went up $200/month! That’s $300/month since Obamacare. And where’s the coverage for my young adult children? Not there. Not affordable. So they will be taxed because they don’t have it.
        I’ve just had it with this current administration. They should all go home with their tails between their legs. All of them. How did they each get so wealthy? Insider trading, which is illegal for us citizens, but legal for them! Heck, Martha Stewart went to jail over it. They consider themselves above the law.
        I have a history of relatives who retired from the Federal Government. Back in the 50’s-70’s they were known as Civil Service and it was a bare bones job. Plain, sparse offices, NEVER a luxury conference, dull fluorescent lighting, low pay, etc. My sister, A federal employee, had to go through training in another city and stayed in a hotel with bugs. Now they have an average salary around $75,000 annually and benefits and retirement to no end.
        As to Krugman, sorry but his reputation is not solid enough for me to stand on. I’ve seen lapses in his research.
        I just know what the facts are in my home and family life, which I’ve run with thrift and hard work. Soon I will fall out of the middle-class and I think that is shameful.
        So Republicans and Democrats and the President all need to come clean. They owe it to people like me.
        President Obama indeed has a silver-tipped tongue, but that’s about it. His words can cause a tingle in the leg, but they stop at a dead-end, called the toes. He needs to make his words do some walking—like a mile in my shoes.

    • Ms P

      Well said, although I don’t think I qualify as “middle class” anymore, you hit my sentiments exactly.

      I’d add additionally that a serious crackdown on welfare abuse needs to take place. We have become a society that demands something for nothing and that has gotten even worse since Obama took office.

      People need to get back to production. Instead of paying welfare and extending unemployment, how about re-instituting the Works Progress Administration, where so much of our current infrastructure was created? Imagine the pride a person has when they tell their children and grandchildren, “I built that bridge.” or I worked on crating this park.”

      Hard work, personal economy and a close knit family unit were also part of the culture of the immigrants who helped create our current society.

      I do agree that the political corruption in our government needs to stop. But that would be in addition to welfare reform.

      • SimplySage

        I agree with you on the welfare. Shameful. In my line of work, I see abuse after abuse. Honestly, outside the elderly, the physically handicapped, the mentally handicapped it’s really not necessary. It should be for those who truly cannot help themselves and it doesn’t take much common sense to figure out who those people are.
        As to the infrastructure, I don’t mind paying taxes towards it but I think the bids need to be given to the private sector. The private sector can do it so much cheaper. But there needs to be accountability by our government. Our kids would take pride in it just as much. There is just such poor accountability in government, which is why I’m so opposed to Obamacare. If government can’t keep their own fiscal house in order, how are they going to keep our healthcare costs down?
        As to the family, it is the bedrock of every civilization. Wouldn’t it be great if our government actually incentivized couples staying marriedr? But various things have contributed to this. Welfare and no fault divorce for starters. Welfare is available like crazy for single moms but my young adult children who are trying to get through college and are married are not eligible unless, guess what, they have a baby. So the government actually incentivizes the unmarried. I could go on and on but I’ll stop for now. I’ve taken up enough of this post!
        See my reply to A in Cali above for more.

      • 1stpeaksteve

        I think a work program would be great for so many reasons. I too work in an area that exposes me to the working or unemployed and poor. Sure there are some who do abuse the system. However, I see real problems to why many are unemployed. Our work systems are becoming highly computerized and some do not have skills to even apply online for a job. A huge shift is due to elderly citizens who feel uncomfortable scanning and operating high tech devices. I am helping more and more elderly people apply for assistance.

        Another issue is that HR reps are looking unfavorably upon people who are the long-term unemployed. A work program would fill in the gaps and possibly provide skills. We are paying people so why not make them workers of the state and they can be placed in a position that helps them most and/or attend workshops in the case that they can not operate a computer.

        program would put somet

  • The Butcher

    I look forward to when it sinks in, maybe a year from now, and you post an update to the “I was wrong about Occupy Wall Street”. When the light bulb lights up, and you actually do change your mind, then write about it, I’d enjoy witnessing that transformation. The realization that Occupy Wall Street was an insignificant footnote, mostly notable for its lack of focus, violence, rape, crime, property damage, disorder, and awkward, unintended comedy. It seemed suspiciously easy to tilt your loyalty back in the direction it was originally meant to go. Toward openly, whole-heartedly embracing OWS. Instead of privately favoring it, but feigning minor reservations, in order to be taken seriously. Cynicism is a harmless thing to be guilty of, especially when it’s paper thin. Not a true enough believer at first, but then accepting. Congratulations on your journey. Acceptance is good!

  • Call me Al

    foreclosures still going on, just not in the press anymore for Obama’s 2nd term.

  • kennystevenfuentes

    Friends, I was not expecting the sheer amount of response. I will try to follow up in the next few days with some responses. I appreciate the feedback a great deal!

  • Audrey

    I struggle with skepticism too, and that makes it really really hard to get involved. I read about OWS a few times and there are so many different aspects of the movement. Thanks for a thoughtful, easy to understand (I’m halfway around the world so some political nuances go right over my head) blog post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

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  • There for a reason's Rachel

    This was really an insightful post. I’m glad I read it. Considering how much the Occupy movement in New Zealand really peeved me.

  • joshweberreviews

    If the Occupy Wall Street group leaders/general population knew what the difference between an investment bank and a commercial bank was, or if they mentioned the repeal of Glass Steagall Act in their protests, they would have more credibility and I would probably support them. Otherwise, they are self proclaimed activists that don’t really know why the f*** they’re protesting and sound like uninformed pissed off children. I don’t think you were wrong about the movement. If they want to be taken seriously, then the dreadlock white girls need to brush up on their fiscal policy and how and why their government failed them. I’m all for social movements, and I agree with their cause and a lot of what you said in your post, but I am NOT all for making an uninformed fuss! Great analysis though!

  • zachbissett

    The reputation comes as a result of everything us young people are “interested” in; there are a few people with sincere interest, and many more people who are attracted to sincerity, popularity, and sitting around all day. The sentiment behind Occupy is clearly a powerful one, but it takes only watching a dozen interviews to see the majority of Occupy aren’t even sure what they are protesting.

    Great read.

  • Shane Lynch

    I want to be more active as a social citizen. It would be cool to rally with Occupy. I am in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Any suggestions as to how I can get involved?

    • The Butcher

      Bang some drums, read some recycled Marxist pamphlet literature, break some windows, sexually assault some women, demand free food from vendors, pee in public, and whine about ‘social justice’?

      • joshweberreviews

        Know the difference between supply side economics and Keynesian economics and you’ll be ahead of the curve

      • The Butcher

        “…the very solutions that Keynes had hustled were being painfully thwacked as precisely the root of our troubles. Suddenly the old classical medicine-savings, investment, balanced budgets, competition, and productivity growth-were popularly claimed to be the economic-policy goal of good government. Even the politicians, so bubbly to receive Keynes’s prescription for government spending as the magical elixir with which to treat an ailing economy, had publicly abandoned Keynesianism.”

        http://reason.com/archives/1992/07/01/the-road-from-serfdom

      • Shane Lynch

        That did not really answer my question or help me out. What would you suggest as a better idea?

    • Maggie O'C

      Don’t you think there is more to getting involved than carrying a sign with a bunch of anarchists? Go volunteer at a soup kitchen, help kids learn to read, take food to shut ins, help at a food pantry. There are plenty of ways to be active as “social citizen” while actually helping someone in the process.

      • Shane Lynch

        I do believe there are many options when it comes to getting involved. Thank you for the suggestions… and attempting to answer the question.

      • Maggie O'C

        There are many options. Some are not as entertaining as others but may benefit the greater good.

      • joshweberreviews

        The greater good you say? I believe that is an ideology long lost in our generation. I volunteered at a veterans shelter in Manhattan about a year ago, one block over there were two Tea Party enthusiasts handing out leaflets on fiscal responsibility. I’m, sure you’re familiar with their philosophy on fiscal responsibility. They might as well have been out right protesting in front of the shelter. We have no more greater fools, and no more calls to action. All you can do is be socially responsible in a way that makes you feel like you made a difference. That’s my advice to you Shane, pick a cause you’re passionate about, then find ways to contribute, and know that you will probably never get any recognition. This a task only for the purely intrinsically motivated. Good luck man! I hope you do make a difference somewhere!

      • Maggie O'C

        in reply to Joshweberreviews, I hope he does, too. I don’t think standing around protesting for or against anything is time well-spent. Go to a shelter, go to a school, go to a juvenile detention facility, give of yourself…don’t look at it as a social occasion.

    • kennystevenfuentes

      Shane, I haven’t really had a chance to read all the comments, but I find that the best things we can do to join the movement are threefold. Do as many or as few as you feel ready for:

      1) Educate yourself and read as much outside of the corporate owned media as you can. There’s also educational organizations aimed at empowering American citizens to take control of their government through democratic engagement. Chris Hedges and Joseph Stiglitz have written some of the best analysis on the crisis, from a journalistic and economic point of view respectively. Also, http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/ is a great short film about how we got up to this point.

      2) Get involved with local anti-foreclosure movements if there are any. That’s the most effective tactic currently being employed by the occupy movement in my opinion.

      3) Talk to people who are listening and listen to people who want to engage. It’s going to have to be a big tent movement, and the important thing is to find the common ground and take action based on that.

  • lovedesigngreen

    I am with you on his one! I was in NYC when protestors were being arrested for doing nothing wrong, – Dr. Seuss says it well.. This is a quote, intended for kids from the Lorax “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not.” Loved the post! Stina

  • Lloyd Lofthouse

    Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse and commented:
    It is through movements such as the Occupy Movement that the American people, that Silent Majority President Reagan used as an excuse for his destructive economic policies that started the US down the path that led to the 2007-08 global financial crises, that the average American has a voice.

    Now, with the Internet, that voice is louder. This Reblogged post speaks to that power.

    The American people never really ruled the United States through the vote or more Americans would vote. For most elections, about only a third to half of eligible voters cast ballots. Most Americans feel left out and avoid voting. But through movements such as Occupy and the recent teachers strike in Chicago, working American may be heard.

    For example, in Chicago, if the teachers were not organized through a labor union, how would the nation have heard their voice?

    In fact, labor unions are more democratic than the American government is. In labor unions, the president of the union is elected by the membership and a labor contract is voted up or down by the membership. However, in Washington D.C. the president of the US is elected by the 500+ members of the Electoral College, not by the American people and the US budget is decided behind closed doors by elected officials in both houses of Congress, not the American people, who have no voice when it comes to how the US government spends the taxpayers money. Instead, the top 1% and corporations have more influence on members of Congress and all US presidents.

    • stefanbc

      Nice to see someone people defending Labor Unions for a change. I never understood people talking about “greedy union bosses” when the entire structure of a union allows for those people to be summarily removed if necessary (unlike say, your boss).

      • The Butcher

        Not hard to understand. Chicago’s greed fiasco is a good example. Chicago’s teachers were among the nation’s most highly paid before the strike and would have received raises in any case. Hard to know exactly how “they” were attempting to “take everything away.” But the union movement feeds on a constant sense of grievance which might serve as a substitute for professional pride. Chicago’s teachers do an abysmal job of educating their students and struck, in part, so as not to be held accountable for their failures.

      • stefanbc

        Uh-huh. The whole “80% of the kids live in households under the poverty line” has nothing to do with their trouble in school. MUST BE TEACHERS TRYING THE BEST THAT THEY CAN. MUST FORCE THEM TO WORK MORE FOR LESS.

        Awesome analysis bro.

  • Catherine

    Awesome post, you definitely put it into perspective! And congrats on being freshly pressed!

  • earwaxdissertation

    Well all I can say is that the banks are happy happy campers today with the two great candidates they have up in November. Its a win win for them. They have the audacity to stand around and say no matter what they do, Washington wont touch them. They are right. We are slaves to it all. At this point in time who doesnt owe a bank something? We are a nation conditioned to owe money, a lot of money. When I saw my 76yr old broke, house almost repossessed father pay his IRS bill with his Visa…I now know what this country has become. Insanity.
    This nation spends all its money on destroying third world nations…literally, something is being blown up with YOUR MONEY (and a LOT of it) at this very second in atleast a couple parts of the world…and other places they wont tell you about. I know cus my spouse does it, unfortunately.
    We basically also hand over control to these supposed employees of ours to strip our rights away making the Bill of Rights toilet paper. Occupy Wall Streeters and all Americans SHOULD BE MAD.
    We can’t go around the world preaching Freedom when we ourselves are boxing and literally handcuffing ourselves in.
    Its not about being Republican or Democrat. I support a voice in the street when it comes from the people not paid politicians!

  • segmation

    Nice post! I think we are all should be 100%. Thanks for sharing.

  • The Political Idealist

    Absolutely correct. The distorted balance of power can and will be corrected, and sooner than we realise. But only if enough of the 99% are prepared to get active. I hope to here more.

  • Kiya Krier - Runs With Blisters

    Hopefully change is coming sooner than we think. Hopefully it is the change you post about, not a move backwards…

  • ecotalker

    Rightly said; it’s not a political movement, it’s a social movement. But it’s impossible to segregate the two when such a sensitive issue is involved. In this case, the social, political and economic aspects are so deeply intertwined, that one section getting hurt is just inevitable, especially when there’s so much money at stake.

  • Y.

    Pretty optimistic of you to put out the good consequences of Occupy — nice, that’s a change… Maybe, not unlike 100K Homes Campaign and stuff like that, the purpose was not to actually make the system collapse, but to change minds.
    Here’s an interactive documentary about OWS where you can relive the whole movement, make choices and all: http://occupy-occupy.com/

  • Kim

    I confess, I’m still in the skeptical category about the Occupy movement. It’s interesting that you point out what the movement has direclty or indirectly accomplished. I didn’t know any of that. All I see of the occupy movement is shots of people in tents and interviews with people who can’t seem to string one coherent thought together. It made them look like an unorganized mess. If they really are doing good things out there, how can we make it more public? And what exactly IS their “goal”? That has never been clear to me either.

  • Miriam Joy

    Brilliant post. I love the phrases – “We always look upon the young with suspicion. But what happens when the young are joined by the old?” – because it’s so true. If it’s young people, people are automatically suspicious, but why? The young are the ones who dare to think the world can be changed: everyone else is too tired and jaded!

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed – definitely well-deserved 🙂

  • Heather M.

    Awesome post and I totally agree!! Very well said.

  • Recipe Wednesday: Granola « The Wretched of the Snark

    […] f-ing Kenny went ahead and became world famous by attracting the friendly Occupy crowd over to ye olde blog. Since the hacky sack crowd […]

  • siltsaltsand

    I think my views changed in a similar way. Initially I was a little embarrassed for them, then I was excited by the real achievements they seemed to be racking up, and now I’ve come around to the position of a fellow traveler. If there are specific issues on which I support the Occupy movement or its affiliates, I’ll support them. If not, well, then at least I had an opportunity to make my voice heard.

  • gilbertthegeek

    I appreciate your effort to try and understand protests “Having come of age during the anti-war protests of the early 2000’s” but if you want to talk protests and get a better understanding of what is trying to be accomplished you need to go back to the 60’s and early 70’s when I “came of age”. This is when protests really got going and evolved into what they are today. It took years of muddled ideologies to come to where we are today and as for the “Occupyers”, well, they haven’t accomplished all that you give credit. A lot has been brought about by clearer thinking on the political scene and the “growing process” of a generation betting back in touch with peoples needs and the realities of the day.

  • NicoLite Великий

    Last year, when OWS began, I was an intern at an NGO, and part of my job there was writing about it in conjunction with the global economic crisis and the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, my Internship didn’t take place in NYC, or even the US of A, or else I would have rushed down there to get first hand OWS experience. There was a support occupation in Frankfurt, but I was in Berlin, and I couldn’t just pop off for a day or two; but I was excitet from the beginning. I was convinced from day 3 that the movement had reached critical mass, and that it will be considered an historic event as significant as 9/11

  • armenia4ever

    I went down to Occupy Chicago for 2 days myself. The strength of Occupy is also its weakness; very diverse ideas being expressed by people there. There were libertarians like me, marxists, some anarchists, socio-fascists/progressives, ect.

    While we all agreed on a few main points such as the corporate/fake capitalism hurting us, the justice system being catered toward the rich, the wars, legalization of drugs, ect. there were alot of disagreements regarding the cause of the problem.

    Furthermore I’ve been rather disturbed by the dedication OWS seems to have to the cause of the CTU. Corporations are a problem, but so are unions who try to use legislation to trash their non-unionized competitors and get favorable legislation passed their way.

    Another thing that bugged me was the calls for rash rash action/legislation. It makes me think that a minority of the protesters there had really thought out their ideas and the logical consequences of them.

    I’m afraid the radical hijacking of the Tea Party movement by the neo-cons/conservatives will take place with OWS in which the progressives of the movement will just turn into another dem grassroots movement.

  • shameonthemoon

    Kenny, such an eloquent hypotheses of the O.W. effort. It brought light to what is really bothering America today. Here is what’s going to “Bake that Noodle”, it’s has manifested into a virus now and It is consuming America from the inside out, O.W. five hundred , five thousand or 5.
    I only hope the generation that inherits this is kind to us, for if not that bell will toll for thee.

  • colinsydney

    the biggest mistake people make when it comes to protests is that they should not be protesting against government, but instead they should be protesting against politics. there is a distinction between the two entities. here is an article that will explain the difference, Politics and Government http://wp.me/p2JYCO-k

  • the51percent

    F the socialist scum. What Americans forget is that a “union” is the derivative of socialist policy.

    Occupy is not organic. Itwas born of union many given to them by the taxpayer. Redistribution, while the private actually works and pays taxes… the tax money never sees the poor directly. Ever! It is given to 99% of the corrupt politicians to let them decide who is poor!

    The unions take the money and then they decide who is poor!

    Unions are the derivative of socialist policy, hence, Occupy.

    Socialism festers as a cancer waiting to destroy any country that invites a free market.

    Socialism is a cancer because it will never be defeated. It will always linger as a means and way for the frustrated malcontents in society to gain power and subjugate the masses.

    The final vision of socialism is to have the “workers” or populace fight each other… there’s your brotherhood of man. A cynical play only the devil himself could devise to pit man against man.

    Socialism is the greatest lie ever created.

    There will always be the person that will say “if we just tried it this way”… or “just tried it that way”… “a socialist utopia would have worked”.

    Socialism will never lift the poor to wealth like free market capitalism (thank you Milton Friedman).

    Socialists are “the locusts” from Biblical teachings that will eat our moral fiber, destroy our cities and kill the nuclear family.

    Socialism always ends in a tyrant or a 10% ruling class that pretends to care about the “working man”. There is the sin of it all.

    Only the Free Markets truly help the working man because he or she is left alone to prosper.

  • notesfromrumbleycottage

    I am sorry to say that I disagree with you. The people that were being protested never understood why and din’t think much about Occupy after the tents were cleared. I had friends who wondered why anyone would protest life in the United States when we have it so good in so many ways.

    Maybe Occupy was never going to be a new political party but some of its ideas should have stuck around.

    • the51percent

      @notesfromrumbleycottage

      “I am sorry to say that I disagree with you. The people that were being protested never understood why”. So the people, working for their children and families, didn’t understand the media… union and redistributed dollars that OWS recieved?

      ?

      Private sector tax dollars gave OWS the ability to take a park, rape and deal drugs while people wanted to work provide jobs.

      But let’s go a step deeper here… Socialism needs conflict in order to move forward the cause.

      Communism and Nazi Socialism must have class warfare to move “Forward”!

      America and Americans’ understand your hate and respect it.

      That is the beauty of it until you try to physically move me or any taxpaer by force!

      Good luck!

      • notesfromrumbleycottage

        So what is your real opinion because your answer to my comment does not make sense. What part of my comment referred to rape, drug dealing, nazism or socialism?

        While I believe that OWS had some interesting points, their undoing was not being organized. Furthermore, some of their representatives who made face or voice time with the media did their cause a disservice by being uninformed and belligerent when questioned further.

        Is that why you feel the need to attack me by saying “America and Americans’ understand your hate and respect it.” There was no need for that and it takes away from what ever you were trying to argue. Apparently, you simply enjoy attacking people for fun and that makes me feel sorry for you.

  • the51percent

    @ armenia4ever

    “Furthermore I’ve been rather disturbed by the dedication OWS seems to have to the cause of the CTU. Corporations are a problem, but so are unions who try to use legislation to trash their non-unionized competitors and get favorable legislation passed their way.”

    I will say, and please forgive me if you are not Christian, that the Armenian Christian will arise with our Jewish friends as the keepers of Nations.

    I mean that with all of my heart, my soul and that is because I look at my children everyday and understand the historical narrative you have lived through.

    Please understand, that I have studied to understand the historical narrative and not the hate… that you must feal for being left to suffer by the UN and The “world” media(60 Minutess, NPR, MSNBC and the liberal communist scum that state falacy).

    Americans know history, know religion and suffering. That is the United States of America… God Bless the Armenian people, Christian or any FAITH!

    I wish I understood your suffering, however, I soon will as God will show us all.

    Peace.

  • Dan G

    We are in a period of social change. People want a voice to be heard. I loved this article. Ask questions of your representatives.

    Dan
    http://www.NewVideos.com

  • Social Movements and the Future of Occupy « The Wretched of the Snark

    […] was not expecting the flood of responses to my previous post. Whenever I find myself in these situations, I always find the most engaging conversations I have […]

  • kennystevenfuentes

    If anyone is still reading, I followed up this post with a response to a few of the comments here:

    https://stefanbc.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/social-movements-and-the-future-of-occupy/

  • stevescribble

    I Loved this inspirational piece, it’s nice to see some people shaking the tree for once. Cheers.

  • Doug o

    it inspires that someone takes the time and thoughtfulness to look into it.But just remember.Not to long ago they went after bikers as well.if u have nothing to stand for.Then you will fall for anything…

  • Miasto namiotowe na wzór Occupy Wall Street | matrioszka kurica

    […] I Was Wrong About Occupy Wall St. « The Wretched of the Snark. Oceń ten wpis:Share this:TwitterFacebookWykopEmailWięcejPrintDiggStumbleUponRedditLinkedInTumblrPinterestDodaj do ulubionych:LubięBe the first to like this. By ślepowron • Zamieszczone w gubernia warszawska • Tagged Marsz Obudź się Polsko, occupy Wall Street, Tv Trwam. 0 […]

  • Occupy NOW | Lavender Blume

    […] who denied that this was significant or meaningful figured it was just a phase. Many people have changed their minds about this. Within months, Occupy’s language infiltrated popular discourse. The U.S. […]

  • Marxist Hypocrisy 101

    OWS achieved nothing other than mass violence, rape and vandalism in their pathetic attempt to install totalitarian socialist dictatorship via beerputsch temper tantrums.

    But you’re clearly a fucking moron.

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