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Mark Provost: Occupy Boston – Day One (and Other OccupyWallStreet Updates)

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Yves here. Police efforts to contain OccupyWallStreet have had the opposite effect to what the officialdom no doubt assumed would happen: that the demonstrators would either become discouraged or become violent, which would make it easy to discredit them. Instead, the macing of a group of women last weekend, followed by the arrest of over 700 people on Brooklyn Bridge on Saturdy, has given the movement legitimacy and media attention. It was the lead item on the BBC website over the weekend.

Press efforts to diminish the potential of this effort are now shifting. The initial MSM responses tended to the patronizing, emphasizing the fact that the group was small, camped out on the periphery of Wall Street, and harmless (harmless = weak, particularly when pitted against the might of the plutocrats).

Now that the ranks of participants are growing and prominent individuals like Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz have stopped by to show support, the new tactic is to attribute the increased interest to gawking rather than solidarity. For instance, the Financial Times headline is “Fed up and curious swell anti-Wall Street ranks.” So in one neat sentence, that suggests there is a hard (and by implication, not large) core of protestors, joined by malcontents and sensation seekers along for the ride.

But the experience of the protestors provides considerable evidence of broad based support: they’ve gotten more in pizza donations and socks than they need; many of the cops express sympathy; the overwhelming majority of passengers in cars that drove by them on Brooklyn Bridge waved at them or otherwise signaled approval.

And images are arresting. Just as televised footage from Vietnam made it impossible to sanitize the brutality of a ground war in Asia, so to are digital cameras and the ease of using social media and blogs to distribute images impeding the efforts of the officialdom to pretend that the protestors are not like the rest of us. Today’s photos include Marines who depict Wall Street as their new enemy:

…and stories on We Are the 99 Percent:

“We are the 99%” is brilliant, and Mark Provost highlights that theme in his post below. It puts the spotlight on the core issue: how economic and political control has moved into the hands of a tiny, irresponsible elite and its minions. It undermines the class-warfare-label-as-denigration strategy because social classes have roots, history, and at least once upon a time, some legitimacy. By contrast, the rise of an oligarchy of the top 1% (actually, more like the top 0.1%) is recent and its actions have been destructive to communities and established social arrangements.

Needless to say, following the Venezuelan saying, “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade,” one confirmation of OccupyWallStreet’s rising fortunes is that some soi-disnat progressive groups are trying to use it to burnish their brand (click to enlarge):

Maybe I am a bit jaded, but a lot of news organizations have also interviewed members and leaders of the OccupyWallStreet movement, and they don’t try to lay claim to them. For a mainstream left conference that was no doubt organized weeks if not months ago to put OccupyWallStreet forward as if it was their lead act is awfully disingenuous. I hope the organizers are smart enough to come out of this transparent effort at co-option as the users rather than the used.

By Mark Provost, economic journalist focused on US income and wealth inequality living in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can reach him at gregsplacenh (at) gmail.com

My interpretation of the previous two days as a participant and journalist in Occupy Boston does not reflect the views of other members of the “99 percent” movement, or Occupy Boston as a whole.

The $64 trillion dollar question, “When will Americans hit the streets like people in other countries?” has been answered. Over the last several days, occupations have spread from Wall St., and erupted in more than 50 cities across America. The “99 percent” are rising to voice their grievances against an economic and political system which has disenfranchised them for too long. We share painful stories and common concerns, and want profound changes to how this country is governed—and for whom it is governed.

I drove from New Hampshire Friday afternoon and arrived in Beantown to kickoff Occupy Boston. Dewey Square, the site of the occupation in the heart of the financial district, was easy to find thanks to police and media helicopters hovering overhead. But rush hour traffic and Boston’s circuitous one-way streets channeled me far from the site, to an expensive garage.

I asked a well-dressed young man exiting work for directions to the park. He didn’t know the location, and I didn’t tell him why I was going (fearing he may intentionally misdirect me). Unfortunately, my cover was blown when ‘Brian’ asked a coworker for the whereabouts. Brian pointed me in the direction of South Station and offered his opinion, “I work for an investment bank. I am a capitalist…but I don’t agree with American-style capitalism.” Without pause, he refined his thoughts, “I am a socialist.” I was running late, so I simply nodded. He repeated this heresy, and wished me luck.

Earlier Friday, a huge demonstration organized by ‘Right the City’ protested in front of Bank of America, demanding a moratorium on foreclosures and continued their march to Dewey Square. Most of protestors went home, but some stayed to help launch Occupy Boston. I met the acquaintance of three young men from Stoneham, one of whom just lost his job as an eyeglass technician. Luckily his friend, a marine biologist with $60,000 in student debt, just landed a job. “We switched places” they realized, and gave each other a high five. Gatherers mostly engaged in small groups without direction, waiting for something to happen.

The confusion subsided and we got down to business. The group began to communicate using the famed ‘people’s microphone’. When someone calls for a ‘mic check’, the whole group repeats their message in short sentences. We organized into seven separate teams: tactical, direct action, legal aid, food & medical, media, local outreach, and creative artists. Soon, Dewey Square was a rain-soaked and muddy experiment in direct democracy.

Our strength swelled to over 1,000 people. (4) Ages ranged from 7 to 77, men and women, middle class and homeless, gay and straight, bisexual and transgender, anti-war activists and Marine Corps veterans, African Americans and immigrants, Arab and Jewish, Asians and Latinos, unemployed and overworked, working class and Ivy-League educated. We are committed to an innovative, democratic process which is a testament of our vision. The late Howard Zinn believed that the hallmark of a successful social movement is its ability to cultivate both democratic means and democratic objectives. One reinforces the other.

This is a leaderless movement without a central ideology. We are bound only by the understanding that we are part of the 99% of Americans getting shafted by the top 1%.

After we built our encampment and ate a hot meal, roughly 400 occupants hit the streets at 11:00 PM and declared our galvanizing message: “We are the 99 percent! We are the 99 percent! You are the 99 percent!” Countless cars honked in support, loaded Bostonians and passers-by cheered (and a couple jeers), some joined the march, while others grabbed smartphones and cameras to record the rebirth of America in the city that started it all more than 200 years ago. The 99% movement has been ignored and derided in the mainstream press—yet the overwhelming response from the people of Boston is revitalizing. If you join the movement, you will not be stigmatized. On the contrary, your dedication will be praised, honored, and thanked by fellow citizens. One by one, we will break the silence which has devoured this country.

Owing to the gravitational pull of truth-telling, the march returned to camp larger than when it departed. Suddenly, Dewey Park emptied as hundreds of us charged across State St. towards the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. We chanted “We are the 99%, You are the 99%” (pointing to the phalanx of police officers lining the front of the building) and “F*** the Fed!” The roar echoed from the thick glass walls and stone ground. It was tense, but officers remained disciplined while demonstrators played music, sang, and danced.

Unlike other cities like New York and San Francisco, the BPD has made no attempt to corral us, has not tried to block or channel our marches, has not tried to disperse us, and has entered the encampment once due to a medical emergency. So far, hats off to the BPD. If they respect our right to protest, it makes it easier for us to protect their right to collectively bargain.

By 1:00 AM, it was pouring rain and I told my new friend Murph that I would drive him home to Watertown in exchange for his help finding my vehicle. I returned to New Hampshire, caught five hours of sleep, filled my car with supplies, and headed back to the occupation.

So far, the media has largely ignored the 99 percent movement. A nationwide uprising focused on addressing extreme economic and political inequality is just not newsworthy. Journalists claim that we lack coherence, and ask in a quixotic tone, “Why are they protesting?” Have they not read their own articles or watched their own television reports. Each one of us knows why we are here, and we want to listen to everyone’s ideas. We are a multitude—and we are occupying Boston for a multitude of reasons.

The more relevant question is: Will you join us and contribute to the awakening? (7)

Update 2:00 AM: Lambert Strether has just posted that the police have sent out a notice that OccupyWallStreet can no longer use Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. Clearly they’ve become too successful and must be denied a base camp. This is gonna get interesting, and I am sure the officials hope it will be in a way that discredits OccupyWallStreet.

Update 4:00 AM. From Debra C by e-mail:

The notice does not state who it’s from. Authorship unknown. So it may just mean nothing at all or it may be a bluff. But waiting to find out may be too late to get back into the park.

THESE FOLKS NEED A LAWYER WHO CAN BRING AN INJUNCTION AGAINST THE POLICE AND/OR BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES ON SAY INFRINGMENT OF FIRST AMENDMENT GROUNDS.

If this threat is real, one has to strike in court before the police or Brookfield sweep them away. Because once they are swept from the park they aren’t coming back for a long time.

The crucial thing is standing. The attorney must represent someone who is there whose rights are being infringed. So such a person or persons must be found.

This is a private park but one whose history seems to be that it was erected under the 1961 zoning regs ( that still needs verifcation) Those regs allows an owner to add additional stories to the building if they maintained an open space for the use of the public. So while it is a a privately owned park it still acts just like a public park, it is meant to be used by the public. So First Amendment issues should apply.

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88 comments

  1. Mcgee

    Equality, opportunity, and dignity.

    I am part of the 99%. We are the majority. This is our country. Our birthright is to be free of corruption and a system run for the 1%. End the greed and the power of the corporate supercitizen. Now. Today. No excuses.

    History pivots on moments like these, if you stand up and say, “This far and no further.” The 99% grant our system it’s power. Majority rule.

    1. Jugo1502

      Concur completely, Mcgee.

      Just wanted to add some colour to Mr. Provost’s excellent reporting. Here is some footage from the first march out of the Dewey Camp into the Boston streets on the night of Friday 30-Sep-2011. Shot just after 22:00 hours as the crowd passed through Downtown Crossing (from my Bambuser) :

      http://bambuser.com/channel/juice1502/broadcast/2010457

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yves is right.

    We have to broaden our appeal.

    Make it ‘We are the 99.9%,’ letting some of the middle class people who might be in and out of 1%.

    1. Richard Kline

      And some thick description on the motivation of the 99% would be no bad thing. Those in NYC are working on it. Here’s a four-square declaration of notions which seem to be bubbling to the surface with them from comments that I’ve seen:

      Tax the rich.
      Jail the crooks.
      End the empire.
      Money out of politics.

      (Personally, I prefer ‘Chain the corps’ to jail the crooks, but I think it’s a harder concept to articulate. One can jail the corporatist crooks, but the institutions will simply turn the next cadre into criminals like the last yea many because the structure of commercial corporations is inherently destructive. But hey, if one sets out to tax the rich and jail the crooks it becomes manifest that that can’t be done without cutting corporations down to size.) Will any of that be easy. Not inherently, but 99% delivers a lot of mien weight if we bunch up and shove. Gently.

      1. Richard Kline

        And perhaps a second tier, extrapolating per comment of Rene below:

        Fund needs first.
        Govern the corps.
        Green the grid.
        No bar to labor rights.

        1. chris

          Stay with the first tier or mutate into Lefty nonsense pushers wanting more cheese with they whine!

      2. anon48

        RK- I agree.

        However, as you know, MSM is currently defining the OWS movement as unfocused. Therefore seems to me, to be effective the mission should be stated even more precisely, in simplest of terms. One around which truly 99% will be able to rally. So I would pick only one of your suggestions and promote that.

        The one I think would be most effective is “Jail the crooks”.

        What seems obvious to me is that in the years leading up to the financial crisis, many of the Wall Street market player firms disregarded the law, especially in the structured finance arena. ALL THE PLAYERS behaved badly-(e.g. Originators, aggregators, sell side firms, rating agencies, auditors, regulators, etc.)They did so with impunity because I believe there was a complete lack of concern of any consequences to their actions. Change that attitude and you’ll change the way the business within that market is conducted. I.e. next time they consider doing something similar, if there’s a real chance they’ll go to jail for behaving badly, guess what many of them won’t do.

        So I think the OWS single mission should be to start asking why no Wall Street perps nor their minions (gotta go after them too- see list above) have been jailed. Taking this tack will be focused and, if successful, will actually produce positive lasting results on the market.

        FWIW.

      3. Jondrea Smith

        Why not, “Bring about a long-term end to systemic poverty wherever it occurs in the world.” That encompasses everything from health care to education to housing without having to go through a long list of demands. It diagnoses the disease rather than attempting to treat each of its symptoms separately.

        1. chris

          Jondrea,

          That cannot happen unless the perpetrators of the criminality that siphoned trillions out of the world economy to prop up banks and enrich the wealthy are brought to justice.

      4. Arkadaba

        I think getting money out of politics should be at the top of the list. If politicians were not so beholden to corporate donors, wouldn’t the other three fall out naturally?

  3. SH

    Hi Yves:

    I’m questioning your Venezuelan attribute to the quote “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade” unless that is a specific Chavez reference he used after his coup which I have heard before as well but it sounded more documentaryesque than accurate.

    I think a madam came up with that.

    “When you are being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.”

    Go Sally!

    http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/living-around/sally-standford-san-franciscos-most-famous-madam

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I spent a day and a half in Caracas on a study I did in the late 1990s for a US financial firm. The head of the local operation, which was effectively a joint venture, told me this saying, which he said was local. San Francisco Sally may have come to the same conclusion independently.

      1. Nathanael

        There’s a saying that “a politician is a man who finds a parade and marches in front of it”, and it’s an ancient saying. 19th century references are easy to find and there are probably even older references to “getting out in front of a parade”.

  4. Procopius

    I dunno, this is a hopeful development, maybe I won’t have to vote for a Republican to increase the public suffering after all. At the least, though, it’s going to take a couple of years and a lot more pain, and I think if Obama gets reelected he’s just going to go straight back to his neoliberal Republican ways. But this is the first hopeful sign I’ve seen in a very long time.

    1. Linus Huber

      Well, I do believe that we will not avoid more suffering no matter what actions are taking by the political elite. To me it is a question of fairness that is lacking. The looters have to be taken to account and they have to face the same difficulties as the rest of the population at the very least (I prefer that they are even harder hit).

      1. Susan the other

        The best way to neutralize the banksters is to equalize the wealth. The thing that gives them irrational power; the thing they worship. I keep envisioning an armored truck in India, traveling the countryside, distributing money to everyone. Infusing the very tiniest capilaries of our civilization with the enzyme to create nutrition. Without it there is starvation. It is such a simple solution. Destroy the rich by giving everyone wealth. And no it is not a communist plot. It is the most sensible path to survival.

        1. F. Beard

          It is such a simple solution. Destroy the rich by giving everyone wealth. Susan the other

          Curiously and without much price inflation risk, debtors could be made debt-free and savers given an equivalent chunk of money if we combined a universal bailout with the abolition of further so-called “credit creation”. That way, the bailout checks could be metered to just replace existing credit as it was paid off with no change in the size of the total money supply (base money + credit).

    2. mk

      Yes, this is why the republicans don’t have a front runner, Obama is doing a great job for them already, they don’t need anyone else.

  5. Procopius

    Off Topic: I still can’t read the Recent Items section at the top of the page (using Firefox 7.01 on Linux). The webmaster really needs to edit the HTML. And for goodness sake, lose the orange on white for links. I’ve hated it since I started reading the site, I just never complained before. 15% grey on white isn’t really very readable, either.

    1. LeeAnne

      RECENT ITEMS section has been greyed out on my computer as well for several days. I thought it was my new computer. I’m using Windows 7 on a PC laptop.

      1. Keenan

        “RECENT ITEMS” just recently grayed out – within about the past 10 days – on my system running Windows XP Pro.

    2. Shankara

      Thanks for bringing that IT problem to light Procopius. Ever since I went Win 7 six months ago, I’ve had issues with Yves links. I thought the ASF or the ABA had finally managed to hack the site, but I think they’re too busy plugging the holes in their sinking ships to go on an offensive right now.

      1. JasonRines

        FYI- NC runs using WordPress. Total unique monthly visitors is roughly 11 million. Total monthly revenue is about $8 M. Ten cents per unique user in ad revenues is attrocious. That means the com

      2. JasonRines

        FYI- NC runs using WordPress. Total unique monthly visitors is roughly 11 million. Total monthly revenue is about $8 M. Ten cents per unique user in ad revenues is attrocious. That means the company tech team is underfunded and why WordPress isn’t keeping up with updates as operating systems like Mac and Win 7.0 are released.

        I respect the CEO for intent of doing something great for the world, but compromise is needed with how they view corporate sponsorships. My view is take their dough and help them reinvest it back to long-term utilitarian purpose. Win-win. Being practical was once a part of being progressive. But of course, long ago so was corporate accountibility.

        Perhaps this kind of thinking brings us to the thread topic about OWS and the purpose of the occupation which is to restore the rule of law. I don’t believe leadership understands they are being told thay they are fired. I am pleased the first request is so polite as America is an armed society. Americans should attempt restructure rather than destroying supply chains to fire management. Even if it fails, the attempt mitigates the final death toll.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You are off by two orders of magnitude in unique monthly viewers and you ad revenue total is wrong too. And you ought to know any monthly unique viewers total includes people who “bounce” as in land and navigate away right away.

          Please don’t give business advice when you don’t have remotely the right metrics.

      3. fyreflye

        I’m running Mac OS 10.6.8 with browser Safari 5.1 and it looks to me like the same sickly orange on white that it’s always been.

  6. Linus Huber

    Thanks Yves, nice reporting here.

    I saw some talk show on the swiss tv last night and the moderator (one of the left spectrum of the political sphere) was complaining about our democracy (probably the most direct of democracy the world over as we can vote on actual laws when their is objection by any party and corresponding effort to collect some 100,000 signatures) as it does not allow to progress and join other international alignments etc. He obviously would love to join the EU. Anyway, I thought about it and realized that our democracy is actually even better at this point in time of history as the citizens are part of the decision process and we do face less of a feeling of complete helplessness in all what is going to happen if the next economic downturn starts in earnest. Of course, it does not really change much as I do think Switzerland will be hit particularly hard being a champion at exports and having large and corrupt banks (very large in relation to our gdp).

    1. PL

      The President’s public reaction to these growing protests will be very interesting indeed. I’m wondering if rhetorical tricks and tortured logic will be forthcoming.

      1. Tenney Naumer

        Waiting for Obama to react to something is like waiting for Godot.

        By the time he comes to his labored and belabored whatever senseless and useless conclusions, the whole thing will have moved on.

  7. aletheia33

    re: strether’s post of notice ordering occupiers to stop their actions in zuccotti park: apparently this notice, unsigned and on no one’s letterhead, keeps being presented by certain persons (who don’t identify themselves) to the occupiers, who just ignore it, as the legal advisors to OWS do not believe it has legal force.

    see 2:40 a.m. comment at corrente, and i’ve seen elsewhere a report from occupiers to the same effect. have tried to backtrack to the item, which i saw a few days ago, to find it for you, without success. but the issue does show up on this firedoglake page, where, at the 3:39 entry, is mention of police telling an arrestee that the NYPD cannot remove the occupiers from the park:

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/09/19/live-blog-for-occupywallstreet-day-three/

      1. aletheia33

        thanks to the heavens, and you, for the work you do. you are an excellent filter–making it daily possible for those of us whose days don’t allow us to filter our own news to keep informed. keep up your good work. you and yves, et al., are flling a crucial role in a desperate time.

  8. Middle Seaman

    It seems that Bloomberg himself is offended by the occupation, being a billionaire, and he instructs his WSPD (Wall Street PD) to fight the occupiers. Their is absolutely no reason to deny the occupier the park.

    1. Richard Kline

      So Middle, while I am not on the ground at all my take is much as yours: I suspect that it’s Bloomberg calling the shots on the snidely repressive official response to the occupation. He’s been veerrrrry quiet officially, but the anti-demonstration focus of recent times runs back to his office. I would love for some insiders or untainted media to track this down and hang it on him. Or conversely, to call Bloomberg out publicly to ease up on the police response. PIn him down. For the movement, it’s a minor issue, but in terms of putting the heat on officialdom to change their tune one has to start somewhere—so start with Michael Bloomberg, it’s his bailiwick and he definitely is _not_ of the 99%.

    2. Damian

      these kids as you said need a battery of lawyers to fight the city – they should have bullhorns and the permits to use them – the unions should recognize this is a fledgling movement and should help them with the permits “every” day

      they get exhausted from repeating and the message gets lost – they would have speakers every hour – notables in economics / law / banking / actors from broadway / publishers / advertsing guys / organizers – to carry the message farther and wider in the media capital of the world

      UNIONS —- HELP THESE PEOPLE WITH RESOURCES!!!

      they should have media releases every hour on different subjects like: GATT is the death system for all americans / fractional reserve banking should be turned over to the government and taken from the banks / glass stegall why was it taken out by sandy weil / the military industrial complex is not a war machine its a business / etc etc

  9. Diego Méndez

    This is exactly the same way it developed in Spain, and I’d say it had a transformative effect on both public opinion and media.

  10. LeeAnne

    There’s some urgency for people of all walks of life to join demonstrators to protect those on the front lines who are very vulnerable as we’ve seen in the Brooklyn Bridge police entrapment. You can be sure there are more clever clandestine activities at work. This isn’t the ’60s. This is unprecedented in American history.

    They of course will learn; but it takes time, and their good will toward police in general is a good thing. As long as they recognize soon enough that the leadership is at war with them. I’m sure their leaders know that. That’s obvious from the professionalism of the slogan ‘we are the 99%’ which is inclusive of all issues, including that that require a revolution to correct -like the courts from the Supreme Court on down, and police run by the extreme right.

    Reports of separating couples and choosing one to arrest is really ominous.

    Its a tactic worthy of disappearing people for which this government is set up; ordering executions up front and taking credit publicly, torturing not illegal, courts supporting all of it, rendition, TSA at the airport where people have no right to object to anything, and are threatened with secret sanctions without their knowledge and with no recourse, and all of that. Its a nightmare to contemplate.

    And its daunting to see this point of view being ignored on blogs such as this. Its as if, while the facts are upon us in full view, it is still unacceptable to discuss. As if the issues aren’t all of one piece.

    With Germany close to giving up their sovereignty and Bernanke running out of tricks, the sooner the mass of people join the demonstrators, the more likely a breakdown and violence in this transition can be avoided. And the demonstrators now out in front are the last who should be taking the brunt of police activity behind the scenes retaliation and oppression.

    1. chris

      stay focused on the issues. You could just as easily see the police arresting only one spouse as a favor to the 99%. I am sure it is a lot easier to get out when one of you is not in jail. There has been reporting that the many of the police have been reasonable to the protestors and probably may are on their side.
      There is something good happening as it is now and to get side tracked on police conspiracy right now will take power away from the movement.

      1. LeeAnne

        the word ‘conspiracy’ no longer has any meaning. its used to denigrate anything said that is not official, including official propaganda. Its a silencing mechanism. If you have to stop what you’re saying to defend the slur that you talking ‘conspiracy’ your arguments are disarmed. While, at the same time, conspiracy is the stuff of CIA and all secret organizations in power and aspiring to power, from frat houses for initiation into power on up.

        You sound like a cop.

        And, you confirm my point of view.

      2. aletheia33

        the question of how the corporatocracy will defend itself as this movement gains numbers and hence power is far from irrelevant. lee anne is right to focus on this issue. to ignore it at this juncture would be to bury our heads in the sand while our feet get literally knocked out from under us. this moment, the occupation of wall street and other key sites around the country, are a crucial initial test of how repressive the state will prove once it faces a real internal threat to its ensconced position. i don’t think that can be predicted from here. we simply have to find out. but i fear the worst, and on the basis of many of the items lee anne mentions, the worst seems possible.

        like many others, i’m sure, i find it difficult to face the possibility that our precious inalienable rights have already been forfeited to such an extent that, as in the middle east, any real fight to win them back will perforce involve risking one’s life and future well-being. i hope it doesn’t turn out to be that bad already. what’s wonderful is that we do not have to wait any longer to find out, because some brave young people are doing what it takes to put our society to this test.

        by the way, OWS has released a declaration. i find it quite interesting to read. the language is deliberately evocative of our declaration of independence. they declare education as a human right, which suggests to me they’re inspired by (among many other influences no doubt) international guarantees that have yet to be seriously observed on the ground in most societies. the order of their list of grievances is also interesting.

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/01/1021956/-First-official-statement-from-Occupy-Wall-Street?via=sidebyuserrec

      3. JasonRines

        The leaders know they are getting fired and will say no like any other country that has been through this. I have some Russian heritage. Near the end of the Soviet Union, the enforcers made beurocrats they once served dissapear for brutality against family members.

        So while the person above you says we should talk about it, I will also stay hopeful Chris it doesn’t come to that. If it does, I doubt we would be openly communicating about it or ever getting much details.

        You never heard of enforcers turning on their masters over there, did you?

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        LeeAnne,

        I don’t see separating couples as alarming. We are talking about misdemeanor arrests which will result in people being detained 1-2 nights.

        If you have a child (say a teenager) or a pet, you want one member of the household back at home. I agree with Chris on this one.

  11. Matt

    Right, now watch the mainstream media and political elite panic and squirm. The chickens are finally coming home to roost. You reap what you sow and there WILL be consequences. For the the US and indeed the wider western world including the EU the world might never be the same again.

  12. chris

    There is something happening that seems good. I don’t know if it will ever be powerful enough to remove the entrenched oligarchs but it is good to see the some Americans still believe in our liberty and government by the people and of the people.

    I also just read some great posts over at Washington’s Blog. Everyone should ready his article on why people are protesting ….It is very good.

    1. Shankara

      “I don’t know if it will ever be powerful enough to remove the entrenched oligarchs….”

      It will if you come out and join us.

  13. Woodro Wilson

    “If they respect our right to protest, it makes it easier for us to protect their right to collectively bargain” -

    Here in The People’s Republic, and one-party state, Collective Bargaining is not in jeopardy. Not sure why the author would mention this because Beacon Hill is under no threat of changing anytime soon. The only thing police have pseudo-lost was The Quinn Bill, which was bogus from the start. I say pseudo, because The Teamsters Local 25 won a recent case for a local municipality, if it was in the contract before, and not bargained out, it stays, making Massachusetts police officers some of the most highly paid in the country.

    CBA’s will stay here as long as the money keep flowing…Now how about those pensions and Other Post-Employment Benefits?

  14. Dan B

    Since OWS has spread to Boston, it’s an obvious question for E. Warren as Senate candidate: where does you stand on this 99.9% movement? Her rhetoric in August to constituents, as she deliberated (ha, ha) whether to run, was firmly on the side of the 99.9%. But pursuing the Democratic Party nomination what will it be? She’d be much more effective lending herself to this social movement as a non-candidate, IMO.

    1. JTFaraday

      Elizabeth “Suze Orman” Warren traded away her 99% standing when she decided to run for the Senate for a rotting D-Party that can’t wait to strangle her.

    2. Mark Provost

      Sharon, a 60 year old woman, and her partner Paulo, walked by our encampment and we chatted it up for at least 30 minutes. She was a well informed reader of FT and WSJ, and she was also victimized by banks, and had her home ripped from under her. She told me it literally almost killed her. Sharon suggested that Elizabeth Warren come down to Occupy Boston. She is more than welcome. She is born and bred Oklahoma, and her truth will come sweeping down on Massachusetts.

      Many people here are adamant about about strict rules for the reform the financial system. Some people talk about a maximum wage—you need to go to your local occupation and check out what’s going.
      Listen, learn, and influence the discussion.
      And don’t worry, principles and objective will be become clear as millions join and create innovative platforms which will allow for everyone to be heard for the first time.
      An open source, dynamic set of priorities and lists.

      The ever widening gap between popular opinion and bi-partisan policy is about to be considerably narrowed.

  15. René

    OCTOBER 2011 COALITION TO OCCUPY FREEDOM PLAZA 
IN WASHINGTON, DC

    BEGINNING OCT 6th

    DC Occupation Marks the 11th Year of Afghan War, Austerity Budgets and Builds on 
Arab Spring, European Summer, Madison and Occupation of Wall Street. The People’s Uprisings seen around the world and in the United States come to Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza beginning on Thursday,
    October 6 when thousands will converge to begin a prolonged people’s occupation of Freedom Plaza.

    The October 2011 Movement involves thousands of people and 150 organizations who have already signed. The DC occupation comes at a pivotal time: the beginning of the 11th year of war in Afghanistan and a new federal fiscal year that promises austerity of everything except weapons and war.

    The Freedom Plaza occupation occurs as activists in New York are occupying Wall Street and follows major protests across the Midwest against austerity budgets, the environmental protest of the Tar Sands Pipeline where more than 1,200 were arrested and protests throughout
    the United States on a wide range of issues.

    The October2011 Movement demands that the government represent the people, not just the top 1%. The pledge signed on by thousands calls for using our resources on human needs and environmental protection, not for war and exploitation. October2011.org stands with super
    majorities of Americans on seven key issues:

    • Tax the rich and corporations
    • End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
    • Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all
    • End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
    • Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
    • Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
    • Get money out of politics

    Among those signing the pledge and participating in the action are Ann Wright, Baldemar Velasquez, Chris Hedges, Coleen Rowley, Cornel
    West, Cynthia McKinney, Ray McGovern, Sibel Edmonds and Ted Rall.

    1. chris

      If the movement adopts drooling lefty pablum it becomes as feckless as the Tea Party.

      Find common ground around something simple like prosecuting Wall Street and the bankers, abrogating free trade agreements, and enforcing the law.

      1. LeeAnne

        is it just women you troll after? or do you actually have some other agenda someone might be interested in hearing about?

        1. JasonRines

          Chris is mostly right but his presentation of slamming liberals sucks.The majority of liberals I know were led off a cliff while the minority progressives joined Wall St. looting. The people are clamoring for the center politically.

          I do notice the pattern of you being harsh on the ladies. Cut it out, it is old America, not our new one that is forming.

          I was from NH. The female legislature of the 1990′s destroyed the State. The indirect tax vehicles (police state) criminalized me for standing up their folly. But I never showed such open hostility to them to win what was right for the people.

          1. chris

            Jason,

            The attack was not against women.

            It is more out of concern that the Left/Progressives cherish their control over people’s lives as much as the Right/Conservatives do (and constantly pushing an agenda that makes people ever more dependent on their elected officials has not strengthened America).

            The Left happily labels Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld as war criminals but lacks morality when it comes to the murder of Libyan civilians in an unconstitutional war by Barack.

            If you remember, South Africa aired out its soiled linen (at least to someone degree) in its Truth and Reconciliation period.

            Shall we just forget the corruption of Left/Progressives?
            Shall we forget Clinton shredding Glass-Steagal?
            Shall we forget Barack championing (as did McCain) the bailout of the Wall Street and the banks?
            Shall we forget the lack of criminal prosecution by Barack and Eric Holder for the admitted frauds (in testimony before the FCIC)?
            Shall we just let Wall Street have a pass on massive tax fraud, and the destruction of 300 years of property tax common law through its agent Mortgage Electronic Registration Services?

            And yes, Bush and his damned to hell party are just as culpable.

            How does America move forward if both political parties are not called on the carpet for their immorality and criminality?

  16. JTFaraday

    Don’t those “American Dream” corporate neoliberals know that their guy, Obama, tarnished the American Dream imagery forever by making it the theme of his 2008 nomination acceptance speech at their Democratic convention, and then betraying everything about it?

    People in the bubble have an awful lot to figure out.

    Robert Reich is a publisher of the American Prospect, rotting house organ of the D-Party. Here is their take on Occupy Wall Street:

    http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=follow_no_leader

    Even their own remaining half a dozen readers don’t agree with them.

    They are right about one thing, though. To the extent that there is inadequate organizing beyond the mass demonstrations, we and the demonstrators, will still be stuck with the stinking rotting corpse of the D-Party, its house organs, and the zombie banks they serve–who are literally paying for this police brutality and these mass arrests.

    Still, I would say the fear of a loss of control in the land of the walking dead is palpable.

    1. Montanamaven

      Yes, I am more than jaded, as Mark said, about “Campaign for America’s Future” trying to glom on to this real deal going on in New York and Boston. CAF, The Nation, American Prospect all are arms of the rotting Democratic Party. The American Dream was always a hoax. So let’s go about finding new answers without guidance from our betters.

      And I’m onboard with “jail the crooks”. We should be a nation of laws. We agree to be rulers and be ruled simultaneously, Roger Hodge said in his book “The Mendacity of Hope”. It’s the book he wrote after being kicked out as editor of “Harper’s” which used to be more truthful and relevant under his leadership than it is now.

  17. Jackrabbit

    MSM is reporting that the police gave protesters two ‘warnings’ before arresting them on the bridge.

    Most people will probably not bother to view the actual videos of the ‘warnings’ – one at the entrance to the traffic lanes on the bridge and another before they started arresting people.

    What lame ‘warnings’ those were!

    The officer giving the ‘warning’ uses a bullhorn but he is not shouting into it. He doesn’t really seem too concerned about the message actually reaching the protesters. He reads from a piece of paper in a normal to somewhat elevated voice and the bullhorn seems to be pointed to the side at least part of the time.

    I doubt that anyone, except those at the very front (maybe), could hear the warning. It seems to me that if they were serious about a warning, NYPD would have made the announcement louder, made it repeatedly, and/or created a banner (even hand written).

    After the first ‘warning’ the officers just walk away – along the roadway that they were just telling the protesters not to use! The protesters follow.

    1. chris

      The right to assemble does not include the right to deny other the use of a bridge (in this case, people travelling to and from Brooklyn).

      1. Jackrabbit

        1. I didn’t say the protesters had the right to deny others access to the bridge.

        2. What’s at issue is the nature of the police warnings and directives. If you took the time to view the videos instead of shooting from the hip, you’d understand.

        3. I suppose you don’t know anyone whose been harmed or inconvenienced by corporate greed and recklessness. Really? You don’t have any family members who are life-long smokers? You still eat seafood from the Gulf of Mexico? You won’t be delaying your trip to Japan? Your retirement accounts and real estate investments are doing quite well?

    2. JTFaraday

      Even that’s not right. According to eyewitnesses, the head of the march, lead by the Grannies for Peace (in yellow), went onto the pedestrian walkway. The police then SPLIT the march and lead the second half of it onto the roadway and up to almost the middle of the bridge.

      They THEN belatedly issued a “warning,” while the paddy wagons pulled in from Brooklyn and another line of cops closed in from the Manhattan side, physically trapping them, after having legally entrapped them.

      This video, which I found posted in the comments on the NY Times Sunday’s City Room post on the police video of the “warning” supports this contention.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fockzr7rXys

      You can even see the Grannies for Peace, at the original head of the march, still on the pedestrian walkway. A protester on the walkway comments “they’re taking over the roadway!,” The “they” that is taking over the roadway, is the police leading the marchers onto the roadway.

      I don’t see how this can be viewed as anything other than a deliberate attempt to strip these people of their civil rights.

      Today’s “official” Times article, which links to the same police propaganda video of the “warning,” doesn’t deign to mention the video of counter-evidence in favor of the protesters, who are telling the truth. About as fair and balanced as Fox News.

      There is no opportunity to comment on today’s article on the police video. But in the comments section of another article today on how the “White Shirts of Police Department Take on Enforcer Role,” a poster posted a link to the following article on how the police themselves occupied the Brooklyn Bridge and tied up traffic in 1992:

      http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/17/nyregion/officers-rally-and-dinkins-is-their-target.html?pagewanted=all

      Not so peaceful, this 1992 police demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.

      1. LeeAnne

        JT, Thanks for the The American Prospect link above. Just a few paragraphs were jaw dropping. Criticizing black clothing, indeed. And crazies and loonies; that’s just part of the landscape in NY.

        As for the Brooklyn Bridge arrests, there is no way it wasn’t entrapment:

        I was down there on Friday. Police demonstrated absolute control and competence over demonstrators, observers, vehicular traffic and the march on Friday. They were professionally polite, ordering people to move away a little here and a little there; and those being ordered were compliant. No problems. Without incident.

        It was predictable that the police would retaliate after their fail on University Place; their brutality sent in photos all over the world. They couldn’t grab cameras again. They needed to produce a large enough event for the MSM. We’re lucky it wasn’t a shooting event. But that’ll come. That prepared, trained and equipped all over the world for whatever is thrown at them by peaceful demonstrators.

        I’m still praying for larger and larger turnouts -more people from all walks of life. Praying for a peaceful revolution and the safety of these young people.

  18. reader2010

    http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/article/ny-13.htm

    NEW YORK CITY POLICE FOUNDATION — NEW YORK
    JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.
    New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.
    “These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”

  19. Jeff

    “Needless to say, following the Venezuelan saying, “A politician is someone who gets in front of a mob and tries to call it a parade,” one confirmation of OccupyWallStreet’s rising fortunes is that some soi-disnat progressive groups are trying to use it to burnish their brand”
    THANK YOU YVES for pointing out this trend. An intellectual tumor grows within the progressive movement, it is the
    “Me Too-ers” that attempt to tack their tiny fringe
    lunacy onto genuine and real causes. eg

    “middle class and homeless,
    gay and straight,
    bisexual and transgender,
    anti-war activists and Marine Corps veterans,
    African Americans and immigrants,
    Arab and Jewish,
    Asians and Latinos,
    unemployed and overworked,
    working class and Ivy-League educated.”

  20. Jeff

    Homework for everyone sympathetic to this
    demonstration:

    Stop handing your money to the financial parasites
    working in our economy.

    No need to travel to NYC, just look in your wallet:

    Switch to no fee credit cards.

    Only use credit cards where it’s impossible to use cash or checks.

    Cut up your ATM card and its swipe fees.

    Load your wallet with checks and enough cash for your
    activities.

    Proactively spend your cash in small businesses where possible.

    Bottom line, do not let them take anything from you
    for any so called ‘service’…except of course the use
    of your money in your account which you have closed
    in the big money center banks and have moved to a
    credit union where you share in the profits.

  21. Hugh

    The usual approach of the powers that be to dissent is:

    1) ignore
    2) trivialize/mischaracterize/intimidate
    3) co-opt
    4) demonize
    5) outlaw

    Currently with the Occupy movement we are between steps 2 and 3.

    1. redgerrymander

      That’s why the leaderless thing is so important… it’s harder for the usual suspects to co-opt things this way and turn it into another cynical marketing campaign.

      At its root, this movement must stay directly democratic to succeed. Screw talking points, spin and the rest of the same-old same-old politics/media sideshow that has gotten us into this mess in the first place. It’s time for clean breaks and some moral indignation not false ‘hope’ and the occasional chance to elect a red crook instead of a blue one.

      We are the 99%

  22. René

    “Who are these powers? We write about them all the time, along with others in the alternative media. They are basically the Anglosphere’s great central banking families and their political, religious, corporate and military enablers. These entities and individuals have fought for over a century to ensure their central-banking led economy is not challenged and that blame for its genocidal destruction is continually aimed at the private sector – Wall Street, capitalism, etc. They have gotten away with it until now. But the tides of history are shifting.”

    http://thedailybell.com/3021/Daily-Bell-Helps-Blow-Up-Wall-Street-Protest-Via-Drudge-Prison-Planet-and-Google

  23. chris

    Since timing is everything, the OccupyWallStreet movement should take on the air of an everlasting Greek tragedy (in so many ways) should the credit tightness happening in the European and American financial markets continue merrily along towards another Lehman Brothers moment.

    Of course, the central banks (like the Federal Reserve) can digitally create any amount of liquidity needed to re-erect the illusion of banks being solvent (even though Mr. Market has decided to fling poo at the supposed cleanliness of bank balance sheets).

    In the event that central bankers step in to preserve banks again, you all can stop being delusional that there will be any funding of anything you want.

    So, when does it become clear that allowing banks to fail would actually benefit all the world?

    1. Nathanael

      It became clear to me in 2009. It seems to have become clear to many people. Pollsters don’t poll the question much, so I don’t know whether it’s clear to a majority of people yet. And it’s very hard to make it clear to politicians who are bought and paid for by the bank executives….

  24. Crazy Horse

    The Movement has found a name: The 99% Movement.

    Its perfect. Didn’t grow from the bowels of an ad agency either!

    Now we need a 99% political party to replace the two cloned parties that represent the 1%.

    Meanwhile its a sound bite world, so here are a few.

    Billions for Banksters: Bankruptcy for YOU
    Bank of America wants YOUR house
    Guantanamo: Tropical Retirement Home for Banksters
    Free Orange Jump Suits for Banksters
    Free America: Imprison Banksters
    Barack Obama: Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Goldman Sachs
    Barack Obama: Drone Terrorist
    Barack Obama: Republican for President
    Rick Perry: Texas Wildfire Denier
    Sara Palin: America’s Bridge to Nowhere

  25. Susan the other

    “2nd time I’ve fought for my country; first time I’ve known my enemy.” This from a loyal marine.

  26. AndyB

    OWS has already been exposed as an organization that has been funded by Soros and the ever present Tides Foundation; it is hardly grass roots; really a psyop to deflect from the FED’s criminality.

    1. Nathanael

      Wow, listening to Glenn Beck much? Or are you snarking? I think he’s the only right-wing lunatic who decided to go after the Tides Foundation.

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