Matt Stoller: The Anti-Politics of #OccupyWallStreet

By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can reach him at stoller (at) or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.

Journalist Amy Goodman arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention

What do the people at #OccupyWallStreet actually want? What are their demands? For many people, this is THE question.

So let me answer it. What they want… is to do exactly what they are doing. They want to occupy Wall Street. They have built a campsite full of life, where power is exercised according to their voices. It’s a small space, it’s a relatively modest group of people at any one time, and the resources they command are few. But they are practicing the politics of place, the politics of building a truly public space. They are explicitly rejecting the politics of narrow media, the politics of the shopping mall. To understand #OccupyWallStreet, you have to get that it is not a media object or a march. It is first and foremost, a church of dissent, a space made sacred by a community. But like Medieval churches, it is also now the physical center of that community. It has become many things. Public square. Carnival. Place to get news. Daycare center. Health care center. Concert venue. Library. Performance space. School.

Few people, though an increasing number daily, have actually taken the time to go through a general assembly, to listen to what the people at #OccupyWallStreet actually want. General assemblies are the consensus-oriented group conversations at the heart of the occupations, where endlessly repeating the speaking of others is the painstaking and frustrating way that the group comes to make decisions. I spoke with a very experienced older DC hand who told me that he hasn’t been because he doesn’t have the patience of the young. This is as different a way of doing politics as distributed computing was to the old world of mainframes. So it isn’t surprising that the traditionalists are reacting as perplexed and dismissive of this new style of politics as the big iron types were with the rise of PCs.

I have been through a few general assemblies now, and they are remarkable because the point of the assembly is to truly put listening at the heart of decision-making. There’s no electronic amplification allowed in Zuccotti Square. So the organizers have figured out an organic microphone system. A speaker says a half a sentence, everyone in earshot repeats, until the whole park can hear that half a sentence. Then the speaker says another half a sentence. People use hand signals to indicate approval, disapproval, get a move on, or various forms of objections and clarifications. During these speeches, speakers often explicitly ask for more gender and racial diversity, which is known as “progressive stacking”.

At first it’s extremely… annoying. And time-consuming. But after a few hours, it’s oddly refreshing. I felt completely included as part of a community forum even though I had not been a speaker. But what I realized is that the act of listening, embedded in the active reflecting of what the speaker was saying, created a far richer conversational space. Actually reflecting back to one another what someone just said is a technique used by therapists, and by pandering politicians. There is nothing so euphoric in a community sense as truly feeling heard. That’s what the general assembly was about, not a democracy in the sense of voting, but a democracy in the sense of truly respecting the humanity of everyone in the forum. It took work. It took patience. But it created a communal sense of power.

At the forum, two fairly simple decisions were made. One, a nurse’s union endorsed #OccupyWallStreet, and pledged some food and offered nurses to train some of the protesters on first aid. The group accepted this endorsement. Two, some drag queens endorsed the protest, and offered food. They also said they would perform the next day. The group accepted this endorsement. That was it. These groups figured out ways they wanted to help, and did so. The groups that offered the help gained power based on what they did to build the space. A few days earlier, someone had offered to do a newspaper for #OccupyWallStreet and asked for volunteers. The group gave its approval. And now there’s an “Occupied Wall Street Journal”. There are people who offer to build the space, and then don’t deliver. But they don’t gain power. And that’s the way #OccupyWallStreet has structured its decision-making. Find ways to build the public space, and then gain the trust of the public that occupies the space you’ve helped build. The nurses helped deliver health care. The drag queens made the carnival more fun. This kind of power, the power that comes from the trust and love of other people, doesn’t emerge from a list of policy demands. It comes from the formation of a public, through the appreciation and sharing of a public space. It takes work, but the result is… #OccupyWallStreet. Or the camps in Israel, or Spain, or Wisconsin, or elsewhere there are mini-civilizations sprouting up.

This dynamic is why it’s so hard for the traditional political operators to understand #OccupyWallStreet. It must be an angry group of hippies. Or slackers. Or it’s a revolution. It’s a left-wing tea party. The ignorance is embedded in the questions. One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering “get a job” line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to “help” by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.

I’m not a booster of #OccupyWallStreet. I don’t have to be. I’m not there right now, and there’s no way to really agree or disagree with a carnival or a church. It is going to be an interesting to watch how the organizations that are working, either formally or informally, on Obama’s reelection campaign, work first to praise and then to co-opt these protest campsites. It’s unclear to me how this will happen, if it will happen, and how those groups will change in the process. One organization, called Rebuild the Dream, is focused on a message organized around “The American Dream”. This organization was started by former White House staffer Van Jones, and is packed with former Obama boosters who proclaimed their love for Obama in 2008. They are similarly ebullient about #OccupyWallStreet, to them the people are finally rising. Interestingly, the first speech I heard at #OccupyWallStreet during soapbox time was a fairly explicit rejection of the notion of an American dream. Many people draw their inspiration from Tahrir Square, hardly a fount of Americana circa 1950. In other words, many of these people simply do not seem to be traditional liberals; they seem to see themselves as a transnational leftist class who believe gender, race, and economics are bound up into one struggle against oppression. The general assembly, their main organizational and power distribution mechanism, is organized around ensuring equality of voice.

So far, the protests are being received relatively well; everyone from Tim Geithner to Kathryn Wylde says they recognize the frustration of the protests. But of course, the real clashes with the establishment power center are yet to come. Tampa Bay Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who presides over where the Republican National Convention will be held in less than a year, is already making noises about cracking down on protesters. The city is asking the Federal government to appropriate $50 million to use for, among other things, predator drones. Buckhorn says, “These are people who are committed to mayhem, and if we’re not careful they will incite it.” This is somewhat silly; the Minneapolis police have agreed to pay $100,000 to journalist Amy Goodman, whom they arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention (with not a peep from any Democrat).

Power clashes in extremely odd ways. The Democratic establishment is finding itself tied in knots over how to react to the protests. Many want a left-wing version of the tea party, whereas others are deeply uncomfortable with democratic impulses like this one. In addition, these kinds of movements are extremely seductive; at first they are close knit, but then the charlatans of all types move in. The search for meaning can sometimes bring cultishness to the fore; at one point in 2007 a strange cult took over a moderately sized progressive organization, and the rhetoric of the cult just wasn’t very different than the leadership oriented rhetoric of the political group. For now, this isn’t the case, and #OccupyWallStreet is on its growth curve. Where that ends up isn’t clear. But also, this is probably one of many civic uprisings. Should it die down during the winter, another one will take its place, perhaps different in tone but with some of the same people in the core.

So to all those trying to figure out how to engage, here’s my advice. If you want to “help” #OccupyWallStreet, in New York or any place around the country, think about what you can bring to a public space to make it more lively, interesting, or helpful. On a basic level, just bring yourself. If you are a cook, cook food and bring it. If you are a lawyer, offer free legal help. If you’re an artist, make art. If you’re Joe Stiglitz, go by and host a brief teach-in (as he actually did). If you can publish, make a newspaper. One idea is to bring a laptop with internet access, and open it to the spiffy complaint page of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Put up a sign called “Complain About Your Bank” above the laptop, and show people how to use it. That’s useful. That shows people how to interact with their government and take action to empower themselves against banks. Make the space better, and then enjoy what you’ve made. Or, if you want to fight politically, fight for the right to this public space. Try and make sure predator drones aren’t at either political convention. Advocate for keeping parks open.

The premise of their politics is that #OccupyWallStreet isn’t designed to fit into your TV or newspaper. Nothing human really is, which is why our politics is so utterly deformed. It’s why they don’t want to be “on message” – what kind of human society can truly be reduced to a slogan? I’m not sure I agree with their political premise. But in the carnival they have created, in the liveliness and beauty and art and fun and utter humanity of it all, they make a damn good case.

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  1. Uehara

    Tim Geithner is receiving the protestors rather well. THE Tim Geithner ? I had to re-read that a few times, just to make sure.

    Isn’t he a part of the problem?

    1. anon

      I think Stoller is referring to something Geithner said yesterday. Here’s how the website Talking Points Memo reported it:

      “Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told an audience of the country’s elite Wednesday that he sympathizes with the underlying loss of faith anti-Wall Street protesters and other Americans have in the country’s ruling class — though not specifically for the growing ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest movement itself.”

      1. MDBill

        Right. And look at the headline of the TPM story (Geithner Dodges On Sympathy For Occupy Wall St…). If that’s really the source of Matt’s comment, it’s really a stretch to characterize that as “receiving the protestors rather well”.

        1. anon

          Oh yeah, I agree. There’s no question in my mind that Geithner is as much of the problem as are Dimon and Cheney, et al. I just wanted to source Stoller’s quote.

          1. Nathanael

            I understand Geithner. He’s actually well-meaning; his problem is that he’s co-opted.

            He recognizes that the big bankers are being ungrateful, kleptocratic twits — he’s said as much. But he simply is incapable of imagining actually *punishing* them, treating them as dangerous enemies, so he has no solution other than to ask them nicely to behave better.

          2. Bill, backwater Arkansas

            Yes Nathanyale, he’s sure a nice boy. It’s the damnable liberal media that’s tryin’ to make everything he does seem like a cottonpickin’ shame. First we need to vote out them liberals up North, and replace the liberal media with some good ‘ol fashioned reporters like George Will.

          3. beowulf

            “But he simply is incapable of imagining actually *punishing* them, treating them as dangerous enemies, so he has no solution other than to ask them nicely to behave better.”

            Tsy Secs tend to either come out of Wall street or the oil patch. I can’t imagine Texans like John Connolly or James Baker letting Wall Street or anyone else push around Tsy.
            After Nixon closed the gold window, Secretary Connolly famously told European finance ministers, “the dollar is our currency and your problem”. :o)

          4. Nathanael

            Bill, I think you may have missed my point. Geithner’s “niceness” is frankly irrelevant — the man is mentally incapable of doing the right thing! He’s a servile slave of the bank CEOs and he still thinks they’re his friends, *even while* he is explaining how psychopathic they are (which he did explain, in public, twice)!

            Never assume malice when incompetence is sufficient explanation. In this case, it’s incompetence of a *criminal* variety (dereliction of duty, etc.).

    2. R Foreman

      Debt-Meistro Timmah Geitner wants to make sure his divine right to loot and debt-based money is never questioned, so his priority is to see the uninterrupted creation of new debt-money at a time when banks won’t lend.

      I’m sure he doesn’t gove a hoot about some unemployed and unwashed masses camped out on the pavement in front of marriner-eccles.

    3. Jonas the Bold

      I generally agree with this article. But…

      Here is the arc: (Opening scene and closing scene)

      What do the people at #OccupyWallStreet actually want? What are their demands? For many people, this is THE question.

      The premise of their politics is that #OccupyWallStreet isn’t designed to fit into your TV or newspaper. Nothing human really is, which is why our politics is so utterly deformed. It’s why they don’t want to be “on message” – what kind of human society can truly be reduced to a slogan? I’m not sure I agree with their political premise. But in the carnival they have created, in the liveliness and beauty and art and fun and utter humanity of it all, they make a damn good case.

      So let me summarize,

      I ‘don’t know what they want


      Neither do they.

      And it is worse. Because in this split-second, High-Frequency-Trading world that we live in, both for money and opinions, we are encouraged to go with the trend.

      Trust that they know what they are doing.

      When is the last time I heard that?


      Yes we can.

      1. VB

        They may be unsure of what they want exactly. Who would know where to start when there is so much that needs to change? The best way to start is to gain awareness and band together.That’s what they are doing and doing so well. You connect the dots later.

  2. Paul Walker

    This reminds me of the early days of Peoples Park. Sans the political rhetoric. I hope someone decides to build some climbing and play things for the young ones.

  3. LucyLulu

    The city is asking the Federal government to appropriate $50 million to use for, among other things, predator drones. Buckhorn says, “These are people who are committed to mayhem, and if we’re not careful they will incite it.”

    This is really scary and shows how crazy some of our politicians have become. So far, the only aggression has been on the part of law enforcement and there is already talk of going to the extreme of using predator drones, on our own citizens!

    1. Paul Walker

      You know when the tide is changing when the dissidents become the forces of order while the forces of order become the anarchists.

      1. Nathanael


        With Buckhorn committed to mayhem, we can only hope the federal government will have the sense to say “no”.

        A violent assault on American citizens with predator drones would be sowing the wind — the whirlwind would be reaped. I really hope we can avoid that.

        1. to serve and protect...the rich

          The radicals are the ones with the long hair and tie die shirts. The rule of law is the law made by the suits. It’s not so hard to figure out Einstein!

          1. ambrit

            Dear Sardonicus;
            The sarcasm is Weding Cake thick there Sonny Jim. Remember, when utilizing sarcasm, the subtler, the better. Gets the point across better too.

    2. JEHr

      Your mention of drones makes me want to say, How do you think Canadians feel about having drones on our mutual border? If you have friends like that, who needs enemies!

      1. Maximilien

        Not to worry. Our intrepid BC-bud exporters can circumvent or neutralize any defense. If the drones materialize, watch and learn.

    3. JasonRines

      What are corrupt career politicians to do if they get fired and can’t be in politics! Have a heart, there are no jobs that pay more than $40k a year and their bills are $2m a year!

      I hope they really don’t go there. CERN could always be used to make one dissapear. Blink all those ungrateful proles out of existance. Hell, maybe they’ll claim the aliens waged war on the world. Course all that will be left is the uber Fascists to wipe each other out.

  4. HarrisonBergeron

    Non-partisan, non-violent, decentralized.
    When the governed revoke their consent to be governed in a peaceful way, rapid change is possible. Debating political philosophy and policies now is like arguing over what to have for dinner before getting the menu.

    1. Daniel Pennell

      Decentralized is very very good. It fits with the way young people live.

      It is also the most frightening and frustrating thing for the established powers to fight against. It is like throwing punches at a pool of water, you can make a splash and create some ripples but in the end the water will wear you out.

      I think of the AG settlement. The banks wanted one place to deal with everything. They like Federal power as they only have to bribe one set of officials and not 50. One big court case. One big settlement. One group to negotiate with. The powers that be are equiped and prepared to fight the big fight against one opponent or a collection of opponents working together. It is like a spread offense in football.

      1. ajax

        The Associated Press had a wire-item on a
        Federal agents raid Wednesday October 5th in
        the US Virgin Islands.

        So, that happened … yesterday. [coincidence or not

  5. Middle Seaman

    We are used to a political paradigm that requires clear leadership, foot soldiers and an agenda of some short. The non violent heroes of the past Gandhi and Martin Luther King had an obvious agenda and foot soldiers. The Arab spring is actually not a great example for Occupy, because in countries where a non-violent uprising started, there was a clear dictator and the uprising always included groups with distinct political agenda contrary to the uprising itself.

    Occupy seems to me an American made non-violent movement based on a modified King civil right movement. The core agenda is actually clear though it is not written anywhere. 99 means, we the people are against the %1 oligarchy. We are against the corruption of our political system; look we built a totally new system that has nothing to do with you and yours.

    The unions join because they naturally are with the 99 and against the 1. Unions always support actions that help the disadvantage, they are the best at providing foot soldiers, running campaign and get out and bring more into the tent.

    Occupy is now a Western World movement; I could be more happy and more proud of the young people.

    1. anon48

      “The Arab spring is actually not a great example for Occupy, because in countries where a non-violent uprising started, there was a clear dictator…”

      I agree that it is not a completely accurate comparison to OWS. While some aspects seem similar (ground level surprise, enthusiasm and joy interacting with their countrymen) there is a significant difference. Seemed to me that the various countries of the Arab Spring had one true clear goal. Explicitly they demanded democracy (implicitly this meant the dictator had to go). Because they found in the mission of pushing for democracy, something that resonated with all, they as a group were able to remain resolute, while at tremendous individual risk, in opposition to the status quo of their authoritarian governments.

      Same for MLK . The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was clear and unambiguous- equality for all.

      Don’t you think the fact that they were able to identify a mission that was clear, succinct and inspirational had something to do with the long term success achieved by the Civil Rights Movement along with the current achievements to date of the Arab spring movements? “We the 99%” is a good start but it says nothing specific about what the fight should be against.

      Nothing wrong with enjoying the moment presented by the OWS movement. Stoller’s piece does exactly that. But if as a group, OWS truly wants to make a lasting difference, they will have to eventually find a way to uncover, encourage and advocate their own singular inspirational message. One that will enable them to rally larger numbers of people to their side, who will also be willing to remain for the duration of the engagement.

      1. Somsy

        “it says nothing specific about what the fight should be against” .. quite right. They don’t need to fight against anything, because they have their own thing they’re for: a new structure for society.

        1. tar, etc.

          The demands for a list of demands makes OWS sound like hostage takers. The opposite is true. Those who have taken liberty, prosperity and the rule of law are holding America hostage.

          1. anon48

            Please don’t put words in my mouth. Re read the comment above.

            There is nothing stated about requesting a list of demands.

          2. tar, etc.

            I wasn’t putting words in your mouth, I was talking about the media demanding a list of demands.

    2. JEHr

      American-made but coming from AdBusters in Vancouver. The Americans are not the only ones that are doing this. Americans should be willing to share.

    3. Bev

      If you have the correct goal that can help everyone, you can achieve your goal.


Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (“NEED,” HR 6550*) which contains all the monetary reform provisions of The American Monetary Act- see the brochure at

      It is much more than regulation; it fundamentally reforms our private CREDIT/DEBT system now wrecking our nation and harming all humanity, and replaces it with a government MONEY system.

      The Act achieves reform with 3 basic provisions. All three are necessary; doing one or two of them wouldn’t work and could cause more damage.

      In brief:


First the Federal Reserve gets incorporated into the U.S. Treasury where all new money is created by our government – what people think happens now.


Second, It ends the fractional reserve system. Banks no longer have the accounting privilege of creating our money supply. All their previously issued credit is converted into U.S. Money through an elegant and gentle accounting change. The banks are held accountable for this conversion and from that point operate the way people think they do now – as intermediaries between depositors and borrowers.

      Third, new money is introduced by the government spending it into circulation for infrastructure, starting with the $2.2 trillion the engineers tell us is needed to properly maintain our infrastructure over the next 5 years. Infrastructure will include the necessary human infrastructure of health care and education.

      Banks are encouraged to continue lending as profit making companies, but are no longer allowed to create our money supply through their loan making activity.

      Thus, The NEED Act nationalizes the money system, not the banking system. Banking is absolutely not a proper function of government, but providing the nation’s money supply is a key function of government. No one else can do it properly. Talk of nationalizing the banking business really acts like a poison pill to block real reform. Same for talk of the states going into the banking business keeping the fractional reserve system in place, and allowing the banks to continue creating what we use for money! That would reform nothing and actually endorses the fractional reserve system! It is a farcical diversion, misleading some good people away from real monetary reform at the only time reform is possible – during a crisis. 
All serious Monetary reformers understand that banks can not be allowed to create our money supply.

      Despite prejudice against government, most people are surprised to learn that history shows government has a far superior record in controlling the money system than private controllers have. And yes that includes the continental currency, the Greenbacks and even the German Hyperinflation; which by the way took place under a completely privatized German central bank, with all governmental influence removed! These facts, though not taught in your econ classes, are discussed at length in my book The Lost Science of Money (by Stephen Zarlenga, to purchase:


Why listen to me? My University of Chicago training regarding independent thinking and reading fundamental sources; about 400 of which got into the bibliography. I’ve approached it honestly. I’ve been Director of the American Monetary Institute since 1996, after being its co-founder.

      Perhaps you will consider Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi’s Systems Dynamics study of the American Monetary Act? He examined it with the most advanced computer systemology and found that:

      It pays off the national debt


It provides the funds for infrastructure (solving the unemployment problem)

      It does this without causing inflation. 

      You can read his results at

      1. Nathanael

        Thanks for the information. Good to see that Kucinich is introducing the “do the right thing” bill.

    4. oliverks

      I think you’re right. If there is a comment element about OWS, it is they are the 99%. I think they are also deciding that the old rules don’t work. They feel the need to do something different.

      The message may never go through the mainstream media. It might end up going through new media channels, and people will need to move to those channels. This will leave DC befuddled, as it is still learning about the intertubes.

    5. Skidmore

      Unions?? Really? Unions are just a reflection in the mirror of big business. Why do you think Obama gave the autoworkers union a majority shareholder stake in GM? Unions are more involved in the corporate/government incestuous relationship than you would believe. Perhaps unions did good once upon a time but they are at the root of more economic degredation than not.

      1. LucyLulu

        Thanks, the video worked like a charm.

        Hopefully, that was some white shirts getting ready to join the ranks of the unemployed.

        I keep hearing the protestors referred to as being “anti-capitalism”, by both the left and the right. Since when does capitalism require corporate and financial entities’ control of the government, and the wealthiest 0.1% having 25% of the income (per Jeffrey Sachs in new book), the highest on record? I don’t think Ayn Rand even could begin to endorse our new brand of capitalism.

        1. Black Smith

          The oligarchs caused a massive financial meltdown that robbed my small business of customers. They are the ones who are anti-capitalist.

        2. Nathanael

          It all depends what you mean by “capitalism”.

          Veblen and several others have written about how unregulated capitalism leads to a “predator class” who eventually collapse the system into a non-functioning, abusive disaster. Like we just watched happen.

          On the other hand, Adam Smith discussed strong, aggressive regulations to force businesses to be honest and to break up monopolies — and other economists would add, strong regulations to force companies to pay for pollution — and other economists would add, regulations and a “safety net” to make sure workers could bargain from a position of power rather than from a “work or starve” position. This sort of capitalism seems vibrant and effective.

          But they’re not at all the same thing.

        1. lambert strether

          To clarify, the access bloggers in the political world, who are large exactly because of their partisan affiliations, were slow off the mark covering the occupations story, and then all began covering it at once, as if — shades of 2008 — they took their cue from a conference call. And they’re slow to cover the events as they break, no doubt because they have to take time fitting events into the frame of supporting the Ds. Blogs that don’t suffer from those constraints are able to cover the story faster.

    1. Rex

      Arrgh! I’m torn. Now I want to join in with the cops too…

      “beating and macing of local FOX News reporters”

      1. Michael Roberts

        Actually, local Fox stations are generally pretty OK. They’re just owned by the same people as FOX cable, but they don’t share the infotainment politics. Historically, they’re just local independent stations that were mostly purchased during the 80’s and 90’s as Murdoch grew.

    2. Daniel Pennell

      You are right. Attacking this movement only makes it stronger.

      My fear is that ay some point some group sympathetic but frustrated WILL act out violantly.

    3. Jeff

      Funny how Fox describes it as “being swatted”
      with “batons” and being hit with “irritant”…

      Isn’t it “Beat with clubs and maced?”

      What would the terms used be if the Fox reporters were
      being “swatted” by say, a group of Acorn activists
      or Longshoremen?

      Orwell is stirring here….

  6. stibbert

    white-shirt cop w/ the stick will have his name & personal info all over the net before midnight 10/7. is he a fool, or just a tool? is he angling for paid leave while under investigation for excessive force while looking for a job in corporate security?

    1. anon

      Was the white-shirt just waiting for a chance to finally let loose?

      That’s an inherent dimension of the “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” approach to the police state apparatus, I think….

      1. YankeeFrank

        From what I understand, the white shirts are desk jockeys. With all that human protest flesh pressing down on them, I can imagine some of these guys, who don’t “interface” with the public very often if at all, lost their nerve and started swinging. If my hunch is correct here, I’m wondering why the NYPD would put these guys out front like that.

  7. xrayd

    What the demonstrators want is CERTAINTY about their lives and their futures – of the sort this country provided before the era of “financial innovation.”

    They don’t like “uncertainty” any more that Wall Street does – but Wall Street can rely on bail outs and demand tax cuts and deregulation to eliminate uncertainty and take home fatter paychecks for itself.

    Wall street can spend millions on lobbyists and buy politicians. Washington delivers whatever they demand by calling themselves “job creators”.

    The demonstrators have a right to ask, Where are the jobs that are supposed to provide for their families?

    It’s that simple!

  8. craazyman

    “If you’re not rich, blame yourself.”
    -Herman Cain, Candidate for President of the United States of America, to Occupy Wall Street

    I’m not a presidential scholar, but it’s hard for me to imagine a more malignant, ignorant, mindless, consciousless and conciensceless statement uttered by anyone with aspirations to high political office in America.

    And given the hatefilled, spiritually corrupted, larcenous and kleptocratic bigots that have defiled the people’s houses, the senate and congress, over the centuries, there must be some stiff competition for Mr. Cain’s remark.

    Indeed, Mr. Cain’s ability to run for president, as a man who apparently descended from African ancestors, is possible only because such bigots, pyschopaths, morons, two-bid keptocrats and vicious murderers of Gnosis were put in their place — someplace in the Inferno, no doubt, upon leaving this world, where the flames of their karma burned their astral bodies like rice crispies — snap, crackle and pop — until they were able to SEE. The spirit always ascends through the torment of the flesh, even the astral flesh and even the aura of the astral flesh.

    Mr. Cain’s protest enunciates the horrific thesis of a morbid state of pysche, one that has locked down the American Mind, to the extent such a construct even exists in a collective whole, that to be rich is the highest aspiration of man. It may have been the highest aspiration of Mr. Cain. And in that he would not be alone. But it’s not the highest aspiration of anyone fully human, and this seems to me to be the essential energy empowering Occupy Wall Street and their supporters.

    In fact, the state of mind Mr. Cain captures in that comment is an embarrasment, a form of devolution, a collapse of consciousness to a state of pradation and conquest that prizes possession over creation and raw power over true potency, a form of immaturity and degeneration.

    This is our modern dilemma, to some degree. That such a state of consciousness is the operating system for global politics, economics and finance at nearly every level of being. A form of energy that so defiles and vilifies the human individual that rebellion against it is a certainty. The uncertainties are the form of that rebellion and the politics that will emerge from it.

    It will get complicated. The emergence of a global economy and the flows of capital it supports have — if they’re employed with conscience and consciousness embedded in every step of their process — the paradoxical ability to liberate, uplift and turn peasants into humans and into citizens, released from the nightmares of their local histories of caste, clan, totem, taboo, tribe and nation. But without conscience and consciousness, it’s a machine of death.

    Contemporary economics and finance has — through a theology that reduces and quantifies nearly every aspect of human interaction — created a death machine, and its altar boys such as Mr. Cain, Wall Street financiers and the politicians who suck off their tits, place little votive offerings on its altar in exchange for more and more and more of the only thing it has to offer — its empty vacuum of power and control.

    We’ve had enough of that god and his blind, corrupted and murderous stupidity. Admittedly It will be difficult to translate such a rebellion into a set of economic and political arrangments that don’t devolve back into the same monster. As the true proverb says “The dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” But not always.

    The Gnostic wave, finally, finally, is flowing and building and empowering and inspiring. Cynics never created anything worthwhile. Idiots only destroy. And opportunists distort and malign.

    God bless Occupy Wall Street.

    Matthew 10:16-20

    1. LeeAnne

      A screed worthy of the drama of the moment and a beautiful morning in the city. Thanks craazy :)

      now to see the 60+ year olds coming out -the generation that thought they were benefiting while their own disappeared into the shadows of poverty one downsizing after another.

    2. Ming

      Well written craazyman, well written. I liked your observation of wall street financiers acting as the altar boys of this poisonious religion.

    3. PossessionObsession

      Thank you so much for your passionate and articulate post.
      You’ve made my day. Your writing brings to mind the quote from Jimi Hendrix:

      “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

      Keep it up!

    4. Francois T

      I love the smell of indignation-driven well written prose in the morning. ;-)

      The short of it is crystal clear:

      The elites decided to worship the Golden Veal and the false idols of power for its own sake. The Sacred Texts of the most important faiths contain dire warnings about such behavior…

      Be it in Dc, NY or LA, this is something the Apostles of the General Asshatery should reflect upon, me think.

      1. ajax

        In the last two weeks approximately, the Republicans
        held the Florida straw poll, and Herman Cain won.
        He was facing Rick Perry and others.

  9. Yankee

    This is nothing but a political black hole. It’s to funnel dissent away from what is really happening. There is no leader. Why aren’t these being held at the center of power? White house, capital, courts. Didn’t these same people support the Janus in Chief? but no mention of him. We are all to pay attention to this while pension funds are being stolen. Look at what they’re doing to the post office, and now pension funds to payoff fraudulent mortgages. It’s so easy to steal in America, just sucker them with some stock 1960’s nostalgia.

    1. LucyLulu

      Yankee wrote: Why aren’t these being held at the center of power? White house, capital, courts.

      Some would argue that they ARE being held at the center of power. The politicians in Washington are not acting independently nor are they representing the interests of the citizens who live in their districts back home. They are in Washington to do the bidding of Wall Street and other top 1% moneyed interests.

      1. Yankee

        So you think those people are going to force Jaime Dimon to resign?
        You excersize political power in the political capital. Lafayette Park. Oh yeah, then they would have to admit they made a mistake and were taken for a ride voting for Obama.
        Everyone makes mistakes, now you have to admit to it and do something.

        1. Nathanael

          Really? They might well force Jamie Dimon to resign.

          Don’t forget, the French Revolution started in Paris, not Versailles, and the Russian Revolution started in Moscow, not St. Petersburg. Protests in Australia don’t start in Canberra, they start in Sydney or Melbourne. Bonn was never the center of protests in West Germany… etc.

          New York is the largest metropolitan area in the US, the center of finance, and the place which *would* be the capital if the capital hadn’t been gerrymandered into a silly location. DC is one of those artificial capitals — protests will naturally start in the “main city” of the country, not in the artificial city set up for the power elite.

        2. Maximilien

          Sorry. Power is where the money is, not where politicians stage their theater. As Nathanael points out, the French Revolution began in Paris (the center of economic activity) not Versailles (where aristocrats whiled away their days playing court games).

          IMO, the protesters are correct to choose Wall Street as their target.

    2. anon

      Did you miss the part where OWS participants when and supported the Post Office strike?
      Did you watch the FOX5 video linked above, in which a public employee in NYC who marched yesterday with OWS spoke about what’s happening to pension funds?

      Did you miss the following OWS action in support of Teamsters at Sotheby’s?

      “Leaders” quite often are not all they’re cracked up to be, Yank. :)

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “Did you miss the following OWS action in support of Teamsters” –

        Right, because The Teamsters is such a stellar organization right?

        Of course, you didn’t hear about The Teamsters Local 25 literally closing a business here last week in North Reading, MA did you? You know, vandalizing the building, slashing employees tires, etc. because they didn’t want unionization. Now 40 employees have no job at all. What’s even more ironic (sadly), now there’s a bill due to the cops for the detail they had to provide, who also happen to be…Teamster Local 25 members.

        These protests are now being hijacked here in Boston by unions, specifically nurses and other public employee unions. Not that that the list of “demands” (i.e. free college) were ridiculous to begin with, as some of the protestors don’t have a basic concept of what they’re protesting to begin with. If they did, they would see the current President of the United States and the majority of CONgress are full funded and bankrolled by the very people they are protesting.

        The joke is on them.

        1. anon

          Oh look, here’s Woodrow Wilson on the scene just in time for some off-topic union bashing. Quelle surprise! :)

          I didn’t argue that unions are perfect institutions. Instead, I showed that OWS protests are not occurring in a vacuum, apart from existing institutions, as the original poster claimed.

          1. Woodrow Wilson

            “Did you miss the following OWS action in support of Teamsters at Sotheby’s?” –

            You brought the unions into the conversation, so it’s not off-topic.

            If you want to call it bashing, so bet it. Unions here in Boston are taking advantage for their own motives. Not that they need help on that front, specifically The Teamsters (that you specifically mention) as Beacon Hill is fully in support of them.

        2. Yankee

          I would bash the unions for total ineffectiveness to support working people. This president is pushing through new free trade agreements while we are in a depression. Where are the unions? Nurses unions get stabbed in the back by president two face over single payer health. Why haven’t they gone after them?
          The fix for the postal service? Handing over their pensions to solve the forced retirement healthcare prefunding bill. What? Why didn’t they demand the law be overturned completely.

          Totally useless political leadership.

        3. Francois T

          The bad ass Teamsters did away with 40 jobs while Wall Street did away with 10 million…and counting.

          Your sense of proportionality is stunningly on the mentally-challenged side, no?

          1. Woodrow Wilson

            “Your sense of proportionality is stunningly on the mentally-challenged side, no?” –

            No, but your infantile inference that one is better than the other is.

          2. to serve and protect...the rich

            Ha ha Woodrow!
            You showed that guy that 40 lost jobs was the same as 10 million. What a Looo-hooo-seer!
            “Infantile inference”– I love it. You should dress up as an “insulter” for Haloween.

          3. Woodrow Wilson

            I get it now!

            to serve and protect…the rich and Francois T, likely union shills, believe it’s bad what Wall Street is doing, which I agree it is.

            However, it’s ok when a union causes destruction of private property, like slashing tires and cutting gas lines (which they did), not to mention the union forcing their will, upon the free-will of a private business owner who doesn’t believe in the unions.

            Yes, that is perfectly normal, I seem to remember a time in history that was like that. Pretty sure it didn’t work out too well then either.

            Six-in-one, half-dozen in the other, both want to enslave. No thanks.

          4. ambrit

            Dear WW;
            Go read the history of the original union wars during the Robber Baron era. Union men and women did much more than slash tires and cut fuel lines. They had to, their very lives were at stake. Either from starvation promoted by the rentier class, or from the bosses’ thugs and goons. The reason for the union movement is to afford everyone the chance at a decent living. When the rentier class tries, and so far succeeds, to break the unions, living standards drop across all levels, except the top tiers. Sooner or later this pent up anger and rage will break out. Then, the owners and manipulators will look back at the OWS phenomenon with nostalgia. While they dodge bricks and worse.

          5. Woodrow Wilson

            “Sooner or later this pent up anger and rage will break out.” –

            So what are people like yourself waiting for?

            Put your money where e-mouth is.

      2. Yankee

        That’s right. What happened with the mass action in Wisconsin? That certainly disappeared, coopted by the worthless Democratic Party. The unions will continue to support Obama, who have done nothing but serve the oligarchs on wall street. Why are they on wall street when they should be running the prez out on a rail and most of congress.

        1. Francois T

          You noticed they didn’t try to launch an #OccupyWashingtonDC.

          I guarantee you they’ve received credible threats that doing so would be very detrimental to their future.

          1. BDBlue

            Actually, there now is an #occupydc action going, just as there are many others around the nation.

            OWS also endorsed the protests, which are an occupation of Freedom Plaza, two blocks from the WH. Planning for this occupation began before OWS, but they have sought to support each other. I have no idea what will happen at the big DC protest, but it is also intended to be an occupation.

        2. YankeeFrank

          Listen Yankee, I’m the yankee around these parts, stop trying to horn in on my moniker bitch!

          But seriously, get a clue before you start moaning. Did you see one “Obama 2012” poster or supporter anywhere in or near OWS? I haven’t and I’ve been looking. These people are out there because they were betrayed by the slick talking swindler Obama. His election successfully dampened the rebellious mood of the country for three long years… but not anymore. We’re fed up, with him, with all of these so-called “leaders” and “masters of the universe”. I spit on their hubris and lies.

          So quit your whining. Wall Street is the perfect place for this cause to erupt. The woes of the world have been written on the back of a bank credit slip since time immemorial. Its time the American revolution be completed — we got the political, we got the individual, now we need the economic! Down with bank-centered finance and up with the people. That’s why OWS is OWS and not ODC or whatever.

  10. Jim in MN


    See what you think of this. I know I haven’t posted for a while, but I continue to think you’re one of the best in the business. This is an attempt to fill the ‘list of demands’ void which a lot of folk are starting to fill with single shot halfway measures or their pre-existing agendas. This is an effort to get right at the gut of the corruption and TBTF aspects. Please let me know what you think. Also, sorry if you have already posted your advice on this and I missed it somehow –Jim in MN


    1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately
    2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years
    3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
    4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
    5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
    6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
    7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years
    1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately
    2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years
    3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
    4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
    5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years
    7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

    1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase
    2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities
    3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation
    1. No financial institution with assets of more then $10 billion will receive federal assistance or any ‘arm’s-length’ bailouts
    2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients
    3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad

    1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.
    2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules
    3. Any health or life insurance company with more than $100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.
    1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years

    1. LucyLulu

      Do you mind if I ask where this list of demands came from? In other words, who wrote them?

      The list reflects the movement’s general ideology of needing to replace the current powers that be with one that is more representative of public interest (vs. the top 1%) but the list is more specific in how to do this than anything I’ve previously heard.

      1. Jim in MN

        I wrote it at my kitchen table at 4:00 this morning. I wanted folks’ take here as it is a bit more deliberative than, say, Zero Hedge.

    2. Steve


      This is a good start, but it addresses just a fraction of the problem. And that’s the whole point: OWS is an guided missile because it’s a lot easier to protest than it is to develop solutions. That doesn’t invalidate OWS’ efforts, but it points out the immensity of the problem.

      The tacit predicate of the protest – that everything in America was great until Wall Street screwed it up – is bullshit. The Wall Street crisis was a symptom of our ills, not the proximate cause. That doesn’t mean WS shouldn’t be held to account, but it takes a special naivete to think our problems would go away if only Lloyd Blankfein were run out of town.

      You don’t have to read Howard Zinn to know that the rich have always run America. They are probably more controllable and accountable today than they ever were. I’m not justifying kleptocracy or crony capitalism. But we will have to do much more soul searching and -dare I say it – thinking about the depth and causes of our ills.

      1. aet

        Yeah, I kinda agree.

        There’s nothing wrong here – except for the lack of proper re-distribution of the profits which are now concentrated in far fewer hands than formerly, due to the tech changes which have enabled much much more to be produced using far far less, including especially, far far less paid wage labour. Good for the owners of the machines and the inputs, but bad for society.

        How so?

        Well – no jobs for those sons with strong backs with weak minds? No husbands for the homely daughters?

        If so, then society is truly failing in its task.

        I’m being serious.

        There are far too many “losers” in America – but what constitutes “losing” always depends on how people think about things – and especially, about other people.

        Change the thinking, to change the world.

        Or if that’s too much work, then change your behaviour instead – simply be kinder to others, especially those you consider to be “losers”; that would be a good start.

        And it’s not difficult either; people could even start by firstly being kinder to themselves; and that would help, as I’ve noticed that those who hurt others, have usually hurt themselves (or have been hurt themselves) first.

        1. alex

          “profits which are now concentrated in far fewer hands than formerly, due to the tech changes which have enabled much much more to be produced using far far less, including especially, far far less paid wage labour”

          If technology is the cause of the problem, then how do you explain that we had the same inequitable distribution in the 1920’s, when tech was far more primitive?

          For that matter, what about the Middle Ages? The lord of the manor didn’t have many times more than the average person because he could rely on machines instead of serfs. Or what about ancient Egyptian pharaohs vs. the average peasant?

          Ever since we gave up hunter-gatherer bands for larger and more complex societies we’ve had the potential for, and usually the reality of, grossly unequal distributions. So the problem is clearly social organization, not the technological changes of the last few decades.

          1. aet

            World War One – the cause of the crises of the 1920s, all of them – was the war which first brougfht home how very destructive the technology of war had become.

            The crises of the 1920s were also a result of the development of tech.

            Marx would call these tech developments “crises of over-production’: and would go on to predict that therefore capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction, in that it works all too well. I fundamentally disagree with Marx, since tech advances cannot be predicted. Marx mistook the tech of his times as representative of ALL future tech – and in this he was grotesquely wrong. his theory of technology was in error….

            I don’t think people can accurately predict the future of technology, and thus its effect on economic relations – Marx, religious types, and peak oil theorists think they can. IMHO, a study of the history of technology reveals all such claims to be bunk.

            The tech of the 1920s may seem “primitive” now; but for those then alive, it was to them as our cutting-edge technologies seem to us today – and every bit as dis-ruptive of the “old ways”.

            Speaking generally, profits ought to have dropped as prices fell, the latter being the natural result of automation and computer tech reducing the costs of business over the past thirty years – but they haven’t done so for many goods: so it’s time to re-distribute.

            If the beneficiaries of the adoption of more efficient technologies of production won’t drop their prices as their costs fall, the society must increase the taxes on their profits, and return it to the consumers – who ought in justice to be getting the benefit of the tech, but who on the contrary, have seen their welfare decrease even as the use of tech – and the profits from its use – have greatly increased.

          2. alex

            “The tech of the 1920s may seem “primitive” now; but for those then alive, it was to them as our cutting-edge technologies seem to us today”

            Yes, and 11,000 years ago in the Youger-Dryas period agriculture was a genuinely cutting edge technology. My point is that we have not reached some magic tipping point where our technology suddenly makes labor disposable. Anytime there is a production surplus (and that includes when agriculture was introduced) there is potential for rent-seeking and excessive accumulation by a few.

            “profits ought to have dropped as prices fell, the latter being the natural result of automation and computer tech reducing the costs of business over the past thirty years – but they haven’t done so for many goods”

            The excessive profits, both now and in the 1920’s, are not for goods, but mostly for “services” like finance, whose basic business hasn’t changed in centuries. Rent-seeking and bubble scams. Psst, want to buy some stock in the South Sea Company?

          3. Calgacus

            The tech of the 1920s may seem “primitive” now; but for those then alive, it was to them as our cutting-edge technologies seem to us today – and every bit as disruptive of the “old ways”. Tangential to the discussion – but technological advance was more disruptive back then. Historians of technology are pretty much unanimous – and one merely has to say it to realize it is true – that the century from 1850-1950 had more technological change than any period before or since. Horse & buggy to H-bombs. Changes since 1950 are comparatively piddling.

          4. alex


            I agree with you, but few people seems to appreciate that. Maybe it’s all the hype about “increasing pace of technological change”, or a belief that we live in a unique era, or that 1950 seems “old”. But yes, to people who only have horses the railroad was a bigger change than anything we’ve seen since.

            After the transcontinental railroad was built you could safely travel coast-to-coast in a few days instead of dangerous months by wagon (or sailing ship around the Horn or across the isthmus). Going from railroad to airliner is actually a much lesser change.

          5. psychohistorian

            I think the elephant in the room here is:

            Private ownership of things.

            How in the hell do we go forward from here where one-tenth of one percent of the population of the world OWN everything? Are we going to become the Rentier society? I can see the cover for international genocide being the creation of “voluntary” soylent green contributors for their family……

            I was at OccupyPortland today and asked a few folks if they could give up their small ownership of things and they said unanimously NO!!!!

            It is way past time for humanity to have some public discussions about social structure and purpose beyond the bounds of what exists. I fear if we don’t we will “choose” more repression instead.

        2. Ming

          Why do you refer to some others of American society as ‘Losers’? When one considers how many in America have lost future job prospects due to the pernicious policy of Free trade ( which in effect has institutionalized a global (slightly better than) poverty wage) and the major lies and false promises that have been used to justify it (I.e. Low wage, low tech, or low skilled jobs will be shipped over seas, while high wage, high skilled , or high tech jobs would be retained and expanded), it is fair to say that ordinary Americans have been lied to and cheated, they had no fair chance of ‘winning ‘.

          1. Mel

            As a jibe, it’s a cruel jibe .. but it isn’t always a jibe. Because of arguments just like yours it’s becoming a technical term. Losers are the people who have lost.

            It shows up in the Gervais Principle

            And Kurt Vonnegut, from 1972:

            If I were a visitor from another planet, I would say things like this about the people of the United States in 1972:
            [ … ] I would say, “The two real political parties in America are the _Winners_ and the _Losers_. The people do not acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the _Republicans_ and the _Democrats_, instead.
            “Both imaginary parties are bossed by Winners. When Republicans battle Democrats, this much is certain: Winners will win.”

            (“In a Manner that Must Shame God Himself” in _Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons_, also_Harper’s Magazine_)

            The book gets a “God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut!” from THE NEW YORK TIMES –which leaves you wondering.

      2. alex

        “The tacit predicate of the protest – that everything in America was great until Wall Street screwed it up”

        It’s nonsense to say that that’s their “tacit predicate”. They’re complaining about a specific set of problems, not promising Nirvana if those problems are fixed.

        “he rich have always run America. They are probably more controllable and accountable today than they ever were.”

        No, it was worse during the Gilded Age, which is actually a reason to be optimistic that change is possible.

          1. alex

            Their complaints are a lot more specific than your “we will have to do much more soul searching and -dare I say it – thinking about the depth and causes of our ills”.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Why do they need an agenda? Obama was asked twice about them in a press conference today. Has any other group so disconcerted TPTB in recent years?

            They are building this on their timetable and it seems to be extremely effective.

            And the idea that they have to make demand is silly. The “We are the 99%” says it all. The number participating are far too small for the effort to have any bargaining leverage or to be perceived to represent anyone. Yet.

            What is hugely disconcerting to the MSM and the officialdom is the lack of demands and the lack of easy to identify leadership These need to be understood as strengths, not weaknesses. The labor union movement was over time completely discredited because the leadership was quickly corrupted and sold out the membership.

            The “We are the 99%” is a VERY powerful message. It basically says “We don’t need to negotiate. This is our country and we want it back from the top 1% which has been selling us out.” The 1% know damned well what the 99% want. If you forced any 10 in the top 1% of them to make a list of 10 things they thought the other 99% wanted, I guarantee you’d have no more than 16 real issues (at most) among the 100 answers you’d get in total. And I strongly suspect the 99% would agree or at most restate them.

            If they relent and say anything, they are MUCH better off making a general statement along the “We Are 99%” that holds their ground, and makes clear that their first priority is establishing their presence, building a critical mass and representation around the US. There may be a clever way of throwing the demand for demands back on the media: “It has taken years to create this mess, the public has been sold on the idea that it is powerless. Our first aim is to convey that the bottom 99% doesn’t merely have the right to a seat at the table, it should not have to negotiate with the top 1% because the elites depend on our acquiescence and support for their very survival.”

          3. aletheia33

            yves, as you often write so clearly about the practices and principles of negotiations, your statement here that the 99% ‘s understanding that they do not need to negotiate is quite powerful. hope you continue to clarify this point for new readers going forward.

          4. aletheia33

            “understanding that they do not need”

            should read:
            “understanding is that they do not need”

      3. Jim in MN

        Yes, this is not ‘everything’. It’s not even ‘everything financial’. Financial market reform–high frequency trading, dark pools, derivatives etc.–is also left out.

        Under the current circumstances of extreme crisis, it seems to me that the critical thing is to hone in on the nexus of damaging (psychopathic) power relations and disrupt it in several ways at once–legally, financially and physically. Make cushy revolving-door Manhattan careers illegal.

        There is no bringing home the troops, taxing the rich, dismantling the welfare state, legalizing ‘it’, banning ‘that’, border defense or full employment plan here. It is just about breaking the back of the corruption that precludes sane discussion of all of these other important things.

        There isn’t even a limit on corporate compensation or bonuses in here. Limiting distractions.

      4. Maximilien

        @Steve: “… takes a special naivete to think our problems would go away if only Lloyd Blankfein were run out of town.”

        I think I can (un-naively) assure you, 80% of our problems would go away if 80% of the Blankfeins were run out of town. You see, that’s the biggest problem of all: the finance sector has grown far too large and politically influential.

    3. Patricia

      I’d also like a link. I’ve seen several different proposals floating over the last week or two, put forward by various people in the movement but I’ve seen nothing formal.

      I doubt they’re ready.

      1. Jim in MN

        These financial blogs are actually the best place in the world to figure this out. You are the link. This is it.

        1. Patricia

          Yeah well, I’d rather that you write your proposals honestly, as from you, “the part of the 99% sitting at home.” Your ideas deserve it.

          I’ve had more than enough of deceit, propaganda, and other little trickses.

          From what I gather so far, “the part of the 99% in protest” recognize that the financial shenanigans in our society are fundamental but not all that needs overhaul. Good proposals such as yours would be part of a larger picture. For that alone, it’s best to be honest.

      2. ajax

        I believe “they” (ows) may have a Manifesto.
        This Manifesto was critiqued in the New York Times
        on-line today. The New York Times provides a site for
        this (alleged) Manifesto. I really don’t know
        the story behind this (alleged) Manifesto …

      3. JasonRines

        The American people are the employer. The government is the employee. What is happening here is the employer is terminated the employee. Of course, once you have empowered an employee with too much power, they believe they are indestructable. And then when fired will attempt to destroy the employer so they cant compete. Such behavior is insane but welcome to evolution. Those in power which are middle managers which have grown fat and lazy, unwilling to compete without a ten mile headstart tl cheat. They are no match for the hungry hyenias in the end.

    4. David

      Staffing counts at the Treasury and Fed reduced to 1980 levels. Salaries at the Treasury and Fed reduced to a maximum of $150,000. No bailouts. Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke removed. No market intervention. Maybe these people will be supporting Rick Perry or Herman Cain.

      1. Jim in MN

        Partisanship is the enemy. No Coke, no Pepsi. Get in front of the White House and demand they fire all the Goldmanites. This Administration (which I supported in several ways) essentially destroyed its own chances of governance with its insider financial team selection. Perhaps some ‘people power’ would help them figure some things out.

        As for Perry and Cain….uh…no one cares. Just sayin’. We clearly need a New National Party with a moderate core. As a progressive myself, it seems obvious that the party structure needs to be seriously overhauled. But the relationship of that need to the peoples’ immediate demands vis-a-vis financial sector risk management is pretty tricky. Furthermore, lots of people have spent lots of time on that angle. So here (a FINANCIAL blog) we discuss the financial/political economy angle.

        1. Nathanael

          I hate self-described “moderate” politics.

          What we need is a party with an *honest* core, which gives a damn about the 99%. Well, actually we need two or more such parties.

          1. Jim in MN

            Personally I have a highly provocative notion of ‘moderate’. You could call it radically moderate. As in, combining party platforms from the 1950s. Ever check up on Eisenhower tax rates? But, and this is the key, you take over and stamp out the corruption. I think we need a pretty long ‘time out’ from imperialism, the military industrial complex, and even some good things that we just can’t afford for a decade or so.

            Just….stop. Let folks invest, rebuild basic stuff. Teach kids.

            Moderate, but for a lot of the elite it would be GAME OVER.

    5. Jeff

      How about this one demand…probably would take
      care of most of the grievances long term?
      This stood out among all the comments I’ve ever seen
      repeated at Naked Capitalism:

      F. Beard says:
      October 2, 2011 at 6:12 am

      We made a big mistake with the FDIC. Instead of insuring private bank deposits, the US Government as the sole issuer of its currency (ignoring the FED for the sake of argument) should have created a free, 100% risk free-money storage and check clearing service that did not lend or borrow money.

      And once the population has a safe place to store its cash then all government privileges for the banks can be eliminated without concern for the depositors. There would no longer be guaranteed interest but on the other hand without the extreme bank leverage that government privilege allows there would be far less price inflation risk and the banks would be far safer too for those who sought interest.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Jeff, you’re definitely onto something here. I would add one thing though, these state banks, which essentially is what you are talking about, must be locally run, so the money we put in them is locally invested, and so the local community can have total say in how the money is invested and where, with complete transparency and local democratic control.

    6. orionATL


      you precisely reflect my thoughts on who to fire, with one exception:

      fed chair ben bernanke – check

      u.s. sec of treasury timothy geithner – check


      u.s. attorney general eric holder

      the strategy i would use would not be to simply chantingly demand each of their resignations, rather it would be to continuously focus on the president’s complicity – his appointment of and persistant suppprt for these three officials – example after example after example.

      let’s see how much election-year heat the prez can take before he dumps the three.

      1. Jim in MN

        The ban on Goldmanites and Morganians and TBTF lawyers (oh, my!) is a pretty crisp demand for in front of the White House. Holder would be in that crew. Covington & Burling has plenty of TBTF grease on their hands.

        Get ’em all.

    7. Jerrydenim

      You’ve defintely on the right track but I think you’ve got to dream much bigger. Asking that Ben Bernake resign and the NY Fed be shuttered for three years implies that the people have no problem with our economic system as it is currently constituted and we only need to replace a few bad actors and tidy a few things up. No! This misses what the OWS protests are all about. The people want a clean start. Economic freedom and true personal liberty cannot be achieved as long as a secretive and private cabal of bankers controls the money supply of the United States. The constitution is very clear that only the United States government has the right to coin money but we have given that authority over to a corrupt banking cartel. A total overhaul of our monetary system is necessary. We must do away with privately controlled debt-based money. The commenter Bev has already made this point above, as have Ellen Brown, which Yves has published on this site before. The Fed and our current monetary system is inherently corrupt and intentionally built for gaming by a select few. Abolishing this system must be the first demand of any attempt at revolution and the next must be no private or corporate money in campaigns, ever! Of course a long manifesto would be preferable if you were exercising control from a position of power but this two simple monumental changes would go a long way towards correcting the lesser ills that plague our lives. If we are going to dream of revolution we must dream big but also simple ideas are easier to sell, easier to comprehend and seem more realistic and less off-putting than a long list of demands that seem like that have been cobbled together by a Fabian socialist bank robber. We are in charge here, we are only governed by our consent. Instead of presenting a long list of demands to our overlords asking that the prison implement more humane rules why not emancipate ourselves and shift the entire paradigm to something more just?

        1. Jim in MN

          All I can say is, without a blade you don’t have an axe. This is the blade. What happens afterwards is a different story and no, there is no intended support of the status quo on my part. But if you don’t cauterize the main nexus of the political economic disease, nothing else happens.

          1. jerry denim

            Fair enough, and yes I agree all of your suggested ‘demands’ are very good proposals, but If I may use your axe analogy your list of demands aims to prune some ugly limbs, whereas I am saying, “we got an axe right here in our hands so why not swing it all right at the trunk and cut down the whole rotten tree?”

            My two proposals are surely overly simplistic and not comprehensive enough, but my point is 1.) keep it simple and 2.) aim right for the rotten heart; the very nature of our monetary system.

  11. lambert strether

    Expanding: This is the story, the self-organizing of the Occupiers. That is, naturally, exactly what the powers that be are seeking to prevent. The dynamics, also, are very similar to the open source model: Contribute, and win power, as the institution defines power.

    1. Richard Kline

      Self-organizing, on an exponential growth trajectory. I have much liking for that . . . .

      Demands are over-stated. Process is under-rated. Community is radically underestimated by everyone except radicals.

      Look, we all _know_ what is wrong: this is what the media misses because the media have been the prime accomplices in obscuring all that is wrong in our society. We know you got robbed. We know who got jobbed. We know who the crooks are, and where they work, and where they live. We know the powers that be like things EXACTLY LIKE THEY ARE RIGHT NOW, but that we, the 99% don’t like these things. At all. So we are going to get our community on and change some of these things. And the powers that be and the 1%, they really don’t like or get that because they have worked for decades to get the community broken up into stuffed, sedated individuals hiding in their kennels as debt slaves. And lo! it’s those so far down in the community that they have neither kennels nor in many cases debt (because zero credit) who are seceding from that system, to seed some community mind gardens. Or mind some community seed beds. Or mine some anti-community power tracks; with flowers and hamburgers.

      C’mon down folks, let’s get our community on. You’ve nothing to lose but your plastic . . . .

      1. Barbyrah

        Favorite quote of mine that seems to fit what you’re saying:

        “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
        Buckminster Fuller

  12. Goin' South

    This is getting serious. A status quo political consultant like Matt Stoller is starting to get it. Bit by bit, it dawns on him that this isn’t about convincing some politician to do something but instead it seeks to rid the world of politicians. Watching Stoller’s evolution is a testament to the power of this movement.

    And for the commenter above who again misused “anarchist,” the strange, wonderful, human “order” you see in Zucotti Square is anarchism in practice. It’s order without bosses and leaders. It derives from our own human impulse toward cooperation for mutual survival rather than a fear of authority.

    1. Barbyrah

      “It derives from our own human impulse toward cooperation for mutual survival…”

      Hopefully to evolve from cooperation as a means of survival…to cooperation as a way to exponentially expand “thrival.”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          First, Stoller has operated mainly outside the system.

          Second, people can be in (or occasionally in) the system and not be “of” it. I’m another example.

          Third, Stoller is not supportive of the status quo. To claim that is barmy.

    2. wunsacon

      >> A status quo political consultant like Matt Stoller

      How “statuos quo” is he? He consulted to Alan Grayson, who had maverick ideas, maverick presentation, and lost his most recent election thanks to a flood of political money from the GOP.

  13. doom

    Bottom-up organization makes elites very nervous. They want to be reassured by hearing traditional political pap: incremental scraps of half-assed programs. So you get,

    “What are your goals??”
    peace, social justice.
    “They have no goals!”
    ….peace. social justice.
    Peace. Social justice.

    Sounds absurdly vague to them, but if elites ever dared look at the chapter and verse of peace and social justice, the meticulously-articulated consensus of transnational ‘leftists’ around the world (a.k.a. rights and rule of law advocates), they would shit a brick.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      ” … peace. social justice…”

      Right, we have some admirable goals that almost everyone will accept — peace and justice. Next we must spread these goals to more and more people until almost all people accept these goals as their own. And we must spread these goals to almost all organizations. And then what? Then, or simultaneously with goal spreading, we work step by step to change, reorganize, or dismantle and replace parts of our systems so that the new/revised systems operate to achieve these goals. Some early specific changes might be: Eliminate financial gambling; Reorganize and constrain the world money and banking systems; Change our election systems so that money has no influence; …

  14. bob

    The paid blog comment hacks must be working overtime with this one. Every MENTION of “it” is being completely bombarded with talking points.

    Watch this traffic, follow the money.

  15. Patricia

    Best observations I’ve heard yet, Max. I’ve noticed this about some in our youngest adult generation—they build structure for action out of their relationships. It is fascinating that a group brought up on facebook, gameboy, tv, vids, and twitter are so patient with each other and with their goals.

    Their snail-like pace drives me nuts but I realize that is truly my own problem. When my daughter comes home with friends, they are very polite when I talk (which I give with points expanding in all directions). Their responses simply deflect the urgency. Making me feel rueful.

    1. Bill, backwater Arkansas

      Kids these days don’t know how to talk to their elders. In my day, we knew to talk simply and directly and answer every question with a “Yes, Sir” or a “No, M’am.” Now I can’t even understand what they are saying with all their slang talk.

  16. Barbyrah

    “One organization, called Rebuild the Dream, is focused on a message organized around “The American Dream”. This organization was started by former White House staffer Van Jones, and is packed with former Obama boosters who proclaimed their love for Obama in 2008. They are similarly ebullient about #OccupyWallStreet, to them the people are finally rising. Interestingly, the first speech I heard at #OccupyWallStreet during soapbox time was a fairly explicit rejection of the notion of an American dream. Many people draw their inspiration from Tahrir Square, hardly a fount of Americana circa 1950. In other words, many of these people simply do not seem to be traditional liberals…”

    Thanks for highlighting, Matt. YES.

    1. Van Jones and company co-option plan now in Phase I;
    2. Jones and company assume, using seductive “middle class” lingo, they’ll be able to tap into the “Occupy” energy and covertly bring it “into the fold” of the Democratic Party (even as they deny any and all manner of affiliation, which goes to show what the integrity level of “Rebuild the Dream” actually is);
    3. First thing I thought of when I heard that “American Dream” schtick is, how 1950s-ish, with zero acknowledgment that such a “Dream” usually came at a high cost to other peoples and countries of the world (“we” extract their resources via U.S. gov’t/MIC-backed corporate bullies who bribe their way through and wreak havoc on the [almost always non-Caucasian] populations – slave wages, torture, assassinations, jailings, military build ups, environmental death and destruction, etc. But hey – I get to live the “American Dream” as a result, so – whoopie!);
    4. Consequently…uh, thanks but no thanks to this slick marketing slogan that’s attempting to manipulate the masses based on some kind of clannish/tribal/primitive reptile-brain based, “My turn! It’s my turn to own a lot of stuff! Not just a house. Give me…a big car! Give me…a big TV! Give me…a big…well, whatever! Give me MORE STUFF! Yeahhhhh American Dream!”

    Appreciate you noting this because that “American Dream” branding has been with us so long we rarely stop and ask ourselves what it really means. Especially as it relates to the well-being of the global community.

    It’s time we did.

    1. Barbyrah

      Add: from the October2011 website:

      “…the leadership of Rebuild the Dream is going in a very different direction than the October2011 Movement. Rebuild the Dream’s first priority is to elect Democratic Party politicians, while our priority is to stop the corrupt machine that includes the Democratic Party. October2011 recognizes that the system is corrupt and that working with either of the corporate-dominated, big money parties will not create the movement we need to change the direction of the country.”

      1. tar, etc.

        THAT is why last night’s PBS news coverage – all in all a sympathetic piece on the OWS – but the reporter said the common theme from everyone was that the American dream was dead. I thought it odd at the time, because he made no mention of words like “corruption,” which I hear mentioned over and over again.

        That’s how it works: implant the meme. Demand: restore the dream. Reaction: vote for the same crooked bastards that haven’t done jack diddly since the nightmare began in 1980 – or fill in your preferred decade/century here.

  17. Jason Rines

    The political leadership is being fired. That is what OWS this is about: .

    Timmy doesn’t really care. He did his job as a criminal and is done. Now he thinks he’ll head overseas and chill while the world burns. Perhaps that would have happened if this was before the days of WMD’s. It is an end of an era which begin in 1770’s. The next cycle is going to be awsome but the next ten years of shedding lots of old institutional norms as we decentralize will be most challenging. Being prepared mentally is priority number one. Do not give in to despair because while a decade more of maddening and dangerous bullshit sounds like a long time, think of how fast 2001 to 2011 has come and gone.

    The Dutch learned when persecuted for decades by the Spanish Empire that hope was not necessary to perservere. Your mental preparedness should be to persevere this next decade. Oh year, the Dutch took over as empire after the Spanish one fell. Abundent energy for sustainable expansion is always the solution. Once U.S. management has been fired, restructing our financial system comes first followed immediately by a sound energy policy.

    America has millions of older and extremely bright engineers waiting to get busy along with tens of millions of other people to do heavy lifting at a livable wage. The Internet doesn’t care if these engineers work in their pajamas by telecommuting and we can have all the data we need for a fiscal policy in three months.

    The leadership is running out the clock until 2013 and fiddling but the reality is the American people won’t wait. America will become independent and restore sovereignty. That is going to piss off a lot of nations that expected America to stay out of the global competition game (East) for another 10-15 years. Trade wars are happening and where trade stops, armies follow.

    1. aet

      Oh yeah, nationalism and division along ethnic and religious lines is the answer. Sure it is.

      On the contrary! War is no good for anybody except those seeking to gain territory…

      Oh yeah, how are those American wars in Iraq and afganistan going?

      And you want more war! Because it is in America’s interest, you claim!

  18. za

    “Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism.”

    I vote this sentence Winner of the Internets today.

  19. LeeAnne

    the 99% is a metaphor for revolution. one is inclusive of victims of the 1%; the other a metaphor for violence.

    to change corruption from the head on down, a revolution is required; nothing less. it could be peaceful -but then again, given police eagerness to make it violent (the have all the weapons and hope for drones in the sky) -well, we’ll see.

    concentration of the media that makes this and other news blackout possible, with only one point of view being published, obviously requires a revolution in corporate finance. but then, so does the court system that’s given away freedom of the people to police power.

  20. Paul Tioxon


    People need not only to obtain things, they need above all the freedom to make things among which they can live, to give shape to them according to their own tastes, and to put them to use in caring for and about others. Prisoners in rich countries often have access to more things and services than members of their families, but they have no say in how things are to be made and cannot decide what to do with them. Their punishment consists in being deprived of what I shall call “conviviality.” They are degraded to the status of mere consumers.

    I choose the term “conviviality” to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man-made environment. I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value. I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain level, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively satisfy the needs it creates among society’s members.

    Present institutional purposes, which hallow industrial productivity at the expense of convivial effectiveness, are a major factor in the amorphousness and meaninglessness that plague contemporary society. The increasing demand for products has come to define society’s process. I will suggest how this present trend can be reversed and how modern science and technology can be used to endow human activity with unprecedented effectiveness. This reversal would permit the evolution of a life style and of a political system which give priority to the protection, the maximum use, and the enjoyment of the one resource that is almost equally distributed among all people: personal energy under personal control. I will argue that we can no longer live and work effectively without public controls over tools and institutions that curtail or negate any person’s right to the creative use of his or her energy. For this purpose we need procedures to ensure that controls over the tools of society are established and governed by political process rather than by decisions by experts.

    When Matt talks about the politics of the shopping mall, I keep leaping to Ivan Illich and his critiques of a life of consumption vs a life of action. What the Occupy people want will not be a mass consumption based branding, idea or movement. It is in the process of being born. It will develop, and grow, and vary from person to person, from action to action, decision by decision, through trial and error. There will be informed people and people who will fo out and try to be more informed in order to take more action and make better decisions.

    I believe I can help make a contribution by not trying to figure out who the occupiers are and what they want, but trying to work with the Naked Capitalism Community to support a place for Occupiers to go, to read about the political economy, about money, about policy debates, so they can continue to act, to decide for themselves. I would like to enable them to be better, stronger more empowered as a source of political debate, debunking, inauthentic policy exposes and the like.

    1. jerry denim

      Not at all what you’re talking about, but speaking of reading, I stopped by Zucotti park and donated my copy of “Econned” to the OWS library. I donated all of my other books in the same vein as well. They are much better off in the hands of an eager protester with a hungry mind than collecting dust on my book shelf.

      I’m still hoping Yves will agree to host a meet-up event at Zuccoti park. How awesome would that be! Naked Capitalism readers getting together with the Occupy Wall Streeters and exchanging ideas and support… Wow. I’m hoping…

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I’m in Alabama now (no Occupys here) and not back until mid next week, and the first few days back are hellish. But weekend after next might work.

      2. aletheia33

        i hope yves will go to help teach at zuccotti park just as joseph stiglitz and jeff madrick have done. i hope to see a visit from yves to #OWS on video, at least, and to see a q. and a. session with her afterward, which would reveal as much about the occupiers as about yves’s thought. what kinds of questions were they asking these guys? was sorry the q. and a. for stiglitz and madrick was not on the video of their visit; that would have been the most interesting part of it for me.

  21. Vinz Klortho

    Thanks to Matt for giving some insight into what might be actually happening here.

    Personally, I think the two demands should be:

    1) Stop stealing from us
    2) Go away and leave us alone


    1. Steve

      MD Bill:

      Precisely on to what is he now catching?

      The OWS “movement” is seductive to easy-chair radicals because it is an empty canvas onto which they can paint whatever reform agenda they espouse.

      The inchoate anger of the OWS crowd is a mere bubble in the air, as the old English football song goes. The OWS kids blow bubbles into the air; Citibank raises debit card fees. Paul Krugman whinges, the ECB readies a bailout of their banks and the Volcker Rule gets gutted.

      The ugly, dark gears of politics and banking grind away, indifferent to the action in the Street.

      1. Jeff

        Debit card fees mean nothing to one who pays cash.
        Don’t be a sucker, give up the debit card and the ATM.
        Go in and chat with the tellers at your bank,
        keep humans beings working.

        1. rotter

          I hear you. I also have to use a debit card as the only means of paying vendors, many of them in Europe or Canada, for the electrical components i need to keep going. I think the fees the other person is talking about are the fees they are charging these vendors to sell to me, who rely on them soley to get paid. Not everyone can busk, or dumpster dive, or silkcreen teeshirts for a living.I might have tried busking, but alas, no one wants to hear me sing,or watch me breakdance.

  22. Justicia

    Excellent post, Matt. Thank you.

    I imagine that if a poll had been taken on the eveof the 1776 colonists’ revolt against the English King asking “what do you want?” the answers would have been. as diverse as the responses from those from the people occupying Wall St today.

    It is first and foremost about clearing the wreckage of disaster capitalism from the tracks to make way for. a new economic order.

    1. Barbyrah

      “It is first and foremost about clearing the wreckage of disaster capitalism from the tracks to make way for. a new economic order.”

      Beautifully offered.

  23. Jeff

    I hope that every one of the supporters of OWS nationwide are doing the following effective measures:

    *Move your bank account to a credit union or the
    small(est)local bank in your community.

    *Cancel all your fee paying credit cards in favor of
    a no fee card.

    *Only use that as a last resort, as in oilco owned
    gas stations.

    *Withdraw cash on a regular basis to pay your small
    daily bills or, write checks for the larger ones.

    *Go out of your way to shop in mom and pop local

    *Stop sending your money to Wall Street in any form that you can control.

    *Wean your friends off of the MSM and point them at
    Naked Capitalism and other worthy sites.

    Thank you

  24. Paul Tioxon



    Posted by Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:20 AM Permalink | 1 comment
    Thursday, October 6, 2011
    At Occupy Philadelphia start, tracker sees ‘elevated threat’

    The Occupy Wall Street movement’s Occupy Philadelphia branch, seeking jobs, punishment for unnamed criminal financiers, and, you know, revolution, was setting up at City Hall when I walked past on my way to work at 9 a.m. Dozens of young people, some with signs – “They Control the Past, We Control the Future! We Are the 99%!” – were arriving at Dilworth Plaza on the west side of the towering stone building, some on foot from Univeristy City to the west and Temple up north.


    1. Justicia

      I’m in New Orleans for the month and went to the Occupy NOLA march today. About 200 people, mostly young, mixed race and very diverse agendas marched from the prison to the Fed building.

      There was open mike (bullhorn) and anyone could speak. Stop the corruption and abolish the Fed were the main themes. Best speaker was a Tulane grad with an economics degree who’s working as a waiter. He talked about his older co-workers who didn’t earn enough to ever retire and lost what little savings they had in their 401-Ks. When a Ron Paul supporter started flacking for him, there crowd drowned her out. So, at this stage the occupation is resisting attempts by the politicos to coopt the movement.

      It was exciting and invigorating to be there and see the Great Awakening that’s taking place.

    2. psychohistorian

      I can only report on my participation in OccupyPortland (OR, that is) today.

      I met the guy who went out with me in 2008 and a few times since with my NO BAILOUT sign (4X10). He created a FOR THE 1% sign to hold next to mine

      There were probably 2K folks there when we arrived but the ranks swelled to what we have been told were 5-6K participants that met and marched.

      I was taken by how many different hand made signs there were…..I want to guess over 40-50% had a a sign they made, really!

      Lots of picture taking. Everyone on good behavior….that I saw. All ages represented down to kids making “supportive” drawings…..if anything I would say there were more women than men but it was a work day……

      I chatted up lots of folks about the problems of our time and kept hearing words that kept bringing me back to the words of a Blues song that was featured in a Blues program I stream on the weekends. As I recall it was written in the 30′ by Sleepy John Estes, the name of the song is Drop Down Mama and the phrase repeated in different ways throughout the song is:

      You can call me crazy but at least I know right from wrong.

      It will be interesting to see how this evolves…there are a lot of very well meaning PISSED citizens in our country….it is good for an old radical like me to see.

      I wasn’t ready to be a martyr in the 60’s but I am now. We are never going to be a spacefaring species if we can’t get our shit together on this planet.

  25. 1whoknu

    I have heard many lament that there is no central message. It irritates me. They have, as usual, chosen not to even look. The OWS are creating what they want to see. A democracy that includes everyone ie: General Assembly & Progressive Stack. They have chosen to ‘be the change’ they want to see. They feed the hungry, treat the sick, educate each other and police themselves. They are working on creating a community that works for all. They speak up against injustice for every participant and for those who have no voice. If there were only one injustice being perpetrated, they would only need one message. Since there are so many injustices the voices raised appear to be confused to those who don’t know how to listen, but they chose Wall Street for a reason. Their message is getting clearer each day. Some of us get it, others never will and therein lies the greater problem.

  26. Jib

    People who complain about the lack of central message are stuck in an old political model. They see this as a protest circa 1960 or so. In those days you used protests to break into the mass media so you were pretty well organized before the protest.

    This is a social media based campaign, not a mass media based campaign. So you need to place a flag in the ground and say ‘Here we are, we think Wall Street is too powerful, come join us and help us figure out what to do about it’. Every person who joins you or hears about you, spreads the word down their social graph. It takes time to get started but it grows exponentially.

    And it is completely outside traditional media.

    The occupation is the 21st century social media version of posting a flyer on a bulletin board asking people to meet and help start organizing. It the start, not the end of organizing. Self organizing networks that pass a tipping point grow fast, evolve fast, are constantly changing and re-grouping. This will look totally different in 6 months.

      1. aet

        The greater the number of groups, organizations and associations, to and of which the average member of any given society, the greater the degree of democracy in that society.

        In a democracy, the more we get together, the less things fall apart.

        1. aet


          “The greater the number of groups, organizations and associations, to and of which the average member of any given society belongs, the greater the degree of democracy in that society.”

    1. wunsacon

      >> People who complain about the lack of central message

      …are identifying themselves as people who either (a) prefer to march in lock step or (b) are actively looking for any way to criticize the protestors. Cui bono?

    1. Nathanael

      1848 indeed. Revolutions worldwide, some more successful, some less so.

      The countries where the revolutions of 1848 succeeded, at least at getting some significant reform, did better in later years than the others. The countries where the revolutions were successfully repressed… blew up REAL big later on.

      1. Charles Lemos

        Not a single one of the 1848 revolutions in Europe were successful. The only significant accomplishment that lasted was the abolition of serfdom in parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Denmark also became a constitutional monarchy in 1848 but that transition was peaceful and more related to the death of Christian VIII in January 1848 than to the wave of liberal revolutions that began in Paris on February 23, 1848.

        Everywhere else whatever reforms were enacted during the heady days of the Völkerfrühling, the Springtime of Peoples, were repealed by the end of 1849. The Second Republic would become progressively a dictatorship and then the pretense of a republic totally removed with the self coup that created the Second Empire in 1852 under Napoleon III; in the German states, conservative rule was restored by force of Prussian arms by early 1849; the republics declared in Rome and Venice were short-lived, in the Roman case it was a French “republican” army that restored the Pope, in Venice the Repubblica di San Marco lasted 17 months before a brutal siege reduced the city to ruble; Hungary was the most affected and the most brutally repressed with over 300,000 Hungarians killed.

        Perhaps the most significant outcome of the 1848 revolutions was the large scale emigration especially out of the German states and Austria-Hungary. Britain, Holland and the United States all received a substantial liberal influx. For example in the US, the German born Carl Schurz would go on to be vocal in the abolitionist movement in Wisconsin. In 1861, Lincoln would name him as US Ambassador to Madrid where he kept Spain from recognizing the Confederacy and then in 1869 he would become the first German-American in the US Senate. States like Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin gained tens of thousands of exiles in the 1850s.

        The only successful outcome of 1848 was in New Granada, present-day Colombia, where liberals under Jose Hilario Lopez ousted conservatives leading to the establishment of a free press and the abolition of slavery.

        In the end the Socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon would lament that “we have been beaten and humiliated, scattered, imprisoned, disarmed and gagged. The fate of European democracy has slipped from our hands.”

        Your comments on 1848 are just simply not accurate.

        1. Ché Pasa

          You forgot the Communist Manifesto.

          The 1848 uprisings and revolutions were failures in the objective sense, but they certainly set the stage for what to come, and pivotal documentary legacy of 1848 is the Communist Manifesto which is once again being studied closely for some reason.

  27. Hugh

    This is a good piece from Stoller and as Goin’ South above notes shows an evolution in his thinking. We have been betrayed, looted, and dismissed by the elites that rule us. They have privatized theirs gains and socialized their losses. They have accumulated great wealth, indeed almost all the wealth, and waged a relentless class war against us. We do not need more and better elites but an end to elites. We as a society have the resources, physical, intellectual, and spiritual to assure to each of us the basics of a good life, a good job, good housing, good healthcare, good education, and a good retirement. What we can not afford is to have these things and keep our elites, because they are not committed to these things. They are only committed to maximizing these things for themselves and minimizing and/or eliminating them for everyone else.

  28. anon48

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. Re read the comment above.

    There is nothing stated about requesting a list of demands.

  29. Rev Magdalen

    So what you’re saying is, the rest of us are suckers for working and paying for housing and food. We all have a right to get a flashmob together, seize a private park without giving any explanation for doing so, set up a mini Rainbow Gathering in it, and demand to be supported by donations, and this will all be seen as lovely, inspiring, and somehow political by the media.

    Great plan! Let’s tell the unemployed we found the solution to the crisis! We don’t need fiscal or tax policy to help them, we can all just live in parks like the Occupiers!! Just like Julian Assange foretold when he declared the collapse of society, small affinity groups will be the new gov!

    I just worry though, who will the last group to seize its park get donations from, if everyone else is already living in park communes?

    1. wunsacon

      >> the rest of us are suckers for working and paying for housing and food.

      You’re a sucker for working and paying for housing and food while the TBTF banks take as much money as they want via bonuses on fake profits while turning your neighbors into debt slaves.

      So, “yes”.

    2. big cigar

      Now that you mention it, you are a sucker. You work your little heart out to pay bills that trickle up to financial parasites. I sit on my ass and the dividends of your Horatio Alger servitude roll in. And I’m with the OWS guys because they’re smart enough to know when they’re being screwed, unlike you, and if they get what they want, hey, I can afford it. Maybe you can’t afford it, because you’re trying to keep up with your betters, like me. Give it up.

      1. Nathanael

        With you on that, big cigar. I’m having trouble generating enough capital gains to pay federal income taxes… the first more-than-$20,000 is tax-free!

        Suckers who work for a living? Right now, they’re suckers! I’m with Occupy Wall Street because I *don’t* think working for a living should be a sucker’s option, but right now it is.

      2. big cigar

        Yeah, lots of people in the 99th percentile are outraged and disgusted. The 1% v. 99% dichotomy is catchy, but it could be refined. It’s not all a matter of class. The looters referred to as the 1% are like Uganda’s Kakwas, selected by mercantilist exploiters, kept in power by force, and kept in line by the proceeds of corruption. The 99% are like the Bantu tribes, only incidentally poor. So Idi Amin was a natural product of his tribe’s role in the empire. Jamie Dimon is the product of a similar acculturation process. The African example fits because Main Street is now a third-world colony of Wall Street.

    3. Bill, backwater Arkansas

      Seriously Rev, kids these days!

      When will they grow up and get a job!
      Kids these days don’t know the value of money. They have no idea what sacrifices their parents made. And they throw it all away camping out in a park. Blocking my way when I walk my dog. Is it too much to ask that they go to another country to camp and leave us grownups alone? Do they think money grows on trees?

      Now get off my lawn you stupid kids!

  30. Baudelaire

    Art Cashin pretty much summed it today:

    The Occupy Wall Street protest is reminiscent of the scene in the 1953 film “The Wild One” where a young woman asks a motorcycle gang leader played by Marlon Brando, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”

    Brando deadpans, “Whaddya got?”

    1. Bill, backwater Arkansas

      Yep Baudylaire, them kids are just rebels without a cause. We had a name for those there hooligans in my day: greaser. We also called ’em fonzies, and doo-woppers, because they listened to that infernal Rock ‘N Roll music which I’ll never understand how anyone can listen to that noise.

  31. Economic Maverick

    More great stuff from Matt and the NC community! Thank you for contributing

    As an “ex-tech” guy, I particularly appreciated this:

    “This is as different a way of doing politics as distributed computing was to the old world of mainframes. So it isn’t surprising that the traditionalists are reacting as perplexed and dismissive of this new style of politics as the big iron types were with the rise of PCs.”

    Reminds me of “open-source” vs proprietary. It seems our mindset, especially in the Western World, but particularly in the US, is almost hard-wired to think in terms of “proprietary revenue streams”, Newtonian linear thinking, and shopping mall culture.

    Similarly, The mainstream elite doesn’t “get it” when it comes to taking a systems dynamic approach to anything! Kind of like what Yves writes about in Ecconed, and her critique of mainstream economics, with its assumption that “everything tends toward equilibrium”, the “demand curve is always downward slopping”, the elite doesn’t seem to understand self-reinforcing feedback loops, or exceptions to so-called “laws”

  32. wunsacon

    Does anyone else suspect plutocrats fund ZeroHedge? I like ZeroHedge. But, whereas they criticize practically everything, here’s an example where they approvingly quote a well-paid employee of a TBTF bank.

    Tyler Durden is an entertaining persona. But, within the music of criticizing the status quo I hear undertones seemingly persuading readers to support the status quo.

    I also see a few (less than half of) people on ZH or Fox saying in effect: “oh, this movement is being taken over by lefties”. Nothing’s stopping anyone from coming down and joining the protestors. If it ends up being “partisan”, it’s for lack of participation from the critics themselves.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect part of the problem is identity politics trumps virtually everything. On the “left side,” the Obots who support 0bama and whatever right wing wet dream he is pushing would foam at the mouth if a Republican proposed the same thing, but their tribal identity from when they were 30 or what they inherited from their parent won’t let them adapt.

      Despite everything the Republicans did from 2001 to 2008, the Incontinence/Incompetence ticket won 3 million votes MORE than Bush/Cheney ’04. Its not plutocrats. Its just widespread delusion and refusal to give up tribal identities.

    2. Jerrydenim

      I too am mystified by the contradictory ways of whoever is really running Zero Hedge. Most of the stories seem to speak from both sides of the mouth continuously, echoing the comments on the site which show an equally befuddling schism. It seems 60-70% of the comenters parrot the ultra-hard right, along the lines of, ” oh if only we had 100% PURE Capitalism the infalilible and almighty FREE MARKET would magically take care of everything, but these darn corrupt liberals/unions/bureaucrats/government folks keep ruining everything!”
      The remaing commenters seem to slant well left, blaming a lack of government, greed, corruption etc and appear to be of the same mind as most Naked Capitalism readers.

      Zero Hedge still has some very timely reporting on salient topics but I do find the schizophrenic Ayn Rand infused commentary to be extremely hard to take and genuinely confusing.

      The quality of the commenrati over at ZH has gone way down hill over time and now the readership seems to be about on par with the demographic which hyperventilates over whatever bit of race-baiting that is reported by Drudge Report or Glenn Beck’s radio show. I still peep in from time to time for the headlines but it is hard to keep respect for a extremely outspoken and harsh critic of our current financial system who has tirelessly reported and complained nonstop for three or four years now, but doesn’t seem to support the first genuie grass-roots protest movement decrying that same rotten system.

      Perhaps it is all a conspiracy and the real Tyler Durden has been swept away to a CIA black site and Jamie Dimon has partnered with the Mises Institute and the CIA’s most secret Pysch-Ops division to run ZH. Or… maybe Tyler Durden and his readers are a bunch of brain-washed right wingers who still cling to the church of Ayn Rand and Austrian economics because they need to feel ok about sitting in front of their computers trading all day, or perhaps they are just hateful petty types who like trash anything and everyone while sitting around on their lazy asses and doing nothing except attempting to appear superior. I really don’t know, but something over there doesn’t quite add up.

      1. Jim in MN

        ZH is a chaotic funhouse, yet occupies a crucial niche in the infoecosystem. Personally I think ZH isn’t on anybody’s side…hey isn’t that the topic of this thread?

        ZH is like a crazed ferret digging for the Truth, using any and every means. Provocative, nuts, sophisticated, ranting, whatever. Kind of like putting a seven course meal into a blender before consuming it. But the ingredients are all in there. I used to have a great time calmly going over climate change science there ’til the wee hours….can you imagine?

        1. wunsacon

          >> Personally I think ZH isn’t on anybody’s side…

          I no longer think that.

          They took a side on the Art Cashin, a TBTF employee, against the protestors. They took the side of Ann Coulter, who essentially makes an ad hominem attack that the protestors aren’t employed and therefore aren’t worth listening to.

          They also repeat the idea that Buffett should voluntarily pay more in taxes and leave all the other oligarchs out of it.

          So, ZH criticizes government endlessly, hates taxes, and criticizes the protestors. Sounds like they’re on the side of the plutocrats, after all. No?

          1. wunsacon

            >> ZH criticizes government endlessly

            Well, that’s an aspect of ZH I appreciate. But, the others, not so much.

          2. jerry denim

            “ZH criticizes government endlessly”

            Yes, and Wall Street, but usually to the tune of less government, less regulation is better, but then ZH will turn around and criticize the SEC for not enforcing the rules.

            Go figure…

      2. rotter

        I love libertarians.Especially the ones who bitch and complain about the “hypocrisy” of religion while simultaneously erecting bronze statues to their untested, untestable “philosophy”,and praying to them all day, every day.

  33. tar, etc.

    Matt, loved this piece, and loved the conversation taking place here in response. Thanks. And thanks to Yves for running the joint.

  34. steelhead23

    Possessing limited computer skills, I am linking to a post in Karl Denninger’s Market Ticker blog to convey the righteous demands of the Occupy movement. Its simple really. We merely want what was promised, no more, no less. Those who refuse to understand aren’t listening. I am reminded of Marie Antoinette who wondered why the people in Paris were rioting.

    1. Hugh

      In some sense, they know. The whole essence of kleptocracy (looting) is based on class war (distraction). That is how the 1% manages to keep so much of the country’s wealth in the face of the other 99%.

      But they also come to believe the distractive tales they tell that justify their entitlement: how we really need them, we would be lost without them, there would be chaos if they were replaced. In other words, Lloyd Blankfein really does believe he is doing God’s work, even as he relentlessly loots us.

    2. wunsacon

      I like the “sentiment” in the video but not the “facts” used to express it. Obama took office in Jan 2009. Even if he had not embraced the status quo kleptocracy as he has done, the deterioration since Jan 2009 is part of the ongoing implosion of the housing bubble.

      The video reinforces dumb comparisons.

    3. aletheia33

      thanks to matt and yves for the forum, the continuing insights, and the documentation of this extraordinary moment in our history. can’t thank you enough. one still can’t find anywhere else what is to be found here at NC.

      this beautifully made video shows them (us?) being the change they (we?) want to see:

      “right here all over”

      (is what follows here all my projection? of course! haven’t seen any comment anywhere that isn’t.)

      i continue to be struck by the confidence and calm i see in so many of the participants’ voices, faces, body language. it seems very much the case here that the person, in and of her/himself, stands as, and is, the message.

      as for their confidence–they seem to express a quietly joyous certainty that they will prevail (nonviolently). they seem to recognize themselves as members of a great host, a next “generation” that will come into and is creating its own, new culture, believe it or not, ready or not, get it or not. we are legion; we spread like grass; cut one of us down and more spring up (that last an actual statement i heard made); stand wherever you like, we will gently steamroll over you, we don’t have to rise because we already flood the land; we are benign, relentless, and patient.

      to invent a way for humanity all around the planet to restore sanity and humaneness to the human condition, to begin to work on a problem that, as so many people have come to recognize now, is that big–how deep a thinking and seeing would be needed? how could the beginning of an answer–from the children who have been born into this mess without choice and must face, live through, somehow try to keep body and soul together in it without having chosen it–be anything recognizable or readily understandable to those who have created the world these “children” are inheriting? (their apparent lack of resentment toward their parents’ level of fuckup seems remarkable.)

      we “older” ones who are now living the way that will someday be seen as old and strange, we who are trapped in it down to our bones because we were born into it and helped further it (unavoidably), must try to understand the way that those who are coming up now are trying to open. at any rate, we have little choice but to welcome it, as the alternative is the end of humanity.

      for myself, i’d rather hang with these kids, imbibe their geist, offer them what i can, and learn from them what i can while there’s still time. they must fix the world they’ve been handed or live out their whole lives in despair. their willingness to get to work fixing it seems to me delightfully contagious, their good cheer about a virus i want to come down with.

      yes, they do seem incredibly naive and clueless about how “power really works.” on the other hand, those who have great worldly power are usually quite ignorant about the other kinds of power human beings can lay claim to, and exercise all the time, right under their noses. the blindness of the most powerful should never be underestimated. and the more entrenched, the more blind.

      “when i despair, i remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. there have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. but in the end they always fail. think of this always.” –mahatma gandhi

        1. aletheia33

          sorry, again: correction:

          “their good cheer about a virus”

          should read:

          “their good cheer about it a virus”

      1. Jugo1502

        You’ve posted probably my favorite quotation from MG. Brava!

        Deepak Chopra appeared last week, as if out of thin air, to grace OWS with the truest of wisdoms:

        Brother Cornel West spoke and marched here at OccupyBoston Wednesday last. Inspirational, to say the very, very least.

        This message will continue to spread on the wings of doves. And, going forward, every instance of a night stick crashing down upon a skull will multiply the movement. Each instance of a citizen being enveloped by a cloud of Oleoresin Capsicum (or worse) will transform terror into true grit. Out of compassion and disgust, people of all walks will continue to spring up from the chairs of their living rooms and say ‘no more’ to the resignation that has infected our civilization. I cannot deny the feeling I sense in the very neurons of human civilization; “We are no longer willing to live a life of fear!”

        I feel as giddy as a schoolboy at the thought of this movement becoming a first step towards a global renaissance. Perhaps we will survive and a true planetary race will arise? One governed by the olive branch and the open hand rather than the ledger and the sword. I know so much of the latter and have experienced too little of the former.

        To quote the character Ellis “Red” Redding from the film Shawshank Redemption:

        “I hope…”

  35. Ozzie Maland

    The message I take home from Occupy Wall Street is that the great unwashed want laws that limit greed and government that will enforce those laws — in short, social limits on greed. We did have some anti-trust laws and tax laws, especially the estate tax and progressive income tax, that had a slight effect of limiting greed, but today those laws either lack enforcement or have been repealed or shot through with loopholes. Leona Helmsley said it directly, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

  36. Hosswire

    I think that the OWS movement is smart to not list specific goals that place it precisely in the existing left-to-right continuum to be co-opted or ignored.

    And when it does mature to a point where it has the numbers and momentum that require specific tasks, I hope that it settles on goals broad enough for all 99% of the 99%-ers to agree to.

    Right now, the occupiers are predominantly leftish, but the sense that our economic & political systems have become unfair and paralyzed is shared across a very wide spectrum. In the very early days of the Tea Party, before it merely became the ultra-right-edge of the Republican party their message of outrage & frustration resonated with many.

    All that evaporated when they produced their laundry list of specific demands for tax reduction & austerity, demains hand-crafted by the libertarian oligarchs who captured their movement.

    OWS captures that sense of “something has gone very wrong in this country” that so many feel. I hope that they do not produce some laundry list of redistributive demands that would be as off-putting to many as the Tea Party’s were.

    On the other hand, few Americans could argue with a group who said that their primary goals were to remove the influence of self-interested elites from politics, develop good smart citizens and let the democratic process sort out the details of what gets done next.

  37. Roger Bigod

    “It expresses the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street,” the president said. “And yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place.”

    Beyond comment.

  38. Blurtman

    Obama, March 19, 2009, barely three months into his term as the newly elected President:

    “MR. LENO: I just read today about Merrill Lynch. They handed out $3.6 billion — it’s not even million anymore, it’s billions in bonuses. I know it would make me feel good — shouldn’t somebody go to jail?

    (Laughter and applause.) I say that because I watch those people in New York, even people who had lost everything — when Bernard Madoff went to jail, at least they felt they got something.

    MR. OBAMA: Right. They got some satisfaction. Here’s the dirty little secret, though. Most of the stuff that got us into trouble was perfectly legal. And that is a sign of how much we’ve got to change our laws — right?”

    How would Obama know in March, 2009, without any investigation at all, that most of the stuff that Wall Street did was legal? And this is basically the same message that Obama delivered today in his jobs bill press conference, in response to a question by Jake Tapper as to why there are no prosecutions.

    So who had coached him to deliver this message less than three months into his term – Rubin?

    Obama is truly a pathetic fraud.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    I think it’s interesting that you’ve identified all the features of OWS without putting your finger on the philosophy/ideology being acted out. Ask yourself “where did this model come from?” It didn’t spring from the pavement fully-formed.

    As you say, OWS has no elections or leaders and makes no explicit demands of power. Instead, it occupies land and attempts to create an autonomous space and culture. What kind of activists aspire to such a thing? The Rev Marley sang “If you knew your history, you wouldn’t have to ask who the hell do I think I am?” Do you know your history?

    Ezra Klein had an interview with one of the Day Zero organizers [ ] which should serve as your Cliff Notes. This model is familiar to activists in Pacific Northwest, so when I passed it around just it confirmed suspicions: that’s how things are usually done up there. A scholar of social movements offered a longer essay by the same fellow entitled “The New Anarchists”. It was published in “A Movement of Movements” (2004) and is available (for free) from GoogleBooks [ ].

    For anyone genuinely interested in understanding where this action-turned-movement came from and what ideology it is manifesting, I cannot recommend these links highly enough.

  40. Namazu

    It’s hard to know what will come of this: the usual ambulance chasers could certainly poison the air and ruin it. Here’s a suggestion: how about an own-the-airwaves teach in featuring some of the leading (and marginalized by TV) financial bloggers? I’m thinking Yves, of course, but also people like Denninger, Ed Harrison, and Jesse (whoever he is). They’ve certainly taught me a lot. Dylan Ratigan could moderate: I suspect he’ll have more time on his hands soon…

    1. Economic Maverick

      This is a fantastic idea!

      Imagine if we had people outside the usual “mainstream neo-classical/neo-liberal/neo-Keynesian synthesis” have a show / forum with a REAL debate?!
      Yves, Ed Harrison, Bill Black, Randall Wry, Marshall Aureback, perhaps N Roubini and the Interfluidity guys, bunch of other from UMKC, maybe Felix Salmon or Joe Stiglitz (though that’s as mainstream as i’d get). Dylan Ratigan would be a great moderator.

  41. sgt_doom

    “..derivative cocktails nobody understands..”
    President Obama (10/06/11)

    “..exotic financial instruments nobody understands.”
    Senator Maria Cantwell (2009, 2010, 2011)

    I understand, Mr. President

    Why do self-described democrats continue to repeat the US Chamber of Commerce talking points?

    I understand credit derivatives; I was around at their creation in the ’80s.

    I understand ABS CDOs, CLOs, CBOs, CMOs, CPDOs, ABCP, CSOs, securitization (and contrary to what the so-called “experts” claim, securitization didn’t being in the late ’70s — it was resurrected then, it began back in the early 1900s, and exploded during the 1920s, leading to the Great Crash of 1929), and credit default swaps in all their variations.

    I understand the bivariate Gaussian copula model and why its application in hedging is a total scam.

    I understand the variation on the binomial theorem applied by AIG — and how it translated to billions in CDS sales, while keeping zero capital on hand to back them up — another scam and the largest insurance swindle in history.

    I understand the abject dishonesty of a CNN snarky reporter who falsely claims to an “Occupy Wall Street” protester that the bankersters paid back the taxpayers, when $23 trillion was given them, and according to a recent limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve, another $16.1 trillion, and between $25 billion to $80 billion was forgiven AIG.

    I understand that when the Fed and Treasury buy toxic assets (i.e., worthless credit derivatives) that ain’t no payback to the taxpayers, but a definite loss and double payment to the banksters.

    I understand thousands of categories of credit derivatives, and the creation of credit derivatives in the ’80s to clean up the S&L debacle.

    I understand that jobs were created in the investigations of the guilty parties, and how over 1,000 banksters were convicted and jailed.

    I understand that the banks have committed at least hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of felonies in their filing of false affidavits, popularly referred to as “robo-signing.”

    But most of all, Mr. President, I understand that laws will never be upheld as long as crooks like you, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are in office.

    1. DJ

      “But most of all, Mr. President, I understand that laws will never be upheld as long as crooks like you, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan are in office.”

      You left out Nixon…the crook that came before them and probably the biggest crook of them all.

      1. sgt_doom

        Negative, Nixon was certainly a crook and probably along with Kissinger should qualify for the mass-murderer description, but he wasn’t part of the continuum which exists today from Reagan-Bush #1-Clinton-Bush #2-Obama: whereby overall the same people keep reappearing among these administrations, whether the republican branch of the Bankster Party is in office, or the democratic branch of the Bankster Party is in.

        C. Fred Bergsten, of Darby Overseas Invesments (major counterpary to Lehman’s and Bear Stearns, and made out like the bandits they are in the subsequent meltdown), appears in almost every administration in some capacity (‘natch, as he’s senior at the Peterson Institute), as did Stephen Friedman (Goldman Sachs, Marsh & McLennan, was on every single intelligence review panel and commission over past 20 years, etc.) and so many other.

        Please keep in mind that neocon Linda Chavez is first appointed by Jimmy Carter, stays on for Reagan, and then later Geo. W. Bush tries to reappoint her again, ‘cept she’s employed too many sub-minimum wage undocumented workers.

        So too did Eliot Abrams first appear in Carter’s administration, later to reappear in Bush #2’s.

        Basically, some will move on to the World Bank, IMF, WTO, or back to Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, BofA, Citi, then back again — sometimes repub, sometimes dem — really of no matter.

        Nixon, for all his criminal tendencies, wasn’t exactly part of the inner circle of stooges the way these five have been; same for Carter, who apparently went off the reservation when he went solar energy (must of pissed off his financial backer, Davy Rockefeller bankster/oil mogul).

        Recall it was during the Carter administration when deregulation of airlines and trucking first began, and when Carter signed the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 ending all federal anti-usury laws (and the first step in how we arrived here today!@&$*%), he was almost following the script — but it wasn’t until Reagan’s arrival in the White House, and his Executive Order #12615, establishing the Office of Privatization within OMB, that really began the privatization of everything (i.e., total monopoly) rolling.

  42. mac

    Were any of the “experts” who post here around in the 1960’s? These folks may not be so different from how the young folks then were at the start. Then many with “agenda” took over, Drugs, the Draft, Viet Nam “war” etc.
    I think they just are what they are and don’t need to be categorized or led.

  43. rotter

    ” One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway?”

    This would be a major problem for the coporate politcal/media culture. They are very praticed at the “we hear you, meassage received, we care, now everyone go home and let the proffesional take care of things” method of coopting popular movements. Its one of the reasons we’ve had so few (genuine) peoples movemetns in the age of instant mass communication.

  44. rotter

    “I understand the abject dishonesty of a CNN snarky reporter who falsely claims to an “Occupy Wall Street” protester that the bankersters paid back the taxpayers, when $23 trillion was given them, and according to a recent limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve, another $16.1 trillion, and between $25 billion to $80 billion was forgiven AIG.”

    Its usually more like snotty, total ignorance. Those worthless fools dont know anything. They read things off a teleprompter or repeat the comments made by the White house communications staff, heritage foundation flaks, and banking industry lobbyists that get book on their propaganda/misinformation half hour or cable TV. The spend all thier time mixing at NY and Washingtion cocktail parties thrown by lobbyists,and being given orders and ‘news stories” to read by the corporate office.
    They are happy, willing, enthusistic tools of the overclass
    who fancy nthemselves “proffesionals” because they have mastered the skill of looking serious on cue.

  45. Sam

    Today at work I was looking on the company intranet for the Mentor Program document. I was appalled to find documents entitled “Goldman Sachs Consulting for the [blank] Industry.” Within the report were the words “help the industry take Fixed costs (that is, employee salary and benefits) and turn them into Variable costs (that is, turn FTE headcount into contractors a la the revolving door).

    Here’s why CNBC can say when the jobs reports are released, “investors seemed to shrug off the jobs report.”

    To Occupy Wall Street I say have Goldman Sachs pick up all “former” employee salary and benefits, reinstate US wages, and if it bankrupts Goldman Sachs, good riddance. Repeal all financial legislation enacted during the past 30 years. Reinstate Glass-Steagal. If GS wasted millions in lobbying money, good riddance.

  46. avgJohn

    I think every special interest group that wants to co-opt this movement should step aside if they want to effect real change with this movement.

    It should be of single purpose, and that purpose should be to form citizens groups to put both Wall Street and our elected officials on trial. A fair trial. There are many charges in the air, that our elected government officials and appointed bureaucrats, are corrupt. Indeed, that our entire our political system wreaks of the stench of corruption and cronyism.

    Recruit investigative journalists, trial and corporate lawyers, government insider whistle blowers, economists, and other professionals to demand immediate access to any and all government records, as well as Wall Street records. These people are to report the results of their investigation to the citizens committee via the internet and public radio. The citizens committee is composed of every breathing American. The main stream media needs to step aside as they have demonstrated that they have been corrupted by the enemy.

    It’s clear to me that the corruption and treachery behind Wall Street’s treasonous coup to overthrow America, it’s Constitution, and rule of law, has been aided and abetted by government officials at the highest levels, and justice will never be served, nor our God given constitutional rights restored until the American people stand up and with a single voice, demand the rights and justice as set out by our forefathers be restored.

    We need the energy of the young, and we need the sacrifice of grams and gramps at these occupy zones. When these cops start beating up grams and gramps on video, even our young soldiers will no longer serve this wicked and corrupt political system that has America by the throat.

    This would be a movement I could-will support. My heart and best wishes go out to these American heroes occupying Wall Street. And to the police and their masters I say, remember well, you drew first blood! I’m starting to get real angry as I type this because it has been haunting my thoughts all day!

    1. Jack Parsons

      Ron Paul-ist: good media presence, has some training.

      “If you see the Buddha on the news, turn off the monitor.”

    1. aletheia33

      this speech includes an exhortation to vote for ron paul for president.

      as i understand it, #OWS does not support any political candidates.

  47. 60sradical

    The OWS people are our brothers and sisters. Now, of couse, their comings together should be expected to be inchoate. “This time it’s different,” right?
    I feel there is a direct relationship between being anti- political and power. To appeal or demand ANYTHING from the empty suits in DC is folly. OWS is exactly right where they should be. Can one not sense their instincts? Do like Yves, if you live close enough. Experience it. Especially now, action in the face of hopelessness, is strength. POWER TO THEM!!

  48. Maximilien

    To borrow from Abbe Sieyes’ famous 1789 pamphlet ‘What Is the Third Estate?’:

    What is the 99%? EVERYTHING.
    What has it been in the political order until now? NOTHING.
    What is it asking? To become SOMETHING.

  49. Hugo Stiglitz

    Absolutely spot observations from Stoller. He obviously gets it. Too bad the vast majority of establishment Dems, old school liberals and of course, the media are so clueless, … or not clueless so much as scared shitless perhaps.

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