Samstag, 1. Oktober 2011


Mundanes Tagebuch

 naked capitalism, 30.9.2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Matt Stoller: #OccupyWallStreet Is a Church of Dissent, Not a Protest

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.

Last weekend, I spent a few days with the protesters downtown near Wall Street, and it was an eye-opening experience. The people there want something, but it’s not a list of demands, and it is entirely overlooked by the media and most commentators on the protest.
If all you read are news stories and twitter feeds about #OccupyWallStreet, the most trenchant imagery that will stick in your mind is that of police brutality, and the politics of Wall Street greed. The debate seems to be organized around whether the protest will be “successful” or not, how the protesters are stupid or a new American Tahrir Square, or rhetoric designed in a media sphere that maximizes attention. Glenn Greenwald suitably demolishes the sneering commentariat. But I think there’s something to add about what exactly this protest is, what it is doing, and most of all, what the people there “want”. They don’t have a formal list of demands.
And it’s obvious that this isn’t just about Wall Street, nor is it really a battle of any sort. There are political signs there attacking Fox News, expressing anger about Troy Davis, supporting the Iranian revolution, urging the Federal Reserve be reigned in, and demanding rich people pay their taxes. There are personal signs about debt, war, and medical problems. And people are dressed in costume, carrying lightsabers, and some guys are driving around a truck with a “Top Secret Wikileaks” sign on the side. I asked if they were affiliated with the site, and one of them responded with “That’s what the Secret Service asked”. Most of all, people there are having fun.

What these people are doing is building, for lack of a better word, a church of dissent. It’s not a march, though marches are spinning off of the campground. It’s not even a protest, really. It is a group of people, gathered together, to create a public space seeking meaning in their culture. They are asserting, together, to each other and to themselves, “we matter”.
Meaning is a fundamental human need. The act of politicization, of building any movement, is based on individual, and then group self-confidence. As Daniel Ellsberg said, “courage is contagious”. I’m reminded of how Howard Dean campaign worker and current law professor Zephyr Teachout characterized the early antiwar blogosphere and then-radical campaign of Dean, as church-like in their community-building elements. That’s what #OccupyWallStreet reminded me of. Even the general assemblies, where people would speak, and others would respond, had a rhythmic quality to them, similar to churches or synagogues I’ve attended.

You can tell this is a somewhat different animal than other politicized gatherings. No one knows what to expect. There are no explicit demands. It’s not very large. And yet, celebrities are heading to Zuccotti Park. Wall Street traders are sneering and angry. The people there are getting press, but aren’t dominated by it. People are there just to be there, because it feels meaningful. The camp is clean and well-organized, and it feels relevant and topical rather than a therapy space for frustrated radicals. Just a block away is the New York Fed, a large, scary, and imposing building with heavy iron doors, video cameras, and a police presence that scream “go away”.
There are a lot of police, but unlike the portrayal in the press the relationship between the protesters and the police is fairly good. The arrests and macing you saw happened because protesters decided to march to Union Square without a permit, and many joined the march on the way. Police began arresting people to keep control of the streets, and that’s when the macings happened. I’m not downplaying what happened, but context is important for understanding why the camping in the park isn’t really problematic while the marching has seen conflict. Police and firefighters routinely come through the park to make sure there are no open flames and no tents, often to applause. There are hints of a more menacing presence; I was told by several organizers that men dressed in business suits accompanied with what looked like police have on several occasions ordered them to vacate the park, handing protesters official-looking orders that on closer inspection were not actually from any governmental authority. Lawyers at the protest made it clear these were to be ignored.
The organizers themselves seem quite experienced. Adbusters didn’t have much to do with the protest organizing, in fact much of the energy came from people that did anti-budget cut campaigns against Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, as well as the May 12th protest march. The organizers have set up committees to handle most tasks, like media and sanitation. There’s a hotspot, and lots of computing and video equipment to record and broadcast. There are living space areas, and the camp site has had to contend with rain without the benefit of tents (which are illegal).
The protesters make decisions in twice a day consensus-based “general assemblies”, where anyone is allowed to speak. No amplification is allowed, so the crowd has figured out a model to make sure everyone is heard. The speaker says half a sentence, and the crowd repeats it so it can be heard. This continues until the speaker is done. There are hand signals that allow others to express agreement and disagreement. I didn’t spend enough time to really get into the nuts and bolts of the organization, but it doesn’t seem very formal. There’s a deep fear of official spokespeople beginning to monopolize and misinterpret the non-hierarchical model of community protest. Of course, there’s not really that much to do; people are there to be there.
The protesters are what you’d expect, a kind of hippie dippie group of students, anti-globalization activists, and antiwar movement actors. There are backrub circles, innumerable pizzas (“the food of revolutions”), but these people do not think of themselves as fringe in any sense. They believe themselves to represent all Americans who are frustrated by politics and finance. Whether or not this is true, what is happening is that there is a belief that their actions matter, that they themselves are moral beings who have dignity and power simply by the very act of self-expression. This is rare in radical activism, most of it is so infused with cynicism that self-marginalization, deadly irony, and mau mau’ing by professional liberals works to persuade protesters to believe themselves a sort of libertarian nihilists. Not so here. There are people wearing tape over their mouths, grandmothers for peace, signs about new death penalty icon Troy Davis, and signs with coherent messages about debt, the Fed, and various wars. Many of the organizers were inspired by Wisconsin and Egypt, by attacks on teachers, by corruption on Wall Street, by money in politics, and are just happy to be out in the streets after a long period of absence of formal protest.
The level of knowledge among protesters on how Wall Street works is fairly high in terms of abstract conceptualizations, but they don’t actually have a lot of immediate connection to policy-making and financial practice. Furthermore, the space is fraught with the problem of consensus-based anti-leadership organizing. There are no spokespeople, and you can’t get on their media list (they don’t have one). The anti-leadership non-hierarchical consensus method is designed to avoid the way that leaders can be smeared and/or co-opted. It does not really scale, and this is a serious challenge going forward. But ultimately, the energy of just having a bunch of people in one place for a long period of time is very different, and much more interesting, than just a march. The protesters are creating a public space for the discussion of economic justice, just by showing up. Some told me they are planning teach-ins. At one point, one of the organizers suggested protesters do a mass drinking of Hope kool-aid, and mimic a die-off. I asked if they had anything planned for Sept. 29, when the Germany parliament will pass their bailout, and I was told that while they had nothing planned as of yet, someone from Citigroup had come by the night before and told them the German bailout was happening.
Many of the angry establishment liberals are frustrated that this protest has no top-down messaging strategy (this tweet from Dave Roberts of Grist in which he calls the protests “horrific” and “designed to discredit leftie protest” is representative). But these people, who represent the rump of support for Obama, are not part of the conversation here. The conversation is global. And you can sort of tell that this protest really bothers the community on Wall Street, stirring up deep existential questions for the people that work there, many of whom know there is a spectacle going on in the streets below.
I don’t think anyone knows where and how this ends, or if it does. I’ve been part of movements full of meaning just like this, movements that utterly failed based on structural weaknesses and the power of the status quo. They seemed full of life, zest, and ended up as yet another set of bloodless bureaucratic failed institutions. These protests may yet be another false start. I’m told, though, by those who were in successful civic uprisings around the world that they all had many, many false starts. But perhaps success and failure isn’t the right way to think about what’s going on in downtown New York, any more than thinking about a church as successful or failed based on its political objectives is the right way to think about how those in the pews satisfy their thirst for spiritual vigor. What these people have found in themselves, and created for each other, is meaning.


Richard Kline says:
September 30, 2011 at 7:31 am
I’ll second on my own account what Yves says here, that church-based social activism has a _very_ powerful tradition, particularly in American culture. Moreover movements of dissent have a ‘religious dissenter’ value structure to them whether or not they are overtly religious or connected with an official ‘faith.’ I found Matt Stoller’s observation of this ‘presence-in’ as a church of good faith to be amongst his most astute remarks in the piece.
And this moral, or value-based, activist position mobilizes latent power in the way that demand-based demonstrations often cannot, or only do so over the long-term. Stoller: “And you can sort of tell that this protest really bothers the community on Wall Street, stirring up deep existential questions for the people that work there, many of whom know there is a spectacle going on in the streets below.” Exactly, and I’m quite interested to hear Matt make this observation from on the spot, for this is exactly what I just said. Being confronted by folks who deny the validity of your actions _is_ something that throws one on the backfoot into a moral, even existential dilemma. It would be fascinating, if so, if those who work on ‘the Street’ are aware and troubled by this action even if the larger society is far less so. That is a _HUGE_ success, to plant that seed of doubt, that “I am not an ennabler of master criminals (am I?).” That is a portion, if not the entirety, of the Irish tradition of starving oneself to death at the doorstep of a powerful wrongdoer, and the power of religio-political fasting in India too. I’m not saying that this action is, presently, perhaps that powerful, but that it accesses the same kind of responses, _particularly_ after the needless assaults on the protestors.
If you make demands, you can be bought off, or sucked into the deal. If your only demand is that the 1% stop being that and join the 99%, there’s nothing to make a deal about; indeed, the effort to make a deal shows that one hasn’t left the 1%. I could say more, but what matters is what those there do.
Hopeful says:
September 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm
The description seem familiar to me. I just came back from Israel and saw the dynamics over there. It started the same way, relatively small group, hippies as he calls them, who were talking about changing the world, and it took a life of its own. At the beginning people argued that the lack of coherent message will kill the momentum, but the idea was to creat a current that is inclusive, that everyone can find an idea there that he can relate to and join. Years of division in the Israeli society caused by politics and politicians has it’s toll on society, without gathering all groups together and uniting the efforts they wouldn’t have succeeded in bringing such huge crowds to the organized public demonstratios. What made the difference was to show the mass’s disutisfection of the current economic and social situation.
YankeeFrank says:
September 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

The reason there is no list of demands is that what people want is a complete upheaval and change in the way things are done. Its not one thing that’s wrong, or twenty. Its an entire way of interaction with each other and the planet itself that we want to change. Its the fact that the vast majority of us have become discardable and ignorable by a system the seems to solely exist to enrich a small cabal of “elites”, imprison or debt-enslave the rest of us, and to kill a lot of foreign people who never did shit to us.
We want accountability and honesty, integrity in all dealings. Politicians cannot accept what everyone knows are bribes with impunity. Wall Street and money must become subservient to the society as a whole, not the other way around. There are many things more important than money, and our society must begin to reflect that truth.
Human rights must be respected for all of us, and all those who we do “business” with. We can no longer buy slave-labor produced goods from the third world. We can no longer decimate our own society for the enrichment of the few.
If you look at public opinion polls in the USA, the people know what is wrong, and they know how to fix it. The internet gives us the ability, for the first time, to have real direct democracy on a mass scale.
We know why “they” don’t want us to have that, but we don’t care what “they” want and don’t want.
Our leadership has failed and has lost its legitimacy. The banks have failed and must lose their right to create money. There must be consequences for illegal and bad behavior on the part of the rich and powerful. Two-tiered society is not acceptable in a democracy.
These are all things everyone knows. As Glenn Greenwald said, do they really not know the reason for the protests?

I believe there is a huge change in the zeitgeist brewing and all I wrote and more will be part of it.
Economics Considered says:
… these people seem to represent the soul of the people awakening. That seems to be an enormously critical first step for this country – and there seems to be no need for this first awakening for it to have any more form than to express the awareness of so many of the ills. That seems quite powerful – one can only hope that the awakening will spread.
eclair says:
September 30, 2011 at 11:19 am
I agree, Yves. It is frightening to think how easily the flow of life in a big city can be interrupted. The whole intertwining of life in NYC rests on a taken-for-granted (until it doesn’t work) foundation of workers who perform their jobs as invisible people.
The subway workers and bus drivers, the sewer and the toilet cleaners, the garbage men and tunnel maintenance people. The foreign ladies who clean the offices at 2 AM, the dish washers and the taxi-drivers. And, yeah, the cops. And the firefighters. And the EMT’s.
The people that have been screwed over for the past three decades, their wages not increasing, their benefits reduced or non-existent. And, now, they are being demonized by the Right. They’re being pushed lower and lower on the social scale, into a Morlock-like existence.
They can come out at night and pick off the plump white Wall Street execs one at a time: they can rise up in a series of massive upheavals that bring the City to a grinding halt.
Or, we can do it in a civilized way and begin a mind-shift that recognizes the workers’ immense contribution to the welfare of our society and compensates them justly.
Maybe OccupyWallStreet is a beginning of that shift.
im says:
September 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm
What Matt may be trying to get at is what one might call the soul of any social/political movement–something internal to its dynamic.
When self-activity moves from something that one person does to something done through the collective activity of a group and when the resulting achievement extends beyond the reach of anything a single individual might manage, the personal relations of people within the group tend to sometimes undergo a dramatic change.
What may be happening to the participants in this small public space is a type of social bonding–something that merges knowledge with emotion–a conjunction forged by lived experience.
Perhaps a new sense of self is being born–a self filled with meaning–which may become the foundation of a new politcal confidence.
When individuals who have suddenly acquired an enhanced sense of self gaze on others who have been part of the joint effort and who have acquired the same enhanced sense of self a new kind of connection occurs. The feeling is distinctively one of personal achievement but it is also organically a product of collective action.
Speaking most optimistically, out of such a brew huge democratic possibilities can sometimes emerge.
aletheia33 says:
September 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm
thanks for these details jim.
once again i recommend rebecca solnit’s PARADISE BUILT IN HELL with its many stories of how people, when they step out to participate in helping everyone fight together what’s crushing them (from natural disaster to crippling corruption, etc.), so often find themselves “waking up”, enlivened, brought to life as you say. we’ve seen this in the arab spring, too–people thrilled by the feeling they’ve claimed a self-liberation that no one can now take from them.
i suspect this is something that happens quite spontaneously in people’s psyches. you have to have a movement built and organized ready to support it. but when people decide to take that action of joining the movement, i’m guessing they do so not yet knowing how great it’s going to feel to have made that decision (perhaps after a long period of holding back from making that leap into the unknown), how much energy they’ll feel flowing through them, how much love (let’s use that word) they’ll be carrying out into the world now, their hearts practically exploding with it. not to romanticize it too much. but i doubt there are many highs to equal it.
… from watching the live stream from the occupation, i’ve found the ambience quite curious, unprecedented in a way i can’t quite put my finger on. all i can say about it so far is that to me, these young people are a different species who seem to be a different way of doing political action and exercising the “right to dissent” than i’ve ever quite witnessed before.
i grew up in the sixties and can remember things like “happenings,” be-ins, etc. that were part of the vietnam antiwar mode of protest. the mood, the way of being, these kids have on wall street, while showing some of the same desire to use “play”, seems to approach it somehow differently, and again it’s hard to say just how. maybe it’s a certain lack of arrogance, a quieter kind of outcry, more of a (steely) appeal than a tantrum–but with a strong determination backing it up. i really have no idea, and maybe i’m just projecting, but it is a new phenomenon, in my view.
… there is a kind of lightness to their determination, sometimes an almost unassuming or self-deprecatory air, that somehow makes their behavior feel freer.
i think they are deliberately creating something new, unheard-of, and they may well not know yet themselves what form it will have. they are remarkably patient with process. they are frighteningly naive perhaps, but i bet they’re also going to prove quite resilient. i do not think they should be underestimated. it takes guts to sleep out in that location and hang out there indefinitely. and who knows what reprisals these individuals may endure, now or in their future endeavors, from an increasingly repressive state?
wish i could be there with them right now. just the breathe that air, in real time and place, might lift my spirits above the travesty that we call our society right now.
MLK was a spiritual leader. it’s not out of place to bring up the life of the soul and the need for meaning in relation to these kids’ (and grannies’–thanks for putting that picture in) activities. a movement that aims to open to its members a deeper way to live, in the midst of a culture of trivia, can’t help but feed whatever stream of constructive response might turn the tide, long term, in a different direction once the bankruptcy of the current status quo takes place–as sooner or later it inevitably will.
Joe Rebholz says:
September 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm
And I thank you aletheia33. You wake me up to thoughts and feelings I didn’t know I had. (And others who comment here have too.) I wish I could be in NYC too. This could be the beginning of something really big. Whether we count this meeting in the park as the beginning or not, does not matter. The truth is the revolution has begun. Maybe in the future we will say the revolution began with the Naked Capitalism and Glen Greenwald blogs. It doesn’t matter. A revolution is an evolutionary process that maybe has no discernable beginning.
Ché Pasa says:
September 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm
Well. Speaking of Church and all, it might interest Matt to know that Reverend Billy was just at Liberty Plaza.
Fired ‘em up real good, he did. “Revel-ujah!”
It was great.
aletheia33 says:
September 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm
thanks for this heads up, i liked his website piece on the occupation:
he really catches some of the essence of why they are there, physically on wall street. the culture of the encampment is a confrontation of the culture of the finance industry, in part.
it’s heartening to hear the reports here tonight on the reactions of some of the industry’s workers to the confrontation. as rev billy says, it’s about real face to face, in real place in real time, encounter. and it extends to people going home and talking to their families about what they’re seeing. and there’s a good bit of tourist traffic in that area as well–people from all over the world.
it’s hard to ignore a puppy that shows up at your front door and won’t go away (that just popped into my mind from who knows where, i’ll leave it in for what it’s worth).
and what if they look a lot like your own kids and their friends.
Cheyenne says:
September 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm
Bingo. I walk by the protesters in front of the Chicago Fed 3 times a day, morning, lunch, and heading home. Their signs are always interesting, there’s a contagious energy about them, and they are polite. Most are young, but by no means all.
This morning a city police officer was ranking the signs as 2 protesters listened to him.
“That one’s fucking great,” he said.
I looked. “Banks should walk the plank.” I smiled.
“Have a good day at work, handsome,” one protester said to me. I wish I could say she was cute, but it was a dude. I started laughing. When was the last time you cackled heading to work? It’d been awhile for me.
At lunch I walked by again. The drums could be heard for a couple of blocks. A CTA bus driver honked several times and waved, as the protesters cheered. They’re on both sides of LaSalle Street now. CBOE traders watch on, curiously quiet for an opinionated breed.
The times…
bbedway says:
September 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm
… As Ghandi said, “I am told that religion and politics are different spheres of life. But I would say, without a moment’s hesitation and yet in all modesty that those who claim this do not know what religion is.”
Herman Sniffles says:
September 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm
“Last I checked, calling someone dippy wasn’t a term of endearment”
I think that’s incorrect. I think of “hippie dippie” as describing a person who is sort of enthusiastically goofy and forthright in expressing their opinions. There was a weather man in Alaska for years who had a pony tail and wore Hawaiian shirts and kind of jumped around and got excited when he was talking weather (which can be exciting in Alaska) and everybody – including the right wing resource abusers – loved him and called him “the hippie dippie weather man.” I wonder where the term “dippie” comes from. It could be from dipsomaniac, or perhaps it originally described a person who looks into questions in a not-so-serious manner, just “dipping” into the subject. And if that’s the case, then perhaps it was aptly used here. Some of the people described don’t seem to be focused in on actual machinations of the evil empire they are protesting. But that’s ok too. There’s a couple of onions in every stew, and they usually go into the pot first. I liked the article. I thought it gave a well rounded view of what’s actually going on at the base of that profoundly evil black castle. It was colorful, informative, and thoughtful. My guess is that the movement will grow, and perhaps quickly. If I wasn’t so old and lazy I’d be there. In other words, I see “hippie dippie” in this context AS a term of endearment.
JTFaraday says:
September 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm
Church of Dissent? Kind of like this?
(I know, I know. But I just passionately love this thing).
I’ve looking a bit at the comments in the NY Times and those have been overwhelmingly in favor of the protesters (or dissenters, if Stoller prefers) and critical of the Times spin doctoring– and of the police.
If they can hold out, it is possible that more people may decide to join in and that may make it harder to stereotype and diminish public protest. Right now, a lot of people are pissed.
(And then again, maybe life is not a T-Mobile commercial).
“You can tell this is a somewhat different animal than other politicized gatherings. No one knows what to expect.”
This is an interesting point. I have been reading Hannah Arendt’s Human Condition, in which she talks about how free speech and action were the essence of the Greek polis. In her view, this ability to speak and act and to start something new are critical elements of the human condition, and thus the essence of politics. But, the hazard of free speech and action is that it is unpredictable and unstable, and its end undetermined.
In her reading of Plato’s Republic, Plato fundamentally turned the free speech and action of the Greek polis on its ear, prescribing a pre-determined political order toward which all action should be directed, effectively trading away the open-ended essence of the political for the securities of rule.
So, it is interesting that what observers of this sudden eruption of the polis downtown seem to share in common is some species of frustration with its undirected and open-ended nature. Maybe we’re all just too accustomed to being ruled.
Herman Sniffles says:
September 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm
“And you can sort of tell that this protest really bothers the community on Wall Street, stirring up deep existential questions for the people that work there, many of whom know there is a spectacle going on in the streets below.”
That right there is the Zappa-esque crux of the bisquit IMO.
devsterd1 says:
September 30, 2011 at 6:07 am
I think Matt’s church analogy is absolutely appropriate on a lot of different levels. This is (hopefully) the beginning of a “movement”, not an “organization”. Anarchy in the Spanish sense, not the Balkan sense. The lack of demands……what the hell could you really ask for? It’s not a hostage situation. Everything’s going wrong at this point. If you make a list you’ve limited your demands. No list demands everything. It’s gettin’ pretty damned abstract and that’s an awful appropriate weapon to use against a hierarchy.
JasonRines says:
September 30, 2011 at 11:48 am
I liked the church analogy. The two last stages of societal pain to progress is bondage, followed by great spiritual courage and liberation. Matt, you seemed very neutral in your writing and I admire you for this. The 1st Amendment means including a viewpoint on all sides. Since there aren’t firm beliefs yet on best methods of restructure, the piece should be a bit bland.
mad as hell. says:
September 30, 2011 at 12:27 pm
The spark has been lit. What started as an idea in August is now beginning to snowball. Each week is getting bigger and more dramatic than the previous week. Week one where there was little press coverage to now were it is being carried by the msm. Week two a mentally challenged cop with a pepper canister has managed to ratchet up the exposure by his sociopath action. Now unions from airlines to transportation to teamsters are going to become involved in week three.
Make no mistake that the corporate, political and financial establishment will stop at nothing to defuse this situation by whatever means it can come up with. Who will succeed?

Mike Folsom says:
September 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm

… I’m hoping that this is just the very early phases of an attempt to attack the corrupt Corporate Power Structure that owns and runs both the Republican and Democratic Party. If we are lucky this will develop and spread across the United States. This like the movements in Arab Countries, India and parts of Europe could be the seeds of new political awareness of people that its not Government that is the problem rather its the Corporate Owned and Operated Democrats and Republicans that are the issue. Only when power begins to move back from the oligarchs to the people will things start to improve

citizendave says:
September 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Matt, thank you for your reporting and insights. I find most interesting the organization and the assemblies. I hope that the techniques and the process can be articulated to make it easier for others to emulate. How does one build a movement or a revolution? One cannot. It must arise organically from the minds of many disparate individuals. A charismatic leader can make a lot of progress in a short time, but if that leader goes away — co-opted, or worse — the movement generally dissipates. By insisting on an apparently leaderless approach, they assure that many individuals must think about and understand how to sustain the process. Perhaps it is oxymoronic to say anarchists acting in concert.
There is an insightful piece at by Nathan Schneider, “Occupy Wall Street: FAQ” (registration wall). Describing the assemblies he writes “…Working toward consensus is really hard, frustrating and slow. But the occupiers are taking their time. When they finally get to consensus on some issue, often after days and days of trying, the feeling is quite incredible. A mighty cheer fills the plaza. It’s hard to describe the experience of being among hundreds of passionate, rebellious, creative people who are all in agreement about something…” This fills me with much happiness. I don’t care if they never announce a single demand or make plain in any way why they are there. Many of us know why they are there. I want an alt-USA. I want an economy that serves the people, not the other way around. I want a government for the people, not for Wall Street.
I like your frame about building a church of dissent. It implies a cohesion, while leaving room to evolve and grow.
I hope they will continue to do their slow consensus-building, and will teach others how to do it. I hope it becomes easy and obvious, so that millions of us may overcome our bias toward hierarchy, inculcated throughout our lives. We’ll figure out what to do and how to do it. We can build alt-America.
cripes says:
October 1, 2011 at 3:04 am
This is all very funny repartee, wabbithole and all.
But it’s probably better to ignore, rather than suffer or pummel, fools like that. Their purpose is to distract.
And while I can think of many ways the occupy crowd looks amateurish and young and well, tech-nerdy, at least they’re taking action. Electoral politics, one-day demos and keyboard pilots haven’t been working so great have they?
Even a small core with wide support to keep up the fight can be a potent force.
Maybe we should just go down and, you know, check them out.
Refugees from communist countries have an idealized vision of capitalistic ‘free-markets’ and buy into the notion of there being some kind of built-in discipline. Our current system is dominated by huge corporations with mostly absentee owners – like parents who left teenagers at home alone without adult supervision. The kids on Wall St (symbolically speaking, I suppose) partied like nobodies business until the inevitable chaos ensued and the cops were called.
In this #OccupyWallStreet scenario, we have the roles reversed and the kids are the adults on the scene who realize the champagne guzzlers on the balcony need a little reining in.
winninghelix Cristina Andersson
#ows RT @umairh Revolution. RT @ptarkkonen: "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Mandela

craazyman says:
October 1, 2011 at 6:32 am
the Boston Fed has a “Law Enforcement Unit”??
haha ahahaha ahahahahahahah ahah. It’s only 6:15 am and already the daily dark hilarity of the financial news is roaring loud.
Holy Shit. I wonder where they were from 2004 through 2008? They probably had their tounges up the rears of bankster butts and couldn’t see anything but cheeks and hair. ugggh.
Well look. If I worked for the Boston Fed and got a note like that. The first thing I’d do is say “Go F*ck yourselves you bleating flock of spineless sheep, you’re not going to tell me who I as an American citizen and human being can and can’t talk to.” And the second thing I’d do is go down and talk to the protesters and see what they had to say, just out of curiosity if nothing else.
I’ll do my job at work and I’ll do it well. But when I’m not at work I’ll talk to whoever I want to talk to, thank you, and I’d consider a note like that a form of workplace harrassment.
Second, I don’t see these protests as “anti Wall Street” at all — only anti corrupt and financially murderous Wall Street.
Like that young girl in Spain said months ago “We’re not anti-system, the system is anti us.” If Wall Street worked like it should, intelligently constrained, well regulated, with its force channeled for the good of the real economy, I think it has a valid and very constructive role in a free American society (just my personal opinion).
Wonder why the bleating geniuses at the Boston Fed don’t see it all that way? Probably because they’ve lost their minds to the cult of contemporary finance and can’t think for themselves if they had to.

Pat In Massachusetts says:
October 1, 2011 at 7:39 am
It is extremely heartening to see how the workers of Boston’s financial district are being advised on how to sneak to and from work. Let’s see how long they can put up with the intimidation and discomfort – things the ‘masses’ that are now mingling on their turf have been suffering with for a decade or more now.
What kind of pie? OCCUPY!