(Signe Wilkinson via GoComics.com)
To the surprise of exactly no one who’s been paying attention, Paul Krugman (His Most Excellent Shrillness) sides with the OWS people:
What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right….
Rich Yeselson, a veteran organizer and historian of social movements, has suggested that debt relief for working Americans become a central plank of the protests. I’ll second that, because such relief, in addition to serving economic justice, could do a lot to help the economy recover. I’d suggest that protesters also demand infrastructure investment — not more tax cuts — to help create jobs. Neither proposal is going to become law in the current political climate, but the whole point of the protests is to change that political climate.
And there are real political opportunities here. Not, of course, for today’s Republicans, who instinctively side with those Theodore Roosevelt-dubbed “malefactors of great wealth.” Mitt Romney, for example — who, by the way, probably pays less of his income in taxes than many middle-class Americans — was quick to condemn the protests as “class warfare.”
But Democrats are being given what amounts to a second chance. The Obama administration squandered a lot of potential good will early on by adopting banker-friendly policies that failed to deliver economic recovery even as bankers repaid the favor by turning on the president. Now, however, Mr. Obama’s party has a chance for a do-over. All it has to do is take these protests as seriously as they deserve to be taken.
And if the protests goad some politicians into doing what they should have been doing all along, Occupy Wall Street will have been a smashing success.
Also, still, heartbreaking: We Are the 99 Percent.
Any other OWS developments / links / commentary that should be front-paged?
How about reports from the various front lines of the Occupation?
Occupy Pittsburgh begins on the 15th. Will begin at Market Square with others at Point State Park. My John and I will be there.
BTW, Herman “If You Don’t Have a Job, Blame Yourself” Cain can go fuck himself with a rusty chainsaw.
Krugman still has not figure out that those who control the Democratic Party do not want a do over. The policies of the last 2.5 years were not some tragic accident.
In St. Louis:
The whole “they don’t have any specific agenda” whine is simply used to dodge the reality of why they are pissed off.
And I don’t think that’s hard to figure out.
In a recent rally south of us (Glens Falls, NY) someone came out to the protest saying he didn’t believe in MoveOn.org (only the people who organized the protest, for the luvagawd) but he did believe the people were getting a raw deal.
That’s the people we also need to recruit. If it came with a “liberal” label on it a guy like that wouldn’t even listen.
Gil Scott-Heron was wrong.
The Revolution Will Be Televised.
NPR is coming around to the fact that the OWS protesters are not a bunch of DFH freaks. Who knows, maybe the NY TImes will figure it out before too long as well.
From one Krugman’s commenters, who attended the Occupy Portland (OR) rally:
Sounds about right to me.
Perhaps the banks should be required to recycle some of the profits TARP allowed them to keep into student loan forgiveness/modification?
Bill E Pilgrim
As if for example any Democratic politicians in Washington trying to figure out whether to cave in and give more cover to corporate greed or to stand up and push for actual liberal Democratic principals, would be scratching their heads and saying “Dammit, if only I knew which of those positions these protesters were in favor of!”
Villago Delenda Est
See my nym. It needs to happen as part of this. No quarter.
Coming from certain people like Republicans/right wingers/FOX News, yes. When its coming from people who are your political allies its a reasonable question. How will you attract people like the one you mentioned if they don’t know you’re agenda?
In any case, I think saying ‘we are the 99%’ is great. Having the unions support the movement will also attract a lot more people.
i don’t know what so many people are fretting about, let it happen organically, let it unfold. Unless you plan to get out there and support them or you wish to share the same advice you give here with those out there on the streets, don’t just sit back and criticize. anyway, at least it gives me hope that i haven’t had in years.
“1) abrogate “free trade agreements” and bring the jobs home to America”
This is it. This is where the capitalist lives and breathes. For 150 years they pushed for this and finally got it with Nafta and other tariff busting legislation.
Whoever embraces this, wins. Now all we have to see is who has the political and moral courage to do so.
Pittsburgh will probably be good.
Occupy Toledo starts Monday (if I understand them correctly-the “occupation” starts Monday-they’re doing the general assembly thing right now).
I took it out so I can go down and hold a sign and march and such. I always think numbers matter more than anything, in terms of morale. Nothing kills enthusiasm like organizing a public event and then having a poor turn-out.
I’ll take pictures. Toledo is a small city and it’s a Monday, so don’t expect 15,000 people :)
@harlana: Given that this is is a bit of a public forum, I really don’t see a problem with people using this space to to share advice that they might have. As we know, there are people who frequent this blog who are at the protests. For those who are not able to be there, this forum may be the best way they have to communicate their ideas. It also may be one of many fora that they are using. People who see any advice or commentary are free to accept or reject it as they see fit.
Any time someone links to wearethe99percent I think they should be obligated to also link to the Randian response, latf99p (NSFW.) The heartless cruelty of the opposition would disgust the “mushy middle” I believe and so needs to be put on full display. (And if it does not, I’d rather know that so I can move to that off-grid plot of land in the NE Kingdom with some chickens and a goat.)
@JPL: Thanks for sharing this – I love Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
I’ve been reading some of the libertarian reactions to OWS & we are the 99% and I think those reactions would turn off most reasonable people.
Thank you for engaging. I apologize for doubting you.
I think #1 is the removal of corrupting private money from our political system IMHO. Without that, our politicians will always serve their big donor masters.
@wilfred: These trade agreements are neither “free” nor fair. They’re always grand compendiums of regulations favoring transnational manufacturers (including the export of labor processes) and investors and against anyone else. Any other type of proposed regulation, say, labor and environmental agreements on the level of strength as, say, anti-free trade intellectual property obsessive compulsive sanctification, is considered “not free”.
These agreements are also good with allowing that 3rd world country to (a) screw its own workers over in part with (b) interventionist or even oppressive policies in favor of transnational financial and manufacturing interests.
This is what is considered “free” trade.
[BTW, there’s always accompanying propaganda suggesting that such views are ‘against’ the populations who typically agree with these clear observations, i.e., the great majority of Mexicans — not just workers — who when polled prefer NAFTA to be repealed & replaced.]
The evolution of opinion on this blog regarding the “Occupy Wall Street” protest has been remarkable to observe and, from the perspective of someone who advocated for it from the beginning, deeply encouraging.
Little more than a week ago, some of the very same people who are now writing in robust support of its mission and are even planning to attend nearby rallies, were acutely critical or skeptical of it, for such reasons as a perceived lack of coherence or organization, suspect demographics, doubts about protesters’ knowledge of the subject, the quixotic nature of public protests.
A sincerely curious question: what happened to change your mind? Was it the adoption of the slogan, “We Are the 99%”, which focused the message; the longevity and expansion of the protest; the dismissive coverage of it by the corporate media; the aggressive tactics of the NYPD; the crucible of heated commentary on this blog’s many threads on the protest; John Cole’s capitulation [ :) ]; all/some/none of the above?
Please understand, this is not about vindication or point-scoring. To me, it seems indisputable that there has been a significant shift of opinion here on “Occupy Wall Street.” I think it’s instructive to learn why.
A sincerely curious question: what happened to change your mind?
I realized it was about people frustrated with the state of the economy and the lack of available opportunities.
Look, everyone who lives in a city can name at least a couple semi-permanent encampments of protesters throughout the year. It took a while to determine whether this was something worth caring about or whether it was Code Pink-style performance art.
Yes, yes it is.
5-6000 people showed up and marched yesterday in downtown Portland Oregon in support of OWS; on message-the economy and the response to it sucks. Check it out at oregonlive.com
It just took a while to get through, for me. I thought they were a few well-meaning kids (whom I agreed with) but it was kinda dumb and useless. But it seems to be catching fire and it seems to be connecting with the anger and helplessness that a lot of us have felt…and suddenly it feels like maybe there is some hope. Rise up! Stick it to the man!
OccupyDetroit ramps up Monday evening with a general assembly at 7pm.
Report from Orange County, CA;
We are organizing our own Occupy events beginning Oct 15, and thereafter.
@WereBear: Yes, it will be a coalition of MoveOn, unions and other liberal groups.
As Mr. Krguman points out, our agenda is not to try and slyly define economic justice as some sort of “conservative” idea; we proudly march as liberals, and intend to change the political climate to define that word as the noble and virtuous thing it is.
By the way- did anyone notice how a majority of the Los Angeles City Council swiftly embraced the protests happening there? And how eagerly politicians all across the country are scrambling to wear the Occupy label?
This is proof that its working; we are changing the framework. Wouldn’t it be great if, in a few years, Democrats could vie in primaries for the title of “most liberal”, the way the GOP do for “most conservative”?
ETA- there was a tremendous rally yesterday in the Financial District of downtown LA;
Just want to post this as a response to the meme that the banks did nothing illegal, being put forward here by some and by Obama yesterday in his Press Conference.
Yves says it better than I can: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/why-occupywallstreet-doesnt-support-obama-his-nothing-to-see-here-stance-on-bank-looting.html
The reality is that there are multiple fronts on which we can prosecute the bad actors in the Financial Collapse of 08/09.
My daughter is doing a good job of covering a lot of this on her blog http://plutocracyfiles.blogspot.com/
You, sir, are a better man than I.
I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO, MORONS.
A sincerely curious question: what happened to change your mind?
I work in Lower Manhattan, and for the first week or 10 days of the protest, all I could see was that some well-meaning students had a vague message. Good luck to them, but it didn’t look like much. And some of the signs were frankly idiotic. Plus, I had to walk 200 yards out of my way to get to work.
About a week into it, I went to Zuccotti Park and spoke to one of the sign-holders. I said the message seems to be getting more focused. He said, “It’s been focused all along. Why don’t you join us?”
For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been walking through Zuccotti Park every morning, at lunchtime and after work, soaking in the scene. I’m impressed with how peaceable and orderly it is. They’re respecting the space and sweeping up after themselves. Their “human microphone” mode of communicating is something to see.
As I told the guy that first day, I have agreed with their opinions and aims for a long time: the financial system itself is what caused the problem, and the people who paid for the bailout are getting shafted. It took me a few days to come around to being a full supporter of the protesters, and it’s their way of operating that brought me around.
I think people were talking past each other a bit in those threads.
A lot of the criticism I read wasn’t contending that the cause wasn’t just, but that “drum circles and bear breasts” would alienate needed allies and cause enemies to dismiss the whole effort and the ideas associated with it.
However momentum started to grow, perhaps in part because those very things that could have alienated provoked over-the-top police response, and also because the protesters have demonstrated some smarts.
So there is hope.
Thanks very much to all who took the time to respond to my comment/request (#21) above.
Three dots (#31), I suspect I’m not alone in appreciating the moving account of your own change of heart, if not mind, on the OWS protest. Thank you!
And eemom (#30), I knew I could rely on you for a judicious, temperate reply, you emo-prog, you! :)
The Occupy Wall Street protestors rightly decided to join together on Wall Street to express their anger and frustration. But the protestors anger would not have been misplaced if they had decided instead to converge outside the various locations of the corporate media headquarters. The country would not be in the ditch that it is in without the aid of the media.
In large measure, those in the media who banged the drums for war in Iraq are the same individuals who were waving their pom-poms for the financial markets prior to the financial collapse and who continue to be Wall Street’s biggest defenders and loudest critics of the Occupy Wall Steet protestors.
I’m swatting flies, not catching them.
Glad you’re not running the membership drive.
Temperate is my middle name. : )
no argument there.
Things that really encourage me.
1)They continue to be leaderless, hence no leadership to coopt.(of course there are leaders,they are flying under the radar) Brilliant!
2)They are resisting attempts at being co-opted. This is really illustrating the difference between them and the Tea Party.
3)It is amazing how OWsers are actually lending weight to the unions instead of vice versa. Michigan was great and all, but before and since unions havent really been very influintial past the usaul suspects.
4)Their discipline towards non-violence is key. Agent provetiers were always in the Facist Overlord playbook.
Hasn’t worked. Balony was trying to provoke a reaction.
He prevoked one, but not the one that was desired.
5)People are really really ready to give in to this. To the point of keeping these people fed and having what they need.
If you are a college grad and cant find a job, why not come on down and be an occupier. Pizza and food! Acceptance and community. A sense of being part of something historical!
When wall street decided all the rest of us could just get fucked and live on the street, what did they think would happen. Oh right, excuse me, the only thing these sociapaths think of is next quaters profits.
6)The blogs are setting the tone. Media has become self aware at how useless they have become. A lot of the cool kids want in on this. They realize there are some new kool kids who exist beyond the usual jock/bully/hanger-ons and they are getting left behind. If there is one thing that strikes fear in the hearts of the heathers, its being left behind.
7)For the heartlanders it is beginging to dawn on them that there is no more time to indulge in pointless racism, or fear of Dirty Hippies. Dirty Hippies arent the ones trying to steal you social security and 401s.
This is a defining moment. It is crystal clear how corrupted or system has become. That corrupted system has to be re-set.
The reason I came down so hard on all those who looked down on the OWsers is that these people will end up bleeding for you the very people that mocked them.
This is the endgame.
I think the overlords will kill a few people before they are put in check. Sucks, but freedom isn’t free.
This is what that phrase always meant. It never meant we were going to sacrifice some milatary lives securing our empire so the overloads could ‘freely’ loot overseas conquest.
It always meant some brave and innocent people were going brush up against the cruel polished machine and get shredded. They would become martyrs and the price they pay will be what gives us the means and motivation to due our duty as citizens. And you would mock them?
Bloomberg and those he serves want to light a pyre to burn this movement, but they will inadvertly light the fire that burns the cancer away.
I am one of the 99%
I stand with OW
I will not be afraid
@wrb: A lot of the criticism I read wasn’t contending that the cause wasn’t just, but that “drum circles and bear breasts” would alienate needed allies and cause enemies to dismiss the whole effort and the ideas associated with it.
That was my argument in Cole’s first thread. And, fortunately, for whatever reason, the potential allies weren’t alienated and have instead joined in. The enemies remain dismissive, but that’s what they do best: sneer at anyone poorer than them.
Occupy Jacksonville is planning on meeting up this weekend. We’ll see what happens.
I guess I’m just inured 99%er stories because of my own (and my parents’), but yeah, it’s a really effective way of conveying that SHIT IS FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT, in the words of my favorite sign ever. It’s also kind of heartening to hear from other people who’ve had this hellish, failed society tell them they’re responsible for their collapsing quality of life and undeserving of basic dignity.
Edit: Oh god this is so old. I am not good with computers how did I get here