POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Occupy Wall Street loses focus … or is it just that Occupy’s platform is not being reported? … many sides of the Occupy movement, some praiseworthy, some not

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 24, 2011

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Maybe the reasons that Occupy’s platform is not well known is that the media/political/corporate class doesn’t want us to know what Occupy wants. This report from the Manchester Guardian is well worth reading … 

  • US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparalleled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. 

Why this massive mobilisation against these

not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? 

  • The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.
    • The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.
    • No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks.
    • No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.
  • When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.
  • when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence.
  • It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent.
  • Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

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the Los Angeles city government at first supported Occupy Los Angeles … now they don’t

  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that the City Hall park where Occupy Los Angeles protesters have been camped for the last seven weeks will be closed midnight Monday.

LMW …

  • a failure to stick to the issues is leading to a decrease in support from those who would be allies
  • there are corporations and government leaders who share the stated goals related to corporate greed, regulation, and political campaign financing
  • but they are being driven away by the increasingly diffuse nature of the protests and the focus on the protesters rather than the issues.
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The People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street Lives On

LMW … All true. I love books and I love libraries.

  • But the entire article again failed to focus on any realizable goals for the Occupy movement.
  • I  think that’s a huge mistake and a counter-productive diversion of energy that should be focused on the corporate greed, lack of appropriate regulation, and the political campaign rules that foster and expand corporate power.
  • Why not make the connection by asking corporations who might be “friendly” to the movement to donate books?

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Occupy protesters across the country celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday

  • In New York’s Zuccotti Park, organizers said they distributed some 3,000 individually wrapped plates for what they described as an “open feast.”
  • “This is Occupy Thanksgiving,” Haywood Carey, a protester, told CNN.

LMW … and so the protest continues to focus on the protesters and NOT on the quite legitimate issues they started with.

  • Why not ask the corporations to provide the food?
  • not look to gain the cooperation of some corporations (and Mayor Bloomberg) instead of making them all enemies?

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Robert Reich … “the Real public nuisance is the tsunami of big money into politics”

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  • During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press.
  • The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps.
  • And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.
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  • The New York Police Department’s commissioner on Wednesday sent an internal message to officers ordering them not to unreasonably interfere with media access during news coverage and warning those who do will be subject to disciplinary action, after several journalists were arrested covering Occupy Wall Street demonstrations last week.
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  • The first female chancellor of the University of California, Davis, has found herself in the middle of a national debate over police use of pepper spray to subdue protesters and the way colleges balance free speech and public safety.
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  • Dozens of people linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement have held a protest at the offices of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton.
  • The Republican was among 12 lawmakers on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that failed to reach agreement by Wednesday’s deadline.
  • The protesters say they oppose America’s growing income inequality and Upton’s economic policies.

http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111124/ap_on_re_us/us_occupy_glance

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Occupy movement urges students to default on student debt …

  • Early Monday afternoon, a group of faculty and student organizers unveiled the Occupy Student Debt campaign from the southeast corner of lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
  • As part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the national Occupy Student Debt campaign asks that borrowers default on their student loan payments after one million individuals have similarly signed the debtors’ pledge.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/21/occupy-student-debt-campaign_n_1106379.html?ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112211&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

LMW … This is disgraceful!

  • students who knowingly created debt obligations have an obligation to repay
  • if they don’t, who will?  … the American taxpayers will.
  • there are real problems which the Occupy movement began to address
  • now they are all over the map in an increasingly irrelevant manner
  • if they want to accomplish anything (And I hope they do) they need to get back to where they started

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4 Responses to “* Occupy Wall Street loses focus … or is it just that Occupy’s platform is not being reported? … many sides of the Occupy movement, some praiseworthy, some not”

  1. Erika Biddle said

    http://charleseisenstein.net/essays/to-bear-witness-and-to-speak-the-truth/

  2. Shirrel said

    Thanks, Lew. I think Occupy Wall Street does have an agenda (as reported in your link), just one they have not effectively articulated. Not surprising from a loose organization with vague leadership and many complaints.

    More importantly, Occupy Wall Street sends a message of general dissatisfaction by a large part of the public with the way things are going — in politics, in the financial sector, in the economy, in their lives. It’s important to heed this message of dissatisfaction. While the “wants” may not be clear, the results could be: An America version of Arab Spring.

    Alas.

    Shirrel

  3. Joel said

    The Occupy Movement is important. It is educating the public about a whole raft of issues that revolve around how a very few people with a whole lot of money are destroying what is good and just in this country.

    Of course the Occupy movement has not been properly covered because these same very few people occupy the press, the two houses, and the presidency. They have even created a very destructive religious/tea party — an alliance of short thinking (brainwashed by media), poorly educated people (ranked 27th in the world) who are hurting us (and themselves) by their actions.

    The Occupy movement is not focused on one issue or thing because it is exposing a whole, very large laundry list of issues and injustices created by an outrageous imbalance of power that, up until now, has largely been ignored by the general public.

    JOEL

  4. Evan said

    what foolishness. Occupy WS was great in every respect, fun, focused
    politically, refusing to be coopted, great media/energy ratio, incredible
    alternative as forum for deliberating about the problems of our democracy
    to anything Obama or move on or move back or whatever has produced, which
    is so bereft of serious discussion and debate, I’d rather watch boardwalk
    on HBO…couldn’t ask for more.

    Whatever criticism it has received is more about the absence of any
    mature left wing backup, context or compliment than about the protests.
    They are what they are. The rest is not. So they’re held to account for
    not being what we are not…an attempt to globalize, which they obviously
    fail, rather than to surround with something more. Ugh.

    Evan (now in El Salvador, where the 75,000 dead thanks to Kennedy-Reagan
    policies does give some perspective on “good intentions”

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