This was a pretty crazy week for the Occupy Together movement – police beat and sprayed occupiers in New York, Seattle, Denver, and were going to descend on San Francisco as well before being scared off. That’s to say nothing of what happened to the students at Berkeley who were assaulted by police on the very steps where the free speech and anti-war movements of the mid-20th century were born.
I spent part of yesterday evening with Occupy Vancouver, on a march that went from Brookfield’s Vancouver office (the people who own Zuccotti Park and requested that the city tear down the OWS site) to a local branch of the Royal Bank, back to Brookfield, and returning ultimate to the foot of the Art Gallery. I was struck by the positive, upbeat attitude of the crowd and the (nearly) seamless communication of ideas.
What I was more struck by was the clear level of commitment, energy, and skill that had gone into making what was (when last I was there) a ramshackle affair into a cohesive, established site, that was offering a variety of services to the city of Vancouver.
I thought you might enjoy this video:
The Occupy movement, despite the idiotic, reactionary criticism it gets from people informed by a media that is not set up to understand a movement like this, is not a bunch of shiftless layabouts who would rather have a handout than push a broom. They are passionate, dedicated people who are willing to put themselves through quite a lot of suffering to make an important point about how our society is structured. In between making points, however, they’re also providing valuable services.
If I can speak as an economist for a moment, the video highlights something that doesn’t get spoken about much. I got into an absolutely one-sided “debate” with someone on Facebook who called the occupiers “losers”. Her position (rambling as it was) eventually settled on the fact that she didn’t want her hard-earned tax dollars paying for the electricity that Occupy Vancouver is getting from the city. The $0.00001 that she has contributed to the movement aside, that argument only works if you completely ignore the fact that Occupy Vancouver is housing and feeding people, providing medical care, and generating political advertising and awareness. Each of these things, provided without charge, is not only valuable, but takes pressure off of municipal services.
But again, this is the whole point of the Occupy movement: society is not living up to its promises to provide these services. If we want to see improvements, we have to become more proactive. What we should have is a system that places a greater emphasis on equality than quarter-to-quarter growth – the two are not independent entities. We should be using the wealth we generate to care for those who need help, so they can get up on their feet and begin generating wealth of their own. Instead, we reward a small number far beyond what their services are truly worth.
Anyway, if I’m not careful this will turn into a 2,000 word opinion piece on the philosophy of the occupiers. This is movie Friday – it’s supposed to be fun and relaxing. Here’s CROWN doing a Beatles tune:
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Almost all the people I have talked to that object to the occupy movement do so because of media propaganda, to a man. And it takes time to work through that propaganda, but it can usually be done.
One of the most fundamental problems we have today is the excessively loud voice the 1%ers have. Imagine for a moment the discussions that happen at the GAs at these occupy sites. The 1% control the media so they have literally a million or at least hundreds of thousands of times louder voice than their numbers warrant – for the same level of personal sacrifice, 1%ers can broadcast to literally hundreds of thousands more people.
Suppose there were a million people gathered. A veritable woodstock. Now a handful of people show up with their own personal PA systems loud enough to broadcast to the whole crowd and talks all day long on it, or rather hires people to do so, along with some speachwriters and analysts behind them making shit up for the purpose of getting people to believe what they want.
It should be no surprise that they have a grossly undue influence on the public conversation. In the court of public opinion, the prosecutors blab all day long while the defendants get 5 seconds a day to defend themselves. There is no place for this in a democracy. There needs to be publicly owned and operated broadcasting entities to counter the 1%ers voices with equal volume.
“Almost all the people I have talked to that object to the occupy movement do so because of media propaganda, to a man.”
That’s funny because all the people I have talked to object ot the occupy movement do so because they understand the principles involved.
They, like me, would listen to these videos and the reaction is still “so what” you are using public resources for your own private purposes. There are lots of other principles involved that you guys are violating. Why for instance should you be able to march down a public road without a permit when everyone else has to? So on and so forth. This movement is an embarrassment on every level.
I think my kid grew out of banging pots in the kitchen when he was having a temper tantrum when he was like three. He never did it for more than a few minutes either. Not these people. No they are going to bang and bang until even the other protesters get fed up with them and they start stabbing each other over it.
Yeah, unlike all those other major civil rights movements that had permits and the express written permission of the people they were protesting against. They were well-organized and disciplined, and as a result their cause was received warmly and the transition was seamless!
If you’ve ever confused as to why I respond to other people’s comments and not to yours, it’s because listening to you try to make a truthful statement is like watching a blind drunk trying to swat at a pinata from 50 yards away, facing in the wrong direction. With his dick.
This isn’t civil disobedience like sitting in the front of the bus when local government ordinances disallow it.
Are you under the impression they are protesting laws against jay-walking, and camping in the city? These people aren’t pro-jay walking, and pro-bstruction of traffic for everyone. These people aren’t protesting the fact that we have public parks in the city in which no one is allowed to camp.
Despite your beliefs civil rights protesters have and do get permits, just like the T-Party did in many cases, when required.
Not only did the old civil rights protests get permits they also fought in the courts when they were made to pay fees that were higher than other people who were holding parades and demonstrations.
In like fashion the T-Party is not at all happy that they were forced to pay fees for their demonstrations, but also for police and porta-potties, while the occupy protesters are being allowed to do as they please.
Get your facts straight.
Right, like the permission they received for the Woolworths sit-ins in Greensboro, or the Selma to Montgomery marches (the first two, at least). And you’re totally right about the fact that Occupy hasn’t gone to the courts to fight for their right to protest in this way (oh wait, they have…).
I’m not sure in which universe you think the Occupy protesters are being allowed to do as they please, but I live in the alternative timeline where they’ve been raided, tear-gassed, beaten, run over with police vehicles, infiltrated by undercover police officers, and forced out of peaceful encampments by overwhelming violence.
“If you’ve ever confused as to why I respond to other people’s comments and not to yours, it’s because listening to you try to make a truthful statement is like watching a blind drunk trying to swat at a pinata from 50 yards away, facing in the wrong direction. With his dick.”
Why would I wonder about you “not” responding to my comments when in fact you do. I’m not at all confused by your tactics with your commenters. This being a prime example.
You have yet to show that any of my comments were “untruthful”. When you do I’ll address it. Just be aware that there is a big difference between being mistaken and lying. Likewise motivation matters. I think you guys may have good intentions but are in general ignorant and suffering from quite a bit of misunderstanding of how the world actually works.
Of course, I’m not perfect so I do make mistakes occasionally. One of which I spotted and corrected on the other thread when I used “all” in reference to the EU. Just a turn of phrase really that I should not have used because it is confusing. I was already aware that not “all” of the europe was part of the EU, although much that isn’t aren’t exactly bastions of capitalism, so it didn’t effect my point one bit.
You should see the occupy people in Kansas City. Prostitution, contributions used to buy weed, assaults, whatever.
Read all about it at Tony’s Kansas City blog.
Deeds are louder than words. If they can do all the things they claim then just do them within the system, and pay your fair share for the services and property you use. Stealing public property for your own use hides costs. Using roads without paying taxes for those road hides costs. Etc. They aren’t doing anything that private charities haven’t done in the past and are therefore proving zilch.
Plenty of dicators use these same exact argument for their own power grabs. Dictators from Mohammad, the taliban and Castro have all made such claims. Providing some tents to some winos doesn’t give you the right to take over control of other peoples stuff. There are plenty of people who could use the valuable property of say Central Park, or many of the other parks in the country in order to provide goods and services. Of course then we won’t have those parks anymore as parks.
This guy is just as silly as the rest of them. He’s just wrapped it in pseudo-intellecutal jargon.
“But again, this is the whole point of the Occupy movement: society is not living up to its promises to provide these services.”
You mean socialist politicians are not living up to the promises they made to provide these services with other peoples earnings(because they don’t do it themselves for sure). That’s the rub, when you redistribute you eventually run out of other peoples stuff.
You should stop using the word “society” in this fallacious way and perhaps you’d stop making the mistakes you are obviously making. Societies are collections of individuals. When you take from “society” you are taking from individuals. When you give to “society” you give to individuals. It is just or unjust at the individual level. That is where the determination is made. It is impossible to tell what is just or unjust using the word “society”. Every society provides services (to some) and takes resources to do so (from others).
In this case “Occupy Vancouver” is unjustly stealing resources like electricity and land from people like your “rambling” facebook opponent, to give to themselves, and their supporters. It’s no different than when Obama hands money over to Goldman Sachs (one of his supporters) and uses “good of the society” arguments to justify the misappropriation.
Occupy Vancouver is extremely undemocratic in that all the taxpayers they are stealing from don’t get any representation in their organization. It’s taxation without representation.
Yes it is stealing to use public resources against the will of the people’s representatives. I’m sure that there are plenty of uses for the town swimming pool (like washing farm animals) that would be “economical” for people to do. Unfortunately if private citizens are allowed to do whatever they please with public property it is the same as having no owner whatsoever. Which leads to the problems that property arose to solve. Conflicting plans on the use of those resources, and the conflicts that arise.
The Tea Party groups were not so incredibly stupid as this guy not to understand that large gatherings of people like this have costs. Costs that these occupy movements are shifting onto others, like sanitation costs. T-party groups either had short gatherings in smaller numbers, or provided porta-potties at their own expense. These occupy groups are destroying the bathrooms of local businesses, and shifting costs onto them.
This guy had a child like mind when it comes to economics. It’s a shame that he paid for college and ended up with no understanding. Probably part of the reason why he is unemployed.
If you’re ever wondering where you officially lost the argument, it’s there. “Their own expense” meaning the PACs that under-wrote the entire Tea Party astroturf movement, with money secured from corporate donors who bought and paid for every single Tea Party talking point.
It’s also cute how you assume that the speaker is unemployed. I hope you don’t consider yourself a skeptic, because you’re not one. Or, at least, doing a terrible job at being one.
That’s quite a bit of twisted logic you got going on there to claim that the point where I “officially lost the argument” was when I pointed out that they used their own funds (not taxpayer funds but their own funds) to pay for fees, permits, police, and the like. Matter of fact is that if someone gives you money they own it becomes yours.
My claim was never that these groups don’t take voluntary donations. Pretty disingenuous of you to build such a straw man argument.
In fact, I knew that Eric Hamilton Smith is unemployed. He has no job.
He list his “occupation” as Graduate student of public policy at Simon Fraser University
That is not exactly a paying job, which the term occupation actually refers to, although it probably “occupies” him, just like hanging out in the park does.
Unemployed = no job, but seeking employment. Being a graduate student doesn’t qualify. Not only that, but most graduate students do work, since scholarship money doesn’t usually provide a full living wage.
My point about the PAC money is that the Tea Party was sponsored by the same system they were protesting against. It can hardly be considered a ‘protest’ when you have the assent from the powers that be. It’s far closer to a series of rallies. And when that money comes from firms that are responsible for destroying far more wealth than Occupy to ever hope to mooch in free electricity, it’s not their money either. If I rob your house, sell your stuff, and then use that money to defend myself in court when you press charges, you’re okay with that?
“Unemployed = no job, but seeking employment.”
LOL. So I guess if I lost my job and decided to live off my wife I could claim that I wasn’t unemployed. That definition is mostly used by politicians and for intellectually dishonest reasons. That way they can exclude “discouraged workers” and those living off the government from the unemployment statistics.
Your point is taken though that he could have chosen to be unemployed. Nevertheless he is unemployed in the sense I meant it. He doesn’t have a job.
“Not only that, but most graduate students do work, …”
Exactly, and he doesn’t work. He should.
“My point about the PAC money is that the Tea Party was sponsored by the same system they were protesting against.”
If you believe that is a valid claim then you don’t understand what they were protesting against.
It’s intellectually dishonest to say “system” in this case because using that phrasing one could argue that anyone protesting anything they are forced to participate in is being “sponsored” by the same system they protest. It’s silly really.
I was at one of the very first T-Party protests and I wasn’t sponsored by anyone. There are a whole slew of sponsors I can think of that are part of the “system” that I would gladly accept sponsorship from.
We weren’t protesting capitalism if that’s what you think. We were protesting government interventionism that got us into this economic mess and continues to exacerbate it. To my knowledge there were and are no direct governmental sponsorships of the T-Party.
Note that it could be that I live in the old Soviet republic and I decide I don’t like that system. My protests in that case would be 100% funded by the state since I would by force have a state job. That doesn’t undermine the credibility of my protest. I’m not a hypocrite for doing so, because I am forced to.
On the other hand many of the occupy protests contain anarchists, and communists, who oppose corporations. Yet they are taking donations from them. Since corporations are not the state they have zero power to force these people to interact with them. So they can’t claim there is no way out of it.
“It can hardly be considered a ‘protest’ when you have the assent from the powers that be.”
Clearly this reasoning is flawed. Obama and other Democrats in power have assented to the occupy movement.
“The powers that be” allow the occupy movement to do things that they did not allow for the T-Party, and for other protests. For example, they did not allow the Mosque protest in Zuccotti park even though they applied for a permit.
It is only after the protests became and embarrassment and it was clear that there was a double standard that they decided to move in to clean up the human filth. Otherwise groups like the police unions are fine with a pro-union, pro-government spending protest like this. Unions are in the set “powers that be”, and they are also providing substantial support, along with government funded non-profit entities that are actually paying protesters to be there (or have at least run ads to that effect).
By your reasoning the protest you support isn’t a protest.
“It’s far closer to a series of rallies.”
Oh, please. I was there and I was protesting. I was protesting a long series of government intrusions into free markets that caused them to fail.
Your rationalization are ridiculous, really.
“And when that money comes from firms that are responsible for destroying far more wealth than Occupy to ever hope to mooch in free electricity, it’s not their money either.”
That’s another ridiculous rationalization, and afactual.
I understand that you have this world-view that you are basing your claims on. I don’t share that world view. It don’t think you have a good model for how the world actually works. So I come to different conclusions even with the same underlying situations.
In fact I can’t even think of how I could interpret your statement to align with reality. Do you think the T-Party is getting donations from Goldman Sachs the way Obama (or Bush) did?
“If I rob your house, sell your stuff, and then use that money to defend myself in court when you press charges, you’re okay with that?”
Huh? Sounds like you are talking about a group like Acorn, who gets government funding. They are literally living off the earnings of others that was forcibly taken from those others.
You are confused if you think corporations are inherently a form of robbery. In fact, it is when corporations rely on government subsidies, and monopolies that their actions most resemble theft.
Of course, the T-Party is against all forms of redistribution so it really doesn’t benefit anyone who is “stealing” to donate to them. The T-Party is in fact not appreciated by Washington insiders on either side of the isle.
And you know this… how exactly? Listing your occupation as ‘graduate student’ likely means that you work as a TA/RA, plus usually a part-time job on the side. Unless you know this guy personally, then I invite you to stop talking out of your ass.
And since then, it has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Americans For Prosperity (the people running these things have read Orwell… the people attending these things clearly haven’t).
Spoken like a creationist. When your “worldview” requires outright lies (the Tea Party doesn’t have mainstream Republican support, ACORN gets government funding – it doesn’t exist anymore!) and self-contradiction (The Tea Party fights for the “job creators” who are cutting jobs and making record profits doing so) to hold itself up, it ceases to have any credibility as a competing alternative to reality. The phenomenon of the Republican-verse is pretty well known, requiring both a derision of “mainstream media” and science and history and economics. You’ve lost the part of the discussion that involves numbers, so you’ve decided to throw out math. In the words of Buzz Lightyear: “you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity.”
And I’m done with you.
“And I’m done with you.”
Why do you think the parks are the appropriate place to shit, pile garbage, and live in unsanitary conditions? The politicians who were letting this go on literally had to change their tune because of all the human filth piling up.
The guy in the video makes a hard sell that they are improving conditions at low cost but the exact opposite is true. Things are getting worse in the areas they control. Human filth is piling up everywhere in the camps and they are taking up. They are getting lice, etc.
Luckily most of the tents are actually unoccupied at night. Imagine if they were truly there 24 hours a day, woke up at night and had to get up to take a shit when all the local businesses were closed. No using private bathrooms then.
“Listing your occupation as ‘graduate student’ likely means that you work as a TA/RA, plus usually a part-time job on the side.”
You are just assuming. Which you found so offensive when you claimed I did it. I however actually checked and he doesn’t list a form of emplyment. Yes, there is still a possibility he is employeed, somehow, but the prepoderance of evidence is that he is not. Especially if he has the free time to run this kind of continuous protest. The reason you thought the T-Party was merely “rallies” is because people like me who were in them had to go back to their jobs. Not something that seems to be happening here. The T-Party protests lasted for hours, not months.
“Spoken like a creationist.”
Really, how so? I’ve never heard a creationist make such a claim.
I know you like to waste time on such side arguments. Like wasting time about my employment comment. So have at it.
My point is that you’re thinking is colored by you misunderstanding of economics, politics, morality, and other things. In this case about the opinions of the T-Party participants and the nature of their funding.
In fact, it is exactly the kind of argument I use against both creationists and theists who argue that my motivations are evil for what I believe. I just don’t believe in devils (their world view) so I am in no way motivated by the devil. I’m pointing out to you that events like the economic collapse have many interpretations. I just think the Occupy Wall Street interpretation is inaccurate. I think the same thing of your models of reality. Someone with a scientific mindset needs to understand that observation is in large part interpretation. So we can’t use the simplistic world view of socialism like “They have more so they must have stole it”. Which is exactly what the concept of “99%” presupposes. That is not a misnomer eitehr. They actually use that as an argument, not merely a label.
It is actually you who is wasting time with these distractions. You did the same thing to the other commenter who disagreed with you. Picking out trivial stuff and expanding on it, while hurling insults.
“ACORN gets government funding – it doesn’t exist anymore!”
See this is what I’m talking about. My sentence wasn’t specifically about Acorn but about entities like Acorn that get government funding. Many of the non-profits supporting this movement in fact “get” present tense, government funding, or have in the past which they divert to such efforts. Acorn was disbanded in name only so organizations not only “like” Acorn but also who were formerly identical with Acorn. Organizations like “New York Communities for Change”.
Look up on wikin and you will find that “As part of the effort by some chapters to stay afloat by severing ties with the national organization, California ACORN changed its name to Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment,[not in citation given] New York ACORN renamed itself New York Communities for Change, and an offshoot of the ACORN organization called Acorn Housing changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America yet has retained the same tax and employee identification numbers that it held under its former name.”
Please don’t bother with another red herring like questioning the reliability of Wiki. I’m starting to get tired of the endless string of red herrings.
In fact, I’d have to say that your sentence above is disingenous if it is true that “New York Acorn” has merely changed it’s name. I think it we investigate further that we will find your claim to be false, and that the entities formerly called “Acorn” still get government funding.
You keep insulting me like I’m some sort of unreasonable nut.
This is one of those situations I’m talking about. You believe this new claim, Acorn doesn’t exist, and gets no government funding is a reasonable interpretation of reality. I think it is simplistic. If I changed my name would I cease to exist? Literally there would be no more “Brian Macker” that is arguing with you. But it is a little intellecutally dishonest to use that to argue against someone who said “You should get a job like Brian Macker”. Would you feel reasonable making an argumentative statement like, “Brian Macker doesn’t have a job – it doesn’t exist anymore!”
My original sentence was ambiguous as to whether there was still an entity called Acorn in the first place. Was the noun in that sentence “Acorn” or was it “a group like Acorn”. The later obviously. But due to a typo and bad habit it was a little grammatically ambigous. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and fix the typo.
Instead of “Sounds like you are talking about a group like Acorn, who gets government funding.” I will write “Sounds like you are talking about a group like Acorn, that gets government funding.”
Certainly New York Communities for Change (aka. New York Acorn) is “a group like Acorn”. Hell they are probably still operating with funds they raised under the Acorn banner from various sources. Note that I don’t care about the private donations.
“the Tea Party doesn’t have mainstream Republican support”
It has mainstream Republican opposition. Sure there are some Republicans who are for it but they do not have much influence from my perspective. Guys like Ron Paul that have zero chance of becoming president given the way the actual picking is done. His showing in the polls really counts for nothing.
Pay attention to the news. There are few Republicans that are actually voting for small government in case you didn’t notice. The bailouts never would have happened if it was main stream republican position. T-Party influence is actually fairly small, and in general they continue with their business as usual. Hell, Scott Brown turned round and stabbed them in the back. Republicans will pick a porker like Gingrich, or Romney.
“When your “worldview” requires outright lies (the Tea Party doesn’t have mainstream Republican support, ACORN gets government funding – it doesn’t exist anymore!) and self-contradiction (The Tea Party fights for the “job creators” who are cutting jobs and making record profits doing so) to hold itself up, it ceases to have any credibility as a competing alternative to reality.”
This sentence in it’s entirety is based on your interpretation of reality which I have show in part (the Acorn part) to be false, but the rest of it is nonsense as far as I can tell also.
Again, stop using “lies” in the way you do. I’ve come to my opinions honestly and critically. You are like the guy who comes upon someone winning a fight and assuming that the guy losing is the victim. With more information your interpretation of events might just change, like he might be a rapist and the true victim was saved and ran away.
This part, “and self-contradiction (The Tea Party fights for the “job creators” who are cutting jobs and making record profits doing so) to hold itself up”, requires a completely different, and incorrect world view in order to actually believe.
I’m not even sure what you mean. Is this like the supposed “self-contradictions” of capitalism that Marx speaks of?
Don’t you fell silly making such comments? Again based on a simplistic world view. If cutting jobs were correlated with making more profits then we’d expect the companies with the least employees to have the most successful. They aren’t because, guess what, when you cut jobs you also cut production.
Companies that are producing goods we need (as shown by prices in the free market) will garner more profits by increasing the workforce. I didn’t even scratch the surface of what is actually going on and it is entirely simplistic to think that current unemployment rates are what they are because companies are trying to increase profits by firing workers.
I know exactly why the economic downturn happened, and in fact had been warning my friends back when Clinton was in office. I continued to complain that we were on the wrong economic path with Bush. I took a lot of flak. They joked about me in front o my face. Guess, what now I have the reputation of knowing what I am talking about, economically. At least with those who knew me back then.
BTW, don’t listen to those who have been claiming that Australia, China, and Canada have avoided the problems via regulation and other governmental intrusions. They just have different situations and have been able to pump their bubbles further with the same result, an eventual fractional reserve deflationary correction.
Australia and China are in the first stages of this. Canada will see their housing bubble pop too. Vancouver where this guy lives in particular.
You, like the guy in the video, don’t even begin to understand the economics behind this. Ironic that you claim I’m like a creationist when in fact the folk economics you espouse is similar to creationism in rejecting spontaneous order. Creationists reject evolution because they do not fathom how things that look designed can arise from nature. You don’t fathom, and have not been exposed to the ideas of how economic order can arise by spontaneous order via free markets. At least not from someone who understands it. You like the creationist got your instruction from someone who didn’t fully comprehend.
It’s easy for me to tell that because you wouldn’t make the ignorant statements you do if you were aware. I don’t blame you either. It’s very hard to shift through the nonsense in this field. Takes years, and you are just a kid.
I have nothing against the occupy movement save some of the “new age style theater” and what I consider a poor aim. By poor aim I mean in my opinion they are not targeting the true problem(which you touched on in your PAC comment). The true problem is the loads of filthy lucre that floods today’s politics. Actually Mitt Romney hinted at the problem(although I doubt he realizes it) with his “corporations are people” comment. It’s the corrupting influence of HUGE amounts of money that poisons political discourse. Get rid of the money, get rid of the highly payed lobbyists, get rid of the special interest groups, make all organizations who donate money to political campaigns list all their donors(and amounts) and you will create a more even playing field for getting equal representation in government.
Just my opinion
The incentives in government are such that producers will always have an advantage over consumers when it comes to influencing the exercise in power to redistribute from one to the other. The solution isn’t to attempt to remove the influence. The solution is to remove the power to redistribute aw much as possible. The left has consistently worked in the opposite direction.
Don’t forget Portland, Boss. The Police were all wrong here. They pepper-sprayed, then the Chief of Police lied about how Occupy Portland caused a rape victim to wait for 3 hours before being interviewed.
So okay Brian. Using or damaging someone’s private property is wrong. Unless that someone is the East India Trading Company. Then that’s worthy of naming a movement after. Got it.
The “T-Party” is a misnomer really. It’s not a tax protest. The East India company had a government monopoly. It was in fact an arm of the government. I wouldn’t get so hung up on the name.
The original T-Party was in fact attacking the object of their protest. I don’t think the occupy movement is against public parks, and hot dog vendors, are they?