Internationally-recognized author, linguist, and activist Noam Chomsky will be speaking at Occupy Boston in Dewey Square tomorrow, October 19 at 6:15 pm as part of the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series. Chomsky has already released statements of support for both Occupy Boston and Occupy Wall Street, and we are honored to be hosting him.
While an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters flooded into Times Square on Saturday, there was still a regular New York general assembly at 7 p.m. During that meeting, according to sources who contacted The Huffington Post, the Zuccotti Park General Assembly — though at a reduced presence due to the Times Square march — approved the formation of a new working group.
This “Demands Working Group” then immediately “established a website and fairly educated/articulated list of solutions.” A separate group out of Zuccotti Park has also been working on a list of possible proposals, but a member of the Education and Empowerment Working Group said he suspects the Demands Working Group’s list will become the national platform.
They’ve posted the list online but they’ve also made this announcement under the radar — a national convention to be held July 4, 2012:
WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.
They plan to elect delegates by direct vote, one male and one female per each of the 435 Congressional Districts. The office would be open to any United States citizen over the age of 18. The 870 delegates would then compose a petition of grievances that would be non-partisan.
The posted “demands” are only a working list of “suggestions,” however. Number one and two are a ban on private contributions to politicians seeking or holding federal office and instead public financing for campaigns, and a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.
The list then goes on to suggest single-payer national health care, immediate passage of the DREAM Act, a jobs plan, a deficit reduction plan and recalling military personnel at all non-essential bases.
The movement would also reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, increase regulation and increase taxes by way of eliminating corporate tax loopholes.
David Sauvage, who directs videos for the Occupy Wall Street protests and supports the movement, said he viewed demands as being too similar to talking points.
But Daniel Lerner, a physicist and member of the Demands Working Group, argued to Mother Jones that their demands would have wide appeal.
In their list, however, they close with one last warning: if Congress, the President and the Supreme Court do not act on the settled grievances the movement eventually comes up with, its members are prepared to form a third, independent political party to run in every Congressional seat in 2014 and 2016.
If an anti-Semite thinks #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is a good idea, that doesn’t mean that we think anti-Semitism is a good idea. Endorsements don’t go both ways. The same is true when it comes to the support we have received from unions and politicians.
In the same way, many white supremacists consider themselves to be Christians. But most of you would agree that Christians don’t endorse white supremacy, by any means.
I understand you are mostly being paid to spout illogical nonsense, so this will likely go through one ear and out the other. But to the rest: I would ask you to see this for what it really is, an institutional reaction to a legitimate threat to wealthy privilege. It’s a smear campaign from those who already know they are on the losing side of the argument — so they have nothing of substance to come back with.
After all, there is a vast amount of support within the movement for things like this — I think if Jewish people felt so threatened by our allegedly “anti-Semitic” movement, they wouldn’t be saying things like this about #OCCUPYWALLSTREET.
We have been clear from the beginning: we do not condone violence. Towards anyone. This movement is about equality and social justice, not the division and hatred that the elites and the media are paid to encourage.
(Note: this is the only post I intend to make on the subject. Things like this are intended to distract, and we have too many problems to face to be subjected to the reactionaries’ games. As always, my opinions are my own and this is not intended to be an “official statement” of any kind. — carton-rouge)
“Thank you for starting a movement. But you have a long way to go. This enemy of ours is not just Wall Street— it’s a whole culture. It’s a way of looking at us, and valuing ourselves and each other. And how you are going to move beyond challenging Wall Street, how you’re going to move to become part of the solution, is not gonna be easy. You’re gonna have to do a lot of thinking. You have to look at how you yourselves have become part of this culture. You’re gonna have to look at how many of you would be happy if you could become part of Wall Street, and become part of the corporations, if they would give you jobs. There’s a long road ahead, because you have the opportunity to create something new, that’s based on completely different values. But you’re gonna have to be thinking about values, and not just about abuses.”—Grace Lee Boggs (via wecanbenew)
1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.
2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.
3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.
5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.
6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.
7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.
8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
From the always-eloquent Erick Erickson of RedState:
Occupy Wall Street
Should I be fearful of Occupy Wall Street? Maybe, maybe not.
Still, the anti-Semitic and socialist fever of the Occupy Wall Street movement fills me with sense of dread. I hate to invoke Godwin’s Law already, but isn’t this how Nazi Germany started?
Think about it. First you have an economic crisis (Great Depression/Great Recession), then you find and demonize a scapegoat (Jews/Rich People), and finally then you bring down the current system with violent means (Reichstagsbrand/Occupy Wall Street?*). The American Nazi Party declared its full support for Occupy Wall Street. They must see something we don’t. So while we could easily dismissed Occupy Wall Street as a movement, we really shouldn’t. Nor should we be sympathetic with them at any level.
I hope I am wrong. I hope Occupy Wall Street fizzles out this winter. Still, I personally regret that I cannot afford a gun right now. They are not that far away from me and thus I am not beyond being effected. I do not wish to go out and kill anyone, but only to protect myself and those around me.
I’m actually surprised it took this long to get to the thinly-veiled threats of violence.
In all of these instances, most people think the problem is that these are the acts of a “few bad apples.” But taken together, one has to ask: Should an orchard producing so many bad apples be allowed to continue operating?
Another question is raised by the attitude of some activists in the Occupy Wall Street struggle who believe that the police are part of the “99 percent” that the movement is speaking for. For example, when the arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge were taking place, some marchers who hadn’t been trapped appealed to police with chants of “Join us, you’re one of us.”
“If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”
He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Their constituency is the citizenry of the state of New York, fuckwad.
And it gets better:
Mr. Paulson offered a full-throated defense of the Street, even going so far as to defend the tiny sliver of top earners attacked by the Occupy Wall Street protesters… “The top 1 percent of New Yorkers pay over 40 percent of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state,” he said in a statement.
That’s great, because they make somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30%-40% of the income. This is what we call a tiny semblance of progressive taxation. The problem is — what is the tax rate your company pays? I’m sure Mr. “I’m a Saintly Job Creator, Look at All The Taxes I Pay Neener-Neener” Paulson wouldn’t be so quick to divulge that little statistic.
“Paulson & Company and its employees have paid hundreds of millions in New York City and New York State taxes in recent years and have created over 100 high-paying jobs in New York City since its formation.”
Wow, what a wonder of free-market capitalism. He was able to create a measly 100 jobs out of billions in income. And he thinks we should be thanking him for his totally sustainable and in no way absurd line of work.
“I don’t think we see ourselves as the target,” said Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the nation’s biggest banks and insurers in Washington. “I think they’re protesting about the economy.”
Well golly gee, Mr. Bartlett, they don’t call it “Occupy WALL STREET” for nothing.
Sheesh. Remember — this is what they are saying in private, which means they are supposedly putting their “intentional misrepresentations” aside and saying what they really think. And these people are apparently our “captains of industry,” the best and brightest that think they earned their top 1% status.
The action has captured the imagination and sympathies of much larger numbers of people fed up with all the different aspects of a system run by the super-rich 1 percent, symbolized by the Wall Streets bankers and financial speculators. In New York, the regular protests and round-the-clock political discussions in Liberty Plaza keep growing larger, and activists in other cities have organized their own Occupy actions.
In short, Occupy Wall Street has become a lightning rod for all the accumulated discontent in the U.S.
There’s a video (#OWS Protester Nails It! Federal Reserve) of an Occupy Wall Street protester calling for an end to the Fed and urging a vote for Ron Paul. It, and the comments, are straight out of the right-wing critique of the Fed. I’ve seen signs calling for that around the occupation. This is bad news. Ron Paul has a coherent political philosophy. He’s a libertarian. He may hate imperial war, but he also hates Social Security and Medicare. The reason he wants to end the Fed is that he wants to get the state out of the money business and return to a 19th century gold standard. A gold standard is painfully austere. The gold supply increases by less than 2% a year. That means tremendous pressure on average incomes. It’s great if you’re a big bondholder, but hell if you’re a regular person. When we were on a gold standard in the 19th century we had frequent panics, crises, and depressions. Almost half of the last three decades of the 19th century was spent in recession or depression. It put both rural farmers and urban workers through the wringer.
We need to democratize the Fed, open it up, and subject money to more humane and less upper-class-friendly regulation. But let’s not sign on with Ron Paul, please. And let’s not join with the simple-minded right-wing critique that blames all of capitalism’s systemic problems on government institutions.
The past 17th of September, the world experienced almost unknowingly the first taste of the new global protest movement of our time. Initially this was the date marked as the beginning of the Occupy Wall St. movement (now a nationwide phenomenon), however it also served to launch an international campaign of protests in front of local banks and stock exchanges dubbed as ‘Anti-Banks Day’. For the first time, the rising global civil society movement, based on democratic assemblies and structured around an ever-growing network of activists, tested its capacity to rally people worldwide and not only in a national framework. They created task-forces for media strategies, both online and offline, set up independent live-streams and coordinated globally for spreading information. Consequently, the 17th was like an excuse to prepare for the main course on October 15th, which will be the consolidation of this structure, and will set the standard for its future success or failure.
Huge victory at Occupy Wall Street this morning! At 6 A.M., thousands of people gathered at Zucotti Park to defend the occupation from Bloomberg’s threat of eviction. By 7 A.M., Bloomberg was forced to concede, saying that he was abandoning plans to clear the park!
At 7 a.m. tomorrow, New York Mayor Bloomberg plans to effectively evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Mayor Bloomberg is ordering Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Zuccotti Park for a cleanup at sunrise, and his new rules for their return would effectively shut down the occupation.
Will you consider coming out to Zuccotti Park to support the protests?
Since the protests are a truly organic movement, and aren’t organized by the AFL-CIO, we can’t tell you exactly what will be happening. But what we can tell you is this: the more people who can stand in solidarity at this critical moment, the better.
As I write this message, Occupy Wall Street is asking people to show up at midnight. But whether you are reading this message before or after midnight, I encourage you to get the latest details here: http://www.occupywallst.org
To find Zuccotti Park on Google maps, click here. Thank you for coming out to stand with the 99 percent.
Mayor Bloomberg is trying to shut down Occupy Wall Street - Call For Action!! (submission from ftm-communist)
Last night Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”—the site of the Wall Street protests—tomorrow starting at 7am. “Cleaning” was used as a pretext to shut down “Bloombergville” a few months back, and to shut down peaceful occupations elsewhere.
Bloomberg says that the park will be open for public usage following the cleaning, but with a notable caveat: Occupy Wall Street participants must follow the “rules”.
NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that they will move in to clear us and we will not be allowed to take sleeping bags, tarps, personal items or gear back into the park.
This is it—this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION
1) Call 311 (or +1 (212) NEW-YORK if you’re out of town) or text 2311692 and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to not interfere with #OWS.
2) Come to #OWS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT to defend the occupation from eviction.
For those of you who plan to help us hold our ground—which we hope will be all of you—make sure you understand the possible consequences. Be prepared to not get much sleep. Be prepared for possible arrest. Make sure your items are together and ready to go (or already out of the park.) We are pursuing all possible strategies; this is a message of solidarity.
Hilarious article from the inimitable Danny Lucia.
THE OCCUPY Wall Street movement has put New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (net worth: $19.5 billion) in a bit of a pickle.
Being both the city’s mayor and its richest person makes him a poster child for the tyranny of the One Percent. Actually, as the 12th richest person in America, Bloomberg is technically part of the 0.0000001 Percent, but that’s hard to put into a chant. When this guy hangs out with the One Percent, he’s practically slumming.
… But the mayor isn’t the only one having a hard time finding an effective way to slam the protests.
Rush Limbaugh denounced the protests as “99 percent white kids”—which isn’t true, but I like the idea that he would be down with the struggle if only there were more brothers in the park. I think if Occupy Wall Street were 99 percent Black and Brown kids, Rush Limbaugh would be calling for air strikes.
Of those who had an opinion on the occupation, 54% were favourable to the movement, with only 23% against (25% very favourable and 29% somewhat favourable, compared to 10% somewhat unfavourable and 13% very unfavourable)
86% agree that Wall Street has too much influence in Washington.
79% agree that the income gap in the United States is too large.
An amazing 71% agree that financial executives who had a hand in the 2008 crisis should be prosecuted!
68% agree that the rich should pay more in taxes, and 73% agree that we should raise taxes on those who make $1 million or more a year. 74% agree that raising taxes on millionaires would NOT ‘hurt the economic recovery,’ contrary to the Republican panic.
Unfortunately, 56% believe that the protest will have little impact on the overall situation, but 30% believe it will have a positive impact.
While we should always be careful not to put too much stock in these polls, this one at least has some good news for those who support #OWS.
Mayor Mike McGinn just issued the following statement about last night’s confused orders to Occupy Seattle protesters—police may arrest you, no they’re not going to arrest you, actually they’re going to play head games until they provoke protesters to do something rash—to say police were operating under his orders to warn arrests could happen:
The Parks Department and the Seattle Police were under instructions last night to inform people of the rules that apply to Westlake Park, but to not make arrests for camping at this time.
Got it, brilliant, police were simply under orders to threaten arrest. McGinn didn’t intend to follow through. So when Paul asked Lt. Nollette what they were doing, she was simply communicating that order:
"Everybody was advised twice that the park closes at 10:00 p.m. and that they could be subject to arrest.” Asked if the mayor knew about this, she said, “I have no idea.”
Very clever, Mike McGinn. You’re declaring support for the protesters and harassing them. The commanding officer on the scene was just telling protesters what could possibly, maybe, perhaps—who knows, really?—happen if they don’t leave. That jibes with this announcement that if protesters “don’t leave the area you can be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.”
But interesting that the
cops didn’t know what the mayor’s office knew, the mayor’s office sent a staffer scrambling down to the scene to defuse the situation, and the police needed to make regular loudspeaker announcements (even though making noise was a ticketable offense a few nights ago because it would upset nearby residents). What will “Mayor” McGinn threaten next—and is he capable of following through?
Just a concern from someone who participates in Occupy Denver. I've seen today, alone, from Occupy Atlanta and Occupy Philidelphia, two incidents of racism. I'm very concerned that this will pop up all over, and Occupy Denver has gone above and beyond to reach out to minorities, like endorsing American Indian Movement of Colorado's challenge. I think there needs to be a condemning of this behavior. Is there any way we can get that? Racism isn't cool, it doesn't help this movement.
“Remember, the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system. Beware not only of the enemies, but also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process in the same way that we get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, [or] ice cream without fat. They will try to make this into a harmless moral protest.”—Slavoj Zizek at Open Forum, Occupy Wall Street, October 9. (via domesticterrorism)