This article is a bummer. I’ve extracted some of the main sources of agitation:
The SEC announced yesterday that Citigroup agreed to pay $285 million to settle charges that it misled (synonyms for that word include deceived; lied to; tricked and defrauded) investors in a mortgage securities deal, telling them it was a good investment when it knew otherwise and was secretly betting it would fail.
[Once] again, bank criminals were allowed to walk without admitting anything! Common sense tells us nobody would agree to pay more than a quarter of a billion dollars unless did they’d done something very, very wrong. Yet once again the SEC has negotiated a settlement in which the perpetrator “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.”
“Neither admitted nor denied”? Citigroup has danced this dance before:
When it was forced to buy back $7.3 billion in bonds in 2008 after deceiving investors into thinking these high-risk investments were low-risk, Citigroup “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.”
When it was forced to pay $1.66 billion in 2008 over its Enron misdeeds Citigroup “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.”
When it was fined $275,000 in 2004 for recommending high-risk securities without fully disclosing that risk, it “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.”
That’s nearly $12 billion that Citi’s agreed to fork over without ever admitting wrongdoing! If this bank’s not doing very bad things its executives should be fired, because that means they’re the worst negotiators in human history.
Citi’s not the only one. Take JPMorgan Chase, which just took Citi’s crown as “biggest bank in America”:
All the big boys have been allowed to walk away without apologizing, confessing, or doing time: Wells Fargo. Morgan Stanley. Credit Suisse. UBS. Goldman Sachs … and many, many more. A rogue’s gallery of bank crooks paid billions in settlements - “without admitting or denying wrongdoing.” [+]
Occupation is the only option at this point. The financial sector is awash in “moral hazard” and neither the president nor the congress nor the regulators in charge of protecting the citizenry from what can only be called “grand theft livelihood” are willing to disobey their corporate masters (or, for that matter, impose meaningful deterrents to ensure that financial crime is actually a disincentive rather than operating procedure).
Are you inspired by Occupy Wall Street? Did you join the struggle for Troy Davis? Are you part of protests about the housing crisis in your city? Were you in the streets for SlutWalk to say “Enough is enough”?
Millions of people have come to the understanding that capitalism is no longer working. And millions of people around the world—from Cairo to Athens to New York City—are fighting back.
Marxism provides a revolutionary understanding of society and a strategy for getting rid of exploitation and oppression once and for all. The International Socialist Organization is organizing regional conferences in cities around the country in October and November to discuss what Marxists say about race, class and revolution—and the fight for a better world.
Why the working class can change society — No power greater: Marxism and the centrality of class — The 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike: A case study in working-class power — The changing working class and the future of the labor movement
Black liberation — Where does racism come from? — The Black freedom struggle: From Martin Luther King to the Black Panthers — Black liberation and socialism
Marxism and oppression — The roots of racial oppression — Theories of women’s oppression — Can the working class liberate the oppressed?
Marxism, crisis and class struggle — How capitalism works: What makes capitalism tick? — How capitalism fails: The Marxist theory of crisis — Crisis, exploitation and class struggle
It is really, really problematic that I’ve already come across certain leading male activists in the Occupy movement (including Occupy Boston), who are defending this video against the criticisms of other female activists.
As I wrote elsewhere: “The video takes women who are earnestly participating in an important social and political action, and strips of them all seriousness and respect by turning them into just another set of body parts on display in the catalog of sexism known as American society.”
The inability of certain male activists to understand or even respect the concerns of women in the Occupy movement regarding the sexism behind this video just goes to show that the movement would stand to gain tremendously from an influx of anti-sexist politics, not to mention anti-racist, anti-xenophobic, etc.
Steven Greenstreet was almost certainly out for publicity with his video “Hot Chicks of OWS.” After the controversy around the film was mentioned on CNBC, Greenstreet’s response was a tweet to reporter John Carney: “Thanks for the mention on CNBC for “Hot Chicks”! But maybe correct the spelling of my last name?” Female critics, on the other hand, he’s asked out for coffee.
The video is certainly an attention-getter. To the strains of “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control,” Greenstreet interviews women at Occupy Wall Street about the issues and their activism. The women are uniformly articulate and bright — but the camera loves to linger on their hair, on their lips, on tattoos peeking through bare skin. Greenstreet, on his blog, calls it “the sexy side of protesting corruption.” To others, it reduces women activists to sex objects.
RE: Occupy Wall Street "National Convention" and "List of Demands"
For those of you who are interested, a link was posted earlier this week to this site, which purports to be a working group of the New York City General Assembly (aka Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park).
The site proposes a national convention to take place in Philadelphia on July 4th, 2012, and if the demands listed in a “petition of grievances” are not adopted in a reasonable time, that Occupy Wall Street would propose independent political candidates to run for office in 2014.
This group has not been approved by the General Assembly, nor do they speak for the will of the General Assembly at this time. Anyone concerned with the things they are demanding are encouraged to give them your feedback.
I think it is a good thing that the occupation movement is not making specific policy demands. If it did, the movement would become about those demands. If the demands were not met, the movement would be seen as having failed. […]
Publicize the Public
Tell the truth about The Public, that nobody makes it purely on their own without The Public, that is, without public infrastructure, the justice system, health, education, scientific research, protections of all sorts, public lands, transportation, resources, art and culture, trade policies, safety nets, That is a truth to be told day after day. It is an idea that must take hold in public discourse. It must go beyond what I and others have written about it and beyond what Elizabeth Warren has said in her famous video. The Public is not opposed to The Private. The Public is what makes The Private possible. And it is what makes freedom possible. Wall Street exists only through public support. It has a moral obligation to direct itself to public needs.
All OWS approaches to policy follow from such a moral focus. Here are a handful examples. […]
This movement could be destroyed by negativity, by calls for revenge, by chaos, or by having nothing positive to say. Be positive about all things and state the moral basis of all suggestions. Positive and moral in calling for debt relief. Positive and moral in upholding laws, as they apply to finances. Positive and moral in calling for fairness in acquiring needed revenue. Positive and moral in calling for clean elections. To be effective, your movement must be seen by all of the 99% as positive and moral. To get positive press, you must stress the positive and the moral.
Remember: The Tea Party sees itself as stressing only individual responsibility. The Occupation Movement is stressing both individual and social responsibility.
the fact that this has over 1,000 notes, most of them liking this stupid comment is sad. occupy wall street is about change is it not? for people who want to bring about change, they should realize that people themselves can change. that people do make mistakes. not all mistakes should be forgiven but the support for this dumb comment is just scapegoating. there is no reason to label someone as a “capitalist” or dear god, — “capitalist symbol” — to project that frustration and hatred onto a class of people.
take a look at revolutionary china during the 1930’s and the anti-rightist movement.
its dangerous to label people, to scapegoat them, and to project your hatred onto them. demanding change is fine. hating on those who have inadvertently profited from consumerist society is not. reform is fine. genocide is not. get it straight.
i realize that this may not represent the majority of the occupy wall street movement. but it is upsetting that such a comment garnered such widespread support.
p.s. utopias and egalitarianism do not and will not exist. as demonstrated by brazilia.
I’ll set your complete misunderstanding of the idea of “scapegoating” aside. (Lol, it wasn’t me who decided to make him a symbol of capitalist consumerism, I’m pretty sure it was him!)
But seriously, if all you are going to do is to get dragged to the protest for a photo op, than leave a few minutes later to go shopping at luxury boutiques with your celebrity friends, you should expect to be called out for how ridiculous you behave.
And I hardly think that Kanye West has just “inadvertently profited” from the consumerist society — he encourages it, in all of his songs and on all of his albums. You make it sound like he’s dragged into the lifestyle he lives. He’s the last person that needs to be apologized for.
Nobody is saying the privileged 1 percent doesn’t belong at the Occupy Wall Street protests. In fact, seeing plutocrats standing shoulder-to-shoulder with homeless people in the fight against inequality makes the movement even more accessible and powerful than it already is. What OWS doesn’t need is everyone who’d like to be seen as a populist jumping onboard for a photo opportunity before leaving to go buy $500 jeans. Lip service and deceit is what got us into this mess in the first place.
My attitude might change if he, you know, put his money where his mouth is in many respects, and renounced the wasteful lifestyle and habits he has. Then maybe I’ll agree with you that “people can change.” Sorry buddy, there’s been no change here whatsoever.
P.S - I’m not sure what utopia has to do with having a more economically just society. “Social equality? You must be talking about utopia! How unrealistic!” Go read a book.
Need to learn more about this.. I know banks are shite but well if they went how exactlly would we all get our money ok? I’m on benefits what they goin to do make me go and get it in an envelope? Don’t think so some how.
Hey! You have a great option in your local credit union. It’s like a bank, but they are organized so the profits go back into managing the union itself — and anything extra gets sent back to the members (i.e. you). No shareholders or CEO bonuses to bother with, and any monthly fees or charges there are are often much less than at a bank.
To be successful, OWSers need to step up and run for office. OWSers need to spend more energy writing and calling their senators. OWSers need to attend public hearings on bills they care about. OWSers need to vote more often.
None of these things are happening.
I continuously offer advice to my readers how to engage politicians, help write bills, and support policy changes. And I’ve given examples of how this is an effective way to change environmental policies. It’s not glamorous. It’s slow and takes a lot of effort. But it works.
If OWSers don’t engage in the political process, they will fail. This isn’t condescension. It’s a reality check. My advice, as I wrote in my post, is to engage politicians asap or suffer an embarrassing failure.
Best of luck,
In other words:
Oh please oh please if you can find it in your hearts, please try to rape the planet a little less and murder its natives in a more convenient way.
Engagement in the political process can come when there is a legitimate democracy to represent the real will of the people, rather than the will perceived by capitalist-reinforced consciousness. Otherwise, fighting for the change we really need in this “democracy for corporations” will be worthless.
Chris Scully, my DGR MA friend’s brother, said it best:
Dear Democrats in Congress,
You wish this was about left vs. right. You wish you could point across the aisle and say “See, the people are with us, not you!” But before you point and lie, please kindly turn that finger on yourselves, and then stick it up your asses. You are half of a bought congress. You are the other side of a counterfeit coin. You are half of the problem. You have pretended to speak for the voices of people who have a shred of goodwill for the world for too long. You have lost your privilege to be that voice. You are completely incapable of bringing about the drastic and profound changes we need in this country. You have failed. And don’t you dare try to associate your actions and trajectory with the intentions of a revolutionary society that is rejecting you. Your endorsement of a movement trying to oust you is pathetic at best. Please resign and play sudoku and solitaire on your own time. In short - fuck off.
The memory of struggles from before the global economic crash has allowed people to move beyond a simple kneejerk response to the present crisis and instead formulate a deeper critique of the system responsible for their woes. In practice, this has meant a popular shift from complaints about specific laws or specific features of the banking system that might serve as scapegoats for the crisis, to a radical critique of government and capitalism. While the movement is heterogeneous and by no means consistent, on multiple occasions it has popularly defined itself as anticapitalist, thus drawing on a strong tradition of struggle that goes back more than a century throughout Europe.
The United States is also a country with inspiring histories of popular struggle. But it is a country with a case of social amnesia like no other. It seems that to a certain extent, the Occupy Wall Street actions exist more as a trend than anything else. The slight extent to which they draw on, or even make reference to, earlier struggles, even struggles from the past twenty years, is worrying. The fact that a present awareness of US history would shatter certain cornerstones of the new movement’s identity, for example this idea of the 99% that includes everyone but the bankers in one big, happy family, is not a sufficient excuse to avoid this task. The historical amnesia of American society must be overcome for a struggle to gain the perspective it needs.
If you have concerns, suggestions, opposing views to anything that happens concerning #OWS, the people that really need to hear it are at your local General Assembly. There are a lot of ideas whizzing around, all of them still up in the air. If you hear something you don’t like, don’t be afraid to lend us your voice. EVERYONE is welcome, and priority is often given to traditionally marginalized groups.
This is the beauty of the democratic process we have embraced. Don’t be afraid of it, use your voice and together we can make our own revolution!
I appreciate your feedback. I’m going to include this Grace Lee Boggs quote because it gets to this point even though she isn’t directly addressing the political system.
"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.”
The goal is not to make people choose between the Occupy movement or a Democrat or a Republican. The goal is to transcend all of that typical bullshit and build something new. Issuing some concrete demands while making it clear that the list isn’t exhaustive may be okay (but I can see some serious faults) but running candidates begins to limit our power to a rigged electoral system. We don’t ever want politicians making decisions for us, even if they have a dream platform.
It’s been said many times in different ways but the message is the same: all power to the people, all power to the soviets, all power to the general assemblies.
And some of us feel that participation in the established political process, be it through a party or as independents is completely useless at best and corrupting and reactionary at worst.
The fastest way to kill this movement will be to put candidates on a ballot. If reform was going to happen from the inside, it would have happened by now. The system is irrevocably broken and the goal of #OWS must be to make the 99% of the country that is not benefiting from the status quo aware of that fact.
The financial system is broken
The political system is broken
The electoral system is broken
The Congress is broken
The White House is broken
Change will not come from within any of these institutions. To have any lasting effect upon this county #OWS can not and must not attempt the folly of trying to affect reform from within. Such efforts will fail and destroy the only movement that has offered a serious challenge to established power in the last half century.
Again, the whole ‘independent candidate’ thing was put on there as a backup plan. That is only contingent on other methods not working. Seems a bit backwards to me, but I see no harm in acting radically outside the system, but working electorally where we can, as long as the demands stay static.
Personally, I agree with you, but I’m waiting to see how it plays out before I make a judgment about it.
fuck that. many of us are entirely uninterested in party politics at all. what is so beautiful about this is the “all power to the people” aspect of the way it is organized. third party candidates already support most of these demands
The declaration specifically mentions that the candidates will be “independent.” No mention of a party being established at all. I agree with your opinion — I’m not sure a party would be the best idea at this point.
I don’t know if this is a legitimate working group of the GA; the first I heard of it was through the media, so take it as a grain of salt. It wouldn’t be the first time someone launched a site claiming to speak for everyone… I have a message in with the GA and I’ll post a correction if necessary.
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.