Bill Maher gives his take on #OCCUPYWALLSTREET and Occupy DC (Real Time with Bill Maher, 21 October 2011)
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.
The Young Democratic Socialists endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement and its demand for justice. We join the demonstrators in taking a stand against corporate power and neoliberal politicians. These protests have been condemned in the press as class warfare, but in the words of a protestor on Wall Street, “they only call it class warfare when we fight back.”
We must draw on the great traditions of resistance in our history – the Patriots, the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, Industrial Unionism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the feminist and LGBT movements – and engage our creative imagination in forming a movement for the 2010s. We must bear witness, but we must moreover build power that can challenge the commanding heights of capitalism, and succeed in changing laws in the people’s favor. We must make demands on the state, and we must win. In the spirit of solidarity, we encourage the movement to demand:
- A public jobs program
- The nationalization of failed banks
- Medicare for all
- The forgiveness of student debt
- An end to foreclosures
- Substantial investment in clean energy
We can fund these vital public policies if we reverse the Bush and Reagan tax cuts for the top two per cent, restore effective corporate taxation, and end wasteful military spending. And we can only reverse the decline in working people’s standard of living if we restore the democratic right of working people to unionize.
A Moral Focus for Occupy Wall Street
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 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.
A person with knowledge of the investigation says an NYPD police deputy inspector violated department guidelines when he used pepper spray on Occupy Wall Street protesters last month.
The video from the Sept. 24 incident shows Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna blasting a cluster of women with pepper spray. Two of the women crumple on the sidewalk in pain. One screams.
A source confirmed to NBC New York an internal NYPD review found that Bologna violated department standards on pepper spray use.
The investigation findings were first reported by The Associated Press.
Bologna has been docked 10 vacation days for the violation, the source said. He may choose to appeal the decision.
Thanks #OccupyWallStreet, for successfully refocusing media attention.
This is addressed to everyone who says the movement will be useless and not yield any real change: we’ve already started. Just by defining the arguments on the people’s terms.
Let me spell this out for you.
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)