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Author Topic: Occupy Wall Street  (Read 6135 times)
Danny G
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« on: October 21, 2011, 01:28 am »

So, I like to think that I'm a reasonably smart guy.  I'm certainly not the smartest, but I'm definitely not the moron of the group (generally). 

That said, I'm pretty proud of the occupiers.  I think that it's neat that the people are finally standing up for themselves.  Maybe my opinion is wrong.  That's the point of this post.  Am I honestly stupid for thinking that it's important?

A lot of people I know talk about the occupiers like they are people with "unpaid debt, that were raised wrong, and should be grateful for what they do have."  I guess what bothers me is, I don't have any debt outside of a car loan (I pay my college loans as I go, for example), and yeah I was probably raised wrong, and should be more grateful.  But, what does any of that have to do with the goal(s) of the occupiers?  Am I really understanding this whole thing wrong?  Do I have a feeling of camaraderie with people I shouldn't?

I see the whole thing as "the people" getting tired of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting far poorer.  I just took a job that will pay me more than I've ever made in my whole life, and it's still pretty damn modest.  I'm never going to own a house or a brand new car on this money, etc.  And, I've worked my ass off since I was 12.  I'm also a veteran (for some reason, this seems to matter to conservatives).  Why should I have to apologize for wanting a better quality of life, and not understanding why I pay a higher percentage of tax than the super wealthy?

I'm being serious here.  Is there something that I am missing?  I'm curious about the other side of the debate, and would like to constructively try to understand their side of the conversation.
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 03:29 am »

Having been raised in an entirely different economic paradigm compared to the US and the rest of the developed world, I don't know if my opinion holds much merit, but I agree with you and the occupiers.

All the protesters are doing is raising awareness towards the huge economic chasm between the very rich and the vast majority of the population. Raising awareness towards inequality is always good, and if the protesters aren't breaking any laws then protest ahead. It's just surprising that it had to come to this, that a group of smelly hippies could bring some more serious change compared to the string of otherwise progressive-thinking legislators who had never succeeded in taxing the people enough according to what they make.
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2011, 03:38 am »

Having been raised under the kind of socio-economical environment that the occupiers are asking for, I definitely agree with them. In fact, I look at anyone who thinks that things are okay in the US as either mentally deficient or selfishly inhumane.
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2011, 07:11 am »

Do I have a feeling of camaraderie with people I shouldn't?
Not unless you're super rich. When the protests started I pretty much just laughed at the protestors, thinking it was the usual group of idiot potheads who wanted to go camping with their drum circle. But now, yeah, I agree with them.
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ass goblins
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2011, 02:04 pm »

All the protesters are doing is raising awareness towards the huge economic chasm between the very rich and the vast majority of the population.

That would be great if it were true, but it's not. Outside of the internet echo chamber nobody seems to have much idea what the protestors are trying to do.

I agree with their main goals (figure out a way to reduce income inequality and reduce corporate influence in politics) but they really need to figure out a better way to express themselves if they want to accomplish anything meaningful.

It's a bit of a shame that the way the protestors are reacting (as far as I've seen) to this seems to be to just say "if you can't figure it out then you are too stupid to understand anyway" which is not exactly a great way to win hearts and minds.
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Danny G
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2011, 02:37 pm »

I don't think that awareness of what the goals are is the biggest issue.  If you don't know what the goal is, you are making a conscious effort to not know what it is. 

My major issue with people that I know opposed to it is that they know what the occupiers are there for, yet don't understand why.  (Boy, bringing in more tax revenue from super rich people would be a catastrophe.)  Most of the people I know that are against it have been poor their entire lives, and think that the "occupy madness" is solely about getting a hand out of some kind.  And, "Americans will only succeed with hard work... pick-up trucks... eagles... apple pie, etc."  With a few google searches (or watching the news instead of cartoon network) they could see that it's deeper than they think it is.

Of course, I do live in Western Nebraska--one of the reddest, stupidest areas in the US.
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 02:38 pm »

Outside of the internet echo chamber nobody seems to have much idea what the protestors are trying to do.
Yeah, that speaks more about the American media's lack of focus than anything else. For more than half of the population to say that they've been following a story, and yet less than half are able to have an opinion either way just sounds like your news outlets are lazy to me.

If some major shit is going down in your own country and you have no idea how to feel about it then your media has failed you.
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 02:46 pm »

I don't think that awareness of what the goals are is the biggest issue.  If you don't know what the goal is, you are making a conscious effort to not know what it is. 

Yeah, this is exactly what I meant in my last post. There's a pretty clear problem (people can't figure out what the protestors are trying to say), a pretty clear solution (figure out a better way to say it), and instead of actually trying to correct anything the protestors are just saying "you're not trying hard enough!"

Are you honestly saying that 60+% of Americans are making a conscious effort to not understand what the protests are? It is honestly difficult to understand even if you pay attention to the story. I see people with signs about drug legalization, people who are mad that they picked shitty majors, etc. Almost everybody seems to be mad about student loans, it would be pretty easy for somebody to assume that the entire point of the protests is to socialize higher education.

And it's fine if you believe that people just aren't trying hard enough, but man, what a weird approach if you want to actually win support for the movement. When you're aware that there's a problem with how the movement is being perceived, it's truly baffling to me that the reaction would be "we're going to keep doing the same thing and expect the response to change by itself for some reason".
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HyperGlavin
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 02:51 pm »

I don't think that awareness of what the goals are is the biggest issue.  If you don't know what the goal is, you are making a conscious effort to not know what it is. 

Yeah, this is exactly what I meant in my last post. There's a pretty clear problem (people can't figure out what the protestors are trying to say), a pretty clear solution (figure out a better way to say it), and instead of actually trying to correct anything the protestors are just saying "you're not trying hard enough!"

Nobody said that. Stop putting words in other people's mouths.

Are you honestly saying that 60+% of Americans are making a conscious effort to not understand what the protests are? It is honestly difficult to understand even if you pay attention to the story. I see people with signs about drug legalization, people who are mad that they picked shitty majors, etc. Almost everybody seems to be mad about student loans, it would be pretty easy for somebody to assume that the entire point of the protests is to socialize higher education.

Nobody said that, either. It's a very simple concept that we're discussing here, and you keep trying to side-step the issue.

And it's fine if you believe that people just aren't trying hard enough, but man, what a weird approach if you want to actually win support for the movement. When you're aware that there's a problem with how the movement is being perceived, it's truly baffling to me that the reaction would be "we're going to keep doing the same thing and expect the response to change by itself for some reason".

So try harder for them. Get your arse out of your comfy chair, stop sucking the banks' dicks and stand up for yourself like everyone else.
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Danny G
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 02:54 pm »

So try harder for them. Get your arse out of your comfy chair, stop sucking the banks' dicks and stand up for yourself like everyone else.

EXACTLY.  If you don't know what it's about, don't simply dismiss it as hippies just being confusing hippies either. 
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Logjammin'
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 03:02 pm »

I'm not, maybe I'm just shitty at expressing myself.

What I'm saying is that there's an obvious problem – nobody can figure out what the protestors are trying to say. And any time somebody brings it up, the protestors and supporters just get hostile, and blame the people who don't understand what it's about.

Like I said, I understand what the movement is about, and I support it. But I completely understand how somebody could be confused about what the goals are here, in large part because there's not much cohesion or organization within the group.

And, again, it's fine if you believe that the protestors can't or shouldn't do anything more and that the onus is on the people watching to figure it out – but then it shouldn't really be a surprised to anybody when people continue to be confused about what's going on.
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 03:07 pm »

The protests are about dissent on current economic structure, that comes across pretty well. That message is getting across, but that isn't what you're criticizing them about, you are looking for a policy solution to correct these problems, and that just does not exist and probably will not exist for a while. You say that Americans aren't getting the message, I say that despite the fact that the largest cable news channel has its own Tea Party group the occupiers and the Tea Party already have the same degree of support.

If you're trying to say that the occupy movement does not have a coherent POLICY message, then I would agree, but just saying that they don't have a coherent message is false, people are getting the dissent, they just are asking "what do you want to do about it?" So far the answer to that has been all over the place from communists to anarchists to stroke victims capable of only shouting Ron Paul, and frankly that is OK for now. The movement is growing and the communists and anarchists are being drowned out by more centrist views, but even if no policies or candidates are passed in response to the movement, the Overton window has begun shifting.
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 03:15 pm »

I see people with signs about drug legalization, people who are mad that they picked shitty majors, etc. Almost everybody seems to be mad about student loans, it would be pretty easy for somebody to assume that the entire point of the protests is to socialize higher education.
Student loans are a highly predatory type of lending and if those people who picked 'shitty majors' had been fully employed in government and nongovernment organizations, the current situation would not exist.
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 03:23 pm »

Maybe I'm missing something – in the Gallup poll I posted, 63% of people said they don't know enough about the protestors' goals to say whether they approve or disapprove of their goals. I had interpreted that to mean that they don't know what they're protesting at all, but I suppose it could also mean that people don't understand what policy solution they're looking for (perhaps they understand what they are mad about but don't understand what they want to do about it – the poll isn't clear on that distinction).

What I'm trying to get at, though, is that support probably should be a lot higher than it is. Here's Gallup's conclusion:

Quote
Protesters have demonstrated in and around Wall Street for nearly a month, with the movement spreading and appearing to gain momentum around the U.S. At the same time, Americans are not highly familiar with the movement's activities or its goals. Those who are familiar with the movement tend to be more approving than disapproving of Occupy Wall Street, though with limited public knowledge about it, its supporters represent roughly a quarter of Americans.

There's an opportunity to grow the movement and I'm confused about the hostility when people point that out.
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Bettytron
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 03:32 pm »

What fermun said, plus, most of the protestors are going to be young people, just out of college, at a time when student loan debt is higher than it's ever been, and now exceeds credit card debt in this country. They're young people because young people have the time and willingness to attend protests, and they talk about student loans because that's the kind of financial hardship they and their peers are experiencing firsthand. It's an entrypoint to understanding more deeply what it must be like to have a similarly limited budget and be trying to pay off a mortgage and raise kids and so on. So that's why you're going to see so many signs/99% tumblr posts about student loans.

And the awareness aspect is effective, in at least one measurable way: more media outlets have been discussing unemployment rates, individual debt, and joblessness in conjunction with the protests. I'd guess that a lot of people have had their own conversations in real life or on Facebook or whatever just as a result of the protests being in the news. The media coverage in general has been pretty terrible and muddled, but this is a situation where "awareness" is a tangible goal that can absolutely impact public opinion and, later, elections. And overall, public opinion of OWS versus the Tea Party is moving heavily in favor of the former.

I don't think the public's opinion of OWS has nearly as much to do with the actual activities of the movement as it does with coverage by the media. After all, plenty of the NYPD have been supportive and as accomodating as possible, and they're getting legitimate union support, but they continue to be portrayed as drum-beating, unfocused "hippies".
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2011, 03:39 pm »

Commodore 64, that's not where the hostility comes from. You were saying the protesters aren't making their goals clear, which they are, and that they verbally attack anyone who questions them, which by your first post in this thread seems to be extrapolation based on some bad encounter(s) you've had.

As far as Americans not knowing as much about the protests as they should, I'm tempted to go with HyperGlavin's and Bettytron's explanation.
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HyperGlavin
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2011, 04:37 pm »

Also, the responsibility to create policy lies solely with the government, not with the protesters. All that protesters have to do is display their stance on an issue so that policy makers can work towards a resolution. I see a lot of people asking "well how are you going to fix it?" as if they're just going to hand control of the country over to some people they disagree with. Democracy doesn't work that way, it never has and it never will.
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2011, 03:30 pm »

Paul Krugman says that if austerity measures are not implemented or if a jobs bill passes, it will be because of Occupy Wall Street http://current.com/shows/countdown/videos/occupy-wall-street-paul-krugman-says-the-movement-has-changed-the-policy-conversation-in-washington

edit: to avoid double posting I'm tossing this here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/14/understanding-occupy-wall-street/ fucking Fox News is positive about it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/owss-beef-wall-street-isnt-winning-its-cheating-20111025

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZbNT62aprM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZbNT62aprM</a>
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 04:26 pm by fermun » Logged
Kybard
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« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2011, 01:26 pm »

sigh:

http://persephonemagazine.com/2011/11/occupy-wall-street-how-about-we-occupy-rape-culture/#more-47733

Quote
What does it mean if those who say they are fighting against the system are recreating the system? What does it mean when rape and sexual assault are excused because there are “bigger things than us”? What does it mean when you disenfranchise the same folks you are claiming to fight for? Why are specialized spaces having to be created for those affected most by rape culture or gender based violence? Why can’t everyone be able to be full participants in the same space? Where is the miscommunication about that whole 99% thing happening?
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« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2011, 11:38 am »

Oof.

This is a little bit tangential to the article Kybard posted, but I have a lot of discomfort with the group Anonymous partly because of all of the petty amateurish stunts they pull (crashing Visa's homepage, tormenting pre-teen girls, all of that garbage) but also because of the misogyny rampant on 4chan and reddit (as illustrated in the nerds fucking suck thread), and in their gross defense of Julian Assange's rape charges. When they get involved in any kind of legitimate cause it becomes way too easy to discredit them with all of this.

I'm not saying Anonymous are related to actual sexual assaults in any way (there's obviously no way to prove anything like that) but it certainly exemplifies the way casual misogyny is a huge part of the thinking of these guys who are supposedly the vanguard of liberal political thought. I mean, there's this BusinessWeek profile of David Graeber that opens with a picture of a guy in a Guy Fawkes mask saying that's the "face of the movement". I really hate that, because it takes about twenty minutes of research to define that group as immature and impulsive, acting on half-baked ideas of vengeance and righteousness, mostly inspired by a crappy Wachowski movie.

I recognize that there's no "perfect" movement, but I really hate that OWS is a place where that reddit/4chan mentality has manifested in real life. I would love to see a breakdown of Anonymous as a collective entity that demonstrates how they discredit whatever movement they get involved in.
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