#occupy, United States — September 25, 2011 9:54 pm

Occupation With No End?

By

In the past week, thousands of protestors have taken to the street in New York City in a movement named by the hashtag “#OCCUPYWALLSTEET.” Dozens of arrests as well as photographs, videos, and tweets by protestors depicting aggressive police actions have turned the attention of the country towards Wall Street.

At the Occupation of Wall Street, a man asking for change

Some, such as Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times, have questioned what exactly the demonstrators want.

Bellafante writes about the occupation with a rather distressing degree of disdain. She disparages the attire and age of the protestors, and notes:

“[their] cause, though, in specific terms, was virtually impossible to decipher. The group was clamoring for nothing in particular to happen right away — not the implementation of the Buffett rule or the increased regulation of the financial industry. Some didn’t think government action was the answer because the rich, they believed, would just find new ways to subvert the system.”

I am not on Wall Street right now, but I’m pretty sure everyone is clear that this is not a “Michelle Bachmann for President” rally.

Perhaps the protestors have no cohesive ask. Honestly, that’s fine with me. In fact, the lack of concrete demands actually makes the protest more powerful. Many groups and organizations stage with a clear political agenda or purpose: for example, to support or oppose a political campaign, a law, or a corporation’s practices. A few-hundred-person union rally is an important and impressive referendum on the importance of unions, but also most likely represents the organizing work of multiple union staff-people.

On the other hand, the #OCCUPYWALLSTEET movement is the result of, quite literally, a hashtag. These protestors had no union organizer to turn them out—they simply came. Is that not testament enough to their dedication?

The October 6th movement, a movement to take the streets of Washington, DC on October 6th “and not go home,” also has no specific demands yet. The website of the movement states, “One way to look at our demands is as a pyramid… At the top — end corporatism and militarism.” The group outlines seven major areas of concern, and notes that “we continue to work on these issues and will continue to do so during the occupation of Freedom Plaza beginning on October 6.” The concrete asks of the demonstration will be decided by the people mobilizing to demonstrate.

In this, the movement seeks to model itself after the popular uprisings that have swept the Middle East in recent months. True, demonstrators in Cairo called for Mubarak’s resignation—but they also wanted a fundamental democratization of their economic and political systems. I think that Salman Rushdie described the Arab Spring well when he noted that “this is not an ideological revolution, or a theological one; it is a demand for liberty and jobs, desires and rights that are common to all human beings.”

Similarly, the Occupation of Wall Street appears to me to be a demand for liberty, jobs, desires, and rights that are common to all human beings. The protestors are united in their demands for reform, for decentralization of political and economic power. Sure, perhaps not all of them understand the legal intricacies of corporate personhood—but a law degree is not necessary for political participation, and it doesn’t take an Ivy League education or a job at the New York Times to tell that our country’s economy is in a bad state.

Maybe in a few days, the Wall Street occupation will be united in a desire to abolish the Federal Reserve or enforce corporate tax payments—or maybe not. Either way, I think that these thousands of Americans are doing an admirable job of demonstrating their opinions, concrete asks or none. Perhaps, then, the right question for America to ask is not “why are they there?” but “what changes can we make so that people are not so angry that they #occupywallstreet?”

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.655294362867.2131982.18605402&l=99568b0858

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  • Charles Steinhacker

    USING THE BOYCOTT TO TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY

    by Charles Steinhacker

     

    Now that some people in this country are coming out
    of their long-term comas and finally recognizing that they’ve been had by our
    conspiratorial rulers, what, besides occupying Wall Street, are they going to
    do about it?

     

    I’ve thought long and hard about how you can get back
    at the criminals. The most effective way to go about it is through a word
    called “BOYCOTT.” If you don’t like the behavior of a corporation, you boycott
    them. You don’t buy their products.

     

    What I propose, then, is a carefully constructed
    rating system for large corporations, big banks, the Federal Reserve and the
    forever on-the-take politicians. For example, a corporation will be graded on
    many aspects of their behavior. A few that come to mind include how they treat
    their workers. Do they offer health care benefits? Matching funds for employee
    401K programs?  Pensions? Decent wages?
    Safe working conditions? Are their products safe for consumers? Do they adhere
    to truth in advertising? Do they use lobbyists and breathtaking amounts of
    money to buy the politicians? Do they treat the environment with care and
    respect? Do they engage in union busting? Have they outsourced their jobs to cheap
    foreign labor? Have they paid their fair share of taxes?

     

                Each
    corporation’s category of behavior will be rated on a scale from 1-10 (with 10
    being deemed the best behavior). We then total up each corporation’s score. If
    they fail to meet a minimum total score, they are put on a black list and their
    products are boycotted. The American people, also known as consumers, simply
    will not buy the products of a boycotted corporation. Period.

     

    Politicians can be rated on the basis of their voting
    record. In this case, it will not be necessary to go through all of the many
    issues they voted on. Instead, each vote can be judged purely on whether it
    represented the American people or special interests. Boycotting politicians
    will be done in voting booths across the country strictly on the issue of
    representation. After all, we elected them to represent us, not
    “them.”

     

    The Federal Reserve has only one class of
    constituents: the bankers. They always have, and they always will. Federal
    Reserve policies are based on what is good for the bankers, not the American
    people. Bankers thrive on fiat money that has no backing. To help their banker
    friends, the Federal Reserve, all central banks for that matter, increase the
    paper money supply at the expense of the masses who lose purchasing power as
    more confetti money is created out of thin air. We boycott the Federal Reserve
    by buying gold and silver, which, of course, is the only money mandated by our
    Constitution. The Federal Reserve and the big banks hate precious metals because  they expose their pieces of colored paper for
    what they are: plain old fashioned counterfeiting. In Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere in the world people put their
    savings into precious metals. It has served them well for over six thousand
    years as a store of value and for the preservation of wealth. Americans, always
    the last to know, place their assets in depreciating paper dollars. I predict
    that they will soon change their ways.

     

    Last, but certainly not least, are the biggest banks;
    the ones that are supposedly too big to fail. We boycott them by taking our
    money out of their vaults. I’m not asking you to do this, I’M TELLING YOU THAT
    YOU MUST DO IT.

     

    If you insist on placing your savings in doomed U.S.
    dollars, then do so in your own small community banks. You’ll still lose money
    to the greatest hidden tax ever thought up by homo sapiens: inflation. But you
    will be sending the conspirators, who have robbed you blind for decades, a
    powerful message. I repeat: TAKE YOUR MONEY OUT OF BANK OF AMERICA, CITIBANK, J.P. MORGAN
    CHASE, WELLS FARGO ETC. When you do, you will be robbing them of their life’s
    blood. They will learn to hate the word: “boycott” even more than real money,
    otherwise known as gold and silver..

     

                A
    proper boycott rating system has to be administered by someone a lot younger
    and smarter than me. It requires a sophisticated website that makes itself
    known throughout the land by an Internet marketing genius. Large, bold ads
    should be taken out in the mainstream media. They, of course, will be torn
    between loyalty to their masters and taking the money. My guess is that they’ll
    take the money. Business for many of them is not so good these days. Money will
    speak louder than usual. The grading of our adversaries can be adjusted on a quarterly
    basis.

     

                Remember,
    these people have perfected the strategy that keeps us passive and under
    control. They will not like our coming back to life and aggressively fighting
    their authority. They will likely retaliate by congressional votes and/or presidential
    executive orders that will steal even more of our personal freedoms from us.
    Our response must be to vote them out of office at our earliest opportunity.

     

    This must be seen for what it is. We are involved in
    an intense adversarial encounter with our own companies, our own big banks and
    our own government. Sitting passively by occupying Wall Street and other real
    estate with signs, while a worthy and significant start, is not a plan.  Remember, this conspiracy’s only interest is
    to enrich themselves while keeping the rest of us down. We must respond by
    going on the offensive with a well-targeted strategy that will get them where
    it hurts. It’s time to BOYCOTT THE BASTARDS.

     

    © Charles Steinhacker

     

    __________________________________________________________________

     

    Charles Steinhacker is both a well known
    photographer and a political and financial 
    journalist. He graduated from Dartmouth
    College and received his
    master’s degree from

    New
    York University.

     

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