The goals of Occupy Wall Street

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Occupy Wall Street is an easy target -- a group of protesters taking on one of the most powerful institutions in the country, with loose spinoffs in cities all over, and no clear leadership or (many would say) agenda. The Atlantic's business writer, Danile Indiviglio, weighed in Oct 5 with an essay he called "Five Reasons Occupy Wall Street Won't Work." Some of it's your typical musings from a guy in a suit who doesn't understand direct action ("But the Occupy Wall Street movement's anger is directed at bankers. Here's the problem: they really don't care.")

But his main pitch is one that I'm sympathetic to, and so are a lot of other supporters of the growing movement. He says the protesters don't know what they want:

Any protest that hopes to accomplish some goal needs, well, a goal. If a demonstration like this lacks concrete objectives, then its purpose will be limited at best and nonexistent at worst. At this time, all the protest really appears to stand for is a general dislike of Wall Street. But what does that mean?

And that's where I think he's wrong. The occupiers may have started off with only vague objectives, but some tangible, progressive goals are starting to emerge -- and they don't in any way require the bankers to care.

The Wall Street protests are growing -- and some of the people getting involved have a very clear agenda. The most dramatic evidence is the growing role of organized labor in the actions. The nurses marched Oct. 5 -- and they have a very specific platform, well thought-out, that calls for a financial transactions tax. AFSCMA, CWA and the city's transit workers joined the march, too. And the head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, is now on board. And while Trumka made it clear that labor isn't going to try to dominate the spontaneous protests,

The labor leader was specific as he summarized his demands: make Wall Street invest in creating jobs for Americans, stop foreclosures and write down problem mortgages. Paying for government programs would come from a “very tiny” tax on speculation, he said.

I'm not seeing any kind of political turf war here -- the original Occupy Wall Street folks seem happy to have labor on the team. And once you get tens of thousands of labor activists in the streets -- and using the media and the growing groundswell of support for the protests to push a Congressional agenda -- then something potentially powerful is happening.

 

Comments

I think the author, as most protesters, do not understand the meeting of direct action

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

i think the American people watch too much TV and know nothing about how their country works,,,it will take more than one street to get this country on the line again.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 12, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

Protests are not direct action, quite the opposite. Like voting, protests are indirect action, since you pose your demands towards others (authorities, banks, society, etc). Direct action means taking action that will directly address your needs and aspirations: such as creating or improving schools, as opposed to asking others to do it; feed yourself, as opposed to demand others to solve your hunger problem.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

No Guest, direct action means getting up in the face, and on the 'property' of, reactionary twits like you, and giving them a bad hair day.

Expect to have many of them soon.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 7:37 pm
Posted by meatlock on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

Direct action gets the goods.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

Direct action at my house gets you shot.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 7:57 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 8:46 am

It seeks to achieve thru disobedience and disorder what the perps know they cannot achieve thru an election.

It's terrorism-lite.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 10:19 am

Since elections and the media are controlled by corporate money, how do you suggest the populace make real social change happen?

And are you saying that the direct action which led to the end of laws codifying racial discrimination in the U.S. were undemocratic.

You've got some very funny ideas about what democracy looks like...

Posted by Aragorn on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:17 am

a right-wing militia wanted to restore slavery? Presumably you'd see that as democratic as well, even if you didn't like the result.

Sorry but I think the majority of us prefer the ballot box to a few hundred unwashed people living in their own squalor.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:33 am

Easy to recognize your overwrought attempts to force your biased opinions on others as if they were facts.
Besides being an asshole, you're wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

If Wikipedia says it, it must be true. Even without validated citations from sources.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

Plenty of sources cited there.

Fifteen days later and this is the best you can do?
Do you even remember what asinine statement you're trying to support?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

Now that organized labor has joined- maybe the CA prison guards will show up since they're only making as much as Harvard-trained lawyers...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

First of all, this is nothing more than herd mentality run rampant. I question the intelligence of people who crowd together in public places because they 'sense' they have something in common. I've seen cattle do it too, right before the slaughter. It's fear pure and simple, fear of an uncertain future they mistakenly feel powerless to change.

Secondly, wealth is a great thing. When you have lots of money, you have lots of opportunities. The problem is that it's very hard to acquire large sums of money if you're simply milling around the street complaining about other people's wealth. These 'occupiers' probably don't deserve our respect. They're scared, confused, angry, frustrated. They're all those things that breed failure, not success, generate poverty, not wealth. I don't like them very much.

Mr. Dick Turpin

Posted by Guest on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 6:53 am

We are neither scared nor confused. And we are coming for the wealth that you have stolen from us.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

Stock market has been up every day this week.

Posted by Wanda on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

That response made as much sense as your right wing 'free' market ideology.

The protesters have been out in the rain and cold for weeks straight without giving up; and the protests are in fact growing.

Methinks you do protest too loudly, prick.

Are you afraid for your wealth?

Good. You should be.

Prepare for the coming revolution to take it back from you.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

even if you did, you wouldn't know what to do with it.

Stock market up every day this week.

Posted by Wanda on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

You just keep telling yourself that, money grubbing cretin.

You just keep whistling in the dark and hiding from reality. That will make our job all the easier.

Now, since you are another one of those addicted losers who must get in the last word... Go for it. Try to.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

So anyone who takes the responsibility to save and invest for their own future rather than being a gimme is a "money grubbing cretin". Apparently being a "cretin" makes one more successful.

As someone who was in the streets for civil rights and to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and also took the responsibility to educate myself, get decent jobs and put something away for my own retirement, I see OWS as little more than people wanting something for nothing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 8:09 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 8:46 am

One would have thought that with over a month to think about it, he would have come up with something -different- and that actually made sense, and wasn't instead a tedious repetition of the same nonsensical drivel he has posted the previous thousand or so times he has commented on these blogs...

Posted by Aragorn on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 9:20 am

Or did you not think of that?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 10:16 am

They are robots who all have the same FOX media programming in their warped brains.

So, does it really matter?

Posted by Aragorn on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:02 am

But i'm sure they have the same view of left-wing ditto-heads. The vast majority of us are moderate, which is why neither extreme ever wins power.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:31 am

Good Luck with that. Money is power and it looks like your lacking it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 5:33 am

Trying to have the last word three weeks later.
Hey boot licker and pretend rich guy: how about your predictions that Occupy Wall Street wouldn't last?
Clearly it frustrates you to be so wrong.
Ha.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 7:12 am

Mr. Turpin,
Crowding together in public places causes this discourse. Let us focus on the influence of money in politics and not our conditioned ideologies.

"Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth." - Teddy Roosevelt. 1902.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

Mr. Turpin,
Crowding together in public places causes this discourse. Let us focus on the influence of money in politics and not our conditioned ideologies.

"Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth." - Teddy Roosevelt. 1902.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

Mr. Turpin,

I'm sure that Marie Antoinette and Hosni Mubarak felt the same about the crowds under their windows. And, the Czar.

There's a reason the cops are overpaid. And that people like Hellman kiss their collective booties. It's cause when the rich steal everything and hide it in their mansions and yachts and banks, eventually the lower classes will come to reclaim and redistribute the wealth that they created ... the Hellmans and Fishers are counting on Ed Lee and Mohammed Nuru and Greg Suhr and Tom O'Connor to protect their ill-gotten treasure.

In the early 70's when I was a firefighter we were ordered out to hose down anti-war demonstrators (this was in St. Louis). We refused our Chief's orders and never left the engine houses. And, the Viet Nam war ended.

A great time to be alive, no?

Who defends you when the cops attack you?

Jeff Adachi for Mayor!!

Go Niners!

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 7:20 am

I feel like the protesters aren't accomplishing anything. Sure the movement is spreading and the anger at the big business is growing. But these are the business that fuel the economy. I know they are trying to stand up to corruption, or so I gather, but I think these will be fruitless efforts in the long run.

Posted by Financial Report Pro on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 8:30 am

Finance is supposed to lubricate capitalism not be capitalism itself. Over the past 30 years, finance has become capitalism itself because hyperleverage can offer rates of return on capital that are several times that of productive capitalism, sucking capital from production into finance.

Combined with labor arbitrage, outsourcing and insourcing (H1-B) these artificially high rate of returns based onmassive leverage and massive risk with massive private profits before it all crashes, the losses inevitably end up massively socialized.

It is this rigged game that hollows out the economy for the 99% for the benefit of the top 1% that is no longer acceptable. Occupy Wall Street is making the "radical" demands to return to something resembling the status quo ante Reagan, where depression era lessons still controlled finance capital and kept it from dominating the economy and eclipsing productive capitalism.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 8:57 am

@marcos

"Finance is supposed to lubricate capitalism not be capitalism itself."

Great line and your description of the Occupy Wall Street goal is as good as I've seen and would likely engender widespread support if articulated more frequently by the protestors.

Posted by Guest666 on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 11:58 am

Thanks for repeating that for the umpteenth time on this blog, hoping that hammering a message of hopelessness into people's heads will eventually get them to believe it.

It isn't any more true now, that it was the first 20 times you posted it, you miniature talking Goebbels doll.

You know, there is a new Bastille Day rising in the entire western world. And the masses are beginning to become angry enough, that if people like you don't wise up and stop fucking everyone else over to enrich yourselves, your heads will likely end up literally on the block.

And I don't think it will serve either the rich -or- the poor to have that happen.

So why don't you knock it the fuck off asshole, for the good of everyone.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 9:03 am

And there's the threat of violence. Ya'll have so much in common with the Tea Party it's not funny. It's scary. Things went bad in Oakland because they weren't able to keep the vandals and criminal element out of their movement. I'm against the growing difference between rich and poor but this protest without a clear objective is just embarrassing. Protest first, then figure out what you're protesting?

This all just makes the left look bad and loses the hearts and minds of people that could have been in support.

Posted by Cholly on Oct. 27, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

YOU are in the minority, asshole.

Forty-three percent of Americans agree with the views of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll that found a widespread belief that money and wealth should be distributed more evenly in America.
cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20125515-503544/poll-43-percent-agree-with-views-of-occupy-wall-street/

Almost half of the public thinks the sentiment at the root of the Occupy movement generally reflects the views of most Americans.
nytimes.com/2011/10/26/us/politics/poll-finds-anxiety-on-the-economy-fuels-volatility-in-the-2012-race.html?_r=1

Poll: New York Voters Support Occupy Wall Street
A Quinnipiac University poll today found that voters agree 58 percent to 28 percent with the views of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2011/10/27/poll-new-york-voters-support-occupy-wall-street/

New Jerseyans taking part in the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City or a related demonstration in Philadelphia have the support of the state’s voters by a margin of 46 to 29 percent
newjerseynewsroom.com/state/poll-nj-voters-support-occupy-wall-street

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 27, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

"And the masses are beginning to become angry enough, that if people like you don't wise up and stop fucking everyone else over to enrich yourselves, your heads will likely end up literally on the block."

Don't you mean greedy enough? Isn't taking money from those who earned it just as noxious? Aren't these OWS guys also seeking the enrich themselves?

As for "literally" putting heads on the block, I guess I need to buy some more guns to protect myself. I'm not in the 1%, like the majority of working, responsible citizens, but you guys don't seem smart enough to tell who is and who isn't. Apparently your idea of fairness is to come take what I have.

Do you think your designer North Face and REI camping gear will let you get through the winter?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 7:53 am

The Occupy protesters are of course simply seeking to re-balance incomes so that they are a lot more fair.

And the ultra-rich have not worked any harder or 'earned' their wealth that is so vastly higher than that of others. Such absurd 'wealth' comes from creating new money via loans and elaborate financial instruments, and then skimming far too much of that essentially imaginary money into one's own bank accounts. Therefore that 'money' isn't even real. It has no basis in the real world. Nobody earned it. It was just made up. So made up and so overblown in fact, that it is now collapsing the entire global economy because it has no real value; in fact, it has vastly negative value. It is simply legalized counterfeiting on a massive scale; and on such a scale, counterfeiting is incredibly destructive to the real economy.

We need to allow most of those fake assets in banks to fail, and the banks themselves to fail (to then take them over as nonprofit public banks) and then transfer much of the money which -does- remain (and therefore has gained more real value because the outrageously inflated imaginary money will have disappeared) to the middle, working and lower classes, to correct the ridiculous and incredibly damaging wealth disparities that have absurdly arisen over the last four decades.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 8:57 am

Those who build up small businesses into successes often work 80-90 hours a week at it and make huge sacrifices.

Why would they do that if they could just squat on the sidewalk and demand more money instead/

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 10:20 am

Clarify. What does working hard to build up a small business have to do with being rich???

Posted by Aragorn on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:20 am

small businesses e.g. gates, buffett etc.

Not that you'd know anything about building a business.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:35 am

Someone else drunk at 9am?

Salomon broke it down very well. A read of history shows that it will end with blood in the streets. That's because the rich will never stop exploiting and murdering the poor until they are forced to do so. The 'Pension Loophole' controversy is just another example of the 'haves' trying to squeeze the last drop of blood/profit out of the 'have-nots'.

Let's have surrogates fight it out.

I suggest a ring with velvet ropes in front of City Hall.

The Match?

Marc Salomon against Steve Falk

Winner divides the 30 billion in cash running from Sea Cliff to Russian Hill?

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 9:18 am

I got five bucks on solomon.

Posted by tim on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

"That's because the rich will never stop exploiting and murdering the poor until they are forced to do so."

Exactly who has been murdered? Apparently the gimmes can't get enough by the simple alternative of getting a job so now they threaten to take it by force, and mob rule. Sounds like the ideal path to a totalitarian dictatorship.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 7:56 am

as soon as I'm finished counting all the money I made this year.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 10:35 am

Between counting your money, you may not have noticed that there's a large segment of the population that isn't doing as well as you are.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 11:16 am

I think they're all Democrats.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 11:37 am

attempt to upset people with a firehose of unsubstantiated, fact-free bullshit.

Before this, the same Troll has used a number of other aliases, all espousing the same authoritarian bullshit in the same moronic repetitive manner in an attempt to support Ed Lee, the central subway, PG&E, and BART's unconstitutional attacks on protesters.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 2:07 pm