home

The Occupy Movement And The Elites

In his column today, Paul Krugman writes:

[E]xperience has made it painfully clear that men in suits not only donít have any monopoly on wisdom, they have very little wisdom to offer. When talking heads on, say, CNBC mock the protesters as unserious, remember how many serious people assured us that there was no housing bubble, that Alan Greenspan was an oracle and that budget deficits would send interest rates soaring.

A better critique of the protests is the absence of specific policy demands. [. . .] But we shouldnít make too much of the lack of specifics. Itís clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and itís really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details.

(Emphasis supplied.) I think the notion of "policy intellectuals and politicians fill[ing] in the details" is very problematic. What policy intellectuals? What politicians? Krugman writes "Democrats are being given what amounts to a second chance." This gets at the problem it seems to me. Beltway Dems and wonks also failed. That Tim Geithner remains Treasury Secretary seems to me to be the ultimate indictment of Democratic "policy intellectuals and politicians." I think Krugman underestimates the breadth of the expression of discontent the Occupy movement represents.

Speaking for me only

< Obama and Holder Then and Now on Medical Marijuana | Going Nuclear To Kill A Fly >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Display: Sort:
    Obama has achieved bipartisanship (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:15:04 AM EST
    but not in the way he tried to sell it.

    OWS is IMO representative of a bipartisan belief that both parties represent the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

    Even so, I think the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz was as accurate as anyone is likely to be when he pronounced our age--and our government--to be one "of the one percent, by the one percent, for the one percent." link


    Professor Krugman's suggestion (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:24:58 AM EST
    for fleshing out policy, at this point, seems in conflict with the cogency and order of his observations: Namely,  that needed policies are "not going to become law in the current political climate , but the whole point of the protests is to change that political climate."  

    Specific policies need to await the broader re-awaking that what is, need not be, and need not continue.  Moreover, the specific policy changes proffered  by Dr. Krugman, "infrastructure investment" and "debt relief," while critical,  are good examples of the need for that change in political climate, and for leadership that explains, clarifies, and buffers from inevitable political assault.  

    If I may add to your lucid comments (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:00:23 AM EST
    A... Paul Krugman, love'm, but let's face it, even a great thinker like P.K, when he steps out his island of expertise, becomes a mere mortal like the rest of us.

    And

    B.... No one can fill in the blanks, because "filling in the blanks" assumes there's something there that can be complete by filling in the blanks.

    My personal belief is that the reason they're going so slowly is that their vision is so big.

    A couple of weeks ago you had nothing but derision and dismissive jokes. Today you've got the President of the United States, and his staff, pacing the floor in the White House, and Obama muttering, "Is it good.....bad? Can it hurt me? Should we do something? Can we get "out front" How should we frame it?"

    Fools, they'll know when the kids with the vision want them to know.


    Parent

    Agreed. (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:20:04 AM EST
    President Obama missed an opportunity to get out in front of the building concerns when he did not meet with protesters in Madison.  just his presence would have given support to sincere Americans worried for their and others' economic futures.  It should have been easy, support your supporters and friends--teachers, firefighters  and other public workers.  The conflict avoidance and desire not to offend Republicans and Independents (or worse, agreement with the Republican governor) only increased frustration and confidence in government to right economic wrongs.  Now, it seems, as you note, they do not know whether to jump on the bandwagon or loosen its wheels.

    Parent
    and may they stay in this state (none / 0) (#19)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:49:40 AM EST
    for a good long time.  They didn't lead, or follow so now it's time to get out the way.

    Now, it seems, as you note, they do not know whether to jump on the bandwagon or loosen its wheels.


    Parent
    Obama's Timing Stinks (none / 0) (#133)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:28:14 PM EST
    Obama has simply failed to get behind anything valuable and worthwhile. His timing is non existent. It's called leading from behind.

    Parent
    Well, it's definitely from behind... (none / 0) (#137)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 11:46:04 AM EST
    ... but leading is not what it's usually called.

    Parent
    Oh yes, well put (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:37:17 AM EST
    My personal belief is that the reason they're going so slowly is that their vision is so big.

    If they start articulating at this point it sounds pretentious and impossible. Let it grow naturally.

    Parent

    Jeffrey Sachs (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:07:47 AM EST
    A different way to look at society.

    Americans keep score for how successful their lives are through their bank book. Sachs says that's the wrong metric.

    Professor of economics at Columbia. Financial advisor to the U.N. and acclaimed the world over, having successfully restructured the economies of some of the most desperate, poverty stricken countries on earth.

    He doesn't do the big, industrial countries. He only works with countries I've never heard of, let alone able to pronounce.

    Google him.....a good lift for a Friday afternoon to know there really are some good people out there.

    His conversion from an Obama booster to his opinion today is worth the price of admission by itself.

    You can thank me later,

    And, in honor of our missing, "Jim"........LoL


    Parent

    Oh, I am so going to get (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:11:35 PM EST
    his new book (The Price of Civilization).  Thanks for the "heads up," NYShooter.  

    Parent
    my Dear Madame Zorba (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:49:12 PM EST
     Don't know if you're at all familiar with Sachs, or not. I knew him, or rather, knew of him, but just in a tangential sort of way. So, the first time I was able to spend some quality time listening to him was just two days ago. I won't bother saying too much cause you've indicated you'll do your own exploring.

    But, I'd like to make just one point. So here's this guy in his fifties, world famous economist. Acclaimed by, and sought by world leaders, special advisor for poverty to the Secretary General of the U.N. teacher & lecturer, and also Professor Stolichnia vodski emeritus, tutti magna summa nova magifico biggo dealski (I may have misspelled a couple of words) anyway, you get the point, this guy is Big.

    Yet, when you watch, and listen to him in conversation, he sounds like a high school sophomore talking about "the big game," or his implausible date with "knockout Sonya got-it-all. He's so animated, excitable, just filled with vim and enthusiasm. I guess you'd call him infectious.

    I know I didn't explain this well, but you may have gotten the point anyway.

    Bottom line....we need more people like Jeffrey Sachs.  


    Parent

    I wasn't (none / 0) (#85)
    by Zorba on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 04:07:24 PM EST
    familiar with him at all until you mentioned him, NYS, and then I did as you suggested and Googled him.  The more I read, the more I got interested.  I am definitely going to delve more into this.  Again, thanks!

    Parent
    Wasn't it Jeffrey Sachs (none / 0) (#95)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:43:14 PM EST
    who convinced the Russians after the Soviet Union imploded to instantly transition to a free market system with no transitional system in place?

    The result of that advice down the road was the oligarchs and Putin.

    Parent

    yup, (none / 0) (#98)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:50:17 PM EST
    and he was the second gunman in Dallas.

    Can't put anything past you, gyr

    Parent

    WTF is that supposed to mean? (none / 0) (#123)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:58:17 PM EST
    When you attend a wedding (none / 0) (#125)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:44:31 PM EST
     and the priest/rabbi is relaying joyful anecdotes about the bride and groom to the congregation I suppose you feel its your duty to  remind everyone there about the story of Catherine, the bride, and the day she was caught doing the bj to Willard behind the bleachers?

    WTF that's supposed to mean is that there's a time and place for everything, a lesson that for some, no matter the subject, the rejoinder must be resurrected with the mouth fart, "what about Bill Clinton?"

    The conversation was about the many achievements of Jeffrey Sachs. I don't think there's a soul alive who wouldn't agree with the statement, "Jeffrey Sachs is an unusually decent man, and has devoted his life to strive and better the lives of millions of the least fortunate people on earth. With his long list of unselfish achievements its to his great credit that, rather than use his fame to enrich himself, he instead takes all sorts of risks, and  concentrates on helping those that the rest of civilization has forgotten.

    Due to the nature of his work, attempting to fix economies in indescribably terrible distress, not every attempt is a rousing success. Many of those economies were in such intractably  bad shape that traditional attempts to fix them would be futile . A certain amount of risk, or "shock therapy" was sometimes indicated. Such was the case with Russia towards the end of the 20th. Century. The Corruption, chaos, and looting of the treasury was total. It goes with the territory.

    So, when I was honoring Jeffrey, it wouldn't be completely honest without your pissing in the punch.....just to keep the record straight.


    Parent

    Good grief (none / 0) (#140)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 12:32:06 PM EST
    I was trying to remember who he was and asked the question.  Apparently, he is who I thought and he did give the Russians what's turned out to be very bad advice.

    So there's a New Rule that in blog comments, one isn't permitted to question the sainthood of somebody being praised?

    Your attitude is astonishing.

    Parent

    Lucid Comments (none / 0) (#130)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:14:43 PM EST
    Good Post. This isn't a Movement. Yet. But no one gets the point. Occupy Wall Street is just the beginning of a real response from  the people who are clearly expressing their outrage at the great Wall Street/Banks/Corporate ripoff and the lack of accountability.

    The inane media first scoffed at the demonstrators, and now want "a cohesive message, etc". They cannnot understand what is really happening and will continue to happen.

    Leadership, focus, and strategy will surely emerge as this populist reaction against the criminal behavior in our financial  and political system continues to grow.

    Parent

    A wonderful mixture of (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:48:12 PM EST
    "juvenile rabble."

    Occupy Austin:

    John Buhler , a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and Iraq War veteran, showed up in his full dress uniform. He said that he was inspired by members of the military who stepped between protesters and police in New York.

    "Reform and change in our financial system has to happen for us to maintain life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Buhler, now an Austin Community College student.

    Others had grievances with specific companies.

    Bill Edwards , an 80-year-old retired military veteran, carried a sign denouncing Bank of America, which he called "a parasitic organization." He said he was also angry with the influence of large banks and corporations in politics.

    If citizens are constantly kept down, "you could have a revolution," Edwards said. link



    Parent
    The prof is expert on many things (none / 0) (#42)
    by Towanda on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:06:21 PM EST
    but not, clearly, on the evolution of social movements.  The OWSers are doing fine, following the trajectory of successful movements at this point in their evolution, early days.  This is the stage to attract a large following and, interconnected, create awareness.  Check for the OWSers.

    Parent
    Thanks (none / 0) (#90)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:27:08 PM EST
    many of us are all too quick to criticize Krugman.  Let's face it, without him, who is saying any of this?  Especially among those at major corporate-owned newspapers?

    Your first quote from P.K. is to be lauded.  

    Parent

    I'm being fair. I read it all (none / 0) (#124)
    by Towanda on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:31:58 PM EST
    and you are missing a problem in the tone.

    But you must want to miss it, as you don't see it in a very part that you quote.

    So I will continue to find what is worthwhile in Krugman's work, and I will continue to find worrisome what I see in it that you opt not to see.

    Parent

    Paul Krugman is too honest a man (none / 0) (#127)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:17:11 PM EST
    to make a comment carrying a subliminal, or smarmy "tone." The problem is either with the sender, or the receiver but I've know Krugman too many years to give any credence to an opinion which has no basis in fact.

    Krugman doesn't deserve this criticism, and its doubly disheartening that our need to strut the purity fairy among ourselves when there's a deranged political party and a clinically insane mob masquerading as concerned citizens to be dealt with.


    Parent

    I have a lot of respect for him (none / 0) (#142)
    by Towanda on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 01:15:01 PM EST
    a lot of the time, as I do for a lot of what he says in this piece.  

    Now, I don't know him, as you say that you do, but I have read just about everything by him and about him, and I appreciate all that he does and says well.

    But I don't elevate him to more than he is, a man who has made some mistakes in his read of Obama, et al., before.  He still holds hope for a broken political system, thinking that will fix a broken economic system, and I see that subtext in this piece.  And so I disagree with that part.  

    That's all.  But do tell him for me to keep fighting the good fights.

    Parent

    Don't be so . . . (none / 0) (#141)
    by Towanda on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 01:10:41 PM EST
    yourself, talking about tone. . . .

    Parent
    Krugman Understands This Protest (none / 0) (#132)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:25:43 PM EST
    I agree. Krugman has understood the serious meaning of these protests and the beginning of a Movement. His article was positive about the protests and their power.

    Taking PK out of context is incorrect as he understands the potential this new protest
    offers and that it can bring about real action towards policy change, accountability, and correction.

    Leadership, focus, word frames and strategy will follow as this revolt grows.

    Parent

    Krugman in defense of Krugman (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:45:06 AM EST
    When I said that it was the job of policy intellectuals to fill in the details for the Occupy Wall Street protestors, I didn't mean "don't worry your pretty little heads about it, we'll work it out". I meant job literally as in responsibility: people like Joe Stiglitz and me have an obligation to work on this, helping to translate what justifiably angry citizens are saying into more fleshed-out proposals. That doesn't mean taking the public out of the loop; it means putting whatever expertise you have to work on the public's behalf. link


    So, it wasn't just me that took it that way... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:55:07 AM EST
    good to know!

    Parent
    Maybe Krugman would benefit from (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:45:27 AM EST
    reading what I thought was an excellent Matt Stoller guest post at naked capitalism; yesterday, I posted the following excerpt that answers the "but what do they want?" refrain:

    One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn't tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does "it" want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering "get a job" line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to "help" by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.

    And further to Matt's point, power doesn't work differently - and the results of it have not been an improvement - just because that power resides in the hands of those who purport to represent the views of Democrats and liberals/progressives - at least not the current crop of power-holders.

    Disappointing to me is that Krugman sees the movement as a potential boon to Democrats; he's completely missed the fact that it isn't just Republicans or conservatives or Wall Street and banksters alone who have taken us down this garden path - it is the current administration, and the staffing choices this president made that inextricably tie into and are a part of the whole debacle.  

    And even more disappointing is that Krugman, even as he disses those who have mocked the irrelevant aspects of OWS - how people are dressed, for example - ends up belittling it by rhetorically patting them on the head and more or less saying, "thanks - the people who really know what they're doing can take over now."  

    Well, that's the point - no they can't.  And they won't.  A second chance for Democrats?  Come on, this president has had chance after chance after chance to do the right thing - and he hasn't.  Ditto for Congress.

    OWS doesn't need to be co-opted so that the Democratic power structure can once again bamboozle and okey-doke the people into believing they are committed to our issues; maybe if Krugman goes back and re-reads the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog, he'll figure that out.


    Boy, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:06:53 AM EST
    there's going to be a lot of red faces down the road

    Yup, all the fake pretenders, the "liberals", the "progressives," the whatevers are smug now, content in the false belief that "They" are gonna get it now.

    Wait till they discover that "They" is "Them."


    Parent

    If OWS can successfully transform its (none / 0) (#27)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:17:55 AM EST
    energy into political effort, then there may be red faces.  But that depends on the them being ableo move the needle at the polls.

    Parent
    It also depends on us doing more... (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:02:03 PM EST
    ... than typing.

    Parent
    OWS Website (none / 0) (#134)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:33:28 PM EST
    OWS needs a website and needs to explain and extend their message.

    They can raise money and become a real Movement for social change.  This is all very powerful and will become more so as it gathers momentum and leadership.

    Parent

    They have a website. n/t (none / 0) (#138)
    by nycstray on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 12:18:57 PM EST
    Doing more. (none / 0) (#135)
    by norris morris on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:37:48 PM EST
    Does not mean blogging per se. We need to join OWS in the streets and then raise money for a website to form leadership and get the message out. Political pressure must increase and a strategy for political and social change will emerge.

    Parent
    They are raising money (none / 0) (#139)
    by nycstray on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 12:20:46 PM EST
    they have a general fund and a media fund. They've already put out their first publication, The Occupy Wall Street Journal.

    Parent
    That, IMHO, is the benefit... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:13:20 AM EST
    ...of at least making some attempt, at some point soon, in reaching SOME consensus on defining what you want to accomplish politically, precisely because that establishment is going to start defining it, as it already has, for a lot of other people if you don't.  Use technology not just to rally bodies, but rally all those sharp minds that are sitting out there just waiting to be tapped. (And the idea that OWS isn't a political movement is kind of moot, since while it's not a party-driven political movement, any movement of citizens like this is de-facto political, whether we like it or not.  Consensus is a form of government, just a different and, hopefully, better form.  We shouldn't be fearing the word political, we should be retaking it for the majority.)

    I perfectly understand the opposite view, I just don't think it's ever a bad time to be more imaginative and creative than the forces you know are ready to sweep in and co-opt.  

    Again, only my opinion, and I'm glad to march with them, as I have, support them financially, which I have, and add my voice.  

    Parent

    Enemy commander Bloomberg speaks (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:26:37 AM EST
    With these noisy street protests, (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:01:27 AM EST
    Mayor Bloomberg probably regrets living in a townhouse of grand standing on E.79th Street rather than a penthouse high above Park Avenue.

    Parent
    I saw that (5.00 / 0) (#96)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:46:54 PM EST
    What is he doing, taking his talking points from Rush Limbaugh?  What a preposterous load of @#%@^^T%

    Parent
    Hey, give him a break! (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Zorba on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:52:18 PM EST
    Michael Bloomberg is the 13th richest person in the United States, and he's "the founder and eighty-eight percent owner of Bloomberg L.P., a financial news and information services media company."  Link  After all, he has to "represent" for his peeps!  (/snark)

    Parent
    OMG (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by cal1942 on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:05:11 PM EST
    Thanks for the link Dadler.

    However, after reading part way through I'm on the verge of vomiting.  But, what the hell should I expect from a weaselly billionaire.  A Unity guy who doesn't understand that the boat he's floating on needs to be rocked.

    Parent

    I think exactly the opposite (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:01:05 AM EST
    Look at Bloomberg's comments.  How many of the 99% will really believe that?  Let the spokesmen for the power structure start making more and more outrageous claims.  

    That way when OWS makes their own statements, it won't sound grandiose at all.  Because, like NYShooter, I think their goals are big.  And there is no direct path to reach them.  One step at a time.  One solid step at a time will get them there faster than jumping the gun.

    Parent

    Kenny Rogers (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:16:40 AM EST

    "Know when to hold'm, know when to fold'm"

    (or stated another way, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.")

    In spite of all the "advice" they're getting, and, obviously doing everything wrong, I guess the public didn't get the message, which explains why everyone from coast to coast is talking about OWS this weekend.

    dummies


    Parent

    From a comment at Hullabaloo (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:40:34 AM EST
    Naomi Klein said it best: focus on issues and let the Democrats worry about getting themselves elected.


    Parent
    Does Krugman think... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 09:48:10 AM EST
    the Koch Bros. "filled in the details" of the Tea Party movement?  The last thing we need is lefty elitists and insiders hijacking and diluting this grassroots movement.

    If what passed for establishment left of center in this country wants to help, OWS and all the other outlets are gonna need blankets, food, magic markers and posterboard, computers...and of course they can use more boots marching.  They don't need exisiting leadership to take over, exisiting leadership that has failed to lead effectively for 30 years.

    Krugman clearly means people like him... (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by masslib on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:04:29 AM EST
    which is fine, except those people have had exactly no sway with the decision makers in DC thus far, and I don't think they ever will.  Not with the pols in DC today at least.  And, that is what I really think is wrong with Krugman's argument.  He actually thinks what is happening here involves a mulligan for Democrats.  I don't think so.  It's exactly the opposite.  Its people put so much energy and faith into electing Democrats in '08, and they got next to nothing for their effort.  This movement is a response to the open failure of all of our elected leaders to put fairness back into our economic and political system.  

    I agree with your analysis (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:12:28 AM EST
    As much as I respect Krugman, his Achilles' heel IMO is his need to believe in and at times defend the current Democratic Party when they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

    Parent
    As I said in another post... (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:36:17 AM EST
    I think that Krugman has felt constrained by the lack of any alternative. He's more or less been forced to take sides between "bad to awful" and "truly terrible to insane." It's not so much that Krugman loves or wants to defend "bad to awful" as it is that there has seemingly been no other viable alternative. There is still no viable alternative, but we may seeing the anlage. From The Grapes of Wrath:
    In the night one family camps in a ditch and another family pulls in and the tents come out. The two men squat on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other. Here is the anlage of the thing you fear. This is the zygote. For here 'I lost my land' is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate - 'We lost our land.' The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first 'we' there grows a still more dangerous thing: 'I have a little food' plus 'I have none'. If from this problem the sum is 'We have a little food', the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side-meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed women; behind, the children listening with their souls to words their minds do not understand. The night draws down. The baby has a cold. Here, take this blanket. It's wool. It was my mother's blanket - take it for the baby. This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning - from 'I' to 'we'.

    If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you for ever into 'I', and cuts you off for ever from the 'we'.


    People are realizing that they are part of the "we" (the 99 percent) and that without "we", there is no "I."  If our pols are smart, they will recognize the moment and get out in front of it like FDR. Because if they don't realize it and get out in front, what this all gives rise to and where it all goes is likely to be scary or worse.  

    Parent
    That is a great quote. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:00:17 AM EST
    It's become painfully obvious that rearranging the deck chairs will not keep the ship from sinking, no matter how different the arrangement looks.

    Does that make OWS the lifeboat?  Maybe, in the sense that more and more of the 99% are refusing to stay in steerage class while their betters sip on chardonnay and listen to the string quartet.  Maybe what is being rescued is our own sense of worth, which has been deliberately eroded over the years, the better to keep us quiet and grateful for what little comes our way.

    Krugman is still trying to make the existing structure work, and still sees the dynamic as being about Democrats and Republicans, and as long as that's his frame of reference, he won't truly understand what OWS is growing.


    Parent

    It will have to be. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:14:25 AM EST
    Krugman is still trying to make the existing structure work, and still sees the dynamic as being about Democrats and Republicans

    Unless the OWS'ers want to push a third party, then change will have to occur w/in the established parties.  

    Parent
    Because they have nowhere else to go (none / 0) (#28)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:25:20 AM EST
    right?

    Parent
    They don't. (none / 0) (#31)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:42:19 AM EST
    It would be interesting if OWS would spawn a third party or at the very least endorse certain candidates.  But if your involvement in politics is going to include the polling booth it is unclear to me how you can ignore both parties.

    How effective can national-level political activism be if it ignores party dynamics?  Whatever outside group you may be donating to, the aim of most issue groups at least in part is to influence and or get in front of Democratic politicians.

    Parent

    Missing the point I think (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:51:54 AM EST
    This is outside of electoral politics.  What it will become is a mystery to me.  Maybe it will fall into the political party track (or would that be political party "trap").  Maybe something else entirely.

    The parties are broken.  The party system is broken.

    I have many issues, and over a year ago I let go of the idea that Democratic politicians were ever going to care about what I care about.  So when I hear that I "have no where else to go" I know that's patently false.  I can actually go nowhere.  I can refuse to vote against my own interests by not voting for either candidate.  Oh, I'll vote on ballot issues.  I'll participate.  But you are patently wrong when you say I have nowhere else to go.  I have my home.  For as long as I have one, that is.

    In any case, as far as I can tell, the involvement of OWS isn't in politics.  It's with society.  Those are clearly, clearly two different things.

    Parent

    If it's "outside electoral politics" (none / 0) (#35)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:58:14 AM EST
    then it really is a meaningless shout into the void.  That's fine, of course; there's certainly an aesthetic value to that if nothing else.  I guess we'll find out in due course, though.

    I can refuse to vote against my own interests by not voting for either candidate.  

    Unless this is sheer nihilism, then what you really mean is that your goal is to get political candidates around to your side, at which point you'll reward them w/ your vote.  eg, your goal is political, whether you want to put it that way or not.

    Parent
    Did what we know as The Arab Spring... (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:42:29 PM EST
    ...happen within electoral politics? No. Did the American Revolution happen within electoral politics? No. Did Castro's rise happen within electoral politics? No. Did the restoration of Hugo Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela after having been disposed by a US-backed coup happen within electoral politics? No. Were all of those things therefore a shout into the void?

    This is happening outside of electoral politics because it is potentially bigger than mere electoral politics. This is the anlage, the foundation of subsequent events. If it grows, it becomes a force unto itself, and electoral politics (which now only serves its owners/masters) will bend before it.

    Diving straight into electoral politics in a system that is owned by corporations and oligarchs and expecting to drive change that way is always the advice, and it's stupid advice. You can not change the system from within. Outside force must be applied. Always. OWS has the potential to give rise to that force, or at least to till the ground so that the seed of that force can find a place to germinate.

    Parent

    Did the break up of the Soviet Union (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:51:12 PM EST
    happen outside politics?  How about the satellite counties?  

    Parent
    Those were all violent uprisings. (none / 0) (#46)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:35:42 PM EST
    Assuming that OWS isn't about a coup d'etat, then change has to occur w/in the electoral system.  There is no magical third way.  Violence or politics.

    Parent
    No, they weren't. (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 04:09:17 PM EST
    Chavez was restored to the presidency of Venezuela without much in the way of a violent uprising. In the Arab Spring, it wasn't the uprising that was violent, it was the response of the state to the uprising that was violent. That said, the elite here are no different than the elite anywhere else. There will at some point be violence, even if that violence is instigated by and at the behest of the elite. Hell, there has already been violence. Did you not see the police batons and pepper spray?

    The entrenched power structure means to maintain the status quo...because they like the status quo. The status quo profits them even as it drives the rest of us to despair. That entrenched power structure will not go or even let go willingly unless maybe they come to their senses...and history says that we can't count on them to do that.

    Given the present course charted by the courtesans to wealth and power, I'm afraid that I pretty much see violence (at some point) as a given. As sad as that may be, I think it also is likely a necessary ingredient. That elite power structure will have to become familiar with something called fear before there can be any major and lasting change. That's the way it works. That's the way it has always worked.

    Parent

    @jpe (none / 0) (#50)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:45:14 PM EST
    You do like your absolute pronouncements, don't you?

    Parent
    I don't see how this isn't meaningless: (none / 0) (#47)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:36:39 PM EST
    This is happening outside of electoral politics because it is potentially bigger than mere electoral politics

    What does that mean?  What's the end game look like?

    Parent
    To demonstrate: (none / 0) (#52)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:50:10 PM EST
    A perfect example of a failure of imagination and misunderstanding of human spirit.  LOL

    That couldn't be more perfect.  

    But seriously, don't feel bad.  I think it's a also a failing of BTD's and I have utmost respect for him.  

    Speaking for myself, I find your condescension coupled with those failings to be pretty amusing.  Today, anyway.

    Parent

    You just go on thinking that way (none / 0) (#38)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:17:01 PM EST
    I don't mind.

    Parent
    Anti-Viet War movement (none / 0) (#92)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:32:02 PM EST
    was also outside of party politics; so was the civil rights movement.  Doesn't mean these movements won't eventually influence party politics or even spawn a third party with teeth.  

    Parent
    Agreed that it is (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:18:44 PM EST
    (currently) outside of electoral politics.  The protest itself seems liberal to me.  At some point to be effective it's going to have to engage with government.

    Take for example gay rights.  Much much bigger than electoral politics, but when it engages with the government, the party that is its frequent ally is the Democratic Party.

    I suppose that is one outcome of OWS.

    Parent

    Certainly bigger than electoral (none / 0) (#48)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:38:32 PM EST
    politics, but changing policy is a big part of the goal.  We can tick those policy goals off pretty easily, in fact.  

    We can do the same for the OWS crowd, which is why it's so silly that OWS'ers are clinging to this weird "it's not about politics" chimera.  They must think there's something icky about politics that they can avoid if only they pretend hard enough that it doesn't have political ends.  

    Parent

    It's not that ... (5.00 / 7) (#53)
    by masslib on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:54:31 PM EST
    it's not about politics".  It's that this movement is in no way in support of politicians or political parties.  Indeed, it's a reaction to the failure of our political system to produce results that improve the lives of 99% of us.  This movement can not and should not be co-opted by the Democrats, because it is their failure that ignited the movement to begin with.  This movement needs to continue to act outside of the political system in order to push change.  The politicians must react to the movement, not the other way around.  The movement doesn't need the Democrats.  When you have nothing you have nothing to lose.  And, that is what the Democrats have given the 99percenters.  Nada.  They, as opposed to the OWS crowd, have something to lose, political power.  

    Parent
    Had the Democratic Party addressed (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:58:48 PM EST
    even a fraction of the needs of the 99% rather than cater to the 1%, OWS would not exist.

    Parent
    Let me put it like this... (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by masslib on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:09:50 PM EST
    when you have a Party standard bearer announcing he is going to raise a billion dollars for his reelection campaign, you know that Party is not even remotely prepared to answer the call of the OWS movement.

    Parent
    Should he instead say (none / 0) (#73)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:55:21 PM EST
    I won't raise as much money as possible and lose?

    Parent
    Nope, he should keep on proving (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:11:28 PM EST
    just how business friendly he can be with more Chamber of Commerce approved trade deals, government funded free labor to companies, cuts to domestic and safety net programs to offset tax cuts to corporate and upper bracket rates.

    Why stop now when it has worked so well for the 1%?

    Parent

    BTW, more moves like (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by MO Blue on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:17:18 PM EST
    shutting down the Medical Marijuana dispensaries will surely be a winner. There has to be a group that will benefit financially from that move who could hold a few fund raisers for him.

     

    Parent

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#58)
    by masslib on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:03:22 PM EST
    jpe, I agree (none / 0) (#59)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:03:53 PM EST
    I don't think the Democratic Party should be co-opting OWS, but look at the list of organizations OWS stands in solidarity with.  The general ideological nature of OWS is obvious...I don't see how it manages to avoid intersecting with the political system at some time.

    Parent
    I know you don't see it (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:23:43 PM EST
    I don't see how it manages to avoid intersecting with the political system at some time.

    I know you don't see it.  I say that with no sarcasm at all.  So if it's so inevitable why can't you just let it be?  Why can't you just let go of the idea that the best outcome is a stronger Democratic Party.  I get that you're invested with them.  I get that you want the Dems to do right.  But if you're right, you're right so why try to cram it down anyone's throat.  And if you're wrong we'll all learn something.

    One month ago I had no idea how to break the deadlock that the Parties have on society and on our throats.  I had no idea how to raise my voice and be heard.  That was my failure of imagination.  

    Then a few kids went to demonstrate at and occupy Wall Street.  

    Look around you.  Look at all this discussion.  I'd say they're doing something right.

    The good news is, you and I could go back and forth all day, for days on end and it would not make a single bit of difference in how this turns out.

    That's also been true for the last few administrations.  But for the first time in nearly 12 years I take comfort -- even joy --  in that,  instead of sit in impotent fury and frustration.

    Parent

    I haven't said (none / 0) (#66)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:35:50 PM EST
    that the best outcome is a stronger Democratic Party.  I just believe that OWS, standing with and featuring many people and organizations who engage in the political system already, will eventually engage with the political system.  Making this observation is apparently somehow controversial or "missing the point."  Of course in a sense it has already engaged with the political system because it is now a topic of conversation.

    The response to this point is "you don't understand."

    And in terms of "political movements," I repeat again what I said about the gay rights movement.  We can go through a list of movements in America, many of them end up in some way shaping our political parties.

    Parent

    No you haven't said that, (none / 0) (#74)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:03:02 PM EST
    but over time it has been clear that you are invested with the Democratic party.  If I jumped to conclusions then mea culpa.

    Being a topic of conversation does NOT mean "it" has already engaged with the political system.  From where I sit, it appears that society (not the political system) has engaged with OWS, not the reverse.  To you this may seem like a meaningless distinction.  To me, the potential implications are rather huge.  Do dancers engage with the political system?  Or painters?  Or secretaries or SAH parents?  No.  Only as individuals, not as dancer/painter/secretary/parent.  

    Politics is incidental to this movement at this time.  It is as essential to what is happening on the ground as it is to a soprano singing an aria.

    And if you can't see what is being said here -- even if you don't agree with it -- then the only proper response to you really IS

    you don't understand

    Parent

    These aren't (none / 0) (#78)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:22:33 PM EST
    painters or dancers.  It's a large collective of people protesting the financial center of the US.  It's a political action by nature.  It's making waves in DC.  I know OWS doesn't have an official spokesperson and whatnot, but to me that is engagement with the political system.

    I think we are just looking at this from different points of view.  I have a different definition of engagement.

    Parent

    We clearly have different points of view (none / 0) (#80)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:31:34 PM EST
    I see and largely understand how you're looking at this.  I don't see any effort on your part to step outside of your preconceptions and try to reciprocate.  So I guess I really will just stop at

    but you don't understand

    Parent

    You and jpe are sadly missing the point (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by shoephone on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:25:18 PM EST
    Do you even know about how movements are born? It doesn't happen overnight, or over three weeks. This is about policies. The OWS folks are energized and don't give a flying fig about all the concern trolls quaking in their boots because there's no list of demands or automatic alignment with a political party.

    You need to reread masslib's comment #53.

    I love witnessing the nervousness of those who dont get what is happening with OWS. It's the best evidence that it's WORKING.

    Parent

    Wow, I almost don't know where to begin. (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:20:12 PM EST
    First, I don't think you understand what OWS is all about, which is too bad, because there is more and more information about it every day.  It's definitely an outside-the-box approach, which is what is unnerving the existing power structure - and at the same time, it is energizing a lot of people who have been feeling for a long time that we were never going to get anywhere we wanted to be by working within the existing structure - and that includes the third party option, which someone here has described as "pretty funny to watch."

    Second, OWS isn't a "party" - not anti-tea or coffee or anything else; it isn't looking to align itself with any party, or to be co-opted by any party, or by any interest group.  It is not, in the conventional sense, a political organization.

    Third, this isn't about working with the existing dynamic, but about creating a new dynamic; how that evolves or what it ends up looking like, isn't clear yet - but it doesn't have to be set in stone so that the existing structure is more comfortable with it.  This isn't about appeasing or making comfortable or playing by the rules "they" have established, but about challenging, unnerving and making new rules.  Isn't it about time we had our own territory, and expected others to play by our rules?  Isn't that the kind of balance of power that a 99% v. 1% breakdown calls for?

    Sure, there are lots of people who will trivialize, demonize and patronize, but given the traction OWS is getting, I think people do that at their own risk.


    Parent

    OK Anne, you're totally right. (none / 0) (#44)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:27:27 PM EST
    I am sure OWS will never at some point meet the Democratic Party.

    Unless OWS is going to overthrow the government, it is going to have some relationship to the existing political system.  And, as in my gay rights example above, the Democratic Party is at least a slightly more likely ally than the GOP.

    I was responding to sj's comment about there being "nowhere else to go."  Obviously OWS can evolve into whatever it wants but it is already having some effect on the political system and has become a topic of discussion, with a much warmer reception on the Dem side than on the GOP side.

    Parent

    LOL. Any "relationship" (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by shoephone on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:31:52 PM EST
    to the Democratic party as it now exists is going to have to be sought out by the party powers-that-be first. Because it looks to me like the party is going to need OWS a whole lot more than the other way around. OWS ain't gonna come-a-courtin'.

    Parent
    I agree with that (none / 0) (#68)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:37:40 PM EST
    and I hope that is the case.  I'm not arguing that vis a vis the Democratic Party OWS has a weaker hand.

    Parent
    I'm sure they're thrilled to hear that LOL (none / 0) (#45)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:34:28 PM EST
    OWS ... has become a topic of discussion, with a much warmer reception on the Dem side than on the GOP side.

    Like I said to jpe.  You just keep thinking that.  Y'all have made your judgements about the only possible outcomes.

    I'm content, or rather eager actually, to see what really happens next.  I'm not going to try to force it into my pre-existing neural pathways.

    Parent

    Uh huh. (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:56:27 PM EST
    Well if you refuse to engage in speculation, good for you.  I see no problem with other people doing so.

    Parent
    uh huh (none / 0) (#57)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:00:41 PM EST
    Naturally others are free to do as they please.  And today I don't even care if they "please" to pass judgements on me and others.  Today I feel (as opposed to merely knowing) how meaningless those judgements are.

    Of course that could change tomorrow.  But by all means, speculate away LOL

    Parent

    Well (none / 0) (#60)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:07:39 PM EST
    if your position is "I don't care what you think or say" then I guess I will stop engaging you on this...discussion board.

    Parent
    That would be fine. (none / 0) (#63)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:24:05 PM EST
    100% buzzwords there. (none / 0) (#49)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:39:45 PM EST
    Sounds like corporate motivational speaker stuff.

    Parent
    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by cal1942 on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:23:50 PM EST
    Ultimately it has to come down to politics to produce results.

    Parent
    yep. (none / 0) (#33)
    by jpe on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:55:21 AM EST
    Third parties at least are pretty funny to watch, so they'd have that going for them: it'd be amusing to watch them run over the cliff.

    Parent
    Yeah... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:56:26 AM EST
    our sense of worth...thats the ticket.

    And a wee bit of real hope, not some Madison Ave. version of hope-hype circa 2008.  

    It may well end badly and fail, but there are worse things than fighting the good fight and losing, namely how we all felt before OWS took off...hopelessly defeated, voiceless, resigned to preserving whatever scraps we can scrounge.

    I've spoken many times about pre-emptive class war surrender, resigned to carving out a free happy existence in the shadows...OWS has somewhat chased all that from my mind.  Great things and great improvements to our sick society are possible.

    Parent

    I expect you're right about Krugman (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:09:43 AM EST
    But I also suspect he may soon follow Stigliz into seeing the potential in stepping outside the power structure.  

    I hope so, because brains like his are not to be wasted.

    Parent

    Fabulous (none / 0) (#97)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:50:06 PM EST
    Romberry, thanks very much.  That excerpt is incredibly powerful and utterly true.

    Parent
    Dems aren't being given a second chance (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:16:12 AM EST
    What Dems are being given is more like notice than a second chance. The OWS protests are not "pro Dem" or pro any major political party. The protests are if anything a rejection of the Dems (and every other major political party) by the growing number of people who have woken up with the realization that Dems no longer give a damn about the working class.  Washington serves the corporations and the wealthy ownership class at the expense of the rest of us:

  • "Trade deals" offshore jobs...and increase corporate profits and capital gains.

  • Preferential tax rates for cap gains and dividends give us a tax policy that rewards wealth over work.

  • Cuts in the estate tax (along with other obscene changes to tax law) have given us an entry into a system of hereditary aristocracy rather than a system based on work, reward and merit.

  • Bailouts of banks and bondholders have been undertaken not to benefit the masses, but to benefit the banks and bondholders. The masses are left with the bill...and the bill is the reason the masses are told they must suffer with austerity.

  • Governmental economic policy going back to at least Reagan (and probably Carter) has been to enable great wealth by selling out the masses. And this is wholly bi-partisan. The only differences are of degree.

    I actually think that Krugman recognizes this. All of it. His comment about filling in the details was more about smart people taking advantage of this movement to broach ideas and fill in details that would not be acceptable absent this kind of movement.

    I don't want Dems officially involved. I want Dems to be brought to heel. Getting Dems officially involved would just corrupt this movement and either result in killing it or corrupting it. I think Krugman understands this too. Krugman has been constrained by feeling as if he had to work within the confines of the two party structure (Yes, the Dems are actively bad, but the Republicans are crazy.) in which there was no alternative. There remains no alternative, but there is hope that the force necessary to bring about an alternative is being born before our very eyes.

    I'm with the OWS crowd in spirit if not yet in body. Within the next week, if these protests last and grow, I hope to be with them in body as well.

  • My question is (none / 0) (#15)
    by smott on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:34:43 AM EST
    Have any of the smart ideas people like PK have put forth ever been particularly utilized by this Administration?

    Things will change when the elite have something serious to lose, like their jobs and their money.

    I'm with Ian:

    http://www.ianwelsh.net/revolution-basics-1-who-cares-what-you-think/

    To wit:
    Bloomberg and Wall Street may not like Occupy Wall Street, but they aren't going to negotiate in any meaningful sense.

    Why should they?

    What are the consequences, for them, of not cooperating?  They have to see some noisy people.  Does it appreciably reduce their income?  No.  The men or women they get to sleep with?  No.  The amount of power they have over DC? No.  Their actual physical safety, or the safety of those they care about?  No.

    Parent

    Particularly utilized? (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:41:33 AM EST
    No, the idea of Krugman (and Stiglitz and Simon Johnson and pretty much anyone who actually understands what needs to be done) have not been utilized, particularly or otherwise. If anything, those ideas have been ridiculed by people who are determined to preserve the status quo at all costs.

    Parent
    To your point.... (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:27:54 AM EST
    ".....but they aren't going to negotiate in any meaningful sense.
    Why should they?"

    My business career was as Chief negotiator for a DOW 30 company. I did pretty well, but I never did get the hang of negotiating my own demise.

    (pssst, to Bloomberg and Wall St....you don't hold any cards, you are irrelevant, negotiating with ghosts is a sign of psychosis, here's a quarter, go buy yourself a clue.)


    Parent

    Demanding from the elites is not the point (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 12:09:58 PM EST
    or at least not the main one. The point is to wake up the people to the fact that they are getting f*ed and need new elites.

    How about less elites? (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by masslib on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 01:58:37 PM EST
    Or, less powerful elites?

    Parent
    Just had quite the experience... (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:46:52 PM EST
    ...helping the people from Occupy San Francisco Financial District retrieve the stuff they lost when the police busted up their site in front of the Fed on Market Street.  Saw on the website that they needed help, drove my Prius down the the Department of Public Works in the city, and met up with a few other folks -- turned out I really was needed, the huge caravan I pictured was just me, a smaller car, and then two pickup trucks that showed up.  They were very appreciative that I just showed up to help.  Mostly younger kids, but an older woman, Dagney ("And it's not from that fucking Ayn Rand book, thank you"), and I were representing for the gray hair crowd.  She was great, just an old SF hellraiser who took no sh*t and really helped the kids, um, focus.  We took the stuff down to a storage space they had rented and unloaded.  It was kind of a clusterphuck, many harried and confused phone calls, but Dagney kind of took a, gasp, leadership role and got it all squared away.  

    I added a few photos to my photostream, kept up the ones from the March on Wednesday.  Have a few more to add, when I can figure out how to.

    Photo Link.

    Occupy SF Financial District Link

    I love it! Time for (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:19:05 PM EST
    a nationwide strike. IWWW still accepts members, folks, get your red card and join the One Big Union!  

    I still belong to the International Seafarer's Union... never been on a ship, but got my merchie apprentice papers in 1976...

    Bizarre, I know.

    I'm more active or try to be in the Black Cats, I wanna see everyone strike and organize, and put a hurt on those Plutos. And the governments that represent them. And the cops who enforce the unjust laws that represent the Plutos and their fellow travellers.

    Class warfare? It's time. I can create on paper a brigade, and there are plenty of poor hungry combat arms vets out there. We may be old or young, but we can hang. And most important, I have a brigade CSM. He was one once, and now all we have to do is make sure there's some Jack (green) on most occasions.

    He's Cav, so that's mother's milk, sigh...

    Parent

    Long past time for it (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:32:25 PM EST
    I'm in for becoming a Wobbly, I may just look into it.

    Word I got from the kids is that a few cops were really torn and didn't want to do anything, and that the female officers were really no problem at all.  The rest, sheesh, they love putting those batons into you.  The kid who rode in my car had a nice welt on his arm.  Bastards.

    Parent

    And I'm still a Writer's Guild member (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Dadler on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 12:10:13 AM EST
    Dammit.  I need to call my agent.  ;-)

    Parent
    BTW, The Dept of Public Works people... (none / 0) (#71)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:48:26 PM EST
    ...were great, totally supportive of the cause.

    Thanks to David there especially, who kind of chuckled his way through watching us go through this mess of stuff.

    Parent

    how can I help? (none / 0) (#88)
    by dandelion on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 04:44:59 PM EST
    Hey Dadler -- I'm in SF.  Trying to find out info about the occupation, willing to bring supplies -- where can I find more info, do you know?

    Parent
    The best, and most complete (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by NYShooter on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:27:49 PM EST
    Site to follow the movement

    Link


    Parent

    ah.... sorry (none / 0) (#89)
    by dandelion on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 04:46:42 PM EST
    Missed the link on your comment -- checking it out now.  

    Parent
    Just had a conversation (5.00 / 0) (#102)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:03:01 PM EST
    with my extremely conservative sister and brother in law. He's retired Navy, she's retired Navy wife... what I found ironic what what we agreed upon... Obama has no real plans, nor do his advisors, and he does not propose legislation, as is his job, bur he proposes ideas, then works to compromise it so something passes.

    We all agreed that this practice is poor governance. Additionally, we agreed on a)Afghanistan, b) McChrystal (Had to be fired after the article, period, and he wasn't even fired, another sign of weakness), c)the LCD theory of politics... one has to be morally lacking enough to even run for office, and d) the supreme court right now is scary bad... based on the political money rulings alone.

    People are getting fed up... Obama's the man at the top, so a lot gets blamed on him.

    But he's at the top, and his weakness/vacillating/hands-off/ vapors don't help.

    Said my sister, "It's no wonder the rest of the world is pi$$ed of at us after Bush and Obama."

    Interesting.  I don't want any Plutocrat school professors leading my protest. Let's find some public intellectuals like Cornell West. He may teach at a Pluto school, but he ain't FROM that plutocracy.

    First - I am so glad to see you here... (none / 0) (#119)
    by Anne on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:45:34 PM EST
    like others, I was worried about your absence from TL.  Now, I'm just livid reading about your medication-free September; are you too proud to accept some help?  Because I'd like to send you something, for you to use however you need to.

    Now...what you, your sister and brother-in-law, and a whole lot of people here suspected - that Obama has no plans, that he is weak, and nearly incapable of follow-through - is even worse than we thought, based on the Suskind book that has turned me, the reader, into the equivalent of a rubbernecker driving past a horrific accident: I don't really want to know how bad it is/was, but I can't seem to look away.  And that would hold even if only half of what Suskind relates is true.

    This man is an unmitigated Disaster.

    Parent

    For some reason Krugman (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 02:36:30 PM EST
    has always seemed to miss the Liberal politicians complicity in our economic problems.

    Probably because... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:22:30 PM EST
    they attend the same cocktail parties, hard to think of your buddies as a big part of the problem.

    Not to totally sh&t on Krugman, smart guy whose heart is in the right place, but if you haven't sweated a rent payment, sweated keeping the lights on and cupboard filled, sweated being uninsured, sweated finding a job, etc...it's easy to lose touch and hard to understand how upset working people are with our supposed advocates (lol), the Brand D party.

    Parent

    I can say now, I'm so far on the margins (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:23:33 PM EST
    I no longer have friends on the wait staff or the cleanup staff for those cocktail parties. I might know some delivery folks, but prolly not.

    It's time to get class warfare out in the open. When only the Plutocrats practice it, I get upset.

    Banks? Who has money for banks? Cash and carry now. And I tell the calls I still get from creditors to staple all that stuff on the back of my credit report, because it is of no consequense to me. Blood from a turnip, if you will.

    Parent

    Forget OWS and the Conservatives . . . (none / 0) (#79)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:28:42 PM EST
    I am not sure how this is all going to work out,
    but if the EU doesn't bail out Greece in a few weeks, many of the largest banks in the EU are going to fail, rippling into many of the largest banks here and we are going to be in a situation where we either bailout the banks of face real chaos.  Chaos worse than 2008.

    I fear that OWS and the backlash against it by the right are going to create a situation in which it all burns while they fight.

    If people knew how the coming disaster could impact them directly, everyone (liberals and conservatives) would be protesting the EU . . . and demanding that they stop screwing around and avoid disaster.

    I don't think there is any more important factor impacting our employment numbers over the next year than how the EU addresses this crisis.  Based on what I am hearing and reading, I don't think this can be understated.

    And I fault Obama starting now for not preparing the country for it now.

    We may be forced to bail out the banks again, and the country has to be prepared for that contingency. Both the Tea Party and OWS would generally oppose that I think, but they have to be made to understand what is at stake.

    Bail out Greece? (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Romberry on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 04:17:20 PM EST
    LOL! ABG, you are well and truly a creature of the conventional wisdom. And that makes you dumb as a box of rocks. The Greek "bailout" is not a bailout of Greece. It never was. The Greek "bailout" is a bailout of banks and bondholders that is to be paid for with the treasure of the Greek people, and also (de facto) a loss of Greek sovereignty. (Under this kind of system, banks are the sovereigns and nations exist merely to service them.)

    There is no Greek bailout. There never was. And what was offered should have been rejected. And what is on offer now needs to be rejected. Because what's on offer is atrocious, and because it can't work, and because delaying what needs to be done will in the end only be even more expensive and cause more pain.

    Parent

    I know a fair amount (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:38:01 PM EST
    About this particular issue. You are wrong.  There is no economist worth his salt asserting that the bailout of Greece (which is the shirt hand almost everyone uses for the financial transactions that must occur) isn't crucial to avoiding a real financial disaster.

    Anyone who asserts otherwise with platitudes about what the people of Greece want and deserve doesn't get it.  We are well beyond what is fair.  We are at the stage where we have to fix it in the best way possible even if it is unfair.

    If the situation was less dire you'd have a point.  You really think the Germans are going to give billions of their treasure to save another country just to make a few bankers rich?  That's ludicrous.

    Parent

    I'm ready for the collapse. (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:07:44 PM EST
    "When you got nothin' you got nothin' to lose."

    I'm homeless, uninsured, and pissed. I give less than a damn about the system any more, much less the CDS and over-swapped banks. I'm worried about getting surgery, and the Plutocrats worry that their caviar is chilled enough.  If this be the end of capitalism, so be it. Any monetary system with the same ideology of cancer need not continue.

    Parent

    Jeff, sweetie (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Zorba on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:15:20 PM EST
    all I can say is I give you lots of {{hugs}} and my profoundest best wishes and all the positive energy I can possibly send you.  We are thinking of you, and hoping for the best.  

    Parent
    ty Zorba (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:46:50 PM EST
    not much to say right now... no decent updates, and looking to move OCONUS, military speak for outside the continental US. I am so frikkin' burnt out right now. I can't even get hired as an academic advisor. Doesn't matter that I've been doing it since, oh '99.

    Either too much experience, too many degrees, too ugly, too pretty, too old...

    I see people hired, and they don't have my KSAs. I still have insurance nightmares. I'm ready to pack and leave, take the two dogs and expat right now.

    I honestly think it will continue to get worse, and I feel completely powerless here, in the land of bread and circuses.

    At least the VA has come through with some meds
    for stress. I doubt anyone would be happy with me in a tower. Not a threat, just a reference.

    Parent

    Hey, Jeff, good to hear from you, guy. (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by caseyOR on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:27:55 PM EST
    Been a little worried by the radio silence. Sending good thoughts and energy your way.

    I am outraged that our politicians over the last 3 decades have approved policies that leave so many of us with "nothing left to lose."  At the same time, I am heartened that, even though it meant hitting rock bottom, so many have reached the limit of their tolerance and are ready to rise up.

    Just like everybody else, I don't where things will end up or what the changes will be or how long it will all take. Still, the people have finally started to fight back. And that is a very good thing.

    Parent

    I hope to know by monday night (none / 0) (#106)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:39:10 PM EST
    if the Pirate Haven will be in Colombia or Romania.

    I'll keep you in the loop. Haven't felt up to posting till today... damm running out of meds and no insurance. Got it reinstated the 29th, so went September without any meds, except for pain. Needless to say, all sorts of things are maladjusted now.

    Parent

    So, if the insurance is back, does this (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by caseyOR on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:48:12 PM EST
    mean surgery is soon to follow?

    You know, I would never want you to do anything you are uncomfortable with, but if you set up a PayPal account or some other way of transmitting $$, I'd kick in a bit to make sure you have your meds. And I'm guessing many others here at TL would do the same.  

    That you had to go the whole of September without the needed medications, well, it's infuriating to me. I am powerless to get you enrolled in Medicare or anything comparable, but I can help out, if that works for you. If you are not comfortable with that, that's okay, too. Whatever makes things a little easier on you, matey.

    Romania, eh? That's new to the conversation about the Pirate Haven. Does Romania have a seacoast? If not, there surely is a major river that leads to the sea. And the pirate crew is nothing if not adaptable.

    Parent

    The Blue Danube (none / 0) (#109)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:04:26 PM EST
    enters the Black Sea. Big port town Timosaura or something like that, looking at ESL there. And it's an EU country.

    We could get Letters of Marque and Reprisal from Moldova, a landlocked country, lol!

    Parent

    My Man!!! (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:10:39 PM EST
    Great to see a post from you.  How are you feeling?

    Been helping the Occupy SF folks a little here. (LINK)

    Parent

    Just saw your earlier post (none / 0) (#112)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:11:42 PM EST
    Damn insurance.  My thoughts are with you.  I'd say prayers but, well, you know me.  Stay strong, we love you here bigtime.

    Parent
    I caught it early because of some (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:27:44 PM EST
    other probs... but i'll be damned if I'llstay here and die on their 2 cents.

    I have gotten even more radicalized about our current government. Bureaucrats who don't use pencils to change numbers, 435 corrupt whores who make the rules, and johns who pay them.

    The system is broken. Not much left to say.

    Parent

    See you in South America! (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:40:35 PM EST
    Soon, I hope.  ;-)

    Parent
    My first choice, even though (none / 0) (#120)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:49:23 PM EST
    surgery will be more difficult. However, much better all around. I can be the 'cranky leftist gringo' that nobody would kidnap because my value's not worth their time. David, I'll send an email, just been too far out of it lately.

    I hope for January. IF not, Romania at the end of January. And taking the dogs is very easy for both.

    I'll post yard sale info here first... lots of eelectronic moveable christmas decorations. Don't think I'll take them to either place.

    Parent

    I am not sure why, but the idea of (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by caseyOR on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:11:10 PM EST
    the pirate crew obtaining its Letters of Marque and Reprisal from a landlocked nation delights me. :-)

    Wonder if there will still be an EU by the time we might get there.

    Parent

    inability to pay 3 weeks out means (none / 0) (#116)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:31:51 PM EST
    bumped from the list. I'm not going to wait here for surgery. I can be miserable in another country and afford to hire nurses 24/7 there. Fornicate health abuse in the USA.

    When Congresspeople read and understand the constitution, when 3 of the justices pay attention, I'll begin obeying laws again. As it is, I think that our government is legalized theft, blackmail, extortion, and murder right now. Slow or fast, they are the 'cops' and we are the 'little people.'

    Parent

    F@ck ! (none / 0) (#122)
    by caseyOR on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:49:34 PM EST
    F@ck, f@ck, f@ck. That pretty sums up my thoughts on the U.S. healthcare system. I wish I could say I can't believe this happened to you, but that would be a lie. It is painfully easy to believe.

    If you move to either Colombia or Romania will you be eligible for their healthcare system? Are there any residency requirements?  

    I'm sputtering, so I'm going to stop for now.

    Parent

    I know that was semi off topic (none / 0) (#81)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:33:47 PM EST
    but I am terrified and extremely freaked out now.  If there is an ABG is Terrified Scale of 1-100, I am at 85 (with 100 being me being transported to 1930's Mississippi with a "The Klan Sucks" tattoo on my head".

    Parent
    The anthropomorphizing of fiat currency (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Dadler on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:45:11 PM EST
    Let me ask you: where will all that money go?  Will it disappear?  Will it sprout wings and fly?  Something has to happen to it, no?

    IOW, since money is a fake thing entirely created by and invested with value by human minds, and everything in the world that exists does so independent of currency (all those raw materials aren't created by money) what PEOPLE will be hoarding all the money from the EU, and what will they do with it when human beings are collapsing all around them?  

    And if bailing out banks can be done AGAIN, it stand to REASON, that other humans can be helped too -- and that doing THIS would make a more positive difference that propping up institutions that fail to reform.  

    You could be very right in your fear, but that doesn't mean the end result what you fear makes any RATIONAL sense in the scheme of human existence.  We ALLOW it to overpower us.

    Exactly which human beings will be deciding to destroy the lives of other human beings because they can?

    Parent

    (sigh) (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by sj on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 03:56:39 PM EST
    I was hoping that he remain unfed and would then go to an open thread (sometime in the future) instead of highjacking here.  You are more kind than I.

    Parent
    I'll take it to an open chain. I just saw (none / 0) (#94)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:40:56 PM EST
    Something that completely freaked me out and I realized that the OWS/anti OWS conflict is the worst of all environments in which to be thinking about saving banks.

    But we may have to.

    Parent

    Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:54:56 PM EST
    I don't think OWS is against all bailouts (it's not the Tea Party).  It's one thing to avoid financial crisis, it's quite another to prop up banks for years and refuse to do the same for the American people.

    Hell, if I was not in a very isolated place right now, I would join in a local OWS protest.  If it's still happening when I get to Austin, TX I will join.  But that doesn't mean I am against a bailout of Greece.

    Parent

    Great comments on this thread (none / 0) (#101)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:59:19 PM EST
    Really thoughtful, lots of terrific points made, etc.  One of the best comments threads I've read anywhere in a long time.