Occupy Discussion

The place for measured discourse about politics and current events, including developments in science and medicine.
Post Reply
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Occupy Discussion

Post by SirDennis »

Though it may impact the 2012 US Federal Election the Occupy thing seems a separate issue worthy of discussion.

What strikes me, right now, as an unemployed person shivering in a camper trailer, is that winter is coming to the northern states. As such I predict the Occupy Movement will go on hiatus for a bit.

Then we will head into an unusually dismal holiday season followed by an economically harsher than usual first quarter hangover. Layoffs and closings are standard features of the lean winter months of any new year. The coming one will likely go down in history as the worst.

In the spring, because of the increase in newly minted unemployed, and the frayed patience of the still unemployed, the protests will begin again with even more people participating. What will happen then is anyone's guess.

Grant you this is a pretty safe prediction and may be more a product of cold feet than a firm grasp on the situation. But then I haven't really been following the protests or reactions to them very closely. I'm not seeing a critical mass presently, nor a tipping point. Is anyone else?

To get things rolling, this comment by Lemony Snicket is making the rounds:

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance
Last edited by SirDennis on Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:43 am, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
Lalaith
Lali Beag Bídeach
Posts: 15435
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Rivendell

Post by Lalaith »

?? What is the deal with this thread? :scratch:
Image
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Post by SirDennis »

Ah yes, there is an issue being worked out as we speak.

ETA It appears there was a problem with wrapping Lemony Snicket's 13 observations in a quote box. I encourage you to read them via the link provided.

EATA Actually, if Anonymous's threat to kill Facebook on November 5 comes to fruit, that might give people one less excuse to stay home...
User avatar
Túrin Turambar
Posts: 6021
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Post by Túrin Turambar »

While going to an optometrist's appointment on Wednesday I saw the Occupy Melbourne crowd camped out beside Swanston Street. There didn't seem to be any significance to the area that they had occupied - it was a patch of grass and pavement outside a row of small shops and cafes. There didn't seem to be much anger - most of them were just uni students apparently enjoying the warm Spring sunshine. There were a few odd characters, like the bloke with a cardboard box over his head marching up and down bearing a sandwich board with the message 'Obama is with us - the Masonic Queen is not!'. Someone else had a sign promising free hugs.

It all ended sadly when police moved the crowd on yesterday. There was another big protest today despite the cooler and wetter weather, and the city has been swarming with hundreds of police on foot and on horses for the past week. On the whole I'm not convinced that they've accompanied anything except inconvenience things for the people who already occupy Melbourne and happen to have jobs or other business which requires them to be able to travel freely up and down Swanston Street. Not to mention the Victorian Police Force, although in fairness it is good to actually see coppers on the street for the change (I've always found Melbourne to be under-policed compared with Brisbane).

Their message appeared to be totally garbled. The protests have been led by people flying aboriginal flags and bearing signs pointing out that the city is built on Wiradjuri Land, very few (if any) of whom actually appear to be aboriginal. The protest also seems to have consumed a pro-gay marriage rally, so that a rainbow flag was flying behind the aboriginal one. There were a couple of 99% signs and some other assorted oddballs. There seems to be a protest in favour of gay marriage, an end to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers or a Palestinian State in the city every Saturday, and it looks like the occupiers are the same crowd of, for a better term, social protestors. They weren't particularly numerous.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

I've seen it argued that the lack of leadership and lack of a polished message is, for the moment anyway, a strength of the movement. They can't be accused of being owned, or coopted, by anyone.

It goes against received political wisdom, but I think they may be right. To the extent that the movement is supported by the general population (and it appears to be), without any label to identify it by, it's hard to argue against it as just being a product of the DCCC, or Obama's mind-slaves, or communist dupes. It's necessary to argue against it as the product of many, many people's actual view of the world. While that won't impress many of the people who oppose what the movement (more or less, apparently) stands for, it's going to be harder and harder to argue against if the momentum keeps building.

Which I hope it does.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Post by SirDennis »

In Canada, as in Oz it seems, it is the usual suspects, those collectively called "special interest groups" who form the nexus of the Occupy spill over.

However this may just be because such groups are already organized, experienced at this sort of thing. What they need to do is let their individual reasons for being out there take a back seat to the common theme behind all of their grievances in total.

What might hurt, as the usual protest groups take the lead, is the use of slogans and words (for instance "solidarity" as an example of both) that have a negative meaning for the wider public. Such terms, like the individual groups that rest on them, have been dismissed and ignored for so long that they serve to turn people away that might otherwise be lead to see their own interests in the Occupy movement.

Having said that, there does appear to be an idea emerging that people can and should rally around: Get the money out of politics. Here and here for reference.

What would help too is if the growing legion of unemployed would get out there. When they do, things will change.

ps here are Lemony's observations sourced from salon.com:

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance

1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.

2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.

3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.

4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.

5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.

6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.

7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.

8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.

9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.

10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.

13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 13198
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Post by River »

Occupy Wall Street is what happens when people are left on a downward trajectory with no hope for it turning. Some of them are unemployed. Others are working hard and have nothing, or very little to show for it. When you're in that position, being told to work hard, or harder, is neither helpful nor motivating. Lemony's first observation has a fantastic amount of truth in it - success isn't all about working hard. Working hard will get you in position to take opportunities when they come...but the oppurtunity coming is luck. Pure, plain, simple luck. And there's a lack of that luck for a lot of people right now.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
Ghân-buri-Ghân
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:31 pm
Location: Evading prying eyes

Post by Ghân-buri-Ghân »

I'm unsure how to approach this. Is it a further demonstration of the extra-judicial power of the... Kittim? You decide...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... all-street

Addendum

St Paul's Cathedral in London is closing its doors because of London's equivalent protest to Occupy Wall Street. And the protestors are being blamed. Well, the only reason they're where they are is because the City of London (the square mile) obtained an injunction prohibiting occupation of Paternoster Sq, the original preferred protest site. It's the financial district of London.

The (unnecessary) closure of St Paul's is being used as a propaganda exercise against the anti-capitalist protestors. I reckon this is the wrong target. If the injunction hadn't been obtained by the CoL prohibiting occupation of Paternoster Sq, then there would be no camp outside St Paul's. Solution? Overturn the injunction, let this peaceful demonstration occur where it is meant to be, free up St Paul's, and let the Fat Cats squirm...

Sorted! :D
tenebris lux
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Post by SirDennis »

The Kittim? The West? Not sure what you are referring to.

But this sort of thing has been going on for at least 2 decades. Arrest first with impunity and let the courts sort out the lawfulness of it.

The effect is to discourage would be joiners (obviously).

As the article suggests police are become increasingly bold in the last few years (G20 Toronto for example). Each time they get away with it, it is worse the next. Nobody, it would seem, is immune to such treatment. But that is the point, that is the message.

In the 90's a couple of my activist friends were arrested and unlawfully detained. The first was arrested and jailed for briefly stepping off a sidewalk while on a picket line. To get him released, I bargained away pressing charges against the police for not responding to a hit and run call against another member of our protest group. In that case one person who did not break the law was locked up, while another (likely a strike breaker/goon) went unmolested after putting a person over the hood of the car they deliberately drove into a line of people.

One lonely night another friend (who belonged to a social justice group lousy with police infiltrators and agent provocateurs) was pulled over, seemingly at random. Nowhere near a picket line at the time, he was arrested, escorted to lock-up and held without cause for several hours. The effect was to scare the crap out of him, which it did, leaving a lasting scar. When they finally released him it was on the condition that he not be found within a kilometre of a protest or picket line for at least a year. No judge, no trial.

Back then people could not believe what was happening, though to be fair it was pretty much off the radar. Now it happens on camera, in the sight of everyone. When such things happen outside of "the west" the response is moral outrage. When they happen "at home" there is a strange scent of denial or outright blaming the victim. But perhaps it will not be this way for much longer.
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Post by SirDennis »

So according to a group calling themselves DefeatObamaCampaign, Obama supports the OWS. This video appears to me to be a call to arms to goons, an attempt to stir the kind of hatred that could lead to violence against the peaceful protesters.

If he does support OWS, I see that as a positive stance on his part.

Here is an article from which one might extrapolate what OWS could mean politically for politicians who choose one side or the other (as well it describes specifically the experience on the ground of an offshoot of OWS): Time is running out for Occupy protesters.
Aravar
Posts: 471
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:15 pm

Post by Aravar »

SirDennis wrote: 2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.
Yes it does, arising from one root.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
Yes but if you go to the doctor's it often assists to be able to describe your symptoms with some precision rather than vaguely saying I don't feel well.
99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
Well if that was all that they wanted, they probably didn't need to borrow so much...
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

Maybe things are different in your country, Aravar. :scratch: In the U.S. there are plenty of people who can't even get credit who are struggling to provide food and shelter for their families while working full time. (Health care is an impossible dream without state-government aid, which is being cut to the bone.) The ones who have lost their jobs and can't find new ones (in an economy where job seekers outnumber job openings four to one) are of course worse off still.

It can be comfortable to tell oneself it's all their fault, every one of them; but it isn't actually true. In this country, at least. The UK still has a much better social safety net than ours. Most countries do.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
vison
Best friends forever
Posts: 11961
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:33 pm
Location: Over there.

Post by vison »

Aravar wrote:Well if that was all that they wanted, they probably didn't need to borrow so much...
Come on, Aravar.

That's blaming the victims, not the criminals.

I don't know if you get Vanity Fair where you are, but for the last 4 or 5 years, maybe longer, they have published article after article after article about the financial industry. These articles are riveting reads, and this month's issue, with Johnny Depp on the cover, is especially so.
Dig deeper.
Aravar
Posts: 471
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:15 pm

Post by Aravar »

vison wrote:
Aravar wrote:Well if that was all that they wanted, they probably didn't need to borrow so much...
Come on, Aravar.

That's blaming the victims, not the criminals.

I don't know if you get Vanity Fair where you are, but for the last 4 or 5 years, maybe longer, they have published article after article after article about the financial industry. These articles are riveting reads, and this month's issue, with Johnny Depp on the cover, is especially so.
I do think its more complicated than saying banks bad debtors good.

I deal with debt issues, including bankruptcy in real life. Perhaps that has made may overly financially conservative because I see how quickly things can go wrong, so that I have always treid to ensure that that doesn't happen to me.

It always astounds me for example who often ou see highly indebted people who, when they provide a breakdown of their expenditure have expensive mobile phone contracts and, above all full SKY satellite packages: these people seem unable to realise that they are borrowing at the highest interest rate on their credit cards just to keep Murdoch in business.

These people aren't illiterates. calculators are cheap and they have had at least ten years education generally provided by the state. It is a simple matter of arithmetic.

We seem to have lost the ability to delay gratification.
User avatar
vison
Best friends forever
Posts: 11961
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:33 pm
Location: Over there.

Post by vison »

Aravar wrote:We seem to have lost the ability to delay gratification.
BINGO!!!

I read a very interesting article yesterday and for the life of me I can't recall where it was, as in which newspaper? At any rate, the premise was that we are in the thrall
of our "lizard brains". That part of us wants MORE: sex, food, pleasure of any kind, whatever's going around. Because once upon a time those things were hard to get and by god, when they are available our lizard brains tell us to get stuff while the getting's good.

It wasn't QUITE that simple, but close enough.

And we live in a culture where we are bombarded 24/7 with ads telling us we NEED this stuff. It's no wonder we are hip deep in it and getting deeper. :(
Dig deeper.
User avatar
JewelSong
Just Keep Singin'
Posts: 4660
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:35 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Post by JewelSong »

Aravar wrote:We seem to have lost the ability to delay gratification.
vison wrote: ... the premise was that we are in the thrall
of our "lizard brains". That part of us wants MORE: sex, food, pleasure of any kind, whatever's going around. Because once upon a time those things were hard to get and by god, when they are available our lizard brains tell us to get stuff while the getting's good....And we live in a culture where we are bombarded 24/7 with ads telling us we NEED this stuff. It's no wonder we are hip deep in it and getting deeper. :(
I totally agree. But you know, we don't HAVE to do what the ads tell us to do.

Last year, when I was living on a bare-bones budget, I found out what I really needed and what I really WANTED and I learned how to budget so that I could have at least a FEW of the things I wanted. I saved money by - wait for it - ONLY BUYING THINGS THAT I COULD AFFORD. And also - I just stopped buying "stuff" for the sake of buying it.. I realized how much "shopping" had become a recreational activity, rather than something I did when I needed something.

I don't have cable TV (which right now, means I don't have ANY TV.) I have a TracFone - no plan, paid by the minute. I almost never buy breakfast or lunch "on the go" and I make my own coffee at home. I eat out very seldom. I don't buy clothes or shoes on a whim.

What I WANT is to be able to travel. So I sock money away - a few bucks at a time - and I find bargains and low rates for airfare and hotels. I keep track of what I spend and what I save and try to cut corners when I can - because every time I save $5 or $10 bucks that's more money towards a future trip. I don't have all the latest devices, but I have plenty. More than enough. I don't "need" anything, really. And more importantly, I don't yearn to HAVE anything else. If I suddenly had more money, I wouldn't buy more gadgets and stuff. I'd take more trips. ;)
"Live! Live! Live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame

Image
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

We've been living fairly close to the bone for years in order to help our kids with college. Mr. Prim losing his job was a blow, but it would have been a lot worse if we hadn't already spent years being pretty careful. We're being more careful still and looking forward to our middle son finishing at his private college next spring, then being able to start work right away.

But, yes, shopping as recreation is one of the easiest places to cut back. Learning to cook well has been another big money-saver for us. Our splurge is buying special ingredients, but we both know how to turn ordinary ingredients into a good meal. Our newest car is ten years old. I'm glad we had good years ten years ago and could add on to our house as we needed to, buy that car new so it's still running well, etc., but most of this doesn't feel like any kind of deprivation. It's just life, and a good one by any standard.

If we had more money we'd help our boys with their student loans. I'm hoping we can. Our daughter, at a state university, won't have any.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Túrin Turambar
Posts: 6021
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Post by Túrin Turambar »

Since I left home I can see how easy it is to get stuck on the hamster wheel. I have always lived pretty frugally – I’ve never dated or had a regular social life, I buy clothes from thrift stores, I have a second-hand car that I bought for cash and so own outright. In the past I’ve allowed myself interests outside of work like dancing or learning foreign languages but I’ve cut them out now as well, at least until the cashflow situation improves. But I find that, while I can live on little money, living in a new city and starting a new white-collar job where my thrifted clothes often don’t cut it has put me in a situation where there’re a whole lot of immediate expenses that I need to pay for. Car registration, business shirts that fit, and soon (because I arrived uninvited on my brother’s doorstep and have been here six months) a rental bond, fridge, TV, microwave and second-hand furniture. I have never carried credit-card debt before, but I do now, and I can’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.
User avatar
eborr
Posts: 1030
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:36 am

Post by eborr »

I am reading this the day after figures came out that the average increase in UK company directors pay was 47% last year.

Is it any wonder that people are protesting, when the head of an advertising compnay then comes on the radio and talks about his modest basic salary which is worth several hundreds of thousands, (total package 2.4 million) these people are completley out of touch.

And these so and so's come up with the excuse, that is the market value you have to pay for top talent.

After working in the commercial world for many years, I would have to admit, even after meeting with a large number of senior executives very few of them have struck me as being nothing beyond the average, and if you opened the doors of most offices or workshops, you would find people with just as much ability.

This has been particulalry apparent when comparing the perfomance of UK organsiations with their peers in Europe and the States. As a general rule non-UK companies seem to be much better run and managed, and nowhere is this more self-evident than in the abject failure of UK companies to comptete in the current difficult market conditions.

And what is the answer of the Govt and the business sector to this - Our business is over regulated and the work-force have too many rights. Funny how the far more regulated companies in France, Germany and Scandinavia do so well

The answer is very simple anyone on over 100,000 ukp pays 99% tax rate. And if they don't like it,then they can take their talent and go elsewhere, there are plenty of able replacements around
User avatar
SirDennis
Posts: 842
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:31 am
Location: Canada

Post by SirDennis »

The answer is very simple anyone on over 100,000 ukp pays 99% tax rate. And if they don't like it,then they can take their talent and go elsewhere, there are plenty of able replacements around
I see you are exagerating here to make a point, aren't you? For the past few decades the mantra has been people at the bottom should work for less because there are plenty of people to take their place. This has lead us to the situation as we see it now. It's time to try trickle up economics again.

I heard many vets returning from Iraq/Afghanistan are joining the Occupy movement. Wasn't it vets returned from WWII wanting a better world, the one they were told they were fighting for, that lead to a least a few decades of positive social change?
Post Reply