63 Comment

  • ‘Bout time! Get those dirty hippies out of my parks!

    • So many haters on this thread! I may not agree with all of the Occupy Wall Street protesters but the reality is that they are shining a big light on the extreme inequities in our society. Poverty among children and homelessness is increasing in this city. Why aren’t people expressing outrage about this?

      Instead people want to whine and complain about grass in the park or how a protester looks? Are you serious?

      Add to the debate. DO you find it acceptable that billionaires buy off our politicians and write the legislation that comes out of Congress. Don’t sit on the sidelines and condemn.

      • I agree. While OWS is far, far from perfect, income inequality has now become an issue in the Republican primary and will be an issue in the 2012 election. Without OWS, I think it’s less likely that the tax rates of Warren Buffett and his secretary would be the topic of so much debate.

      • The billionaires are our politicians (or at least a lot of them). No offense to any lawyers on this blog but I think we need to elect non-lawyers and non-million-billionaires. And if Washingtonians wish to really and truly make positive changes regarding inequality we should be protesting for DC statehood. This city is a joke and it doesn’t surprise me at all that there is so much anti-occupy. I’ll take NYC or the west coast any day over DC’s hateful elitist bs.

        • I agree with you that it’s disheartening that there isn’t rage about DC’s lack of voting rights, but you ruin an otherwise good argument with an infantile jab at the end. No one’s making you live here.

          • that’s only my personal opinion due to unfortunate experiences i have had here in dc. it was not meant for you, or anyone else, to take personally. and there is someone making me “live” here, he’s called a “husband.”

        • Umm, New York is part of the problem, not the solution. Where do idealistic young people flock to to take shitty low-paying jobs in government and nonprofits for the chance to make a real difference? DC. You go to NY (and the West Coast for that matter) to either get rich, or get famous. Or both. There are a lot of things wrong with this town, but at its best, DC is about public service before privte gain. This, I will defend to the death.

      • “Don’t sit on the sidelines & condemn” – So sitting in a park is better? This fool’s paradise isn’t aging a light in anything except OWS’s own self-satisfaction.

    • Exactly! Who cares about the 99% anyway. I got my cushy half million dollar condo now, and we finally chased off the last of the poor families who lived on my block, so screw everyone else!

  • Bye! Don’t forget to pay for replacing the McPherson Square grass on the way out!

  • Any movement that measures wins and losses by whether or not they are allowed to camp in a public park has stopped being relevant to the cause they purport to defend.

    • They changed the political conversation in the US. Whether or not that will lead to any substantive change remains to be seen, but pretending they had no effect is pretty myopic.

      • I think you vastly overestimate their effect. The conversation about inequality has been around for a long time. The Occupy protesters seem to be more interested in garnering attention for themselves rather than fostering a real dialogue about the issues. Getting a permit to camp in a park (Lenin surely would be impressed) is a silly protest. If they want changes, they need to get out there and work for them.

        • Agreed. You wanna effect real change? Go support Liz Warren’s Senate campaign in Massachusetts. Don’t sit around in a public park and pretend you’re sticking it to the man just because you were able to defend your right to porta-potties.

        • The conversation about inequality got a whole lot louder last fall:

          A search of the Lexis/Nexis’s database reveals that in October 2010, U.S. newspapers published 409 stories with the word “inequality.” Each month through September 2011 the number of stories about “inequality” varied little. But in October 2011, the frequency skyrocketed to 1,269 stories. Likewise with the word “greed.” Between October 2010 and September 2011, the number of “greed” stories fluctuated between 452 and 728. But in October, only weeks after the Occupiers gained a foothold in New York and other cities, newspapers ran 2285 stories with the word “greed.”

          • And what did they do once they had the eyes of the world fixed on them? Raise money to get candidates elected to public office? Organize nationwide strikes for better wages? Lobby Congress to enact equitable tax reform? No, none of the above. My point is that OWS is a squandered opportunity.

          • Interesting statistics. However, equating news stories to changing the conversations among the American people is a flawed analysis. The media run stories all the time about issues that are important to certain segments of the population and unimportant to the masses. There are large swathes of America that, right or wrong, don’t care about the issues important to New Yorkers or Washingtonians. The best proof for a sea change in the dialogue would be some changes in society. But that takes more effort than putting a tarp over a statue.

          • C’mon guys, change isn’t instantaneous. Let’s take the example of the last grass roots movement in national politics, the Tea Party. Remember them? They started off as a muddled mess of voices, just like OWS. Over time, they became more organized and cohesive as a group, culminating in an election that proved their legitimacy as a factor in swaying voters.

            If you want OWS or any grassroots movement to grow beyond the point of inarticulate idealogical outcry, you’re going to have to wait. You can’t judge a pie that’s only been in the over for 5 minutes.

          • Also, theheights, you took a jcm’s example that isn’t subjective (mentions in a newspaper), and are attempting to trump that with your own *completely subjective* opinion about what’s happening in terms of dialog in the US.

            I ask you, are we not now having a dialog, directly as the result of OWS occupying a park? Can you see how this could be repeated at the proverbial water coolers and households across America?

          • tresluxe – you’re kinda proving the point. we’re not even talking about the substanive issues OWS tried to push or change. we’re talking about their completely ineffective approach. dare i say it, even the tea party was more organized when they first reared their head…

          • Tresluxe:

            My point was that newspaper mentions do not necessarily equate to “changing the conversation.” I don’t have to prove his point for him. He has to show that the “conversation” (whatever that means) was changed. OWS checklist:

            1. Make sure Mom & Dad put money in my account for the month.
            2. Go to Urban Outfitters to buy Che Guevara t-shirt.
            3. Go to REI to get a sweet tent I can use for Bonaroo.
            4. Profit

            I don’t think the real Che Guevara would wear a t-shirt with a picture of himself on it. Oh wait, he would if it was OWS!

          • adam, OWS took “1%” from a vague apparition in the cultural ether to zeitgiest.

            If nothing else comes of OWS, you can’t argue that the idea of the “1%” — vast disparity in the wealth of a few — wasn’t made more popular by the movement. Look to jcm’s statistics above, that back that up. Also, discussing the legitimacy of a movement, is by proxy a discussion of the issues central to that movement.

            theheights, you don’t care about what the newspapers say. You do care about what you say. Isn’t a newspaper a place where cultural debate is held (think editorials)? If you don’t think newspaper content is relevant to our culture, I’m not sure I can help you here.

          • tresluxe – “Also, discussing the legitimacy of a movement, is by proxy a discussion of the issues central to that movement.” hardly. nothing actually gets done in a place where “proxy” is equated with substance. please, educate me on the top three policies OWS were against (and don’t say “inequality”…cop out) and the specific proposals they offered as a better way.

          • Tresluxe:

            You obviously have very low expectations if a weak and thinly-supported claim of “changing the conversation is a big win for America. That seems to be the paradox that is OWS: Claim a grandiose vision and claim success when nothing concrete changes. Thank God the Civil Rights Movement had more guts.

          • theheights: I’m not sure what kind of evidence would convince you. Google Trends for “income inequality”? Way up. Mentions on cable news? Way up. Major speeches by the president? Well, 1 is more than 0.

            As far as your comment on the Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began in 1955. The federal Civil Rights Laws were passed in 1964-1968. Change takes time. Whether the Occupy movement will actually be able to effect real change remains to be seen, but saying Occupy is unsuccessful in comparison to the Civil Rights Movement just displays your ignorance of the slow, painful progress of the Movement.

          • Jcm,

            I’m very aware of the history if the Civil Rights Movement, thank you. Change certainly is incremental, but sleeping in tents in a park is NOTHING like the lunch counter sit-ins, bus boycotts, or marches. Instead, you choose to laud a self-congratulatory camping trip. McPherson Square is not the Edmund Pettus Bridge. You can choose to believe that this little escapade has sown the seeds for change, but the contempt that even Progressives have for OWS should give you pause. Disjointed complaining is one thing. Creating change is another. Camping in a park with government permission is a sorry excuse for rattling the system.

          • adam. I’ve said that OWS is like a pie still in the oven — like the early Tea Party, it’s still consolidating its message. What’s clear is their *very straightforward* stance on income disparity, and its further implications for policy debate. I’ll ask you a series of questions:

            Is OWS in favor of progressive or regressive changes to the tax code?

            Is OWS in favor of bailouts to banks?

            Who does OWS think should shoulder the burden of a collapsing real estate market?

            Does OWS think Citizens United was a valid decision?

            Etc, etc. I could go on and on, but there are numerous examples of OWS actions in protesting directly about these issues — and others. Yes, their messaging is messy right now. But let’s wait to see how they develop, before we say they’re worthless. I remember a lot of liberals thought the Tea Party had no traction and was worthless, but look at the effect (good or bad) their proponents have had on this country.

            theheights — you don’t believe what newspapers report on is an indicator of what people think is important. That’s where you lost this argument. Newspapers stay in business by reporting on what people want to read. BTW, no one is comparing OWS to the Civil Rights movement. :/

            Good game!

          • tresluxe – i like the pie metaphor. though i’d probably back up a little and say they are like the ingredients for a pie spread out on the counter. they need to figure out how to put everything together (and totally rebrand the movement) but the pie could totally taste like shit in the end. there’s so much stink surrounding the occupy folks (totally meant that pun) that i’m not sure they’ll be able to successfully move to a more effective phase of protest and reform. they need to hire someone on k st ;-)

          • that was my comment above…

          • That could be true anon, but we have to keep in mind that OWS actually polls well, relative to some notable “non-stinky” players on the national stage.

            Really, I think we have to look at them as a symptom. For every person squatting in a park, there are tens of thousands of voters sitting home who care passionately about the same issues. OWS is the part of the glacier we can see. ;)

            “I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build, I’ll be there, too.”

            adam, the idea was you answer the questions and realized you knew the answers all along!

          • Tresluxe,

            Your claim that the media only report on things that Americans think is important shows that you need to get outside the Beltway a bit more. The media on the East Coast reports on things that the rest of the country could not care less about (like OWS). My contention is that changes, even slight changes, are a better indication of a “change in the conversation” than media attention. The fact that you think that media attention with no resulting change of any kind shows why the establishment had no problem dealing with the OWS drum-circle camp out. In fact, OWS’s complete lack of message clarity, unseriousness, and silly appearance made it eadier for the Right to try to discredit progressives. OWS harmed, not helped, the cause of social justice. If buffoonery is a “win” in your “game”, I feel sorry for you.

          • Instead of “The fact that you think that media attention with no resulting change of any kind shows why the establishment had no problem dealing with the OWS drum-circle camp out.” I meant “The fact that you think that media attention with no resulting change of any kind is a victory of some kind shows why the establishment had no problem dealing with the OWS drum-circle camp out.

          • Whatevs. In “real America”, no one cares about income inequality.

            Listen, it’s your burden to *show* how newspaper mentions are irrelevant. You can say, “the debate hasn’t changed” all you want, but that’s only you — one voice. The newspaper is a representation of hundreds of thousands of voices and millions of ears. They overwhelm your refrain, like a raging flood overwhelms a puddle on the ground. I think we can look to the aggregate non-Washington media sources as a greater representative of voters’ attitudes than you.

            Most change comes at election time — you’re going to have to wait til then for proof *either way* of OWS’s effectiveness. I will mention that Obama today is seeking to cap contractor pay — a move that would disproportionately affect very high income earners. It’s one small thing that *just happened* to make news today.

            Are the poll numbers of OWS relative to Congress’ and the parties helping to embolden Obama? Any approval of OWS is a naked embrace of liberal values — Obama’s approval rating, on the other hand, is tied to ideology, persona, recent global events, etc. His rating isn’t as clear an indicator of ideological leaning…

          • “In ‘real America,’ no one cares about income inequality.” So the generally wealthy East and West Coasters care more about income inequality than farmers in Indiana or Illinois? Really? You can’t make sweeping and unsupported generalizations (which, by the way, undermine your fundamental premise) and then tell me to come up with proof. Like anyone on here, all I have is anecdotal evidence. And it does not support your position. In a few days, OWS in DC will be no more, because in true poser-revolutionary fashion, they will disperse when asked to by the government. Ethereal claims will be all that’s left and the fight for social justice will go on through the more serious people who have been working for it all along, but with less publicity-whoring.

      • How did they “change the conversation”? What was “the conversation” before and “the conversation” afterward. No effect? They have as much effect that we all do. No more no less. Give me some tangible proof that they’ve changed anything beyond what we all normally do on our day to day.

      • at best, they’ll be a footnote in a future ron paul newsletter. nothing came of this.

  • can’t they go occupy Virginia or something? ridiculous that they let them hang around for so long.

  • It will be months before the smell of directionless self obsessiveness goes away.

    Or it could just be the whole “I grew up in the one percent of McLean VA but decided to go shack up with a colony of rats and not bathe for 3 months” smell. It is hard to tell.

  • Possibly the weakest protest I’ve ever seen. America just doesn’t make revolutionaries like they used to. When the media compares those people in any way to the protesters in Syria or Egypt, it does the latter brave groups a great disservice.

  • Right on, you guys. Gingrich 2012!!!

  • Kalorini

    Don’t let the tent door hit you on the way out!

    I’m the 100% who agrees with dcdude’s sentiments above.

  • Rich assholes complaining about richer assholes.

    The end.

  • I was in the McDonald’s at 13th and New York Avenue on Saturday and sat near of four OWS members discussing their plans. They appeared to be in their twenties. The big topic of discussion was how wasted they had gotten on Friday evening, and where they going if McPherson Square was evacuated. Apparently one of them had access to a friend’s apartment and was taking reservations for floor space. One woman, who kept talking about how much she liked to drink, had this huge bruise/wound thing over her eye that looked like it was infected. I thought about what a sorry lot they were, and how at the same moment kids the same age are being asked to risk their lives in some God-forsaken place while these half-wits sit in McDonald’s.

    • +1. Good comparison/juxtaposition.

    • To be fair, 100% of the kids risking their lives in a god forsaken place volunteered to do that. It’s not really a comparison of “occupiers GET to be here while soldiers HAVE to be there.” Much like I will never wake up and somehow find myself in a tent in McPherson Square, unable to leave, those soldiers did not get press ganged over to Afghanistan. If they didn’t want to go to Afghanistan they shouldn’t have joined the Army.

  • How many people commenting on this thread are typing on their smart phones from a tent in McPherson Square right now? ;)

    • In other news… I went to Starbucks the other day and was in line behind an Occupy protestor. I was all suited up in my mid-level bureaucrat outfit when I saw him hand the cashier his used Starbucks cup. She had already filled up a new cup with his coffee and pushed it across the counter to him. When he asked if she could fill up his used cup instead she said, ‘No, I already filled this one up’. So he asked her if they had recycling, she mumbled, ‘No, we don’t do that here’. Long story short, I interjected and told him I could take the cup to recycle it in my office. He went on to say he’s from CO and he’s not used to not seeing recycling bins, etc. He held out his hand for a handshake and I shook his hand and we parted ways. It was a very weird moment that should have been a photo. Starbucks, protestor, me all dresed up for the office taking his dirty cup to go…

      • sorry dude, you now have lice.

      • I think a big part of my optimism and hope re: OWS crashed and burned when I heard this on the radio the other day:

        NPR reporter: (asks a questoin to a protestor, referring to that person as a ‘protestor’)
        ‘Protestor’: First off, I want to get one thing straight, I’m an Information Sharer not a Protestor…

  • brookland_rez

    Good riddance. Should have happened months ago.

  • Campify Do NothingStreet… Its like people came from the woods in the Ozarks to hang out and camp in the city for as long as they could. They had no message, they just hung out. Bums!

  • The best thing to come out of the Occupy movement: http://teamcoco.com/video/triumph-occupy-wall-st

  • It took the Tea Party one election cycle to effect change. As unjust as income inequality is, you can’t just get pissed off at corporations or the wealthy for looking out for themselves.

    Protest against government policies that allowed for such inequality to take hold. Support elected officials who support your cause, and if you don’t see any in power, work to get them elected.

    Even if there are thousands of people at home pissed off at the 1%, how is seeing a bunch of dirty hippies camped out with no cohesive message going to motivate them to get out and vote? And if they don’t get out and vote, what difference does it make?

    As much as I despise what the Tea Party stands for, they didn’t just “change the conversation.” They took the collective power of their supporters and used it to stand up to the political establishment and get their people elected. OWS has done nothing to show that they are a political force to be reckoned with (neither financially nor in terms of sheer numbers), so decision-makers have no reason to pay them any attention.

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