Occupy Wall Street. Police vs people in NY.

Bear wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Yeah. It's interesting to actually see what a local general assembly looks like. For all intents and purposes they're basically paralyzed from making significant decisions by the very methods that get people in the movement so energized. They eschew strong leadership and "traditional" democratic methods because they see those as corruptible.

It's all at once inspiring and depressing. Inspiring that they want to do things differently. Depressing because you quickly realize that you're not going to have a dialogue with longshoremen or other unions about general strikes with mike checks.

That's where I was going earlier in this thread when I talked about them needing to engage at the local level and focus on winning some elections.

You're not going to overturn the system fighting it from the outside. You need to infect it like a virus and kill it from the inside.

How do you fight an entrenched two party system without more money than at least one of those parties? Until we change campaign finance and install alternatives to First Past the Post voting, third parties with no money will not be able to noticeably affect the system. Unfortunately, you need a third party to affect the system to change campaign finance and modify the voting mechanism. Catch-22.

Mixolyde wrote:
Bear wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Yeah. It's interesting to actually see what a local general assembly looks like. For all intents and purposes they're basically paralyzed from making significant decisions by the very methods that get people in the movement so energized. They eschew strong leadership and "traditional" democratic methods because they see those as corruptible.

It's all at once inspiring and depressing. Inspiring that they want to do things differently. Depressing because you quickly realize that you're not going to have a dialogue with longshoremen or other unions about general strikes with mike checks.

That's where I was going earlier in this thread when I talked about them needing to engage at the local level and focus on winning some elections.

You're not going to overturn the system fighting it from the outside. You need to infect it like a virus and kill it from the inside.

How do you fight an entrenched two party system without more money than at least one of those parties? Until we change campaign finance and install alternatives to First Past the Post voting, third parties with no money will not be able to noticeably affect the system. Unfortunately, you need a third party to affect the system to change campaign finance and modify the voting mechanism. Catch-22.

The current Tea Party (and much of the modern GOP now) has its philosophical beginnings in the John Birch Society. They infected the GOP from within starting in the 1950's and demonstrate exactly how you play the long game. And it all begins with retail politics.

They figured out that using churches as political grassroots organizations gave them the ability to maximize their bang for buck at the local level. They recognized that a disproportionate amount of power in republican (small "r") government resided in underpopulated bass-ackward rural bergs that missed out on the Age of Enlightenment. And they discovered that gaining a 10-15% core constituency in off-year elections when voter participation was lucky to be 25% meant they had a stranglehold on the political process.

After that, it was mostly just a question of running ideologically reliable candidates for every position on the ballot from dog catcher to county supervisor. And once they got control of local politics, state wide politicians were at the mercy of the local implementers. They could pass whatever the hell they wanted, but the local tyrant was going to screw it up for everyone.

When it became clear that statewide politicians were "not getting it done", the inattentive voters got frustrated and looked for alternatives. Since the alternatives with the strongest retail organizations were the very ones that crapped in the well, they were in perfect position to take over at the state level. After that, it was the national level. That's how we got the Congress we have today.

If you want it to stop, you need to play the long game as well and actually be an attentive and active participant in the political process.

So OWS would need to take over one of the current parties from the inside, or create and maintain a third party long enough and well enough to acquire enough money to overthrow one of the current parties.

I just don't see either of those things actually working without major campaign finance reform and alternative voting mechanisms.

DanB wrote:

It's pretty interesting how everyone sitting on the sidelines knows exactly what OWS should do next. If you want to see OWS go in whichever direction you think is best then the best way to do that would be to go an participate, find the like minded people already there and organise the thing you think should happen.

If you support the movement and you honestly think it'll flounder if it doesn't go in the direction you think would be best then it's kind of on your head to go out there and help.

I have nothing to add to this post but my admiration. Spot-on, concise, and well-written.

Mixolyde wrote:

So OWS would need to take over one of the current parties from the inside, or create and maintain a third party long enough and well enough to acquire enough money to overthrow one of the current parties.

I just don't see either of those things actually working without major campaign finance reform and alternative voting mechanisms.

I think you'd be surprised how little money it requires to make your political opinion relevant at a local level. It just requires a coordinated effort across a wide area to make that effort significant on a national level.

This is precisely what happened with the Civil Rights movement. Sure, there was the high profile stuff, but the real work was done at the retail politics level. And it still very much matters today.

Mixolyde wrote:

So OWS would need to take over one of the current parties from the inside, or create and maintain a third party long enough and well enough to acquire enough money to overthrow one of the current parties.

I just don't see either of those things actually working without major campaign finance reform and alternative voting mechanisms.

I don't believe they'd actually have to "take over" a party but getting a few people elected that actually campaigned on an OWS based platform would be an excellent start. It would lay the foundation for actual, meaningful change. Congress's approval rating is in the freaking toilet. People HATE our current system of government and they're begging for alternatives. We can bitch about it all we want but nothing is going to change from protests and shutting down ports. Neither party aligns with the OWS values so they've got to do it themselves.

I think the harsh reality is that the current system is NEVER going to change because the people currently holding office don't want it to. Until you start to peck away at the current power structure, you simply aren't going to get any type of meaningful campaign finance reform and you'll never get your agenda considered.

I despise the Tea Party for their antics this year but it's a fact that they had a HUGE impact. Albeit, not a positive one, but a band of a few Tea Party elected officials were almost able to bring down the U.S. government. I'm not saying their actions were a good thing, what I'm saying is that OWS can learn from what they did and how it worked.

IMAGE(http://craphound.com/images/onePercent.pdf-pages.jpg)

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez, "The Sunlight Foundation published a very detailed analysis of campaign contributions from the 2010 cycle with accompanying infographics and profiles of the top political donors that show just who holds the power in U.S. electoral politics. Our analysis reveals a growing dependence of candidates and political parties on this 'One Percent of the One Percent, resulting in a political system that could be disproportionately influenced by donors in a handful of wealthy enclaves. Sunlight's examination also shows that some of the heaviest hitters in the 2010 cycle were ideological givers, suggesting that the influence of the One Percent of the One Percent on federal elections may be one of the obstacles to compromise in Washington.

"How does their giving compare to the average American's wealth? In the 2010 election cycle, the average One Percent of One Percenter spent $28,913, more than the median individual income of $26,364. Additionally, Sunlight's analysis shows that lobbyists make up between 15 and 20% of The One Percent of the One Percent."

http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2...

Bear wrote:

I despise the Tea Party for their antics this year but it's a fact that they had a HUGE impact. Albeit, not a positive one, but a band of a few Tea Party elected officials were almost able to bring down the U.S. government. I'm not saying their actions were a good thing, what I'm saying is that OWS can learn from what they did and how it worked.

The one thing the Tea Party accomplished that I know of besides removing fluoride from the water supply of some county in Florida was exactly what hard right Republicans had spent years fighting for: the idea that taxes and deficits are bad. Is that really accomplishing something, or is that getting used by the rich and powerful? Sure--as long as the Tea Party was going after the things acceptable to corporate lobbyists for attack they found success, but beyond that...how far did they actually get?

Well, they got our credit rating downgraded.

  • Oakland Cop ID'd, Investigated For Firing Projectile At Videographer [Photography is not a Crime] Glad to see some cops are facing consequences for violating human rights.
  • The Terrible, Boring Ways That Money in Politics Ruins Democracy [The Daily Show] I have no way to embed the videos so I'll just link to a page that has them.
  • The war on cameras continues – #OWS and elsewhere [dvafoto] That's actually from one of my photography blogs that I read. Did not expect to see a political post there.
  • Why does the transit police have a "Civil Disturbance Unit" bus? [Boston.com]
  • #Occupy & 350.org Stage "Human Oil Spill" at John Boehner's Office [Tree Hugger]
  • China gets in on the action.
    Thousands of residents of a Chinese village under police blockade rallied on Thursday to demand the government take action over illegal land grabs and the death in custody of a local leader.
    The people of Wukan — a fishing village in the wealthy southern province of Guangdong with about 13,000 inhabitants — accuse corrupt local officials of stealing communal land without compensating them.
    Wukan has been the scene of repeated and at times violent protests over land seizures, a hugely contentious issue in China, where authorities are accused of colluding with developers in lucrative real estate deals.
    Local anger boiled over with the death Sunday in police custody of a village leader tasked with negotiating with authorities over the row. The village, which has been abandoned by local officials, is now surrounded by police checkpoints.
  • LAPD Threatens to Arrest Youth Group for 'Occupying' Local Library [LA Weekly]
  • Clergyman Who Alleges He Was Beaten by Police Files Complaint [His Personal Blog]
  • City of London police class Occupy movement with terrorists such as Al Qaeda [Yahoo News UK]
    The Occupy movement is listed alongside threats posed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), Al Qaeda and Belarusian terrorists.

    Thank god there is no way that a non-violent citizen can have their rights violated, arrested on trumped up charges, unjustly imprisoned with no due process and whisked away to never be heard of again.

Edwin wrote:

LAPD Threatens to Arrest Youth Group for 'Occupying' Local Library [LA Weekly]

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

Yonder wrote:

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Where in my post did I say I have a problem with arresting people?

(Also, I cannot believe someone is actually defending this detestable practice.)

Yonder wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Where in my post did I say I have a problem with arresting people?

(Also, I cannot believe someone is actually defending this detestable practice.)

What practice? Charging bail? Warning people before taking action against them? Not taking action once they realized they were mistaken?

Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Where in my post did I say I have a problem with arresting people?

(Also, I cannot believe someone is actually defending this detestable practice.)

What practice? Charging bail? Warning people before taking action against them? Not taking action once they realized they were mistaken?

Charging such an exorbitant bail for such a minor charge.
Edit - also defining entering a public place with the intent to protest as a crime.

Stengah wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Yonder wrote:

It's a good thing that this country is so dedicated to civil liberties that people can't be punished until they are found guilty by a trial of their peers.

Oh I forgot, this is the United States of America, the police can just threaten them with $5000 in bail so that they are punished regardless of whether or not a Jury makes a mistake and decides these teenagers are actually innocent.

You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Where in my post did I say I have a problem with arresting people?

(Also, I cannot believe someone is actually defending this detestable practice.)

What practice? Charging bail? Warning people before taking action against them? Not taking action once they realized they were mistaken?

Charging such an exorbitant bail for such a minor charge.

Exactly. The idea of bail is a precaution to ensure that the accused does not flee or otherwise neglect to come to their trial. You increase the bail as the estimated "flight risk" of the accused increases, for example as the severity of the crime that they have (allegedly) committed increases, or if they do a lot of business out of the country or state, etc, etc.

You will note, that as long as their court dates aren't really late on a school night, there is no reason to believe that these kids were going to go on the lam, giving their parents tearful good byes and beginning their lives on the run from the law. As such any bail seems uncalled for, and $5000 is simply repulsive. And I mean that to the fullest extent of the word, this should make you sick to your stomach.

For minor misdemeanors bail is usually very small, or non-existent, with the noticeable exceptions of all of these protester bail amounts. Keep in mind how bail works. If you have the bail amount you pay it, and you get it back at your court date. Minimal damage to you, just an interest free loan for a couple of months, it's not like you had been saving up that $5000 dollars for use this holiday season or anything. But wait a second, what if you (or your parents) are one of the tiny, tiny, insignificant portion of stupid lazy communist "Americans" (in that you were technically born here, not that you actually deserve any of the freedoms the real Americans get) that don't actually have an extra $5000 dollars right now?

Well you have two choices. One you can ask your friends to bring you your homework and their class notes so that you can try to keep up with your classes from your cell, hope that this isn't a busy time for the court system (there aren't any big events going on that are getting people charged with a bunch of misdemeanors are there)? And hope that there aren't a lot of judges and what not taking time off for the Holidays this year. If everything works out perfectly there is a slim chance you could have Christmas at home! Ok... Maybe New Years, that's possible right?

Or you could take that second option, and pay a bail bondsman $500, then he takes care of that $5000 for you. You don't get that back though. That's your freedom tax. You want to protest, that means you pay a $500 fine, before you get to any court or jury, the government doesn't want the technicality that they may be innocent or exercising their first amendment rights get these evil protesters a "Get out of Jail free card". Honestly they don't want them to have a "Get out of Jail" card at all. But they've decided they can live with a "Get out of jail for $500" card.

God Bless America.

Malor wrote:

Well, they got our credit rating downgraded.

Yeah, that was fantastic when they unlocked the "Irony" achievement on their Government360

You only pay 10% of your bail, so a 5000$ bail is already 500$ (correct me if I am wrong).

What bothers me in these discussions is that if someone doesn't all out agree that the government is an oppressive dictatorship, you get jumped on called an apparatchik. There is a middle ground here.

There almost always is.

SallyNasty wrote:

You only pay 10% of your bail, so a 5000$ bail is already 500$ (correct me if I am wrong).

What bothers me in these discussions is that if someone doesn't all out agree that the government is an oppressive dictatorship, you get jumped on called an apparatchik. There is a middle ground here.

There almost always is.

Yeah good luck with that.

The police don't set the bail. We don't even know that $5000 is an accurate quote. The kids were trespassing. They were refusing to disperse.

I don't know what the normal bail amounts are for those charges. There is no evidence that those amounts are related to OWS holding protests.

So the the entire hubub here is some kid tweeted that an officer warned they would face $5000 in bail if arrested. Then, it turns out the kids were not arrested, but that doesn't play well. So we get the drama of what might have happened.

SallyNasty wrote:

You only pay 10% of your bail, so a 5000$ bail is already 500$ (correct me if I am wrong).

You either pay all of your bail, and get all of it back, or you pay 10% of your bail and get none of it back.

Jayhawker wrote:

Then, it turns out the kids were not arrested, but that doesn't play well. So we get the drama of what might have happened.

The kids weren't arrested because they weren't protesters, they were cleaning up garbage. If they had been citizens exercising their right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly they would have been arrested.

Yonder wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

You only pay 10% of your bail, so a 5000$ bail is already 500$ (correct me if I am wrong).

You either pay all of your bail, and get all of it back, or you pay 10% of your bail and get none of it back.

Jayhawker wrote:

Then, it turns out the kids were not arrested, but that doesn't play well. So we get the drama of what might have happened.

The kids weren't arrested because they weren't protesters, they were cleaning up garbage. If they had been citizens exercising their right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly they would have been arrested.

He is right that cops don't set bail though. Still, that doesn't make threatening kids who probably don't know that fact excusable in the slightest.

Stengah wrote:

He is right that cops don't set bail though. Still, that doesn't make threatening kids who probably don't know that fact excusable in the slightest.

What about warn?

Jayhawker wrote:
Stengah wrote:

He is right that cops don't set bail though. Still, that doesn't make threatening kids who probably don't know that fact excusable in the slightest.

What about warn?

Telling people trying to gain access to private property that they'd be arrested if they continue would be a warning. Telling people trying to gain access to public property that they'll be arrested and face an incredibly high bail if they don't leave is a threat.

I'm more surprised the last story didn't get the attention than the kids one.

Edwin wrote:

I'm more surprised the last story didn't get the attention than the kids one.

It's not the first time I've heard something like that. It's also extremely scary.

gregrampage wrote:
Edwin wrote:

I'm more surprised the last story didn't get the attention than the kids one.

It's not the first time I've heard something like that. It's also extremely scary.

I agree that is probably the most important snippets, I just didn't comment on that one because the OWS protesters have already been called terrorists by other entities.

  • In group decision-making, ignorance promotes democracy [Ars Technica] Seems relevant considering what I've seen from the Seattle and Miami General Assemblies.
  • Bob Plain: 'Nowhere in America Needs to be Occupied More than the Motor City' [Bob Plain]
  • U.S.-Funded Internet Liberation Project Finds Perfect Test Site: Occupy D.C. [Wired Threat Level] Makes me wonder if/how much the rest of the federal agencies are holding back the State Department in the selective enforcement of human rights.
  • Occupying The Commonwealth Club [San Francisco Appeal] An excellent read from a great independent journalist.
  • Ask members of Occupy Seattle anything. [Reddit]
  • Seattle PD compares violence at Occupy Port to WTO. [King 5 News, and KOMO news]
  • Speaking of SPD, Justice Dept. Will Announce Friday Whether SPD Committed Civil Rights Violations [The Stranger] I think it's safe to say from all the incidents, that yes they did.
  • Public: Yes to Occupy “concerns,” no to its tactics [Seattle PI] This is pretty much what some people here are saying.
You're right. Police should not be allowed to arrest anyone until they have been found guilty in a court of law.

Police should not be able to punish without judicial oversight, and setting ridiculously high bail figures like that for such minor infractions is punishment, pure and simple.

It's legal, but it is wrong, full stop.

And even if they were just threatening, it's not their place to threaten punishments. That's not their job.

Malor wrote:

Police should not be able to punish without judicial oversight, and setting ridiculously high bail figures like that for such minor infractions is punishment, pure and simple.

It's legal, but it is wrong, full stop.

And even if they were just threatening, it's not their place to threaten punishments. That's not their job.

Since when do the police set the amount of "bail"? I thought that was always done by the court system.

Does this vary by state?