Occupy Wall Street. Police vs people in NY.

DSGamer wrote:

As in post 9/11 America has been a country where any kind of dissent was considered unpatriotic and harmful to the country.

We had huge protests against the war in 2003 and 2004, despite rhetoric against war protesters. If we had a war tomorrow and people were protesting it, you'd still see pro-war people telling the protestors they were being unpatriotic. I saw Hilary Clinton say something like that during the Libya operation. That's kind of a separate style of protest/response that springs up during wartime.

OWS protested against a hugely unpopular target- the banks. There's no political danger in that. They generated a huge amount of publicity, and yet here we are in late 2012 with half the country or more still ready to vote for a guy who made $250 million in the financial industry.

Plus, the labor movement and protesting existed long before OWS showed up. I see OWS people on Chris Matthews show all the time, and I generally agree with their critiques of the financial system. But it seems like they talk and hold meetings and symposiums while the government and financial system ignores them.

DSGamer wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
pgroce wrote:

Occupy legitimized dissent. In my mind, at least, that's a pretty big accomplishment.

But organized dissent has always been legitimate. Striking workers isn't a new phenomena, nor is people protesting policies they don't like. You can't look over at the gay rights movement over the past 20-30 years and tell them that they didn't know how to organize and protest until Occupy Wall Street organizers showed them the way. They've had a very real set of accomplishments to point at during that time.

I don't want to speak for pgroce, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But I took what he said to mean that it "re-legitimized" dissent. As in post 9/11 America has been a country where any kind of dissent was considered unpatriotic and harmful to the country.

This is a good point, and I agree specifically here.

To elaborate on my comment, the issue I see is that while yes, Occupy did give a stronger dissenting voice, the resultant ratcheting up of police and authorities running roughshod over our basic rights and turning into a new, more authoritarian "normal" makes the end result a net negative in my eyes.

Farscry wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
pgroce wrote:

Occupy legitimized dissent. In my mind, at least, that's a pretty big accomplishment.

But organized dissent has always been legitimate. Striking workers isn't a new phenomena, nor is people protesting policies they don't like. You can't look over at the gay rights movement over the past 20-30 years and tell them that they didn't know how to organize and protest until Occupy Wall Street organizers showed them the way. They've had a very real set of accomplishments to point at during that time.

I don't want to speak for pgroce, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But I took what he said to mean that it "re-legitimized" dissent. As in post 9/11 America has been a country where any kind of dissent was considered unpatriotic and harmful to the country.

This is a good point, and I agree specifically here.

To elaborate on my comment, the issue I see is that while yes, Occupy did give a stronger dissenting voice, the resultant ratcheting up of police and authorities running roughshod over our basic rights and turning into a new, more authoritarian "normal" makes the end result a net negative in my eyes.

While I largely agree with DS, I think that the negative that Farscry talks about is not something to be underestimated. There is a large section of the country that saw that as a perfectly valid example of how to handle peaceful dissent. 10%, 20%, 30% of the country? I don't know. I know that my parents at the very least thought that Pike was completely and totally justified in spraying all of those protesters down (my dad is a cop, does that make it more understandable or worse)?

Of course 10, 20, 30% of the nation may have thought that sicking attack dogs on black protesters was perfectly fine and we still got civil rights.

Yonder wrote:

Of course 10, 20, 30% of the nation may have thought that sicking attack dogs on black protesters was perfectly fine and we still got civil rights.

Yup, that's one of my biggest concerns; we don't know how much of the population condoned the violation of protestors' rights. I'm also concerned about how these actions may play out legally.

Yeah, DSGamer pretty much nailed it. Although I'd place the delegitimization a good bit further back; the beginning of the end was probably when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. Not that labor and protest movements are the same thing, but outside of the Sixties, the labor movement has historically been the most visible form of organized public protest. (Though Occupy clearly takes many of its cues from the Sixties, too.)

Farscry wrote:
Yonder wrote:

Of course 10, 20, 30% of the nation may have thought that sicking attack dogs on black protesters was perfectly fine and we still got civil rights.

Yup, that's one of my biggest concerns; we don't know how much of the population condoned the violation of protestors' rights. I'm also concerned about how these actions may play out legally.

This raises a question in my mind: historically, what has been the distribution of public opinion on protest? I wouldn't be surprised if America has historically been very polarized in its attitudes toward labor strikes, with some people ardently in favor of it (because they see themselves in the protestors) and some against (either because they identify with the Establishment or because they have racial/ethnic/whatever animus toward the protesters.)

My general sense of things is that the postwar twentieth century was a deviation, not a new normal. It would be interesting if the current attitudes, which seem so foreign to me, are really a reversion to the mean.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...

Such a wondrous group that is so worth praising.

I'm still dumbfounded by the support this movement has received after all the derision that the Tea Party received.

Ulairi wrote:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...

Such a wondrous group that is so worth praising.

I'm still dumbfounded by the support this movement has received after all the derision that the Tea Party received.

I would imagine because the Occupy movement was largely a protest that seemed worthwhile, if poorly executed, whereas the Tea Party often came across as sore losers who were just rabblerabbling because the Republican Party lost the election and suddenly the nation was going to Hell.

Not everything the Occupy movement has done is sacrosanct, but I really grow weary of the eyerolling derision that usually comes with the "look at example X, the whole thing was just useless and terrible, obv."

The Occupy movement does not compare with the Tea Party mostly because the Tea Party had a specific goal of electing people who were... like... gonna make America good again. And those people, with their anointed representatives, proved to be stark lunatics in the worst cases, and just really excellent examples of social and political ignorance at best. What the Occupy movement was against - privatized gain at socialized risk, broadly - was something that most of America could get behind until everyone decided it was a Democratic movement and drew their battle lines accordingly.

My wife's law firm just moved into the Bank of America building downtown. She got to deal with one lasting effect of OWS.

She has to show her ID on her way in and out of the building everyday. And they are not allowed to use the street entrance, but rather the walkway from the garage. This all to keep the protesters from entering and causing problems.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...

Such a wondrous group that is so worth praising.

I'm still dumbfounded by the support this movement has received after all the derision that the Tea Party received.

I would imagine because the Occupy movement was largely a protest that seemed worthwhile, if poorly executed, whereas the Tea Party often came across as sore losers who were just rabblerabbling because the Republican Party lost the election and suddenly the nation was going to Hell.

Not everything the Occupy movement has done is sacrosanct, but I really grow weary of the eyerolling derision that usually comes with the "look at example X, the whole thing was just useless and terrible, obv."

The Occupy movement does not compare with the Tea Party mostly because the Tea Party had a specific goal of electing people who were... like... gonna make America good again. And those people, with their anointed representatives, proved to be stark lunatics in the worst cases, and just really excellent examples of social and political ignorance at best. What the Occupy movement was against - privatized gain at socialized risk, broadly - was something that most of America could get behind until everyone decided it was a Democratic movement and drew their battle lines accordingly.

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

OWS accomplished nothing of value. After the election, it will be a joke in the halls of history. They couldn't elect a single individual from their cause. It was a movement worthy of more derision than the Tea Party because the OWS has far more examples of the people just being jerk offs.

These are not isolated examples. There are many more. With the tea party, there were nutty and crazy folks but they didn't rape anybody, harass people who work for a Church who are trying to clean the streets, break into buildings and harass employees.

Ulairi wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...

Such a wondrous group that is so worth praising.

I'm still dumbfounded by the support this movement has received after all the derision that the Tea Party received.

I would imagine because the Occupy movement was largely a protest that seemed worthwhile, if poorly executed, whereas the Tea Party often came across as sore losers who were just rabblerabbling because the Republican Party lost the election and suddenly the nation was going to Hell.

Not everything the Occupy movement has done is sacrosanct, but I really grow weary of the eyerolling derision that usually comes with the "look at example X, the whole thing was just useless and terrible, obv."

The Occupy movement does not compare with the Tea Party mostly because the Tea Party had a specific goal of electing people who were... like... gonna make America good again. And those people, with their anointed representatives, proved to be stark lunatics in the worst cases, and just really excellent examples of social and political ignorance at best. What the Occupy movement was against - privatized gain at socialized risk, broadly - was something that most of America could get behind until everyone decided it was a Democratic movement and drew their battle lines accordingly.

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

OWS accomplished nothing of value. After the election, it will be a joke in the halls of history. They couldn't elect a single individual from their cause. It was a movement worthy of more derision than the Tea Party because the OWS has far more examples of the people just being jerk offs.

These are not isolated examples. There are many more. With the tea party, there were nutty and crazy folks but they didn't rape anybody, harass people who work for a Church who are trying to clean the streets, break into buildings and harass employees.

Ulairi wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/...

Such a wondrous group that is so worth praising.

I'm still dumbfounded by the support this movement has received after all the derision that the Tea Party received.

I would imagine because the Occupy movement was largely a protest that seemed worthwhile, if poorly executed, whereas the Tea Party often came across as sore losers who were just rabblerabbling because the Republican Party lost the election and suddenly the nation was going to Hell.

Not everything the Occupy movement has done is sacrosanct, but I really grow weary of the eyerolling derision that usually comes with the "look at example X, the whole thing was just useless and terrible, obv."

The Occupy movement does not compare with the Tea Party mostly because the Tea Party had a specific goal of electing people who were... like... gonna make America good again. And those people, with their anointed representatives, proved to be stark lunatics in the worst cases, and just really excellent examples of social and political ignorance at best. What the Occupy movement was against - privatized gain at socialized risk, broadly - was something that most of America could get behind until everyone decided it was a Democratic movement and drew their battle lines accordingly.

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

OWS accomplished nothing of value. After the election, it will be a joke in the halls of history. They couldn't elect a single individual from their cause. It was a movement worthy of more derision than the Tea Party because the OWS has far more examples of the people just being jerk offs.

These are not isolated examples. There are many more. With the tea party, there were nutty and crazy folks but they didn't rape anybody, harass people who work for a Church who are trying to clean the streets, break into buildings and harass employees.

I'm not even sure where to start with that. You do realize that just by the very nature of the OWS movement, that in some places people with ZERO interest in OWS hung around the campsites, right?

Ulairi wrote:

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

Well, wait. Are we treating them as an entity or as a scattering of examples? Because as an entity, they actually had several things on their list of demands that were about reforming the corrupted/broken system, not about socializing it. But then, if you want to just cherry pick statements and actions that line up with your opinion, I can also do the same. So that's a bit of a wash at best, or you're just actually wrong. Depending on how you wanna see it.

OWS accomplished nothing of value. After the election, it will be a joke in the halls of history. They couldn't elect a single individual from their cause. It was a movement worthy of more derision than the Tea Party because the OWS has far more examples of the people just being jerk offs.

"They had more jerks" is not exactly something I'm going to bother to address except to point out that it's not a really good way to equate the movements or compare them. How many more jerks? What kind of jerks? Who was being a jerk? This is just silly.

These are not isolated examples. There are many more. With the tea party, there were nutty and crazy folks but they didn't rape anybody, harass people who work for a Church who are trying to clean the streets, break into buildings and harass employees.

It's true, no one in the Tea Party ever raped anyone or ever committed any acts of violence. I mean, I guess that never happened at a Tea Party rally.. except the acts of violence part. And I guess it's worth mentioning that the rapist that everyone likes to point out was was a previously convicted violent criminal. So if you want to say that the Occupy movement had criminals but none exist in the Tea Party I... uh... dunno what to say to that.

Look, it's worthless to get into the whole "Occupy is just a bunch of losers and morons" debate again, because it's a huge straw man. "There were jerks and buttholes in that large, multi-layered group of people" is not exactly some sort of unique or particularly damning charge. "Didn't get anything done," is a fair thing to say. But no, it doesn't compare to the Tea Party for reasons I explained above, except in the ways that are common to all large movements and groups.

Bloo Driver wrote:
OWS accomplished nothing of value. After the election, it will be a joke in the halls of history. They couldn't elect a single individual from their cause. It was a movement worthy of more derision than the Tea Party because the OWS has far more examples of the people just being jerk offs.

"They had more jerks" is not exactly something I'm going to bother to address except to point out that it's not a really good way to equate the movements or compare them. How many more jerks? What kind of jerks? Who was being a jerk? This is just silly.

The answer is 7. Not sure why, but that's how the math works out.

Bloo Driver wrote:

the ways that are common to all large movements and groups.

My high school math teacher called this the 5% Assh*le Rule.

Plus, don't forget that we know that the FBI and local law enforcement are actively infiltrating groups like this, and trying to get them in trouble.

So look at accusations like that very, very carefully, because they could be false, all the way to the bottom. The American government is very fond of false flag operations.

Ulairi wrote:

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

The completely decentralized (dis)organization of OWS ended up muddling the message a bit. It became an umbrella rally for every kook with a cause. Then there was all the fabricated disinformation spread about OWS; how they were all spoiled trust fund babies, communists, or lazy jobless slobs looking for a handout.

But still, at its heart OWS was not against privatized gain. They were against privatized gain at the expense of public risk. A tiny percentage of people wrecked the economy for all and then were rewarded with taxpayer money. That's what OWS fundamentally was about.

That's actually what the Tea Party was originally about, too, before the sociopathic arm of the conservatives moved in, strongarmed the original principals out, and took over.

OWS wouldn't let itself be coopted, so it got beaten bloody by the armed enforcement wing of the corporations, aka the police.

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about when I say nothing has really changed:

Private-equity firms are adding debt to the companies they own in order to fund payouts to themselves, a controversial practice now reaching a record pace. Leonard Green & Partners LP, Bain Capital LLC and Carlyle Group LP CG 0.00% are among the firms using the tactic, which rose in popularity before the financial crisis.

In these deals, known as "dividend recapitalizations," private-equity-owned companies raise cash by issuing debt. The proceeds are distributed in the form of dividends to buyout groups.

I can't link to the article because the Wall Street Journal is behind a paywall, but you get the drift. Why is this so awful? Because it makes companies weaker. In a downturn, too much debt is a company killer. People lose their jobs, but the private equity folks walk away richer as the company tanks.

Mitt Romney has made millions doing stuff like this, and half of America still wants to put him in the White House.

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

The point is really to get arrested in large numbers. But most organized groups that protest things like nuclear power plants spend a good amount of time teaching their members how to be arrested to avoid the conflicts that were so common.

Yes, the police went way over the line repeatedly. But so did protesters. there was just too much coverage of them acting like asshats for the general public to get as worked up over the aggressive police tactics.

While you saw lots of pleading by the protesters with the police to join them, you had too many attacking them and making their job harder. It built up resistance and fueled brutality. I'm not suggesting the police should not have been punished. I'm suggesting that OWS failed to protest in a manner that kept the public on their side.

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Malor wrote:
there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

I see both. One feeds off the other and it just keeps escalating.

Edwin wrote:
Malor wrote:
there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

I see both. One feeds off the other and it just keeps escalating.

As someone who hung around the protests out of curiosity in my local town I can say with authority that there are definitely regular old anarchists and that the structure of OWS was never such that it could keep them in line. They were trying, as left-wingers in the US often do, to create a movement that completely discarded the old ways. Conducting Democracy via heat checks and mic checks and pushing hard against any centralized organizing force. This almost ensured they would be less effective than past movements and incapable of keeping unsavory elements out of the camps.

That's fairly similar to what happened to the Tea Party. It started as a fairly mundane movement against big government, but without any kind of structure the idiots, racists, and bigots had nothing to restrain them. Then it became the movement of 'Get a brian, morans,' and keeping the government out of Medicare. Now it and the OWS movements have both been basically marginalized as dirty hippies and ignorant rednecks.

It does say something about the restraining powers of organized politics to keep the party's wack-jobs in check, but it also says something about how people are willing to believe the opposing side is comprised entirely of 'their' wack-jobs while 'our' side simply has a few outliers. There have been some fascinating sociology case studies written about both.

I wonder if the OWS movement would have humiliated itself on camera the way the TP did if it had the chance during its heyday.

Quote:

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Because everything is better with a little conspiracy in it. (Any evidence that this is the case? For example, when the FBI does this with terrorists, the guys involve testify in court. Otherwise, this is just hammer seeing nails, since we know anarchists exist and commonly behave this way.)

Robear wrote:
Quote:

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Because everything is better with a little conspiracy in it. (Any evidence that this is the case? For example, when the FBI does this with terrorists, the guys involve testify in court. Otherwise, this is just hammer seeing nails, since we know anarchists exist and commonly behave this way.)

The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.
I don't think NYC had this issue (or if they did, I didn't hear about it) but Oakland definitely did.

The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.

Absolutely. But they also had anarchists, as did the other gatherings. There's a difference between "Yeah, anarchists exist and do this, but so do police" and "it's not anarchists, it's provocateurs".

Robear wrote:
The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.

Absolutely. But they also had anarchists, as did the other gatherings. There's a difference between "Yeah, anarchists exist and do this, but so do police" and "it's not anarchists, it's provocateurs".

The way I read Malor's post wasn't that he was claiming that all the anarchists were actually provocateurs, but that at least some of them were (which is correct for Oakland at least).

Jayhawker wrote:
Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

I agree that the above, IMO, is what did the most damage to the credibility of the protests. However, I think the crux of OW's ineffectiveness is that simple protests won't bring change to the financial industry. Honestly, I'm not sure what will, short of revolution. The people making the rules simply aren't bothered by these sorts of demonstrations, and won't be unless it hits their pocketbook in a significant manner.

I'll admit that I'm pessimistic about protests in general, because I haven't seen many in my lifetime that were effective at bringing change. But I'm even more pessimistic about their effectiveness in this venue than I am regarding their ability to bring social change.

Crispus wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

I agree that the above, IMO, is what did the most damage to the credibility of the protests. However, I think the crux of OW's ineffectiveness is that simple protests won't bring change to the financial industry. Honestly, I'm not sure what will, short of revolution. The people making the rules simply aren't bothered by these sorts of demonstrations, and won't be unless it hits their pocketbook in a significant manner.

I'll admit that I'm pessimistic about protests in general, because I haven't seen many in my lifetime that were effective at bringing change. But I'm even more pessimistic about their effectiveness in this venue than I am regarding their ability to bring social change.

Those protests moved millions of dollars from banks to credit unions. It wasn't enough, no doubt, but I definitely think it's possible for simply protesting to cause effective financial change.