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Intro: "Wall Street has long been the home of the biggest threat to American Democracy. Now it has become home to what may be our best hope for rescuing it. For everyone who loves this country, for everyone whose heart is breaking for the growing ranks of the poor, for everyone who is seething at the unopposed demolition of America's working and middle class: the time has come to get off the fence."

Protesters mark where marches are springing up on a map of the US. (photo: James Fassinger/Guardian UK)
Protesters mark where marches are springing up on a map of the US. (photo: James Fassinger/Guardian UK)

Wall Street Protests: Which Side Are You On?

By Van Jones and Max Berger, Reader Supported News

01 October 11


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

all Street has long been the home of the biggest threat to American Democracy. Now it has become home to what may be our best hope for rescuing it.

For everyone who loves this country, for everyone whose heart is breaking for the growing ranks of the poor, for everyone who is seething at the unopposed demolition of America's working and middle class: the time has come to get off the fence.

A new generation has gone to the scene of the crimes committed against our future. The time has come for all people of good will to give our full-throated backing to the young people of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The young heroes on Wall Street today baffle the world because they have issued no demands. The villains of Wall Street had their demands - insisting upon a massive bailout for themselves in 2008, while they pocketed million dollar bonuses. The Wall Street protesters are not seeking a bailout for themselves; they are working to bail out democracy.

The American experiment in self-governance is at a moment of crisis. The political system thus far has proven itself incapable of responding to a once in a lifetime economic calamity. With income inequality and unemployment at the highest rates since the Great Depression, it's no wonder that almost 80 percent of the country thinks we're on the wrong track.

But the crisis of American Democracy did not start with the financial collapse. For at least 30 years, the system has been rigged by the wealthy and privileged to acquire more wealth and privilege. At this point, 400 families control more wealth than 180 million Americans.

This great wealth divergence has resulted in an unjust and dangerous concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the few. It has pushed millions - especially the rising generation and communities of color - into the shadows of our society. The middle class continues to shrink, and the ranks of the poor have swelled. The political elite has failed to take the necessary steps to provide opportunity to the majority of Americans.

A movement was born after Madison, Wisconsin, to oppose these injustices. It has now spread to every Congressional District. We call ourselves the American Dream Movement. We engaged 130,000 people to crowd-source our own jobs agenda - the Contract for the American Dream. In August, tens of thousands demonstrated for jobs in rallies across the nation. Next week in DC, we host our first national gathering: the Take Back The American Dream conference.

The Occupation of Wall Street - and the occupations throughout the country - are expressions of the same spirit and dynamic. And these particular demonstrations, perhaps uniquely, contain the spark to grow into a movement that can be transformative. They are the first, small step in the creation of a movement that can restore American Democracy, and renew the American Dream.

The hundreds of young people from all five boroughs that camp out every night, in the heart of the financial district, in the rain and the cold, at risk of arrest, are providing the inspiration to draw more and more out of the shadows and into the bright light of the public square. The occupation grows larger and more diverse every day. Young people, the majority of whom are under 25 and have never before engaged in activism, are managing the arduous task of a consensus rules meeting with no sound system. The nightly general assemblies are attracting crowds in the thousands to stand amongst a group of their peers and debate our path forward as a people.

The occupation is a revival of a proud tradition of authentic, people-powered movements that have been dormant - and that we need now more than ever. It is building into the kind of massive public demonstrations - like those in Egypt, Madison, and Santiago - that can shake the foundation of a system of power that has lost sight of the public good.

Now is our time to choose. Will we keep rewarding those whose financial manipulations have brought us to ruin? Or will we stand with those whose democratic innovations are breathing life into our finest ideals? Both groups are within blocks of each other in downtown Manhattan.

For the past 30 years, the country has stood behind the titans on Wall Street and their values. We listened when they said that their banks were too big too fail. Today, there is only one thing that's too big to fail: the dreams of this new generation, finding its voice in Liberty Park. All of America should now stand with them.

Van Jones, President of Rebuild the Dream, is the founder and former president of Green for All and author of "The Green Collar Economy." In 2009, he served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House. Van is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress, and also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-35 # Martintfre 2011-10-01 22:37
I am on the side that respects the rights of persons to keep them selves and their property including their bodies, minds.

I am opposed to the side that believes they can force others to do their bidding. Being in the majority grants no right to oppress.
+11 # tonenotvolume 2011-10-02 00:57
Very nebulous, be more specific. Whose side are you on?
+13 # in deo veritas 2011-10-02 07:50
Pay attention! Being opposed to those that believe they can force others to do their bidding is quite clear-that side is the banksters(corpo rate fascists) If you are in the majority then they cannot and WILL NOT survive our outrage.
-2 # Capn Canard 2011-10-02 19:27
I hope this is a mistake, but wait a second, so you're saying that being AGAINST THOSE WHO BELIEVE THEY CAN FORCE OTHERS TO DO THEIR BIDDING IS -THAT SIDE IS THE BANKSTERS side? WTF ... This is unclear, horrible posts on all sides, issues with editing?
+22 # NanFan 2011-10-02 04:32
Quoting Martintfre:
I am on the side that respects the rights of persons to keep them selves and their property including their bodies, minds.

I am opposed to the side that believes they can force others to do their bidding. Being in the majority grants no right to oppress.

This comment makes NO sense whatsoever. It tells us nothing about what you really believe OR understand.

Sorry, but get a grip. Who are these protesters oppressing??
+4 # Capn Canard 2011-10-02 08:48
NanFan, it is poorly written but I believe that MartinFre is trying to express opposition to oppression by the Wealthy. I would add my comment thus: I am respect the rights of persons to keep their persons, bodies, minds. Property is temporary, it can change "ownership", and is the rational for most wars and conflicts. This is a source of enormous difficulty, protecting property is fraught with danger and potential long term hostilities as we all witness everyday world wide. I am not a believer in settled law as per property held by non-resident landlords et al. The localized population need not be slaves to absentee viceroys. But I am open to changing my mind if a better system comes along...
+3 # jwb110 2011-10-02 12:32
Quoting Capn Canard:
NanFan, it is poorly written but I believe that MartinFre is trying to express opposition to oppression by the Wealthy. I would add my comment thus: I am respect the rights of persons to keep their persons, bodies, minds. Property is temporary, it can change "ownership", and is the rational for most wars and conflicts. This is a source of enormous difficulty, protecting property is fraught with danger and potential long term hostilities as we all witness everyday world wide. I am not a believer in settled law as per property held by non-resident landlords et al. The localized population need not be slaves to absentee viceroys. But I am open to changing my mind if a better system comes along...

Perhaps the real question is can an moneyed elite make "people" their specific real property?
-3 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 07:24
If you do not own your body, the produce of your effort - then you are a slave.

Who does own your time, mind and effort is your master.
+1 # Group_Capt_Lionel_Mandrake 2011-10-02 20:05
This state of Martinfre is very clear to me: he's an selfish, self-centered Wall Street supporter.
-6 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 07:31
Being selfish means I understand you have no right to my life - and I have no right to your life.

The greedy collectivist think they have a right to use their gang or their control of government to force/enslave others for their benefit.

By the way - If you are really interested in source of problems rather then symptoms. Look real hard at the US Federal Reserve as the ultimate government protected corporate monopoly.
-9 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 07:20
-26 and counting.

I see lots of people are pro slavery.

From each slave according to their ability,
To each master according to their need.
+53 # michelle 2011-10-01 22:38
Excellent article. For inspiration for those dedicated people camping out in Liberty Square, occupying Wall Street, Google the name 'Brian Haw". Brian "occupied" a small public square across from the British Parliament to protest the Iraq war. His occupation lasted TEN YEARS, until his death this year. I had the honor of meeting and talking to him. I remember most his saying he missed life with his family but what he was doing was too important to let that deter him. The authorities tried many times to end his occupation but with the help of many supporters he always won out. Take the side of the occupation!
+34 # NanFan 2011-10-02 04:38
Bravo to Brian! A stature none of us have, except these brave young people protesting another American egregious injustice.

Thank you ALL who are on the front lines. It takes courage and spirit and the knowledge that what you believe is right IS right! And what we have in America now is WAY strong...we who cannot be there physically will bullhorn your hard work and your tenacity for ending the oppression in America ALL over the world.

The World IS watching. This, I promise.

+5 # michelle 2011-10-02 12:47
He was amazing and saw himself as parent first and foremost. My husband and I met him on his daughter's eighteenth birthday. He was camped out in front of Parliament. Part of our conversation centered on his daughter and how conflicted he was at not being home on this ever so important milestone. He said once you were a parent you were a parent to all children and it was a parent's job to keep children safe. He speculated on the difficulties war placed on children and how as parents we were responsible for creating a world safe for children. So he would stay there trying to create a world that safe for children, parents and families. It reminded me of the old anti-war poster that said 'war is not safe for children and other living things.' It doesn't matter how many people are camped on Wall Street. It only takes one with the courage to stand firm for what is right. Each of us has the power to accomplish something. I would urge each of you to read about Brian.
+24 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-10-02 05:03
Thank you for informing us re. Brian. Yes indeed, he's an inspiration. We need such inspiration today in this country and world of greed and power addicted takeover.

And another man of inspiration I stood with yesterday at the Occupy Wall Street protest here along the sides of Acacia Park in Colorado Springs. This young man's mother died of suicide not long ago, a victim of being evicted from her home once she had lost her job and could not find work, try as she might. His voice rang out, leading in chants such as: "Read the Constitution - start the Revolution."

This group of primarily young folks also includes middle aged and older folks also, people of all and no political persuasions doing what today's Kochsucking, villainaire controlled Congress is unable to do - working together to restore democracy, a.k.a. liberty and justice for all.

Sorry, Karl Rove, all your MSD (manipulation, spin, distraction) in the corporate owned and controlled 'mess' media is flailing. Word of mouth has taken over, along with critical thinking and a sense of outrage at the injustice and evil nature of Wall Street and so much more.

And stripping away of still more rights (i.e. a free internet) will only inspire more the determination of a rapidly growing number of justice and peace activists to... UNDO THE COUP!
-6 # GeneRitchings 2011-10-02 13:20
But did he persuade, or force, the British government to withdraw the troops? Don't confuse nobility of purpose and behavior with getting results.
+35 # tedrey 2011-10-01 22:44
Thank you, and bless you. If Rebuild the Dream and Occupy Wall Street know they are in this together, we are all so much closer to our goals.
+46 # balancingact 2011-10-01 23:14
Well said Van Jones, these are "crimes committed against our future." Many corporations- banking, oil, coal, agribusiness, health insurance, etc.- are plundering our society without a moral compass.

We can no longer afford- materially or spiritually- the greed and domination that these corporations are inflicting on our lives and future.

These corporations are relentless- they must be met with protest.
-4 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 14:29
so "balancingact"
Stop using the computers they have made,
stop using the electricity that they produce,
Stop eating the food that they grow.
stop buying their stuff - live off the land - or stop the hypocritical whining.
+36 # Larkrise 2011-10-01 23:30
I most certainly am with the protestors on Wall Street. I am not behind the Wall Street thugs nor their government enablers in Congress AND in the White House. Yes, in the White House. Look at Obama's advisors, cabinet heads, and actions. Then, look at the continuing downward spiral we are in. Look at the Billionaires making more and more on Wall Street. Now, tell me where his real loyalty lies. It is NOT with the average citizen.
+35 # Jorge 2011-10-02 00:37
Obama is a Harvard-trained elitist/orator selected to maintain the status quo of the MIC/Wall Street banksters/Big Oil/Pharma. We need a modern-day FDR or Gandhi to straighten out this mess. Liz Warren speaks truth to power, so does Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Dennis Kucinich, Nader, Moore, etc. The unions and the unemployed should be more active in the Wall Street protests (and have it spread more widely to cities across the U.S.). Thanks Van Jones and Max Berger for an inspiring story of the Wall Street protests.
+9 # Capn Canard 2011-10-02 08:54
Jorge, it looks you and Larkwise nailed it. Well said. I wonder if a Van Jones run for president would work? Just a thought.
+3 # Jorge 2011-10-03 10:48
Capn Canard- I am not sure about Van Jones for Prez, not enough info. He could be like Obama, a great orator and writer but still not wanting to upset the power elites. Van Jones should be on the front lines of the WS protests, like Michael Moore. BTW, our local monopolistic newspaper finally printed a story about the WS protests after 2 weeks (I sent them multiple e-mails and also called).
+5 # iris 2011-10-02 15:26
I have been with the injured workers alliance for decades... any chance those unemployed union guys could help the disabled screwed out of medical help by crimes of het insurance cartel? they (we) need to get involved? iris
+23 # NanFan 2011-10-02 04:51
Quoting Larkrise:
Now, tell me where his real loyalty lies. It is NOT with the average citizen.

OR he would be out there with them, fighting for the very things he "claims" to want for Americans: jobs, affordable healthcare, taxes on the rich, and more.

Yes, where the hell is Obama? And why hasn't he told the Governor of NY to tell Bloomberg to formulate a protective police reaction to this peaceful demonstration, NOT a hateful, fascist one?

This movement will grow, and if the police brutality continues, I fear that some will see it as a reason to "get ugly" themselves in their protesting.

Don't do that!! That is exactly what they want. You all have do they. Keep it straight-up, peaceful civil disobedience, regardless of what they do, please.

And if someone incites you to violence, shout NO! Stay with it. It does work. I know. I've been there during the civil rights, free-speech and Vietnam war protests and occupations.

Hang in. This professor is proud of her young students and graduates.

+1 # 2011-10-02 17:51
+38 # barkingcarpet 2011-10-02 00:23
Choose a healthy future folks. No more corporate nonsense, no more war, and no more bullshit.

Money is not security. Community, and environmental health are.
+23 # noitall 2011-10-02 00:53
The filthy pipeline through our country, trains of coal coursing through our country polluting air, ground, and water all the way, nuclear time bombs sitting waiting for a meltdown and more on the way on our dime, more off-shore drilling after on-going catastrophes out-of-sight-ou t-of-mind, ships loaded with toxins of all kinds wandering our shores on shoestring maintenance budgets, People in rainforest countries being murdered and displaced for McDonald burgers while poisoning our ignorant consumers, GMO infested foods and fields changing the world, untested on a molecular level, Using,Using,Usi ng, while claiming no responsibility to pay, People being treated like slaves (worse than, because the people have to house and feed themselves), consuming our working lives and robbing us of our retirement and health care, consuming our educated without responsibility to educate, buying our leaders to war to assure their raw resources without participating in the costs, lives, or reparations, slaying our world with no plan for the future, guided only by GREED to sate an insatiable appetite for MORE! Who is to blame? the CEOs or the stockholders who put their dogs to the test on a quarterly basis the only gauge being MORE while ruining our world for their and our grandchildrens lives and beyond. How do you fight this insanity when the only motivation for good and evil is money?
-7 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 07:50
Unless you your self are living like the Amish eschewing all the virtues that the industrialized modern society has offered to the masses then your simply a whining hypocrite.
+30 # smbizadvocate 2011-10-02 02:39
For those of us who cannot travel to Wall Street, we can show our support by not supporting these corporations financially. Do we really need to make that trip to the mall? Stop buying their products and stop listening to mainstream media.
Buy local from that small business down the street. You know the one your neighbor owns. You will be supporting your community with tax dollars, increased sales and profits, and keeping jobs local.
+11 # tswhiskers 2011-10-02 09:53
I am one of those small businesses down the street. Unfortunately many locals can't afford the prices that businesses like mine must charge in order to stay in business and so must shop at Walmart and Dollar General, as I do as well. But I'm fortunate that there are people who like the unique items that I carry and who do like to support local businesses. I'm afraid the only real hope most of us have is for a fairer economy in which all of us can make a decent living. MORE POWER TO OCCUPY WALL ST.
+3 # noitall 2011-10-02 22:11
You shop at WalMart?! I don't own a business and I "can't afford" my needs BUT I do NOT shop at WalMart. We have to draw a line somewhere and that is mine. I eat organic although I can't afford it in order to not support Monsanto and their GMO poisons. I do not eat at fast food joints although one could justify it because of the expense. I go without, a small price to not feed the jaws that are gnawing at our throats. When we all draw a line and make a commitment to stop supporting the dogs, feel the resulting pain, that is when the masses will join the dedicated few in the streets. "I'm afraid the only real hope most of us have is for a fairer economy in which all of us can make a decent living." You don't get there by making excuses to continue feeding the beast. MORE PEOPLE TO "OCCUPY WALL STREET". You can organize and do it in your own town!! Sorry if I offended you. We Americans need to change our way of thinking. We need to feel the pain in doing what is right. It is the only way. Get out there my friend, and bring someone with you.
+44 # Ralph Averill 2011-10-02 04:34
I am a 60 yr old construction worker. I just sent Rebuild the Dream a hundred bucks. When I complete my current project, I'll get on the train and go down to Manhattan and add my body and spirit to the protesters for a day.
There's an election coming. All the noise will be about the White House, but the important elections are all about Congress. Support Democratic liberal candidates! If you're working, send some bucks. If your not working, volunteer your time to the local campaign committee for phone banks and door-to-door work. This is not the time to sit back and cheer the work and sacrifice of others.
In '67 I took the bus to DC for the first anti-war demonstration at the Pentagon. I've seen the world change. As the Chambers Brothers said, "Time has come today."
+5 # Pancho 2011-10-02 07:22
Got this from a friend who took it from the walkway above the Brooklyn Bridge bust:

This is what a corporatacracy looks like.
+4 # ddriesen 2011-10-02 09:23
It's funny that Republicans have been any advocate of modest closing of tax loopholes for the rich as involved in class warfare. Perhaps these demonstrations will show them what class warfare really looks like. Debilitating government from responding sensibly to financial crises and extreme inequality is unwise, even for friends of business.
+7 # tswhiskers 2011-10-02 09:46
I'd like to thank all these wonderful people for their courage and persistence in protesting the greed of Wall St. I do agree with a comment I've read that too many prople may be protesting too many different things and this may water down the essential message and lead to disorganization . I hope that there are leaders or a strongminded few who will be able to keep everyone on message. Thanks to your persistence you have forced the corporate media to take note of this protest. Thankfully it is growing and will force more Americans to look seriously at the state of this economy. As for President Obama, he has been a disappointment but he has given signs of wakening from his political lethargy and I sincerely hope he continues to voice the concerns of the average American and characterizing the Reps. for the obstructionists that they are.
+1 # Capn Canard 2011-10-02 19:33
on message... this doesn't seem to be a problem as the whole economy is the problem and the protesters have expressed that it is agreeable to refer to this as the 99% versus 1%. That simplifies it a bit. I'm with the 99%. What side are you on?
+10 # sol4u2 2011-10-02 09:57
The people are starting to move and stand firm against corporate greed, ineptness of our elected politicians to represent them - make the whisper of our voices a SHOUT that we the people will not tolerate the destruction of our country by the wealthy minority. We WILL be HEARD. All of us must join in this movement the best way that we can.... our problems are everyone's problem and we must find a solution or the democracy we hold dear will slowly continue to disappear. If each of us speaks to 2 others, who speak to 2 others we CAN make a difference. But the major force is our right to VOTE make the upcoming elections count!
+8 # Activista 2011-10-02 10:24
Protest at PENTAGON against the wars - there is the $1.3 trillion hole the money goes and corrupts USA.
USA can exists with zero military as Costa Rica does.
-3 # Martintfre 2011-10-03 14:32
FYI:: we protect Costa Rico

also - protest the lying politicians like Barrack Obombya for deceiving you saying he would get us out of the wars to get elected when in fact he as started a few new ones.
+8 # gaia 2011-10-02 10:31
Keep in mind that courageous investigative reporters are not overpaid, and probably have to fund their own bodyguards. Truth is the mortal enemy of The Right and they have the cash to suppress it, since they dominate the media. They want AND ARE GETTING serfdom. Welcome to our theofascist corporatocracy.
+3 # anarchteacher 2011-10-02 11:24
Van Jones and Max Berger raised some excellent points in their article.

For those supporters and participants of the Occupy Wall Street protests who seek more incisive background in understanding what has been really going on behind-the-scen es with the Wall Street corporate and financial elites, check out the two items below:

"In a Relationship, and It's Complicated," by Anthony Gregory

"Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy," by Murray N. Rothbard

Both articles "name names," and are forthright, direct, and pull no punches.

-- No War But The Class War --
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2011-10-02 11:50
I do not have to be on a side. I have to go out and help those in need. I March, I send Petitions. I do not make excuses.

Wondering for all that are here on RSN have any of you thought to get people together for these weekend Campaigns of GOP/TP Take collage of articles, pictures...move ments going on, people suffering, foreclosure signs, gay weddings. I see so many saying they cannot go, there are things right in your own States, Cities going on.
If you believe you need to be on a side, get people on that wagon to show numbers to Media and Corporations.

No one has to buy at Walmart. You demand better,American made, look for American made. When we do not invest in America, we destroy American Jobs, Family. There are plenty of American made products. Tired of excuses,my food is made, grown in America. People fill their world with excuses, blame others, typical routine.

Take your money out of Banks that are not working to promote American Jobs, American Investments. there are National Organizations that are setting up/set up American Investments, I spoke of it in June. Want to clean up Banks, look at who you deal with, review Banks who can stand on their own, small investment groups. Always alternatives... Side I am on is one that Rebuilds America from within without excuses
-10 # GeneRitchings 2011-10-02 13:17
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments driving this protest. But these tactics are wrong and will change nothing.

If I were Wall Street, I'd love the spectacle of tie-dyed hippies with blonde dreadlocks beating on drums and giving incoherent if well-meaning media interviews. Such demonstrations gratify the need for individuals to do something, but if reform is the goal, this will not achieve it. All this protest will do is get a lot of people hurt and arrested.

Better to be working within the system, armed with the facts, and leaning on Congress and the White House for change, because the only thing that causes change is enough politicians fearful of losing their jobs. It all comes down to legislation, and votes.

These protests will prove to be politically impotent and will only prove the bankruptcy and haplessness of the Left. The most successful activist in modern history, one who got laws passed and agencies formed to safeguard citizens and consumers, did it with meticulous research and very hard work and relentless pressure on legislators and incessant moral persuasion. And when was the last time you saw Ralph Nader on a picket line?

Grow up, you well intentioned leftists, before your useless antics only tighten the police state around all our necks.
+7 # Vardette 2011-10-02 14:02
Van Jones should go down there like brother West and Michael and show real support for these amazing people who are fighting for their lives!
+8 # Whitehawk 2011-10-02 14:11
I am on the Rebuild the Dream team here in Taos New Mexico. We are focusing on getting the money out of politics. We each need to do what we can to make a difference and create a HUGE change.
+6 # Vardette 2011-10-02 15:27
There is a front page story on CNN to create an emergency job act. I posted this repsonse and emailed it to President Obama.

The time for bargaining is over With a congress whose only agenda is to defeat our President, there is no ability to bargain. It is time for President Obama to override congress using an executive order to address the economic emergency and create an EMERGENCY JOBS ACT. Skilled union workers should not be under cut because they are skilled and non- skilled workers could be paid less. Ikea pays their workers in Sweden $19 per hr and $8 per hr here! This is wrong and not paying a living wage will inhibit people's ability to spend. We need to pay people enough so they feel they can also spend. Without jobs and the ability to spend we will never recover! In an economy where everything costs so much compared to wages getting paid a higher wage will only promote spending which will increase revenues and pay down the deficit! Please tell Obama we need an EMERGENCY JOBS ACT USING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER 202-456- 1111
+6 # Leftak 2011-10-02 15:53
I feel like I am watching my country fall apart in front of my eyes! I grew up outside DC in the 60s and 70s. We marched peacefully all the time -up tp 200,000 people strong. Nobody arrested us or best us -maybe the cops weren't being paid to be mean. I support all of these marchers and this movement. I want to be an American again!
-2 # karenvista 2011-10-04 20:43
Watch this series of videos if you want to understand why things are as bad as they are and where it's going:

According to Damon Vrabel, we're about 320 years too late to do anything about it. He says the ship sailed for the East and the Southern hemisphere decades ago and we have no control over capital anymore.

The First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791 to have government ownership of banks under a 20 year charter and the country went to private banking after that. To avoid our current problems we should have retained government control over capital.

I was aware of the incredible burden of derivatives that the capitalists have amassed but I didn't really ever take that fact to it's conclusion. Like all abusers, they have decided that we haven't atoned enough for the injury they have caused us, so, as Vrabel says, they are going to take the rest of their idiotic losses out of our hides by seizing whatever assets we have left through police actions and wars.

He says that the capitalist focus will have moved to China, India and the other low-wage areas and left us completely behind within the next 50 years and our wages will be egual to theirs. And that's if we are lucky because we are so badly educated I doubt if we will be
able to keep up with them.
+4 # Bimbalina 2011-10-02 20:54
The protests in NY, MA, CA and IL are definitely providing some much needed optimism for the future. If we 99% are persistent, the 1% will start to feel imprisoned by their obscene wealth.
+4 # BLBreck 2011-10-02 20:59
I support all of these marchers and this movement. And will join the march and Occupy protest in San Diego. To those commenting here that we should write letters to reps and the president, yes we should, and I and many others do, just to see them do what THEY (or their Masters) want instead, which usually involves enhancing their political power and filling their own pockets. This is the reason this kind of action is needed. I have seen comments from people (on other articles, in several media venues) telling the protesters to get a job and stop whining... well, the problem is that they CAN'T GET A JOB! They have been good boys and girls, followed the rules and in return, whether young and starting out, or older and looking forward to their "golden years" have found that their futures have been stolen. The only thing they have to look forward to is poverty and the gnawing anxiety seems to have taken permanent residence in their gut.
+3 # BLBreck 2011-10-02 21:00
Con't: I do agree that protesting is not the only way and I will be working this year to get progressive candidates elected and to get people out to vote! I have been testifying at City Council meetings on issues that are important to me and become a council member of MoveOn, helping to plan and participating in rallies and events. I show up at the rallies, marches, meetings and events of other progressive organizations and urge them to show up at ours.
My one fear is that those in power will make a few little concessions that will make the American people go back to sleep and forget that this is not just about themselves. They (I) have been complicit and have been a part of terrible suffering around the globe. I hope that this is truly a part of a global movement to take the power away from the oligarchy that doesn't seem to care if this whole planet becomes a living hell as long as they get to spend $20,000 on a night out on the town, they can just step over that homeless person (who a few yrs ago was fat and happy and middle class) on their way to the club.

In many ways I feel this economic collapse is one of the best things to happen to the US in long as it wakes us up to the crisis happening all over the world. I hope this is part of a global movement that will bring justice to all peoples and species that share the world with us.
0 # Dorothy Reik 2011-10-03 07:55
I have read Van Jones previos e-mail and the Take Back the American Dream conference will bt turned into a re-elect Obama rally. I know. I got the e-mail. Don't be fooled. Van Jones never left the fold.
+6 # What Now Toons 2011-10-03 11:26
I'm glad the mainstream media finally picked up this most important story, but what bothered me was the way they painted it, not as newscasters reporting facts, but as spokespeople for Wall Street interests. They report T-Party demonstrations with admiration, and then they paint the Occupy Wall street as a disorganized rabble. They have shown us who they represent, be careful what opinions about the news you take from main stream media, it's presented like a Madison avenue ad campaign. My latest left of center independent cartoon is about the media and Occupy Wall Street protests.
It's time to wake up America.
+4 # David Starr 2011-10-03 14:51
You're a little too vague when warping Marx's slogan.

From each worker slave according to their ability
To each capitalist master according to their need

It sounds simplistic, but it does reflect the bottom line nature of capitalist rule; The need for a gross, "natural" imbalance where the few have too much & the many have too little, especially on a worldwide level, for the accumulation of profits to the point of a fetish (How much is enough?).

And don't imply that you know what communism is w/ a twist on a slogan. Nobody knows what it is because it hasn't really existed, despite Cold War propaganda & the "communism" of socialist countries.
-2 # Martintfre 2011-10-05 21:41
Capitalism is freedom
- Capitalism is a system of PRIVATE property - your mind, your body, your effort are YOURS to keep or trade as you see fit.

The opposite is collectivism where others force you be it a dictator, a monarch an oligarch, a democracy.

Bail outs are collectivism - the government enslaves via taxes and debt and grants to low friends in high places rewards for failure and friendship.

There is no left and right - there is freedom and tyranny.
+1 # David Starr 2011-10-06 13:35
Capitalist rule is the "freedom" to feed at the trough w/ a major degree of unaccountablilt y (prioritizing corporate bailouts, loopholes, the examples of Enron, Madoff, etc., i.e., the "rights" of a private few) through a relationship where many are at a subsistence level in varying degrees depending on what part of the world. Workers rights are defined w/in the imbalanced relationship between capital & labor, e.g., "the free labor contract." "Natural selfishness" is prioritized,(as oppossed to the selfinterest of survival & comfort) but human nature of course is more complex. Individualism & collectivism both play their parts & sometimes intertwine. It's not one or the other. Life's conditions are of course B/W & gray areas. But regarding Human nature, I would think the idea would be to prioritize the positive over the negative for the benefit of the many. After all, we are "one family."
+4 # bakerhunny 2011-10-03 23:02
I'm glad that this has FINALLY reached the mainstream media.....but the sad thing is that if republicans have their way; a lot of the protesters won't even be able to vote.

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