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Intro: "A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they're treated as public nuisances and evicted."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



Occupiers Occupied: Hijacking the First Amendment

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

16 November 11

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they're treated as public nuisances and evicted.

First things first. The Supreme Court's rulings that money is speech and corporations are people have now opened the floodgates to unlimited (and often secret) political contributions from millionaires and billionaires. Consider the Koch brothers (worth $25 billion each), who are bankrolling the Tea Party and already running millions of dollars worth of ads against Democrats.

Such millionaires and billionaires aren't contributing their money out of sheer love of country. They have a more self-interested motive. Their political spending is analogous to their other investments. Mostly they want low tax rates and friendly regulations.

Wall Street is punishing Democrats for enacting the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation (weak as it is) by shifting its money to Republicans. The Koch brothers' petrochemical empire has financed, among many other things, candidates who will vote against environmental protection.

This tsunami of big money into politics is the real public nuisance. It's making it almost impossible for the voices of average Americans to be heard because most of us don't have the dough to break through. By granting First Amendment rights to money and corporations, the First Amendment rights of the rest of us are being trampled on.

This is where the Occupiers come in. If there's a core message to the Occupier movement it's that the increasing concentration of income and wealth poses a grave danger to our democracy.

Yet when Occupiers seek to make their voices heard - in one of the few ways average people can still be heard - they're told their First Amendment rights are limited.

The New York State Court of Appeals along with many mayors and other officials say Occupiers can picket - but they can't encamp. Yet it's the encampments themselves that have drawn media attention (along with the police efforts to remove them).

A bunch of people carrying pickets isn't news. When it comes to making views known, picketing is no competition for big money .

Yet if Occupiers now shift tactics from passive resistance to violence, it would spell the end of the movement. The vast American middle class that now empathizes with the Occupiers would promptly desert them.

But there's another alternative. If Occupiers are expelled from specific geographic locations the Occupier movement can shift to broad-based organizing around the simple idea at the core of the movement: It's time to occupy our democracy.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

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Comments   

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+80 # pernsey 2011-11-16 11:26
In other words money talks and B. S. walks. Unfortunately us middle class (a dying breed) are the B. S. I hope these fat cats pour millions or even billions in getting their GOP puppets into office and the people are smart enough not to vote for the candidates they support. Im sure the GOP is licking their proverbial chops over this.

I hope OWS becomes bigger then their money...its on its way if we can keep it peaceful and growing!!

GOP stands for Greedy One Percent!
 
 
+25 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-16 14:34
Makes more sense than Grand Old Party. Especially since the Democrats have been around longer.
 
 
+5 # RLF 2011-11-16 15:20
You can't possibly excuse Obama and his minions. The dems are just as guilty as the Republicans. Time for them all to go.
 
 
+15 # jerryball 2011-11-16 20:42
To be replaced with?
 
 
+13 # readerz 2011-11-17 08:20
Replaced with most of the same Democrats, with some important exceptions such as Senator Baucus who handed in a health care package written by insurance companies, and now heads the "super-committe e" that is slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Of course, Sen. Baucus comes from one of those states (Montana) with a small population, and disproportionat ely huge amount of power in the Senate compared to any of the larger population states. THAT, folks, is what needs to be fixed: America is very lopsided. I was actually kicked off a Progressive site for pointing this out, but I think it is the single most glaring example of why our "democracy" does not work: it is NOT representationa l government, in the least. If our government truly represented the PEOPLE, we wouldn't have guys like Baucus and Cheney (from Wyoming) EVER in charge of anything.
BTW, I love my own Senator (Sherrod Brown of Ohio), up for re-election in 2012, who is trying to increase Social Security. That's right; negotiate from higher demands, don't compromise at the start of a fight.
 
 
-3 # Jen X 2011-11-17 12:14
Quoting jerryball:
To be replaced with?


Jesse Ventura!!!
 
 
+19 # CL38 2011-11-17 00:37
Democrats can be brought in line, through OWS actions and focus.

It was the Democrats who've brought us civil rights and all the protections and advances we had. They've become corrupted by money, yes. But they're not insane power-hungry Nazi's. I think they can be pressured to fight for us again.

People like Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, and several others are leading the way.
 
 
+30 # fobsub 2011-11-16 15:34
You can hope all you want but when it comes time for voting, with Diebold in their pockets the republicans will make sure the "vote" turns out exactly the way they want it to
 
 
+26 # Lolanne 2011-11-16 17:28
Greedy Old Pigs fits too!
 
 
+21 # jerryball 2011-11-16 20:41
I like "Group of Pricks."
 
 
+58 # Virginia 2011-11-16 11:33
You seem to think this is still the United States. How foolish. From the puppet's lack of "Aloha" last week during APEC to the torture of foreclosures and evictions he is putting homeowners through, the loss of equity, retirement and pension funds, the bashing of unions, police brutality on peaceful demonstrators - I'd say we are looking more like Facist Amerika run by a mob of self-serving thieves and criminals.
 
 
+76 # artful 2011-11-16 11:36
I now worry seriously about the continued viability of our democratic form of government. Our entire system has been hijacked by corporate money and by a corrupt Supreme Court--thank you Justice Scalia. If ordinary Americans continue to get attacked by organized militias, can violence be far behind? Beware the Marie Antoinette Syndrome.
 
 
+39 # John Locke 2011-11-16 13:05
This has just begun, now it will explode over the net, and gain momentum...yes remember 1787 France, sadly that may happen here if the violence against our rights are continued, if we have no platform to speak and remain non violent, there is always an alternative for which I fear...
 
 
+30 # Okieangels 2011-11-16 15:09
If we have still have a free and open internet... As we write these words Congress is deliberating issues of "net neutrality." Go to Avaaz.com and sign the petition to leave the internet open and free.
 
 
+3 # readerz 2011-11-17 08:23
I heard a report yesterday that courts are being cut, in some cases NO civil cases heard, because of budget cuts. They can't cut out one of the branches of government, but in many states, they already have.
 
 
+70 # Peggy Sapphire 2011-11-16 11:42
Robert Reich: your first paragraph by itself brought (useless) tears to my eyes at the truth of how "real People" are silenced, evicted, bankrupted, made hopeless as well as homeless.
I am not hopeless. Am I reading "between the lines" when I see: "It's time to occupy our democracy." To me that means:
Occupy the Halls of Congress, the steps of the SC, Legislators' offices State & Fed & Local. We paid & keep paying for these chambers, where only the ghosts of democracy's stalwarts still linger. If not now, when?
 
 
+39 # Capn Canard 2011-11-16 12:17
It is diabolical... but at this point who could truly be surprised by the lies of the RICH and FILTHY? Thanks Prof. Reich
 
 
+26 # Martintfre 2011-11-16 13:19
My personal goal has been to become filthy stinking rich .. so far I am two out of three.
 
 
+69 # John Locke 2011-11-16 12:32
The money class believe they can suppress an idea, but they can't, thoughts become words, and words become actions, they have opened the eyes of the world to how corrupt the US government has become, now its time to mobilize the rest of the 99%, the problem has been only a few thousand people stood up to the government and the police, we need millions of us to stand up together, or to act in solidarity in other areas, like sit ins, where the 99% actually stop buying from any of the 1% controlled companies, or declaring a week of holidays for the 99%,if the koch brothers want to control us, STOP buying from any of their companies... we have the purse strings no matter how weak it is today, we are the 99% we can control the 1% by our boycotts, lets declare a boycott of the koch industry and any other companies that Goldman Sachs invests in...this is now the right time to go more on the offensive and take these bums down... the world is watching us, lets not disappoint them again...Gandhi was able to do it, so can we...non violence and marches with the millions will bring this corruption to an end
 
 
+18 # jerryball 2011-11-16 20:48
Koch Industries, other than oil and gas, includes consumer products:
Georgia-Pacific paper and pulp company, maker of "Brawny" paper towels, "Angel Soft" toilet paper, "Mardi Gras" napkins and towels, "Quilted Northern" toilet paper and paper towels, "Dixie" paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, "Sparkle" paper towels, and "Vanity Fair" paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths.
Invista, a polymer and fibers company that makes "Stainmaster" carpet, and "Lycra" fiber, among other products.
Koch Fertilizer.
 
 
+28 # rangerrandy 2011-11-16 12:37
Mr Reich, et al.....seem as though we've known for some time that money is buying politicians..ri ght? I mean I've been reading for years of this seemingly ridiculous situation ....so when do we fix it? If it isn't legally wrong, it is certainly morally wrong, and it seems to be the root cause of our problems
 
 
+18 # Barbara K 2011-11-16 15:22
How about making it illegal? We can force it to a ballot for a vote of the people, can we not? Let's find out. And while we're at it, let's find out what else we can bring to a vote to get this government fixed.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!
 
 
+44 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-16 12:38
The fundamental issue is that the Supreme Court has decided that since the Constitution did not call out that when it references persons, that artificial persons are endowed with the same Constitutional rights.

Since Corporations and I presume the various forms of Government (another artificial person) that we have within the USA has the same rights as natural persons, then their rights should be limited in the same manner as natural persons rights. However, what we see is the escalation of more rights, more free speech, more power being delegated to the artificial persons. Especially the Corporations, who have laws written that give them immunity to prosecution beyond
what any natural person could dream of.

This is what the Occupy movement is up against. A new kind of royalty, one conceived by the unnatural union of unnatural persons. The Occupy movement has taken on the duty of ending this abomination, and as Robert explains, the tactics will by necessity change. But is on all of us to support and keep it strong; its just a baby and needs our care.
 
 
+24 # Barbara K 2011-11-16 15:25
We have some real dummies on the supreme Court. We, the 99% know the difference between people and corporations, why don't those high-priced idiots know?

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!
 
 
+42 # burglar 2011-11-16 12:48
I have been yelling that the "theory" that corporations are persons is a lie. Supreme Court 1886 Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Rail. Davis, the clerk, inserted into the headnote (summary) that corp are people. Never formally written into law. Look it up, it is not true, never has been.
 
 
+23 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-16 13:52
I agree. We all agree. But...

The Supreme Court has ruled that a Corporation has, in effect, the same rights as natural persons under the Constitution. The ruling implies that unless the Constitution prohibits artificial persons a right reserved to persons, the Corporation, as a person has the same rights.

It is total hogwash. I read Hartmann's book also, but the fact is that by ruling the way this and other Supreme Courts have ruled, it has become defacto law.

We need constitutional clarity on this issue, a law passed by Congress will not be enough.
 
 
+31 # Carolyn 2011-11-16 12:50
This is the moment when, in the past, we have had (in most recent times) an FDR, a JFK. What we have is one another and the bottom line is the same as the top line, for us. It is non-violence. We need the encouragement of those voices, those with a vision beyond oligarchy -- the living Gandhis -- with a message for today.
 
 
+16 # jwb110 2011-11-16 13:08
Mr EIch, being a Professor art Berkeley, certainly has the ultimate bird's eye view of the heal of money on the necks of poorer America. That said, the movement is where it is and where it should be, in the streets in search of peaceful assembly to make visible the necessity of the redress of grievances. The system that has come to oppress them is not fixable from the inside, the top down or organized along the lines of the enemy.
Leave the 99% where they are visible for all the World to see. Don't lock them away behind "closed door" negotiations. The OWS/Internation al wants their nations back and the rights and privileges guaranteed when those said Nations are in running order and not ordered running.
Even the Founders knew that Democracy is run from the bottom up when it is done correctly. I personally think the whole idea scared the Founders and they tried to mitigate real democracy creating this guise of Federalism. Too late to consider all that democracy is once again on the rise and in its birthplace.
The greatest sin if which the OWS can be accused is putting a face back on what real Democracy looks like. And who can hold 99% accountable to a sin that only affects 1% ? And is making truth visible a sin at all?
 
 
+28 # MainStreetMentor 2011-11-16 13:08
Don’t have the right to “encamp”? … then I suggest the “Occupy …” Movement refer to their efforts by another name, (just as the Greed Mongers do if something they’ve created is met with opposition), refer to it/them as a “temporary shelter” … refer to it as a “temporary medical facility” … refer to it as a “temporary bus stop” … refer to it as a “temporary trains station awaiting the arrival of the next train” … in fact refer to it by any OTHER name that is not spelled out within a court declaration – then make SURE that name is posted everywhere there are protesting people assembled. There are a multitude of avenues to incorporate – many of them ones the greed merchants have utilized in the past – all we need do is turn the tables on them and serve up a dose of their own making.
 
 
+15 # Barbara K 2011-11-16 15:32
Great idea, another suggestion is "Freedom Seekers", there can be many more too.
 
 
+7 # jerryball 2011-11-16 20:51
They could incorporate themselves and play the Supreme's siren call for the game of special privileges for fake personhood.
 
 
-30 # Martintfre 2011-11-16 13:16
A half truth is not the truth.
While it is true a corporation is not a person - only a legal fiction, a child of government, money as part of free speech is fine. Because corporations and unions are not citizens neither should be able to contribute a dime.

Whining about the Koch brothers - yet hypocritically silent about the multitude of rich leftist - like George Soros and Insider trader Nancy Pelosi makes this article a sham and exposes its author as a shill.
 
 
+15 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-16 14:32
Martin, martin, martin...

I admire your tenacity. However.

Money equals speech is as much an artificial construct as Corporations are people. Therefore it is subject to any restrictions that Natural persons want to impose. Freedom is reserved for natural persons, who have the responsibility to create the rules for artificial persons. Thus we have the Constitution to create the rules for the artificial construct called government, who has been delegated by natural persons to make laws regarding Corporations.

Inside trading by Congress is legal and members of both parties do it. Drop that as a partisan issue please.
Why is there so much more untraceable money on the right than the left? That is what we whine about, the Koch sucking brothers just put a face to it.

One last note. How come anyone can join the Left wing sites and post. The Right Wing has to vet you, WHY? Are they afraid we may actually be correct? Because they know that the left, in the end, is always right.
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:16
//Money equals speech is as much an artificial construct as Corporations are people.//

false and here is why.

Lets say you are a fan of the united tree huggers who are saving the giant sequoia - but you live and work on the east coast - BUT you can donate money to the people on the west coast who are there and directly helping - that is a good thing
You are a person YOU vote YOUR VOICE with YOUR DOLLARS.

That is different then GE a corporation who I have retirement stock in (not by choice - just the mutual funding method of spreading exposure over entire market) who advocates for causes I do not agree with - they are a legal fiction and doing things I am not in line with and I did not and would not approve of.
 
 
-1 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:17
//Inside trading by Congress is legal and members of both parties do it. Drop that as a partisan issue please.// String em all up - I care not which party.
 
 
-5 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:23
//How come anyone can join the Left wing sites and post. The Right Wing has to vet you, // LOL WRONG

Daily Koss kicked me off and there were dozens cheering it because I said what a hypocrite Obama is.

Obombya has launched more cruse missiles then all the rest of the Nobel prize winners combined.
 
 
+26 # calperst 2011-11-16 13:23
The question is, how does the OWS movement grow once it is off the front pages of papers like the NY Times, which switched from minimal back page coverage in the first few weeks, to front page ongoing, livestream reporting. I think the answer lies in continuing to use the internet as a real time action tool for unannounced flash gatherings in public spaces for teach-ins, camp-ins, flash theater/exhibit s, using the spaces of the evicted to continue to send the message. They could use closed down factories, abandoned buildings, foreclosed homes, closed down hospitals, health care community clinics, homeless shelters, etc. There are public spaces everywhere, including enclosed public plazas where heat and light will make winter vigils feasible, and private spaces owned by people who have been hurt by the same 1% and who want to help out. The bottom line is, making news is part of spreading the word, so whatever the movement does, it needs to stay active and public. This movement is global, and its power lies in its mobility and spontaneous energy.
 
 
+15 # David Starr 2011-11-16 13:29
The U.S. Supreme Court reached a bizzare decision to "legalize" corporations as "persons"; human-made creations that don't live or breath. And the monopolization of speech & info for public consumption by entwining it w/ private wealth mainly from corporate "personhood" is a perverse, social irresponsibilit y. But this is a result when there's attempts to grossly commodify everything & everyone.

Reich makes an important point about the hypothetical scenario of Occupy if it shifted to violent tactics & w/ that "[t]he vast American middle class that now empathizes with the Occupiers" would desert it. But I find this tragic, the idea being that some (or many) in the middle class may not focus attention on or disregard the real violence of the status quo's security apparatus against Occupy itself, i.e., perhaps reflexively giving more of a benefit of the doubt to the apparatus itself.

Reich though makes a sensible suggestion that if Occupiers are expelled, they can still use means of broad-based organizing.
 
 
+23 # Barbara K 2011-11-16 15:35
Show us their birth certificates. Let us see the birth certificates for these corporations. No birth certificate -- no person. They don't even bleed. People do.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:25
True nuff -- Plus Unions are not people either.

Neither corporation or union should be able to contribute a dime to the political process for the same reason - they are not people.
 
 
+5 # David Starr 2011-11-17 13:35
There are key differences between unions & corporations: The Supremes, no doubt w/ its conservative influence, decided to make corporations "legal persons." Unions have no such "legal" status. Right there we have an example of a legacy of inequality between capital & labor, favoring the private,corpora te monolith. Historically, corporations have represented the interests of the powerful few. Unions have represented the interests of the common many who have no corporate or institutional power. Corporations have far more money to influence the U.S. capitalist gov.-precisely based on their ideological ties-than unions have, especially now w/ "personhood" status. And this further shows that corporate elites & their political partners of both parties want to maintain the traditional inequality between capital & labor. Thus, if I have to choose between a corporate kind of gov. or a union kind, I would choose the union kind.
 
 
+1 # readerz 2011-11-17 08:26
Corporations as persons is like derivatives as stocks. Both built on paper: a house of cards, like Washington D.C. where one minor earthquake cracks a lot of the buildings.
 
 
+26 # Kayjay 2011-11-16 13:33
Thanks to Prof. Reich and his simple summation of today's political realities. A small group of protestors were hosed down with pepper spray lite nite in Seattle. The people were purportedly about to block off a street. The police nailed a few 80-something grannies in their zest. Ain't overtime pay GREAT! sez the SPD. The OWS must remain non-violent to connect with most Americans, who are uncomfortable with protest. And as said above, we need to brainstorm ways to negate the efficacy of the corporate millions in our "elections." Persevere at all costs.
 
 
+7 # fobsub 2011-11-16 17:50
We are still a democracy and the voice of the people is the rule. A petition needs to be written up, presented to the government and a date set for a national vote using primarily the internet. The government will then be commanded by the people. Simple but scary because if the incumbent government fails to comply (and they will) the next step will not be easy but it will be constitutional.
 
 
-1 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:36
We are a republic -
the founders knew the democracies always vote them selves largess from the treasury -
they go bankrupt -
die a violent death and then a dictator fills the void.

We are a republic.
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2011-11-17 14:21
While it's true the U.S. founders were focused on forming a republican form of gov.-there isn't any mention of the words democracy or democratic in the U.S. constitution-ne vertheless their ideas of "all men are created equal," "promote the general welfare," "We the people," & a gov. responsible to the rights of the people are a version of democracy. The constitution, although sometimes vague, contain passages reflecting this. But regardless, the founders instituted what can be called a white quota system based on race, class, gender & property ownership. Thus the founders were not gods & were sometimes wrong, even at times tyrannical. In the 1840s ideas of democracy came to the forefront of U.S. politics. Years after further amendments were enacted, e.g., the 13th abolishing slavery & the 14th making blacks equal citizens, etc. Unlike the founders, it was subsequent generations, especially those who went against the status quo, who made improvements. Plus, the founders' version of republicanism favored empire & unfortunately this is a tradition that continues today. It has supported dictators in other countries, in particular poor nations.
 
 
+9 # joefriendly 2011-11-16 13:49
The ruling in New York at issue was by Judge Michael Stallman of the New York Supreme Court, what New York named its trial court, not the NY Court of Appeals, the State's highest court. So it is not yet so bad as Robert Reich erroneously states "The New York State Court of Appeals along with many mayors and other officials say Occupiers can picket - but they can't encamp." Lawyers for the OWS are considering appeal, first to the Appellate Division, then if necessary to the State's top court, the Court of Appeals.
 
 
+22 # rhpflanz 2011-11-16 13:56
The only power we have left is to boycott the 1%. Give us a list of those who we need to boycott and each of us can help the movement.
 
 
+17 # Okieangels 2011-11-16 15:23
My thoughts exactly. Use only as much gasoline as necessary. Don't buy clothing unless absolutely necessary - and try to find American made. Buy cheap when possible. Shop locally when possible. Eat out less. Cook more of your own food. Boycott Christmas. Make or bake gifts and explain to the kids that we're having a gift-less Christmas or Hanukkah in the cause of freedom, (or buy or swap old toys with friends and relatives.) Someone suggested boycotting Black Friday - not enough! Occupy the winter holidays!
 
 
+3 # calperst 2011-11-16 23:21
If we are to solve our economic and environmental challenges, we need resources and a different definition of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The idea of a consumer economy was introduced as an economic theory in the 1950's. It is not essential. We need to wrest power from the 1%. It will not be given lightly. Recycling, selecting products that will last, making our own entertainment using existing resources, protecting existing resources, community by community. That is the key. Check out www.storyofstuff.org.
 
 
+3 # fobsub 2011-11-16 17:19
Quoting rhpflanz:
The only power we have left is to boycott the 1%. Give us a list of those who we need to boycott and each of us can help the movement.


No list is needed, just don't buy anything that isn't absolutely necessary. No chips, beer, purchased entertainment or electronic gadgets, no new cars, clothes or excessive fuel use. Whooops, there goes the boycott! Americans are still too fat and happy to make such a sacrifice. Gotta wait till the middle class is decimated, then it won't work anyway.
 
 
+10 # joefriendly 2011-11-16 14:01
The ruling at issue was by Judge Michael Stallman of the NY Supreme Court, a trial court, not the State's top court, the Court of Appeals as Robert Reich here states erroneously, "The New York State Court of Appeals along with many mayors and other officials say Occupiers can picket - but they can't encamp."

The lawyers for the Occupiers are now deciding whether to appeal, which would be first to the Appellate Division, and then if necessary to the Court of Appeals. So it is not quite so bad yet! But Judge Stallman's ruling is quite disappointing, like he just doesn't get it!
 
 
-36 # Robt Eagle 2011-11-16 14:19
Taking over and destroying property is NOT freedom of speech! No one has the right to destroy others property or inflict their "crap" (literally) on others. The Tea Party protesters did not destroy property, and they all went home after they had their speeches said and heard. The difference is that people who earn a living don't have the time to be out partying all night and crapping in a park that they do not have the right to occupy.
 
 
+25 # Scotti 2011-11-16 16:00
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Taking over and destroying property is NOT freedom of speech! No one has the right to destroy others property or inflict their "crap" (literally) on others. The Tea Party protesters did not destroy property, and they all went home after they had their speeches said and heard. The difference is that people who earn a living don't have the time to be out partying all night and crapping in a park that they do not have the right to occupy.

You have to realize that the OWS folks aren't "partying all night" - they are making the point that the deck is stacked so that many of them CAN'T go out and "earn a living". Have you noticed that the 1% supposed "job creators" have been shipping jobs overseas for years now? And that the unemployment rate is very high? And that many of the young people in OWS have been college students trying to learn something that will indeed allow them to "earn a living", and racking up debt they don't foresee being able to pay to do that? As to "crapping in a park": why do we not have portapotties allowed when people congregate like this? The donations made to OWS would certainly cover the cost. There are not a lot of public bathrooms in any city in this country, unlike much of Europe and even Japan.
 
 
+12 # fobsub 2011-11-16 17:02
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Taking over and destroying property is NOT freedom of speech! No one has the right to destroy others property or inflict their "crap" (literally) on others. The Tea Party protesters did not destroy property, and they all went home after they had their speeches said and heard. The difference is that people who earn a living don't have the time to be out partying all night and crapping in a park that they do not have the right to occupy.


Thats funny. Looks like the American educational system really is going down the drain when people don't know their own history. Some people don't want or deserve constitutional democracy.
 
 
+6 # basilissa 2011-11-17 03:04
I guess you have forgotten the original Tea Party, which involved tossing crates of tea into Boston harbor -- destruction of property pure and simple.
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:37
because of taxation with out representation - the modern lesson is that taxation WITH representation ain't so hot either.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2011-11-17 14:39
Your comment is one big cliche. Is property more valuable than people? In the bourgois mentality, mainly so. Occupy hasn't been bent on destroying property; the only incident I heard of was in downtown Oakland, & even that is suspect. Tea Partiers, conveniently in the status quo, don't need to do much-they have their private, wealthy benefactors like the Kochs to back them up. But there have been examples of dogmatic "crap" from their members in town hall meetings, at least two Obama rallies (carrying guns?), & elements of racism in their ranks, e.g., calling Congressman John Lewis the N word. Your last statment is the biggest cliche of all.
 
 
+3 # LessSaid 2011-11-16 14:55
Protesting peacefully will only work to a point. There is no one in power today who did it peacefully.
 
 
+17 # Scotti 2011-11-16 16:05
Quoting LessSaid:
Protesting peacefully will only work to a point. There is no one in power today who did it peacefully.


Protesting peacefully works very well, if there is enough persistance. In fact, it often works better than the violent sort, because violence can obscure the message, and the backlash to destruction can provoke a backlash that makes things more repressive. Women used non-violent demonstration to get the vote, here and in Britain. Ghandi used it to bring about the end of British rule in India. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King used it to bring about the end of Jim Crow in this country. And non-violent protest helped end the Viet Nam war. Don't let the current backlash hide this. As Ghandi said, 'first they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.'
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2011-11-17 09:19
LessSaid: Say even less...
I and MLK would disagree with you
Evil is as evil does.
 
 
+1 # David Starr 2011-11-17 14:53
While I don't coldly disregard the tactic of nonviolence, it's not all that B/W. The "American" colonists used violence in their revolution against British rule; while Ghandi's nonviolent revolution ended British rule & India became independent, afterwards India built up its military & now has nuclear capabilities, although of course they're not the only ones. The mainly nonviolent protests in the U.S. against the Vietnam War greatly helped to end it, but there was opposition worldwide, including the most obvious opposition: The Vietnamese themselves who bore the brunt of the war in fighting for independence & against U.S. imperialism.
 
 
-35 # Robt Eagle 2011-11-16 15:42
LessSaid, you want peace or anarchy? If the idiot Democrats don't significantly reign in spending...that means Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and all other freebies...this country is going to become bankrupt. It is that simple. Go ahead and tax the wealthies...it is not going to cover even close to the spending that is going on. Also, the unions want more and more, but don't want to contribute anything towards it.
 
 
+19 # futhark 2011-11-16 16:51
Robt Eagle, wealth is generated through ingenuity, investment, education, and labor. The current application of the capitalist system is set up to reward the first two, be neutral on the third, and disregard the fourth as much as possible. Anyone can see that this is unjust and will lead to resentment eventually boiling over into potentially destructive acts of outrage. Ethical and prudent social planners (politicians) will seek to stabilize the economy and social relations by making equitable rewards available to innovators, investors, AND laborers. The "freebies" you mention are the products of the economy and are and justly should be available to all who participate and contribute.

Justice leads to peace, while inequality leads to violence, which you seem to inaccurately equate with anarchy.
 
 
+16 # fobsub 2011-11-16 18:05
Quoting Robt Eagle:
LessSaid, you want peace or anarchy? If the idiot Democrats don't significantly reign in spending...that means Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and all other freebies...this country is going to become bankrupt. It is that simple. Go ahead and tax the wealthies...it is not going to cover even close to the spending that is going on. Also, the unions want more and more, but don't want to contribute anything towards it.


Actually, Social Security and Medicare are not "freebies". The biggest unnecessary economic drain this country has suffered over the past 10 years (besides the bank scandals) is the wild military and war spending,, a republican thing. Taxing the 1% would be a good start at getting this country back on track.
 
 
+6 # BradFromSalem 2011-11-16 21:12
Robt,

Please. Stop It!
That is total BS and I am sick and tired of explaining the simple mathematics behind exposing the untruths you regurgitate like Sabbath prayer.

Democrats are not idiots. It is easily demonstrable when you look at the line up of candidates for President the Republicans have. Have you listened to the speeches made by Clinton and Obama compared to the last 2 Republican Presidents?
And remember: In the End, the Left is always right.
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2011-11-17 15:03
I agree there's definately a regurgitation like Sabbath prayer going on w/ Robt's comments. But to clarify, I wouldn't call Clinton & Obama Leftists (although you may know this). Being Leftist myself, I'm tempted to agree w/ your last statement, but like everyone else, the Left isn't perfect, although it comes closer to truths & facts more so than the Right ever could.
 
 
+12 # fobsub 2011-11-16 16:18
So you noticed and nailed it exactly and I'm sure millions of other Americans are equally aware. Constitutionall y we are obligated to make our government do as we say and that can be done peacefully as long as the people still have a voice and a government that hears them. In the case where that avenue has been voided by that government and it has fortified itself against the people, those people are then obligated to remove that government using the only remaining means available, or they can shut up and accept the loss of their constitution and democracy.
 
 
+13 # mblockhart 2011-11-16 16:41
Right on regarding the corporations as persons with a right to free speech and money is speech. But I have a different take on the attempted eviction of OWS by the cities. Before NY took it's ham-handed action to evict the occupiers, the occupiers didn't have a court order backing their rights to protest. Now they have it. They can occupy that location and protest under the 1st Amendment; they just can't sleep there. Those who got arrested were immediately released and the police have guidance as to how to proceed to simultaneously protect free speech and public health and safety. Plus, to be true, the horrible, illegal way the city treated the occupiers has brought greater knowledge of and sympathy for their movement. I see this outcome as a victory for OWS. And really they need to use a variety of public demonstrations - like flash mobs - to protest. They are encouraged to do that.
 
 
+8 # fobsub 2011-11-16 18:19
You got it wrong. Any laws preventing or limiting peaceful protest, including disruption of "business as usual" are in direct violation of the constitution and need not be heeded (of course that would be risky when defiance violates the laws of whatever form of government is in place at the time. Protest in this country is not a defiant act, it is a right and an obligation and anyone who hinders that protest, be it a person, business or government agency is acting in violation of the law.
 
 
+8 # fobsub 2011-11-16 16:51
Yes its true that the middle class will avoid physical confrontation at all costs, so at this point we can remain in a bent posture and keep taking it but the middle class is shrinking and will reach a point where the remaining 99% will have little left to lose and the inevitable will become the only remaining course to follow.

On the other hand, that pesky 1% has infected the global economy this time, so maybe we can play it safe and just keep talking to the wall while we let the brave people of other countries take all the risks by taking the actions necessary to alleviate the matter. Who knows, maybe they'll be kind enough to die for us as well,, after all, other countries do love us don't they?
 
 
+6 # JustHealth 2011-11-16 18:10
One step has been taken in California to hold the 1% accountable - an initiative for the 2012 ballot: "The Health Insurer Accountability Act of 2012." http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i1003_11-0060_(health_insurer_accountability).pdf

If we make this the law in California, the 99% will have the right and power to enforce these laws.

All we need is 50%+1 less than one year from today on November 8, 2012 to make it so. It can be done. Join us.

hiaain2012@gmail.com
 
 
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-16 18:29
Boycotting is a good answer whether you do it one day during Holiday or all...Do It.
You can no charge, you can use check, or cash.
Teaching children to enjoy Family Life and doing things together is what Christmas is all about. Running to Mall to spend money is a Yuppie fantasy world.

There are list of Koch Products on RSN Dixie, Georgia Pacific.
Organic, is a way to go as GOP like toxins. There are plenty of USA Made sites or Made in America. Do not forget that you can make difference by saving animals and donate that gift to friend. I have saved Wolves, Bears etc. Look for Organization that do it. BFC can help you with Buffalo. You can buy a Star and Help the Foundation. You can donate trees to be planted. There is a world of gifts from food for the Poor to furnishing people in America with seeds, plants, animals to feed their families.

Sad thing I have been doing this for 25 years, because I believe in America. Having to spend money just to spend money is why we have no jobs, bad economy...we havenot paid attention to the Labels.

Find something good to give, just use your imagination. Imagine having a Star Named for Your Family.
 
 
-7 # Robt Eagle 2011-11-17 07:09
LiberalLibertar ian: so if someone does not agree with your philosophy they should be silenced? Free speech, isn't that what the OWS movement is all about? Virtually everyone on this site complains about the wealthy doing it on the backs of those less fortunate. The OPPORTUNITY to do well is what America is all about, not taking from the rich to take care of those less fortunate through taxes. Charity is the option to give to those less fortunate, not tax. I'm a small business owner and my employees work their butts off as do I to make a living. Why should I be taxed for those less fortunate? The simple fact is that a government should not be spending more than it takes in as it will destroy the entire population. If none is given to anyone through the government all will succeed. Those who are destitute will be taken care of by volunteerrism and charity. The government doing this just takes away from our freedoms. The Obama Administration has circumvented the laws so badly to make government bigger and diminish our freedoms, but that is not understood on this site. Eric Holder and his Dept of Justice (DOJ) has chosen which laws to follow and which to ignore, thereby destroying the laws in the process. In the past three years more destruction has been done to America than ever in the history of the US. It is amazing that none of you see this as fact.
 
 
+6 # PGreen 2011-11-17 11:11
If you're looking for enthusiastic Obama supporters to criticize, it may be smart to look elsewhere; most people seem to be reluctant supporters, if that, given his policies in support of the wealthy-- and questionable foreign policy. If you hold that "opportunity" is what America is about, you may want to re-think your criticism of OWS as well. What opportunity? We wouldn't have 10-20% unemployment and record student loan debt, if this were true. Keep in mind that only 6% of employers see inadequate skills as a problem. (NFIB)
The rich have (at least) the obligation, as Elizabeth Warren says, to "pay it forward" for the systemic benefits that have enabled them to get rich. When you live naked in the wilderness carving out your living with your fingernails, talk about zero obligation. Compare us to other 1rst world countries-- for everyone-- in terms of healthcare, working conditions, etc. Also: volunteerism in support of the poor is insufficient, just as the notion of financial responsibility by the rich to the societal infrastructure is insufficient-- or none of this would be be an issue. We now have the greatest imbalance of wealth since the Gilded Age, so the money is there at the top-- it just needs to be pulled out of their pockets and put into circulation.
 
 
0 # jimyoung 2011-11-19 13:41
I'll listen but, please distinguish between small business people, and the grossly favored types that enjoy lower tax rates than the rest of us. I like limited lower investment tax rates for retirees but why does someone making $5 billion a year from taxpayer insured high risk investments pay lower total tax rates? You may be in the perfect storm of taxes if you are a small businessman without loopholes and tax incentives (that Reagan stopped when he took back 1/3rd of the tax cuts). Although small business people I know aren’t destitute, they will not risk money when the banks want 5 times the equity they used. Under Glass-Steagall, insurable risk was separated from uninsurable risk. Without it, we have not only turned gamblers loose with our money, equity, and inflated value of that equity, we have somehow rewarded them, insured them, and bailed them out in ways we aren’t. I suspect I’d be happy to lend you money, and insure it, if you aren’t like the “anarchical capitalists” Herbert Hoover complained about, who contribute nothing that adds value to our currency, and simply take gambling gains. I would at least not insure you, bail you out to the tune of $15.6 trillion, or prevent you from being prosecuted for fraud far greater than any other welfare cheat. A few of the bad actors are the ultimate welfare cheats. Why would you or I want to support them?
 
 
+5 # Buddha 2011-11-17 10:40
"If Occupiers are expelled from specific geographic locations the Occupier movement can shift to broad-based organizing around the simple idea at the core of the movement: It's time to occupy our democracy."

Ummm....but the problem is that our democracy itself isn't functional. We have a two party system, and both parties are bought and paid for by those Plutarchs and Corporate interests. So, how exactly do you "occupy our democracy" when the democracy itself is broken? These occupations, as RR points out, are themselves the main point of the protests, which of course is why the 1% is ordering them crushed to get the public conversation away from their kleptocracy and allow everyone to get back to business as usual. No, these protests HAVE to continue, non-violently, otherwise nothing will change. Sure, continue to vote, there is some slight differences between the Dems and GOP on some issues, issues the 1% don't really care about, but the long-term goal of tearing down the entire corrupt system and replacing it with something fair and democratic has to remain in the crosshairs...
 
 
+4 # juanitac 2011-11-17 16:00
Since money is what drives the 1%, why not start by making a massive boycott of products of all the major companies that pay littl;e or no taxes?
 
 
+4 # ghostperson 2011-11-17 23:06
I don't get it. Campaign contributions according to the conservatively packed supreme court are 1st Amendment protected speech, but live peoples in personam protests aren't? Can it get anymore Alice through the looking glass than this?
 
 
+1 # coachwrite 2011-11-18 12:55
Citizens United diametrically oppose United Citizens. Terminal irony.
 
 
0 # tinkertoodle 2011-11-20 16:04
Unfortunately this is the bitter truth but since the High court is in for life and not subject to elections or really any oversight there isn't much we can do about it
 

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