A View of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) from across a lot of ocean (think east of wherever you are Stateside)

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION A View of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) from across a lot of ocean (think east of wherever you are Stateside)

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    Before I get into my brief barrage about the OWS movement,  I want to offer major props to
    Joshua Elam (who don’t know from Adam, Caen or any other biblical character) for being astute and observant enough to make such a posting in the first place.  With such historic economic upheaval that is remaking our nation, and will have lasting and unforeseen implications for generations long after the rest of us expire how many  more forum entries can we have to name a few (among the countless) about:

    •   planting design;
    • squabble among the design professions,
    •  and our own continued hand wringing, questioning and introspection about if we are a relevant profession making any kind of indelible and lasting imprint in the world as we know it ?

    I chose to make a new and related forum entry on this topic because I did not want what I offer here to get buried deep in the other OWS forum and also because I think the material cited below has  a slightly different perspective and point of departure for discussion.

    Before I launch into succinct diatribe (yes you can have both) let me make two other points. One has been made here on Land8Lounge recently and the other is one we can take a little momentary comfort in.

    First, I am in complete agreement that while there is nothing really objectionable to the same-old-same-old crowd of regularly recurring commentarians here (and you all know who you are), it would be good to see some fresh newcomers here.  Yeah, that is all of us others, me included who have appropriately labeled as “lurkers” or “hit and run artists”. We also know who we all are.

    Second, while nothing noble and certainly avoiding any scent of condescension here,  it appears we are among the  only design  profession taking notice of OWS and voicing our varied opinions about it. There is a discussion thread on Archinet that bears a remarkable similarity to the depth and breadth of the Land8Lounge discussion. 

    SEE: http://archinect.com/forum/thread/22129173/occupywallstreet

    So here it goes.

    I work as a landscape architect/professional planner (AICP) and urban designer for a substantial multi-disciplinary firm in what can be considered one of the smaller settlements in China (around 11 million).  This city was merely a seacoast hamlet with seafaring, shipping and fishing as its reasons for being 25 years ago, Yes, I came here for the project opportunities, continued employment (after getting downscaled and then laid off) and for the more than respectable income
    (equal and exceeding Western design firm salary norms).  But I digress….

    A completely unscientific cable news media survey (my own over the last month) of CNN, Chinese Cable Television (CCTV) (the very slick and fairly professional television organ of the People’sRepublic and remarkably far more “fair and balanced”  than Fox Noise could ever hope to be….yes they actually have reasoned and civil debate !!)  and BBC World would give any reasonable and rational individual watching the OWS coverage,  to draw the following conclusions:

    • This nascent movement and their message is incoherent,  scattered,  unfocused  and certainly without  any credible, telegenic spokespeople; hence what do they really stand for ?
    • This could be the beginning of our own nation’s version of the Arab Spring awakening but won’t even make it till Spring 2012 ( it will fragment, get co-opted or just fold, fade and get drowned out from the pending political theatre and machinations of the 2012 presidential elections(take your pick or offer your own cause for the possible demise) and
    • As the tired joke goes which is still relevant and worth repeating here “If you want to know who the unemployed and losers are in American society, just watch the audience in the Jerry Springer Show(substitute OWS for contemporary comparison)


    I offer a few different, highly articulate, insightful and thought provoking viewpoints for your  further consideration here. They differ dramatically from the three points above and in some cases, are diametrically opposed.  I align very close  to their expressed viewpoints, bent and bias, so there are true colors of my freak flag (my appreciation to David Crosby)

    At  the risk of you remaining less informed and worked up than you have been so far on OWS, scan, peruse or read these in-depth and let the dialogue and debate grow more lengthy, richer and rambunctious. You can also ignore them at your peril.

    Chris  Hedges- Too Big to Fail


    Chris Hedges – The Best
    Among Us



    James Howard Kunstler–Clusterfuck Nation

    Occupy Everything


    Here come the OWSERS


    Joe Nocera –New York

    Not about OWS but highly relevant and alarming nevertheless



    and of course, the discourse would be far more lacking without a blast from Paul Krugman.


     That is enough and way too much. So read none of this, part, all of it or write your own column. In the words of the great Robert Plant the rest of the Zep, “Ramble On”.

    Jon Quackenbush

    What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

    Chris Hedges is a liberal, proud of it and I just love him for that.  I find that I agree with almost everything that he says, and he has given me hope and drive that positive revolution is possible, attainable and within reach if we hold true to our convictions. 

    The moment OWS is co-opted by the Democrats is the moment I just ship.

    Heather Smith

    Thanks for posting. I will read these, although I am falling into despair regarding the overwhelming hurdles we have as a people if we are to gain control of our political system again. Regarding, OWS…I see this as a chance to do something, the more of us that become engaged the better. If we don’t do it now…when will we?

    Heather Smith

    I know I am on occasion a frequent poster…but wanted to respond to something I hear again and again from people that don’t get OWS. I hear, “what good does it do to stand outside with a sign?”. The fact that people are willing to sleep in inclement weather, stand outside in the cold, be pepper sprayed and beaten…yes, this has happened for peacefully demonstrating is indicative of the crisis we are in. I have a friend that has joined our protest in our small Northern Idaho town whose mother asked how long the protests would go. She replied, “As long as it takes mom.” Her mom said, “It is going to get cold out there”.  It will get cold out there…and we will still stand out there. Our protest has representation of parents, students, children and the disabled. We do not camp out but do meet at the same time everyday, on Main Street…holding signs asking for justice from our government, asking for an end to the corporate funding in politics, asking that our fellow citizens at least LOOK at what is happening. We get the occasional nod of disapproval…the digs suggesting we are un American. Day in day out…we are out there…supposedly fools for wanting accountability. The fact that these topics are now talked about in the mainstream media say we have already made a positive impact. I would say to anyone that doesn’t feel the movement represents themselves…go down and represent yourself. That is the point…this movement is about all of us…and will become what we bring to it.

    Tanya Olson

    More later on OWS – but first….you took the job! I remember you trying to decide whether to take the leap or not….How is it going? Weren’t you supposed to report back about what your experience is working in China?

    Trace One

    agree with Tanya – landplanner – you are ‘somewhat east’ ??

    How is the spitting and the air  pollution? If I cause enough trouble in my present job, I may see you out there!

    tell, tell.how is China!!


    Hey Mr. William Davenport (a.k.a. Ayn Rand automotan or cretin) read any one of these great citations, get brain chemicals (or whatever other ones you take) and by all means respond !!

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