Occupy Wall Street – Are you with it?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Occupy Wall Street – Are you with it?

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    Trace One

    Jon, I am sure you didn’t mean it, but to imply that some category of people you call ‘middle class whites’ are ignorant of predjudice, unequal economic systems, and institutionalization of greed is pretty simplistic..Almost all immigrants to the US faced predjudice, either in their home country or when they got here to america. Many many revolutions against the elite plutocratic classes have occured in human history, often it was ‘white people’ doing the rebelling.

    Learning from history can help this Occupy Wall Street protests a lot – I notice that none of them really have the non-violent resistance method of dealing with arrests down very well  – you must just go limp when the cop grabs you. (Learned this in the old anti-nuke Clamshell Alliance days in Maine, when we plotted to sabotage nuclear plants..) Of course Ghandi has a lot to teach us about non-violent resistance as well, with his Salt marches, and promotion of looms to fight the capitalists.

    But I think most importantly, the protestors need to be heartened by a spirit of not giving up, looking to the long marches to justice that have preceeded their efforts..

    I don’t think that consciousness, of the long haul, is lacking at all, however, and it has me on their side and counting my self as one of them..


    “…the American Dream is healthy.”


    Jordan you have got to be kidding. Tell that to the people that are close to retiring, that have busted there tail for the last 40 years or so and did everything by the book that are now penny less.  I’m done.

    Jon Quackenbush

    Just be mindful of what you are fighting for! Do we really want socialism as the answer here?

        Democratic Socialism actually sounds pretty good to me.  I would yield to MLK’s vision of society over Bill Gates & Steve Jobs any day.  Free market capitalism has proven to be inhumane time and time again.

            We have a country where Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg(sp?) all made it to the top in a short period of time because of a good idea and some energy. That alone tells me that the American Dream is healthy.

        Keep in mind their version of the American Dream is such an exception as to border on comical.  Don’t drink that cool-aid, you have a better shot of winning the lottery three consecutive times than you do being included in the short-list you just mentioned.  The American Dream isn’t being a tycoon, it is having enough money to pay for a small plot of land while you feed your family with enough time left over to enjoy the fruits of your labor when your body starts to give out.  That is a dream man (literal and conceptual at this point), don’t you see it?  As an addendum, all those goodies that Apple makes are made in a China where workers and environmental rights are not really an issue… and not in a good way.  Nice dream you have there.

            Now we are not all going to get that rich, but if you have a truly good product/service. With capitalism it will make it. I want innovation and I benefit even if I am not the one collecting the CEO reward for making it.  It is a tough sell that you do not benefit from corporations.

            It is a tougher sell when you say we are better off because of corporations.  Just because I can surf the internet on a stupid phone and drive around in a new car doesn’t mean our lives are enriched or better off.  I could easily make the argument otherwise (especially when you consider electoral politics and environmental issues), but it may fall on deaf ears. 

    There is so much evidence to counter your arguement that I literally do not know where to start. 

    Jordan Lockman

    Democratic Socialism is a terrible idea. If you give all the control to the government, then it is ripe for exploitation(russia, china, etc). I am not saying we need to live in world without compassion. I am just saying that individuals know best how to allocate their own funds and compassion. I want to decide the house that I buy, the meal that I eat, the clothes that I have, the car that I drive, the …….. I want to decide which charities I support, which place I volunteer, which church I attend.

    On top of it all maybe we would all be better living a more simple life in a smaller economies, like the Amish, Hutterites,etc. Less distractions from our families and god. I am not sure that is the world that you are fighting for. 

    My warning is to think it through. Tea Party rallys created some real social change like the OWS is attempting, but like the tea party folks it is easy to run with zeal and to not think things out.  

    Heather Smith


    I also vote in all my elections…of course I think that in local elections we generally do have more of a voice. On a national level? No. In regards to the home you are upside down in…don’t take the downfall for what the banks did. That was your choice? They literally committed mortgage fraud…literally. WaMu actually blacklisted appraisers that wouldn’t inflate home values…I highly doubt they were the only ones. Also, consider the fact that these same banks falsified documents to make borrowers “qualified” for larger loans. Those are all crimes. I highly doubt you bought more home then you could afford…I also doubt that you were involved in illegal activity, yet it is YOU that is paying for the crimes of individuals.

    The issue with the banks is they are no longer required to take risk…which is a major function of capitalism. When you are no longer required to take risks…when you no longer have skin in the game…you begin to take huge risks because why not? These CEOs took huge risks because they knew it wouldn’t affect them…heck, they are currently laying off employees while simultaneously giving themselves raises. Everyone understands bonus’ when you do an extra good job…but bonus’ when you literally bankrupt your company? Yes, many of these companies possibly including the bank that your mortgage is through literally wouldn’t exist if the tax payers hadn’t bailed them out. In a free market society these banks would be toast. Instead I get to hear you talking about a choice you never had. Give yourself some credit, you have done what you were supposed to do.

    Please take the time to read this…this should outrage you.


    Also, in regards to campaign financing the banks donate to both…they know what they are doing. They want to pick a winner because of course that is the one they will be dealing with.

    In regards to being anti capitalist…I am not that. A poll has been done that found that very few OWS want to destroy capitalism. Don’t be distracted by what is happening because of an emotional response that you have to certain fringe segments of the group. Conservatives are frothing at the mouth…for what? They have been taken advantage of too. Keep looking at the facts and decide if you have been wronged. If you don’t like what OWS…do your own thing, talk to family and friends about it.

    Steve Mercer

    Democratic Socalism… Now that is an oxymoron if ah ever heard one!  Ah think you need to take a few less drags of whatever you are smok’in Jon because it is effecting your better judgement.  Keep that up and the boys in white coats are gonna pay you a visit.



    Heather Smith


    Those shareholders also benefited from the bank bail outs…otherwise their shares would be worth nothing. I don’t buy that it is up to the shareholders to regulate the business or to hold them accountable for illegal activities. They hold shares in businesses that are essentially guaranteed not to go under…even when horrible decisions are being made.

    If you are against bank bailouts and the corruption inherent b/w our political system and corporations then you agree with OWS. People agree on what the issues are…the disagreements are on how to solve those, although you will see a wide consensus for things such as having the DOJ actually prosecute people for the crimes they committed. If you don’t agree with the ideas you hear offered…you should go offer your own. I highly suspect you may find many that agree with you, but you won’t see that on mainstream media. There are A LOT of libertarians in OWS…who I would say are actually small government conservatives. Typical GOP is still big government…they just choose to focus on other areas such military spending. I actually heard Mitt Romney pledge to increase military spending.

    Personally, I am not a libertarian, I do not believe that the market should just be left alone and everything will be okay. I heard a guy speaking on Darwinian economics the other day and that was pretty interesting. The point is though, that we shouldn’t have to agree on everything to agree that our political system is corrupt. If we can’t even lay down our swords in order to accomplish justice within our political system it won’t matter what differences or ideas we have regarding how the country should be governed. Because ultimately we have two candidates handpicked for us that we get to choose between…both of which know who they need to listen to in order to secure campaign financing. Hint: It isn’t you and me.

    Heather Smith
    David J. Chirico

    This is interesting, 21 pages of forum debate in 20 minutes at Zuccotti Park:



    Heather Smith

    I saw that! It was interesting. Like I have mentioned before I don’t agree with every viewpoint down there but there was a conversation where the Peter Schiff says he never wanted the bail out…when the young man he was talking to just looked at him like…yes, that is what we are here for. haha. I think so much static has been introduced that it prevents people from realizing they agree on these huge issues…instead they are dissuaded because of the belief that everyone is down there to pick on rich dudes. haha. I went to our local protest last night and the most common thing  yelled at us was, “Get a job!”. ??? First off, in our region most people are working, we don’t camp or meet all day, we meet 4-6:30 Monday-Friday and stand around holding signs. People are using their free time to speak up about these injustices. Secondly, yelling, “Get a job”, (mostly yelled by college guys…most likely not working) to a group of individuals protesting economic inequality is pretty funny. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for the link…I found the guy and protesters both irritating in their own way. haha.

    Trace One

    That link is the epitome of how not to have a discussion.The conservative dude is shouting talking points, and the OWS’ers are inarticulate and not thought out..The best rep. I have seen is that dude in the Union Army hat early on, talking to some FOX woman, and running circles around her..

    That clip is a joke..Is that the best conversation our society can have? Lets work a little harder guys, and try to understand reality together.

    Or just let the southern states secede especially Texas, and they can have their no -roads, no health care, dirty, climate-changing piece of the earth, while the rest of us try to advance the human race.


    There are incredibly wide-ranging and divergent viewpoints on the OWS movement, just as it should be.


    One enlightened mind whose weblog I read from time-to-time, is Charles Hugh Smith. You can find him and his web essay blogs on rainbow of topics (mostly national and global economics and finance) here:



    No matter what side of political spectrum your on or whatever your direction of tilt on the OWS movment, below are what as I see as some practical and constructive actions to take to channel your angst in the right direction.


    For those of you who want the whole taco, here is the entire web essay:





    Here are my observations.

    1. As an old activist myself (circa the early-mid 1970s), I learned that timing is everything but it is out of our control.  A well-publicized mass demonstration in June draws 16 people (or four), and one three months later draws thousands of people. The difference is a change of awareness/  consciousness crystallized in the broader culture. 

    Concepts and phrases that placed me and other bloggers firmly in the farthest fringes of American society in 2005 and 2006 are now mainstream, bantered around on thousands of blogs and social media sites.  People usually gain an awareness of propaganda and servitude slowly, and often only when their servitude and the dominance of self-serving Power Elites actually start impacting their own lives. That is now happening to more and more people.

    The key to this process is having explanations and models which make sense of what’s happening.As the Status Quo unravels/devolves, the propaganda becomes less and less persuasive as an account of how the world actually works. Alternative explanations suddenly “make sense.” For me, the neo-colonial “plantation” model of financial/political exploitation and oppression neatly explains how America functions in the real world: debt-serfs, a Technocratic Caste of enforcers/managers, etc., just like on a colonial plantation ruled by a distant, cloaked, unreachable Elite.  Others have different models, but the key feature is that each alternative explanation disrupts and subverts the Status Quo narrative.

    This process cannot be co-opted or stopped. The only question left to be answered going forward is how much pain and suffering the Status Quo Power Elites and their armies of technocrat toadies, lackeys and prostitutes will impose on the nation before their grip on power is finally relinquished.

    2. Given the vast armies of toadies, lackeys and prostitutes at their command, the Power Elite likes nothing better than “illegal action” which it can then ruthlessly suppress (truncheon-wielding cops, media smears, financial harrassment via the agencies of regulation/enforcement, etc.)

    This is why I favor direct, perfectly legal action by individuals and households to divest themselves of servitude/complicity in the Status Quo. Max Keiser’s campaign to cripple Power Elite speculators in silver is one example: if 100 million households each bought 10 ounces of physical silver, that would completely disrupt the speculative game played by Wall Street.

    One way to take direct action is to avoid  student loan servitude: whatever it takes, get an education and degree without burdening yourself (and enriching Wall Street) with huge student loans. It can be done, but it means moving outside the Status Quo propaganda and narrative.

    There is no law (yet) requiring citizens to have a mortgage, or credit card debt or an auto loan. Imagine what would happen to Wall  Street’s ponzi financialization schemes  if there were no mortgages to slice and dice and sell.  Removing your interest payments and debt from the system is a direct action against servitude and the dominance of the Wall Street/Washington Power Elite.

    Debt forces our complicity and servitude. The first step to true independence and freedom is to owe Wall Street and the other systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) nothing. Owing them nothing is still perfectly legal. Once their income streams collapse, then buying the pimps and prostitutes of Washington becomes much more difficult.

    The storm troopers of the Elite in Washington will protect their interests at every turn; that is why “reforming the system” is essentially impossible.

    There are three ways not to have a mortgage:
    1. don’t get a mortgage
    2. pay off your existing mortgage
    3. If you are insolvent, declare bankruptcy and dismiss the mortgage debt via the legal process of bankruptcy.

    Others have taken the route of strategic default.

    Other direct actions include:

    –remove your money from Wall Street firms and “too big to fail” banks, opting for credit unions and online securities accounts.

    –closing credit card accounts and/or minimizing your use of credit cards, which generate vast fees and profits for Wall Street and TBTF banks–what William Black calls systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs).

    — don’t vote for either criminal gang–the Demopublicans or the Republicrats. Vote for an alternative, or the non-incumbent, or at least someone who refuses to play the game (for example, Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich). Not voting plays right into the Power Elite’s hands: the passivity and complicity of the average citizen is their greatest ally in maintaining their neo-feudal power.

    There are other direct actions we can take in the privacy of our own lives and homes. The basic idea is simple: stop being complicit in an exploitative, oppressive Status Quo, and stop passively accepting the governance of prostitutes and pimps and the lackeys they appoint (Geithner, Bernanke, et al.) It is perfectly legal (so far) to be debt-free, to own silver and to vote against the two criminal gangs that run Whoretown (Washington, D.C.)

    Demonstrating is a good way to join in common cause and to raise awareness within the passive public, but being debt-free and thus a free citizen is even more powerful. Removing your debt and interest from Wall Street and the other systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) will cripple their power in a way that toothless political reforms cannot.

    Becoming a free, independent citizen won’t solve all our nation’s problems, but it will certainly enable solutions that are now impossible in the current neo-feudal, neo-colonial plantation run by Wall Street and Washington.

    Jon Quackenbush

    It was a ‘simplistic’ comment but it was based on the notion that the civil rights movement achieved a legal victory, not an economic one. For the bottom two-thirds of African-Americans, you can argue (from an economic standpoint) that life is worse today than it was when Martin Luther King marched in Selma in 1965. King understood that racial equality was impossible without economic justice.  My point is middle class whites are now beginning to be in the same boat that african americans have been in for the past century, and are now screaming “its not fair!”.  That could be why there aren’t many people of color at the OWS rallies, yet…

    At my OWS rally in Albany, Ny we have discussed just going limp if the cops were to come, however we have a police chief who believes in the right of peaceful assembly and has spurned the governor on his wanting to crack down.

    @Steve — “democratic socialism” came from the mouth of Martin Luther King and he was much smarter than you, and he didn’t smoke anything.  And you missed the point entirely.  He said, and I said, call it whatever you will, but there “has to be a greater distribution of wealth in this country for everyone”.  Apparently you disagree…. you need to go to AAA because all of that binge drinking is making you sound like an aggressive putz.

    @Jordan — Socialism would cause corruption?  You know what country you live in, right?  Tell me how effective capitalism is at spurning corruption?  Please, humor me.

    Jordan Lockman
    Jon Quackenbush

    The country we actually live in contradicts your entire position.  If we lived in the America of the textbooks you read in high school, then sure, you would be 100% right.  But we live in a more scurilous version.  We only have the illusion of choice at this point.  Look at congress, it is all millionaires and mostly white and are easily bought by lobbyists so that they govern against the greater interest for those who fund their campaigns.  If they aren’t millionaires when they are elected, they are when they leave office… why is that I wonder when their salaries aren’t that lucrative?  There is also an illusion of a great difference between the two major parties, when in fact there really is only a difference in rhetoric (aka theater).  The results are the same, those that fund them are the same, therefore they govern the same. 

    It is funny you mention putting all power into one place, because that is exactly why there is an OWS movement.  All the power is in the hands of corporations and the upper 1% of this country.  I don’t want socialism as a political system, I want the country we are promised in our constitution, a free and just society and there is much work to be done for that to be the case. Don’t give up.

    We are living in an oligarchy Jordan, and that is the polar opposite of the concept of America.  I think you will find if you study the history of our country, you will agree with that assessment, I know you will.

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