Protests in Des Moines – League Blogger Arrested?

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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147 Responses

  1. Most of those “arrested” were never officially charged with anything, just physically assaulted and detained against their will until after midnight.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Shawn, if you can read this (somehow, which I doubt if you’re incarcerated), say nothing at all to the police. That part that they say on TV about how “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law?” They don’t have to include the clause “taken out of context” and remember that the phrase “court of law” isn’t “court of justice.” You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to an attorney — exercise those rights.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    I’ll cross my fingers and hope for an interesting blog post once he’s free and clear.Report

  4. Avatar Shay O'Reilly says:

    I think you meant “others have been released,” Erik.

    Also, this video was posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2179740811087

    Shawn’s my best friend; I’d bet my next paycheck that’s him being dragged away across the pavement.Report

  5. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    A few days in the county facilities and $1,000 fine will straighten Shawn out. I can see him now, in a holding cell, with a dozen other thugs, with one stainless steel toilet, no seat…enjoy!Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Is there someplace we can call to ask for status on him?

    Can we, somehow, be a thorn in the man’s side on his behalf?

    I mean, if calling the Police and asking for a status of Shawn Gude would get him out sooner…Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’m not so sure that annoying the man will necessarily have that effect.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It depends on whether we’re dealing with Authorities who were operating on principle and doing everything to uphold the ideas behind civil society or if we’re dealing with cops who are upset that they never got a chance to break up anti-Vietnam rallies back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

        If it’s the former, I agree with you 100%.

        If it’s the latter, I suspect that they’re likely to say “ah, this ain’t worth the bother” fairly quickly.Report

  7. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    DES MOINES — About three dozen protesters who are part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement were arrested for trespassing and taken to the Polk County Jail late Sunday night after they refused to leave a park west of the Iowa Capitol when it closed at 11 p.m.

    Several people were dragged on the ground or carried away in handcuffs by state troopers, after they linked arms and huddled together in an effort to avoid arrest.

    “It was a complete police over-reaction. The police could have chosen to let the protest remain, as they have in Iowa City and many other places,” said Drake University Law Professor Sally Frank, who estimated that there were between 30 and 36 arrests. “There was some brutality. One man was pepper-sprayed and injured.”

    The demonstration in Des Moines is one of dozens happening across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired thousands to camp out in public places to protest corporate greed, social and economic inequality, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government.

    Former state Rep. Ed Fallon, D-Des Moines, a 2006 candidate for governor and 2008 Congressional candidate who now has a radio show called “The Fallon Forum,” was one of the earlier ones to be arrested. Others included a 14-year-old girl who was taken to Meyer Hall, the juvenile detention facility here.

    As troopers took some of the protesters away, others on the sidelines sang, “All we are saying is give democracy a chance.”

    Des Moines’ protest started at around noon Sunday. More than 400 gathered west of the Capitol in an area they called “People’s Park,” and agreed to occupy the area. By about 10 p.m., the group had shrunk to about 175 people, who had set up 24 tents and intended to occupy the area indefinitely.

    Trooper Mark Logsdon warned the protesters at about 10:30 p.m. that they would be arrested if they stayed. About 100 members of the group, which included both teenagers and senior citizens, moved across the street near the State Historical Building to avoid arrest. But the warning only strengthened the resolve of others.

    “Who’s park? Our park!” the protesters shouted repeatedly, as they held signs that said “This is what democracy looks like” and “Make Wall Street pay.”

    Just after 11 p.m., about two dozen state troopers and Des Moines police officers converged on the scene and began making the arrests, and hauling the tents off the Capitol grounds.

    “We don’t believe that our government is right the way it is. We don’t believe that we should have corporate greed,” said Alexandra Martin, 17, of Pella, who said she considers herself a liberal Democrat. “I am fighting for my future. I am a child and I am fighting for my future children. They shouldn’t grow up in a government and a world like this.”

    http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.iml?Article=249625Report

  8. Avatar BSK says:

    I never understood the point of public parks “closing”. I recognize that the rationale is the likelihood of people in a park late at night engaged in criminality. Well, last I checked, those illegal behaviors are still, well, illegal*. Day or night. In a park or elsewhere. Do we need to ban access to parks after 11PM because drug dealers might use the cover of darkness and limited patrol to make a few deals? If you can afford to patrol a park for trespassers, you can afford to patrol a park for drug dealers. If you see a deal going down, you arrest. If not, you let the folks be. Enforce the laws that already exist. Don’t make new laws to make already-illegal behaviors MORE illegal. If the only law the people are breaking is “trespassing”… well, that’s just silly.

    I do think there might be a legitimate public interest in preventing people from sleeping/camping/living in public parks, because doing so could prevent others from using the park as intended. But there should also be a bit of nuance in the law to allow for folks to peaceably assemble and protest, two pretty important rights.

    A disclaimer: I once received a summons for being in NY’s Central Park after it closed (actually, two summons: one was for being in the park itself and one was for disobeying the sign that told me I shouldn’t be in the park. I struggle to see how these are different offenses, especially since I never saw the sign in the first place). As I spoke with the officer, he said the law existed to keep dangerous people out of the park. I asked if he thought I was one of the dangerous people. He said he didn’t. I asked how my summons was intended to keep me safer. He mumbled something and shooed me along. I also asked how people were expected to get across the city when there is an almost-3-mile-long park that can’t be crossed dividing it. He informed me to walk along one of the traverse roads. I told him those roads had minimal side walks, tight curves, and few, if any, traffic lights, making them far more dangerous than walking through the park. He agreed. He then said I ought to take a bus. I told him the buses cost money, making them unavailable to some people and run very infrequently late at night. He finally recommended that I simply walk around the park. The almost-3-mile-long park. Brilliant. I ultimately got off, but the experience did demonstrate the silliness of such laws.

    * I’m offering no comment on whether these behaviors ought to be illegal. That is another conversation for another day.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK says:

      A question worth asking would be whether this particular law had been enforced at any point since, oh, the anti-Iraq protests.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        In my experience, park closings are generally enforced when noticed. Cynically, it’s an easy way for cops to utilize their authority. Less cynically, it helps keep the order. In either case, it’s rather annoying for a late-night smoker who can’t smoke on his property.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

          I can actually chime in here. It’s a budgetary and risk management issue. A city has liabilities for things that go wrong on their property; if the city decides that is can’t/doesn’t want to pay for 24 hour oversight of a park, it’s CFO will dictate that the park needs to be closed. From a liability standpoint, it’s one thing if you are ‘open’ with no police patrols to save money and someone is assaulted; it’s another if that person was trespassing when they were assaulted.

          Not arguing one way or the other, just noting this is why parks close.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            So it’s the darn lawyers, you’re saying?Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            As a counterexample, the People’s Park in Shanghai closes at dusk. I can’t imagine that lawsuits against the government are much of an issue in China. It could just be that the government is full of control freaks, but they don’t impose a general curfew. I’m not sure why there’s a problem with people being in the park specifically. Especially when the park belongs to them. It’s in the name. Maybe it’s about controlling vagrancy.

            Wait a minute…People’s Park…where have I heard that recently? Oh, right:

            Des Moines’ protest started at around noon Sunday. More than 400 gathered west of the Capitol in an area they called “People’s Park,” and agreed to occupy the area.

            Are they putting up swastika banners, too?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Join an otherwise peaceful protest, figure out a way to have a Swastika show up, immediately take a picture, then accuse the protest of being a White Supremacy rally.

              One guy to dig a hole, two guys to run up and drop a flagpole with a flag on it, a fourth to immediately take the picture, then run.

              Nazi-bombing.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                Actually, if they were Nazi’s at least the rank and file could tell the media why they’re there. Also, I heard a two minute clip of a Jew hater going after the Wall Street Jews. Now, yes you’re right that might be an example of a small faction but nobody shouted them down, no one argued, and that was more telling then the wanker’s ‘hate’ speech.
                And, I’m pretty sure if some conservative began preaching his schpeal, he’d be shouted down immediately.
                I think if I was a leftwinger I’d think twice about running with this crowd.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                The anti-war protests had a similar problem. You’ve got this great “violence is never the answer” thing going on with a Unitarian minister giving a great speech and then two ANSWER anarchists show up and start burning people in effigy.

                And, of course, what shows up on the news that night?

                I can’t really hold that against the protesters.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, I suppose one can create scenerios all day long, that satisfy.Report

              • Did he actually say anti-Jewish things, or are you just reading it into remarks against Wall Streeters in general?Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to wardsmith says:

                ““Go back to Israel,” shouted one protester at an elderly Jewish man.”

                He later added, “Not that it has a right to exist, mind you!”Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to wardsmith says:

                Okay, those people are idiots.Report

              • Avatar BSK in reply to wardsmith says:

                It will be interesting to see how the movement responds to this. When video and photographs emerged of racist statements and signs at TP rallies, my larger criticism was reserved for the leaders and other primary players who remained silent on the issue. You can’t control everyone who shows up to a rally, but you can control how you respond to those who do. It is understandable that a response would not be immediate, since you wouldn’t necessarily know about it in the moment, but once things break in the media, it is hard to claim ignorance.

                So, let’s give the OWS folks a couple of days and see how they respond. Obviously, the people making these statement are ignorant asses who should be shouted down by anyone and everyone who is of a rationale mind. If the OWS people remain silent on the matter, shame on them as well.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to wardsmith says:

                Isn’t leftism just anti-semitism with “Jews” crossed out and replaced with “the rich” or “bankers?”Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to wardsmith says:

                Me, I wouldn’t play the anti-Semitism card here, Mr. Berg. I’ve found it to be a fairly equal-opportunity bigotry. People are people.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to wardsmith says:

                I’m not saying that leftists are antisemitic. If you replace Jews with a different scapegoat, then it’s not really very antisemitic.

                I just think that the sort of populist leftism you see in this and similar movements is very strongly remnisicient of traditional antisemitism, with the most significant difference being a different choice of scapegoat.

                There’s probably a right-wing analogue, too. Anti-immigrant hysteria, for example. Dirty furriners takin’ our jobs.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                Brandon,
                Ever since the French revolution, the rich have been playing poor versus poor. Which is what anti-immigrant sentiment is.

                Anti-rich sentiment is… fundamentally anti-peasant. It’s a rather modern thing, and fundamentally has more dignity than hating the Jew pissing off the diving board (n.b. this is a historical reference, lookitup before throwing stones about me using Jew in a sentence.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to wardsmith says:

                “The Jews are all rich” is not the same as “The Rich are all Rich.”Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to wardsmith says:

                Well populism in general tends to produce scapegoats. I’m not sure that it’s fair to say that the things these people are protesting are totally unrelated to any actions taken in the last decade by the wealthy or bankers though.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Brandon:

                Isn’t leftism just anti-semitism with “Jews” crossed out and replaced with “the rich” or “bankers?”

                Wow, that is a really absurd thing to say.Report

              • In the sense that populism tends to entail mobs ganging up some hated minority – or democracy in action if you will – then it’s not absurd at all, E.D..

                Now, I think Mr. Berg was being a bit provocative in that comment, but if you unpack what he’s saying, he makes a significant point, whether or not it is applicable in this particular situation (I don’t think it is just yet, but I – as a fellow lefty in the sense that I consider the well-being of the poor to presuppose the well-being of the rich – remain optimistic that the gude Shawn Goods of the nation will steer the Occupy™ Place x movement in the right direction while the Enjolrases of the world continue to sit at the pub and drink.)Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Christopher – no, I disagree. Protesting things like wealth inequality and bailouts is not the same thing as being irrationally bigoted toward an ethnic group. The comparison is silly and offensive.Report

              • @E.D. – They’re certainly not the same thing. Class warfare is not even in the same ballpark as racial scapegoating; but I still think Mr. Berg makes a significant point, that undirected populism has been the structure through which historical evils have emerged, no matter what those evils are eventually directed against. I just want to clarify that I’m not equating “Jews” with “Rupert Murdoch”.

                Populism could be directed against the influenza virus for instance and it might not fizzle out until every last swine, duck, chicken, turkey, and Mexican pig farmer were dead.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Sure, there’s always a risk of unintended consequences with populist uprising. No doubt about it. Do we really suspect that will happen in this instance? No. We really don’t. This is popular anger at wealth inequality and bailouts and the inability of the government to function to help anyone other than the rich. It’s not going to lead to guillotines.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to wardsmith says:

                “Do we really suspect that will happen in this instance? No. We really don’t.”

                You tempt the gods.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to wardsmith says:

                This is popular anger at wealth inequality and bailouts and the inability of the government to function to help anyone other than the rich. It’s not going to lead to guillotines.

                Okay, I don’t think Americans are the guillotine types, so I agree with you there. But I would like to note that that is pretty much what led to guillotines the first time around.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Then perhaps the government and the current aristocracy should listen.Report

              • I sincerely hope you never have to eat those words.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Honestly all this nonsense about the dangers of populism really irks me. Look at what’s actually happening, not at some silly historical lessons from the French revolution. What’s actually happening is the inability of the government to stimulate the economy through either fiscal or monetary policy. This isn’t “let them eat cake” territory. The mixture of mockery and disdain and then – bizarrely – warnings of doom that these protests have inspired amongst libertarians is baffling to me. You would think libertarians would be joining the #OWS protests, not deriding them. You think all these bankers and uber-rich earned this money? Through sheer dint of will? Through the tugging of bootstraps? I think we’ll see many silly things on silly signs in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t change the fact that these protests are a good thing that people should be embracing not tut-tutting from their computer screens.Report

              • Avatar E.C. Gach in reply to wardsmith says:

                As to the question of “earning,” a recent and brilliant episode of Planet Money tackled the issue of “how money got weird”:

                http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/09/30/140954343/the-friday-podcast-how-money-got-weird

                The short of it is, their was an explosion in “financialization” of various industries and varioius departments of specific companies. So an airline ends up losing money in every department, except for accounting, because they start trading in oil futures, leasing out planes, and manipulating depreciation timelines and how ticket revenues are accounted in order to cushion their bottom line and wow investors.

                What we’ve had for the past quarter century is an explosion in the financial industry, which not only sucked talent from more valubale endeavors (medicine, engineering, education, agriculture), but also didn’t really create anything of its own, leading company profits to swell by gaming markets rather than actually investing in their business and offering better products more efficiently and at cheaper prices.

                Most of the people who road that wave have kept their fortunes intact while a majority of the country has seen been left to deal with deficits they left behind.Report

              • “Honestly all this nonsense about the dangers of populism really irks me. Look at what’s actually happening, not at some silly historical lessons from the French revolution.”

                I thought Burke’s insight had more currency around here – at least more than being name-called and dismissed without argument.

                “What’s actually happening is the inability of the government to stimulate the economy through either fiscal or monetary policy. This isn’t “let them eat cake” territory.”

                I sincerely hope you’re right, as I’ve said, and all indications point to peaceful protest with absolutely no effect – how seriously do you think John Boehner is going to take some nineteen-year-old in a Guy Fawkes mask? What happens when nothing happens?

                “The mixture of mockery and disdain and then – bizarrely – warnings of doom that these protests have inspired amongst libertarians is baffling to me. You would think libertarians would be joining the #OWS protests, not deriding them. You think all these bankers and uber-rich earned this money? Through sheer dint of will? Through the tugging of bootstraps? I think we’ll see many silly things on silly signs in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t change the fact that these protests are a good thing that people should be embracing not tut-tutting from their computer screens.”

                I’m not aware of any libertarian mockery, certainly not from this side of my computer screen. I’d love to participate in the protests (only a few T stops away from my present location), but I have chains to clutch, and right now my chains are more dear to me that the non-goals of people setting up tents on Boston Common for a spontaneous Phish concert or whatever is going to happen (I couldn’t help myself.)

                Seriously though, attending my Physics lecture and doing well on my problem set this week seems more promising in terms of my getting a job than carrying around a sign and demanding that the government give me one. If that is silly, consider me Mr. Potato Head.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to wardsmith says:

                E.D., right, this doesn’t look anything like the French Revolution to me. For one, these aren’t a bunch of peasant-class sans-culottes, but mostly middle-class young people with college educations. They feel entitled, and therefore let down, rather than deeply oppressed. There’s a pretty friggin’ big difference between feeling entitled to a good job and not being overwhelmed by debt on the one hand, and wanting to not starve. I see nothing that would imply that today’s protests will lead to guillotines, because it’s not like the sorts of revolutionary movements that have led to guillotines (or their period equivalents) in the past.

                At first, I thought it looked a bit like the populist anti-wall street protests of the first few decades of the 20th century, or maybe the populist protests of the 30s, none of which led to guillotines. While I still think there are some similarities, the differences now strike me as too big to ignore. I would be happy if these protests were as productive as those of the 30s, though, or if they appealed to as broad an audience (right now, they seem pretty limited, though an increased labor presence might change that).Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to wardsmith says:

                Okay, here’s all I was saying: E.D. said that this “popular anger at wealth inequality and bailouts and the inability of the government to function to help anyone other than the rich” wasn’t the sort of thing that will lead to guillotines, and I said no I don’t think it will this time, but that is a fair description of what led to the invention of the guillotine originally. It was a historian’s joke. Not a claim about where these protests are headed. Seriously, I think you’re mushing a bunch of us together into one argument here. I don’t think there’s going to be another revolution in America. At least not for a few generations.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                Chris,
                the middle class was what caused the french revolution. Burghers, Guildsmen — not the peasants in the fields so much.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                Chris,
                Depends on whether boehner is a scientologist or not.
                *ba-da-smash!*Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

                Christopher – I wasn’t aiming my comment at you directly. No name-calling here.

                Rufus – this is true – I am lumping a bunch of comments together and responding broadly. Perhaps I shouldn’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to wardsmith says:

                The dangers of populism are the dangers of the excesses of democracy. I’m 100% behind the whole free speech, peaceful assembly thing.

                My criticisms, if any, would be dealing with messaging, aesthetics, and discipline.

                Which, if you ask me, are fair game.Report

              • Avatar Shay O'Reilly in reply to wardsmith says:

                (Putting on my “outraged populist” hat, bear with me.)

                What is the alternative to populist uprising? When the political and economic system is clearly broken — and when the system has been revealed, particularly through recent events, to have always been an engine of devastation — what option is there but for democratic citizens to exercise the power that has not been taken from them?

                The ballot box? Congress panders incessantly to big business, drawn in by the promise of corporate dollars. When money is speech, those with less money are less capable of being heard — and easily drowned out by those with more.

                Monetary disinvestment is no longer an option. As I have learned, you can create alternative communities all you want but eventually they challenge the status quo, and eventually they are no longer enough. I am committed in my daily life to creating and building the kind of world I want to see in small pockets, from a housing collective to — yes — the occupation in my town, which has become not just a base for acting against the problems that confront us, but also an alternative sphere of cooperation, education, and democratic voice.

                I facilitated the first General Assembly here in Iowa City. Afterward, I received a message from an attendee on facebook, someone I had not met before. She said she was 36 years old, and it was the first time she ever felt she was in a democratic institution. That is why I am involved with this so heavily. That’s why I find the apathy and scorn (that directed at the mere existence of this, not at its tactics) absurd: Can’t you tell that something is wrong? Can’t you look at what is actually happening, rather than pooh-pooh some people for being angry?

                (A brief interlude of frustration: If we are not angry we are portrayed as hippies playing drums in the park. If we are angry we are the dangerous, faceless mob.)

                I understand the concerns about ultimate violence, but the focus on those above all else implies a bizarre chain of logic: If angry, bottom-up advocacy has been involved in past violence, regardless of the lack of evidence that it inevitably tends toward such, it is never acceptable. I’d say more, but I believe this path has been trodden quite effectively by Camus.Report

              • I actually think things are pretty good, relatively speaking. That’s not to say they can’t get better. We could use a better health care system, a more robust economy, more personal freedoms, and we should probably end the wars, but otherwise we’re doing alright. The ship needs some repairs, but we’re not going to capsize. Unless we All Go Crazy, of course. That happens sometimes.

                Democratic institutions are nice, and normally we’d have actual communities in which to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship, but partly as a consequence of technology, partly as a consequence of economics, and partly as a consequence of policy, our communities have eroded. Tocqueville was pretty keen on this. I’m not sure how Camus applies unless it’s that democracy is absurd, vague support for syndicalism, or a general code of non-violence.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                one expects the alternative to a populist uprising to be a nonpopulist uprising, does one not?
                Coup attempt anyone?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to wardsmith says:

                For one, these aren’t a bunch of peasant-class sans-culottes, but mostly middle-class young people with college educations. They feel entitled, and therefore let down, rather than deeply oppressed.

                The middle-class college-educated folks were a significant portion of the French Revolution as well. That Revolution would never have succeeded without either the urban poor or the peasantry, but the leaders were overwhelmingly people who felt entitled, and let down, by the Old Regime.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to wardsmith says:

                Jason, true enough, but it wasn’t the middle class, for the most part, that was chasing down aristocrats and butchering them in the streets. The Revolution and the Terror, while causally related, are not the same thing.Report

              • Kimmi, I advocate and have advocated a populist non-uprising, since wealth is created by exchange.Report

              • Avatar Shay O'Reilly in reply to wardsmith says:

                Christopher,

                I admit that I tend toward the apocalyptic, but I see things quite differently. I see a country that is quite far from a democracy, in which average citizens really don’t have much of a say in the daily condition of their life. I see people struggling to make ends meet, working temp jobs, unable to have any say in their working conditions because the only alternative to crappy employment is unemployment. I see massive apathy among the members of my generation. I see this country unleashing horrors overseas and encouraging malaise at home. I see people without community and people who have no idea how to create community because of a wide variety of factors, many of which are tied into their financial situation. Every time I travel I talk to people on the train or bus, and I hear the same thing from a wide variety of Americans: “Things are bad. Politics is hopeless. I don’t know what to do, except scramble toward some vague promise that things might be better if I try something different — but I don’t believe anymore.”

                Perhaps we’re looking in different places, or perhaps I have a keener sense of outrage.

                And I was referring to Camus’s The Rebel, which quite thoroughly examines the nature of rebellion and whether it inevitably ends in murder or suicide.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to wardsmith says:

                Jason: the leaders [of the French Rev.] were overwhelmingly people who felt entitled, and let down

                But what *are* they entitled to, anyway?

                Heh. People feel entitled to the things they think they deserve.

                EDK: You would think libertarians would be joining the #OWS protests, not deriding them.

                I think some of your previous posts provide a compelling account of why that isn’t the case.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’ll have much more to say on this subject shortly. For now I’ll just say that I am neither as hostile as you imagine nor as dismissive.Report

              • I’m not sure where you stand as I haven’t seen you say anything in particular about the protests. I look forward to it.Report

              • Shay, I’ll have to read it. It’s true we’ve inherited a lot of somewhat shitty things. But I think making some good things instead of demanding good things from an abstract entity with a track record of producing mostly shit is the key to making it so the next generation has fewer shitty things to deal with.

                Here is a relevant quote from Tocqueville:

                “(In a democracy) no man is obliged to put his powers at the disposal of another, and no one has any claim of right to substantial support from his fellow man, each is both independent and weak. These two conditions, which must be neither seen quite separately nor confused, give the citizen of democracy extremely contradictory instincts. He is full of confidence and pride in his independence from his equals, but from time to time his weakness makes him feel the need for some outside help which he cannot expect from any of his fellows, for they are both impotent and cold. In this extremity he naturally turns his eyes toward that huge entity which alone stands out above the universal level of abasement. His needs, and even more his longings, continually put him in mind of that entity, and he ends by regarding it as the sole and necessary support for his individual weakness.”Report

              • Avatar Shay O'Reilly in reply to wardsmith says:

                Christopher,

                What do you think the Occupy protestors want? For the government to… give them jobs? Maybe a few. But I’d say the big issues are taxation, social services, crony capitalism, and democracy. We probably disagree on the first two; you seem to think that government is so hopelessly inept that it can’t handle any kind of beneficial program, and I think that programs that people depend upon are best kept accountable to the public. That’s fine; we’re not going to reconcile that difference.

                But when it comes to the latter two, you’re in a strange logical bind: The structure of government and certain governmental decisions are at fault for both the ridiculous amount of corporate welfare and the incredibly anemic nature of our democracy.

                Are you honestly arguing that government is so much of a failure that we shouldn’t try to force it to fix its mistakes? That’s a reckless privileging of the status quo, I think — when a government ostensibly accountable to the people does something heinous, it’s the people’s responsibility to raise hell.

                I also don’t believe that making alternative institutions and challenging the dominant ones are mutually exclusive.Report

              • “What do you think the Occupy protestors want?”

                I don’t know. You tell me. Is there a manifesto of some sort, with concrete plans and proposed legislation?

                “For the government to… give them jobs?”

                I think a lot of them do want this, and I don’t necessarily think it’s unreasonable. Better a worker’s skills remain polished than be wasted on unemployment.

                “But I’d say the big issues are taxation, social services, crony capitalism, and democracy. We probably disagree on the first two; you seem to think that government is so hopelessly inept that it can’t handle any kind of beneficial program, and I think that programs that people depend upon are best kept accountable to the public. That’s fine; we’re not going to reconcile that difference.”

                I think you’d be surprised by how much we agree on. I generally don’t object to the scope of the government so much as I object to its methods and thereby its scope as well. Place me as far away from micromanagement as possible, and I think you’ve nailed how I think things should be done.

                “But when it comes to the latter two, you’re in a strange logical bind: The structure of government and certain governmental decisions are at fault for both the ridiculous amount of corporate welfare and the incredibly anemic nature of our democracy.”

                I’m actually a strong believer that problems are usually best resolved by structural reforms. The problem is that most people who aren’t me don’t seem to think that any trade-offs exist!

                “Are you honestly arguing that government is so much of a failure that we shouldn’t try to force it to fix its mistakes?”

                No. I’m not arguing that. I’m not opposing the occupy movement. I prefer to criticize my own team because I believe in the value of criticism.

                “That’s a reckless privileging of the status quo, I think — when a government ostensibly accountable to the people does something heinous, it’s the people’s responsibility to raise hell.”

                Here’s where we start to disagree. I definitely privilege the status quo over “change” because who the hell cares about politics anyways? I’m just going about my business and following through on the plans I’ve made and invested time and money in and all of a sudden everything changes? We sure as hell better make sure this change is for the better! And so, a massive burden of proof falls on the changers.

                “I also don’t believe that making alternative institutions and challenging the dominant ones are mutually exclusive.”

                What if instead of holding up cards and demanding “Justice” the Occupiers instead held a meeting of the minds to come up with new iPad apps? Do you think it’d be more productive? (That’s a serious question by the way.)Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to b-psycho says:

                Would I lie?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                that depends. are you man or machine?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Bob is an instrument of the Lord.

                He would not lie. He might tell untruths, but that is only because he himself believes them to be true, and like all men he is often wrong.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                “When the political and economic system is clearly broken..”
                Shay, how’s that Obama thing workin’ for ya now?
                Shay, in this country we have a tradition of voting out the scoundrels and trying to vote in someone who isn’t a commie-Dem. We don’t have a tradition of engaging in a commie uprising. The question is will the kulacks fight back?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                MacArthur says differently, Bobbie.Report

              • Bob, I’m curious: how do you feel about Herman Cain?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Pat, I like Herman and support him, right now. I have questions re: his 9-9-9 plan but I think right now he’s a real conservative. I don’t vote Neo, last election voted Const. Party.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, they only do that for the TP rallys. Racists!Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BSK says:

      They started to enforce the ‘parks closed after dark’ in the 90’s to remove the homeless that were using them for long term lodging and storage.

      (one thing I’m not sure of is how the peace vigil folks in Lafayette park across from the White House got an exception carved out for them)Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Don’t know why they’re arresting them. That’s every protestor’s dream. If you want to really get under their skin, the best thing to do is completely ignore them.Report

  10. Avatar Shawn Gude says:

    I’ll have a longer post up in the next few days, but here’s a quick update: I was just released from jail. Yesterday was the first general assembly in Des Moines (there’s already a sizable occupation underway in Iowa City), and the occupation was set to start last night as well. We announced that our occupation would be peaceful and indefinite, via the people’s mic, and state troopers soon arrested 35-40 people. I was dragged across the pavement, but the troopers inflicted even more pain on others. Pepper spray was used, and the authorities were *way* too rough with nonviolence protesters.Report

  11. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    I’m thinking our friends at the GOP are making film now. I can see the caption on the commercial now: “Vote Republican” and then thirty seconds of Wall Street, today….just sayin.’Report

  12. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    “The people’s mic.” What’s the etiquette on these dispatches from the Twilight Zone? Do you try to keep a straight cyberface? I admit I struggle sometimes in the 21st century to remain a gentleman in a self-professed league of them.

    Anyway, this is an improvement on the late great Barrett Brown here @ LoOG, I reckon, although that was a mercy killing. He had a certain naive charm, but no muscle.

    [A MMMS no-prize for whoever gets that one.]Report

  13. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Just popped in on Scott Adams’ site and saw he had penned this Among other intelligent points he has this to say:
    I see Occupy Wall Street as an effort to get rid of the system that brought us to this place. The anger is not so much about replacing politicians as it is a complaint about the nature of government and the corrupting influence of money. Our collective image of the protests is muddied by the media’s fascination with the nut jobs in the crowds, allegations that George Soros is the puppet master, and references to evil bankers and capitalists. We humans like to put faces to evil, but sometimes the evil is simply the result of a mismatch between the system and the times.

    As self-appointed Transitional Leader, I support a new Constitutional Convention. Sooner or later the Occupy Wall Street protesters will join Tea Partiers and others in calling for exactly that. Nothing short of a total system reboot will clear the streets. Tweaking the tax code won’t get us there. Replacing ineffective politicians with other ineffective politicians won’t get us there.Report

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