What Should Occupy Wall Street Do Next?

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Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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152 Responses

  1. Avatar E.C. Gach
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    says:

    The most beneficial part of sliding toward fighting voter disenfranchisement might be the fact that OWS will have specific policies to oppose that aren’t supported by a network of special interests.

    It’s much easier to rally around letting people vote, as you say, then around reinstating Glass-Steagall or something like it.Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
    Ignored
    says:

    What should they do next?  Appoint a committee for grammatical signage.  “From those to whom much is given, much is required.”  See?  More poetic that way, and downright classical in its deferral of the most important word.

    More seriously, they may want to point out the truly disgusting right-wing schadenfreude about people getting raped at protests.Report

  3. Avatar Roger
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    says:

    I suggest they buy lots of really big space heaters or change their name to Occupy Miami.Report

  4. Avatar Michelle
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    says:

    I agree that working against new laws designed to disenfranchise the young and the poor would be a good starting point connecting this movement to the Civil Rights movement and providing historical resonance. The Republicans who have designed and implemented these laws clearly mean to prevent those who’d vote against their interests access to the polls.

    I’d also suggest that since their movement is largely a protest against the economic equality that has arisen in the country as a partial result of Reaganomics and its aftermath, it wouldn’t hurt to propose a few economic policies to counteract the damage–tax reform to create a more equitable system for example, or a call for public funding of elections to end the wholesale purchase of politicians by corporate interests.

    Finally, as Matt Taibbi pointed out in this article https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/11-7#.Tr7Ju4uk-rY.facebook implicit within the OWS movement is a critique of the corporate culture of consumption that has dominated our lives and attempted, often quite successfully, to mediate our desires over the last several decades. Time to make that implicit critique explicit and propose ways to escape the corporate dominance of our lives.

    If OWS is to leave its mark, the time has indeed come to organize for the long haul.Report

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

      “organize for the long haul.”

      From the people I’ve talked to in the movement, I get the feeling that’s not going to happen.  I’m sure if policy makers suspected that OWS would become any kind of conventional political player later on (raising funds, get out the vote, etc.) they would be more weary of it.  As things stand, and I think both groups, OWS and the city governments they are opposed to, kind of realize this thing won’t last, and that it’ll either go out with a bang or a whimper.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Michelle
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      says:

      Your last point is my sense of it. I don’t know if I’d use the same terms, but it seems to me that OWS will either burn out as a political movement, or have some future resonance as a still undefined cultural movement. I’d say the former is a lot more likely, but the latter is not impossible (might take another generation though).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        The events here in Portland back up your guess about burnout, Rufus.

        The city and the protesters here have had a pretty good relationship, considering, with each side trying to have a message of “Us” rather than “Us vs. Them.”  The city announced last week that they were going to close the parks where the protests were occurring for repairs midnight on Saturday, with the carrot that they were willing to sit down and discuss policy with “the movement.”  When the police came to get everyone out on Sunday afternoon, almost all of the thousands that had been there the day before were gone; only about three dozen needed to be removed.

        The parks blocks are now fenced (and, not surprisingly, trashed – there are piles of garbage and what used to be grass is now just smelly mud) and the movement has a chance to have a dialogue with someone, but there is no sense that anyone knows who might talk, or what they might advocate for in policy recommendations.  There is a sense that for the most part, it may already be done here in one of the country’s more progressive metropolitan areas, having been more of a media spectacle than anything else at the end of the day.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michelle
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      says:

      If OWS is trying to critique the “corporate consumption culture” then they need to lose the cell phones.

      Shut up. They do. It is impossible to take someone seriously when they use the Twitter app on their iPhone to tell me about how they’re protesting consumerism. And it does not matter how they got the iPhone. That they have such a thing marks them as part of the 1%, with the rest of the human race as the 99%.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to DensityDuck
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        says:

        “If OWS is trying to critique the “corporate consumption culture” then they need to lose the cell phones.”

        Do Tea Partiers have to tear up their social security and Medicare checks?Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly
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          says:

          For your response to be accurate, Social Security and Medicare would have to be things that we could vote on directly and specifically choose to get or not get.  It’s not legal for me to not contribute to Social Security.  It’s not legal for me to not contribute to Medicare.  And the system is not set up to permit me to refuse either of those things; I mean, I could, in the sense that someone who’s looking for work could probably find a job as a prostitute in the Canadian oil fields.

           Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to DensityDuck
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            says:

            Seriously, these are the sort of tu quoque arguments that I always tell the Cato interns to avoid.  None of us lives in a world that fully instantiates our political and economic opinions.  Everyone makes compromises.

            That’s probably a good thing, too, because if I take my Austrian economics at all seriously, I have to admit that no one person knows enough to run it all properly anyway.  Not even me, and I’m a goddamn genius.

            If you want to criticize the Occupy movement’s ideology, or what passes for it, you could fairly point out that it would deprive everyone of cell phones, and that this would be a bad outcome.

            Why would Occupy end up doing that (inadvertently, we trust)?  Because abolishing corporate personhood is, I infer, a very important goal to them.

            Yet with the end of corporate personhood, we’d also — and necessarily — abolish all employment contracts and throw everyone out of work.  The ownership of most corporate property would (I believe) be impossible to determine, because it is only through the legal fiction of corporate personhood that corporations own property at all.  And no one — absolutely no one — would be able to sue a corporation for any damages, because you can’t sue a nonentity.  (Corporations ironically might really like that last bit!)

            In any case, it is very, very much unclear how we would avoid these problems, and no one in the “abolish corporate personhood” camp seems remotely interested in confronting them.  As a result, I have a hard time taking them seriously.  They seem to have done even less thinking than usual about the implications of their slogans.

             

             Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              “They seem to have done even less thinking than usual about the implications of their slogans.”

              Wasn’t the finger-wiggling thing and the drum cycles enough?  Do they have to think of everything?Report

            • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              It’s my understanding that “corporate personhood” consists of many different things, and they need not all exist.  Some could remain, others would be abolished.

              Yet with the end of corporate personhood, we’d also — and necessarily — abolish all employment contracts and throw everyone out of work.  The ownership of most corporate property would (I believe) be impossible to determine, because it is only through the legal fiction of corporate personhood that corporations own property at all.  And no one — absolutely no one — would be able to sue a corporation for any damages, because you can’t sue a nonentity.  (Corporations ironically might really like that last bit!)

              This is absurd Jason.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                This is absurd Jason.

                I don’t doubt that you find it counterintuitive.  Can you demonstrate that my understanding of the law is mistaken?  I really don’t think it is.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                I repeat:

                “It’s my understanding that “corporate personhood” consists of many different things, and they need not all exist.  Some could remain, others would be abolished.”

                Your all-or-nothing approach in implying that anything short of complete “personhood” for corporations would lead to the abolish of property rights and tort cases is ridiculous.  Oh, and we wouldn’t have modern day tech either:

                “it would deprive everyone of cell phones, and that this would be a bad outcome.

                Why would Occupy end up doing that (inadvertently, we trust)?  Because abolishing corporate personhood is, I infer, a very important goal to them.”

                Surely it’s absurd to maintain that we can’t give a corporation the legal attributes it requires to enter into contractural agreements without granting it every other in-alienable right.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                Your all-or-nothing approach in implying that anything short of complete “personhood” for corporations would lead to the abolish of property rights and tort cases is ridiculous. 

                I am simply pointing out how the law is written.  Obviously, you would like to rewrite that law.  But that rewrite would have to be very, very, very extensive.  Corporations are defined as persons right at the head of the United States Code. So how do you sue a corporation?  You sue a corporation because it counts, for that purpose, as a “person.”  How does a corporation employ you?  Because it can in its legal capacity as a “person.”  And so forth.

                Exceptions are obviously made along the way, and they obviously should be, too.  Corporations can’t vote, and no one is suggesting that they can or should. Corporations can’t invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  And so forth.

                But if you’re going to say corporations can’t enter into contracts in the same way that persons can, then you’ll have to either (a) reinvent the current system, with redundant language, to no practical effect whatsoever; or (b) explain how you will meaningfully deviate from it, without throwing millions out of work.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Jason, obviously that’s the status quo, else why would anyone be arguing to change it?

                The fact that corporate personhood has been evolving over the past couple centuries in American jurisprudence demonstrates that your choice between corporations as people or not people is a false one. 

                Now if your argument against amending our legal definitions of corporations is that it would be too hard, or require just soo much work, well I can only assume that you have a more substanative aversion.

                 Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                My argument is that the laws have developed this way for a reason, and that the reason is by no means corporate greed.  Rather the opposite, in fact.

                What corporations would like the most is not personhood, but privilege. Corporations do not want to be treated just like their competition. They don’t want equal legal footing.

                They all want special privileges — laws tailored for just their firm, about which they would of course lobby very avidly.  Few outsiders to that process would have the time or inclination to look over the lobbyists’ shoulders while they were at it, either.  This is unfortunate, but it’s true. Corporate personhood is far from a perfect defense against this behavior, but it is a defense to some degree.  At least they are getting nothing more than persons, and we can always carve out those rights of natural persons that corporations shouldn’t get, like voting.

                But still, asking Congress to rewrite all of corporate law so that corporations may hire, fire, own property, and be sued in ways fundamentally different from persons is asking for the biggest explosion of corporatism and corporate privilege in the history of the world.  Do you really want to open the door to special interests like that?

                My sense is that opponents of corporate personhood are reacting at a much deeper emotional level and are merely trying to signal their displeasure with the hated Other.  They’re not trying even for a moment to understand why the law happens to be written the way it is, or why changing it might not be such a great idea.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Ethan Gach
                Ignored
                says:

                “My sense is that opponents of corporate personhood are reacting at a much deeper emotional level and are merely trying to signal their displeasure with the hated Other.  They’re not trying even for a moment to understand why the law happens to be written the way it is, or why changing it might not be such a great idea.”

                So you don’t think changing it in principle is a bad idea, just that the process of changing it is rife with danger?

                You already note circumstances where we don’t treat corporations as people.  I’m at a loss as to why carving out more exceptions is an inherently bad thing, or so fraut with difficulty.

                And you asserting that the law evolved that way for a reason, and implying then that it must have been a good reason, is just lazy.

                You have to at least agree that defending or attacking anyone of the instances of corporate personhood must be done on the merits of that particular instance, and not because of some historical unfolding of the corporate world-spirit, or because you don’t trust Congress, or state legislatures, to re-open the question. 

                Tort reform would be vulnerable to manipulation in all the same ways, but somehow I think you’d support that still.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ethan Gach
                Ignored
                says:

                You already note circumstances where we don’t treat corporations as people.  I’m at a loss as to why carving out more exceptions is an inherently bad thing, or so fraut with difficulty.

                It’s not a bad thing.  But if you’re going to side with the folks saying “Abolish corporate personhood,” then it behooves you to answer some very basic legal questions.  Like the way people will be legally permitted to get jobs from corporations.  Or how people will be legally permitted to sue corporations.  Both of those are aspects of personhood in U.S. law, and both of them apply to corporations in the same sense that they do to people.  Neither is unreasonable, wouldn’t you agree?

                That’s what I’m complaining about here.  If you have any suggestions for further carve-outs from corporate personhood, I would be happy to entertain them on a case-by-case basis.  (I presume that among these, you’re not going to deprive corporations of their capacity to be sued, right?)Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                Jason, you taking the issues raised by OWS as “Abolish corporate personhood,” is like me taking the issues raised by the Tea Party as “Abolish government.”

                I can do that, and laugh snarkily to myself about what all those TPs will do without police, roads, or a federal court system, or I could engage critically with the genuine issue being raised: the government has too much regulatory power and taxes/spends too much of our money.

                Likewise, the only thing that comes from you taking the most dense and uncontextual interpretation of OWS frustration, and disputing their desire to abolish corporations as laughable rather than address the genuine problem of corporate-personhood creep over the last century, serves to accomplish nothing other than perhaps your own self-satisfaction.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                Well, that was a hasty retreat.

                In just a few short comments, you went from saying that my view of corporate personhood was “absurd,” without further qualifiers, to this.

                I’m impressed.  Truly, I am.  If you wanted me to feel self-satisfied, you just succeeded.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Ethan Gach
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem is that people have this impression that the men who run corporations “get away” with things, and they want that to stop happening, but they don’t actually understand how the system works or how to implement their desires, so they latch onto a buzzword like “corporate personhood”.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                Jason, what you said was absurd, because it implied a false dichotamy, and was, on it’s face, completley fasle. 

                Once could abolish corporate personhood, still have property rights for corporations, and still have cellphones.

                I did qualify, in that very comment, which you apparently neglected to read before hastily accusing me of not explaining my contention.

                The fact of the matter is that you want to take a phrase like “abolish corporate personhood,” a statment that is shorthand for a number of frustrations with 1.) how owerful/centralized many corporations have become and 2.) how many large corporations game the system to see the upside without facing the downside (privatized gains, socialized losses, personhood for the goodies, limited liability for the rest), and take it at it’s most unchartible face value.

                Saying corporations shouldn’t be treated as people, but rather creating a new legal term like corporation, with it’s own set of rights and liabiltiies, seems completely reasonable.  Bury it in your limbo of extensive re-writes if you must and let it keep company with all the other never realized legal reforms, but that’s hardly an arguement, on the merits, of actually doing so.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Corporations can’t invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. 

                But they can, as of only a few years ago, invoke the First Amendment to protect their freedom to buy elections.  There are no horrific consequences to reversing that,nor to making it very clear which rights corporations do and don’t have, so that the Roberts court can’t continue to grant them more.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                “But they can, as of only a few years ago, invoke the First Amendment to protect their freedom to buy elections. ”

                I agree with your concern, and I think you’ll agree that anyone with more than ten thousand dollars in assets (such Warren Buffet or George Soros) should not be allowed to make any kind of donation to political campaigns.  After all, we wouldn’t want anyone to buy elections, would we?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                I’ll 100% agree with this. I believe in completely publicly financed elections.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                But they can, as of only a few years ago, invoke the First Amendment to protect their freedom to buy elections.

                If only the Supreme Court had found that banning books and movies didn’t violate Free Speech protections.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                First Amendment issues get tricky, because most of the time their actually about contracts, e.g. I give my publisher a book to publish, they distribute it to a book seller, and that book seller sells it to a reader.

                I would maintain that book banning is wrong there because we shouldn’t be telling people what kinds of texts they can trade one another. 

                Now whether, strictly speaking, book banning is unconstituional is another question.  I’m not convinced it is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                Now if we do the whole “incorporation” thing to this, this pretty much means that the states can’t make laws doing the blah blah blah or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or blah blah and to blah.

                To be perfectly honest, if you don’t see how banning books wouldn’t qualify as abridging the freedom of the press, I would wonder what the first amendment means, if anything at all.Report

              • Avatar E.C. Gach in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Is the reason I don’t want the government taking my banned book because of freedom of the press or because it’s MY book.

                Shutting down the press is different from confiscating what they print.  What if the gov. compensated publishers for every book it banned?

                I’m not saying I agree with that outright, but the Constitution is far from clear on this issue, even if precedent has clearly developed in one way and not another.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                If only the Supreme Court had found that banning books and movies didn’t violate Free Speech protections.

                I’d forgotten the legal principle that when one right is violated, you get to invent three brand-new ones.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                “Building a fence around the Torah”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                The Jews both voted against it.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                But you can sue people, which means the buck stops.Report

            • Avatar dexter in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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              says:

              Mr. Kuznicki, What exactly would you do to BP?  I am very sure that if I did something very stupid and 11 people died I would be in jail.  One of the many problems I see with corps as people is they don’t pay when they do illegal things.  I would be a lot more interested in your corps as people argument if you gave us some of your ideas on how  to punish the bad ones, or at least some strong enough to remember the ones you have given.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to DensityDuck
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        says:

        Cell phones are pretty much ubiquitous these days, hardly an implement limited to the 1% anymore particularly among the young. My 21 year-old stepson can’t remember a time without the cell phone. Luddite that I am, I’d be happy to see them go for a whole variety of reasons, to most of the protestors, cell phones are old hat.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michelle
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          says:

          “[T]o most of the protestors, cell phones are old hat.”

          Which is kind of my point. But then, this is the same old “I’m relatively poor” “are you really that bad off?” “that doesn’t matter!” “aren’t you engaging in the same argument-from-unconscious-privilege that you complain about?” Heritage Foundation argument we’ve had plenty of times.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to DensityDuck
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            says:

            Yes, we get it. Unless we’re as worse off as starving children in Ethopia, we’re not allowed to protest.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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              says:

              Thank you for this, Jesse.  It’s as elegant a refutation of a tu quoque argument as I could possibly have imagined.

              This, my Occupy-skeptical friends, is why you don’t argue tu quoque.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Surely we should be able to point out that someone who comes out and says “you don’t know how difficult it is to be a white heterosexual male in contemporary American society” should not expect to be met by open-minded critics.

                “Oh, so I’m not allowed to complain about society unless I’m a black lesbian???”

                Of course you are, sweetie. Of *COURSE* you are.

                With that behind us… I don’t think that white male heterosexuals who complain about the difficulty of being white male heterosexuals should expect to not have certain things pointed out to them in response.

                This is not a reasonable expectation on their part.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Surely we should be able to point out that someone who comes out and says “you don’t know how difficult it is to be a white heterosexual male in contemporary American society” should not expect to be met by open-minded critics.

                Surely. For my response to this, see my two-sentence response to Density below.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Sometimes the difference between a fallacy and a point worth addressing is word choice.

                In these circumstances, it’s usually best to address the point worth addressing after the fallacy is swatted away instead of merely swatting away the fallacy.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to DensityDuck
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            says:

            I can’t get a job, I can’t get adequate health insurance, I and people like me have to bear the risk, and cost, of the decisions of the 1%, but there are people starving in Ethiopia, so I have no business complaining.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chris
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              says:

              You’re well-fed, have clean clothes, have an assured supply of clean water and non-spoiled food, live in a society that values public order and the rule of law, and you have access to the greatest conglomeration of knowledge and (theoretically) intelligent persons in the history of humanity.  Explain how you’ve got it so bad. 

              What you’re complaining about is that you feel insecure, and you believe that no matter how hard you work you’ll never not feel insecure.  Which is a valid complaint about the system as it stands, but it’s not an existensial crisis.  It’s not grounds to complain about how other people have more money than you.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                DD, does that mean that the 1% should be devoting their time and money to helping the worst off first (e.g. those who are existentially threatened)?

                If not, stop chiding Chris with your narrow rhetorical flourishes.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                I love how people accuse me of “narrow rhetorical flourishes” while snarking that pointing to the existence of cell phones is equivalent to claiming that the existence of starving Ethiopians makes problems irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                I’m just accusing you (and perhaps Jaybird) of arguing against straw men, and straw women, and straw babies.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Hey, when I mock a guy who spent $35,000 on an MFA in puppetry, I cite my sources.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                OK, that dude’s an idiot.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                You’ll have to explain this one to me if I’m to understand the true epicness of the burn.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                At this point, I have no idea who you’re arguing against. Whoever it is, he/she is in your head.Report

              • Avatar Michelle in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                The point is not that some people have more money than others, but that wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated among the few, and that this concentration of wealth is bad for the economy and the body politic.  We are becoming third world in our income structure and this, not the existence of the very rich, is troubling as nations with similar income structures are not notably democratic or stable.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Michelle
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                says:

                “but that wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated among the few”

                If we did something about corporate favoritism and removed all unfair advantages, would the problem of wealth disparity be a problem for government to solve or for individuals to solve? Would the solution be for individuals at the bottom to find ways to produce and amass more wealth, or would the solution be to redistribute more from the top to the bottom?Report

              • Avatar Franz Schubert in reply to Michelle
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                says:

                Oh my God, we’re becoming Third World!!  I would suggest, dear Michelle, to check out tonight’s specials on a run of the will restaurant in Haiti.  For breakfast we have delicious mud cereal, to be followed by delicious mud pancakes.   For dinner, it’s mud everything–spaghetti sauce, cake, burgers,  I am NOT making this up.   It’s not, let them eat cake, but let them eat mud so Sayeth the Queen.  And PLEASE get off this silly, moronic evil rich vs poor virtuous.   It doesn’t work that way.   The rich in this country are the most generous, giving group of human beings on the planet.  Just ask Chris. “Yo Chris–how much money did you donate to charity over the last 5 years?”   Did you beat out Clinton who, with his wife, donated 0 dollars but did find it in their liberal hearts to donate their used underwear.  We know who talks the talk and walks the walk and it ain’t John Kerry.   For years he donated just about zero but when it became apparent he would be the nominee he suddenly became Scrooge on Christmas morning, the reformed Scrooge, giving away gooses, pudding, and even pay raises!Report

              • Avatar Michelle in reply to Franz Schubert
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                says:

                Franz, I’m not making value judgments about the virtue of rich or poor. While it’s all fine and wonderful that some of our rich are very generous, that doesn’t undercut the data showing that over the past 30 years or so, the income of the wealthiest Americans has increased at rates that eclipse those of everybody else by huge margins, while their share of the pie has grown tremendously. For most people, wage rates have remained stagnant while prices for things like medical care, college, and housing have increased at rates exceeding what’s officially counted as “inflation.” The middle class is shrinking. No we’re not Haiti, but our income distribution is far closer to countries like Brazil or Chile than it is to the countries of Western Europe.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michelle
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                says:

                Michelle, meet Heide.gger, the League’s most repeatedly banned troll (can’t even type his name without it going into moderation, which is why he’s going by Franz) . Best to let him rant in peace.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                [You] live in a society that values public order and the rule of law

                What meaning is there to “the rule of law” if the law-makers routinely break the law and get away with it?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to b-psycho
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                says:

                Name the specific law that the Wall Street group broke. There’s a damn good reason none of these guys has gone to jail. They were DOING THEIR JOBS and doing a job poorly is not against the law, or we could impeach and imprison Obama.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                Ward:

                Do you read market-ticker?Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Never heard of it, but just Googled and saw there’s a .org with that name?

                b-psycho, you’re right, I didn’t notice the law-makers in your post and was so used to seeing the other sentiment here I reacted. My speed-reading was much better when I could actually see what I was reading. Ah the good old days of youth.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                Karl Denninger.

                You should read him.  I’m curious as to what you think of him.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to wardsmith
                Ignored
                says:

                I actually wasn’t talking about Wall Street there (note “law-makers”).

                 Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to b-psycho
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s strictly Darwinian.  Laws are only for people who can’t afford good attorneys.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                As Lenny Bruce said — In the halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                The best attorneys use licensed-to-practice in 50 states dummies and ventriloquism.

                (no, this didn’t actually work. was tried, though.)Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    What should OWS do next?  Go home. 

    To the extent that the movement had a goal, I’d say it’s accomplished that goal. It seems to me that there was a need to get people to stop just putting their heads down and saying “you work hard, you set reasonable goals, you be realistic, and you’ll be successful and happy–and therefore anyone who’s successful and happy must have worked hard, set reasonable goals, and been realistic.”

    I’m not going to immediately jump on the “CEOs get paid too much for what they do” bandwagon, because that comes straight out of the Marxist playbook, and we’ve seen where that goes. And I’ll be honest, if I had to sit in some windowless office for ten hours a day rewriting specification documents while everyone else got to go play in the lab, I’d want to get paid better too. I’m sure you’re thinking “that sounds a lot like You Don’t Need A Raise Because Your Position Has Inherent Benefits”, but just imagine sitting down and knowing that you’re going to spend the next forty-five years rewriting documents as dry and boring and over-detailed as the tax code.

    Anyway. My point is that we need to think about our traditional notion of “work hard = get wealth”, and how that applies in a modern context, and whether our society encourage it or merely assumes it. And OWS is showing us that more and more Americans don’t believe that idea, and we need to decide what that means.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s been said before and proved before. They are a stalking horse for the DNC and the unions, always were, although useful idiots will always join up.

      The Tea Party was born of a dire concern on the part of decent, hard-working, patriotic Americans whose only desire was to preserve the Constitutional Republic given us by our Founders. They have called for nothing more than fiscal restraint, constitutionally limited government and sane tax policy.

      The “occupiers,” on the other hand, are communist agitators, hardcore anarchists and a garish array of useful idiots consisting of brainwashed union members, idealistic college students and old hippies reliving their misspent youth. They call themselves the 99 percent, but most of them have no idea what they want beyond redistribution of other people’s money.Report

    • Avatar Matty in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      <blockquote>just imagine sitting down and knowing that you’re going to spend the next forty-five years rewriting documents as dry and boring and over-detailed as the tax code.</blockquote>

      With a relative pay cut in 2009 the average compensation of <a href=”http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/22/executive-pay-ceo-leadership-compensation-best-boss-09-ceo_land.html“>Forbes 500 CEO</a> was $11.4 million in that one year. so my questions are.

      1. Is writing those documents really that much worse than ‘playing in the lab’ that you couldn’t get a guy to do it for maybe $2 million?

      2. If it really is unpleasant then why, given you can make enough in one year to set you up for life, would anyone keep going for 45?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not going to immediately jump on the “CEOs get paid too much for what they do” bandwagon, because that comes straight out of the Marxist playbook

      That’s the section of Das Kapital about how inadequate corporate governance means that management won’t represent the goals of the shareholders?Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      The problem isn’t CEO pay, per se.   The problem is how and why they get paid so much.   You’d think, if the stock’s going up, the market cap more than justifies the CEO’s compensation.   But the stock price isn’t the only measure of a well-run firm.

      Read the 10-K and 10-Q and Schedule 13 statements, and you’ll see many other factors in play.   Just don’t take those pronouncements terribly seriously:  the consolidated financial data is generally cooked like green beans on a steam table.

      In my opinion, OWS is seriously misguided.   Wall Street isn’t the problem anymore.   All those old high-fliers are now hiding in the Fuehrerbunker of bank holding companies.   Wall Street only cares about the stock price, it’s not the guilty party here.   It’s the boards of directors and shyster accountants and the wink-‘n-nod to the blind horses of the SEC.    Those protesters need more economics and less politics: they should pool their money, buy a single share in each of the companies they hate and take their silly selves to the stockholders’ meetings and scare the bejesus out of the boards of directors.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP
        Ignored
        says:

        hedge funds are the guilty party — and a friend of mine used to work for one of them. Who else has the brilliant idea to take health insurance and make it a “growth sector”? Dumb money remains dumb money — but somebody started the cancer economy, just like someone started Reagan’s 401k ponzi scheme.

        … not everyone’s scared of guy fawkes masks, Blaise. Some datarunner pulled down a full shebang in Moon the other month — that’d do better than showing up at some bloody stockholders’ meeting.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      I think maybe I need to reiterate this:

      My point is that we need to think about our traditional notion of “work hard = get wealth”, and how that applies in a modern context, and whether our society encourage it or merely assumes it. And OWS is showing us that more and more Americans don’t believe that idea, and we need to decide what that means.

      I know it’s really satisfying to have a Two Minutes Hate about how those bastard CEOs make like sooooooooo much money, but does anyone want to address the other parts of my post?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Look, the only people who should be writing the spec are the people who’ve been out in the lab.   They get paid more because you’ll never get paid for what you do.   You get paid for what you know.   I’m a damned old Liberal and I have never believed Working Hard would ever make anyone wealthy.

        My question is this:  did anyone actually think it was true?

         

         Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP
          Ignored
          says:

          Know someone who got wealthy “working hard”. Lost all the money too. Becoming a millionaire remains easy, so longas you live in Cali — but that ain’t rich. 250,000 or so’s the bottom rung of the middle class, ya?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, if you want to enable sociopaths, that’s up to you. I’m one to note the collusion, and the ability for company-wrecking ceos to move from company to company. ’tain’t rocket science, justnumbers.Report

  6. Avatar 62across
    Ignored
    says:

    Compare and contrast two views endorsed in these comments by links:

    From wardsmith’s Doug Patton –

    Barack Obama is the most divisive president since Abraham Lincoln. The difference, of course, is that Lincoln was trying to preserve the Union, while Obama is clearly trying to destroy it. He was taught to hate America by his Marxist-Muslim father, who abandoned him; by his communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, who became his surrogate father figure; by his philosophical hero, Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” helped to solidify his hatred; by his friend, the terrorist Bill Ayers, in whose home Obama started his political career; and by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose anti-Semitic, anti-American rants Obama claims never to have heard in twenty years.

    And from Michelle’s Matt Taibbi –

    We’re a nation that was built on a thousand different utopian ideas, from the Shakers to the Mormons to New Harmony, Indiana. It was possible, once, for communities to experiment with everything from free love to an end to private property. But nowadays even the palest federalism is swiftly crushed. If your state tries to place tariffs on companies doing business with some notorious human-rights-violator state – like Massachusetts did, when it sought to bar state contracts to firms doing business with Myanmar – the decision will be overturned by some distant global bureaucracy like the WTO. Even if 40 million Californians vote tomorrow to allow themselves to smoke a joint, the federal government will never permit it. And the economy is run almost entirely by an unaccountable oligarchy in Lower Manhattan that absolutely will not sanction any innovations in banking or debt forgiveness or anything else that might lessen its predatory influence.

    Which bests aligns with reality as you know it? That it is even debatable speaks volumes about how much ground needs to be covered before any of the OWS objectives could possibly come to fruition. OWS is the first step in a thousand mile trek. It shouldn’t be all on them to bear the load the whole way.Report

  7. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
    Ignored
    says:

    What jobs does #OWS want?  Academic jobs. Non-profit jobs.  Government jobs.  NGO jobs. Social policy jobs.  Green jobs.

    Blue jobs.

    Not my own original thought

    http://volokh.com/2011/10/31/the-fragmenting-of-the-new-class-elites-or-downward-mobility/

    but it rings true w/the grievances we’ve heard.  There’s little interest in Red jobs, making stuff, growing food, fixing things.  It’s more a howl for a place at the table of the left-elite establishment, but there’s no room at the top.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      IIRC, Walter Russell Mead has written two really excellent pieces about this on his blog. I’ll try and chase the links if anybody cares.

      For one of them, partitions the blue state economic groups into four major categories, (or maybe it was just New York in particular).

      1. finance professionals
      2. upper middle class gov’t and quasi-gov’t workers
      3. middle middle class and lower middle class gov’t workers
      4. underclass

      It’s quite a compelling framework and I recommend that everybody read it. But, the thing to emphasize is what Tom said, there’s no one there who’s adding value to the economy. They’re only protecting and/or manipulating the value that others provide.

      This is in important contrast to the red states where we still have a value-added private sector. Yet another reason to vote Republican, as if we needed it.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        Go ahead and link it. The premise sounds so nakedly risible, though, that I personally don’t intend to dignify such hogwash with much more than a snort or perhaps your summary doesn’t do it justice.Report

        • Avatar Elias Isquith in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          I just can’t get over how funny it is that WRM’s audience is people like Koz. He calls himself a Democrat! If Mickey Kaus was still alive today he’d be rolling in his grave.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Elias Isquith
            Ignored
            says:

            “If Mickey Kaus was still alive today he’d be rolling in his grave.”

            awesomeReport

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Elias Isquith
            Ignored
            says:

            I didn’t know. Was it goat-related?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Elias Isquith
            Ignored
            says:

            None of this engages the point, however.  Don’t listen to X, he’s blahblahblah.  La la la fingers in the ears.

            Walter Russell Mead has been hot lately, and to dis him is simply an abandonment of the marketplace of ideas.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Tom Van Dyke
              Ignored
              says:

              I engaged the point Tom, no need to swoon, and I thought quite adequately considering how nakedly incorrect it was. I mean the dude didn’t even include tort lawyers, abortion doctors or political activists in his list? How hard should I try to refute something that clearly had no effort put into it to make even remotely plausible.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                You know North, with your track record you could stand to be a little lass hasty in saying that somebody else is nakedly incorrect. In fact, in this current piece that you disparage unread, WRM writes,

                “For Blue Wall Street the conflict between the interests of the private sector and the power of the government does not really exist. The symbiosis between Blue Wall Street and the state is strong and deep. The pension funds, bond issues and other financial transactions that blue city and state governments need helps nourish Blue Wall Street; Blue Wall Street helps integrate the policy agenda of other government focused interest groups with larger national priorities and movements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the archetypes of this symbiosis: they are government-backed forces in the capital markets built around support for the single most important American social program of the blue period: home ownership.”

                But you assured us that they had it all taken care of. And that’s obviously come to pass, right? To the point where there’s no point in reading what somebody else has to say about the matter.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                As I noted in my original response, you may have done a poor job summarizing his points and I didn’t have a link to read at the time old shoe. Surely you would agree that saying that the entirety of the blue states economies could be broken down into financial workers, government employees and government dependants. As I said before, risable. If i find the time I shall read the man’s article, I assure you.  

                As to my own predictions you’re creatively broadening my assertions considerably, I had said that the democrats would never permit a default and to my knowledge there hasn’t been any indication to the contrary.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “As I noted in my original response, you may have done a poor job summarizing his points…”

                Maybe so, but it was good enough for government work. With the benefit of hindsight, I still don’t see what you take to be prima facie risible.

                As it relates to you, especially, the point is this: the map is not the territory. There is always a layer of perception between the outside world and our understanding of it. The perception layer is reliable sometimes, less others, but it is never reality.

                Now, truth be told, most of what WRM is talking about in that piece predates 2009 by a fair bit, at least as it pertains to the beginning of it. But even so, the world economic and political/cultural situation has changed in pretty dramatic ways since then. Your map was not tenable before, it’s ridiculous now.

                Therefore, especially as it pertains to the events of the last three years, throw away your map and let’s look at the territory instead. That’s why I’m giving you such a hard time about the the bond rating downgrade and the rest of it. It’s not that it’s is such a horrible thing or that I have to win some big debate about it. No, it’s the idea that we can’t really talk about your understanding of this or that because your perceptive layer has mangled things before we even get there. Ie, let’s make an effort to start from things we know are valid premises.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Harder than this, Mr. North, especially since you think it’s so easy.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Elias Isquith
            Ignored
            says:

            He calls himself a Democrat!

            Would you say that Joe Paterno critics can credibly call themselves Penn State fans?Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Besides which it’s just not true on the merits anyway. Kaus gets a little bit of conservative cred for being an ex-lib, but what really irritates the libs in his case is the fact that a significant portion of what he writes is intra-lib Kremlinology. And as such, Kaus makes public things that a lot of libs would rather see buried.

              But that just doesn’t hold for WRM. The stuff he writes is da bomb, and it really doesn’t make that much difference who he is and where he came from.Report

            • Avatar Elias Isquith in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I would respond but this comment so blew my mind that I think I need to sit down for a while and just, like, try to pick up the pieces and learn how to live all over again.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Elias Isquith
                Ignored
                says:

                Sometimes critics of things that an organization does do so because they want the best for everybody involved.

                The mockery of Kaus for “attacking” John Edwards showed less principle than Kaus showed for “attacking” John Edwards… and had John Edwards succeeded, there would have been a lot of bad things that would have happened in the wake.

                Kaus fought against those “a lot of bad things”… and he still gets mocked for it.

                For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that no one will ever have reason to question your bona fides, Elias.Report

              • Avatar Elias Isquith in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not following this. Too complex. Sorry.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          God you guys are harsh.

          http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/11/06/occupy-blue-wall-street/

          The point of guys like WRM (or Mickey Kaus for that matter) is that they say things that don’t depend on reputation. We recognize them already.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            New Yorkers are getting an uncomfortable look at the ugly realities behind what we like to think of as the country’s bluest, most European and most enlightened city.

            This is so massively egregiously wrong, it could cause a space time singularity if allowed to collapse on itself, and that’s only in literallyjoebiden the first fishin sentence.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              That’s the 2nd time Walter Russell Mead was shouted down here today. He must have somebody’s number.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                I very much like Mead’s model of the four strains of American foreign policy.

                On domestic policy though, he’s out of his element.  The Blue State/Red State construction is a simplified representation (as all models are) that can be useful in some contexts, but Mead is stretching that model to, and beyond the breaking point.

                (and anyway, New Yorkers view of themselves is “NEW YORK! FISH YEAH!” – and everyone else’s view of New Yorkers are that they’re that group of people who are always annoyingly going on about “NEW YORK! FISH YEAH!”.  *Nobody* in or out of New York associates it with being particularly enlightened or European.  Mead is confusing NYC for Portland and San Francisco, respectively)Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                AFAIK it was the New York Times that came up with the Red State/Blue State business., not WRM.

                But his obvservations of the four groups of government dependents is profound. Not especially deep, necessarily, but it comprehensively and clearly states what most of us have internalized already.

                And for that New York is important to the story. The government/finance overclass exists in other places besides New York but more prominently there than anywhere else.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                The Dem urban coalition has public unions and welfare recipients competing for the same money.  Oh, yeah and the progressives, puppet shows for the downtrodden, whatever.

                “The good government upper middle class, the entrenched groups with a solid stake in the status quo and the marginalized working or non-working poor with no prospects for advancement apart from the patronage of the state: this is the mass base of the blue electoral coalition — and the groups in the coalition don’t seem to like each other very much.

                What all three groups share is a burning desire for more: a hunger and demand for ever larger amounts of government revenue and power.  Money and power for the government enable the upper middle class good government types to dream up new schemes to help us all live better lives and give government the resources for the various social, ecological and cultural transformations on the ever-expandable goo-goo to-do list that range from a global carbon tax to fair trade coffee cooperatives and the war on saturated fat. “

                Devastating.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Holy crap what a giant load of straw. Keep the fire extinguishers on hand. And he thinks NYers are surprised at corrupt NY cops. Mead clearly suffers from a head injury. Corrupt NY cops are a decades old story. Go watch Serpico or Prince of the City for some history. I wonder if he has ever actually been to NYC.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                No. Whatever people came to know it didn’t come from the libs. Bonfire of The Vanities came out about 20 years ago now, and no lib media ever circulated what was in there. Remember it’s not like there’s never been that kind of tension before, but it really is a matter of the Emperor having no clothes for the political/media establishment to admit they have to control over it.

                More interesting than that, is why? This has been stable enough for a while, what’s changing now. There’s no private sector, that’s what.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                This.

                I really gotta wonder what Kolohe is reading to make him react the way he has.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I could say that Mead is completely ignoring the mirror image on the right, the variation factions of the right coalition that hate each other but want to increase govt spending and power on things like the military and social control (and ag subsidies), but that would be tu quoquish.  I could also say that Mead is a key critic of Wilsonianism, though favored the Iraq War, the most Wilsonian project of the last fifty years, but that would be a non sequitor.  I would say that a good chunk of bad stuff the government does, and most of the really bad stuff – the stuff that most notably increases the power and control of the government and the bureaucracy –  is not a red or blue thing, but has broad bipartisan (and public) support, for instance entitlements and the war on drugs (and really, most other wars, as long as Americans aren’t dying), and that would approaching a good point.

                Instead I’ll just say that the Democratic machine hasn’t been in charge of the NYC Mayor’s office in almost 20 years now.  That’s why his premise (for NYC) is patent nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                And you know, I might actually agree with a few elements of Mead’s analysis.  But he wraps it up in such a tendentiousness, turdly bow that I can’t be bothered to read the whole thing.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “I could say that Mead is completely ignoring the mirror image on the right, the variation factions of the right coalition that hate each other but want to increase govt spending and power on things like the military and social control (and ag subsidies), but that would be tu quoquish.”

                It’s also just not true. The mainstream Right gets along internally well enough. The main beef with the mainstream Right is from the dissident Right, and the whole point of the dissident Right is that they are not part of the Right coalition (mostly to their discredit as I’ve argued elsewhere).

                It’s especially not true in mirror image. The larger point behind WRM’s essay isn’t that the urban constituencies are natural enemies, it’s that there is no money to continue funding them according to their expectations. That’s the difference between the “red” states and the blue states. The red states still have a private sector.

                Finally, this is a bit of a diversion, but stuff like the War on Drugs, entitlements, proliferating jurisdictions, decreasing police accountability, these things have very little active support but a lot of acquiescence. They run on inertia, because Team Blue has won enough battles in the past to make government irreformable. Therefore, if we wish to change these things, the first thing to do is get rid of Team Blue.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                They run on inertia,

                This is true enough.

                because Team Blue has won enough battles in the past to make government irreformable.

                This is debatable, but I think not the primary structural impediement to reform any given policy

                Therefore, if we wish to change these things, the first thing to do is get rid of Team Blue.

                This is ridiculous.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, what do you consider the dissident Right?  The only faction that never gets what they want is someone with Ron Paul’s views of foreign policy.  The various other players get their tax cuts, get their de-regulation, get their privatization, get their judges, get their faith lauded in the public square, get their muscular (and willingness to be unilateral) foreign policy.  Who was really left out in the cold in the Bush Adminstration?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “This is debatable, but I think not the primary structural impedi[]ment to reform any given policy”

                Oh but it is. Because the Drug War (and things like it) run on inertia, it takes a stronger force to stop it, ie the expression of sovereignty of the people. But Team Blue is terrified of the sovereignty of the people, therefore they have to build walls around it so as to limit its expression to situations Team Blue considers safe. Therefore, to end the Drug War means freeing the sovereignty of the people, and that requires getting rid of Team Blue.

                Let’s note, it’s not just that Team Blue has done this in the past. They are doing it now and will continue to do it in the future as they have the opportunity. Therefore, it’s up to us to make sure they don’t get the opportunity.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Also, what do you consider the dissident Right?”

                The Ron Paul-ish libertarians, the liberaltarians, the paleos, the anti-Israel/pro-Iran bunch, the localist agriculture crunchies, even the Frums if you stretch a little bit. They all kind of came together around the beginning of the Obama Administration. But whereas the Tea Parties had a principled difference of opinion with the GOP over policy, the dissident conservatives are motivated more by spite.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, what do you consider the dissident Right?

                Conservatives.

                (Sorry, that was too easy.)

                 Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Also, what do you consider the dissident Right?

                …the anti-Israel/pro-Iran bunch”

                Is there really a pro-Iran group of conservatives in America?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                But whereas the Tea Parties had a principled difference of opinion with the GOP over policy, the dissident conservatives are motivated more by spite.

                This is immensely amusing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Is there really a pro-Iran group of conservatives in America?

                “Freddy Mercury Conservatives”Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                “Is there really a pro-Iran group of conservatives in America?”

                Distressingly, yes. Their line is essentially something like, “Well, something’s got to stop the imperialism and neocolonialism of 21st century US foreign policy. It might as well be Iran’s nukes.”Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Their line is essentially something like, “Well, something’s got to stop the imperialism and neocolonialism of 21st century US foreign policy. It might as well be Iran’s nukes.”

                [Citation needed.]

                The anti-imperialist conservatives I’ve seen have mostly been pointing out that our imperialism has backfired, because it’s made Iran that much stronger and seem that much more reasonable.  Both of which they count as bad things.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, there’s them. On the other side of them are the Raimondo types who are either fine with Iranian nukes or actively cheerleading for them.Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                Threaten somebody enough, and it’s only natural they’ll consider obtaining a deterrent.

                If in an alternate world, the U.S. didn’t have nukes, and Chinese forces were present in both Canada and Mexico, with members of the Communist Party leadership in China constantly suggesting they’re considering war with us, I’d damn sure want the U.S. to obtain The Bomb.  The idea that this same logic is insanity if carried anywhere else is naive at the least.Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        “there’s no one there who’s adding value to the economy. They’re only protecting and/or manipulating the value that others provide.”

        “Value,” as you might suspect Koz, is a highly subjective attribute.  I’m skeptical of anyone trying to measure it with numbers.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        For one of them, partitions the blue state economic groups into four major categories, (or maybe it was just New York in particular).

        No hi-tech industry, centered in California?.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke
      Ignored
      says:

      Actually the second one, that I had thought was written by WRM, I think was actually the link in Tom’s comment. I didn’t recognize it at first because somehow I recall having read it some at some other venue than Volokh.

      “In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits — the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.”

      In any case, I think this analysis is very apposite.Report

  8. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    “What Should Occupy Wall Street Do Next?”

    Go home and vote Republican. Seriously, aside from their aesthetic unpleasantness and outright criminality, it’s hard to see that there is anything good about OWS that should somehow be leveraged.Report

    • Avatar Franz Schubert in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      Agreed, sir.   Outside of a general sense of malaise and life-weariness, do these bong heads ever say what they want.  Or need?   Okay, I know what’s coming, you can’t always get what you want,  but you get what you need–Thanks Mick.  It’s a colorful collection of zombies and mental misfits until they open their mouths and out spews nothing more than 3-year old wishes and wants.  Rattles or teething riings I suspect would pacify them but distrust and loathing of the universe in general is a rather large order to rectify.Report

  9. Avatar Renee
    Ignored
    says:

    What should OWS do?  ‘Should’ implies a goal or a direction.   Anyone who proscribes what OWS ‘should’ or ‘needs to’ do is implicitly proscribing what they think OWS should be about.

    Elias’ arguments for the group supporting voting rights are very good . . . for what Elias would like to see the movement become.  Which I think is great and I think the general discussion helps the movement evolve.  I guess I would simply point out that we feel the need to define who the group is in our mind and then proscribe action.  When, in fact, defining the group seems to me to be nearly impossible.  Clearly it isn’t a conservative group.  But other than that, it is what it is.  Some aspects, I think, are laudable; others appalling.  I am fascinated to see where it goes.Report

  10. Avatar MFarmer
    Ignored
    says:

    What OWS should do next is move beyond their complaints to the source of corporate advantage — the State. As long as we as a society will not diligently limit government power, then we can expect that the few (1%) will find advantages for themselves and maintain control over the many (99%), History is chockful of this coerced arrangement, and it doesn’t matter what form of statism allows the arrangement — communism, socialism, fascism, democracy, monarchy, etc.Report

  11. Avatar Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    I was thinking the OWS folks might take a bath and get a job.Report

  12. Avatar ZZMike
    Ignored
    says:

    “To whom much is given…”

    What he means, of course, is: “From you, whom much is given, much is required to be given to me”.Report

  13. Avatar Sean Robert Meaney
    Ignored
    says:

    They might want to consider putting up a Presidential Candidate, Senators, and running Mayors, and Governors in every State as a third party.

    What Policies? 1. The fundamental right of every citizen to a seat in parliament to represent themselves. 2. The construction of a single – billion population city in the USA populated by the world’s poorest and uneducated (mostly if not all – women) to bring an end to the belief that the third world is an acceptable economic state.Report

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