Occupy Wall Street is an ever-growing movement of protests against corporate America. What originally began as the Twitter hashtag #OccupyWallStreet has now grown into an international phenomenon, with protests now occurring in American cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as in Canadian cities like Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.

 

But what exactly is Occupy Wall Street? How did it come about? And why has it become more than just a simple protest? We attempt to answer these questions, as well as provide further resources for your own investigations.

 

 

What is "Occupy Wall Street"?

 

Occupy Wall Street is a "people-powered movement for democracy" that began in New York City on September 17 with an encampment in the city's financial district.

 

The movement is centred upon this statement: "the one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%", a sentiment that's been echoed in a powerful blog where regular people have photographed themselves with written statements demonstrating why they are the "99%".

 

Their demands are varied, but include some of the following:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy
  • Raising taxes on the rich
  • Raising taxes on corporations
  • Ending corporate welfare
  • Redefining how labour is valued
  • Protecting Medicare and Social Security


An entry from the We are the 99 percent Tumblr.

 

A screengrab from the popular YouTube clip of Wall Street bankers mocking the protestors by drinking champagne.

 

An entry from the We are the 99 percent Tumblr.

 

How did "Occupy Wall Street" happen?

 

The Vancouver-based Adbusters Media Foundation, an anti-consumerist group best known for its award-winning, advertisement-free magazine Adbusters, has been credited for spurning this citizen uprising. The group was growing frustrated by the increasing disparity in wealth and the absence of any legal action against the bankers responsible for our global financial crisis. As a result, they appealed to their readers to take to the street and demand change.

 

"We basically floated the idea in mid July into our [email list] and it was spontaneously taken up by all the people of the world,” said Adbusters senior editor Micah White to the Vancouver Courier. “It just kind of snowballed from there."

 

 

A live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com of the Occupy Wall Street action.

 

Via Guardian.co.uk

 

Why is "Occupy Wall Street" more than just a protest?

 

Because the protest is leaderless and no specific platform has been pushed, there was initial discrediting of the movement by the media. 

 

Media coverage was initially minimal, and what coverage did exist was largely derisive. Mother Jones ran an article entitled “why #occupywallstreet isn’t working,” and Grist’s Dave Roberts said the occupation was “designed to discredit leftie protest.”

 

But images — such as the stories shared on the 99% Tumblr, the video of Wall Street folks drinking champagne having their Marie Antoinette moment, and this weekend's arrest of 700 protestors on New York City's Brooklyn Bridge — has spurned a movement. 

 

The movement has been applauded because it seems to be a legitimate "solidarity" progressive response to the Tea Party movement. "I think that even just organizing and maintaining these protests in worthy of praise," writes Forbes' E.D. Kain. "The manifestation of #OccupyWallStreet as more than just a hashtag is a real achievement. From coherence comes relevancy, however messy or disorganized that process may be."

 

Further resources:

 

 

What do you think? Do you think the lack of a platform will hinder the movement? And does it make sense for these protests to occur in Canada?

 

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Tags: #OccupyWallStreet, American Politics, Occupy Wall Street, United States, global financial crisis, the 99%

Views: 664

Replies to This Discussion

This movement was started by a group of Communist, Marxis, Socialist, Saul Alinsky style community organizers, and Union radicals who want to change the very makeup of the United States and it's Constitution.

 They go into our Universities and whip into a frenzy the very young, naive students who don't have any idea of what the hell they are doing.

 

Read all about it here:

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=351141

The wealthy are the ones who create jobs.

And I do know poverty. Been there, done that and worked my way out of it.

Most of those protesters are just college kids who are still living off their parents and not contributing a darned  to society.They are being indoctrinated by their left wing college professors who only want to create chaos and uprising.

Then there are the drug addicts and alcoholics who just want their drugs and booze. Not much you can do with them.

In August I posted an article titled Why Have I Not Taken to the Streets on my blog  Among other things  here is what I wrote:

"This past May, what was coined “The Spanish Revolution”, shocked the Spanish government on the eve of their elections “Without a hint of violence the Spanish people are saying, Enough is Enough!!”Houston Chronicle
Demonstrators, most of who were young, took to the streets for six day sit ins in a dozen Spanish cities demanding an overhaul of the political system in order to improve living conditions.
One 32 year old revolutionary, Javier de Coca, when asked, why, had this to say, “Some people are trying to turn this into a leftwing or Marxist thing, but that is not what it is about. The really important thing for the moment is that we are raising our voices. No one should think we are just sitting around and taking this.”
Food for thought…

The form of revolution is as varied as the conditions bringing it about and the courage and nature of the revolutionaries leading it.
In Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Libya thousands have taken to the streets to demand change and many have lost their lives to make their point.
In Iceland the revolution was sounded from the polls where citizens voted strongly against bailing out the banks they believed had caused the crisis in the first place.
Yet little pavement has been trod here at home. This week in San Francisco the BART was protested to a halt as citizens peacefully and lawfully protested what they believed was police brutality and the loss of freedom of speech. Is this a sign of things to come?

What will it take for the average citizen of the USA to step up and out their front doors, to put goggle and twitter and other social networking technologies to work in the country where they were born, for the good of that country and its people, to march as one voice demanding simply…Something Has To Change?

A recent article in guardian.co.uk states that “In the 21st century, given the broadening of available communication-technology, it is not power elite “leaders” who may decide the future but the broader populace who are moving the Internet Reformation forward. Those at the top of the EU may come up with solutions that they consider adequate one way or another only to find that voters are dismissive of them.”

 I applaud "Occupy Wall Street" for the voice of discontent it raises, for the courage its members show to do something about that which so many feel they can't do anything about.

I think that at this stage  formal goals or agenda would weaken the movement's position. It is not about achieving just another set of goals that some individual group feels they need. It is about waking us all up to our right to speak.

I am originally form Canada now living in LA and I think such protests make sense in every nation where people want to be heard.

"A nation is a collection of peoples and people have experience with crisis and hardship in life. They reshape their lives to keep going and they find the better things that they value most are still alive within them. This process is not easy, is not what we prefer but I think there is a growing appetite to get on with it, to act upon this recovery to find our dignity again in being part of the solution so …
Why are we not in the streets?"

Doreen, you seem to be saying that there could be no other reason for objecting to how Wall Street operated leading to 2008, and how it's been operating since.  If Wall Street was quietly creating jobs like you say it is really doing, there would be no protests.

 

If the wealthy are supposed to be creating jobs, where are the jobs?  They've been paying 36% taxes since 2000, the lowest rate since 1951.  So where are the jobs?

 

 

 

What will it take for the average citizen of the USA to step up and out their front doors, to put goggle and twitter and other social networking technologies to work in the country where they were born, for the good of that country and its people, to march as one voice demanding simply…Something Has To Change?

We are in the streets, town hall meetings, etc. trying to take our country back from the Marxis, socialists who have been trying to take over and trash our Constitution.

The present "entitlement " mentality of some of the older folks and most of their younger college kids has to stop.  The Government isn't responsible for changing our living conditions, we are.

If you want something, go out and work for it. Work two or three jobs if necessary and stop saying someone else is at fault.

 

The middle eastern countries who have been in the news are trying to get from  murderous dictatorships who rule them. It's entirely different.

In the USA, everything is yours, if and only if, you work your a*s off to get it.

This is the beginning of the end of the USA as a Superpower.  And I have to believe, on some level, there's real fear ... twitter is not trending #occupywallstreet

 

American mainstream media is not covering this event in the USA or if they do, they are not covering it in any detail. they dont want 99% of the population in downtown NYC and on wallstreet of all places

 

then there would be boots in the street, but the cracks are starting to show, already

 

The lies,

osma bin laden dead ... oh great good job

Libya was trading oil in Chinese Yen? interesting

But you know... if you have your eyes open you know ... the USA has been lying to us and the world for the last couple hundrd years - the Spanish American war and or Mexican war was a slaughter and a land grab -years later, 

pearl harbour was coming and they knew it , so they sent the aircraft carriers to seabefore the attack so they would survive and all the WW1 era battleships were sunk

years later the world was going high tech and... terrorism was the new enemy

the twin towers fell to the ground too fast but now... nobody ever says anything, ever...  if you do everyone will think you're a crack pot. but look at the physics. just look at the physics.

 

The bush cheney regime ruined America

 

and they'll take Canada down with them, if not financially then with austerity measures of a different sort - security against terrorism, which we all glimpsed during G20 , how quickly our 'democracy' disappeared.

 

There are dark days ahead for all of us. Traffic in Toronto will be brutal with protestors on Bay St ... but i dont blame them. They have a lot to be unhappy about.

I did not say that Wall Street was creating jobs.

I said the wealthy were able to do it before our intrusive government under Clinton, and both of the Bushes and now Obama put into place so many regulations that it made it impossible for the wealthy to do business here. They had to send their companies over seas where fewer regulations and lower wages made them able to flourish.

If this government would lift those regulations, companies would bring the jobs back to our shores.

 

http://www.speaker.gov/Blog/?postid=241749

Regulatory Onslaught Threatens to Destroy Jobs, Drive Up Gas Prices
Posted by Don Seymour on May 17, 2011

Miles of red tape and excessive government regulations - issued by unelected bureaucrats without approval from Congress - are creating havoc and uncertainty for job creators across the country. For example, several recent regulatory actions by the Obama Administration threaten to destroy American jobs by:

  • Blocking An American Company from Building a New Plant: The Obama Administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to “block Boeing from building airplanes in a non-union facility in South Carolina,” says the Washington Examiner. Economists Stephen Moore and Art Laffer say this is “the first time a federal agency has intervened to tell an American company where it can and cannot operate a plant within the U.S.” The move “will set a precedent that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide,” reports the Examiner.
  • Imposing a Government Takeover of the Internet: The House passed H.J.Res.37 to stop the FCC from imposing so-called “net neutrality” regulations, but the threat remains. A study by New York Law School's Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute said “net neutrality” regulations could cost “at least 100,000 to 200,000 jobs per year over the next five years” and “place the nation's economy at even greater risk.” James Gattuso with the Heritage Foundation says they “would be bad news not just for Web surfers but also for the economy as a whole.”

Last year alone, “3,752 new rules hit the books -- equivalent to a new regulation coming into effect every 2 hours and 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” says the Competitive Enterprise Institute. And “[a]n additional 4,225 regulations are at various stages of the pipeline right now” (hundreds are the result of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank alone).

Many of these regulations have an impact on the economy of $100 million or more – a significant sum that can stifle job creation and innovation, and create more economic uncertainty.

Consistent with the Pledge to America, House Republicans are taking action on several fronts – through Rep. Geoff Davis’ (R-KY) REINS Act (which Speaker Boehner says “requires congressional approval of any new government rule with an estimated economic cost of $100 million or more”), the American Energy Initiative, and others – to remove government barriers to private-sector job growth. Republicans have even succeeded in forcing the Democrat-run Senate and White House to repeal ObamaCare’s job-destroying 1099 small business mandate. But there’s a lot more to do.

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110419_4645.php

 

"High taxes, harsh regulations, and a broken immigration system are pushing American jobs overseas, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said at a hearing in his home state on Monday.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, held a hearing in San Jose that featured testimony from Google and Microsoft executives, among others. The hearing was titled "Policies Affecting High Tech Growth and Federal Adoption of Industry Best Practices," and Issa argued that federal regulations impede U.S. growth.

"It wasn't that long ago that the nation's research, innovation, and high tech industries were unequaled; there was no more attractive country than the United States for technology startup capital," he said in prepared remarks. "More recently, however, the shine has started to come off the apple, and there seems little doubt that federal policies and regulations have played a large role in hampering growth."

Issa cited a high corporate tax rate, no permanent R&D tax credit, a dysfunctional immigration system, and the high cost of complying with regulations as issues that are undermining America's ability to compete.
Federal regulations can "get in the way" of innovation, said Milo Medin, vice president of access services for Google. "



Krystyna said:

Doreen, you seem to be saying that there could be no other reason for objecting to how Wall Street operated leading to 2008, and how it's been operating since.  If Wall Street was quietly creating jobs like you say it is really doing, there would be no protests.

 

If the wealthy are supposed to be creating jobs, where are the jobs?  They've been paying 36% taxes since 2000, the lowest rate since 1951.  So where are the jobs?

 

 



Doreen said:

 

What will it take for the average citizen of the USA to step up and out their front doors, to put goggle and twitter and other social networking technologies to work in the country where they were born, for the good of that country and its people, to march as one voice demanding simply…Something Has To Change?

We are in the streets, town hall meetings, etc. trying to take our country back from the Marxis, socialists who have been trying to take over and trash our Constitution.

The present "entitlement " mentality of some of the older folks and most of their younger college kids has to stop.  The Government isn't responsible for changing our living conditions, we are.

If you want something, go out and work for it. Work two or three jobs if necessary and stop saying someone else is at fault.

 

The middle eastern countries who have been in the news are trying to get from  murderous dictatorships who rule them. It's entirely different.

In the USA, everything is yours, if and only if, you work your a*s off to get it.

 

But Doreen, how would Walmart have become such a rich company if it paid its employees a living wage, and benefits?  You don't think the regular employees of Walmart work hard?  Just think of how many CEO's have become rich firing their employees.  Lean and mean is the neocon model.  It's hard to work hard if you're being fired all the time. 

No one works harder than people earning minimum wage.  They usually need 2 or 3 full-time jobs just to stay above water.  Now, some Republican politicians want to take even that minimum wage away.  I guess it'll be back to slavery.  You don't think slaves worked hard enough?  Was that the reason they didn't move up the ladder, ya think?

The heroic people of the Arab Spring started the revolt, demanded respect, freedom and democracy.

Protesters in Britain, Europe and elsewhere followed the Arabs into the street, called for an end to the tyranny of savage capitalism. 

Now, can it be possible that even we in the rich West are finally emerging from our insolent, selfish lethargy to demand a fair share of the treasure produced by so many and owned by so few?

Or have I drunk far too deep from the seductive cup of hope?

Well, what the hell is wrong with the Walton family  wanting to get wealthy? Not one blasted thing that I can see. They are providing jobs and some benefits to their employees, and that is exactly what Sam Walton wanted to do. Read all about him. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Walton

Some of you seem to forget that most of the successful companies were started by one person, one family or one group of friends who had a great idea and ran with it.

 

Give me a break, Krystyna!! I worked for minimum wage at several jobs until I worked my way up the ladder by going to school and getting my degree, so I do know what hard work is. Did you do that?

 That's something that these young brains full of mush protesting on Wall St. just don't want to do. They are worthless slugs out there on the street  just wasting our air. They need to get jobs, work hard in school and make something of themselves.

 

ANYWAY, If you are a US citizen, help get rid of the crazy regulations and taxes that drove most of the good companies overseas where they are not restricted and still pay a living wage ( although much less than here) to their foreign employees, and then perhaps the good jobs will come back to the US.

Most of those companies would love to get back here and give jobs to their fellow US Citizens.

I don't see a lack of a platform. The demands listed

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy
  • Raising taxes on the rich
  • Raising taxes on corporations
  • Ending corporate welfare
  • Redefining how labour is valued
  • Protecting Medicare and Social Security

seem perfectly consistent. And yes, I am sure "Most of those companies would love to get back here and give jobs to their fellow US Citizens" at third world wages.

I think it's finally occurring to regular folks that people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are not going to be laughed away.  They are indeed preachers of a coming new order in which intelligence, empathy, live-and-let-live, inclusion and sharing the bounty from a big table are increasingly seen as crimes.  A few years ago FOX News could have been a British parody, something that Monty Python would have put on.  Now, against all reason, FOX is the mouthpiece for some very scary, very powerful individuals who want it ALL for themselves and blame the poor for not having what they've stolen from them.

I think it's finally occurred to a lot of people that Obama will not restore a moral order or change anything.  The willingness of Boehner and the Tea Party to bring down the economy even more, and take still more from those who have least, just to save those paying 36% from having to pay 39% dropped the coin in a lot of people's heads.  We can't pretend that maybe they don't understand, or maybe we didn't explain it well enough, or the math just doesn't work.  They understand.  They want everything.

There's nothing that shakes off lethargy better than the smell of immediate and present danger, and I think a lot of people are beginning to realize just how dangerous the far right predators really are.  Sometimes people don't appreciate democracy and freedom until they feel it slipping away.

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