A Liberal critique of OWS

Quantum Windbag

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The person who wrote this makes sense. The OWS group is about things that should be anathema to every liberal in existence.

How should liberals feel about Occupy Wall Street? If you follow politics and you think of yourself as a liberal, then you have undoubtedly been grappling with that question in recent weeks. At first blush, it would be difficult not to cheer the protesters who have descended on lower Manhattan—and are massing in other cities across the United States—because they have chosen a deserving target. Wall Street should be protested. Its resistance to needed regulations that would stabilize the U.S. economy is shameful. And, insofar as it has long opposed appropriate levels of government spending and taxation, it has helped to create a society that does a deeply flawed job of providing for its most vulnerable, educating its young, and guaranteeing economic opportunity for all.
But, to draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?
This task is made especially difficult by the fact that there is no single leader who is speaking for the crowds, no book of demands that has been put forward by the movement. Like all such gatherings, it undoubtedly includes a broad range of views. But the volume of interviews, speeches, and online declarations associated with the protests does make it possible to arrive at some broad generalizations about what Occupy Wall Street stands for. And these, in turn, suggest a few reasons for liberals to be nervous about the movement.
One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives. But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters. Instead, we are hearing calls for the upending of capitalism entirely. American capitalism may be flawed, but it is not, as Slavoj Zizek implied in a speech to the protesters, the equivalent of Chinese suppression. “[In] 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV and films and in novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel,” Zizek declared. “This is a good sign for China. It means that people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dream. Here, we don’t think of prohibition. Because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.” This is not a statement of liberal values; moreover, it is a statement that should be deeply offensive to liberals, who do not in any way seek the end of capitalism.
Protests And Power: Should Liberals Support Occupy Wall Street? | The New Republic
 

Mr. Shaman

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The person who wrote this makes sense. The OWS group is about things that should be anathema to every liberal in existence.

One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives.
Yeah.....this is a YUPPIE, alright.

It's all-about-the-BUCK$, for them.....always HAS been.

Well......

....THE "VETS" ARE
BACK-IN-TOWN
!!!!


"Older activists like Johnsen — some hobbling along on canes and leg braces — are quickly becoming a presence at “Occupy” protests across the country. And the veterans of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war protests and anti-nuclear proliferation demonstrations appear to be relishing being back in the struggle, supporting the “kids” and mobilizing other seniors to join in."



"Right here, YUPPIES!!!"
 

Oldstyle

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The person who wrote this makes sense. The OWS group is about things that should be anathema to every liberal in existence.

One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives.
Yeah.....this is a YUPPIE, alright.

It's all-about-the-BUCK$, for them.....always HAS been.

Well......

....THE "VETS" ARE
BACK-IN-TOWN
!!!!


"Older activists like Johnsen — some hobbling along on canes and leg braces — are quickly becoming a presence at “Occupy” protests across the country. And the veterans of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war protests and anti-nuclear proliferation demonstrations appear to be relishing being back in the struggle, supporting the “kids” and mobilizing other seniors to join in."



"Right here, YUPPIES!!!"
Love the Abbie Hoffman picture, Shaman. I remember when I was a young man working at Beardsley's in Northampton, Ma. There was a large protest taking place at the court house across the street that I checked out before work. I don't remember the specifics because quite frankly there were so many protests back then it's hard to keep track of them. At this particular protest Abbie Hoffman was the featured speaker, whipping the crowd up with rhetoric about standing up to the Man and all that good Power to the People stuff. What I always found fascinating was what took place afterwards. I went to work waiting tables and guess who was one of my customers at that very pricey French bistro? Sure enough...it was Abbie himself...having a nice gourmet meal and paying for it with...drum roll please...his American Express gold card. I always got a chuckle whenever I saw Hoffman talking about the "establishment" when I knew what he was carrying in his wallet. By the way, for a champion of the "little guy" Abbie was a shabby tipper.
 

bobcollum

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It's like I've been saying, it consists of a small group of good ideas surrounded by a majority of people that like to show up when a crowd forms.

It's the group element most are attracted to, not a complex understanding of the issues.
 

Jackson

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But Nancy Pelosi says, "God bless them! Bless her peapickin' little heart.
 

Mr. Shaman

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"Older activists like Johnsen — some hobbling along on canes and leg braces — are quickly becoming a presence at “Occupy” protests across the country. And the veterans of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war protests and anti-nuclear proliferation demonstrations appear to be relishing being back in the struggle, supporting the “kids” and mobilizing other seniors to join in."

.....And, THIS TIME, the Hard-Hats.....

 

Full-Auto

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"Older activists like Johnsen — some hobbling along on canes and leg braces — are quickly becoming a presence at “Occupy” protests across the country. And the veterans of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war protests and anti-nuclear proliferation demonstrations appear to be relishing being back in the struggle, supporting the “kids” and mobilizing other seniors to join in."

.....And, THIS TIME, the Hard-Hats.....

And??????? So some vets agree that too much money influences government.

Most of us do.

Maybe you guys should give your demands to the porta potties. Im sure the lawmakers will feel the heat.
 

ClosedCaption

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Good to see Quantum finally realizes that liberals are capitalist. Maybe this will stop him from claiming otherwise...not.
 

daveman

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editec

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This task is made especially difficult by the fact that there is no single leader who is speaking for the crowds, no book of demands that has been put forward by the movement.
And there we have it.

A truly populist movement has no OFFICIAL spokesman.

About the only COMMON DENOMINATOR in that mob is that they are PISSED.

They're mostly not sure at WHOM, so the dunderheads paint ALL OF WALL STREET for the crimes and misdemanors of the FEW.

Its a god damned shame, really.

All that righteous anger needs to be directed to those who DESERVE our scorn.







 

skipper

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The person who wrote this makes sense. The OWS group is about things that should be anathema to every liberal in existence.

How should liberals feel about Occupy Wall Street? If you follow politics and you think of yourself as a liberal, then you have undoubtedly been grappling with that question in recent weeks. At first blush, it would be difficult not to cheer the protesters who have descended on lower Manhattan—and are massing in other cities across the United States—because they have chosen a deserving target. Wall Street should be protested. Its resistance to needed regulations that would stabilize the U.S. economy is shameful. And, insofar as it has long opposed appropriate levels of government spending and taxation, it has helped to create a society that does a deeply flawed job of providing for its most vulnerable, educating its young, and guaranteeing economic opportunity for all.
But, to draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?
This task is made especially difficult by the fact that there is no single leader who is speaking for the crowds, no book of demands that has been put forward by the movement. Like all such gatherings, it undoubtedly includes a broad range of views. But the volume of interviews, speeches, and online declarations associated with the protests does make it possible to arrive at some broad generalizations about what Occupy Wall Street stands for. And these, in turn, suggest a few reasons for liberals to be nervous about the movement.
One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives. But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters. Instead, we are hearing calls for the upending of capitalism entirely. American capitalism may be flawed, but it is not, as Slavoj Zizek implied in a speech to the protesters, the equivalent of Chinese suppression. “[In] 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV and films and in novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel,” Zizek declared. “This is a good sign for China. It means that people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dream. Here, we don’t think of prohibition. Because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.” This is not a statement of liberal values; moreover, it is a statement that should be deeply offensive to liberals, who do not in any way seek the end of capitalism.
Protests And Power: Should Liberals Support Occupy Wall Street? | The New Republic
There were also some during the anti-Vietnam war protests that spoke of Communism, carried Mao's "Little Red Book" and pictures of Che Guevara but none of that ever got a foothold and the overriding reason for the protests which was to end the war prevailed. I expect the same to happen here.
 
OP
Quantum Windbag

Quantum Windbag

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Good to see Quantum finally realizes that liberals are capitalist. Maybe this will stop him from claiming otherwise...not.
Where did I ever claim liberals are not capitalists? In fact, please point out where I said anyone is not a capitalist. As I have said a few times, onlu to be challenged by lefties everywhere, I consider myself a classical liberal. The problem is most people who call themselves liberals are actually progressives, and are not even aware of the differences between a pro government stance like progressivism and true liberalism.
 
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OP
Quantum Windbag

Quantum Windbag

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The person who wrote this makes sense. The OWS group is about things that should be anathema to every liberal in existence.

How should liberals feel about Occupy Wall Street? If you follow politics and you think of yourself as a liberal, then you have undoubtedly been grappling with that question in recent weeks. At first blush, it would be difficult not to cheer the protesters who have descended on lower Manhattan—and are massing in other cities across the United States—because they have chosen a deserving target. Wall Street should be protested. Its resistance to needed regulations that would stabilize the U.S. economy is shameful. And, insofar as it has long opposed appropriate levels of government spending and taxation, it has helped to create a society that does a deeply flawed job of providing for its most vulnerable, educating its young, and guaranteeing economic opportunity for all.
But, to draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?
This task is made especially difficult by the fact that there is no single leader who is speaking for the crowds, no book of demands that has been put forward by the movement. Like all such gatherings, it undoubtedly includes a broad range of views. But the volume of interviews, speeches, and online declarations associated with the protests does make it possible to arrive at some broad generalizations about what Occupy Wall Street stands for. And these, in turn, suggest a few reasons for liberals to be nervous about the movement.
One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives. But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters. Instead, we are hearing calls for the upending of capitalism entirely. American capitalism may be flawed, but it is not, as Slavoj Zizek implied in a speech to the protesters, the equivalent of Chinese suppression. “[In] 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV and films and in novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel,” Zizek declared. “This is a good sign for China. It means that people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dream. Here, we don’t think of prohibition. Because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.” This is not a statement of liberal values; moreover, it is a statement that should be deeply offensive to liberals, who do not in any way seek the end of capitalism.
Protests And Power: Should Liberals Support Occupy Wall Street? | The New Republic
There were also some during the anti-Vietnam war protests that spoke of Communism, carried Mao's "Little Red Book" and pictures of Che Guevara but none of that ever got a foothold and the overriding reason for the protests which was to end the war prevailed. I expect the same to happen here.
The problem is that the only over riding reason most of those people have to be out there is that they are having fun. They do not have a cause, they are being manipulated. They have this fantasy world in their head from listening to their professors, and they think a real democracy is possible. It might work in a small community, but with anything over a few hundred people it will fall apart.
 

NoNukes

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It is good to see young people out from behind their computer screens and protesting, even if we do not agree with what they are saying or doing.
 

Londoner

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The article stipulates that OWS doesn't have a leader or coherent set of views. Then it states that it is clearly anti-capitalist. Which is it? Where is the proof? It reads like an op-ed written by a high school kid. It is completely incoherent.

OWS is there because Wall Street placed trillions of dollars of bets that it could not cover. It bought paper of questionable value (thereby assuming 100% responsibility for those mortgages), than it sold that paper around the globe, making hundreds of billions. If there was any question about the quality of those mortgages, they should not have purchased them. (But they did: they took the risk) Worse: they also built a multi-trillion dollar insurance industry on top of the questionable paper (derivatives). They did this with borrowed money (leverage) - meaning Wall Street lacked the capital to cover its bets. It made money selling a product it did not have. It was a pure, criminal ponzi scheme.

Essentially.... they spread risky time bombs around the globe. Then, after those bombs exploded and destroyed one economy after another, Wall Street parachuted to safety on taxpayer bailouts (-just like the S&Ls when Ronnie allowed the donor class to get rich off a criminally speculative orgy before bailing them out with the taxpayer's nickel).

(And the only folks defending Wall Steet are . . ? The Tea Party. The ol' Republican Based dressed-up as freedom, but once again defending concentrated power. Funny that way)

Wall Street profited on the way up and on the way down, leaving the global economy holding the bag. Worse: because they foreclosed on the poor slobs, they can now sell freshly foreclosed homes to the next round of suckers.

Nobody forced Bear, Lehman, AIG, and Goldman to buy or insure those mortgages. Nobody forced the Reagan Revolution to wage a 30 year war against regulators, such that the credit rating agencies were fully weakened and captured by the time the derivative crooks arrived.

The Tea Party protests government (on behalf of the wealthy who don't want to pay taxes on their Wall Street casino winnings). OWS, on the other hand, protests the people who own government. Protesting government is like going into a restaurant and yelling at the dishwasher. If you want to complain, you have to go to the person who owns the restaurant.

Tragically, the masses don't understand what financnialization and speculation have done to this country. Wall Street made bets it knew that it could not cover. They created a casino that had nothing to do with job creation. If this happened in the old Soviet Union; if a small cadre of crooks set-up a predatory casino (which resulted in wild profits, followed by a historic crash, followed by bailouts, followed by foreclosure on the poor and spiraling job loss for everyone else), we would recognize the corruption immediately and denounce it. Not so when its our country.

If my jobless neighbor gets a mortgage, shame on the people who financed him. If I place trillions of dollars of bets on that mortgage - and then sell those bets around the globe - shame on me. If I make billions in the process - and then everything blows up while I get bailed out - shame on the society that does not put me in jail
 
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