REUTERS - Insight: Occupy Wall St, the start of a new protest era?

hvactec

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(Reuters) - When Paul Friedman met the rag-tag youth camped out near Wall Street to protest inequality in the American economy, he felt he was witnessing the start of a protest movement not seen in America since the 1960s.

And Friedman should know. The 64-year-old was a student organizer during the anti-Vietnam War movement, protesting from 1964 for 11 years until the war ended. He also joined Civil Rights actions against racial segregation in America.

On Wednesday, as thousands of union workers marched to show solidarity with the movement called Occupy Wall Street, he walked shoulder-to-shoulder with dreadlocked college dropouts, unemployed youth and students, who for three weeks have camped out near Wall Street and who have no plans to leave.

"It felt in my gut very much like what I was a part of in the 1960s," Friedman said. "What people are expressing ... is an experience that their opportunities are shrinking, not growing and their hopes are shrinking, not growing, and that is an unnatural feeling for the young," he said.

The protesters object to the Wall Street bailout in 2008, which they say left banks enjoying huge profits while average Americans suffered under high unemployment and job insecurity with little help from the federal government.

What the Occupy Wall Street movement has in common with the 1960s, he said, was that the weak economy hits home, just like racism or the chance that you or your boyfriend or brother or your son might be drafted to fight in Vietnam.

Most protests since the 1960s - against U.S. actions in Central America in the 1980s or against free trade in the 1990s or the impending Iraq War in 2003 - were in solidarity with an ideal. This, like Civil Rights and Vietnam, is personal.

That more than anything else is why the Occupy Wall Street movement could spread, Friedman said.

TEA AND SYMPATHY

One of the hallmarks of the protests has been the relative lack of violence. Aside from the arrest of 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday and some use of pepper spray by police, the uprising has been relatively tame compared to the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999 or the Free Trade Area of the Americas protests in Miami in 2003.

"There's a lot of naive idealism happening, what's wrong with that?" said Jeremy Moss, 41, a mental health counselor from the Bronx who lived in Seattle during the WTO riots and said this felt different.

The movement has prompted marches in cities across America and has garnered sympathy in some unexpected places.

A top U.S. Federal Reserve official said the protests were an understandable reaction to persistently high unemployment.

"I am somewhat sympathetic - that will shock you," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said on Thursday. "We have too many people out of work for too long. We have a very frustrated people, and I can understand their frustration," he said.

READ MORE Insight: Occupy Wall St, the start of a new protest era? | Reuters
 

The Infidel

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A top U.S. Federal Reserve official said the protests were an understandable reaction to persistently high unemployment.

"I am somewhat sympathetic - that will shock you," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said on Thursday. "We have too many people out of work for too long. We have a very frustrated people, and I can understand their frustration," he said.

If the dummies were REALLY wanting to protest high unemployment or any of the bs they are whining about, they'd be "occupying" Wahington DC.

What a bunch of dumbasses!
 

Bern80

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Yeah I don't get it. What do these people want wall street to do exactly? Clearly they don't like what they're 'doing' now (whatever that is). But what is it that they want exactly? What is it they think 'wall street' (whatever that is) is supposed to be doing for them to make their lives better?
 
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Dragon

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What's being protested is the influence Wall Street has over the government. It's not about Wall Street in isolation. It's about the unholy partnership.
 
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What's being protested is the influence Wall Street has over the government. It's not about Wall Street in isolation. It's about the unholy partnership.
And yet, they keep electing one side of that partnership. Just goes to show how jack shit stupid some people can be. Protest, but don't vote them out... yea, that's intellectually valid.

Fucking idiots.
 

Bern80

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What's being protested is the influence Wall Street has over the government. It's not about Wall Street in isolation. It's about the unholy partnership.
Then they should stop pissing and moaning at Wall Street and get there asses down to Washington. You can hardly blame Wall Street for taking the advantage that congress gives them.
 
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Dragon

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Then they should stop pissing and moaning at Wall Street and get there asses down to Washington. You can hardly blame Wall Street for taking the advantage that congress gives them.
Yes, considering that the opportunity involves bribery and corruption, I most certainly can blame Wall Street.

Both ends of the process are at fault. If you were saying that the protesters need to protest in BOTH NY and DC, I'd agree, and then point out that they are doing so. But you seem to be saying that they should protest in Washington and NOT on Wall Street, and with that I can't agree.
 

Wiseacre

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Then they should stop pissing and moaning at Wall Street and get there asses down to Washington. You can hardly blame Wall Street for taking the advantage that congress gives them.
Yes, considering that the opportunity involves bribery and corruption, I most certainly can blame Wall Street.

Both ends of the process are at fault. If you were saying that the protesters need to protest in BOTH NY and DC, I'd agree, and then point out that they are doing so. But you seem to be saying that they should protest in Washington and NOT on Wall Street, and with that I can't agree.

But Dragon, Washington makes the rules and controls the regulators. If you're not happy with what Wall Street is doing, why bother with them for doing precisely what they're allowed to do?

Sure, bribery and corruption abound, but isn't it more Washington's fault for not cracking down on this stuff? If they're allowing it, and even encouraging it by taking the money, bitching at Wall Street for doing whatever is necessary to play the game to make more money is really lame.
 

Stephanie

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They won't protest Washington because it will HURT the Obama and his comrades in arms.

That is all THIS PROTEST IS FOR folks. don't be fooled.
 

Bern80

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Then they should stop pissing and moaning at Wall Street and get there asses down to Washington. You can hardly blame Wall Street for taking the advantage that congress gives them.
Yes, considering that the opportunity involves bribery and corruption, I most certainly can blame Wall Street.

Both ends of the process are at fault. If you were saying that the protesters need to protest in BOTH NY and DC, I'd agree, and then point out that they are doing so. But you seem to be saying that they should protest in Washington and NOT on Wall Street, and with that I can't agree.
If that's your logic then the protesters should be protesting themselves as well. Don't YOU take every tax advantage/break/credit afforded you? I imagine you do. Yet for some reason you don't hold yourself in the same contempt as you do Wall Street for doing the same.
 

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they are protesting everywhere folks.


This is just going to get bigger and bigger.


Get used to it.
 

Zoom-boing

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What's being protested is the influence Wall Street has over the government. It's not about Wall Street in isolation. It's about the unholy partnership.
Are they also protesting the influence unions have over government?
 

Dragon

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And yet, they keep electing one side of that partnership.
Not in 2010 they didn't. They sat home in protest against the corruption of the Democrats and their disappointment with Obama.

Why do you suppose the insurgency on the left, which in 2008 elected a Democratic president and massive Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, is this year turning to street protest instead of working on re-electing Obama and restoring Democratic control of Congress? Because they have learned that as presently constituted, the Democratic Party is part of the problem and not a solution.

The goal here is to push the politicians to put real progressive reform on the ballot for people to vote for. Until that happens, electing Democrats (or Republicans) is, as you say, voting for one side of the corrupt partnership.
 

Dragon

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Are they also protesting the influence unions have over government?
Any changes to the law that would block corporate influence would block union influence as well. If the one doesn't exist, the other won't be needed.
 

Wiseacre

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Are they also protesting the influence unions have over government?
Any changes to the law that would block corporate influence would block union influence as well. If the one doesn't exist, the other won't be needed.

LOL, that depends on who makes the changes. The democrats would write it so that the unions are exempt, as they tried to do with the campaign contributions bill they tried to get through before they lost control of the House.

One of the benefits of going to a flat tax ala Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, is that you (presumably) wouldn't see as many lobbyists trying to change the tax code in their favor. No tax breaks, no deductions, worls for me.

I would love to see reform in campaign financing if it applied to everybody. Right now Washington is a cesspool of greed and corruption on both sides of the aisle. Granted, jobs and the economy oughta be a main focus, but we should correct the way Washington works today.
 

GogUndMagog

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Occupy the congress, the white house, the pentagon, the senate and the cia and fbi.
 

GogUndMagog

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Wall Street buys off politicians and enslaves the public...these Wall Street SOBs used mortgages and credit to turn the American people into Serfs....torch the bankers.
 

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