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"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." - Frederick Douglass

It has been over a year since Americans took to the streets to voice opposition to the established order - in all that vague glory. Many were disgusted by Wall Street's numerous crimes and a lack of accountability from a corrupt government, others with a poor job market, and some did not even know why they were protesting but for a deep intuitive sense that something was wrong.

So after a year what have we all learned? Five lessons from the Occupy Wall Street movement (feel free to add your own).

Lesson #1 America Is Extremely Unequal

America has always had rich and poor, fat cats and starving dogs, but by 2012 the gap between the rich and everyone else had yawned to levels unseen in generations.

From Forbes:

The average annual income of the top 1 percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000. The real disparity between the classes isn’t in income, however, but in net value: The 1 percent are worth about $8.4 million, or 70 times the worth of the lower classes.

The 1 percent are executives, doctors, lawyers and politicians, among other things. Within this group of people is an even smaller and wealthier subset of people, 1 percent of the top, or .01 percent of the entire nation. Those people have incomes of over $27 million, or roughly 540 times the national average income. Altogether, the top 1 percent control 43 percent of the wealth in the nation; the next 4 percent control an additional 29 percent.

It’s historically common for a powerful minority to control a majority of finances, but Americans haven’t seen a disparity this wide since before the Great Depression — and it keeps growing.

So the Top 5% control roughly 72% of the nation's wealth.

To dice it down even further, the top 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom half - 155 million - Americans combined.

Dice it further? Fine. Six members of one family - the Waltons - have more wealth than the bottom 30% of Americans.


(Occupy Wall Street Protester)

This is extreme inequality by any measure and only getting worse as - according to the Federal Reserve - the only class of Americans to increase their wealth post-crash has been the top 1%.

Lesson #2 Property Rights, For Some


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The statement above from the Declaration of Independence is considered the basis for both the American revolution and the American way of life. The phrase at the end of that famous passage about "the pursuit of happiness" is rooted not in contemporary positive psychology but in John Locke's theory on the role of government, namely "life, liberty, and estate".

In other words, property rights are essential to the American ideal of a free society.

So it's quite distressing to learn, as America has in the course of the last few years, that property rights are not universal nor really applicable at all to middle class and poor Americans - abundantly made clear by both the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of federal, state, and local governments.

While the financial crisis itself was caused by overleveraged financial institutions committing fraud against each other and their clients - the banks received bailouts. But the homeowners whose mortgages were sliced and diced into collateralized loan obligations then sold around the world got next to nothing.

In fact, the middle and lower class homeowners not only got meager to no assistance - after Wall Street got bailouts from the Federal government and trillions in loan guarantees from the Federal Reserve - another predatory campaign began against them by Wall Street.

This campaign known popularly as fraudclosure was motivated both by the typical greed all Wall Street activity is motivated by with a twist - a cover up. Wall Street needed to cover up the fact that in their rush to slice, dice, and reap tremendous profits during the boom they forgot something... the law. Under the law you need documents to verify that you own something, this is part of the legal basis for market activity. It could even be argued this is one of the more progressive aspects to capitalism - the requirement of transparency of ownership.

But here's the thing, Wall Street didn't have the documents. So they just made them up.

That strategy - committing fraud - now in place, Wall Street went on one of the largest nationwide crime sprees in American history. It put John Dillinger and all the famous criminals from the last depression to shame, except now instead of criminals robbing banks the criminals were banks and they were robbing the poor and middle class homeowners.

From Matt Taibbi, Invasion Of The Home Snatchers:

This "rocket docket," as it is called in town, is presided over by retired judges who seem to have no clue about the insanely complex financial instruments they are ruling on — securitized mortgages and laby­rinthine derivative deals of a type that didn't even exist when most of them were active members of the bench. Their stated mission isn't to decide right and wrong, but to clear cases and blast human beings out of their homes with ultimate velocity...

This is the dirty secret of the rocket docket: The whole system is set up to enable lenders to commit fraud over and over again, until they figure out a way to reduce the stink enough so some judge like [Judge] Soud can sign off on the scam. "If the court finds for the defendant, the plaintiffs just refile," says Parker, the local attorney. "The only way for the caseload to get reduced is to give it to the plaintiff. The entire process is designed with that result in mind."...

The meat of the foreclosure crisis is the unopposed cases; that's where the banks make their money. They almost always win those cases, no matter what's in the files.

These scenes played out/are playing out all over America. This of course leaves out the flurry of cases where Wall Street forecloses on the wrong house - again and again.

But before you can even have the "rocket docket" you need documents to be "robo-signed." Robo-signing is when a bank employee signs thousands of documents without verifying the information... something they are required to do in order to sign in the first place.

The problem with robo-signing - despite the obvious legal issues - is how amazingly sloppy and chaotic the process becomes. Take this deposition from a GMAC employee Jefferey Stephan:

Page 16-17, Lines 17-25, 2-11

Q: What training have you received?

A:  I  received  side-by-side  training  from another  team  leader  to  instruct me on how to review the documents when they are received from my staff.

Q: Who was that person?

A:  That  person,  at  the  time,  I  believe,  was  a  gentleman  named  Kenneth Ugwuadu. U-G-W-U-A-D-U. He is no longer with GMAC.

Q: How long did that training last?

A: Three days.   2

Q: Were  there  any written  or  printed  training materials  or manuals  used  as  a part of that training?

A: No.

Page 20, Lines 19-24:

Q.: In your capacity as the team leader for the document execution team, do you have any role in the foreclosure process, other than the signing of documents?

A: No.

Page 54, Lines 12-25:

Q: When you sign a summary judgment affidavit, do you check to see if all of the exhibits are attached to it?

A: No.

Q. Does anybody in your department check to see if all the exhibits are attached to it at the time that it is presented to you for your signature?

A: No.

Q: When you sign a summary judgment affidavit, do you inspect any exhibits attached to it?

A: No.

Page 62-63, Lines 23-25, 2-6:

Q: Is it fair to say when you sign a summary judgment affidavit, you don’t know what information it contains, other than the figures that are set forth within it?

A: Other than the borrower’s name, and if I have signing authority for that entity, that is correct.

Page 69, Lines 2-20:

Q: Mr. Stephan, referring you again to the bottom line on Page 1 of Exhibit 1, it states: I have under my custody and control, the records relating to the mortgage transaction referenced below.   3

It’s correct, is it not, that you did not have in your custody any records of GMAC at the time that you signed a summary judgment affidavit?

A: I have the electronic record. I do not have papers.

Q: You have access to a computer, is that what you mean?

A: Yes.

Jeffrey and the judges did their work well for Wall Street. But fraud on this scale was hard to maintain without someone (anyone) who is supposed to be upholding the law to get involved. Attorney Generals from New York, California, Connecticut and other states began making noise about the criminality going on in their states. That's when Wall Street played their next card.

Attorney General From MERS Eric Holder and other Wall Street apparatchiks in the Obama administration fast and furiously initiated a federal shutdown of any actual litigation buying off the other AGs with favors and fame.

When it comes to property rights in America, owning politicians is just as important as owning property and should you not have the extra cash to pay off the parasites see you in secret court and make sure you can refute those non-existent documents.

Lesson #3 On Wall Street, Crime Is A Business Model


Now that the LIBOR scandal has broken I wonder how much this section is even needed but lets do a quick rundown.

* Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of the largest penalties ever paid by a Wall Street firm, to settle charges of securities fraud linked to mortgage investments.

* Citigroup agreed to pay $285 million to settle civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex mortgage investments just as the housing market was starting to collapse.

* Bank of America paid $8.5 billion to investors for fraudulent mortgage-backed security sales.

* Bank of America was also fined $335 million for minority discrimination

* JP Morgan Chase agreed to pay a penalty for the third time in four years to settle regulatory allegations that it mishandled customer accounts. This time $20 million for Lehman Brothers misconduct

* JP Morgan's Traders have been fined in multiple instances for breaking the rules - by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for price manipulation and by the British FSA for insider trading.

Going further into JPM's trading infractions would take too long and that's just when they break the rules, never mind when they follow the rules they lobbied for and lose $6 billion.

* Money Laundering: JP Morgan was also fined $88 million for laundering money in Iran and Cuba.

They were by no means alone as Standard Chartered agreed to pay $340 million to New York State for laundering money to Iran.

HSBC was also caught laundering money for Iran as well as other rogue states, terrorists, and drug dealers - not to mention members of Al-Qaeda including a 9/11 hijacker.

The list really does go on but America has learned this one well enough and as the LIBOR scandal continues its way through the courts more depraved activity by Wall Street will surely surface.

Lesson #4 Wall Street Does Not Create Value


"Well I know Wall Street is all about greed and they break the law a lot but we need them right?" Wrong.

One of the most surprising revelations from all this focus on Wall Street is how unnecessary and useless (let alone destructive) most of what Wall Street or the FIRE economy does is.

From the New Yorker, What Good Is Wall Street?

For years, the most profitable industry in America has been one that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing...

Lord  Adair Turner, the chairman of Britain’s top financial watchdog, the  Financial Services Authority, has described much of what happens on Wall  Street and in other financial centers as "socially useless activity"—a  comment that suggests it could be eliminated without doing any damage to  the economy..."It is possible for financial activity to extract rents from the real economy rather than to deliver economic value,"...

Paul  Woolley, a seventy-one-year-old Englishman who has set up an institute  at the London School of Economics called the Woolley Centre for the  Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality. "Why on earth should finance  be the biggest and most highly paid industry when it’s just a utility,  like sewage or gas?"... "It is like a cancer that is growing to infinite size, until it takes  over the entire body....

Financial  markets, far from being efficient, as most economists and policymakers  at the time believed, were grossly inefficient. "And once you recognize  that markets are inefficient a lot of things change."...

Even after all that has happened, there is a tendency in Congress and the White House to defer to Wall Street because what happens there, befuddling as it may be to outsiders, is essential to the country’s prosperity. Finally, dissidents like Paul Woolley are questioning this narrative. "There was a presumption that financial innovation is socially valuable," Woolley said to me. "The first thing I discovered was that it wasn’t backed by any empirical evidence. There’s almost none."

Even LSE, birthplace of Neoliberalism, is questioning the value of Wall Street and so are Nobel Prize winning economists.

From Nobel Laureate and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz:

Much of what goes on in the financial sector is this kind of rent-seeking.

The most dramatic example was the predatory lending and the abusive credit card practices, which took money from people on the bottom and the middle often in a very deceptive way, sometimes in a fraudulent way, and moved it to the top.

That is a case where they both affected two of the more important dimensions of our inequality, that is to say, the suffering of those at the bottom and the wealth of those at the top.

Rent-seeking is a formal way of saying gaining wealth through political corruption not providing a useful good or service. But then again what choice does Wall Street have? If what you do is socially useless then rent-seeking is the only way to wealth.

There is also the $7.3 Trillion elephant in the room, China.

If Wall Street is so essential, so vital to a productive economy... how the hell did China become the second largest economy in the world on their way to displacing the United States as first?

China's banking system is the very definition of an unfree market. 98% of China's banking assets are state-owned as are most of China's financial institutions. And if you think the Federal Reserve, the SEC, CFTC, and the other regulators are heavy handed take a look at the People's Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance which directly controls the financial system under the authority of the state council. Big Government if ever the term applied.

So not only does Wall Street engage in rent-seeking and crime and other socially useless activity, the greatest economic success story of the 20th and 21st century has nothing like Wall Street within its economy.

Lesson #5 Nothing Scares The Government More Than Democracy Breaking Out


(84-year-old Dorli Rainey was pepper sprayed during a peaceful march in Seattle, Washington. She would have been thrown to the ground and trampled, but luckily a fellow protester and Iraq vet was there to save her.)

Last week the FBI cited "National Security" as the reason it denied the request for documents by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the bureau's surveillance of the Occupy Movement. To repeat, the Federal Bureau Of Investigation considers the surveillance of an activity protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution a matter of "National Security."

The documents came after an ACLU-NC lawsuit filed after the FBI refused to release any documents in a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents are significant for two reasons:

* First, they finally confirm what until now have only been suspicions that the FBI was conducting surveillance of the Occupy movement.

* Second, the FBI is refusing to hand over documents "in the interest of national defense or foreign policy." In other words, to the FBI, political protests about economic policy pose an unspecified threat to national security.

The FBI has a troubling history of spying on political activists. We're concerned that in 2012, history is still repeating.

And by "troubling history" the ACLU is of course referring to the bureaus illegal activities in the 60s and 70s that involved sabotage, assassination, surveillance and a clearly personal vendetta by then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against Martin Luther King most commonly referred to as COINTELPRO (CounterIntelligenceProgram).

What justification and rationale was given by the FBI for such illegal activities? According to the United States Congress:

What Were the Purposes of COINTELPRO?

The breadth of targeting and lack of substantive content in the descriptive titles of the programs reflect the range of motivations for COINTELPRO activity: protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order by "disrupting" and "neutralizing" groups and individuals perceived as threats.

"National Security" being a catchall for anything really but there is another aspect to that rationale that is relevant to the Occupy Movement.
maintaining the existing social and political order by "disrupting" and "neutralizing" groups and individuals perceived as threats.
So keep the existing social and political order and disrupt and neutralize anything perceived as a threat to it...

Then again, what is not a perceived threat to the existing social and political order? Under this absolutism, the constitution can be held hostage merely by the power of imagination.

But let's move on to our new Orwellian federal agency mandated to protect "the homeland."

From Rolling Stone:

As Occupy Wall Street spread across the nation last fall, sparking protests in more than 70 cities, the Department of Homeland Security began keeping tabs on the movement. An internal DHS report entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street," dated October of last year, opens with the observation that "mass gatherings associated with public protest movements can have disruptive effects on transportation, commercial, and government services, especially when staged in major metropolitan areas." While acknowledging the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of OWS, the report notes darkly that "large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for violence, presenting a significant challenge for law enforcement."

 DHS also appears to have scoured OWS-related Twitter feeds for much of their information. The report includes a special feature on what it calls Occupy's "social media and IT usage," and provides an interactive map of protests and gatherings nationwide – borrowed, improbably enough, from the lefty blog Daily Kos. "Social media and the organic emergence of online communities," the report notes, "have driven the rapid expansion of the OWS movement."

Well, hello there (waves).
The most ominous aspect of the report, however, comes in its final paragraph:

"The growing support for the OWS movement has expanded the protests’ impact and increased the potential for violence. While the peaceful nature of the protests has served so far to mitigate their impact, larger numbers and support from groups such as Anonymous substantially increase the risk for potential incidents and enhance the potential security risk to critical infrastructure (CI). The continued expansion of these protests also places an increasingly heavy burden on law enforcement and movement organizers to control protesters. As the primary target of the demonstrations, financial services stands the sector most impacted by the OWS protests. Due to the location of the protests in major metropolitan areas, heightened and continuous situational awareness for security personnel across all CI sectors is encouraged."

OK, the feds are taking an interest in a nationwide protest what fool would not expect that outcome?

But why is democracy so dangerous in America. Why are democratic movements a threat to the "existing political order"?

Paul Krugman writes:

Today, Washington is marked by a combination of bitter partisanship and intellectual confusion — and both are, I would argue, largely the result of extreme income inequality…

Specifically, money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation…

No, the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.

That's not an Occupier but another Nobel Laureate Economist. It would seem difficult to look at the American economy and political system and not see what the Occupy Movement sees.

So the existing political and social order, as has clearly been articulated by those that know, is structured to serve a tiny plutocratic elite.

No wonder democracy is so scary. And hence the nationwide violent crackdown on Occupy protesters. If 99% of the population got together and understood how royally they were being screwed by a parasitic elite that creates no value... they might want to change the existing political and social order.

Can't let that happen.

In closing, September 17th has now come and gone but as the movement continues let us all take care to remember what has been learned.

Occupy Wall Street before it occupies you.

Originally posted to Occupy Wall Street on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Manifesto Initiative and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Extreme Inequality Would Never Have Been Put (20+ / 0-)

    into the conversation by the Democrats. After all it's been 35 years or more since they began helping build it. Kudos to Occupy for accomplishing the impossible.

    The people whether in parties or independent movements have to begin some serious rethinking this system and their activity within it in about 6 weeks.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:17:19 PM PDT

    •  Amen... (8+ / 0-)

      I hope and pray this place will welcome that discussion.

      The people whether in parties or independent movements have to begin some serious rethinking this system and their activity within it in about 6 weeks.
      Because if you think the financial ruin this nation faces is solely the handiwork of republicans you're f'n bonkers.
      Not you, of course, Goose.
    •  Exactly (9+ / 0-)

      Without Occupy, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress would be going on about deficits and austerity.  We would not have even the tepid populism they have offered up.

      Now, during the election, we're dangerously close to talking about tax fairness.  About the unfairness of the capital gains rate.  If we're not careful, it will start being pointed out that taxes on the wealthy are at a historical low, and yet that has not translated into a stronger, more stable economy.

      Occupy changed the terms of the debate.  Something self-proclaimed "pragmatists" have failed to do over and over again.

      Determining what we actually fight over is the single most important battle to be fought, and won.

      What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

      by gila on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 04:45:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama and all democrats should thank OWS (8+ / 0-)

      big time. If the GOP had been allowed to keep the national conversation about "deficit reduction" and "hard choices" on social programs Rmoney would be winning right now. That's why they're so stunned at losing, before OWS came along they had the election won, now not so much.

      Kudos to Occupy for accomplishing the impossible.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:02:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome diary! (11+ / 0-)

    This is an amazing diary that everyone should read.  Unfortunately, I am afraid the title might turn folks off and therefore they may never read it.  This diary is chock full of documentation and great analysis.  Tipped, highly recommended, and hot listed.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:27:18 PM PDT

  •  This is a beautiful post, DSW. (11+ / 0-)

    Occupy has affected so much of the national conversation it's even been picked up by the artless frauds in the political spectrum as useful lingua franca. What we speak of is a subliminal motivator at worst, a call to action at best.
    Occupy didn't sow the seeds of discontent, it gave them voice. The hope of a move toward a more just society is inherent in all of this business that is by no means over.
    Let's carry on.

  •  Occupy (17+ / 0-)

    deserves a lot more credit than it gets.

    Thanks for the recap.

    More Occupy!

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:42:57 PM PDT

  •  Federal Judge throws out Austin arrests (14+ / 0-)
    The ruling comes nearly a year after protestors Rudy Sanchez and Kristopher Sleeman sued the city over it's hastily issued policy last fall, during Occupy Austin's encampment at City Hall, regarding the issuance of criminal trespass notices to individuals on city-owned property.

    According to Yeakel, the policy is "unconstitutional on its face," and "does not serve as a valid time, place, and manner restriction and is not narrowly tailored to achieve a significant public interest," which are necessary to restrict otherwise constitutionally-protected free speech activities.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 12:54:06 PM PDT

  •  What have we learned? Ask on Nov. 7. (9+ / 0-)

    Unless the Dems control the House, Senate, and White House, the answer is, "Not enough."

    Not that mere Democratic control of government would be enough. The Dems have certainly played a significant part in getting us in the mess we're in. As Churchill said after the Battle of Britain, it would not be the end, or even the beginning of the end--but it would be the end of the beginning.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 02:51:45 PM PDT

  •  OWS pushed the GOP further right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    That effect discouraged competent governors from running for president, apart from Huntsman.

    Candidate recruitment ??? Not exactly.

    The end product for 2012 was Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul. I refuse to count Rick Perry.

    OWS == God's Hand.

  •  Lesson #6 Democrats are just as much Team Players (5+ / 0-)

    as Republicans

    Policies that outraged them under a Republican administration are given wholesale passes under a Democratic administration; all the while patting themselves on the back for being reality-based and not like those morans who loved Bush no matter what.

    Red v. Blue is a ruse.  Is Wall Street panicking that Obama is going to win?

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 03:42:36 PM PDT

  •  This is a valuable diary. (15+ / 0-)

    Even in this venue, you have a range of opinion on Occupy, from those who regard it simply as a nuisance, to those who stupidly, wrong-headedly, compare Occupy and the Tea Party.

    In fact, the movement has singular achievements to its credit. One such is an unprecedented pulling-back of the curtain on the very wealthy interests in society, revealing to all their essentially parasitic character. It's infused the discussion in progressive circles ever since.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 04:01:42 PM PDT

  •  Rec'd for discussion... (4+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure what Occupy has learned but if the democrats and republicans start slashing student loans, medicare and medicaid to pay for wars, tax-cuts then I hope they rise up again next year.

  •  There is another lesson that I hope we have (8+ / 0-)

    learned: Whether or not you have 1 leader, a panel of leaders or only local leaders, you MUST have SPOKESPEOPLE to take advantage of a moment such as OWS offered.

    There was no one to articulate the message, even the most general or localized of messages. OWS could have done worse than to draft Dorli for more, or the girl on the Brooklyn Bridge, or the UC Davis students -- you get the idea.

    The "media" is used to having spokespeople, press releases or at least bullet points, advance notice of events, basic tools with which to cover a story. You can rail at the "MSM" and complain that they are all corporate stooges, but, they HAD to cover OSW. It was the big story. They were eager to do it. It was a wasted opportunity.

    Since, after many weeks, OSW did not rise to the occasion to communicate a coherent message(s) via dependable, locatable, interviewable and repeatable spokespeople, they told the story as they could, betraying their exasperation and impatience with the whole thing and pointing cameras where the most heat was, instead of the most light. Very few were available to use the megaphone the press offered.

    It's a sad loss. Our democracy can't really afford such a waste.

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 04:17:40 PM PDT

    •  There are a number of voices that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSWright, 714day, shaharazade

      are in the media, although only occasionally, that came out of OWS.  The only problem with that is that there was an expectation of "one demand", and really we should have nipped that in the bud earlier than we did.  Live and learn.

      At the same time, the corporate media was not the intended audience.  We wanted people to show up and all we really had to do was show how serious we were and that we wanted people who were pissed and hurting because of the system as it is and then we could start talking without the media frame.  We could meet these people who showed up and had real grievances and had media outlet that would listen to them and talk about how things were rigged in such a way as to make those outcomes more likely.  There's really not a way to make an event press friendly when a big part of the message is that we need to stop relying on the press so much because the press has lost all legitimacy.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:50:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The press was covering regardless. It's a question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, 714day

        of our using them or having to accept what they do based upon other influences.


        there was an expectation of "one demand", and really we should have nipped that in the bud earlier than we did.  Live and learn.

        Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

        by Catskill Julie on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:01:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the press was covering it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But there was no message we could have spread to get the point across that we wanted more direct involvement from people that they wouldn't have sabotaged.  The corporate media has many ways to ignore messages that threaten it, tailoring your message to the media means you can't address that issue.

          But, yeah, we screwed that whole "one demand" thing up.  Can't argue with that.

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:30:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I get where this argument comes from, but I'm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not buying it. The MSM seeks out spokespeople and man-on-the-street interviews to flesh out its story lines, not to challenge its thinking. OWS started on the Style pages and police blotter, and that's where it was going to stay.

      The message was clear, whether you were talking to the extensive media team, reading the signs or just paying attention to the location. Wall Street is creating an unequal, unjust society. We, the 99%, no longer buy its ideology. Andrew Ross Sorkin was the perfect embodiment of this non-thinking. He went to discover whether OWS was a threat to his friends on Wall Street, and that's all he's written about since.

      The dual purpose of the excessive, militarized police response was a) scare the crap out of citizens and b) give the media something more exciting to write about.

      Finally, I always think it's worth noting that we don't expect this level of PR and policy polish from any similarly young organization. This wasn't even its freshman year, it was more like its prenatal year. It may not have been ready for prime time, but I'd submit that even a primal scream is preferable when all else is just nation-killing conventional wisdom.

  •  We are still here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    714day, AoT, YucatanMan, Don midwest

    All we need is to be told how we can help

    •  First off, remember that there are still ongoing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, 714day, shaharazade

      things.  The easiest to help with is the move your money project.  There was an initial surge of people moving their money, but there hasn't been a whole lot of focus on it these days.  Go look up "move your money" and figure out how you can help.  Spreading information, both online and in real life, can be incredibly useful for this.  When you buy stuff from stores ask if they bank at a Credit Union or with a big bank.

      If you have other areas of interest you can KosMail me and I can point you toward people who are doing something that relates to that.  Just remember, this isn't going to be the exciting thing it was last year, it's a process and every new person helps not only because they bring more energy to the table, but also because they bring new ideas.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:56:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary, but I wonder something (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder how much of this was really learned and by how many? I certainly hope the lessons of "Occupy Wall Street" were really absorbed by the American people or at least a good portion of them.

    This diary is a good teacher I hope it gets plenty of eyes.

    Tipped and recced

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 04:53:37 PM PDT

    •  Interesting comment. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, Don midwest, shaharazade

      And an inherent reccomend for DSW's lovely tutorial.
      It says something that "the 99%" has become a part of our daily vernacular and climate change after 30 years and more of some kind of dissemination of info still seems to evade any kind of general fervency. The lack of means to make it without physical struggle became immediately obvious with the economic meltdown. Suffering and worry cause immediate jumpiness.
      I think you have a point that the depths of our woes in the cellars of Versailles aren't entirely absorbed by the many. They are nearly entirely disregarded in the court, of course, so I don't think we plebes be in the pink any time soon.
      When people are doing everything they can and still can't feed and house the kids while Mitt enjoys his elevators and Obama tries to slip Simpson-Bowles into the program, there will be more sparks. Occupy notions were never going to be managed with a flash in the pan.
      (For those jumping to a smackdown; yes, I know Obama is the way to go for the election - indeed, is requisite by comparison to R&R - but he's still stumpin' with 'clean coal' in his speeches and the urgency of the deficit, so let's be real about the long view, shall we?)

    •  I had the same question. In fact, it is the very (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cacamp, 714day, Don midwest, shaharazade

      question I posed when I shared it on Facebook.

      Have we REALLY learned all this? I watch this election cycle and I'm not convinced.

    •  These aren't lessons. They're talking points. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, FG, Don midwest

      And the fact that someone speaking for Occupy can't tell the difference speaks volumes about why Occupy was far less effective than it could have been.

      I just published a diary about that, for what it's worth--link in my response to Jim P, below.

      Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

      by Dracowyrm on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:24:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I absolutely agree. This diary needs to be (4+ / 0-)

      read - and absorbed - by people across America.

      People need to understand the system which has been created by decades of corporate lobbying and deference of both parties to Wall Street and neo-liberal economics.

      The system is vastly corrupt.  Thinking that the American Dream is alive and well is a fairy tale. Everyone needs to pressure politicians to regulate banks, to limit corporate lobbying, to deconstruct the vast system of fraud - regularized, normalized, accepted fraud - inherent in today's system.

      People who understand the facts don't see the world in the same way again.  

      Tipped and recommended.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 07:06:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd for all the work and truth in the diary. (6+ / 0-)

    But we pretty much knew these lessons before Occupy. To get actual change, which we've not seen anywhere on earth at this point, we'll need to address a number of real things starting about now.

    The lessons we have yet to learn:

    1. We don't need a movement a tenth as much as we need focused, and definite, results. These are two separate things, and mixing them leads to non-ideological parties (read: most of the public) being effectively excluded on the one hand, and division and enervating, factionalist, side-shows on the other. Movements, except those that seek their own near-term obsolesce, are guaranteed to lose sight of their purpose, and instead devolve into trying to preserve the movement above all other considerations.
    2. People with jobs, with families, with limited or fixed incomes, can't get to mass demonstrations, or don't have the time to do so. (This is addressed in the last point in this list.)
    3. Yes, Virginia, there will be agents provocateur and fools.
    4. Mass demonstrations have their place, but are generally ignored by The Powers That Be, except for rhetorical, cosmetic, and co-optive uses. They can get away with this because...
    5. TPTB own the mass-reach media, and there simply cannot be a replacement for the ability to give the identical impression to the entire population within a day, and the preferred impression given is...
    6. provided by agents provocateur and fools who are pointlessly violent, thus further driving away the non-ideological, or generally non-political, members of the public (i.e. the population at large.)
    7. There is no substitute for specific goals and demands. When Frederick Douglass said "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." he was talking about ending slavery, not making a generally nicer place.
    8. New, additional, ways of mass protest need to be created which a) bypass mass-reach media, b) bypass massed police presence, and c) avoids easy targeting and easy misrepresentation.

    The last point, how that would be done, was described in my diary written three months before Occupy existed. You can work it out from the title alone
    "National The King Is Naked Week" Coming to in front of your home! The title was long already so I didn't add "...home, office, neighborhood".

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:12:38 PM PDT

    •  Yes. I just wrote a diary about that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Here. Sorry for the pimping, but my diary is a direct response to this one.

      Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

      by Dracowyrm on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 06:22:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  T&R'd your diary. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't agree with it all the way through, but I hope a lot of people read it. The point-of-view is as important as any given specific you had.

        As to "Movement" I always think of Dylan's line about the "Liberals" of his day: Social Clubs in Drag Disguise. Sadly, lots of Occupy's people were looking for companionship above all else. The Powers That Be, after all, will let us have as many happy or unhappy subjective states as we want, as long as we are not effective.

        Please read my diary. It gives a complete workaround of the Media/Armed Agents/Politician's long-ago perfected ways of neutralizing dissent. Which worked, as it always does and to nobody's surprise, with Occupy.

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 07:04:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you are sincere (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but the bearer of mixed messages. i.e.

      But we pretty much knew these lessons before Occupy.
      Who knew? The teeny portion of the populace that comments on lefty sites like DK and a small group of others? The choir to whom we all preach here?
      We don't need a movement a tenth as much as we need focused, and definite, results.
      What results to which problem?
      followed by
      Mass demonstrations have their place, but are generally ignored by The Powers That Be,
      and a negation of that remark
      New, additional, ways of mass protest need to be created
      How can you suggest that Occupy is muddled then?
      •  I don't think it's mixed. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Re: the 4 quotes and points.

        1. Few of the people who didn't know before Occupy, know now, a year after Occupy. Rage at the Bankers and their fraud was widespread, all over the political spectrum, long before Occupy.
        2. The Criminal-Type Banker's rampant destruction of our society and ownership of our government would be the problem. The reason Occupy came into being.
        3. ??? Mass demonstrations help attract attention and thought up to a point, then they don't. There are generations-old strategies and tactics for neutralizing popular outraged protest, and they work.
        4. You'll have to admit you've not read either my diary or considered what the title of it implies.

        You use what works for a purpose, and you create new tools to do task the other things don't get done. What hasn't been done is actual change of the political and economic systems.

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Block by block organization. Build it, and have it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          714day, Jim P

          coordinate the splintered left organizations (health, political, cultural, environmental, business, food, neighborhood, educational).

          Then have it create its own information networks using old and new technology for redundancy.

          Keep it decentralized, but build central information exchanges.

          And all that Jim P and Occupy says--

          :  )

          The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

          by Ignacio Magaloni on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 10:00:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I had read your diary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P

          Which was another reason I felt you were sincere and trying to make an earnest contribution.
          The notion that "everybody knows" is incorrect, I think, as well as the idea that there is only one notion that Occupy is trying to move forward. (There are comments upthread about this that make alot of sense.)
          Therefore, it would be nearly impossible to make the leap to a large percentage of the population making and displaying signs, regardless of how succinct, at an agreed upon week.
          At any rate, I think you have a contribution to make and some of your ideas about finding ways to launch beyond the MSM are perfectly valid.

          •  Thanks. The one disagreement: (0+ / 0-)

            It has been no secret to the general population for a long time -- since 2008 for almost everyone, since 2005 for people paying attention to non-official stats and the stores closing left and right in their neighborhoods -- that the Bankers are screwing us over.

            The contribution of Occupy was to make politicians take notice. Sadly, they've been neuturalized quite effectively and nothing new is going to come out of Occupy as long as the focus is on building a movement instead of mobilizing everyone who is hurting.

            (my diary, btw, is about a workaround on not only MSM, but police and provocateur tactics. Note the one caveat I emphasized was "IF it goes viral". Occupy can't make anything go viral at this point which will reach anyone not already identified with them.)

            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:54:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  PS: (0+ / 0-)

              Of course I'm sincere. And I follow the adage "use your reason based taking account of experience."

              We are where we are. We don't get out doing just what we've been doing.

              The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

              by Jim P on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:57:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Superb diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It really sums up what's going on (with a hat-tip to Marvin Gaye).

  •  another lesson we've learned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is that Occupy by and large doesn't understand. I lost a lot of respect for Occupy when they skipped the RNC and picketed teh DNC

    •  Whatever you do, don't Google "Occupy RNC". (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Don midwest, 714day

      You might hurt a finger. Or a preconceived notion.

      Tampa spent millions locking the city down and posting militarized police all over the place. Take that, add horrible weather, and an unhelpfully bland message for the media (anti-Wall Street protestors take stand against Republicans... not very shocking).

      •  let's just say for the sake of moving this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest

        along that I concede the RNC aspect to you, that really changes very little about Occupy's actions at the DNC.

        And frankly it at best moves me from irritated at Occupy's stupidity to merely annoyed.

        •  That's the idea. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hlsmlane, 714day

          Partisans who can't understand how deeply connected 'their side' is to the Wall Street machine are supposed to be annoyed.

          Check out the President's Treasury Department leadership if you aren't understanding why protestors against Wall Street's domination would be found at the DNC. The Special Inspector General on TARP has a great book that provides a ton of insight into how deeply captured Tim Geithner's leadership team is and was.

          •  and you make my point for me (0+ / 0-)

            the only true partisans are those like you that can't understand why everyone isn't wowed by Occupy and you and why we can't just get on your band wagon

            Face it Occupy has become Naderites 2.0

            •  This wagon only fits one. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Not looking for a band, just telling ya what I think. Either pay attention to our President's Treasury Department or don't. Your call. Don't need your company.

              •  wow (0+ / 0-)

                talk about a moving approach to build consenus except not really. And you wonder why Occupy is spinning thier wheels?

                So what exactly should I be paying attention to?

                •  Not a spokesman for occupy, don't need your... (0+ / 0-)

                  consensus. Neither do they. Plain boring truth is that Sec Geithner didn't want oversight of the bailouts or the banks involved. Wasn't worried about the (soon to be realized) potential for massive fraud and abuse, buying the industry line that messy stuff like 'legal accountability' would scare off bankers despite the obvious fact that they and their companies would sink without the aid. Obsessively pitched the industry line that with their reputation at risk, nobody was going to commit fraud.

                  It's what happened. Take it or leave it. SIGTARP Barofsky had no reason to ruin an otherwise promising DOJ career if this is just a fib, while the folks at Treasury who trashed him had every reason to get his nose out of their business and try make him look like a know-nothing fool.

                  •  see that's what you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

                    this nation was founded on consensus and in general should be governored by consensus.

                    The financial situation was fucked up no doubt abotu it but you don't get to be apolitical, I'm sure it's trendy but it's also pointless.

                    Again I ask what should I look out for?

                    •  Apolitical? Who here is apolitical? (0+ / 0-)

                      Being 'political' doesn't mean being intentionally ignorant to and quiet about the faults present in the party and candidates you intend to vote for. Whitewash the situation all you want with empty language about how fucked up the whole thing is. The plain simple fact is that Occupy Wall Street has every reason to protest the complicity of the Democratic Party in the crimes of Wall Street. If it were otherwise, the headlines would be awash in the hundreds of prosecutions of high level financial executives for the massive frauds they've perpetrated.

      •  I've actually been in Tampa during RNC. There were (0+ / 0-)

        about 20 occupiers there. They mostly hung around in their camp in the parking lot a few miles from the convention. There were some bigger marches but they were union-organized and not related to OWS.

  •  To be fair I think what Occupy has best done (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSWright, shaharazade, 714day

    Has been to get so many more people engaged with activism and to show them that getting involved can change things.

    Volunteering in shelters, soup kitchens, working on campaigns, GOTV efforts, etc...

    I know that without Occupy Id likely still be screaming at my TV every night thinking nothing could change.

    Now instead Im pounding pavement with GOTV efforts.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 05:28:23 AM PDT

  •   A suggestion about the "One Demand" problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSWright, Quicklund

    I have mixed views about what Occupy achieved, I guess I have to disagree with the bulk of the diary because I knew long before Occupy came along that we were living in a plutocracy that was enforced by a violent police force. So for me, and many of us, Occupy didn't reveal any of this.

    Please don't take me for a scold, I found the demonstrations that started it very encouraging, if not perhaps all that effective. I think the energy behind the movement is real, and when it does start to coalesce around a more easily expressed set of ideals, it may very well lead to deep and genuine reform.
    To further that end, I humbly submit that the core message the movement should promote now, is the move your money meme.
    This strikes to the very core of empowering people to take small acts that can, taken together, have large consequences. It strikes directly at Wall Street, will have real, noticeable consequences in peoples lives as credit unions, and small local banks get the capital they need to grow local economies.
    It's easy for people to understand, quick to explain, and leads people  to ponder other actions that can be taken. By encouraging ordinary people to participate in such direct action, you embolden them to become active in other ways.
    Getting behind this one specific action allows you to give the press what it needs to spread your message for you, but doesn't box you in or tie your hands as a movement.
    If this simple action of starving the beast, can't be agreed to by the vast majority of occupiers, then what else can be?
    Moving your money aught to become a signifier of your sympathy for the movements most basic premise, that big money runs the government, and we the people won't go along with this anymore.
    Of course all the other activities and responses and planning will still go on. This is not a difficult or costly message to promote, it need not come at the "expense" of other issues and ideas. Your just asking people to move their money, as both a statement to the banks, and as an active step in renewing their local community.
    Mention it any time someone asks "What can I do?" Move Your Money!

  •  Great Diary, and here's something else (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we learned, that I found very interesting.

    We learned that people can quickly form viable community settlements. It was so inspiring to watch Occupy settlements build food centers, healthcare centers, education/library centers, information centers.

    The human microphone and the bicycles attached to generators were beautiful to watch. We humans can be so resourceful. I would love to see that Occupy community spirit spread. See progressive settlements spring up around the country, living off the grid as much as possible, creating new ways of interacting and governing as communities.

  •  Maximum Wage! (0+ / 0-)

    At a certain level, the tax should be 100% with no loopholes.  That would create a maximum wage.  Is that $1 million a year?  Who really needs more than $1 million a year income?  

    If that seems too low, how about $5 million a year?  

    When Roosevelt was President, he proosed a 100% tax rate.  To appease the Republicans, he lowered it to 94%.  It ended up  being at the level of $250,000.  Even taking inflation into account, that is relatively low when you look at annual income for those at the top.

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