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Occupy Wall Street was born out of little-guy frustration | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com

When I first watched the Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York and around the country, I wondered if folks carrying signs, camping out, holding up traffic and boycotting financial institutions could really make a difference.

The jaded part of me didn’t think the protesters could accomplish much other than some media coverage. There wasn’t a clear leader for the movement. Their demands weren’t specific enough.

Yet the Occupy Wall Street campaign isn’t abating, and for good reason.

“The protests represent people’s frustration in dealing with big government, politics and big corporations that aren’t providing jobs, aren’t listening to us and who are nickel-and-diming us,” said Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has expressed sympathy with those on the streets.

“They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they’re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington – and at some level I can’t blame them,” Bernanke told Congress’ Joint Economic Committee last week when he was asked what he thought of the movement.

President Barack Obama also weighed in on the protests during his news conference Thursday.

There’s been “huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street,” he said.

Although some have criticized the movement for its lack of leadership and clear agenda, the protests do have a purpose, says Kalle Lasn, editor-and-chief of Adbusters magazine.

It was the Vancouver-based anti-consumerist magazine that spurred the Occupy Wall Street campaign. It urged people to show up on Wall Street starting Sept. 17 and set up tents, kitchens and peaceful barricades and stay for a few months.

“This movement at the moment is all about being angry and having rage,” Lasn said in an interview.

“But in the next few weeks, as it grows, it will become clear it’s a positive program about political and social change.”

Lasn said he hopes the next big protest will happen on Oct. 29. The magazine is encouraging people to stage protests in state capitals in the U.S. and abroad the weekend before the next G-20 summit. The summit, a gathering of finance ministers and central bank governors from the 20 largest economies, is meeting in France Nov. 3-4. Lasn said that one demand protesters can unite behind is a global financial transaction levy dubbed the Robin Hood tax, which is intended to make the financial sector contribute to fixing the economic crisis it helped create.

“We want to get millions marching on Oct. 29,” Lasn said. “This could be the beginning of a whole new global future where we the people call the shots. I just hope it doesn’t align itself with the Democratic Party. I hope it stays aloof from the U.S. two-party system. It should become a real people’s movement.”

Throughout history, great change has evolved from small civil protests.

It took a Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, to inspire the Montgomery bus boycott that eventually resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.

Go even further back to the origins of the word boycott and you’ll find the story of Irish tenant farmers who got tired of being taken advantage of by rich landowners. Charles C. Boycott, an English estate manager in Ireland, found himself in the middle of a game-changing protest.

Despite a poor harvest, Boycott had refused to lower rents for the farmers. So local laborers in turn refused to work the land that Boycott was managing. Leading that protest was Charles Parnell, an Irish politician, who fought for the rights of the tenant farmers. Parnell advocated peaceful protest, one in which workers ostracized the people behind unfair business practices.

Jean Ann Fox, director of financial services for the Consumer Federation of America, says, “Policymakers are at risk of underestimating how fed up and angry consumers are with practices they think are unfair.”

Are you fed up? If so, you can find local Occupy Wall Street events at http://www.occupytogether.org, which says it’s the unofficial hub for those who want to take action against corporate greed.

Even if the protests wane, it’s still the beginning of something great, Lasn said.

I’m no longer jaded.

I’m excited that those most hurt by the dismal economy – the young, old, employed and unemployed – are marching, picketing and raising ruckus against the financial sector that has morphed into too-big-to-fail institutions that gave little thought to how their actions could wreak havoc in people’s lives.

via Occupy Wall Street was born out of little-guy frustration | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com.

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Occupy Wall Street protests continue, with fresh push planned targeting banks – CNN.com

New York (CNN) — Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, music star Kanye West and the Rev. Al Sharpton were the latest to lend their celebrity to the Occupy Wall Street cause, mixing with the masses in New York on Monday, days ahead of a larger, promised protest targeting mammoth banks.

Their visits came as the burgeoning movement continued to echo from coast to coast, voicing impassioned sentiments on a range of topics while commonly railing against what protesters describe as corporate greed, political ineptitude and the inordinate power wielded by the United States’ wealthiest people.

“We are here today because we agree 1% should not be controlling the (nation’s) wealth,” Sharpton said on his nationally syndicated radio program from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. “These (demonstrators) are regular people trying to feed their families, trying to pay their rent and mortgages, trying to survive.”

The outspoken civil rights activist and his “Keepin’ It Real” show were joined Monday in the park — where protesters have been camping out for 24 days — by Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings and the Phat Farm clothing empire, one of many high-profile people to visit in recent days. And a YouTube video, posted on Rapdose.com, showed Simmons at the park flanked by Grammy Award-winning artist Kanye West.

Earlier, organizers of the “leaderless resistance movement” billed Monday as “Kids Speak Out” day, given that many schoolchildren are off for Columbus Day.

“Even as banks got bailed out, American children have witnessed their parents get tossed out of their homes and lose their jobs. Public school kids have lost arts, music and physical education,” the movement’s website said. “Now our kids can see activists take these issues to the streets in a democratic forum at Occupy Wall Street.”

Playing down the protests Occupy Wall Street: Speech vs. security Occupy Wall Street spreads to Philly 24 days of Occupy Wall Street

University students played a big part Monday in demonstrations associated with the movement in Boston.

Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts and other schools were among those represented — along with members of several labor unions and other groups who have been active in Occupy Boston events in recent weeks. Overhead video from Boston showed long lines of people filling up streets as they marched.

A posting on the website of that city’s movement suggested that the march from the Boston Common to Dewey Square was timed to come on the eve of key votes on the American Jobs Act, a bill pushed by President Barack Obama to boost the economy.

“We can’t just sit idly by while the politicians in Washington play political games with our jobs and our livelihoods,” protester Jay Chambers said on the site, which claimed the bill would create “at least 11,000 local jobs.” “It’s time to take the fight to the streets.”

But that didn’t appear to be the only message. Video showed one Boston protester holding up a sign that read “No privatization of public education,” and CNN affiliate WCVB characterized the event as a protest against university presidents’ high salaries.

Open Story: See iReports from the protests.

The nationwide movement has been largely peaceful, though it has led to some skirmishes with police and arrests, particularly in New York and Washington. It has also stoked fervent public debate, including among politicians. Democrats have generally offered sympathy for protesters’ concerns while several Republicans, among them 2012 presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, have described the demonstrations as “class warfare.”

New York Mayor Bloomberg, an independent, appeared Monday to soften his stance about the protests.

Last Friday, he said on WOR radio that some demonstrators were “trying to destroy the jobs of working people in the city” and suggested it could only be a matter of time before officials potentially put an end to the Zuccotti Park encampment. Yet, speaking to CNN affiliate WCBS at a Columbus Day parade, the mayor said the city now plans to allow the protesters to stay indefinitely.

“The bottom line is, people want to express themselves, as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to,” he said.

The Occupy movement shows few signs of slowing down. Rallies and marches have been held in numerous towns and cities in recent days, with many more planned.

That includes a “Call to Action Against Banks,” which New York’s Occupy Wall Street announced on its Facebook site will happen Saturday.

“No longer will banks take our homes. No longer will banks rob students of our future. No longer will banks destroy the environment. No longer will banks fund the misery of war. No longer will banks cause massive unemployment. And no longer will banks create and profit from economic crisis without a struggle,” according to the online message Monday.

It then urges people to “visit your local Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase (branches) and let them know, we will not allow business as usual.”

“We. Will. Occupy. Everywhere,” the posting ends.

via Occupy Wall Street protests continue, with fresh push planned targeting banks – CNN.com.

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Cain calls Occupy Wall Street ‘anti-American’

WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday the “Occupy Wall Street” protests may have been coordinated to shift attention from President Barack Obama’s economic policies and that the protesters are jealous of the success of others.

“We know that the unions and certain union-related organizations have been behind these protests that have gone on, on Wall Street and other parts around the country,” Cain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It’s coordinated to create a distraction so people won’t focus on the failed policies of this administration.”

AP

GOOD TO KNOW: An instructor demonstrates how to pick the lock on handcuffs using a bobby pin at the Occupy Wall Street occupation in New York.

Cain said the protests are “anti-American” because they are “anti-capitalism and anti-free market.” He also said the demonstrators may be jealous of the success of Wall Street bankers.

“Part of it is jealousy. I stand by that,” Cain said, who said he does not “have a lot of patience for people who want to protest the success of somebody else.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who appeared on the program with Cain, stopped short of agreeing that the demonstrators are jealous, but called the protests “a natural product of Obama’s class warfare” as well as a trend of “hostility to free enterprise.”

“I regard the Wall Street protest as a natural outcome of a bad education system, teaching [the protesters] really dumb ideas,” Gingrich said.

“They’re not angry about other people being successful,” he added. “They’re angry about an Obama administration stopping them from having a chance to be successful.”

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) distanced the Republican Party from Cain’s previous remarks that the protesters should blame themselves if they are unemployed.

“Look, I don’t disparage anybody who protests their government for better government, no matter what perspective they come from,” Ryan said.

“Herman’s speaking for himself,” Ryan said. “I think we all want to actually see a climate of economic growth, of entrepreneurialism. And we don’t want to pit Americans against each other. That’s not who we are, and that’s not the kind of society that we want.”

In an interview on CNN, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, like Cain, implied that union organizers may be behind the protests.

“I went by one of the protests in Washington, D.C., on Friday and I saw a lot of signs from AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) and other unions that were there,” Bachmann said. “So I don’t know how spontaneous these protests were but it seems to me that their anger should be directed at the White House, because Barack Obama’s policies have put us in one of the worst tailspins economically that we have.”

Ryan also slammed Obama for “sowing class envy and social unrest.”

“I think he’s preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America,” Ryan said

via Cain calls Occupy Wall Street ‘anti-American’ – NYPOST.com.

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Protesters gather in New York park – World news, News – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Several thousand Occupy Wall Street protesters have marched to New York City’s Washington Square Park for a peaceful general assembly.

Demonstrators marched from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, the group’s unofficial headquarters where protesters have been camped out for the last 22 days.

The trek was peaceful and orderly.

On Wednesday, dozens were arrested when thousands marched on Wall Street in their biggest show of support yet, and last Saturday, 700 people were arrested after they spilled on to the roadway while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protesters are speaking out against corporate greed and the gap between the rich and poor. They say they have no leaders and are making decisions by consensus.

Supporters have donated food, clothing and medical supplies.

via Protesters gather in New York park – World news, News – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk.

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Chicago’s ‘Occupy’ Protest Issues Specific Demands

CHICAGO—The local spin-off of the Occupy Wall Street protests born in Manhattan released 12 proposed demands during the weekend, some of the first specifics to emerge from collection of groups that have sprung up in recent weeks across the U.S.

Occupy Chicago, an independent group inspired by the New York protests, which take aim at corporations and the wealthy, appear to be the first in the movement to adopt official demands: Repeal the Bush tax cuts and prosecute “Wall Street criminals.” At an open meeting Saturday in downtown Chicago, nine-tenths of the nearly 300 present voted to adopt those demands.

This week, the group plans to vote on other proposed demands, which include giving the Securities and Exchange Commission more regulatory power, forgiving student debt, reforming campaign-finance law and enacting the so-called Buffett Rule, a White House proposal to prevent millionaires from paying lower tax rates than middle-class Americans.

Occupy Wall Street has taken flak for not announcing specific demands in a protest that has engulfed sections of lower Manhattan and is now entering its fourth week. Bill Dobbs, a member of the Occupy Wall Street press committee, said he doesn’t know of plans to adopt specific demands.

“I mean, I’ve got my own set of demands,” he said. But “all our energy is going to ringing the alarm bells about economic conditions in this country.”

Evelyn DeHais of Occupy Chicago said it became clear in early meetings that policy reform would be a part of the protests here.

“People wanted to talk about what real change can be made,” said Ms. DeHais, who, with 20 others, condensed hundreds of suggestions from protesters into the group’s proposed list of 12. She said she disagrees with some of the demands, “but that’s the point. It’s not about what one person believes. It’s making sure the entire group is being spoken for.”

Mr. Dobbs said his group isn’t formally affiliated with the hundreds of copycat protests that have sprouted across the nation, “but we’re really happy people are protesting.…There’s mutual respect with our brothers and sisters in Chicago.”

Occupy Seattle has posted 52 proposed demands on its website, asking people to vote on each. The proposals are less specific than Occupy Chicago’s, such as “tax the rich and big business.” Some are more radical, such as “nationalize the banks.”

Other lists of proposed demands have circulated on the Internet, but none appear to have formal ties to the Occupy protest groups.

In Chicago, where protesters have occupied the sidewalks outside the Federal Reserve Bank for 17 days, the protests gained momentum during the weekend. The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at a Friday night meeting, and hundreds turned out for marches through downtown Saturday in conjunction with a long-planned anti-war protest.

via Chicago’s ‘Occupy’ Protest – WSJ.com.

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Occupy Wall Street expands uptown, starting with Washington Square Park

NEW YORK, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — Thousands of Occupy Wall Street protestors convened at the general assembly in Washington Square Park, New York City, on Saturday afternoon in an effort to expand the operation uptown.

“It’s a great way to bring us to the next level,” said Justine Tunney, one of the Occupy Wall Street organizers, “it is time to form a second general assembly in Manhattan.”

Occupy Wall Street, a non-violent leaderless resistance movement fighting corporate greed and economic inequality, has grown significantly in numbers and cities since its inception on Sept. 17.

“We have tens of thousands of people professing support to their causes through various forms of social media and corresponding protests in over 70 cities,” an organizer told Xinhua.

With the campaign of “We 99 percent will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent,” protestors of all ages, genders, colors, and political persuasions have been using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to peacefully advocate their causes and achieve their ends.

Wielding signs reading: “People, Not Profit,” “Globalize the Resistance,” “It’s US: We the People,” and “Intelligence is the Acknowledgement of Ignorance,” protestors vigorously chanted slogans and expressed their anger and frustrations about — mainly — Wall Street bailouts and the banks reaping huge profits at the expense of middle class Americans’ jobs.

A group of protestors in their 20s even fashioned an 8-foot (2.43-meter)Statue of Liberty out of clay and cloth. Others passed around an equally impressive and witty slogan: “Ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash — Now we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.”

via Occupy Wall Street expands uptown, starting with Washington Square Park.

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Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategy — The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the USA | Black Agenda Report

he Economic Elite that control our society do so, at least partially, by causing the public to discuss everything except that which relates directly to social control. The public conversation is directed toward issues and subjects that “are secondary to the larger, more fundamental political and economic issues that lead to our wealth being stolen from us, and ultimately, our lives being increasingly dominated by a small few.”
Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategy — The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the USA
by David DeGraw
This is the fifth in a series of reports in Amped Status.
The conflicting propaganda of opposing parties is essentially what leads to political abstention. But this is not the abstention of the free spirit which asserts itself; it is the result of resignation, the external symptom of a series of inhibitions. Such a man has not decided to abstain; under diverse pressures, subjected to shocks and distortions, he can no longer (even if he wanted to) perform a political act. What is even more serious is that this inhibition not only is political, but also progressively takes over the whole of his being and leads to a general attitude of surrender.” — Jacques EllulPropaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes
The main bias is in favor of the thieves who stole our country and economy, and own the mainstream media companies.”
The primary reason why the Economic Elite have gained such dominance is their commitment to psychological operations that divide-and-conquer the US public. They use their overwhelming influence over mainstream media outlets and political candidates in very clever ways to divide us.
It is known among political scientists that powerful forces always seek to gain control of pre-existing social and political institutions so they can usurp their powers. The Economic Elite gained control of both the Democratic and Republican political parties because they knew that hardworking Americans loyally followed these parties, and we believed these parties were looking out for our best interests. We have, for the most part, been lifelong Republicans or lifelong Democrats, but until we see that our favored party has been seized by power and greed addicted interests, we will all continue to lose. These are extremely hard truths to face, but until we face them, we will continue our decline.
With half the US population loyal to Democrats and the other half loyal to Republicans, gaining control of both these parties meant total control for them. The past decade is testament to their total control of both parties.
In manufactured public opinion, Obama represented a far left swing in US politics, and Bush represented a far right swing, and these two supposed polar opposites also had a Congress overwhelmingly run by members of their own party. Did we get drastically different policies? In what matters most, in both cases, the results were the same: more money and power for the Economic Elite and the continued decline of the US middle class. This fact is now undeniable.
Yes, there are definite differences in their rhetoric and on some social issues, but this is the key to the psychological operations, to the divide-and-conquer strategy that they use so effectively.
To distract and divide us, they use rhetoric on social issues like religion, gay marriage, abortion, etc., all serious and significant issues that we bitterly disagree on, but in the overall picture, these issues are secondary to the larger, more fundamental political and economic issues that lead to our wealth being stolen from us, and ultimately, our lives being increasingly dominated by a small few.
In manufactured public opinion, Obama represented a far left swing in US politics, and Bush represented a far right swing.”
Bush appealed to conservative Republicans and then ran up the deficit to record levels. Obama appealed to liberal Democrats, but increased war spending and support for Wall Street billionaires. In both cases, the candidates severely divided the US middle class, but in the policy decisions that mattered most, they both sided with the economic top one percent at the expense of hardworking Americans.
Just look at the last few election cycles. In 2006 and 2008 US citizens rose up in record-breaking numbers to kick out the Republicans in power, whom they felt had betrayed them. Now, with the Democrats in power, the consensus seems to be that in the 2010 mid-term elections we will vote for Republicans and kick out the Democrats who have failed to deliver on the much needed and promised changes.
Do you not see the ridiculous nature of this divide-and-conquer strategy? This is a vicious cycle that will continue to lead to our destruction.
Psychological Operations 101: Obama Vs. Fox News
For those of us who are strong enough to see beyond our propaganda-induced preconceptions and prejudices, the insidious nature of the Economic Elite’s divide-and-conquer strategy is on full display in the feud between Obama and Fox News. About half of the country loves Obama and hates Fox News, and the other half loves Fox News but hates Obama. They both use very effective propaganda to seduce their followers. However, as hard as it is for people who love one of them to admit, they both serve the same masters.
Once again, let’s look at Goldman Sachs. They financed Obama’s campaign and he has rewarded them with policies that have led to them making record-breaking profits, instead of investigating them for the many illegal activities they participated in and continue to take part in.
On the other side of this psychological operation, you have Fox News. When was the last time you saw Fox News doing an investigation into the illegal practices of Goldman Sachs? Even the Obama-appointed Tim Geithner, the Economic Elite’s main man on the economy, escapes the significant focus of Fox News’ powerful attack force.
Looking at the Business Roundtable, a significant majority of Obama’s campaign funding came from Roundtable members and, as mentioned earlier, he frequently meets with Roundtable members. On the other hand, Fox News is owned by Roundtable member Rupert Murdoch, and Fox relies heavily on advertising money from Roundtable members. Rupert Murdoch even supportedObama over McCain. As someone who monitors Fox News, I can’t recall the last time I heard Fox reporting on the activities of the Business Roundtable, not that any mainstream “news” companies do.
When was the last time you saw Fox News doing an investigation into the illegal practices of Goldman Sachs?”
The list of similarities between the two, when it comes to exposing and holding the Economic Elite accountable, is extensive. So here you have an excellent divide-and-conquer psychological operation. Fox News declares Obama the enemy, and Obama declares Fox the enemy, yet the Economic Elite remain in the shadows, behind the scenes, untouched and continuing their plunder.
Just think of all the misplaced outraged spent on these two puppets. Sure, people have many reasons to like and dislike both, but imagine if all the diehard Obama-haters focused their rage on the people who put Obama in power, and if the diehard Fox-haters stopped criticizing everything Fox says and focused on the Economic Elite who control the media environment in which Fox News operates.
If the Fox-haters and the Obama-haters united and focused their combined outrage on the common forces behind the both of them, we would all be much better off.
The most significant bias in the mainstream media is not the liberal or conservative views propagated to divide, distract, confuse and create apathy among the populace; the ultimate bias is in what is missing from the coverage. The investigative reporting on the most powerful forces within our society is left out of the discussion.
McClatchy, one of the few real journalism news organizations, has repeatedly reported on the illegal activities of Goldman Sachs and the crime syndicate they operate in. Yet, an overwhelming majority of mainstream news outlets ignore these reports and nothing is done to hold Goldman Sachs accountable. In fact, two of the leading figures in the outright theft of our money have recently been lauded in their propaganda press. When you see Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke become the Person of the Year in Time Magazine and Goldman Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfein become the Financial TimesMan of the Year, you begin to see where the real media bias lies.
The main bias is in favor of the thieves who stole our country and economy, and own the mainstream media companies. The omni-present mainstream media is the greatest weapon of oppression humanity has ever known.
By constantly discussing and debating surface issues, they limit the range of debate.”
Although the Internet has had an impact, television news is still by far the most influential news medium. Despite all the new information platforms, this year we have set a new record by watching an average of four hours and 49 minutes of TV per day. We have been subjected to heavy doses of propaganda on a daily basis, for hours a day, every day of our lives.
The mainstream media creates what is known in mass psychology as the “spectrum of thinkable thought.” By constantly discussing and debating surface issues, they limit the range of debate. Having the Republican vs. Democrat paradigm leads us to never debating the underlying Economic Elite who control both of the parties, not to mention their ownership of the media platform on which this debate is taking shape. The more important underlying issues are never discussed, and therefore never enter public consciousness.
The censorship that is most prevalent today is the most dangerous form. Not the censorship of explicit words, sex, or violence, but the censorship of any thoughts outside of elite corporate ideology. Any debate that leads to critical thought on prevailing elite economic dominance is not allowed to enter into the mass media or mainstream public consciousness.
We must conclude that a changeover is imminent and ineluctable in the co-opted caste who serve the interests of domination, and above all manage the protection of that domination. In such an affair, innovation will surely not be displayed [in the mainstream media]. It appears instead like lightning, which we know only when it strikes.” — Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

via Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategy — The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the USA | Black Agenda Report.

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