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  1.  (10239.61)
    Also, totally in agreement that people need to start wearing more suits. The irony alone makes it worthwhile, and I know, for a fact, that it is not hard to find decent looking jackets at virtually any thrift store. If you're not overly concerned about style it really shouldn't be difficult to gentrify things a bit.

    Again, though, I wonder if this is an opportunity to actively revise how people are doing things--what if someone went in and bought a bunch of cheep thrift store or pawn shop and just started... handing them out? Maybe they could take donations along the lines of the internet model--pay what you can, maybe a dollar minimum, ten dollars minimum, whatever works. Something small. Keep that process going, start actively changing the aesthetic of the protest. It would, at the very least, make for an interesting experiment. I have absolutely no idea if it would be feasible or successful, but the point is that there's an opportunity to take this kind of action.
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      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.62)
    I recall this from last year that hit the nail on the head regarding my feeling about the current crisis.

    RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism

    As he said, near the end of this video I don't hear this discussion being held even a year after this video.

    Regarding the Protests.
    A lot of the criticism of the protesters are not taken seriously because of their dress, their vocabulary, how they are approaching the protest, the fact they do not have a single distinct message, as I said earlier I don't think anyone who takes a minute will be in any doubt as to their message, this is what matters. and to think that they have to be dressed is a certain way to be taken seriously misses the point. This is who these people are, the majority of them have been marginalized out of society is it any wonder that they don't look like your average respectable schmo?

    The reason they look like they do is because that is what the excluded from society looks like, If you think that these people will have to dress to impress to get their voices heard, do they need to couch their terms in current political rhetoric which has been developed to marginalize their position. We need to start looking at this diversity with wonder and hope because this mixing pot is where the new ideas will come from.

    If you want to approach the current masters of the universe on their terms you will loose, there is no question of that, to get the money to lobby government to halt the current crisis you will probably have to be more ruthless that the most ruthless banker/businessman. And once you stop they will be 10 more who will be more ruthless than you because you have just raised the bar.

    I for one love, respect and hope protests like these all the best with no discouragement, or ill will, they are at least trying in whatever little way they can to change things, the very act of not conforming is probably the most hopeful thing I can think of, and if you think these people are doing it wrong, well maybe you should spend a little more time doing it yourself in what ever way you feel is best, and a little less time criticizing their form.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011
     (10239.63)
    My boyfriend suggested that I watch "Der Baader-Meinhof" yesterday and now all I can think about this morning is "welp, at least they're doing it peacefully and not resorting to terrorism like the RAF did." Seeing as the RAF were also claiming to be fighting "for the people."

    I fully support the idea of the protest. I also question whether it will actually get anything done. My university had a some protests two years ago over an issue of racism that was brought up, as well as protests over the tuition fee increase, and well, neither of them accomplished anything in terms of changing any school legislature. BUT, they did get people to come together and engage in dialogue, which is exactly what this protest is doing out on wall street. People are getting together and talking, some of them left wingers, some right wingers, young and old (albeit not in a balanced way, but it is). I think it helps build a sense of community, even if it's temporary (kinda like how Burning Man does).

    Will Occupy Wall Street change anything? As much as I want it to, I think it probably won't.

    I like Oddbill's plan of action of not selling out your store to bigger companies and shareholders, problem is you need the community to take part as well, buying primarily from small, local businesses, instead of say, Walmart. But when you're poor, sometimes that's all you can afford, especially for bigger families.

    My other issue with the protest is the mere fact that at first no one was talking about it but Al Jazeera. Whether you look at it as a productive protest or just kids making a ruckus, I think it should be acknowledged, even if to talk about why it's ineffective. I wanted to bring to people's attention (and I did this mostly on twitter and facebook) that Americans live in a country where you CAN deliver the news via social media, which I think is fucking fantastic. Meanwhile, in Mexico, people are getting murdered by the drug cartels for delivering the news via social networking. If anything, I want people to talk about it because they can, regardless of whether they're supporting it or think its ineffective, because, well, people in other countries can't, else they get silenced. It's really an very nice privilege.
  2.  (10239.64)
    @Doc - Very interesting video. I'd say the conversation is taking place. We're having it right now. It's not taking place in the echo chambers of Fox News or MSNBC, but is that really a surprise to anyone? This is something that is going to have to build to critical mass before politicians care more about reform than they do campaign funds.

    @Argos - I agree. It's great that we can have this conversation with minimal fear.

    Personally, I'm pretty much a moderation in all things sort of guy. Capitalism is good. Greed is a great motivator when all else fails. That said, it's not a good way to organize society. Socialism is. Provided you find a way to keep people actually working (see greed is good). The left (at least in the US) has to take back the conversation. The fact that you won't find a politician who will say that socialism might be good is an example of how they just gave ground and aren't fighting to get it back.

    Occupy wall street isn't going to make the bankers any less evil. Nothing will. You don't get to be that successful in that vile an industry without completely selling your soul (but I don't hold any strong feelings or anything). If this and things like it can succeed in changing the conversation to the point that politicians won't say things like "social security is a ponzi scheme" because they know that would alienate the majority of voters, then it will be successful. It's easy to marginalize a bunch of hippies, but putting them into suits wouldn't radically change the outcome. Either they can stay and get enough attention/spark similar protests elsewhere that the conversation changes or this is all just a waste of a bunch of people's time.

    I also agree that starting your own small business and not selling/having an IPO is a great way to fight the inherent power structure. Just like making an effort to avoid large chains when there is a locally owned alternative. It costs a bit more, but that's the point. Walmart subsidizes the costs on the backs of the less fortunate while working to annihilate their local competition. We live in a society where we've been raised to confuse need with want. What we need to do is focus less on spending money on things we want (media, toys, etc) and more on things we need. Of course even that will hurt before it feels better, because it will drive the large corporation to downsize.

    Catch-22
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.65)
    We need to start looking at this diversity with wonder and hope because this mixing pot is where the new ideas will come from.


    There's an interesting paper I had to read for one of my classes regarding this statement, called "The Rise of the Creative Class." It's basically about how a lot of the new ideas that have been coming out, ideas that will help our society progress and continue to be successful, are coming from these people who don't always dress in a business suit, have crazy hair and tattoos in some cases, etc. etc. here's the link
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.66)
    Out of curiosity, are there national or state sponsored entrepreneur grants available to people looking to start a private business that would back a select amount or even up to 50% of the start up costs? While it would of course have to be limited to a few a year, it could provide a great incentive for people looking to start up a business which could lead to more jobs.

    Regardless, it seems that the message that a company can only be successful if it goes public should be beaten with a club. Take Dogfish Head Brewery, the owner Sam Calagione is proud as hell that his company never went public and recently got recognition for hiring on average one person a week to their ever expanding company. It DOES work. Yes, big businesses will be a competitor, and there's no doubt that the price factor will be a deal breaker for many. But that to me provides more of a drive to not be one of the herd in the field that you get in to and do something different with excellent quality so you can still get a good amount of loyal customers. This leads to gradual expansion and thus more jobs and so on...
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011
     (10239.67)
    While I sympathize and agree with the protesters to a certain degree, I think their scope is very limited. I think this article said it best using a lot more interesting facts and figures, but the basics of it is this--if you want to get rid of big business, you're going to also have to occupy the Fed, because big business can't exist without big government.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011
     (10239.68)
    From that article:
    Through most of American history, banks and other financial institutions have operated in league with government...


    Bringing the conversation back to beer for a second, part of the reason it's so hard for small brewing businesses to expand is because the law states that the breweries themselves can't distribute their beers, only the distributors can. Who runs the distributors? The big beer companies, mainly. If the government would change their laws to help small businesses to get a foot in, instead of accommodating the big businesses, maybe some change can happen.

    Maybe we should be occupying the Capitol instead...
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.69)
    Argos, that's the same deal with here in Ontario. Our only beer export store (aptly named The Beer Store) is currently run by Molson Coors, our biggest beer company which has every reason to refuse craft breweries provincial distribution. I can't go on enough about how horrible it is that a big beer company is in charge of what beers the province drink. They shouldn't have been given that kind of power.

    The other store, the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is government run, but often overlooks craft brews on a provincial, national and international level in favour of the big beer company's stuff. Improvements are being made, but it's hard.
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      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.70)
    Through most of American history, banks and other financial institutions have operated in league with government...


    You will actually find that there had been a lot of conflict between banks and government in the US as in a lot of other countries. You should look at the documentary The Money Masters. The UK and their banking magnates worked very hard to force the US onto a debt based currency, finally succeeding, the Government may be hand in hand with the large banks, but that has not and hopefully will not always been the case.

    EDIT:
    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
    -- Thomas Jefferson,
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011 edited
     (10239.71)
    This article does a pretty good job of expressing how I feel about Occupy Wall Street. In the long run, it might not get anything done, but there's a really cool sense of community going on there right now. It reminds me a lot of Burning Man actually, a community that is put together and run by its participants (for the most part, Burning Man still has leaders and organizers whereas the protestors claim to be leaderless, but generally it exists because of the participants). You can see this sense of community in the livestreams. I especially like how they devised the "human amplification system" to make sure everyone hears what a speaker is saying (since they have no bullhorns or anything), where a speaker says half a sentence and the people repeat it in unison. I think it's neat.

    edited to add:
    The other day on the livestream they were inviting people who work at Wall Street to come down and engage in a dialogue with them about how things can change. The guy with the mic who was gonna be talking to whomever came down was wearing, as people here said they should, slacks, a button up shirt, and a tie. Granted, no one from Wall Street ever came down, of course, but my point is that this protest might not have a clear goal, it's asking people to engage in discussion about possible solutions. I mean, hell, here we are discussing what we think would be better solutions. I think it's easy to look at the protest and go "well you guys are just causing a ruckus and and have no clear goal, go home," but, it's getting people to talk. And for those who want to say "well we've already done this before," a lot of the protestors are young adults who haven's talked about it before.

    So, I dunno, I agree it's not the best way of getting actually change to occur, but I don't think the protest is bad, either. It's not counter-productive. Not like the Baader-Meinhof group who were committing terrorist crimes, and in the process, hurting the very people they were claiming to be fighting for (in my opinion). I certainly think that inciting discussion is a form of progress, and the protest seems to be doing just that. Is the protest good or bad? Why? How can this be done more effectively? Etc. etc.

    edited again to add:
    Actually, the more I think about, it, the more I realize it really is like Burning Man. For a week you're camping out in the desert amongst a participant driven community, where the only economy is a gift economy, and you go home thinking about how you're going to change the world because of this amazing experience you had, and the world needs to be more like Burning Man where people are friendlier and everyone just gifts each other things instead of always wanting money. Then a few weeks later you're back to your normal routine having not actually changed how society works, just trying to pay your bills each week, but that week you were camping out was still amazing because of the sense of community it gave you.
  3.  (10239.72)
    Here's the live feed for OccupyBoston - http://www.livestream.com/occupyboston

    Edit to add: Erm..well it WAS up and running but offline now.

    They've been doing quite a bit of organizing the past few nights. Today, they gathered in Boston Common and marched through downtown to Dewey Square at South Station. It was an impressively large and ethnically diverse march with young and old. We could see it from our office and I had to explain what it was about to my coworkers. None of them had any clue about what was going on and only a few were aware of OccupyWallStreet. Unfortunately, my explanation didn't seem to help with the mixed messages they saw among the crowd's banners. There were groups distinguished by colored t-shirts, red green and blue and orange vests: each with their own message. I fear the only memorable banner to my coworkers was the one proclaming "No Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain" (one of the neighborhoods).

    I went down there after work as they were getting settled in but it was much much smaller. I suspect a large majority of the varying other groups that marched were just there to march and not to occupy. I didn't see any of the colored t-shirts but perhaps they had taken them off upon arrival. Regardless, it's still an impressive group. Would like to have stayed longer but I have to pack for a land of no cellphones and computers for a week, just bluegrass and maybe some bourbon.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeSep 30th 2011
     (10239.73)
    Maybe it'll turn into a liberal version of the Tea Party. That could work, if it can actually prove voting influence. The Tea Party was viewed as a comical joke until they started spoiling Republican elections for various state offices. Of course, if the Occupiers turn into a liberal Tea Party with voting power they'll be flexing it by spoiling democratic state candidates' bids for office and handing power over to actual Tea Party supported Republicans.

    If they can turn into a liberal tea party that doesn't increase the number of Republicans in state executive offices and legislatures, then that might be something.
  4.  (10239.74)
    Let's not forget the real victims here: The Bankers?!

    BLOOMBERG: The protesters are protesting against people who make $40-50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
     (10239.75)
    If the goal of occupying Wall Street is to stop bankers being able to do their jobs... well, then the banks haven't really got their backup second-site policy worked out very well.

    In London, every firm that has offices in the City has entire backup offices elsewhere (some in Canada Water, some outside London altogether) that just sit empty all the time. If something bad goes down (and London is quite used to people trying to blow up it's financial institutions) then a switch is flipped and everyone just goes to work in a different building for a while.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
     (10239.76)
    @Flabyo - It seems obvious now, but I'd never heard that before. Cheers for the fakt.

    @magnus - aka Mike Bloomberg Once Again Proves Himself To Be A Raging Doucher.
    It's also exactly the standard line I'd expect conservatives to take when they haven't got any better material.
  5.  (10239.77)
    @Flabyo - yeah, slightly off topic but my firm rents space in one of those Docklands sites, I've been down there on many occasions to test that our systems work as I'd be part of the communications team if it all kicked off. We have a trading suite set aside for my team, with TV screens for rolling news and it's hugely fun to play with the silly phones that they have and pretend to be Gordon Gekko. I need to grow up a bit sometimes...
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
     (10239.78)
    Well, the protest is on Wall Street not to actually make it hard for bankers to go to work, but for the symbolism of being on Wall Street itself, as the New York Stock Exchange is there. It's not a strike to stop an activity, it's a protest that wants to be seen.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
     (10239.79)
    @oddcult - yup, the protest is really about the symbolism of it, but I have seen people elsewhere who did seem to think the goal was to stop the bankers getting to work.

    I'm reading today that the protestors have decided to march on the NYPD HQ to protest the policing of the protesting.
  6.  (10239.80)
    Free mace in the face for everyone!

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