Friday Feedback: Occupy Wall Street’s Gullible & Unsophisticated Protesters

friday feedbackEach Friday, LA Progressive presents a comment we editors find to be most profound, insightful, or just plain irritating.

This week, Hollis Steward comments on Joe Palermo’s article, “Occupy Wall Street’s “Gullible” and “Unsophisticated” Protesters.

A thoughtful article but the following paragraph is more telling than it would seem to be: “There’s something inherently wrong with a political economy where those in power sell the people a bag of goods: Tax cuts for the rich and corporations; deregulation; “free trade” bills; wars and excessive military spending; slashing social programs.

We were told these measures were for our own good. They would be helpful to the lives of the 99 percent. But they never work.” I would submit that they in fact do work for the rich and powerful — they become more rich and more powerful while the smoke and mirrors of our supposed democracy keeps the 99% of us docile and under control as we dream the American Dream and hope that our boat will come in though it never does.

It is not in the interest of capitalism to take care of the working class, the 80 or 90%, and the marginal working classes such as the poor and disabled because they eat up profits and dividends. Now in the old USA, perhaps before Reagan, there was still a mass producing working class working in decent paying jobs building actual goods and probably had a union so that wages were negotiated and a family could live on one good income.

But the destruction of PATCO demonstrated that this docile nation would tolerate the destruction of the union system and it has been all downhill since then. In other countries where working people have not succumbed to the myth of the American Dream or its equivalent people fight back because they know they are working class, not some mythical “middle class” that is part of the smoke and mirrors of self deception.

Maybe Wisconsin and the OWS is the beginning of a resurrection of we the people as a fighting mad, collective action minded, take no prisoners attitude toward those who steal from us every day in the name of “financial capitalism”.

Hwood007 offered this rejoinder:

I tend to judge folks by their actions, not by what they say they will do but by what they actually did.

If I were to visit some recent protest sites, those that had tea party members and those that had occupy groups, I could tell who had been there just by the appearance of the protest site.

The tea party sites would actually look better and cleaner than when the tea party arrived. Those people have an opinion of self worth and would not want to be judged to be such a person who would trash another person’s property. Even though they protested a cause, everyone they came in contact with would be treated with full respect.

The occupy folks sites would look worse than when they arrived and would be in need of a detailed clean-up. The individual members of occupy groups do not have the same individual view of self worth as do the tea party groups so they will leave the clean-up to others. This will happen and has already happened all over the world. When they become organized and have some leadership, perhaps then the sites will be cleaner but not as clean as tea party sites. They do not respect others as they protest, so I wonder if they have any respect for themselves.

This can not be denied as the truth as it has already happened at multiple sites, on several contents, as I have written. Ask them how many voted in the last election.

We then entertained these correctives based on actual observation:


If you were to visit, which you haven’t, you would know that you are wrong in your opinions. I have been at occupy sites several times and in more than one city. The people clean up after themselves, care about one another, and show wisdom way beyond what you exhibit when you make comments based on if you had been there when you weren’t.

It is better not to speak when you don’t have a factual base for what you say unless you label your comments as conjecture, prose, or rumor.

— oldsonofthewest


“hwood007″ – a moniker perhaps more revealing that the user intended – is comparing apples to oranges, or, more appropriately, Corniches to Camrys. Tea Party “protests” are ephemeral events – as are most progressive demonstrations. The Occupations are encampments intended to last as long as it takes to effect major change.

I was at Occupy LA yesterday evening. I was impressed with the CLEANLINESS of the grounds: After 15 days, there was virtually no litter on the ground, and both the individual tents and the group areas were remarkably tidy. There are no official groundskeepers – certainly no one being paid – yet the residents and visitors seem to spontaneously pick up after themselves and each other. I even saw someone picking up used tissues and cigarette butts which weren’t his. I challenge any Tea Party group to match this kind of commitment to community.

More disturbing, and more telling, is this poster’s attempt to spin this fantasy of littering into a general condemnation of the occupiers’ ethics. I can’t help but wonder about his motive for sharing such a threadbare tale, but to post my wonderings would be to commit the same error he or she made.



  1. Luis Antonio Chitty, III says

    I can’t believe some of the comments — about how clean the area is; that’s anal. The issue is who they are and why they are there. The filthiest people I know have maids and valets and the like. Here’s something I wrote (think about it — it’s a place to start):

    The Death (or Re-Birth) of America, By Louis Chitty

    As thousands
    of protesting Americans across the country grow
    into millions, several things become increasingly clear: 1) Families
    are being destroyed as people are losing their jobs, their homes,
    their businesses, their medical coverage, their life savings,
    2) Republicans and Democrats are no closer to compromise now than
    before, 3) Apart from the OccupyWallStreet protest and President’s
    Obama’s efforts to pass the American Jobs Act, very little else is actively
    being done to create jobs immediately and, 4) ) America’s future will be
    largely determined by how current issues are resolved.
    It is indisputable
    that serious damage is being done to America and that this is
    the major issue of protesters, who realize that whatever the rhetoric
    or temporary solutions, things may not be resolved in their best
    interests, whether in terms of education, the environment, medical care,
    entitlements, and especially, job creation and financial regulation. While both
    major parties are locked in a stand-off, many are confused about why.
    Republicans argue that they want to shrink a government that is too big, has too
    many regulations and affects too many lives. Their solution is
    to privatize Social Security and reduce not only the size
    of government and its regulatory scope, but to
    eliminate entire agencies, including, but not limited to the
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health
    Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Education, among others.
    At the heart of the OccupyWallStreet protests, Republicans want to further
    de-regulate the financial industry. Let’s take a brief look at the
    financial industry, which is the major source of our
    is what we know for sure: 1) Wall Street’s greedy,
    reckless and immoral (if not outright illegal) behavior is the reason we are
    suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, 2) The
    major financial institutions have not stopped handing out huge compensation
    packages and doing the same deals that got us into this mess, but they
    are denying the very service they were created to provide (and which
    they did provide prior to ruining the economy) — loans,
    3) Even though U.S. taxpayers funded the biggest bailout in history,
    regulations have not been changed to protect us
    against financial disasters and bailouts in the future. What many
    Americans don’t know is that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16
    trillion in no-strings-attached low-interest loans to major financial
    institutions in this country, to foreign banks, multi-national corporations and
    to wealthy individuals worldwide. While I believe the U S bailout was
    absolutely essential, I don’t know enough about all of the other loans
    to comment…yet. (These revelations came to light only after Sen. Bernie
    Sanders (D-VT) sponsored the Dodd-Frank Act , requiring the Government
    Accountability Office to audit the Fed’s lending programs during the financial
    crisis — the same Dodd-Frank Act that Republicans emasculated in
    Congress, and are still trying to weaken more.) Unfortunately, the
    Fed’s swift — and necessary — action to prevent worldwide economic
    collapse — is totally MIA when it comes to the nearly 50 million Americans
    who are suffering in poverty and losing everything they’ve worked their whole
    lives for and for the tens of thousands of small businesses which, if
    they could get loans, would put millions of our suffering friends and
    neighbors back to work, people who earn more than $3500 less than ten
    years ago. As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz often
    said, we have a government that is “of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent and for
    the 1 percent”. The other 99% of us are on our own. That’s why
    protesters call themselves the 99% — because the top
    1 percent earn more than the bottom 50 percent, while the richest 400
    Americans own more wealth than 150 million Americans, or 1/2 of all the
    people in the country. And
    Republicans want to give them more!
    In a recent
    article, Wall Street Protests Sen, Sanders stated the

    “1) If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too
    big to exist. Today, the six largest financial institutions have assets equal to
    more than 60 percent of GDP. The four largest banks in this country issue two
    thirds of all credit cards, half of all mortgages, and hold nearly 40 percent of
    all bank deposits. Incredibly, after we bailed out these big banks because they
    were “too big to fail,” three out of the four largest are now even bigger than
    they were before the financial crisis began. It is time to take a page from
    Teddy Roosevelt and break up these behemoths so that their failure will no
    longer lead to economic catastrophe and to create competition in our financial

    2) Put a cap on credit card interest rates to end usury. Today,
    more than a quarter of all credit card holders in this country are paying
    interest rates above 20 percent and as high as 59 percent. When credit card
    companies charge 25- or 30-percent interest rates they are not engaged in the
    business of “making credit available” to their customers. They are involved in
    extortion and loan-sharking. Citigroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase
    should not be permitted to charge consumers 25- to 30-percent interest on their
    credit cards, especially while these banks received over $4 trillion in loans
    from the Federal Reserve.

    3) The Federal Reserve needs to provide small businesses in
    America with the same low-interest loans it gave to foreign banks. During the
    financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided hundreds of billions of dollars
    to foreign banks and corporations including the Arab Banking Corporation,
    Toyota, Mitsubishi, the Korea Development Bank, and the state-owned Bank of
    Bavaria. At a time when small businesses can’t get the lending they need, it is
    time for the Fed to create millions of American jobs by providing low-interest
    loans directly to small businesses.

    4) Stop Wall Street oil speculators from artificially increasing
    gasoline and heating oil prices. Right now, the American people are being gouged
    at the gas pump by speculators on Wall Street who are buying and selling
    billions of barrels of oil in the energy futures market with no intention of
    using a drop for any purpose other than to make a quick buck. Delta Airlines,
    Exxon Mobil, the American Trucking Association, and other energy experts have
    estimated that excessive oil speculation is driving up oil prices by as much as
    40 percent. We have got to end excessive oil speculation and bring needed relief
    to American consumers.

    5) Demand that Wall Street invest in the job-creating productive
    economy, instead of gambling on worthless derivatives. The American people have
    got to make it crystal clear to Wall Street that the era of excessive
    speculation is over. The “heads, bankers win; tails, everyone else loses”
    financial system must end. Most important, we need to create a new Wall Street
    that exists not to reward CEOs and investors for the bets they make on exotic
    financial instruments nobody understands. Rather, we need a Wall Street that
    provides financial services to small businesses and manufacturers to create
    decent-paying jobs and grow the economy by productive means. Think of all of the
    productive short- and long-term investments that could be made in our country
    right now if Wall Street used the money it has received from the federal
    government wisely. Instead of casino-style speculation, Wall Street could invest
    in high-speed trains; fuel-efficient cars; wind turbines and other alternative
    energy sources; affordable housing; affordable prescription drugs that save
    people’s lives; and other things that America desperately needs. That is what we
    have got to demand from Wall Street.

    6) Establish a Wall Street speculation fee on credit default
    swaps, derivatives, stock options and futures. Both the economic crisis and the
    deficit crisis are a direct result of the greed and recklessness on Wall Street.
    Establishing a speculation fee would reduce gambling on Wall Street, encourage
    the financial sector to invest in the productive economy, and significantly
    reduce the deficit without harming average Americans. There are a number of
    precedents for this. The U.S. had a similar Wall Street speculation fee from
    1914 to 1966. The Revenue Act of 1914 levied a 0.2-percent tax on all sales or
    transfers of stock. In 1932, Congress more than doubled that tax to help finance
    the government during the Great Depression. And today, England has a financial
    transaction tax of 0.25 percent, a penny on every $4 invested.

    Making these reforms will not be easy. After all, Wall Street is
    clearly the most powerful lobbying force on Capitol Hill. From 1998 through
    2008, the financial sector spent over $5 billion in lobbying and campaign
    contributions to deregulate Wall Street. More recently, they spent hundreds of
    millions more to make the Dodd-Frank bill as weak as possible, and after its
    passage, hundreds of millions more to roll back or diluter the stronger
    provisions in that legislation.

    The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are shining a light on one
    of the most serious problems facing the United States — the greed and power of
    Wall Street. Now is the time for the American people to demand that the
    president and Congress follow that light — and act. The future of our economy
    is at stake.”
    Couldn’t have
    said it better, myself.

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