The Trajectory of the Occupy Protests

So first the protesters congregated on Wall Street, which made absolutely no sense to me since Wall Street employees have no obligation of any kind to protesters. They are private citizens who have not been elected by the protesters or by anybody else to any public office.

Now, in an even more bizarre turn of events, the protesters are marching on Times Square. Whenever I visited Times Square, I saw a multitude of things there. Except one. A building housing elected public officials who are in charge of making political decisions. I understand that Times Square is pretty, albeit in a really vulgar sort of way. But that seems to be the only reason why anybody would choose it as a spot for a political protest. If it is still a political protest, which I’m beginning to doubt very seriously.

What’s next? Marching on Hollywood and the Disney Land?

10 thoughts on “The Trajectory of the Occupy Protests

  1. Could be a safety measure?
    Seeing how the police flipped out when they were protesting just private citizens, what might happen if they march on people who are actually in charge?

    Also, the Times Square has a lot more hipster value and than say Capitol Hill. There are probably more independent coffee houses.

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  2. I’m pretty sure the choice of Wall Street is symbolic since it is the location of some of the greatest wealth disparity in the nation, and to call attention to the fact that the people who are largely responsible for this economic mess are still going about their business and are not in jail (like in Iceland). And don’t forget, part of the problem is how much power business has in the government- so if you were to protest in a single location that was *not* a government office, but still had a high fraction of politicians and political appointees, Wall Street is probably not a bad choice. 😉

    I’m not sure I understand Times Square- maybe just so the protesters can be even more visible? Maybe just because they finally got kicked out that park near Wall Street (there was talk of that occurring, but I don’t know if it finally happened). In the middle east protests, I’m pretty sure not all of those occurred at government buildings either, but they seemed pretty effective. I think at this stage the 99% protesters are still trying to gain enough of a following such that they can actually enact whatever change they want (whenever they decide what that is), and then maybe we’ll see more motion towards the government. But then again, maybe I’m hopeful and niave and giving the protesters more credit than they deserve.

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    1. “And don’t forget, part of the problem is how much power business has in the government-”

      -This is obviously true. But what’s the plan here, that Wall Street workers will see the protests, repent of their ways, and stop buying off politicians? Surely, nobody is that naive.

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      1. I certainly hope not, but given the protesters demanding empathy from Wall Street as in your post from the other day… I think at least some of the protestors may be that dumb. But I would like to think they aren’t *all* that foolish.

        But we can flip your argument around- if the protestors were at the capitol, would you expect the politicians to suddenly change their mind and stop accepting money from businesses? I find that about as doubtful. They might get some good rhetoric out of the representatives, but that’s probably about it.

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        1. But at least the citizens are justified in telling their elected representatives what to do. There is no such justification in case of 2 groups of private individuals.

          In the US history, massive marches on the Capitol have, indeed, produced some pretty significant results.

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  3. I definitely reject the ideology that the public sector is the only legitimate target for public outrage. The real power is in the private sector. Official politics is too constrained a domain. The next presidential election will be center-right Obama vs. whichever far-right Republican gets nominated. Rallying around Obama amounts to excusing the financier class. Campaigning against him is of course far worse. Without IRV or equally substantial electoral reform, there is no point in working within the system. Characterizing any movement as asking for handouts is demeaning, and is a right wing tactic. (Just calling ’em as I sees ’em here. I reserve my harshest criticisms for those I respect.)

    Some peaceful tactics that seem logical: a boycott of main$tream financial institutions via the “move your money” project (but consumer deposit accounts, combined, are a drop in the financial sector bucket) and perhaps alternative currencies such as Bitcoin (which many believe can be a real game-changer). An escalation, if necessary, might be some kind of electronic monkeywrenching, but that would be very bad PR this early in the game. Some joker will do it anyway, of course. 😦 One symbolic issue (that can be used as a barometer) is Bank of America’s $60 debit card fee, burdened by the PR faux pas of being announced right at the beginning of OWS. If they walk it back, it can be taken as a sign that pressure directed at private entities can have results. If not, I say take it as a sign that -gradual- escalation is necessary.

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    1. Nobody disagrees that the real power lies with the rich lobbyists. But demonstrating under their windows will never induce them to part with that power. What we need is legislation that prohibits companies from funding elections.

      I wouldn’t characterize the movement as asking for handouts if I didn’t see those “please give me compassion because here is my heartbreaking story” slogans under the windows of hedge funds. Do you really believe that this is not a humiliating position to put yourself in?

      With politicians you elected, you have every right to demand. With other private citizens, you don’t have a right to demand anything. You can just ask. And that’s what I can’t get behind.

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