Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Where do your sentiments lie in regards to the Occupy Wall Street protests?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25799 points ) October 2nd, 2011

Do you sympathize with the ideas of the protesters or with the business community?

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33 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I sympathize with the clerks, janitors and underpaid support staff that catches the brunt of the protests for the bosses that can telework and avoid the whole mess.

DominicX's avatar

A lot of it seems to be protest for the sake of protest.

Nullo's avatar

I oppose occupation of non-public spaces and edifices on general principle: they’re not yours, and you’re disrupting the lives and livelihoods of the people inside them.

@DominicX That does indeed seem to be the case.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Blah. I wrote a really long response here, but hit backspace and it refreshed the page and I lost it.

I relate to the protesters. I’m not sure that this display will necessarily create change, but I do think this is a deeply American way to attempt to create change.

lillycoyote's avatar

@DominicX and @Nullo what exactly do you mean when you say, think, or agree that this activity is merely “protest for the sake of protest?” It seems dismissive and seems to trivialize what they are doing. Do you think they are not sincere or have convictions or are dedicated to some cause? Just interested in what you have to say that backs that up, that they are protesting for the sake of protesting, whatever that may mean.

martianspringtime's avatar

I support it. It’s peaceful, for one, so I don’t see any problems with it. As far as I gather, the whole thing is about people who do very little (and above all, very little good) in their jobs getting a shitload of money for it, while people who are actually working very hard get paid very little.

I’m not one to speak as I’m not involved in it myself, but I think it’s really cool at the very least to see people actually speaking out about what they think is wrong in the world rather than just giving into apathy. People – the middle class, especially – are expected to just take the crap the media feeds them and sit back and be content and consider themselves lucky, so regardless of whether the protestors are actually going to bring about ‘change,’ I think their intent is refreshing and I commend them for getting out from behind their computers to complain openly.

I mean how many posts do we see on a daily basis, whether it’s on fluther or a blog or anywhere else, complaining about pretty much the same thing? And why not protest for the sake of protest? Better than sitting around and taking something you think is wrong just for the sake of not wanting to do anything about it. If they sat around and complained, people would tell them to go do something about it; when they do something about it, people tell them to go sit down and get over it.

I just hate when people blow off any protest because I think people should – and here I am talking out of right again, since I haven’t done anything myself – take advantage of their right to protest when they see something worth protesting. As long as it’s kept peaceful, I completely respect it, and those people do a lot more to bring up issues and try to solve them by standing outside than any politicians do by sitting in their cozy offices…

DominicX's avatar

@lillycoyote I’ve just been reading that many protestors have no clear objective in mind and some protestors do have clear demands; one article I read said there is a rift among the protestors between those who want to voice their demands and those who want to keep the protests’ objective obscure. There was even a poster advertising the protest that made fun of the fact that there was no clear objective in mind: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/Wall-Street-1.jpg

And yes, I am dismissing it a bit. I’m not a fan of protests that don’t have clear solid objectives; I don’t appreciate protest for the sake of protest. Look at the recent riots in England; what started out as a protest against an unjust killing turned into many people rioting for the sake of rioting; there are many people out there who want attention, who want to “start something”, who want to stir things up without necessarily a greater cause in mind. And I don’t respect it too much. Again, not that the whole protest is like this, but some of it does seem to be that way.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I support it. I haven’t protested yet, but some day I will. I’m getting really pissed off about the disgusting acts the NYPD commit (pepper spraying and trapping the protestors on the Brooklyn Bridge). Protect and serve the 1%!~

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t think anyone is sympathizing with the business community, except for the business community.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I have been trying to type this up for a while now, and I just can’t get the words right. This is my opinion, but it’s not as polished as I would like.

We see police pepper spray people in a nonchalant manner, we see them throwing people to the ground for protesting, and we see them arresting people with cameras so they can hide what they are doing.

We see the police do all these things, and the protesters just taking it like bitches, and we applaude the protestors for their peaceful protest, while saying how bad the police are, as if we actually expect this to achieve something.

When was the last time you heard about a nerd who went to school, and peacefuly protested the big bully and was never bullied again? Never! that’s when. Peaceful protest only works if the authorities are civilized and benevolent, and pepper spraying people then trying to hide the footage is neither civilized nor benevolent. Just as employing people like this to do your dirtywork is not civilized or benevolent.

A few hundred years ago some medium rioting would have maybe got us some crums thrown our way, but the government has everything so well controlled now, that we are not going to get a damn thing in this world anymore without an all out war. Modern governments are simply too good at keeping their subjects under control.

So yea, I sympathize with the protestors feelings, the rich are too damn rich and the poor are to damn poor. However, it is all a big waste of time. Unless the rich all decide to share the wealth out of the goodness of their hearts, the poor are left with very few options. Peaceful protest is not an option, you can either bash some heads together, or you can wait for a paradox were the poor get rich, so they have the means to get rich while conforming to the rules of a rich man’s world.

Jaxk's avatar

Frankly, I don’t have a clue what they want. Some said they want to eliminate capitalism. And replace it with what? Do they want more jobs? One guy said he quit his job to join the protest. One person said they were there to figure out what they want. I guess I have to say, ‘figure it out and get back to us’.

During the 60s and 70s at least you knew what the protesters wanted. You could agree or disagree but you knew the issue. When people assemble to protest global warming. There is a reasonable goal. You may agree or not but at least you know the goal. During the ‘Civil Rights Marches’, there was a point., a reasonable goal. What is the point of this demonstration? Give me a clue what you want and I can at least decide whether to support it or not.

amujinx's avatar

@DominicX The objective isn’t clear for a purpose. The protest is taking people with many different views and from many walks of life, but all are frustrated with how the government is now the spokesman for the wealthy elite, and no longer for the people. This has been going on for a long time, yes, but the factors of the market crash caused by Wall Street’s speculations and passing of bad loans, the high unemployment rate and the massive debt load on the population has finally pushed the “water cooler complainers” to show that they are upset. What the protesters are asking for is accountability for those who have drove us into this mess, but since everyone’s views on just how to go about this and to what extent are so varied, they are choosing to instead to be vague in their demands to present a united front. If they started to get too specific, the protest would splinter into many different protests that would end up just cancelling each other out. At least this way, there is a chance that something can get done instead of everyone just barking for their own ideals and nothing getting done.

@poisonedantidote While I’m inclined to agree with you that real change won’t occur without a violent revolution, violent revolutions don’t just happen. People need to be dragged out of their complacent attitudes before people can unite to fight a government. I think this is a step in that direction. So I don’t think that this is a “big waste of time”, but a way to shake some people awake. I’m not trying to say that violent revolution is the preferable way to take this either, I just think, much like @poisonedantidote, that is is the only way that real change will occur. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

@Blackberry I think you might be surprised at how many people are defending the business community, if not actually sympathizing with them.

I think it’s fairly clear that I support Occupy Wall Street. I am working with others in my city on our own occupy movement. I doubt ours will be a full 24 hour occupation though (it gets too cold, the wind can get too bitter and there is too much snow that falls here for it to be safe enough to really pull off a 24 hour occupation during the winter).

Jaxk's avatar

@amujinx

Just in an attempt to encapsulate the message. I read it as:

We don’t know what we want, we just don’t like what we’ve got.
We don’t know what to do, we just don’t like what’s been done.
We don’t know where to go, we just don’t like where we are.

Does that about sum it up? Feel free to use that as your bumper sticker.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I support them. They are doing their best to make a statement about the fact that crooked banks & Wall Street took advantage of us all, & they are trying to make Congress recognize that both the banks & Wall Street need to be better regulated. It has bothered me a great deal to see how violently the NYC police have treated a lot of these people. I thought we had progressed past this level of police violence – but a lot of the police actions are a strong reminder of the police actions during the Civil Rights protests in the 60’s. Some of the police actions that have been photographed are almost at the same level as from the forces of the dictators in Egypt & Libya when they attacked the protestors there. Not a good image for the world to see for a major city in the United States.

TexasDude's avatar

As a history student, I am extremely skeptical of just about any type of mass movement. Political and cultural conditions these days remind me an awful lot of what it was like around the world (and particularly the US) in 1919, and for anyone who isn’t aware, that was a very dangerous time to be alive. Plus, a lot of these populist revolutions turned out to worse than what they were fighting against in the first place, in the long run.

As for my personal feelings on the Occupy Wall Street thing, @Jaxk pretty much sums it up for me.

And I’m tired of going on Reddit and seeing every single post on the front page being about the damn thing.

amujinx's avatar

@Jaxk How about:

We trusted the system (because we had to), and we got burned. How are those running the system going to restore our faith?

breedmitch's avatar

I support their right to protest. But I’d just like to remind them to always be mindful of the image they project. Currently, they are beginning to look like some of the tea baggers. That’s not a good thing. Resist the urge to get too clever with the signage or “crafty” displays.

XD's avatar

Mutant capitalism is not synonymous with “business community.”

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m okay with the idea. It’s cool that it’s finally getting covered, because I was hearing about it for over a week before the mainstream media even thought about covering it.

I also think it’s pretty strange to think only public places can be protested, nevermind the fact that what Wall St. does effects every American (and arguably a large portion of the world’s population) and that they’ve received way too much in government aid to be off the list of legitimate targets for protests.

I’m also pretty jazzed that combat veterans have decided to protect protesters from the cops.

@Jaxk Just because you don’t know what they want doesn’t mean they don’t. The protesters have been really clear, and some of them want different things, too. Maybe just check reputable news sources?

Overall, though, I have to repeat what I said on another thread about the whole Slutwalk thing: it’s an essentially weak action that fails to exert force. It’s nice of them to do this, but at most it’s an attention getting thing, and that has fairly poor leverage to cause change.

We’ll see how it turns out. Cornel West has had some good commentary on it on Democracy Now, and likens it to the Arab Spring. I think part of that will depend on how much it’s spread (it’s going on in many major cities now, by the way) and how the powers that be react.

Here’s hoping for minimal violence.

Nullo's avatar

Honestly, they remind me a bit of the early Tea Party. Bizarro Tea Party, maybe?

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, they’re just like the tea party, except without all the ignorant signs and booing of people without health insurance and such. :P

Nullo's avatar

@Blackberry Congratulations! You have utterly failed to understand either the movement OR my post. :\

Blackberry's avatar

@Nullo Ok, I was biased, but I shouldn’t be fluthering now, anyway. There’s gin in my blood stream!

ETpro's avatar

My heart is with them. The Fed had to pump $16 trillion into the nation’s biggest banks, Wall Street firms and corporations in 2008 to keep us from a complete banking failure and financial meltdown like the Great Depression. And we have politicians running around insisting that the poor caused the whole thing. Had nothing to do with casino capitalism and a $72 trillion a year derivatives market Wall Street created. The poor stole $16 tillion and are still poor.

Keep pushing the corporations are GOD mantra, and you will see street protests grow with all the disprder and destruction that implies. Nothing has changed on that score since the French Revolution. They are not going to eat cake.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I agree with west…

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro Going by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the ‘08 recession dropped us several times the distance of the ‘29, and we were still several times the same amount from even the heights of the Roaring 20s. Just saying that Great Depression numbers are small potatoes these days.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Had all the major banks failed as they did in the Great Depression, triggering a worldwide banking failure, you would have learned what was different about 1929 and the recession of 2007–1019 (and maybe about to return). But since nobody learned what real pain is like, we have a large collection of ideologues determined to set the same casino capitalism rules right back in place and do it all over again. The rest of the world looks at us with our current left/right political paralysis, and they think we are crazy. I am inclined to agree.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro I gathered that effects – at least in the DJIA – are magnified relative to the time of the Great Depression.
WTM is “casino capitalism?”

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo Casino Capitalism is the game Wall Street was (and thanks to Republican effortsm still is) playing. It is a great game if you;re on the inside. Heads I win, tails, taxpayers lose. Sincve the banks are too big to fail, they can repackage and massively leverage debt such as mortgages, sell that debt as derivatives, and profit handsomely if things go well. When things don’t go well, as inevitably happens from time to time, then the too-big0to-fail banks simply turn to the Fed,m and ultimately the American taxpayer, to bail them out.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro Be a dear and explain in non-rhetorical English, would you? Like you’re writing for Merriam-Webster.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo It doesn’t translate to everyday English easily, and it very complex. I will take the tiome to write upi a blog about what went wrong, but that is not foing to happen at this late hour. I’ll post a link to it when done. I’ll try to keep that accessible to anyone who can rea a definition in the dictionary and comprehend what it means.

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ETpro's avatar

@smithf We’ll see. The latgest bank in the USA, BofA, blinked today. They are scrapping their $5 monthly debit card fee. It’s really not 99% versus 1%. In a recent survey, 68% of America;s millionaires agreed the rich should pay a higher, more fair tax rate to help the nation get people back to work. It is just a handful of Greedy Olicarch Pigs who bribe both parties to do their biddin=g, and they are opposed by the vast majority of Americans. The would-be oligarchs declared class warfare, and in war, the size of the army matters a great deal.

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