Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Police action.


Last night, Occupy Boston got ugly. The police ordered media away and violently attacked a peaceful protest in the middle of the night.  Veterans for Peace were beaten, medics were arrested, and protestor's personal property and medical supplies were thrown in garbage trucks. 100 people are in jail right now and I'm sure some of my friends are among them.

I was out there last night but left before the arrests began, because I was told I might not get a nursing license if I had a "disorderly conduct" on my record.  It was infuriating to walk out when I had friends staying behind and standing their ground, but one of the ugly dynamics of this movement is that too many of the people who need it can't afford to protest.

The protestors were peaceful and unarmed and were attempting open communication with the police and city. Their only crime was occupying a public park.

It scares and saddens the hell out of me, both for my friends who were there and for the idea of protest in this country. Free speech and assembly doesn't mean much if they're subject to the whims of the police deciding "no, we meant approved speech and assembly through the proper channels."

I'm also infuriated by the persistence of the "dirty hippies and creepy anarchists" image of Occupy Boston.  A lot of media outlets have been selectively interviewing and photographing the weirdest-looking and least coherent people there--ignoring the presence of nurses, ironworkers, veterans, teachers, and other such fringe subversive elements.  (This is a tricky issue because I don't want to devalue the voices of hippies and anarchists and funny-lookin' people, but at the same time, I know the public does, and selectively showing those people in the media is definitely encouraging a bias against the movement.)  Most of us either have jobs or want jobs; most of us are intelligent people who know exactly what we're doing out there; none of us were violent.  And if it makes you feel better, plenty of us were nicely dressed with clean hair and everything.

The only good news is that Occupy Boston just got a whole shit-ton of free publicity, public sympathy, and new supporters, courtesy of the Boston Police Department.

I intend to head back out there and make the most of that.

67 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I don't want the very first comment to be "What about the people who hate you? Have you considered their interests?"

    Sorry, Bob.

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  3. Way to go Holly! I was with Occupy Chicago last night and we were worried about the Occupy Boston group. It's so exciting though! It feels really good to be part of a group of people who are working for /something/, even if they aren't entirely united on what that something is.

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  4. the @Boston_Police twitter at the moment seems to consist of telling people "no, that story isn't accurate." -.-

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  5. Gabrielle - Those posts are from 9 hours ago, and referring to a different story claiming the protests would be completely shut down. It's true that the police told people to only vacate a certain area, and not to disperse entirely.

    (It's also true that the area people were told to vacate was public land, and that the protest had gotten too big to safely and practically occupy the tiny patch of grass that we were allowed on.)

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  6. You weren't in Boston on 2004, so you may not remember the Free Speech Zones from the Democratic National Convention that year.

    The city of Boston requires all sorts of permits and fees and such for public assembly on public land. Previous groups of people to to use Dewey square, for example, to "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" had to obtain permits from the city, and pay for the electricity they used while there. Those permit requirements were waived for the occupy protests. I guess some causes are more equal than others.

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  7. You're right, JohnOC, everyone should have unlimited rights to peaceable protest.

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  8. Holly, in your opinion will donations to occupyboston.com get to the people needing help?

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  9. Anon - Yes they will. As far as I know, nobody is taking any "administrative costs" whatsoever for themselves; everything's going straight into flashlights and baloney sandwiches. And, today, there's a bail fund.

    http://occupyboston.com/get-involved/donations/

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  10. Hershele OstropolerOctober 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    The deleted post makes me want to go to Liberty Plaza; this one more so. I keep trying to volunteer my specific expertise the way you've been offering yours, Holly, but the way the whole thing seems to be set up there's no clear way to do so. It's relatively easy for Holly, since the medical station stands out by its nature.

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  11. What's your specific skill, Hershele?

    The greatest needs right now are: medical, legal, anyone who has connections for getting supplies, and anyone who can talk to the media without going "umm, the system, man," but there's use for a variety of skills.

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  12. it is sort of twistedly, sadly ironic to see the same people who righteously crowed about how wonderful the Arab Spring was/is sneering at the Occupy protests as just dirty hippies and nutjobs

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  13. My father, my Tea Party speaker father, is posting a bunch of dismissive stuff and I don't even know what to say to him. (I'm ashamed to say I'm pushing 40 and still pretty scared to cross him.) They, who spent a couple years complaining about how the media only showed crazy racist looking people at tea party rallies, but somehow it's unquestionable that the weirdos who show up on the news now are the only people who are involved.
    And then someone else posted some set of pictures all about how the fact that tea partiers *weren't* getting arrested is proof positive of how good and clean and peaceful they were and the hippies totally deserve to go to jail - otherwise the police wouldn't be arresting them, right?
    I feel hopeless around half my FB feed. Rock on, Holly.

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  14. Hershele OstropolerOctober 11, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Holly: I'm a talker to the media! That's really something they need? Great.

    ShadowCell: Arab Spring is different because it was against Muslims (notice the cognitive dissonance when the crowers noticed the Muslim Brotherhood was involved). Occupy is against capitalists.

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  15. of course the Arab Spring is different, but fundamentally, they're both protests against a broken system. on these shores, one is greeted with self-congratulatory histrionics, the other is greeted with contempt.

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  16. I don't know why, but this isn't on the major news sites. In fact unless you google news 'occupy Boston' it's hard to find the story at all, i.e. unless you are actually looking for it.
    There is a story, that's more about what the mayor of Boston said than a violent attack on peaceful protestors, on Boston.com and an article on the Washington Post's sight, and on Reuters, but it's not on the BBC, it's not on CNN, it's hardly anywhere and yet it's a major story with a Youtube clip; should be major news yet, weirdly, it's not.
    Or, I suppose, I would find it weird if I hadn't recently read George Orwell's 'Freedom of the Press' essay, which could help explain why news sites aren't clamouring to see this on their front pages.

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  17. I know what you mean when you talk about " A lot of media outlets have been selectively interviewing and photographing the weirdest-looking and least coherent people there" - I felt the same way about SlutWalk Toronto. The media photographers spent most of their time surrounding 2 females, who I believe were under the influence, sporting thongs and leotards who - when interviewed - didn't really have a grasp about what SlutWalk was actually about. That's who the media focused on and who misogynist radio talk show hosts quoted afterwards.

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  18. I wanted to be down there last night, too, but I was sick and I'm also in a field that would not regard an arrest very highly. I plan on trying to make it to the GA tonight and I donated bail money. I'll tweet you if I'm down there and maybe we can finally say hi!

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  19. I'm sending this from Spain, where these protests started on the 15th of May and all I can say is, keep going! Don't let the Ocuppy movement die! ANIMO!
    Also, get yourselves a solid group in charge of the press, because the media is a beast who'll smother you with indifference unless you pulicize that unreasonable violence more.
    Lots of hugs and warm wishes!

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  20. I'm sorry to hear that happened to you and your friends. I went through similar things here in Albuquerque during the protests before the start of the Iraq war.

    Those rubber bullets hurt.

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  21. We always hear this with left-wing protests, that it's all a bunch of hippies and anarchists and flaky college students who don't know what they're talking about. It's ridiculous. Such coverage completely ignores that those are the only groups who can AFFORD to spend a lot of time at protests. A lot of Americans lose money for every day they take off work (and not everyone is off work on evenings/weekends). They may have young children to care for. Lots of people can't risk an arrest on their record, even if it's just for peaceful civil disobedience.

    Nothing against young people and hippie types, but they're disproportionately represented in public protests because they have free time and won't get fired. Lots of solid, boring-looking citizens out there support this cause. Stop arresting peaceful demonstrators (and give America workers the same amount of paid leave Europeans get), and you'd see a lot more of them out there.

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  22. Britni - I'm not going to be there tonight. I will be there noonish tomorrow.

    Perlhaqr - Ouch. No rubber bullets that I know of here, but apparently some straight-up beatings with batons.

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  23. I'm not 100% sure I'm behind the protest, but I'm abso-fucking-lutely sure it shouldn't be suppressed like this.

    You have my donation, and I'll contribute more if anything like this happens again.

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  24. I saw a lot of this happen, until the live feed shut down. I'm furious, but I'm glad that you are okay. I hope everyone gets out of jail soon, hopefully with all the charges dropped.

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  25. Dunno. Public property is public property, but that also means that the occupy boston movement needs to respect others. From what I read, local people had just raised a bunch of money to renovate that park, and turning it into a tent city certainly doesn't respect their efforts, does it?

    Maybe I'm old and cynical, but this reminds me of the 60's and early 70's. A few genuine supporters, lots of noise, little skill and 5 minutes of media attention. What is supposed to be accomplished by these protests? There is no direction, minimal agenda---a bunch of people gathering and singing and then saying--"dunno, it's broke you fix it?"

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  26. Fuzzy - It's true, we were creating a clear and present danger to the shrubbery.

    Maybe I'm old and cynical, but this reminds me of the 60's and early 70's. A few genuine supporters, lots of noise, little skill and 5 minutes of media attention.

    ...and then the Vietnam War ended.

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  27. The Vietnam anti-war protests have made a much more cynical country, though. And though the war ended, badly, laying the foundation for the killing fields of Cambodia and years of brutal repression throughout southeast Asia, the major reason behind the end of the war was financial. What incentive is there for the corporations currently in power to pay attention to these people?

    Personally, having worked my way up from nothing, I find these protests a bit disingenuous...the young people I know aren't willing to work hard, have little inclination to take responsibility for their actions, and would rather live with mommy and daddy than give up their creature comforts. Immigrants do labor here because citizens won't work hard.

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  28. Fuzzy - It's not possible to work your way up from nothing any more. That's kind of what this is about.

    The old deal--the one where if you were smart enough and strong-willed enough you could work full-time, and if you worked full-time you could support yourself at least modestly? That deal is off. That's the problem.

    I don't know about these "young people" on your lawn, but I'm working, in school, moved out of Mommy and Daddy's house at age 15, clean up human blood and shit and deal with angry drunks at my job, and I'm part of Occupy Boston.

    Immigrants do labor here because employers would have to have legal working conditions if they employed citizens.

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  29. Beware the silent majority, unless you want a repeat of '68 and '72.

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  30. "Silent majority" is just the old-school way to say "the lurkers support me in email!"

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  31. Good on you Holly for doing something to address issues of welfare, corporate governance and finance (and other?) industry regulation in the US. What happens in your country affects ours - so heart felt thanks! :-) Candice

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  32. There is a difference between legal working conditions and the work people want to do. Poultry processing is legal but messy nasty work. Americans are too lazy to do it. The Hispanics who do the maintenance in the complex? Work their butts off. The management doesn't hire Americans because they are lazy and quit. Farmers try to hire in this country for farm work and they can't get people because the work is hard.

    If you don't see the irony of kids financed by mom and dad, typing on their iPhones, protesting that the world isn't what they want---bet they've never gone hungry. I have.

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  33. Fuzzy - I know a lot of Americans who aren't too "lazy" for anything at this point but can't get any sort of job at all.

    And I know even more--accounting for a whole lot of the people at Occupy Boston--who have a job but are still screwed. They're working full-time and they still don't have health insurance, still can't pay the rent, still don't have food at the end of the month. That's an effect of the economy, not of individuals failing to yank hard enough on their bootstraps.

    bet they've never gone hungry. I have.
    That's terrible. I want a world where no one goes hungry. Not one where everyone goes hungry because you had to.

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  34. "Silent majority" is just the old-school way to say "the lurkers support me in email!"

    Well if you want Nixon again I suppose that's your business.

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  35. This post has motivated me to donate, which is what I'm doing right now. Thanks, Holly. Keep up the good work! If I have free time, I'll come out tomorrow, though work is work...

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  37. I should add a clarification here. If you want this to work you will need the public at large on your side. Stuff like what happened at the Air and Space Museum in DC does not help (and yes I am aware of the agent provocateur that was involved). Right now I think most of the people who vote see the occupy movement as something between an annoyance and a circus. If that does not change no one will care when you get bulldozed.

    I also wonder how these Occupy people are going to vote next year. Obama certainly has not impressed them and neither will the republican candidate. Perhaps they will attempt a third option.

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  38. By contrast, this is how the Portland city government handles Occupy Portland and its complete lack of permits:

    http://occupypdx.org/announcement/

    To be fair, in my conversations with Portland cops, they told me that the police bureau has been favorably impressed with the clear communication and willingness to open dialogue that characterizes Occupy Portland's police liaisons. Here in Stumptown, courtesy is a two-way street.

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  39. It is more than a bit disingenuous to disregard the fact hat someone worked to raise money for the $150,000 worth of shrubbery, and someone worked to install it...is work only valuable when it meets your standards?

    I find the entitled attitude of the current generation to be part of the problem: insistence on raising the minimum wage causes prices for basic services to rise. Rising wages mean that employers employ fewer people, working instead to develop automated ways to do those jobs. Demands to provide insurance and leave and child care mean that employers do more with fewer people because it is expensive, and then they move jobs out of country because we as a society aren't willing to pay the cost of goods produced at those wages.

    And I think people should go hungry. Hardship is an annealing process...it tempers people and makes them stronger. You don't know what you can do til you do it---nit because you though it would be cool, but because you had to dig into your gut and find out who and what you really are.

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  40. ...it really shows how entitled -you- are if you see hunger as a learning tool.

    I suppose we're all entitled in degrees, in that respect.

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  41. Hershele OstropolerOctober 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    The $150,000 was almost certainly investment income. So yes, someone worked for it, but not the person who had it to donate.

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  42. On the comparisons to the Arab Spring:
    The difference is where the prostests were coming from- In Egypt, they were about ousting a dictator, and shutting down secret police that saw torture as part and parcel of their day to day lives. It was about bring democracy to places that didn't have it.

    The perception of the Occupy[Cityname_here] movement seems to be a lot more about a gestalt of progressive causes, some of which are totally unsustainable, combined with a resentment of anyone who isn't in the same shoes. And to a lot of people, myself included, that does read as being selfish.

    Note that none of that excuses police impeding the ability of people to protest peacefully.

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  43. Fuzzy, while higher employee costs -> fewer jobs, I think there is a minimum standard of living that consists of the minimum wage being higher than it is now, and health care and child care provided for more full-time employees.

    Dirt Sailor - I'm not sure I've noticed resentment on part of the occupiers movement, except towards the top 1%. That said, I don't think it's helpful for anyone to resent anyone else. I believe the top percentile should indeed pay more taxes than they are now. That's a statement about the tax code, not about The Man and my feelings for them.

    I'm not sure what you refer to as unsustainable progressive causes.

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  44. @Fuzzy - The argument that just because you underwent hardships, others should have to as well... is not only flawed, but is deliberately inhumane.

    The correct argument is "I underwent hardships, and therefore I work for a better world."

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  45. No, the argument is that hardship is good for you. Having to struggle for what you want to have is an essential part of growth. Therefore, I consider that hardship is part and parcel of a better world.

    I live near a military base. There is a direct link between BAH and the cost of off-base housing. If one goes up, so does the other. Things became much less affordable when both parents started working, because the base price people could afford to pay went up. So did the cost of the basics.....

    We as a society want cheap things, and are not willing to pay the cost of the same things produced by factories paying what you call a living wage. Our jobs are therefore outsourced to areas with lower costs of production. So higher employee costs do lead to fewer jobs. That means that there are more have nots, but the haves are in gravy....and that fewer jobs are available to casual unskilled labor, traditionally the entry level for bootstrapping. I'm not going to pay $15 an hour for someone to mow my lawn or watch my children, both basically unskilled jobs.

    There was an article recently about someone attempting to hire american labor for harvesting. Economically depressed area, 9-10% unemployment and he was offering $10 or so per hour. He ended up hiring immigrant labour because no one wanted to do actual hard work---I've farmed, and it is backbreaking labor---but before I took charity, I'd starve.

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  46. Fuzzy - Lifelong hardship, the kind where you don't pull yourself up by handily available bootstraps at the end but just die poor, is not good for anyone.

    If you had children, would you let THEM starve?

    Anyway, if you want to be a stoic (or, more likely, comfy warm well-fed pseudostoic), good for you. But don't go telling other people--including children and elderly people and disabled people, remember--that they should be legally obligated to play along.

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  47. Wait... You don't want to pay reasonable prices for labor?

    I thought you liked hardship! Thought it was good for ya! You should welcome this burden and allow it to make you stronger!

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  48. I wonder if Fuzzy even realizes what a condescending place "hardship it good for you so chin up!" comes from. While there are certain lot of problems in the US it's still very hard to starve. When is the last time anyone here was starving? Not just going hungry for a short while (although even that is not too common) but actually starving?


    Never. I'm not trying to do a "But there are people in Africa that have it worse!" here. I'm just saying that the "hardship is good for the soul" sort of attitudes reflects how you haven't had it as hard as you might think. And that it's incredibly patronizing towards people that have suffered through terrible hardships.


    The proper response to "Things are getting worse for people in general and this is directly the fault of our government." is not "Well hardship is good for you stop whining!" It's looking for a solution before people actually do start to starve.

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  49. Dearest, there were days when I ate the leftovers from my kids plates so they would be fed. If they ate all the food, then I had none. Not a big deal, we all survived, and all of my kids have worked for everything they have. And are proud of it.

    If you've got lifelong hardship, it really isn't *my* business to have to fix it for you. It is your own business. Mind you, I'm more than willing to contribute to what I see as deserving, but I didn't expect some vague government to fix my problem and I don't think that going around thinking that your lack of food means someone else has to feed your lazy ass is a valid option.

    I see too many people who won't work, because they don't want to give up the cable tv/drugs/booze/laying around sorry all day. I don't buy addiction as anything other than straight up moral weakness and don't think that weighing 300 lbs should qualify you to go on disability and be supported by me, because you made atrocious choices earlier in life.

    Children? Sure. Take 'em away from the parents that can't feed them and don't want them unless it is as a meal ticket. Put some of the rest of the unemployed to work growing food for them and teach them the value of actual real life work.

    The disabled? That depends. Addiction is not a disability. Fat isn't either---and don't start, because I know many people who are disabled because they are too fat to move. Rural Virginia, for one. Actual real life disability? I'm not sure what that is, because I know a bunch of people who could actually be disabled who work full time and make a living. Even my nephew, who carries more psych diagnosis than ought to be piled on one person, works part-time.

    I don't think $15 an hour is reasonable for unskilled labor. The nice Latino guys do it for less, work harder, are legal and incidentally polite instead of surly and rude. Sure I'll hire them....and I'll hire their wives for child care, where I'm sure my kids will learn Spanish, get actual real discipline and loving care. Nannies around here--college kids, mostly, who can't get other work, want $20/hr with no actual experience and less common sense. At that rate I'll do the work myself, get it done faster and better.

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  50. If the idea of spoiled brats not suffering enough disgusts you, it's got NOTHING on the disgust I feel for a spoiled brat who wishes suffering on others.

    Take kids from their parents to punish them for being poor? That's not just evil, it's far more expensiventhab helping their parents feed them. But I guess it's worth the money to teach 'em not to be poor.

    Also it's nice to know that no one is actually disabled on your planet. Also, ZOMG FAT PEOPLE.

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  51. ...the point really seems to be flying over your head, isn't it?

    People didn't suddenly decide to become more entitled or more lazy three years ago. A recession happened and was allowed to happen by the very people that are supposed to take care of us as a society and run the economy properly. Doesn't that mean nothing to you?

    It is a society's duty to provide somewhere where everyone has a reasonable standard of living, even the poor. So far that's been the case. But there's been a steep decline and people see this as a problem.

    The bigger problem here has absolutely nothing to do with individuals and you seem to be willfully ignorant of that.

    And please, do not fucking talk to me about hardship. You have no idea how smug you sound. Me and my parents immigrated here from a country where democracy was not a thing and the fact that my mom was a Jew caused lifelong grief. Was the appropriate response there also just "the hardship of communism makes you stronger, buck up!"? No. Governments have responsibilities to their people

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  52. Come on, Anon, he knows about hardship, he had to eat leftovers.

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  53. "Addiction is not a disability. Fat isn't either"

    What about people who are fat BECAUSE of a disability? Or because of hormonal problems? Oh wait, those people don't exist, the only fat people in the world are that way because they inhale Twinkies.

    And what about people who are obese because they live in a "food desert," with no affordable source of fruits or vegetables within 20 miles of home?

    You want hardship? Fuck leftovers, how about my grandmother's having to feed her family nothing but tomato sandwiches for weeks on end, because tomatoes and bread were all she could afford for three teenagers on a teacher's salary AND a military widow's pension? You think she wanted to hear "suffering makes you stronger" when she was going through that?

    Or wait, maybe my other grandmother was happy to be getting stronger when the bombs destroyed the family farm in Italy. Yeah, maybe she was supposed to be fucking grateful that there was nothing to eat and her family's entire livelihood was GONE.

    People shouldn't starve if it is at all possible to feed them. It's disgusting and inhumane to make them starve because it "builds character."

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  54. I'm a little unsure how I feel about these protests. On the one hand, I think protests are one of the great ways in our country for change to come about- hell, the founding fathers were protesters, which I feel a lot of Tea Partiers forget.
    There are definitely a lot of things that need to change in our country. And I applaud the people who are trying to bring attention to that. On the other hand, from the little I know about it seems like the protesters aren't putting much effort into finding solutions. It's our country. Yes, some people broke laws and are corrupt and selfish, but government officials are people we voted for, working in the society we're a part of. It's not completely fair to say "You're doing it wrong, you fix it!" I think there needs to be more effort on how we can fix it.
    Again, I also have limited knowledge on this. It seems a lot of the news is focused on how the protests are just the products of spoiled, discontented, pot-smoking college kids who don't know what they want. I know that is not all true, but I can't seem to find a lot of other info.
    And I would love to be educated.

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  55. Hershele OstropolerOctober 12, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Most recent anon:
    http://occupywallst.org/

    I'm not claiming it's neutral; clearly it's not. But it's a counterpoint to the MSM narrative.

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  56. Hershele OstropolerOctober 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Also:
    government officials are people we voted for

    In practice, though, voting means picking from two or three candidates. There are 350,000,000 people in the United States; fewer than 10 were presidential candidates in November 2008. We have a free choice from that handful, but the process by which they're chosen is a bit less open.

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  57. And I think people should go hungry. Hardship is an annealing process...it tempers people and makes them stronger. You don't know what you can do til you do it---nit because you though it would be cool, but because you had to dig into your gut and find out who and what you really are.

    Do you think people should be raped too? Or stolen from? What doesn't kill you right?

    I don't think the problem is that people "don't know what they can do until they do it", I think the problem is a lot of people believing that they could do it if they had to, and therefore a) anybody could and b) everybody SHOULD and c) people who are suffering should STFU because "i could do it if I had to"

    I've been through things that maybe you'd never survive, it doesn't mean therefore I think you should be put through it to see if you can do it xD

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  58. Anon: The primary demands thus far tend to be:

    - Create jobs in the US to help decrease unemployment.

    - Raise the minimum wage to a living wage. A min-wage worker in the US working 40-hour weeks only earns $15,080 per year. The poverty line is $24,000.

    - Eliminate corporate tax loopholes and the concept of corporate personhood. Make sure that the rich are paying taxes too, not just the working class.

    - Either lower college tuitions, or stop making college necessary in order to earn a survivable income.

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  59. @anon - Good to know you didn't bother, idk, reading the comment thread? Where that issue has already been discussed twice?

    @fuzzy - Funny story, you bitch and moan about people being entitled, but what *I* see is just a complete lack of jobs available, to the point where I gave up looking for a second job after my thousandth job application. Hell, it took my girlfriend six months to land a job at Sears; I guess she should be grateful she had to live on the charity of others while desperately searching for someone who would hire her, amirite, because the panic attacks and pervasive guilt and anxiety are annealing or some shit?

    Go read your Rand, masturbate to images of the Gilded Age and leave the adults in peace.

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  60. The issue with eliminating corporate personhood, as I understand it, is that it eliminates the ability to launch a class-action lawsuit against a corporation. I could be wrong, though, because I'm not a lawyer (thank God).

    To asshole anon:
    a) If you knew anything about psychology, you'd know that lacking food and a safe place to live makes it very difficult to efficiently work to eliminate those conditions. There's a reason that the base of the hierarchy of needs is food and safe living conditions.
    b) There's actual scientific evidence for neural circuit changes in addiction. Kindly STFU until you're educated.

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  61. Whoops, asshole anon had a name. Sleep deprivation makes those things hard to remember.

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  62. Oh, right, forgot to mention: just about every study done has indicated that of the motivations to succeed, extrinsic factors are vastly weaker than intrinsic factors; and further, that negative extrinsic motivators are in the staggeringly vast majority of cases actually counter-productive.

    That's right; knowing that you'll starve to death if you get fired doesn't make you more motivated to work; it just makes you have panic attacks, get fired, and starve death.

    ALL HAIL THE GLORIOUS GILDED AGE!

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  63. It makes me laugh to see people on here declaim 15/hr as an unreasonable wage for unskilled labor. (The part that really made me cringe, as well as being the funniest was Keith's remark about not paying someone more than $15hr to look after his kids. I guess that tells you how much they are worth!) I'm Australian, and I make nearly $20/hr working at McDonalds! If I worked full-time instead of as a casual I could expect a salary of about $33,000. Factory workers over here make anywhere between $17-25hr, and the night shift pays $32/hr.

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  64. And I think people should go hungry. Hardship is an annealing process...it tempers people and makes them stronger. You don't know what you can do til you do it---nit because you though it would be cool, but because you had to dig into your gut and find out who and what you really are.

    I know I'm a bit late to the party, but please, go to Sarajevo and scream that from the main square.

    I fucking dare you.

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  65. It doesn't "build character" to work several jobs and still not have enough food to eat. All that builds is hopelessness, depression, and malnutrition.

    Character comes from making CHOICES. "Work or starve" is a choice. "Work AND starve" is not. "Fruits and veggies every day" vs. "Ramen noodles every day...and a new pair of nice shoes at the end of the month" is a choice that teaches people how to budget their money; if someone's job can't even pay for rent and food, let alone any luxuries, that person isn't LEARNING anything; they're not building character the way they would if they were sacrificing to get something they want.

    I have to wonder how Fuzzy knows all these drug addicts and slackers, since zie seems pretty smugly middle-class. Unless zie's actually a welfare case worker, I suspect "I know people like that" actually means "I think I read about people like that in a heavily biased, conservative newspaper once."

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  66. The argument that "increasing minimum wage is evil" doesn't hold water for me. First off, if you adjust for inflation, the net value of minimum wage has been steadily decreasing since ~1997. Second, even if the increases didn't exist, companies would prefer illegal immigrants and automated processes anyway, because it nets them more profit and they have more control without pesky labor laws getting in the way. Third, having enough money to meet a minimum standard of living (even one below the poverty line) on a job you are being paid to do isn't entitlement unless you use the absolute strictest sense of the term.

    Also, while hardly a neutral site, here are various charts and graphs that show why the movement resonates so well with those who actually bother to give a damn.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10

    (click on the link below the article)

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  67. It is a frustrating situation, to be forced to choose between your long-term goals and the pursuit of justice :( I was in an anti-sweatshop sit-in some years ago and had to decide between participating in direct action and my philosophy of science final.

    Later, in response to the sit-in, the school issued a new policy decreeing that all sit-ins must end at 5PM so as not to interfere with the occupiers' academic lives (among other stated reasons). It always seemed odd to me that the university was willing to arrest its students to protect their academics but refused to alter the behaviors that made them consider jeopardizing those academics.

    At any rate, wedgethrees from OccupyDurham :)

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