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A few observations of the 99%'ers

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by DarrylS, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Went on down to NYC this AM, as do not rely on the sanitized news and rely less on blogs, to seek out what all the brouhaha was about.

    For those of you who cannot deal with any of this ignore it, as it will go right over your juvenile heads...

    Some observations..

    Got to "Liberty Plaza", which is coincidentally directly across the street from the World Trade Center..

    Got there very early and most folks were still sleeping or just waking up, there seems to be a lot of disenfranchised folks... not sure how they smelled, as I did not do a lot of hugging.

    As time went on, more and more people joined them and there was a more homogenuous mix.. young & old, black, spanish and american indian, along with the majority. Varied folks the young and disenfranchised, the middle aged folks who have economic concerns, some veterans, some hard hats and some mature folks like myself who are concerned about our future. They were scheduled to march on Rupert Murdoch's house, and I wanted not part of that so I left before than nonsense.

    There was an interesting contrast of the tour busses driving by, and the folks on Liberty Plaza with their signs.. some of which were incendiary. The contrast had to do with the advertisement on the side of the busfor Bloomberg News..

    There was a mix of peace activists, anti drone people, some weird causes.. but no free Mumia Abu-Jamal which always creates ambivalence. No mention of gay or lgbt stuff, mostly about economics and peace.

    There is no central clearing house to decide what direction to take, and naively there is no leadership at all.. not sure how well they will survive without some direction.. need someone who can convey a clear and consistent message.

    "What a field day for the heat, 1,000 cops in the street".. early on there were also a couple of conflicts, but the cops and the 99%'ers got out of it.. fortunately, but something will step off one of these days it was somewhat tense. The whole square is surrounded with police cars and police vehicles.

    As the morning there were a bunch of small groups inside the square and some very knowledgeable speakers about how the stock market work and how the rules are skewed for the big traders.. and how our economic system is broken. The conversation and comments tended to be very intelligent.

    But the message seems to be lost by the directionless activists who garner the most coverage by the press as they make the most noise..

    It will rain tommorrow and the weather will get colder soon, so the timing is suspect.. but may get organized and be back in the spring.

    No obvious dope use, but maybe it was the time of day. No obvious bathroom facilities, I took care of my needs in Grand Central before I ventured down.

    As free flowing and idealistic as they are, they need to have some type of centralized leadership, common message and focus..

    It was really great morning.. and enjoyed my time with these folks, are they real and sustainable???.. probably so. I suspect that they will continue in some shape or form, but they need to clarify their message. If they do they may appeal to a lot of people..
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  2. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Thanks for the view from the front, so to speak.

    This movement strikes of some academics and organizers firing up college kids and the disenfranchised to "go out and protest something" and "get active". It seems that they are more interested in the activity than any message. Kinda like " we just wanna go back to the age of peace and love, man. Play some music on an accustic and try to shove it to the man. We will show them we are no part of the establishment".

    This may be the furthest thing from the truth, yet its being spun that way, and your report kinda confirms this.
  3. Holy Diver

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    Great JOB!

    Thanks Darryl!
  4. PatsFanInVa

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    Nice dispatch, Darryl. Shirtsleeve, doesn't seem to me that it would be prof-inspired in general, though I'm sure a lot of ex-hippies may have said such words to their young charges. The difficulty is you can't create a movement by saying it's good to protest if nobody gives a sh1t. The "outside agitator" point of view can't really work without underlying unrest.

    From what I've seen, yes, they do seem the polar opposite of tea partiers, in their respect of knowledgeable people (Saw the Stiglitz speech, for example -- wasn't there, I mean I saw it on Youtube.) And by knowledgeable I do mean they respect, rather than lampoon, intellectuals -- people who have studied the fields they talk about and understand complex issues.

    Darryl, from what I understand the "establishment" groups are lending support -- i.e., "being there" -- and pledging "hands off" as the crowds figure it out for themselves.

    Right now it seems to be an incoherent "That ain't right," that seems to be the message... and the "establishment" groups are trying not to be pushy and telling them all about how they need to be structured.

    I agree with you in an ultimate sense. In a pragmatic sense, it has more legs as an extension of the style that gave rise to it, don't you think? I never saw a directed, disciplined group with a message extend the protest for a full month running.

    Anyway, it's fascinating to watch unfold.... thank you for the ground-level report.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  5. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Hmmm...funny how the words academic and intellectuals were interchanged there. Last time I checked there were indeed very intellectual people outside the world of academia. Speaking only from personal experience working for a liberal arts college, there are those in academia promoting unrest, activism, and social upheaval on a daily basis. I get the invite to these meetings, speakers, and gatherings in my daily messages.
  6. PatsFanInVa

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    And I did too, in the 1980s. I don't think they stopped in the 1990s or the 2000s. In each age cohort, they met with a given level of response. I do not think you can establish that "rabble-rousing" now is exponentially greater than during those times, particularly "rabble-rousing" on the left, which tends to wain when Dems are president.

    So it would seem that there is an unrest among the people -- and they're not all students -- that's independent of the urgings of professors to "get out in the streets like me and my old lady did in Berkeley" or somesuch.

    As to your point about "interchanging" the words academic and intellectual, it must be my elitist bias, but I'm not quite sure what you're saying.

    Is Stiglitz an intellectual in your book? Are knowledgeable people who understand the complexities of issues intellectuals in your book?

    My use of "intellectual" by no means ruled out non-academics with something to bring to the table. One need not be employed by academia to be an intellectual. One need not to be an intellectual to be employed in academia. It is not impossible, however, for an academic to also be an intellectual. Given the point of the two exercises, in fact, I would say it is a much more common state of affairs for an intellectual to be employed by an academic institution than, say, for his own unlicensed plumbing business.

    Now, I'm not saying no unlicensed plumber are intellectuals, but an unlicensed plumber's home business seems a much less likely to turn up deep analysis of complex topics than in an institution of higher learning -- just for example.

    The anti-intellectualism among right-populists isn't just "well-documented," it's pretty much one of the basics of the movement.

    PFnV
  7. The Brandon Five

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    Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex | Video on TED.com

  8. PatsFanInVa

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    So who's got a "god complex," B5?

    Me, for observing that there seems to be an anti-intellectual streak in right populism, that seems to be reversed among the left populists, or the right populists themselves, to the extent that they engage in anti-intellectualism?

    Or, choose "C, none of the above," if you just felt like randomly relating a story of a scottish prisoner of war who was able to get a german POW camp to distribute vitamins?

    In fact, from the quoted bit, I'm not entirely sure how well the point is even made internally in the story. Seems more of a story of one guy buckling to his rhetorical approach than an illustration of "the god complex."

    PFnV
  9. DarrylS

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    Did not get the feel that it was inspired by any one group.. that was my issue as they tend to have been all over the place. What I witnessed inside away from the predictable attention whores was a core group of folks who were seeking answers about our economy, the great divide, why the rich continue to amass wealth and why most of us tread water.

    The problem, as I see this was, that was that a certain few have such an inordinant need for attention and the least intellectual, are the ones who are garnering the most attention. Some of the platitudes that they were uttering and gathering news attention made no sense and reflected the folly of youth.

    It was like an onion, had to peel away at the layers and talk to many of the people there to get a real assessment.

    One interesting thing did not mention before that there was retired newspaper guy there who I was talking with and I asked him my ever present question as to why there was not more moral outrage about the 150K women and children killed under the guise of "Collateral Damage" in Iraq?? His answer made sense, in that we never really saw those dead women and children, as the press was so controlled by the military and the pictures that were released were all sanitized versions. Compare to the pictures in Viet Nam, never forget the naked little girl running down the street after she and her family were Napalmed.. those type of images were missed in Iraq.
  10. PatsFanInVa

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    Yeah, before all newsmen had to be "embedded." Hey, the cameras get what they want, product to sell -- it's okay if they're doing essentially sports reporting, rooting for the home team, that'll sell papers and ad time as well as a little napalmed girl. You just substitute heroism for horror, badda bing badda boom.
  11. chicowalker

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    I also think there is a decent segment of the population that simply wouldn't care about "collateral damage." The people killed now are Muslim, and Muslims attacked us on 9/11, so who cares about the Muslims getting killed? They're all evil -- or, as one of our resident Islamophobes would say, they're dirty, filthy, smelly and evil.
  12. PatsFanInVa

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    I wonder if there were a way to measure this sort of response in comparative terms; i.e., how much "we've just become meaner" is involved, independent of politics. By "meaner" I mean the acceptance of the collateral damage.

    Now I'll balance this by saying that much of war has become less random and more accurate, so there's that. The proportion of innocents killed directly by our actions has decreased.

    Yet when we talk about any individual who has nothing to do w/the war, you are right. We now have a big contingent that reflexively characterizes them as subhuman, in so many words, the same psychological trick always used by perpetrators of abuses that are unacceptable if one imagines them happening to humans.

    I wonder if mass reaction has so changed since the late 60s. There are still those horrified by such things, but they have not seen the images, as they did then. Look how horrified we're capable of getting when the "bad guy" does it (think of Neda in Iran.)

    PFnV
  13. The Brandon Five

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    I only posted the number of paragraphs that I could. To get the whole idea (and how it relates to public policy) you need to watch the talk. Or are you saying "tl, dw"? (Too long, didn't watch)

    I think many academics and public intellectuals suffer from it. The point is that people who think they have things figured out (on paper) are deluding themselves because the systems that we are dealing with are far too complex for anyone to completely understand. It suggests that we need to experiment more and observe what actually does or does not work in practice.
  14. chicowalker

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    Many academics and public intellectuals may suffer from it, but (i) I'm skeptical that they suffer from it more than other segments of the population, as (ii) I believe they tend to understand that the systems they're studying are complex and difficult to understand.

    imo, it's the people who think everything is black and white who are better described by your words above. And those people don't tend to be academics / intellectuals. On the contrary, people who acknowledge the possibility of being wrong, multiple causes / effects, etc. tend to be criticized, particularly on emotionally charged issues.
  15. DarrylS

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    INOW those who see more grey than black and white.... but many have fallen for black and white, and nothing in between.
  16. The Brandon Five

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    I mean is it authentic, or is it actually a video from an entirely different place and time? Hard to know in the photoshop age.
  19. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  20. PatsFanInVa

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    Welp, life under the occupation in D.C. consists mainly of seeing more people on the metro you expect to see in the summer rather than the fall -- that is to say, people not in some species of business dress. A guy behind me was hacking up a lung yesterday, and I can't afford to get sick. Looked like an occupier guy. I think. Happens all the time actually, but this time I think it was an occupier guy.

    Other than that the most violent move anybody's made is to ask directions for a train they're trying to catch.

    I'm sure they're just planning the whole torchbearing mob thing & haven't gotten 'round to it, but so far so good.

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