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On September 17, an estimated 5,000 people took to Manhattan’s financial district in peaceful protest. They waved signs and banners in support of a movement called #OCCUPYWALLSTREET.

Stimulated by assemblies in Spain and the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising, the peaceful movement has been organized in large part by Canadian anticonsumerist magazine Adbusters. Most major media outlets have avoided giving the protests any substantial coverage, although CNN did note a figure of “hundreds of demonstrators” when Julianne Pepitone covered the occupation on opening day.

Unsurprisingly, most of the corporate media is happy to report on Tea Party gatherings while expediently flouting or, at the most, nonchalantly brushing the surface of what has inspired so many “over-educated, under-employed and angry” people to take to the streets en masse. Michael Moore has been among the rare conventional voices to cover the occupation, going on Keith Olbermann’s Current TV program.

The movement has by and large been orchestrated through the use of social media. It lacks central leadership and carries a vow to “end the monied corruption of our democracy.”

The occupation is now a week in and promises to grow. Adbusters expects mounting numbers each Saturday, with various groups like Code Pink and Anonymous joining in. There are those who claim to be in it for the long haul, with no clear time set as to withdrawing from the occupation. Some at lower Manhattan’s Zuccoti Park brought sleeping bags and tents, aiming to remain for the calculable future.

“The message we’re trying to get out is that the political system is not even trying to propose solutions to our problems. They have thrown in the towel. Who is here? Young people and students with college debts. They want to talk to the people who took away their future,” David Graeber, 50, a social anthropologist from Goldsmiths College in London told The Guardian.

When one considers that 45 percent of young Americans aged 16 to 29 are without a job, it’s not too hard to see the anger and frustration swelling in the streets. Big money interests have been uncompromisingly defended by forces on the left and right of the American political spectrum and the brave ones with the gumption to occupy the streets have been swept under the rug far too long.

In 2010, the official poverty rate according to the United States Census Bureau was 15.1 percent. That’s up from 14.3 percent in 2009, marking the third consecutive annual increase in the category. The Census Bureau also reported that 46.2 million Americans now live below the official poverty line, the highest total in 52 years. 2.6 million Americans dropped below the official poverty line over the last year alone.

Among American children aged six or younger, an estimated one in four live in poverty. Add to that the problem that low-income families now have less access to social and economic safety nets than ever before (while Wall Street has access to more safety nets than ever before) and you’ve got an appalling cocktail for disaster for generations to come.

As reported in a National Bureau of Economic Research study, we can expect the poverty rate to double without the existence of programs like Social Security, SNAP (food stamps) and the Earned Income Tax Credit. With cuts on these programs coming fast and furious, those who require the most assistance, the elderly, disabled and impoverished, are left by the wayside.

It doesn’t help that a significant portion of society considers the least of these to be lazy or leeches on the system. This careless brushstroke keeps the populace divided when it comes to issues of poverty, pitilessly disseminating the myth that America is still the land of opportunity for anyone and everyone who just works hard enough. Yet the myths persist, creating a culture that blames the impoverished for their condition.

As #OCCUPYWALLSTREET carries on, many who are not able to get to New York’s financial hotspot are wondering how they can help. Adbusters has a blog entry on the subject that includes ideas like picketing banks and signing a petition to break up Goldman Sachs.

This is not a left or right issue. It’s not about partisanship, reaching across the aisles or any other such gibberish. It’s about people taking their fight to the streets non-violently and with heart, mustering up the audacity necessary to tell their persecutors that enough is enough. #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is true democracy in action.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Jordan Richardson


  • Forget I asked.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You are wrong.

  • @80

    Figured you were up to something like that, now a report of your first-hand experience should follow, am I wrong?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Wife’s parents live in Bremerton, so we visit quite frequently. We headed to Seattle for a couple of days to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Paramount and to check out the city, so in the process we wound up at the occupation. Good times.

    Food sucked though.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    What’s up with slumming this side of the border? Vancouver is MUCH nicer than Seattle!

    Of course our oh-so-patriotic American conservatives would have you believe that America has the very best of everything and anywhere else is either a third-world slum, a socialist tyranny, or a dictatorship run by al-Qaeda….

  • Jordan Richardson

    Was at Occupy Seattle on Saturday at Westlake Park when the movement started to coagulate. Very interesting stuff and cool camaraderie down there, but it appears that the cops have swooped in since.

    25 were arrested yesterday and they’re trying to get rid of the tents.

  • A New Statesman article by Laurie Penny.

  • Quelle Surprise: J.P Morgan Chase Donates $4.6 million to NYPD to quell #OccupyWallStreet.

  • About time NYT provides decent coverage of the movement, including the video of over 700 arrested during the Brooklyn Bridge March, Sept 1.

  • Live coverage: Take the bull by the horns!

  • Thanks for the article, Jordan Richardson. I hope people thinking about how to respond will take the last paragraph to heart: This is not a left or right issue. It’s not about partisanship, reaching across the aisles or any other such gibberish. It’s about people taking their fight to the streets non-violently and with heart, mustering up the audacity necessary to tell their persecutors that enough is enough.

    Are we all at last finding ourselves on the same page? The oppressive Power Elite is comprised of influential people in the private financial and corporate sectors, AS WELL AS those in government bureaucracies.

    Our respective takes on “the which is more Evil, government or corporations” conundrum tend to be influenced by where we live and work. Maurice knows that corporations with large operations in Idaho, where he resides, have received accolades such as listings in Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, and in Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies. The corporate abuses Jordan and Glenn list are very real, very reprehensible, and very much in need of being stopped, but they don’t tarnish the word “corporation” for us Idahoans the way close-to-home incidents like the slaughter in Ruby Ridge, Idaho have tarnished the phrase “federal government.” The incident caught our attention, and ever after, citizens in Idaho started paying closer attention to abuses of government agencies, which continue to this day, with ever more frequency, and with ever more impunity for the offending parties that “The Blue Shield of Silence” affords.

    “Which has a higher percentage of bad eggs, government or corporations?” Don’t look for an answer in incidents like the pepper-spray attack by a member of New York’s finest on protesters who were marching on Wall Street last week.

    Too close to call.

  • Matt Taibbi on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

  • Bloomberg shows his true colors in this interview on “The John Gambling Show”.

  • Maurice

    Glenn – good points. Many corporations are in bed with government or government turns a blind eye to their behavior. I have worked in the semiconductor industry all my life. I’ve worked for corporations like Motorola and Intel and now Micron Technology. These companies are not coddled by government.

    Couldn’t agree with you more about gov/corps being run by human beings.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Maurice –

    Jordan’s point is that in the big picture, Waco and Ruby Ridge are molehills that have been made into mountains by the Black Helicopter crowd. How do those two incidents compare to, say, Bhopal, India where over 10,000 people died after a leak at the Union Carbide plant? And remember the coal mine explosion last year where 26 people died. Did you know that 24 out of the 26 bodies showed evidence of black lung disease? That was a non-union mine, and there had been miners who had been fired for recommending better ventilation systems. The black lung rate at union mines is something like five percent.

    In other words, yeah, don’t be too eager to trust everything the government does…but one should be equally suspicious of Big Business. After all, both government and business are comprised entirely of human beings.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    If you call me ‘sneaky’, that will be the nicest thing you’ve called me in quite some time.

    yours truly –
    the greatest threat to democracy.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, the things I listed are factual. It’s not really a matter of you “believing” them or not. So I honestly don’t know where to go from there if you think you’re entitled to your own reality.

  • zingzing

    “I was just pointing out that government compels us while we are free to not purchase items from Archer Midland Daniels.”

    it’s not only the government, but the needs of society. nearly every functioning society has taxes. welcome to human existence on planet earth.

    “I know you are just making a joke but I don’t find it funny when a government kills its citizens.”

    do you think the government did it on purpose? or do you think something went horribly wrong?

    “BTW I have a well and a hand pump. I live on a fortified compound. Thought you knew.”

    no, i did not know that. why do you live on a fortified compound?

  • Maurice

    Wow. I am overwhelmed by the response. Where to start.

    Jordan – you listed some corporation conspiracies and I really struggle believing in that sort of thing. Just like I have to hold my tongue when someone starts talking about Hilary Clinton killing Vince Foster. I know there are a million links out there about Hillary and how evil she is. I just don’t buy it.

    zing – 76 people died at Waco. 2 people died at Ruby Ridge. I know you are just making a joke but I don’t find it funny when a government kills its citizens.

    I have no quarrel with paying taxes. I was just pointing out that government compels us while we are free to not purchase items from Archer Midland Daniels.

    BTW I have a well and a hand pump. I live on a fortified compound. Thought you knew.

  • Somehow, it doesn’t look to me as though pumping %86 million bucks or whatever into our condescending media outlets was the best way of rejuvenating our ailing economy — like creating new jobs, alleviating the foreclosure problem or raising the level of those who are experiencing object poverty. It’s a trickle-down economics at best, and hardly a direct approach, no different than pumping money into Wall Street.

    And apropos of “what’s good for the media, is good for the government,” have you given up on the possibility that the business sector may recover and become a positive factor in improving the health of the nation that you started to place all your bets on the government to get us out of the deep hole we’re in? because it certainly seems so to me. And if that’s your prognosis, then the situation is indeed bleak.

  • “El Bicho’s comment that what’s good for the press is good for the country”

    If that’s what you took out of my comment, you are widely off the mark. I wrote “considering the number of media markets in my state, with LA being second largest in the nation, yes, I do give a shit about them making money. Businesses need to make money for the govt to make money.”

    Not sure how you took that and twisted it into this discussion.

  • Cornel West to speak to Occupy Wallstreet crown

  • Support for “Occupy Wall Street” growing: NY Transport workers show of solidarity,

  • zingzing

    you use the word “fascism,” but i’m not sure you know what it means. or at least you muddle the message so much there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe you do.

    if “modern feudalism” is “fascism,” it’s not feudalism at all. and if the gov’t is being privatized, how is that fascism?

  • Igor

    What we´re seeing is a convergence of government and corporate power: government is being privatized. Dollar value (as judged by corp executives) is the lone measure of merit.

    It´s modern feudalism, otherwise known as fascism.

  • Don’t know the man, so you may be right.

    This is from Truthdig, Chris Hedges, an interview.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I didn’t really read Matt Taibbi’s article as a play-it-safe approach, Roger. I think he’s trying to draw attention to the first steps of the movement but hasn’t had time to process the information. He’s usually very good.

  • An apologetic, play-it-safe approach from Rolling Stone.

  • Well, both articles were cited in the Greenwald’s piece, Jordan.

    Which makes me wonder about El Bicho’s comment that what’s good for the press is good for the country, or Glenn’s echo to the effect that most Americans depend on MSM for their news.

    Perhaps it’s about time they should disavow themselves of the habit.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Here is some critique from Lauren Ellis at Mother Jones.

    And this from FAIR on New York Times “coverage” of the occupation.

  • Just skimmed through issues of The Nation for their coverage — not a peep.

    Likewise with Net Hentoff from The Village Voice.

    These people have lost their bearings.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Good links, Roger. Thanks for sharing them.

  • sneaky sneaky …

    Shall I call you the sneaky Contrarian from now on?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    Oooooh! Do you have cake?

    Articulation meets the French Revolution meets brevity meets precise timing. That’s the best rejoinder I’ve seen in a long, long time! I suspect that its full meaning was lost on its intended recipient. Too bad.

  • Excellent analysis by Greenwald, Jordan. Can’t comment on it now, as well as the other links posted above — got to do my five hour gig with Habitat for Humanity.

    Later, my man.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Here is some good analysis from Glenn Greenwald about why the occupation isn’t getting much mainstream press.

  • zingzing

    maurice: “Nobody dies watching a movie.”

    yeah, they do. more people will die watching michael bay movies on the fourth sunday of february than will ever die at ruby ridge or waco. that is fact. and no, you cannot really choose which corporations you support. you are just as cowed by them as you are the gov’t. you can say you’re not, but gimme a break, and eat your twix. (and it’s called a “joke.”)

    “My home is paid for but I have to pay rent (property tax) to the county or I forfeit what I have earned.”

    boo-hoo-hoo… everyone has to pay taxes. you have my sympathy, but seriously… i don’t care. if you want infrastructure, you have to pay for it. i hope you know how to deal without a water supply if you think you don’t. start digging your fucking well, maurice…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yep. It troubles me that so many people are fooled into believing that there’s some sort of meaningful rivalry between major corporations and governments. They are engaged in a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” relationship for the ages.

    It’s only when those pesky constituents and little annoyances like human rights get in the way that governments pretend to give a damn, and even then their response is to do as little as humanly possible. The second governments step in to regulate something, alarm bells go up and more corporations, acting like the people they legally are, childishly threaten to leave. Wonderful scheme.

  • Manana

  • @ 39

    “Creative reasoning” indeed.

    No they can’t (hurt you just as much), but they kill you softly with kindness.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Here’s a little more on the talking point that regulations kill jobs.

    The article includes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other sources, and is a most interesting read.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Well that’s some creative reasoning, Maurice.

    Corporations can’t hurt me like my government.

    So what do you make of the fact that Coca-Cola bottlers hired militias to murder union members in Colombia? Or how Coca-Cola has drained groundwater and deteriorated farming conditions in India to beyond usable rates?

    Or how working conditions in most corporate factories (of American corporations, no less) around the world are astounding compilations of human rights violations?

    Maybe you don’t accept the damages done by corporations because they don’t appear to bear out much in your personal life, but that doesn’t mean that corporations are incapable of harm or that they aren’t currently destroying and undermining democracy.

    Closer to home, what of the suppression of information regarding the use of Bovine Growth Hormone? What about the invention of Fanta by Coca-Cola to get around the trade embargo to Nazi Germany? What about the privatization of water supplies in Bolivia? What about corporate sweat shops in general? What about bankers trading on things like 9/11, the Iraq war and other conflicts? What about the military industrial complex? What about health insurance companies?

    How can you honestly say that corporations can’t harm you in the way governments do?

    Manufacturing was shifted overseas largely because corporations don’t want to support an American standard of living. Governments opened the door to this, but it’s entirely simplistic to say that they’re leaving because of taxes or red tape.

    Corporations know they can pay children impossibly small wages in other countries, so they blame things on tax rates and other myths and simply move operations to where labour is cheaper and subject to less pesky regulations and, as you say, red tape. Take a look at the Foxconn factory where all of your Apple products are made for a recent example. I wonder what’s causing the spate of suicides…

    How many job creators should we allow the government to kill before we are satisfied?

    This article may prove helpful here. I know it’s from the dreaded Media Matters, but follow the links and I think you’ll find a complete picture – if you’ve got the time and interest to get one, that is.

    And Maurice, what zing is talking about is a comparison. You suggest that there’s a reason to fear a “Ruby Ridge” type incident from the government and subsequently suggest that you can’t see what the fuss is about from the “wannabe protesters.” He’s suggesting the likelihood of something like “Ruby Ridge” harming you.

    Conversely, when you look at the employment numbers and the psychotic behaviour of corporations, you have every reason in the world to fear their actions.

    The governments have opened the doors for these corporations to effectively run the yard, which is why protests like #OCCUPYWALLSTREET are happening.

    And considering how many corporations are intertwined these days and how many provisions exist, like no-bid contracts overseas, to benefit just a few of them, you’re probably supporting more corporations and more violence than you could even possibly know.

    So continue to be “mystified” that the youth are fed up with the entire relationship between corporations and government. The two entities are not separate; they are not opponents, even as fiery rhetoric suggests otherwise. Governments have routinely been friendly to major corporations at the expensive of the general population. That’s why protests like these need to happen and that’s why they’ll continue to happen. And well they should.

  • Maurice

    I am going to bed. Peace everyone.

  • Maurice

    zing – you’re all over the map. Nobody dies watching a movie. Not sure what that is about. Smoking and diet are a personal choice – taxes are not. My home is paid for but I have to pay rent (property tax) to the county or I forfeit what I have earned. I have no choice when it comes to my participation with the government. I can chose what corporations I support.

  • zingzing

    “Our government has so enslaved corporations with red tape and taxes that many have left.”

    i don’t think you have the relationship between gov’t and bidness quite thought out. how can gov’t be in the pocket of those they “enslave”?

    obviously, something else is happening here. i don’t think i’ve got it figured out either, mind.

    waco and ruby ridge were aberrations. no one wanted them to happen the way they did. they’re pr nightmares for the gov’t… so something got fucked up.

    corporations cause more deaths in a day. big tobacco (cancer). high fructose corn syrup (heart disease). gas and oil (war). alcohol (alcoholism). the music business (killing music). hollywood (transformers 3).

    time to rethink your priorities, maurice. statistically, you have a far higher chance of dying watching fucking transformers 3 than you do getting killed during a waco or ruby ridge type situation. fucking transformers 3…

  • Maurice

    I am mystified by this sort of thing. We even have protester wanabes here in Idaho. Their signs say things like “Fear large corporations”. Corporations can’t hurt me like my government. No corporations were involved with Ruby Ridge or Waco. Those were government killings. Our government has so enslaved corporations with red tape and taxes that many have left. The CEO of Gibson guitars is considering moving to India because of the recent raids on their company. No Televisions are manufactured here now (Zenith was the last one). No semiconductors are manufactured here now (Micron was the last one). How many job creators should we allow the government to kill before we are satisfied?

  • Don’t count on it.

  • troll

    …I wonder how much space the mainstream will give to describing the ‘general assembly’ processes that the occupiers are developing

  • No meltdown, Jordan and no cake, sorry. It was slow all day — maybe 5 comments total — and I was getting bored.

  • Jordan Richardson

    For those interested, LibertyPlazaRev has a number of YouTube clips from the occupation, many of which are concerned with how the police are approaching the protesters.

    Also, as indicated in the article’s title, you can scope out the #OccupyWallStreet hash tag on Twitter for frequent updates and plenty of other enlightening links.

    As predicted by many, many more outlets in the mainstream media are picking up the story now that the arrest numbers are increasing (at least 80 protesters were arrested on Day Eight, which compares starkly to the 20 arrests total up until that point). The Occupy Wall Street website linked in the article also has some video clips of police action.

    One more note, on Twitter it’s a good idea to follow @PulseOfProtest and @OpWallStreet for more on-the-ground stuff.

  • troll

    …ya gotta wonder about a ‘private’ economy that produces a 29% poverty rate and requires government assistance programs to keep so many alive

  • Jordan Richardson

    you’re welcome to do so in the comment space allocated to my most recent article, and you can rest assured I’ll respond

    Oooooh! Do you have cake?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, I intended to respond at length (and in fact had quite a response written out), but I’ve decided to act every bit the “prima donna” you think I am and not bother with it.

    All you’ve done here is have another one of your personal meltdowns. It’s too bad, but how you conduct yourself is not my concern.

  • zingzing

    search and destroy, eh, roger?

    rest assured that if this article generates any more comments, it will do so on its own.

    you did your work and fled. i’ll look at the corpse and blubber for a moment.

  • Dreadful,

    I did not intend this comment space to deteriorate to this level, that wasn’t my original intention. However, if you do or zing want to discuss this matter any further, you’re welcome to do so in the comment space allocated to my most recent article, and you can rest assured I’ll respond. But insofar as this thread is concerned, I’m out of here.

  • zingzing

    roger: “was no dig, zing, at least haven’t intended it so.”

    maybe so, but calling a person a prima donna isn’t going to be interpreted any other way. if you didn’t intend it, if i were you i’d be modifying my vocabulary.

    and no, you don’t owe anyone jack shit. but that don’t matter one bit. you got called out because you acted like a jerk. fair is fair, no?

  • As a comments editor I read all comments during my shift, and I can assure everyone that Jordan does respond to comments made on his articles, which Roger would see in a moment if he bothered to look at a few of his music reviews.

    Let’s also remember that Jordan is a very busy and prolific freelance writer and journalist, and it may well simply be that he’s off doing some pressing non-BCish thing – such as making a living – at the moment.

  • was no dig, zing, at least haven’t intended it so. It’s slow today, and wanted to generate some action. But Jordan, by virtue of his response, did end up acting like a prima donna, so I called it, that’s all.

    And you know where you, Glenn and Dreadful can take you rebuking me, where sun don’t shine. I don’t owe any of you jack shit.

  • Kiss off!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Why aren’t you commenting, Jordan? You;re quick to jump in on other people’z articles. Why not your own? Sounds like a Prima donna syndrome to me.

    You know, Roger, sometimes LIFE gets in the way of blogging. I once made the mistake of making the same type of question/assumption about why it was that Dave wasn’t answering my posts…and Clavos schooled me on it. And there’s been more than once that I haven’t been able to defend my articles for a few days after they were posted – again, life, family matters, business, work, etc.

    Looks like you need to go to the same school.

  • zingzing

    what laurels? you made a pointless dig, roger. and it derailed the thread. good job. manners? prima donna? on this thread, you’re the one that seems to be on the wrong side of those two concepts at this point.

    you and i have been on rather good terms, or at least non-aggressive terms, recently, and i don’t care to derail that, but you could have simply asked for jordan’s input rather than insulting him.

  • Whatever. As usual, the voice of reason from Dreadful.

  • Well, what exactly was Jordan supposed to have commented on? The thread so far has consisted largely of a handful of wannabe revolutionaries high-fiving each other.

  • #13

    What the fuck do you expect? You post in the Politics section and you think you’re gonna disappear on the Fourth of July holiday?

    Get real!

  • You’re another Prima Donna, LB, so your comment fits right in.

    To be honest, I really don’t give a shit about accolades from Jordan or you. I was addressing nothing but manners, and apparently, both of you are quite deficient in this respect — especially Jordan who’s in everybody’s face whenever things don’t go his way.

  • “Don’t worry about me because I don’t give a shit”


  • Lots of people made valuable contributions to your thread while you’re sitting on your laurels.

    The least you could do is acknowledge some of them. Don’t worry about me because I don’t give a shit. As regards to others, it’s a matter of simple courtesy, nothing more.

    Are you above such things?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I knew I would regret this…

  • Well, I just posed the question.

    Let the real Jordan, whoever he is, come out!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Commenting about what?

  • zingzing

    jesus, roger…

  • Why aren’t you commenting, Jordan?

    You;re quick to jump in on other people’z articles. Why not your own?

    Sounds like a Prima donna syndrome to me.

  • An example of co-opting:

    “Not that anyone noticed, but a pack of naïve college students and aging hippies trying to recapture their youth descended upon Wall Street last weekend. They targeted the ubiquitous villains, ‘Greed’ and ‘Corruption’ wishing to demolish a system unfairly favoring the ‘Rich.’

    I agree.

    Not with ousting capitalism, but implementing it. Washington ought to cease its incessant interventions, which betray the ideals of freedom and markets. Far too much collusion links Washington and Wall Street coddling those Jefferson deemed “moneyed interests.” Wealth shouldn’t manipulate government. It’s an abomination.”

  • jamminsue

    Very good, thank you, Roger and Anarcissie for links

  • Anarcissie
  • troll

    …live stream shows a bit of official ‘assistance’ this morning – suits handing out ‘the park rules’

  • C’mon people now,
    Smile on your brother
    Ev’rybody get together
    Try and love one another right now

    Let’s get together.

  • Great article, Jordan!

  • Click on the website at the bottom for live-stream coverage.

  • relevant link.

    Compliments of Anarcissie, comment #177.