A Song For Occupy Wall Street

Nathan Shaffer – Come Back America – YouTube

(Something I found on You Tube – You can buy the music and other works by the artist online.)

Sometimes the music has a message.
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Occupy Wall Street – Peace, Unity and Equality

I was reading this little snippet from Rousseau the other day, and couldn’t help but think of Occupy Wall Street although the passage refers to a simple government and the OWS movement is more of a pursuit of a better government, I still believe the passage is relevant.

James Pilant

This is from Rousseau, Book IV, Page 1, first paragraph of The Social Contract.

Phan studied the works of Enlightenment philos...
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As long as a number of men gathered together regard themselves
as a single body, they have only a single will, which
is concerned with the survival and well-being of all of them.
In this case, the state’s machinery is all vigorous and simple
and its rules clear and luminous; there’s no tangle of hidden
agendas; the common good is always obvious, and only good
sense is needed to perceive it. Peace, unity and equality are
enemies of political subtleties. Simple straightforward men
are hard to deceive because of their simplicity; lures and
ingenious excuses don’t work with them—they aren’t even
subtle enough to be dupes! When among the world’s happiest
people we see a group of peasants gathered under an oak

to regulate the state’s affairs, and always acting wisely, can
we help scorning the sophistication of other nations, which
put so much skill and so much mystery into making make
themselves illustrious and wretched?

I’m not the only person to see Rousseau as being applicable to the Occupy Wall Street, there’s a fellow named Jason J. Campbell. His take is based on Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality. Please click on the link to see a very thoughtful, intelligent discourse on Occupy Wall Street and it meaning.

Occupy Wall Street and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality.mpg

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Ethics Bob Journeys to Zuccotti Park, Home of Occupy Wall Street

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Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street; Ethics Bob

My buddy, Ethics Bob, has journeyed to the wilds of New York, in particular, the semi-encampment of Zuccotti Park, the home of Occupy Wall Street.

Here’s a little of what he has to say

Zuccotti Park was a friendly place, surprisingly orderly, contrary to expectations from television. People sweeping, others staffing the free food tent, others reading or cheerfully chatting with visitors like me. There was a library, several pet dogs (apparently OWS is dog-, not cat-friendly) and a few baskets seeking donations. I saw lots of American flags and posters, but nothing ugly or much beyond run-of-the-mill progressive political ideas.

That’s been my perception as well, that Occupy Wall Street is replaying elements from previous eras of American Progressivism. Certainly, you can catch glimpses of the Grange, early labor organizers like Samuel Gompers and more than a little Chautauqua.

But there is definitely some new stuff here. These guys are very media savvy and, however, much disdain the fact attracts, the truth is that the Occupy Wall Street Movement is part and parcel of the demonstrations across the Arab World a few months ago. Citizen activism is catchy like the flu. And there is a lot of this flu going around. I expect to see more and more in Europe as their austerity budgets kick in.

Please go to Ethics Bob’s web site. I have provided several links. You should never rely on one paragraph to get the whole sense of his writing.

James Pilant


Map of Wall Street and the surrounding streets...Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street « Ethics Bob

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Ethics Bob Takes on the Topic of the Wall Street Protests

I consider Ethics Bob to be a buddy. We often write about the same topics. Here is his take on the wall street protests.

James Pilant

From Ethics Bob,

Ethics Bob

entitled –

 Take “Occupy Wall Street” complaints seriously, don’t use force to disperse them

Americans pay attention when a lot of people turn out. And so there’s lots of attention for “Occupy Wall Street,” or OWS for short. Thousands of people, mostly of the Millennial generation (born since 1982) are camping out in Zuccotti Park, just two blocks from Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange.

The Right doesn’t like OWS: “I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Mitt Romney opines. “Growing mobs,” snarls Eric Cantor. “Anti-American,” Larry Kudlow charges. “The beginning of totalitarianism,” warns Ann Coulter.

OWS comprises lots of people, diverse in temperament, opinion, and goals, but they are engaging in old-fashioned American protest, this one against corporate greed, social inequality, and joblessness.

Some dismiss them as incoherent, but that’s a mistake. They’re angry about the way our society has moved away from the American dream and toward greater and greater inequality. Like them or not, OWS is a growing force. Our country needs to take their complaint seriously. They may be as consequential as Tahrir Square. Or more. Or maybe not.

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The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

There are a lot of good reasons for centering the protests in New York, the proximity of the video and print media, the enormous number of opinion leaders in the area, and certainly the ability to recruit and maintain large numbers of protestors.

This would have been very difficult in Washington. Most of that city is a ghetto with little of the private infrastructure available in a modern metropolitan area.

But the history of Wall Street has to be a factor. It’s been a center of corporate power in the United States for almost two full centuries, and only the excesses of the Gilded Age rival the current levels of self-contentedness and pride among the wealthy today.

But there is also this article below. It has some powerful observations about why New York is such a good venue for the 99 percenters. —

Christopher Ketcham writing in McClatchy’s has a new article entitled –

Occupy Wall Street: The new populists?

The focal point, however, is specific: Manhattan. The capital of the finance corporations whose speculation, chicanery and outright fraud have produced havoc and pain for so many Americans. It sets the model nationally for a metastasizing economic regression: the maldistribution of wealth into the hands of the few.

Out of the 25 largest cities in the United States, New York is the most unequal when it comes to income distribution. In New York, the top 1 percent of households claimed 44 percent of all income during 2007 (the last year for which data are available). That’s almost twice the record-high levels among the 1 Percenters nationwide, who claimed 23.5 percent of all national income in 2007. During the housing bubble that ended in our current calamity, the average income for the 1 Percenters in New York went up 119 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of homeless in the city rose to an all-time high last year, with 113,000 men, women and children retreating night after night to municipal shelters. The real hourly median wage in New York between 1990 and 2007 fell by almost 9 percent. Young men and women age 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree and a year-round job in New York saw their earnings drop 6 percent. Middle-income New Yorkers – defined broadly as those earning between $29,000 and $167,000 – saw a 19% decrease in earnings. Almost 11 percent of the population in New York, about 900,000 people, lives in what the federal government describes as “deep poverty,” which for a four-person family means an income of $10,500; the average 1 Percenter household in New York makes about that same amount every day.

(Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/07/126534/occupy-wall-street-the-new-populists.html#ixzz1aKQk8zI2)

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Wall Street Protests Picking Up Speed

The Wall Street Protests are starting to catch on in the media. One major factor is that the protests have spread to 250 cities.

Old story? I don’t think so. I’m seeing a lot more serious articles. The one at the bottom of the page is from the venerable publication, Reuters.

The early coverage suggested that the protesters were crazed lefty’s with no vision and no ideas beside the bizarre. This suggests that much of the national media are effete snobs who don’t know anybody that make less than 250k a year. Unfortunately that is probably true. Here is a quote from Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake. –

Unsurprisingly, the corporate media continue to ignore and deride this movement. It will take independent outlets like Firedoglake and citizen journalists like yourself to give these protests the attention they deserve.

FDL has been covering Occupy Wall Street since day one, and the Dissenter’s intrepid Kevin Gosztola has been the premier source of information for those following the protest. He’s in Washington D.C. right now and will be heading to New York to report live from Occupy Wall Street.

Here’s a quote from Glen Greenwald

But for those who believe that protests are only worthwhile if they translate into quantifiable impact: the lack of organizational sophistication or messaging efficacy on the part of the Wall Street protest is a reason to support it and get involved in it, not turn one’s nose up at it and join in the media demonization. That’s what one actually sympathetic to its messaging (rather than pretending to be in order more effectively to discredit it) would do. Anyone who looks at mostly young citizens marching in the street protesting the corruption of Wall Street and the harm it spawns, and decides that what is warranted is mockery and scorn rather than support, is either not seeing things clearly or is motivated by objectives other than the ones being presented.

Well, they’re not laughing quite so much in the corporate media. They are less amused in the 24 hour news programs that long ago abandoned any attempt to inform the population resorting to popcorn for the mind – “If it bleeds it leads.” The moral bankruptcy of the journalist class is more and more evident every day.

I want change. The bottom 50% of this nation’s citizens have been shorn like sheep over and over again. It’s time for fairness and above all justice, long prison sentences for the malefactors who destroyed our economy, were bailed out by the government, and now enjoy huge profits. This is the antithesis of justice, a Bizarro society in which up is down and justice is for the “little people” (the ones that build and maintain this country by their hard work and honesty).

Here is Jack Shafer discussing his views of demonstrations. I suggest you go to Reuters and read the whole thing. Shafer is sort of a dinosaur from a different era but he does appear to be willing to learn from experience.

How to cover a demonstration. Or not. By Jack Shafer from Reuters –

The organizers of Occupy Wall Street (or non-organizers, as they would prefer it) have shown real media savvy by staging their demo where the network cameras and the New York Times are. Anything that happens in New York (especially Brooklyn!) is considered by New York media operations to be 100 times more interesting than anything that happens anywhere on the other side of the Hudson River. So what if the Occupy Wall Street message is muddled? The OWS pictures and energy are fresh, mostly because a mass, ongoing demo in New York is a relative novelty. How else to explain the New York Daily News‘ fevered blog coverage today: “Here’s the scene at Zuccotti Park. It is packed. There are about 3,000 people here.” No kidding?! 3,000?! That’s like the attendance at a Midwest high school football championship game!

The press corps would probably be doing more toe-dipping than immersion in its Occupy Wall Street coverage if not for the way it underestimated the rise of the Tea Party over the past couple of years. Just because a group’s message skews toward the inchoate and the emotional doesn’t mean that it doesn’t represent a worthy point of view. The non-organizers of the Occupy Wall Street have deliberately embraced this thought. As long as cameras are counting bodies and recording slogans, the harder work of defining the message can be postponed. The more important task is to introduce people who share frustrations to one another. One measure of OWS’s successful strategy is that labor unions are now joining the “movement.”

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