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Amy Goodman
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 21 September 2011
Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “You have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.”

99 Percenters Occupy Wall Street

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If 2,000 tea party activists descended on Wall Street, you would probably have an equal number of reporters there covering them. Yet 2,000 people did occupy Wall Street on Saturday. They weren’t carrying the banner of the tea party, the Gadsden flag with its coiled snake and the threat “Don’t Tread on Me.” Yet their message was clear: “We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.” They were there, mostly young, protesting the virtually unregulated speculation of Wall Street that caused the global financial meltdown.

One of New York’s better-known billionaires, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, commented on the protests: “You have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.” Riots? Is that really what the Arab Spring and the European protests are about?

Perhaps to the chagrin of Mayor Bloomberg, that is exactly what inspired many who occupied Wall Street. In its most recent communique, the Wall Street protest umbrella group said: “On Saturday we held a general assembly, two thousand strong. ... By 8 p.m. on Monday we still held the plaza, despite constant police presence. ... We are building the world that we want to see, based on human need and sustainability, not corporate greed.”

Speaking of the tea party, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has caused a continuous fracas in the Republican presidential debates with his declaration that the U.S.’ revered Social Security system is a “Ponzi scheme.” Charles Ponzi was the con artist who swindled thousands in 1920 with a fraudulent promise for high returns on investments. A typical Ponzi scheme involves taking money from investors, then paying them off with money taken from new investors, rather than paying them from actual earnings. Social Security is actually solvent, with a trust fund of more than $2.6 trillion. The real Ponzi scheme threatening the U.S. public is the voracious greed of Wall Street banks.

I interviewed one of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest organizers. David Graeber teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has authored several books, most recently “Debt: The First 5,000 Years.” Graeber points out that, in the midst of the financial crash of 2008, enormous debts between banks were renegotiated. Yet only a fraction of troubled mortgages have gotten the same treatment. He said: “Debts between the very wealthy or between governments can always be renegotiated and always have been throughout world history. ... It’s when you have debts owed by the poor to the rich that suddenly debts become a sacred obligation, more important than anything else. The idea of renegotiating them becomes unthinkable.”

President Barack Obama has proposed a jobs plan and further efforts to reduce the deficit. One is a so-called millionaire’s tax, endorsed by billionaire Obama supporter Warren Buffett. The Republicans call the proposed tax “class warfare.” Graeber commented: “For the last 30 years we’ve seen a political battle being waged by the super-rich against everyone else, and this is the latest move in the shadow dance, which is completely dysfunctional economically and politically. It’s the reason why young people have just abandoned any thought of appealing to politicians. We all know what’s going to happen. The tax proposals are a sort of mock populist gesture, which everyone knows will be shot down. What will actually probably happen would be more cuts to social services.”

Outside in the cold Tuesday morning, the demonstrators continued their fourth day of the protest with a march amidst a heavy police presence and the ringing of an opening bell at 9:30 a.m. for a “people’s exchange,” just as the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange is rung. While the bankers remained secure in their bailed-out banks, outside, the police began arresting protesters. In a just world, with a just economy, we have to wonder, who would be out in the cold? Who would be getting arrested?

© 2011 Amy Goodman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate



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ABOUT Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of "Breaking the Sound Barrier," recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

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61 comments on "99 Percenters Occupy Wall Street"

BellaDonnaPoison

November 17, 2011 11:47pm

A Suggestion for change: Using our United States Constitution to force change for "have not's!" Read with an open heart and an open mind...

http://the99percenters.blogspot.com
/2011/11/will-work-or-fight-for-food.html

BellaDonnaPoison

November 17, 2011 11:44pm

PLEASE READ WITH AN OPEN HEART

pseudoreal

November 06, 2011 7:33am

Completely agree with you.

mysorati

October 28, 2011 11:50am

we need Revolution

mysorati

October 28, 2011 11:47am

America a few steps to freedom
People to be patient
freedom is in near us

amara

i love the 99% movement and i will lke the omovement to continue to grow so that politician will start listening to ordinary citizens instead of coperate american

Paisley Straenj

October 10, 2011 3:56pm

I don't trust any politican- republican and democrates and both part of a monitary system- when money is more important than people, the result is exactly what we have- a broken society, health care for only those who can afford it, and inequlity as a rule. I think it is alos very revealing that none of the news media have said either the name Jacque Fresco or the Zeitgeist movment, which is really what this is about- we need a resource based economy which takes everyone into account instead of only counting money.

pseudoreal

November 06, 2011 7:36am

Completely agree with you.

Peace

October 07, 2011 1:25am

Why they don't organize Bank Run? That will hurt Wall Street and banks.

pseudoreal

November 06, 2011 7:37am

Good idea! That will teach those greedy morons.

Peace

October 07, 2011 1:21am

Why they don't organize Bank Run? That will hurt Wall Street and banks.

Groobiecat Clause

October 03, 2011 9:15am

This is a great piece. Referenced (in blog) and tweeted. People say there are no leaders, well, that's strange, since apparently one was interviewed for this piece....

Bob Winkler

September 25, 2011 10:38pm

Its about time the public takes to the streets to protest the injustices. It worked to end the war in VietNam and it can work once again. We Americans need to take the country back.

Bob Winkler

September 25, 2011 10:37pm

Its about time the public takes to the streets to protest the injustices. It worked to end the war in VietNam and it can work once again. We Americans need to take the country back.

Heatherlynn Lehman

September 25, 2011 12:48pm

No problem, actually. Look at the context of the quote and you will see that the money issue is relevant. No problem with people becoming wealthy. Not immoral. But being an asshat and using your riches to jackboot others, that is trending to immoral. ;)

John Fehner

September 24, 2011 1:06pm

Finally, someone in the media "gets it"!

Just a quick FYI there has been a serious attempt by the far right, in the persona of Ron Paul supporters to co-opt the movement, which would be a travesty. I say this because the "Libertarian" viewpoint would leave the 99% to sink or swim without proper a proper social safety network, which the Government provides via Social Security, Medicare & other programs. These are the programs that the GOP/Teaparty would gut for their Corporate Masters.

While I cannot actively participate, living in a rural community, I do participate online by spreading the word, and helping moderate the only actual coverage of the movement, found at www.livestream.com/globalrevolution Take a look at what's really happening on the ground America! I think MOST of you would be as proud as I am of the folks that are holding their ground despite some rather brutal arrest tactics by the NYPD. Mind you I don't want to demonize the police, they follow orders, but in reality they are also part of the 99%.

I also want to state that despite the reactions of some, we on the left MUST start voting during EVERY election. There are more of us on the left than there are on the right, but the problem has been that too many of us on the left don't participate in this vital function.

dickie

September 23, 2011 4:08am

as i was reading all these comments , i had to smile and remember what an old science teacher in hs. said in engineering class that man's most terrible mistake is his failure to think - what i think is that all these comments give rise to my own thoughts and how i feel about what i've been able to digest and discern from the opinions voiced here in regards to another's written opinion and i can only conclude that at the end of the day what passes in front of my view and what i here comes down to my own discernment - that's not so hard to do if i don't clutter my mind with the noise that so concerns most everyone i come in contact with - "watchu doin" - where we eatin dinner - when you comin home - i need more minutes on my cellphone - mom i lost my iphone - i'll catch up with you on facebook - as long as you have a majority involved with this daily menucia , there will never be an intelligent conversation in social or family gatherings concerning ideas and thoughts on our political or economic situation , especially in a world where being opinionated is so negative and people are so meek about self expression .......

dr blc

September 22, 2011 7:26pm

-----" One of New York’s better-known billionaires, Mayor Michael Bloomberg..."----

one might almost think that Ms Goodman has some kind of problem that causes her to mention Bloomberg's money as if becoming wealthy was immoral.

goldstockbull

September 22, 2011 6:00pm

Ron Paul / Bernie Sanders / Dennis Kucinich ticket

MayorCurley

September 22, 2011 8:34pm

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

People are being trained through the media to not get involved in their community or to believe there is nothing they can do about it. In days of old, men and women passed down knowledge to their children and men and... women met in their communities to discuss and resolve issues.

If you are inclined to get involved in your community, you are trained to be put in to one of two boxes: Right or Left. You are encouraged to fight with the other side as the Wealthy Elite plunder your freedoms and standard of living.

In addition, today we have a very blind trust in authority and ostracize those that question authority.

We are taught to just attend sporting events and movies and let others "take care of us." This is how well they are "taking care" of us: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Also, we're called "un-patriotic" if we question what is spoon-fed to us by the corporate controlled media.

For example, do you cringe when you visit these sites? If so, why?

http://www.ae911truth.org/

http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/

MayorCurley

September 22, 2011 8:31pm

3 honest men in a den of vipers.

verbatim

September 22, 2011 3:58pm

Someone said: It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting. That was some time ago when honest counting of votes mattered. It doesn't matter anymore.
It’s not the voting, nor the counting, that’s democracy. It’s the governing by those elected : Do they govern for their electorate, their respective party or simply for themselves and their friendly donors?
There is something wrong with our much cherished democracy when we have to wait patiently to vote them - next time- out of office: The crooks, the authoritarians, the demagogues and even some imbeciles, the ones we voted for in the first place, last time.

It will be interesting to see if 'We are the 99 percent' survives the Darwinian world of memetic virii. A single whole idea passed from person to person out on to the internet and around the globe.

It is a powerful concept that people can get behind.

Reminds me of this clip from the animated children's film 'A bug's life'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLbWnJGlyMU

It will be interesting to see if 'We are the 99 percent' survives the Darwinian world of memetic virii. A single whole idea passed from person to person out on to the internet and around the globe.

It is a powerful concept that people can get behind.

Reminds me of this clip from the animated children's film 'A bug's life'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLbWnJGlyMU

MayorCurley

September 22, 2011 11:34am

What are these things that you don't agree with? Are you sure they are actual positions of Dr. Paul or a Straw Man representation created by the establishment?

Again, beware of the False Left-Right Paradigm. Whether Controlled Left or Controlled Right, establishment politicians stand for the following:

Obama = McCain = Bush = Perry = Romney = Hillary Clinton

1) Perpetual War
2) The Patriot Act
3) Bailouts for Wall Street and International Bankers

Troofer

September 22, 2011 8:13am

She won't hear you Mayor, she and her brother are charlatans of the worst kind. They have been bought. Just ask her about censoring WTC7 information and watch her head explode. Ask her how much money she has been paid by the Ford Foundation.

Val Fulford

September 22, 2011 5:16am

Peaceful Protest is our only weapon now and we need to protest in every hamlet, town, city and country!

Val Fulford

September 22, 2011 5:14am

So true!

Michele Rokkos

September 22, 2011 12:50am

Perhaps more than being economically and politically dysfunctional; it's morally and ethically so...

Toni Carrell

September 21, 2011 11:24pm

We simply MUST figure out how to demonetize politics! When even local US congressmen are nearly all millionaires or near millionaires something is terribly WRONG. Why can't people realize what they are doing when they only elect the politician with the zippiest, slickest and dirtiest ad campaign? When are people going to realize that all these rich, white men are NOT on their side? And what about the Tea Bagger/science denier/dominionists, I mean seriously, what is UP with THAT? Who wants to live in a theocracy? Isn't that WHY we up and left England? Isn't that why we are fighting wars all over the middle-east? And who wants a dumbed-down society that believes the earth is only 6,000 years old and that both dinosaurs and global warming are a massive scientific conspiracy? I mean really! Have we diluted the gene pool so badly that our collective IQ is now in the basement? This is NOT the United States I thought I'd be living in by the second decade of the new millennium. Not even close, sadly. We traded the war on poverty for the war on drugs, science, the poor, the elderly and every other kind, decent thing we had going for us. How very, very sad. I was proud of us for a brief moment on a cold November night in 2008, but what has come to pass since then is downright shameful.

Bakunin's Ghost

September 21, 2011 9:29pm

Tired of the "mainstream" media whores ignoring us? Next time take a couple thousand people and march through the front doors of The New York Times. Let's see if they can ignore that!

Kx Russell

September 21, 2011 8:29pm

Amy I hope you read what Mayor says & take it to heart.

I have usually loved watching you Democracy Now videos & I am a True Ron Paul-Tea Party member (not one of this Rick Perry Con artist believers).

This is not a left-right issue but a UP-DOWn one. It is the LAST FREE PEOPLE fighting off the ENSLAVERS of Free People.

Jack Sol-Church

September 21, 2011 8:16pm

As FBUSER24 alluded, this all started with "gushing up Reagonomics" or at least when it became a fully implemented plan. There a major principle that the Republicans are counting on; the geographical size of the US. Yes there was a million man march but getting those numbers together is a real challenge, particularly if people are out of work and don't have the money to travel. As many people showed up for the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington, it was still a pretty small demonstration
If enough people were to ever organize so that numerous local demonstrations occurred at the same time (every county capital or every politicians office shut down by enough people surrounding it that no one can go in our out), then people might take notice.
Surround all of the top 5 worst offending banks for a day or 2 or 3.....

Bloomberg is right. They are hoping that we do NOT follow the lead of the Arab Spring or their world will be turned upside down before they can properly prepare.

MayorCurley

September 21, 2011 8:08pm

I liked the article and stand with the protesters.

However, Amy has to break from the False Left-Right Paradigm. This model was set up to divide We the People in to two camps and fight each other instead of uniting on common ground.

The modern day Tea Party was originally founded by Ron Paul, a man greatly misrepresented by the establishment. It was founded on the principles of the Bill of Rights for all, the elimination of the vile Patriot Act and the return of our soldiers back to America.

The Tea Party was later infiltrated by Neo-Cons, which Amy is using as a straw man and directing her anger in the wrong direction.

Supporters of Ron Paul and others on this site can unite on the Bill of Rights for all peoples, the dismantling of the International Banking syndicate and the end of the perpetual wars we wage for the power and control of the Elite at the expense of the rest of us.

"They don't want to see us unite." -- Bob Marley

dr blc

September 22, 2011 9:51am

Ron Paul stands for some good things, Mayor, but he also stands for some things that are unwise and short-sighted. As well, he stands for some things that are flat-out insane.

tc91107

September 21, 2011 7:08pm

Dr BLC

Your last sentence is exactly why there has to be more regulation, and a lot more oversight and enforcement. Please define acceptable corruption for me.

dr blc

September 21, 2011 8:07pm

dubious practices that aren't contrary to law ( assuming that you're not asking about things usually classified as morally corrupt).

we had regulations that outlawed some of the stuff that went on and which we had to accept....and they were rolled back because the support of the 99% is a damn myth. (anotheer myth is that there's all that much less corruption among the 99)

dr blc

September 21, 2011 6:05pm

Oh, Amy....

there would indeed be more coverage for Tea Party idiots. they're a relatively new and newsworthy sort of semi-organized lunacy.

This sort of simplistic clap-trap ---“We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”---- is old and tired and not newsworthy.

America tires of the teabag jackasses and will soon drop their interest, but America long ago lost interest in socialist sloganeering and threats. The protestors are damn far from being "the 99 percent" and they damn well put up with greed and corruption unless they can demonstrate criminal corruption.

Yezdyar

September 21, 2011 6:04pm

Amy is articulate and her comments are on the mark and irrefutable ... unless you are someone who was stupid enough to sign the Norquist Pledge and believe that government should be made small enough to be sunk in a bath tub! (Grover Norquist's words, not mine!)

So where do we go from here? If I were in New York, I might have been among the 2,000 on Wall Street. But we need such rallies simultaneously across the country. Recently Move-on tried to organize rallies but the process was dull and complex...resembled a poorly organized seminar with lots of paper work, surveys and questionnaires thrown in. We need to take a page from the tea-baggers...keep the message simple and inundate the nation with it. Organizations like Move-On I thought had the machinery, but their failed efforts prove they do not have the type of talent to put such events together.

Unfortunately there is no Left left among those who hold political leadership positions in our country today. We cannot depend upon the Democratic leadership to lead from the Left. Clinton dragged the party so much into the center that it has become a Moderate Right party. Obama provided the rhetoric of the Left but has compromised away the massive mandate given to him. The Democratic Party's economic policies are crafted by the very individuals who helped repeal the Glass-Steagall Act (Rubin, Summers, Geithner, et al) Even if Bill Clinton made a weak apology after the fact, his hand has the blood on it....and he has done more to help the ultra-rich get richer than Reagan could ever dream to accomplish. Now Clinton he wants to change the world...go figure!

We need decisive ACTION FROM THE LEFT, and it should be an unapologetic position based on solid social and humanitarian values. Amy's editorials are not worth a dime if they do not evoke a national uprising...the type Bloomberg fears and calls a riot!

Finally, a thought occurs as I write this response. The only time Jesus Christ ever lost his temper and used force was when he physically threw the money lenders, the bankers of his day, out of the Temple...I hope that will give us all some inspiration to act our beliefs!

For those who may want to check it out: Matthew 21 quoted from the King James Bible: "12. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

Brooklyn Dame's picture
Brooklyn Dame

September 21, 2011 5:39pm

I was REALLY happy about the protest and extremely unhappy, but not surprised, about the lack of news coverage. We CAN make a difference in the way the poor and middle class are treated if we stick together and stay active in voicing our disgust at the unbridled greed that brought down the economy.

http://thebrooklyndame.blogspot.com/2011/09/hungry-mob-is-angry-mob.html

Ronald L. Kuykendall

September 21, 2011 4:12pm

Sometimes I feel there is no hope for America, then something good like this happens. It may not change much but every such action helps just a bit. In time the American people will wake up, I hope!

Rose Weaver

September 21, 2011 4:03pm

Thank you Amy Goodman for an excellent article on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and thank you to Nation of Change for finally publishing something about this! As one of the 99%, I've been watching and assisting via the vast world wide social network supporting the protesters on the ground in what is now known as Liberty Square in NYC, and what I've seen has been a combination of inspiring determination on the part of the protesters, as well as a feeling of disturbing shame on the part of the mainstream media for not publicizing this story, and lastly, an anxious fear induced horror due to the actions of the NYPD because I understand that if they can react in such a manner towards peaceful protesters there, police anywhere can react the same way towards peaceful protesters anywhere in our country. And yes, this protest has been peaceful from the outset. For the NYPD to search for obscure 19th century laws in order to arrest protesters for wearing masks, combined with the mainstream media blackout, suggests to me someone fears the Occupy Wall Street movement more than they're letting on. The protesters have struck the right nerve, and I'll continue to support them.

dr blc

September 22, 2011 7:18pm

'.... an anxious fear induced horror due to the actions of the NYPD...'

HORROR????? what horrors have the NYPD perpetrated?

dwyerj1

September 21, 2011 4:02pm

Objecting to the big guys can get you vaporized--as Winston Smith observed.

fbuser24

September 21, 2011 3:39pm

Have we forgotten the banking crisis ?? the foreclosures ???
Have we forgotten the Wall Street crisis ??? The Air is safe to breathe ?? The pensions lost ????
. . . David Stockman, the head of Reagan’’s Office of Management and Budget -eventually spilled the beans that the huge budget deficits caused by the president’s tax cuts had been a deliberate effort to create a budget crisis, which would lead to a slashing of entitlement spending, especially on programs for the poor. . .
CUT ENTITLEMENTS ???
. . . According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories.
. . AND OUR BLOATED MILITARY SPENDING CONTINUES . . . . A SPACE PROGRAM ??? FOR SPACE CADETS ??? ( WILL BRING ABOUT DISCOVERIES -.- TO BE SOLD TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR - - - PAID FOR BY THE PUBLIC SECTOR )
TRUTH IS SOMETHING NEVER SPOKEN BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY -.- and whenever possible they lie and quote a tea "party" that does not exist -.- "bought and paid for by the republican party" -.- ANOTHER SWIFT BOAT ATTACK

Diane Ribbentrop

September 21, 2011 2:31pm

Voting is urgent People power works when we hammer- push till they listen Look at Wis & ohio who are fighting and had success's. The safe guards US had in place to protect common good prior to Reaganomics Bush deregulation is now gone. Wall ST- huge banks-corps , powerful elites were left free to run amock...cheat , lie, scam. We are paying for this since 2008 Bush global crash / depression/ TARP scam / Wall St 700 BIL welfare coup with NO protections for taxpayers money Bush & Goldman guy Paulson took care of the own, and duped, screwed us as did 5 very con judges with' Citizens United 'ruling . Speech is NOT money' Corps are NOT persons This must not stand
IF you vote GOP US gets more con judges to make more laws , push more policies that greatly enrich the wealthy - tank middle class jobs & wages
More jobs sent overseas with more GOP tax cuts as a reward
.GOP Baggers are taking us back to the ' Gilded Age.' .when Robber Barons ruled ALL. They already run the Goldman FED - US economy, our courts, Our congress & they let lobbyists write our laws . Who gave lobbyists all this power ? Not our Founding Fathers. Not we the People Why can reps vote their own wage increases without our OK ? These so called public servants are nothing of the kind They are our modern Kings -we are the servants , we pay them great wages and benefits for a few years work, much time off We are forced to obey them, do their bidding WHY ? Speak out Claim our power www.congress.gov Why are we allowing Baggers Boehner & Cantor to dictate path of our economy ? So they can keep their vow to Break Obama Make him fail ? NO WAY

RobertMStahl

September 21, 2011 2:26pm

Learning to learn... If Chomsky is a hawk, Graeber is a dove, and boy do we need some statesman for less punishment locally. Still, we need Gregory Bateson as a human being's human being, a post shadow driven psychology past Jung, Reich, or Freud (i.e. Bateson is, also, an anthropologist to which Graeber must feel close in some way, too, I think). But, to be consise, we need those few special consorts of Bateson founded by the Lindisfarne Association, Margulis, Lovelock, Varela, and Abraham in addition to Bateson, to begin the Life sciences once and for all. "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." So said Margaret Mead, Bateson's wife for a time.

roofadoof

September 21, 2011 2:06pm

I wish I had been there!

gotopcat

September 21, 2011 1:01pm

Good article. Thanks.