Occupy Wall Street

Everybody Wants a Piece of Occupy Everything


In spite of some official attempts to jump on the Occupy bandwagon, Glenn Greenwald optimistically suggests that a movement directly in opposition to Wall Street won't fall into line and support the Democrats after maybe some token rabble-rousing, because Democrats are, after all, best friends forever with Wall Street — especially Obama. 

Meanwhile, The Awl points to some all over the place conservative attempts to figure out what the hell is going on here. (They also include this flashback to January, when 99ers—who, it was posited, "may be the new Tea Party"—meant people who had reached the final week of their unemployment benefits. There's plenty of potential demographic overlap between 99ers and The 99 Percent.)

Mentioned is The American Spectator's Patrick Howley and his apparent trip into self-made agent provocateur territory during DC off-shoots of the protests.

And, The Weekly Standard gives us author Matt Labash's two-day trip to Occupy Wall Street where he meets a Nazi who points out that National Socialism is still Socialism, a girl obsession with gender minutia, and various anarchists who are obviously just there to get free food and ground to sleep on. He also speaks to a cranky blue-collar worker whose lunches are being impeded by hippie drum circles, and an immigrant food truck guy who is losing business due to all the people giving out free food, generally making a spectacle of themselves, and keeping the suits away.

Labash denies that the highlighted rabble was all too convenient (the aforementioned worker who just wants to eat lunch in peace is working on World Trade Center 4 after all): 

Movement types will doubtless accuse me of cherry-picking protesters. But during my two days in the park, I have every variety of nutcake conspiracy theory pushed my way, up to and including Wall Street having created communism and the American Zionist Council assassinating JFK. But don't take my word for it. New York magazine went to the trouble of surveying 100 protesters whom they identified as being "in it for the long haul." 

What they found probably won't sit too well with the labor leaders and Tweeting celebrities who've joined Occupy Wall Street in solidarity, at least if they pause to pay actual attention to what they're supporting. Of those surveyed, 37 percent said capitalism was inherently immoral and can't be saved. When asked to rate their own liberalism, 41 percent were "fed up with Democrats" and "believe the country needs an overhaul." Which might be the position you'd expect from most principled, yet disillusioned, liberal activists. But a full 34 percent were "convinced the U.S. government is no better than, say, al Qaeda." If those numbers hold as the movement grows, that will mean that despite the ungodly amount of hype that OWS has received in the last two weeks, the "99 percent" of America they represent is more like 99 percent of a Noam Chomsky book discussion group or 99 percent of a labor mixer for Wobblies

Worth a read, with maybe a grain of salt. Certainly the suggestion that this is the return of the less partisan, still economically ignorant left (with some more moderate, fed-up folks falling into line) seems convincing.

Reason has been following the protests for a while, both in New York and DC. Particularly worth noting is Anthony L. Fisher's Reason.tv stop at Occupy Wall Street.


NEXT: Occupy Atlanta's Rules of Parliamentary Procedure: X-Posed!!!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Why is this bullshit news? I mean, we all agree this is nonsense, right?

    1. Because reporters would rather walk through crunchy hippies down the block than ask their heroes about arming cartels?

      1. It’s really weird how much the media wants some sort of populist movement in the street–provided that it’s a right-thinking movement. Or, at least, not wrong-thinking.

        Obviously, this is more of a social gathering than anything legitimately political.

        1. The contrast between coverage of the OWS and the Tea Parties could not be more stark. The MSM went out of their way to call the Tea Parties racist bible thumpers, and yet they passionately describe the OWS as some sort of culmination of righteous fury.

          The joke’s on them though. The TP wasn’t just a bunch of drum circles and hippies (in fact, I believe drum circles were notably absent from Tea Parties), they were a legitimate movement that organized at the local level and became the impetus behind the massive election day defeat for Democrats in 2010.

          If anything the OWS has just made people more likely to run away from the left.

          1. I have to admit that anyone who wants to claim massive media bias to the left need only point at the coverage of this versus the coverage of the Tea Party protests. I mean, it’s fucking ridiculous.

            1. Indeed.

              Even the names they have chosen for the groups – Occupy” this or that.

              Note the militaristic connenation. The MSM would be squealing all over the place if the Tea Party had been using that kind of nomeclature.

              And there was some guy who had supposedly been “chosen” as the PR guy for the NYC Occupy Wall Street crowd who explicitly stated in an interview I heard on NPR that he wanted to overthrow the United States government.

              The NPR folks didn’t utter a peep about that statement. Imagine their reaction if ANYBODY at a tea party gathering had said that – much less someone who was supposed to be an “official” representative.

              1. Because as always if you threaten violence from the left you’re just an idealistic kid who doesn’t know any better and means well, but if you do the same thing from the right you are a scary Klan member about to kill all black people.

                1. Well, because it’s true

                  1. “Well, because it’s true”
                    Spoof or stupidity?
                    Can’t tell.

                    1. THIS IS WHAT WE REALLY BELIEVE

                    2. “THIS IS WHAT WE REALLY BELIEVE”
                      Stupidity it is.

              2. WE’RE SHITTING ON CARS!!!!!11!!!!!1

          2. We are undergoing a media blackout

            1. If by “blackout” you mean “non-stop media fellating” then yes, you are undergoing a blackout.

        2. It also helps that the demonstrations are within a subway ride of the headquarters for major news outlets. Many Manhattan reporters will gladly tramp through tropical jungles 2,500 miles from the city for a story, but getting out to Jersey for a suburban Tea Party meeting is much more difficult. lol

    2. Massive crowds of people gathering in public places for weeks on end is news, regardless of the motivation. If they were waiting in line for Hobbit tickets it would still be news.

      1. I guess. What are they doing again?

      2. How massive are these crowds?

        1. If they’re not careful, they’ll be starting another civil war, Pro.

          Well, not willingly, for most of them, as most of them are not bright enough to start one. But the smart ones are just waiting for Michael Moore to say “now, it’s time to commit violence against rich people”.

          1. Good thing the left is also for gun control. Hard to win a civil war without firearms.

    3. Have more than 1,000 “occupiers” been there at the same time yet?

  2. Greenwald is a little optimistic. Team Blue may not be able to co-opt the OWS movement the way Team Red has co-opted the Tea Party, but come November ‘012, the Occupados will flush the toilet for Obama as sure as the sky is blue.

    1. Which means, BTW, that Obama and all of Team Blue, can and will ignore the Occupados without fear of negative consequences.

      1. If you’re a group with a political agenda, never, ever, ever simply hitch your wagon to a political party. Make them earn your votes every election.

        1. It certainly works for us libertarians.

          1. Some of our ilk have hitched to political parties. There’s the RLC in the GOP, for instance.

            1. I was only mostly kidding. I just resent being marginalized. I think I’ll go cry in the corner now.

              1. You should go protest the federal government. Build a home of protest across the street from the White House or the Capitol.

                1. Just don’t build a lemonade stand there.

    2. All 2,000 of them?

      1. By that, I mean the ones that are involved for anything overtly political, as opposed to meeting chicks or whatever the real motive is.

    3. Yep. Greenwald is ignoring the fact that the antiwar movement got coopted despite Obama being at least as bad as Bush on that front.

      1. Well, the anti-war movement got going when there was a Team Red president, so Obama was able to say a lot of stuff without needing to follow up on it. These protests are taking place during his presidency, after he’s got a record to examine, so I think it’s notably different.

  3. Btw Ms. Steigerwald, it’s LabAsh, not LabISH.

    1. Whoops. So it is. Thank you.

  4. Why would democrats believe it beneficial to associate with people pissing, shitting, doing drugs, and having sex in streets that they have occupied by force for weeks and filled with their own filth?

    Why, in Nancy Pelosi’s opinion, does that conduct require God’s blessing?

    1. Why would democrats believe it beneficial to associate with people pissing, shitting, doing drugs, and having sex in streets that they have occupied by force for weeks and filled with their own filth?

      Three words: Boomer Woodstock Nostalgia

      1. Why would democrats believe it beneficial to associate with people pissing, shitting, doing drugs, and having sex in streets that they have occupied by force for weeks and filled with their own filth?

        Why, in Nancy Pelosi’s opinion, does that conduct require God’s blessing?

        Makes her feel at home?

    2. Why would democrats believe it beneficial to associate with people pissing, shitting, doing drugs, and having sex in streets that they have occupied by force for weeks and filled with their own filth?

      Because the Dems think that it makes them look like good liberals in comparison.

  5. And more:
    “S.F. cops search vacant hotel for activists”

    Now, some background:
    That ex-hotel was to be converted into a state of the art hospital, but the conversion has been blocked by local ‘activists’ concerned about traffic and several unions, since the owner hasn’t promised union jobs.
    Now who are the protests aimed at?

  6. 8=============D

    1. Ummm, I think you have it backwards, unless you have a disassembled pen …

  7. I have no idea what they want, or are trying to do. I really don’t care. But if they are trying to get government to do something about rich fatcats on Wall St and the game they play, they need to go back to school for some civics class. Government is rich fatcats.

    Hey, if you have a problem with corporations, don’t buy their products or services.

    1. Or overthrow the government. Don’t ask it to please behave. Jesus.

    2. Hey, if you have a problem with corporations, don’t buy their products or services.

      How about instead we stop the government from bailing out the ones that fail? Or stop the government from forcing us to purchase those corporations products…you know like how Obama care is set to force everyone alive in this country to buy health insurance.

        1. DRINK!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!1

        2. slave labor was notoriously inefficient.

          The North won not because it had better training and better strategy and better generals.

          It won because factories manned by free people could produce far greater quantities of military goods then any group of plantations ever could.

          Comparing your drawing of laboring black slaves in a mine to an occupy Wall street photo of white 20 somethings talking on iPhones is at best a disingenuous lie.

          1. It should also be noted that Athens repeatedly kicked Sparta’s ass.

            Over and over and over again.

            1. I think you need to re-read Thucydides. You do know Athens lost the Peloponnesian war, right?

            2. You may be getting Athens confused with Thebes.

        3. PeopleNEVERProfits|10.11.11 @ 6:12PM|#

          Spoof or stupidity?
          Can’t tell.


            1. OK, stupidity.

              1. Idiots just can’t let go of the past.

      1. “”How about instead we stop the government from bailing out the ones that fail?”‘

        We should, including finacial instituions. But hey, it’s a bi-partisan affair. Bush laid the ground work, Obama took it to a new level. The next Prez will us it to his/her ends. I don’t expect that power of the executive to back into the bottle.

  8. OWS is made up of clowns, but the one issue I see here that might have traction is student loans.

    Whenever any of these guys holds up his stupid notebook full of complaints, “student loan debt” is always there.

    Unfortunately, since nondischargeable student loan debt affects a great many people, these dumbasses could luck into making it their “Viet Nam draft” issue. I don’t know if they’re that clever, though.

    1. Maybe – but I hope they’d get a resounding “Fuck you” from the STEM students that worked their asses off (and still do, since they’re mostly employed) while the _______ studies crowd was writing fluff and deluding themselves about what wealth is and how it’s formed.

      1. + 3.14 to AZ

        Unemployment for STEM majors is currently a bit over 5%.

      2. I’ve never heard this “STEM” acronymn before. I don’t think I like it.

    2. The fact that it’s non-dischargeable keeps rates lower and encourages students to study fields that will enable them to pay off the debt. Otherwise, we’d have swarms of additional unemployed artists who’d default on their debt and the rates would be offset onto the next generation of students – or the taxpayers.

      1. The non-dischargeable bit has no impact on the rate whatsoever.

        The critical thing for the rates is that the loans be guaranteed by the federal government.

        The reason the loans are nondischargeable is because the feds got sick of paying up to lenders when loans went bad.

        If the loans were federally guaranteed but dischargeable, the rates would stay exactly the same.

        The second half of your statement is, however, completely true.

        I’m not saying that the kids with $150 grand in debt for women’s studies degrees aren’t dumbasses. I’m just saying that there are quite a few of them, and politically the best thing these OWS morons could do is try to mobilize that particular anxiety.

        1. Mark Steyn says that there is a trillion dollars in outstanding student loans.

          If this thing coalesces into a government bailout of student loans, I am blaming you , Fluffy! For Science sake, don’t give them any ideas!

      2. The fact that it’s non-dischargeable keeps rates lower and encourages students to study fields that will enable them to pay off the debt.

        Judging by the photos on the “wearethe99percent” website, I think you may be mistaken on this one.

        The fact that it’s non-dischargeable is a legitimate gripe, although in fairness most of these dumb striver poors never should have taken out the loans to “follow their dreams” in the first place.

        All debt must either be paid back or defaulted on, and the fact of the matter is that tuition costs are so overblown right now that the banks and the government are going to end up taking a huge bath on it, regardless of whether they think the law prevents it from being so.

        One of the biggest problems with all this “free” money is it’s resulted in the creation of bullshit majors (and university departments) that have no applicability outside the cloistered walls of academia. How the hell is a women’s studies major, for instance, supposed to pay off $50K in student loan debt, except by signing up to be a sugar baby?

        I’ve posted this many times before, but just look at this shit:

        A strong economy will simply not be created by adding even more of the bullshit managerial-class jobs that a liberal arts education is geared towards. Where’s the money going to come from? We’ve already blown credit bubbles for 30 years trying to get the next Magic Economic Genie to deliver us into the Paper-Pusher Paradise of the like that Thomas Friedman keeps selling. It’s not working.

        Until our society begins embracing a blue-collar work ethic again, and stops allowing these average-to-below average-IQ striver poors to grind themselves into lifelong debt chasing their dreams of being a third-tier-trash clerk at a non-profit, things are not going to get better.

    3. Problem is they just think it’s a “right” to go to school forever, for free. It’s hard enough not to pitch a fit every time I think about the “homeowners” I’m subsidizing enough to stay in the houses they don’t actually own while I’m still renting. If I see all these liberal arts?studying idiots’ wasted student loans forgiven while I’m working a real job…ahhhhhhhh

    4. “The one issue I see here that might have traction is student loans.”

      Grrr… These idiots are like people who got deep into the red because they had a gambling problem. Yet they’d rather blame the people who loaned them money than the people who ripped them off in the first place.

      Once these jackasses start showing up at the houses of their college professors, then I’ll think they’re potentially redeemable.

      1. +1 to cynical

      2. But nobody ‘rips off’ gamblers–or idiots who get mired in student loan debt.

        No one made them gamble or take out loans. They did that themselves.

        Personal responsibility.

        1. A-fucking-men

    5. Only about 25% of adults have a college degree, and most those people didn’t go into debt for college.

  9. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/…..;=&ccode;=

    Slovakia to ECB – Drop Dead.

    1. The account I read said they voted this way for the no confidence vote. They stated they would vote again this week and pass it.

  10. Of those surveyed, 37 percent said capitalism was inherently immoral and can’t be saved.


    When asked to rate their own liberalism, 41 percent were “fed up with Democrats” and “believe the country needs an overhaul.”

    It does.

    But a full 34 percent were “convinced the U.S. government is no better than, say, al Qaeda.”

    It isn’t.

    I like these guys more every day.

    1. Oh, now I get it–‘Jersey Patriot’ is like ‘Garden State’.

  11. I have no idea what they want

    Jobs! In the Stasi.

    Greenwald is ignoring the fact that the antiwar movement got coopted despite Obama being at least as bad as Bush on that front.

    Bush believed his own modernize-the-savages-with-BOOM! spiel. Obama’s just throwing death around because…hey. “I won.” That’s way the fuck worse.

  12. The Washington Post put up an article about the oh so brave figures drawn from TEH REALZ PEOPLEZ that they found at OWS:

    A retired lawyer from Santa Monica
    The head of the AFL-CIO
    An unemployed television producer

    And so forth.

    I want to hit each of these people in the face with a bat until they admit that they most definitely are NOT “teh people”.

    Bitch, if you own real estate in Santa Monica you are the motherfucking upper class. Sorry.

    If you have a low seven figure income as the head of the biggest union in the country, you are the motherfucking upper class. Sorry.

    If you ever worked as a television producer for any length of time ever, you are the motherfucking upper class. Sorry.

    Before you come around asking me for my sympathy for your plight as an oppressed worker, you better much damn sure that you don’t own nicer real estate than me, or have a better job than me, or have ever worked in TV. Thanks.

    1. “”r have ever worked in TV””

      Does the best boy and key grip count?

  13. Hey Epi, I just saw a friggin IHOP on 14th St btwn 2nd and 3rd.

    1. Near Union Square?

      1. Closer to 2nd Ave.

  14. BTW, James O’Keefe and Project Veritas did their thing down at the OWS protests.

    Some classic footage right here..


  15. I easily found a job after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force. In 2006 I lost my job at a large pharmaceutical company after 16 years. Since then I have looked and applied for work diligently not only applying for jobs associated with my experience but for anything. I have received zero offers. I ended up losing my home, car, retirement account and most of my possessions. My unemployment ran out at the beginning of 2010 and I have lived off of what I had saved. On the first of April I used my last dollar for rent on a small room. Since then I have gone looking for some sort of aid to keep me from becoming homeless. I have contacted the local VA, local Community Action Agency, Catholic Charities, VFW, Purple Hearts, American Legion, United Way, Goodwill, city mayor’s office even Senator’s office and received NO help or assistance and in some cases no reply whatsoever. No one really seems to care. My sons can stay with their mother, but I’ve joined the ranks of the homeless. My country gained my admiration seeing it work from the inside while I served it. Now I am gaining a new perspectiv?e of it from the food pantry and the homeless shelter. http://tinyurl.com/679ktlu

    1. I’m sorry to hear your story, but I just can’t buy the idea that a skilled veteran who had been consistently looking for a job for 12+ hours a day for the past 5+ years (including for a year before the recession even started) and willing to take anything or move anywhere would not have a single job offer – unless there’s something serious that you aren’t telling us about.

      Hate to sound heartless but the economy was not bad in 2006. Did you ride out your unemployment benefits sitting on your couch as long as possible, at which point the recession was at its peak? I just feel like there’s something you aren’t telling us that could fill the gaps in your story.

    2. “http://tinyurl.com/679ktlu”

      Billy Mo has spent the last 5 years phishing.

      1. I’m not about to click on blind links; it’s a phishing spam?

    3. When I see what the socialism has done to able bodied men and women in this nation by stifling their true potential with onerous regulations on those who would otherwise employ them, I seethe with anger. I’m in a situation similar to yours, but I’ve taken on a new profession, I mug beat cops. Every town in within an hour drive of me, I’ve managed to take a blackjack to the side of the head of a cop. They are so embarrassed by this that they don’t even report it to the press. One mention of a cop getting mugged in the local paper in the scope of 86 incidents! I’m thinking of raping them too, given their code of silence, it should be easy.

  16. “In spite of some official attempts to…”

    Lucy: Please use “despite” rather than “in spite of” in situations like the one above.

    1. Pedant: Please shut the fuck up.

  17. So how “big” are the 99% anyway? i think i read for the Reason TV shoot there were about 300 people.

    There was a debate about how big the tea party protests were. Is this comparable in size? smaller? Bigger?

    1. If 300 people is accurate, then the TP crowds were typically much larger. They were often at least around 1000 strong on the lower side, with crowds reaching into the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands for the larger rallies.

  18. Though both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have valid points, the implicit incoherence of populism and the swarm of idiots it attracts drowns them out.

    “I blame the people with money and power for all my problems” is not a coherent ideology. Even though the people in power likely did actually cause many of your problems, the rampant lack of personal responsibility for one’s own bad decisions, inability to extrapolate concepts and principles consistently, and the sloganistic oversimplification of complex economic and political realities spoils what could have been perfectly valid grievances.

  19. Dear OWS Slackers,

    Perhaps if you made a greater effort and gave it everything you had, you could be more successful.

  20. For me the biggest joke is that these people draw inspiration from the Arab Spring, have these people completely ignored the news out of Egypt lately ? Unless they really want to have the violence that is erupting there, the Arab Spring is not inspiring at all.

    1. Pogroms, get your pogroms here!

  21. I like how the only demonstrated skill of the occupy movement is the preparation of food for large numbers of people…

    They would make pretty good fry cooks at McDonald’s.

  22. The only thing I see anyone ‘occupying’ is their time.

    ‘Occupation’ in the military sense suggests asserting control of something. Last I checked, they haven’t yet had any particular effect on bond yields or the major equity indices, or facilitated a hostile leveraged-buy-out of Goldman Sachs et al, and turned them over to be managed by a group of farmers-market cooperatives.

    ‘Occupation’ in the career sense suggests being remunerated for your efforts in an economically productive field. ‘Sitting around in a park yapping’, drum circles, positing conspiracy theories, etc, perhaps qualifies as recreation. But it doesn’t so much rise to the level of a decent pick-up game in Rucker park. I’ve seen ultimate-frisbee tournaments with a far greater sense of purpose and effective cooperation.

    Excuse me while I occupy my mind with something more interesting.

  23. Time to NATIONALIZE the BANKS

  24. “Time to NATIONALIZE the BANKS”

    Because the government has been *so* successful at managing the economy.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Because the government has been *so* successful at managing the economy…

      Maybe that’s better expressed as “managing public finances”… you wouldn’t want to accidentally support the progressive assumption that the appropriate role of Gov is in fact to ‘manage’ economies.

      1. Well, the government claims to manage the economy and it hasn’t done that any better than public finances.
        But point taken.

      2. That’s because the GOVERNMENT has been too busy selling out to it’s CORPORATE masters.

        1. “That’s because the GOVERNMENT has been too busy selling out to it’s CORPORATE masters.”

          And the solution is (wait for it……………………)
          *More* government!
          That way, selling out will get even cheaper!
          Are you hoping to buy your own congress-critter? Too bad; you’ve been outbid.

          1. Why stop there, PenisOverPeople? Nationalize EVERYTHING, you lazy fuck!

  25. I finally found somebody more stupid and more repulsive than the OWS protestors:

    Bill Kristol.


    A surge is in fact the way to go???an intellectual, policy, and political countersurge to both the Obama administration and to Occupy Wall Street. The protesters don’t like crony capitalism? Offer bold proposals to reform it. They don’t like Wall Street? Conservatives should offer policies to benefit Main Street and seek to curb Wall Street abuses. The protesters don’t like the glorification of money? Nor do conservatives, who put God, country, and family before business, and who respect the military, churches, active citizens, and stay-at-home moms more than bond traders (no offense, bond traders!).

    1. LIARS. Nobody’s dummer than us

      1. True. Listening to people like Kristol and Krugman talking about OWS is repulsive moreso than stupid.

  26. I sincerely hope Peter Bagge is attending at least one (and hopefully more) of the “Occupy X” protests. His graphic treatment will be a wonderful look at this phenomenon.

  27. Red Foreman fron “That 70s Show” would probably say to the protesters something like “How would you like my foot to OCCUPY your ass?”

  28. “economically ignorant left”

    Since when have they been anything but?

  29. I know there are many ex-hippies among both libertarians and conservatives. But, W-T-F ?

    I cannot comprehend what would attract a person to such a thing.


    The Left is acting pretty strangely with this. These are the kinds of looney stunts they pull when they are out of power. It seems like the wheels are coming off their wagon. (Economy, debt, fast and furious…at least Guam hasn’t capsized.)

  30. L-Stag: you really have to start resizing your JPEGs. I mean, 2.1MB? C’mon.

  31. Here’s a song about Occupy Wall Street that actually touches on some of the salient issues:

    Best wishes,

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.