We Can Occupy

You don't need a tent to Occupy.

Occupy DC given notice to remove “tent of dreams”

At about 10:15 the morning of Tuesday, Jan 31st, Sgt. Reid and other members of the National Park Service arrived at McPherson Square to tell Occupy DC that they wanted the Tent of Dreams to be taken down from around the General McPherson statue, and that they wanted us to comply with the new regulations against bedding material. The police said that we would still be able to perform a symbolic protest without bedding – ignoring the fact that, beyond symbolism, many people depend on Occupy DC at McPherson Square for shelter, sustenance and a cause.

At noon on Tuesday we are having a General Assembly to decide as a community how to proceed. Sgt. Reid indicated that NPS will return in the afternoon “with more details.” Also this afternoon, the 23,000+ petition signatures from www.SaveOccupyDC.org will be delivered to McPherson Square.

The tent of dreams set up in McPherson Square in Washington DC

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Sacrificing Liberty for Security

The Occupy Movement began with a protest about economic inequality, but there are more issues that unite the many groups within the movement, and indeed many more outside of it as well.

In 2008 Obama promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay, and said the United States would no longer permit torture. A lot of Democrats supported him for that.

This past year Republican (and Libertarian) Rand Paul opposed the renewal of the Patriot Act. A lot of Republicans, or perhaps more accurately conservatives, supported him for that.

There’s widespread concern on the left and the right about the health of our civil liberties, and the tradeoff between liberty and security that Ben Franklin laid out seems more relevant today than ever.

Right now, legislation is making its way through Congress that would allow US citizens to be arrested on US soil, and held indefinitely without trial. 

“Unnerving many conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, the legislation also would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention,” (NPR).

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These are the isues that started Occupy

Back when Occupy Wall Street was the only only camp around, and for many weeks after as others sprung up across the country, we spent a lot of time discussing what this movement was about. Many in the media buy into the idea that Occupy doesn’t have a message, but after watching this video from the first weeks of the protest, we disagree.

From the very start the Occupy Movement has been advicating for an economy and a government that work for everyone. These are the values and the purpose that have driven so many to make camp, and many more to take to the streets. And we’re hoping it’s what will inspire you to Occupy your living-rooms and join this movement for real and lasting change.

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How is it that Martha Stewart went to Jail?

A Bloomberg report reveals that the U.S. government loaned banks $7.7 trillion in secret bailout funds at no interest and then borrowed the money back at interest. I think Jon Stewart really nails it in this segment.

Unknown to the public and the Congress, these same banks had been borrowing massive amounts from the government to remain afloat. The total numbers are staggering: $7.7 trillion of credit—one-half of the GDP of the entire nation… This was perhaps the single most massive allocation of capital from public to private hands in our history, and nobody was told. This was not TARP: This was secret Fed lending,” (Slate).  

The banks  (J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley to name a few) then invested this money in Treasury Bonds, making them an estimated $10 billion in profit.

What really grinds my gears:  inspite of the government (and therefore the people of this country) bailing these banks out with taxpayer money, TARP (or as we now know the equalivant of 11 TARPS) banks continue to hold back on loans and continue to ruthlessly foreclose on people’s homes.

We’re in this mess because of the big banks and because of Wall Street. We helped them survive with taxpayer money. And yet, they have contributed nothing to actually improving the economy or even shown compassion.

Is this the fault of a fundementally broken system more than cold hearted bankers, yes that’s my guess. But, let’s stop pretending that it doesn’t need regulation and oversight.

What do you think, is this analysis on point or way off base?

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The data behind Occupy’s message

I get these questions a lot: are you anti-capatalist? are you anti-wealthly?

No. In fact, I think everyone should have the opportunity to be wealthy and successful. Further, I don’t think they should have to pay unfair taxes just because they are wealth. The issue we face today is that opportunity isn’t what it used to be, and that’s highlited by the wealth divide in this country.

How much money does it take to put you in the wealthiest 1%? As an individual, it only takes $350,000 per year to rank you among the wealthy elite in America (the 1%). I would have guessed that at least 10% of the country made over $350,000 a year. I’m shocked, why don’t we have more rich people? This isn’t about blaming the 1% for all our problems, or even about taxing them to death, it’s about bringing attension to the erosion of opportunity.

In short, this movement is about making more rich people by expanding opportunity. The middle class is shrinking, this is a fact, and what it takes to put you in the middle class isn’t even that much. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the data and decide fo yourself.

It has been the rallying cry of the Occupy movement for the past two months – but is the U.S. really split 99% v 1%? As poverty and inequality reach record levels, how much richer have the rich got? This animation explains what the key data says about the state of America today.

Source: The Guardian

 

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Our Message: Reform Wall Street AND Washington

I really like this graphic, except for one thing: Occupy is actually in the center. From day one, Occupy Boston said the problems we face are two fold. First, corporations have too much power, and second, they use that power to undermine the democratic process.

We’re  not againt corporations. True,  their only loyalty is to their bottom line. But that does not make them evil or bad, it’s just a reality of the free market system. And, if we don’t make economic policy with this in mind then we’re dooming ourselves to failure. This means regulation and oversight.

We’re not for more government, either. We’re for a government that works not a government that’s bigger.  It’s broken right now, sure, but the answer to all our problems isn’t significantly less government. We deserve a democracy that works for everyone and sensible policy that allows businesses to thrive and grow.

It’s possible for Washington to do this, but we need to get off the couch and push for it. America is an unfinished promise, and it’s our job to work towards its fulfillment. Let’s start working for positive change.

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