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We are the 99 percent


Posted 12 years ago on Sept. 12, 2011, 10:58 p.m. EST by chris

Contemporary society is commodified society, where the economic transaction has become the dominant way of relating to the culture and artifacts of human civilization, over and above all other means of understanding, with any exceptions being considered merely a temporary holdout as the market swiftly works on ways to monetize those few things which stubbornly remain untouched. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of this current setup is that it has long ago co-opted the very means of survival within itself, making our existence not an inherent right endowed to us by the simple fact of our humanity but a matter of how much we're all worth -- the mere act of being alive has a price tag. Some pay it easily. Others pay for it with their submission. Others still can't pay it at all. Regardless, though, like cars, TVs and barrels of oil, our lives are commodities to be bought and sold on the open market amid the culture of ruthlessness and desperation that has arisen to accommodate it. This is the natural consequence of a society built around entities whose purpose it is to always, always minimize costs and maximize profits. It is the philosophy of growth for the sake of growth, the same ideology that drives a cancer cell. An economy in a steady state is not healthy. It needs to expand, constantly, perpetually.

Of course, nothing can expand forever. The second law of thermodynamics tell us this much at least. But that doesn't mean the market won't try. It's not enough that a soft drink becomes the dominant soda, it must become the dominant beverage, period. It's not enough that people build some things out of a certain material, it must be the only thing anyone ever builds anything out of, ever. It's not enough to make pills for the ailments from which people already seek relief, pills must be made for problems that people didn't even know existed until a commercial told them to ask their doctors about it. We all know this course is not sustainable, but there will be great damage done before this point is reached.

The people coming to Wall Street on September 17 come for a variety of reasons, but what unites them all is the opposition to the principle that has come to dominate not only our economic lives but our entire lives: profit over and above all else. Those that do not embrace this principle: prepare to be out-competed. They will lose the race to the bottom and the vulture will swoop down to feast. It is indicative of a deep spiritual sickness that has gripped civilization, a sickness that drives the vast deprivation, oppression and despoliation that has come to cover the world.

The world does not have to be this way. A society of ruthlessness and isolation can be confronted and replaced with a society of cooperation and community. Cynics will tell us this world is not possible. That the forces arrayed against us have won and will always win and, perhaps, should always win. But they are not gods. They are human beings, just like us. They are a product of a society that rewards the behavior that has led us to where we are today. They can be confronted. What's more, they can be reached. They just need to see us. See beyond the price tags we carry.

And if they are gods? Then we shall be Prometheus. And we shall laugh as we are lashed to the stone to await the eagle.



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[-] 2 points by spaesani (2) 12 years ago

Silly question but prior to captilalism was the world a beautiful and wonderous place where people collaborated for mutual prosperity? For far as I can tell from the anti capitalist propaganda it was. Call me sarcastic, in fact call me what you may yet bear in mind that I am a proponent for prosperity for all people without inequity and THAT does not come at the end of the guns of socialist, communist nor facist dictate but by the freedom of choice that free markets have sought to bring about from an era of imperialism and monarchichal, aka low nature, brutality and dictation. Free market economies were not designed for but to weed out the barbaric and lower natured and allow the people this occupy movement claims to support, the human beings of good nature, the decent, the elevated in concience to thrive in a world where choice predominates. There is no law in free market economics that states profits must be set at an amount that cripple others. There is no law that states that salaries are to be dictated to amounts that have some earning 250 times more than others. There is no law that states that only those of a certain race or bloodline are to be the top 1% of some economic pie there is in fact no law in free market economics that states that there is to be such a 1% in the first place AND there is no law that states that the lowering of cost involves lowering the standard of living, the quality of life of those creating, developing,producing, maintaining, enhancing and improving the things of life. That there are those who have so done does no make free markets bad, wrong, evil or mal intended. It does however bring into question those people who have so done through free markets. Consider this and then consider if not reconsider towards what or whom the anger of those impovershed, the anger of those whose siblings, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters have been left to starve and the anger of those disgusted by it all is to be directed at; a system of economics designed for people and not animals, or the people who acted like animals using that system to bring the starvations about.

We can make the world a better place. To consider however that the people who relentlessly placed and still place not profits yet to gain the most possible materially with the minimal amount of personal effort not only regardless of what that means for others yet 'better still' if it destroys others using whatever means, for that has been and in fact is the intent of at least the "1%", are going to somehow magically disappear or be able to partake in such a better world as though nothing happened is not possible. In short we can have a better world yet we can only have it by both moving towards it while at the same time addresing the acts of at least the 1% in the manner they themselves,and none other, by the choices and decisions they themsleves made, the acts they themselves commited , have laid forth. In so far then as the occupy movement does this so then does it have my support.

[-] 0 points by R1ckr011 (1) from French Camp, CA 12 years ago

There's Capitalism, Crony Capitalism, Laissez-faire Capitalism, socialist Capitalism and/or State Capitalism; and many shades between them. We have what amounts to Crony/Laissez-faire Capitalism. This is why we are drowning in personal debt as corporations prosper and throw money and power at the feet of CEO's.

In Sweden i believe there IS a law that CEOs cannot make more than a certain percentage than the average worker. This law and ones similar can help shorten the national and hopefully even the global wealth gap, making a very strong middle class with which to grow a whole much larger economy. But we must first strip away some of the "rights" of corporations that have been enacted shortly in America's Recent history as well as other countries around the world.

[-] 1 points by latestitmes (4) 12 years ago

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[-] 1 points by kosmonso (1) 12 years ago

SOME motives are to make excess money, but the market has created job opportunities and at this time, during a recession, you want to try to shut those down so you can make a fuss about something?? You can prove your point, but it may mean families have less to eat on their table that night. What are your goals here? What is your definition of wealth, success? I for one, think hard work is part of it.

[-] 1 points by pppqqq (2) 12 years ago

My god, yeah, capitalism can be sick and corrupt, and a more just society is a noble goal to pursue (even through protests like the ones you're staging), but seriously this "Why?" thing is crap. If this is what you're basing your protests on then go home, educate yourselves, and then write a new blurb. This is like a cartoon angry mob with pitchforks and torches - Who do we hate? WALLSTREET BANKERS! Why do we hate 'em? THEY ARE UH TRYING TO UM... KILL US... LIKE CANCER CELLS!

Cancer cells have nothing to do with economies, and even if the analogy were relevant, it would be wrong, since economies expand for the sake of making money and cancer cells for the sake of reproducing themselves (the same reason any living thing copies itself, they just get out of control).

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which you clearly just like Wiki'd, doesn't a) have any relevance to a business enterprise, as this is not a form of "matter", but something more abstract and intangible or b) entail that nothing can expand forever... it is mostly about closed systems moving towards equilibrium with increasing entropy, AND many physicists consider the possibility that the universe could expand forever (but this seriously isn't even worth mentioning, it is just so stupid to use this law in comparison to a business or economy).

Also, Prometheus is not someone you wanna be. He has no reason to laugh, no reason at all, and he loses.

Also this is just horribly written. Everyone can use an online thesaurus- I'll be damned if you knew the word "despoliation" before searching like "theft". Also anyone can write "we shall be" or "the vulture will swoop down to feast" to make their language sound epic and literary. "Those that do not" is grammatically incorrect.

There is like no specificity in this. I want to know why I should protest, and the goals of the movement that I'm potentially joining. What percentage decrease in annual revenue towards big business are you looking for (the only percentage I've seen is 1%)? How do you want the funds to be redistributed? Are we still going to call our society capitalist or are you redesigning our economic structure? What's the blueprint? What if it doesn't work?

I'm sure you are incredibly hypocritical in multiple respects.

Most of these protesters are probably just pissed off that they don't have any money (like I am), and feel like sticking it to the guys that do. You're hip, loud, and stumbled in to a great position to take advantage of mob psychology.

You are ignorant and misinformed people leading other ignorant and misinformed people towards a vague semblance of a potentially noble goal.

Don't tell me I'm being cynical (I find that to be a cowardly finger-pointing cop out that avoids specific claims) or heartless. A cooperative and harmonious society, a world with less greed, is something I'm ready to fight for. This, however, is not the way I want to do it.

I'm sure many of you organizers and protesters are very smart people with defined goals and moral fortitude, so why don't you kick this movement in to shape?

Sorry if these thoughts are scattered, I just wrote as points came to me. At least I'm not making a web site and posting MY writing as a mission statement.




[-] 0 points by eldflaugavisindi (0) from Salt Lake City, UT 12 years ago

I guess what we need is to stop pressuring people so much, the point if the article that really appealed to me, is that many people can't simply afford to stay alive. I can very much emphasize with this statement. It seems that employers can just discard people who they don't want to "buy", and just hope that they will eventually die out. We need to gain some social consciousness, there are thousands of destitute people with no means of living, so why not organize that group of people in a way they could sustain each other. Wasn't it in episode of Alf once: "What are you going to do about unemployment? Unemployed build homes for homeless.. And what about pollution? We will collect fumes into air balloons and hang them up the ceiling" xD. I'm joking of course, but my point is, some very complex problems actually may have very simple solutions.

[-] 0 points by JoTerrence (50) from Palmdale, CA 12 years ago

It seems like the whole world is being oppressed by the 1% but the ones who are doing better have adopted a system that has been refined for 200 years that focuses on oppressors. The 99ers commission Jason Bourne to investigate Gov. corruption and fix it. Two of our states have adopted this system. It is our duty to provide these New Guards for our future security. For nations to adopt this system all they need do is implement it.

[-] 0 points by patcopaul (0) 12 years ago

I don't know where to suggest this but you asked "why?'.

These are the changes I would demand if I had a voice...

  1. End the consolidation of the media. If only a few people own the media we only hear what a few people want us to hear. ie; Faux News

  2. Have public finance of elections. No money from some guy, some guy doesn't have a "favor" due.

  3. Find a way around gerrymandering. Look it up.

  4. End monopolies. That's just good capitalism.

Thank you and good night. Paul

[-] 0 points by thisiswrong (-1) 12 years ago

please consider me not showing up my protest against the hate and ostracism that is being taught and spread through this protest. we are americans who should be proud and take responsibility for our own personal actions not accuse and rip apart an entire group for select acts. no one is right in this. if you would like to do good....instead of wasting your time at this protest or others like it...why dont you come up with and idea in which YOU can change the lives of others for the better...not yell at others because they didnt do it for you.

[-] 0 points by sergiovenuto (0) from Rio de Janeiro, RJ 12 years ago

Parabéns a todos pela dedicação ao movimento, pela paz e pela busca de uma vida melhor pra todos nós. Mais uma vez temos prova de que uma Sociedade-em-Rede está sendo formada! Felicidades a todos!

[-] 0 points by Roman57 (0) 12 years ago


[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

"A society of ruthlessness and isolation"? More money is donated per capita in the US by the conservative market economy crazies you claim to hate so much. WWW.NYTimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html they also give more blood. The simple fact is this commodotized market economy model has produced the most interconnected, collaborative society ever. Also as Milton Friedman stated profit maximization should be the goal of business as it makes it maximize its contribution to society.

[-] 1 points by mike1 (11) 12 years ago

and what is your excuse....douche

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Don't forget this interconnected collaborative society does not include MOST of the people on this planet, in fact it feeds off the weak and inoccent. The goal of business SHOULD be to maximize its contribution to not only society, but the evironment that surrounds us all.




[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

What a waste of what could have been. This magazine's motives are as greedy as the fools they spit at.

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

I live in Australia; but if I were in the USA, I'd go out and bring a lot of IWW organising leaflets with me.

[-] -1 points by roanin (1) 12 years ago

Let's use this energy to get our jobs back from illegal aliens who drove down the cost of wages because of corporate greed. They hire them to make more money cause of cheap labor. What's wrong with e verify so we can take back our jobs and higher wages. They are also why are public schools are broke and why almost every city runs a deficit. Wake up people these are our jobs and our country. Illegals help corporation's make more money then they should. The voice is here, so let's make it happen e verify should be a must ... The greed is why they don't want to use it.

[-] -1 points by thisiswrong (-1) 12 years ago

please consider me not showing up my protest against the hate and ostracism that is being taught and spread through this protest. we are americans who should be proud and take responsibility for our own personal actions not accuse and rip apart an entire group for select acts. no one is right in this. if you would like to do good....instead of wasting your time at this protest or others like it...why dont you come up with and idea in which YOU can change the lives of others for the better...not yell at others because they didnt do it for you.

[-] -1 points by momomo (5) 12 years ago

Curious how you can claim to hate money, yet entice people with free things. Irony perhaps? I do hope though you are as good as your words though and actually give up money, but I suppose living on the street does suck right? I would respect you guys if you did actually follow your believes but most of you are hypocritical idiots. Also your use of thermodynamics to make your point makes you sound more retarded than you already sounded.

[-] 1 points by mike1 (11) 12 years ago

eat your mother out

[-] 0 points by narjess (0) 12 years ago

he's not giving away a plasma tv or iphones. It's pizza, you know, food. Hating money doesn't equate starving yourself. As long as he's not capitalising on it, then its fine.

[-] 0 points by momomo (5) 12 years ago

Having something you don't NEED when people are suffering is in fact greed . You could sell your TV or iPhone to pay for food for the poor perhaps? We are rallying against greed in all forms or just against the ones perceived as being the most greedy?

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Some people say that people are greedy, but that they should NOT be greedy. If, however, people are greedy, then why consider greed to be bad? Why not consider greed to be the good? Why observe a trait in human nature, like greed, and then assume that this is wrong?

[-] 0 points by mike1 (11) 12 years ago

if you dont know right from wrong you need to consult your religion. religion is for the weak minds that need to be told what to do

[-] 0 points by narjess (0) 12 years ago

did you consider the fact that some people are not greedy, or does that make me not human.

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

The definition of greed is putting accumulation of wealth above self interest (nece the fable about Midas turning his daughter into gold). This is different than self interest which can include cooperating with or even helping others to make your world a better place.

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Because greed does not work.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Not all naturally occurring traits are productive ones. For example, in primitive human tribal societies, xenophobia might arguably have been a favorable characteristic. Children whose parents taught them to fear the unknown tended to live longer.

As the world has changed, so too has the environment, and as a result, which traits are optimal. In a global society, xenophobia is more likely to be counterproductive. This lack of sync occurs because human evolution progresses at a far slower pace at present than technological advancements. We are, to some extent, fish out of water. Ideally, some of us will adapt to our new environment and shed the more counterproductive traits.

In the mean time, value judgements made purely on the basis of presence (or lack thereof) in nature are invalid. Some animals kill their young. Most of us grimace at the very thought of the same, even if many parents might joke about the temptation. The idea that what occurs or has occurred in nature is the basis for the ideal is a logical fallacy.

Perhaps it may be a good idea to weigh both sides of your argument prior to treating us to Ayn Rand parrot-speak.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

That's a very very odd way of thinking. "If humans love to murder than whats wrong with murder????"

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Eyes on Americans! this is your turn to show to the world that you really love peace ;)


[-] 0 points by mike1 (11) 12 years ago

its not about peace


[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Yeah here's the thing... I hate to be a dick, but I think that logistics is what people need right now. I like pretty words too - I'm a poet. But I'm still not sure how cohesive the plan will be. Can we get legal aid numbers for this protest? How about maps of where there will be bathrooms open to the public? How about the best places to sleep if it starts to rain? Self-defense weapon laws (not for use on the cops, but on creepy fucking weirdos who might harass you at night)? Is ABC No Rio on board with this? Can they provide a place to stay for people who need to get off the street for a few nights? What about weather logistics? I live very close to the city, and the nights are getting a little cool, while the days remain very warm. People should know what to, what to pack, and how to be prepared. I mean for god's sake, your website doesn't even work. I can't post under my username! I have to post anonymously. (I'm Tartarus btw)

There's a lot to be done, and a lot people need to know before this happens. And this essay, as much as I agree with it, doesn't provide any of that.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

See the new Occupy Wall St Orientation guide for most of that info.

As far as self protection, most weapons are highly illegal here (a knife must be shorter than the distance acroos your hand), but NY has a lot less creepy weirdos harrassing protestors than you might think, and almost none of them are bad enough to kill. Look out for the pretty boys in business suits though.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Last time I was in NYC I got mugged... That doesn't happen quite as easily in Austin.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Is this a joke? I think you should probably spend your time posting some logistical information. Why would anyone come to this if we don't see any cohesive plan?


[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

this is also a space for dialogue, i agree with this post, we are coming to confront the way the powers that be manage the world

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

I believe the site says "Occupy Wall Street: News and Logistics for September 17" not "Occupy Wall Street: A Place for dialogue" but good try.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Yeah great, what time are we meeting and where? Some of us have a long way to travel and are a bit concerned about details. Has anything been figured out?

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

I agree with the frustration about logistics! I came here (to NYC) from Colorado. I was hoping to connect with people, but see no place to do that. The vision is fabulous, but a little coordination would go far in amplifying our impact. I am disabled and just getting here was a struggle. I took the grueling trip by subway from Queens to Wall St. and realized what a challenge I have even finding a place to sit down. I hope that someone responds with more information. We all already know why we must resist.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

If you are frustrated with the horribly inefficient system and want to take it down through protest... look what is attempting to replace it! Good luck people... good luck. I for one am staying home.

[-] -2 points by anonymous () 12 years ago

Just curious, but where are the electrical outlets going to be so we all can recharge are Iphones?