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Forum Post: How I see OWS changing things in tangible ways

Posted 1 year ago on May 16, 2012, 1:11 p.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Once the shock of the 2008 financial crisis was over, virtually no media pundit publicly discussed issues like restoring Glass Steagall. Robert Reich was one of the few lonely voices calling for its restoration, but the idea is catching on quickly. Whether it's just liberal pundits feeding us crap to get us to the polls, I really don't know, but suddenly pundits are giving this idea serious air time. Also, the 1%--99% idea has become entrenched in our popular discourse. I even read somewhere that New York State (and the federal government) has considered sending monitors to NYC to oversee the police department (because of all the allegations of police misconduct).

Okay, maybe change is not happening as quickly as we would like, but it is happening. I certainly questioned OWS's tactics in the beginning (although I strongly supported its goals, and I understood the reasoning for occupying Zuccotti Park, I was still skeptical .... could this idea really catch on, and I'm happy to say my skepticism has been quelled).

I started out as a garden variety liberal (not a lifelong liberal, more like a centrist for most of my life, but over the past 5+ years or so I've become exceedingly --I guess you could say-- liberal, albeit to the left of more conventional liberals). I'm still trying to purge partisan inclinations from my psyche, but my rational mind tells me that everything OWS stands for is desperately needed in our country (and world), and it's not only worth fighting for, but nothing else seems more important than fighting for these ideas (and slowly but surely these efforts will yield results).

Over the past several months that I've participated on this site, took the train down to NYC to participate in rallies, donated a little $$ to OWS, etc. I notice that there's been a real concerted effort by some people to try and stir up trouble. I know it much be angering, maybe even discouraging, but I view it as somewhat sad. I mean, I can't imagine what could be going through someone's mind when they seek to disparage a group that supports things like participatory democracy or rational regulations to safeguard our financial system or strengthening our middle class or helping our poor or providing education and healthcare for our citizens ... so I guess I feel more sorry for these people than I do angry at them. It seems like a very bitter and hostile way to lead a life (and it just can't be very conducive to psychological well being).

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9 Comments


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[-] 4 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Restoring Glass-Steagall is an issue that people can rally around. I wasn't aware that Bill Clinton admitted signing the repeal was a big mistake and he overlooked the importance of Glass-Steagall. It was probably due to the recent scandals he was involved in at the time. The reform of this may not appeal to the revolutionaries but this seems like a big deal to me. I'm going to keep chipping away at what I see as the 2 most important issues- Glass-Steagall and raising the minimum wage. I say hit them high and hit them low.

[-] 3 points by dan1984 (108) from Cumberland, MD 1 year ago

Of course Bill Clinton admits it now. He knew what he was doing then. He is a liar now like he was then.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1278) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Maybe he is but at least he admits it was a mistake. I'm not a Clinton appologist and I never voted for him. It doesn't really matter because the new next president isn't going to do anything about Glass-Steagall.

[-] 1 points by dan1984 (108) from Cumberland, MD 1 year ago

True. I wasn't old enough to vote when he was president, so, needless to say, I didn't vote for him either.

[-] 3 points by MaryS (678) 1 year ago

Re: troublemakers- "There are none so blind as those who will not see." They are so desperately afraid of change they will go against what is good for them, will hate on what could even save their lives. Good post, fmj. I agree, OWS is working.

[-] 2 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 1 year ago

I will start linking to this when a troll asks "what has OWS actually accomplished?"

Besides all of the families that we have directly helped by blocking foreclosures, or the direct damage that we caused to the major banks by influencing 600,000 people to move their money to credit unions, or the public shame that we have brought onto countless stooges for the 1% in town halls, auctions, etc. we changed the entire political discourse on the economy.

For the first time the 1% is on the defense. Now they have to defend every ounce of greed that they pump into our society, because we have effectively became the persistent gnats that won't let them just get away with it any longer.

[-] 6 points by francismjenkins (3713) 1 year ago

And this is really true (I mean, I see it every day, every time I watch a news program, etc.). Indeed, the way many pundits and candidates are starting to talk, it sounds almost like a verbatim regurgitation of OWS grievances, declarations, principles, statements, etc. They say everything except the words Occupy Wall Street ... but that doesn't bother me so much. As people encounter these new ideas, especially the brand of solidarity that exists among OWS supporters, they become inspired, and as we're beginning to see, these ideas are starting to permeate throughout our culture.

All the doubters, including to some extent myself (although I supported OWS nearly from the beginning, I had my doubts), thought that the better path was mimicking the tea party, getting candidates elected, and so forth. But I'm now convinced that OWS took the right approach. Winning hearts and minds is much more powerful and sustainable compared to getting one or two dozen politicians elected.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 1 year ago
[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 1 year ago

Yes, and even more profoundly, many Americans (including politicians) are being moved by these ideas. This is much more powerful than merely doing what the tea party did. Get a few politicians elected, and piss the entire country off (because they didn't begin by, in good faith, trying to convince people of the merit of their ideas, rather, they took the same old top down approach of trying to shove their ideas down our throats). When we wake up one day and see a country where most Americans desire a new world, a world where we "all" participate in the decision making, where people aren't depicted as woods or trees, where we're no longer satisfied by the idea that some people can be left behind ... that's when we have a new world (and it's that simple).

We can't change the laws of physics with our imagination, but we can change everything else :)

If OWS supporters run for office, if politicians begin to express support for our ideas, all the better, but that can't be what it's all about. If we're not about changing hearts and minds, then we're just more of the same old same old (and we can't expect to achieve new results by doing the same old thing).