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Forum Post: What is this all about?

Posted 12 years ago on Oct. 11, 2011, 7:55 p.m. EST by jonvonleaderhosen (50)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

What exactly are the changes that this movement is advocating for? I've seen the news coverage of what's going on, but can't seem to decypher the cause. I realize the 99% represents those that are not rich, and the 1% represents those that are rich. What exactly does this movement want the 1% to do differently for the benefit of the 99%? The success of corporate America determines the amount of jobs they are able to provide. Labor unions and government regulations drive up the cost of doing business and decrease capital that could otherwise be used to create more jobs. It seems like if more jobs is the goal of this movement; the protests should be aimed at the government and at unions. I guess I am just confused about the purpose of this cause, but I am interested to know more about it so I can make an informed opinion on whether I am for or against it.



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[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 12 years ago

heres the map to put it all together.









































[-] 1 points by jonvonleaderhosen (50) 12 years ago

So would you say that hard work & success should be discouraged and even punished? Getting rich obviously isn't easy or else there would be more than 1% of the population making up that group, so you know they had to work hard to get there. The economy is bad because our nation that has always been on top of the heap as far as the global economy goes, now has serious competition from countries like china, japan, india, and brazil. Between over regulation by the government and unions driving up labor cost, American business just can't compete in this current global climate. When companies do poorly, they cut back they don't expand. The government needs to create a more business friendly environment in order to give the businesses the freedom they need to be able to get creative and compete in this global economy. Only then will you see the jobs come back and the economy get better.

[-] 1 points by vraditz (1) from Northampton, MA 12 years ago

From what I understand from my participation in the movement is that the protests are not just about the creation of jobs. And it is not about trying to get the 1% to act on behalf of the 99%. It is about deeper, more fundamental problems with corporate control of the democratic process. I just wrote about this for my student newspaper, and I hope this helps explain things somewhat:

The demands and the issues discussed are many. The Occupy Wall Street protesters come from a wide range of movements, with strong and visible representation of class activists, political activists, union activists, environmental activists, immigrant rights activists, anti-racist activists, feminist activists, and universal health care activists, just to name a few. For this reason, Occupy Wall Street has been called The Movement of Movements, and justly so. The protest camp has become a place where people from these diverse fields can meet to educate one another, to uncover their similar needs and issues, and to mobilize. From this process, common goals have been identified, and a Declaration of the Occupation has already been written and approved by the General Assembly. Fundamental to all of the diverse issues is the fact that, as stated in the Declaration, we live in “a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.” The main point is clear: with corporate control of the political process, there can be no democracy, and from this injustice stem the innumerable issues that plague our nation today.

Within this issue, and central to the movement, is the goal of holding executives responsible for the practices that contributed to the current economic collapse, and addressing the problem of the outrageous disparity in wealth, where the top 1% of Americans own 35% of the wealth and the bottom 40% own just 0.3% of the wealth in the United States (according to economist William Donhoff of UC Santa Cruz). This has become the rallying cry of the movement: We Are The 99%. “I really like the 99% notion because it shows how much power there can be in that group when they are united for a cause,” says Victoria Henry, class of 2013J, who has attended Occupy Northampton and Spanish Liberation protests this summer. “I think it’s definitely empowering.”

Yet beyond this common ground, there is not yet a list of demands. This, however, is intentional. As explained in the second edition of the Occupy Wall Street Journal, written and published by the movement, there is no list of demands because “we are speaking to each other, and listening. This occupation is first about participation.” Part of the strength of the movement is the way it has appealed to such a large mass of supporters, fundamentally because it has not yet narrowed itself. The article then warns that the “the exhausted political machines and their PR slicks are already seeking leaders to elevate, messages to claim, talking points to move on. They, more than anyone, will attempt to seize and shape this moment. They are racing to reach the front of the line.” In the face of this danger, the movement continues to remain non-hierarchical, working through direct participatory democracy and consensus decision-making. And this approach appears to be working: the occupation is growing. “I met people who had come from all corners of the US, students, mothers with their children, older couples, people from all socioeconomic classes, race, gender, sexual orientation and age,” says Stephanie Greene, class of 2015, who stayed in Liberty Plaza for part of Fall Break, “the movement is open to all identities, and its growing every day.” Now that a precise Declaration of the Occupation has been agreed upon, the General Assembly has been organizing a list of demands, which will begin with concrete, political demands that work within the current democratic system- bills to be supported, bills to be written –before moving onto addressing issues that call for a more radical subversion of our economic and political system.

I hope this has been helpful, and I really hope that you will choose to support this movement. If you find something about the movement you disagree with, I would encourage you to speak up about that, and instead of dismissing the movement altogether, work to promote the change you would like to see. That is the way that the movement has worked so far, and they are very receptive to suggestions. Thanks for trying to get informed!

[-] 1 points by jonvonleaderhosen (50) 12 years ago

While it is wrong for our government to give bail-outs to businesses, basically picking the winners and losers in what is supposed to be a free market society; some responsibility does rest on us as consumers. How many people entered into mortgages that they could not pay for, and how many agreed to baloon payments, variable interest rates, and 'arm' loans without first researching what they were getting into? People crashed the mortgage industry through bad choices, and then the government reimbursed the banks with tax money from the people. It seems like it would be a wash, but the problem is that the bottom 50% of wage earners pay no taxes after deductions and refunds and they were the ones who defaulted all those loans. The top 1% of wage earners, that you are protesting, pay 40% of all the tax revenues collected by the government. the other 49% pay the other 60% of tax revenues. So, really 40% of the bail-outs were paid by those that were bailed out & really it is the upper middle-class and the semi-wealthy people who really got screwed because they're footing 60% of the bail-outs to the top 1% which was neccessary because of the bad choices of the bottom 50%. A little food for thought ;)

[-] 1 points by WhyIsTheCouchAlwaysWet (316) from Lexington, KY 12 years ago

The 99% and 1% rhetoric is mostly making a point that the group is inclusive of everyday Americans and making a point about the steadily increasing economic gap between those every day Americans and the super affluent.

The rallying cause of this protest is about the strangle hold of influence that big business has over the American government. They trashed our economy with risky investments, then received interest free loans at tax payer expense while the rest of us deal with the real repercussions.

The message gets obscured because this is a populist, leaderless movement. Everyone speaks for themselves.