Saturday, November 26, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: A One-Sign Summary

It's been over a month since I posted my little rant about the hypocrisy of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Based on the signs I saw on the news the day I shot it, the protesters were out there rallying against corporate greed (whatever that is). But 700,000+ views later, along with several death threats and literally hundreds of comments calling me the most vile names you can imagine, I still haven't heard a succinct explanation of what exactly the OWS movement is trying to do. I've received dozens of different explanations as to what they're protesting and what they're trying to accomplish. Probably time to re-group and work up a little mission statement? I think so.

But then I was forwarded a picture (which originally appeared at The picture really does sum up the entire movement:

This image is incredibly powerful. Look at it again. Read it again.

I'm starting to think we really are screwed. Throughout the OWS movement, I've been heartened by messages I've received, from people of all ages, who dismiss these protesters as a very loud, entitled minority with a pervasive victim mentality, out there shouting and trying to out-do each others' pithy signs, while the rest of us fulfill our responsibilities by working hard and being accountable for our own success or failure. But looking at this picture makes me nervous.

Anyway, there you have it. Happy belated Thanksgiving. Drop me a comment below; tell me how you feel about this image...


  1. I've written two small missives on the subject as well, and I view the OWS movement in the same way you do: and

    And this is the comment I wrote on my friend's blog ( about his comments regarding OWS movement here in Ottawa:

    "These people believe that they are ENTITLED to having good jobs, that they are ENTITLED to have good pay, that they are ENTITLED to have good benefits, and they are ENTITLED to have someone else pay for it.

    I have not gotten anything in my life without earning it. I’ve been steadily employed since I was 15 (so 27 years now). That employment paid for my education, paid for my first house, paid for my second, contributes regularly to RRSPs, my kids’ education, my car payments…

    At no point along the way did I EVER expect someone else to do all of this for me."

  2. It's shocking that the OWS's idea of "doing something" is in fact "doing nothing"... just in a public place. That mentality is a failure in its own.

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  4. Very, very scary. And it's coming from people of all ages and backgrounds.
    Also, just a bit ironic, since most of OWS presumably hold JFK in high esteem.

  5. Matt, does punctuation mean as little to you as facts apparently do? There's a question mark at the end of the sign. It's asking the people who dominate our government with their money if THEY think asking their country what it can do for THEM, which is what THEY do when they spend their millions to lobby OUR elected representatives, is really the way to go rather than asking what THEY can do for their country. It's obvious you only see things the way you want to see them without regard for what's right in front of your face.

  6. Looking at that picture should make you nervous. Just as looking at people carrying semi automatic weapons to protests should make you nervous. These are nervous times and both the Right and the Left now have many unhappy campers in their midst. And because we would rather play the blame game and piss on each other's leg instead of finding common ground, I do not see things getting better anytime soon.

  7. I admit that things are looking rather bleak at the moment, but the longer this lunacy continues, the more these "occupiers" keep exposing themselves as the entitled, spoiled children they are.

    I'm disgusted (but not surprised) that David Crosby and Graham Nash got in on this farce. The irony is that they're just a couple of old millionaire capatilist hippies, greedily drumming up more fans who'll pay exorbitant prices for tickets to their next (not free) concert.

    Keep doing what you're doing, Matt. There are millions of us out here who feel the same way that you do. (I've subscribed thru RSS. Google is getting rid of GFC in March 2012)

  8. Get over it. The right to assemble and protest is guaranteed to all Americans in the First Ammendment to the Constitution:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    So here's the don't have to "get" OWS in order for it to be valid. You make some very smug generalizations about who the protesters are, when in actuality they represent a broad cross-section of ages, genders, ethnic persuasions, and socio-economic backgrounds that defy your caricatures. You seem to imply that by owning cell phones, computers, and winter coats (the products of evil corporations) that people have somehow forfeited the right to protest against the corporate "purchase" of the US government. Wrong, sir. We may all be bent over the barrel, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

    If you want to know what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about, don't wait around for someone to come and spell it out for you, just Google their mission. It's right there on the internet for anyone to read. If you don't like what they stand for, then don't join in. And RELAX...your world isn't going to stop spinning because some people are out there protesting. But don't criticize what you don't understand. Making such gross generalizations only hurts your credibility and makes you look like a tool.

    By the way, I am a 40-something, professional woman, who graduated debt-free from college with honors. I have never asked for a handout in my life, or expected anyone to give me anything. I spent two days in Zuccotti Park on a recent trip to NYC. So please tell me again, who is OWS?

    Oh, and P.S. - you have completely misuderstood the sign in the picture above. I suggest YOU read it again, and note the question mark at the end. Kinda changes the meaning a bit...

  9. Kristina,

    The OWS protesters can protest all they want but whenever they start to put a drain on public funds, then they have gone too far. And they have taken over PUBLIC property and caused many thousands of dollars in damage and costs that Joe Taxpayer needs to fund even if they disagree. Whenever you put a burden on others and make them do something against their will, that is a form of slavery. Sorry.

    I also want some of the people in this forum who back the OWS to tell me why they support them and what specifically can be done to help everybody. A lot of what they want is handouts and that is exactly what is causing all of the problems now.

    Just look at the riots in Greece and Spain and Italy and, most recently, England. Do you want that to come to our country?

    Sorry, most of what they want smacks of socialism and no socialistic society has ever brought prosperity to the lower class--they have only pushed them down further.

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  11. There is nothing in the OWS mission that calls for a Socialist system of government. Socialism is anachronistic. It is a failed system of government in every corner of the world, and everybody knows that. The only people who continually dredge up the boogey man of Socialism are Tea Partiers trying to instill fear and loathing.

    This is about a plutocracy - which is rule by the wealthy - which is what our political system is and has been. It is about campaign finance reform, and lobby reform. Whatever costs the public incurred from damage to public parks is nothing compared to the cost that the public has been forced to bear from taxpayer funded corporate bailouts that enabled CEO's to continue paying themselves hefty bonuses even as their companies failed. Now that is true slavery, and makes public park damage look like the child's play that it is.

    As far as I can see, the only people getting handouts are the people at the very top of the pyramid who are pulling all the strings. And it ain't you or me, or the "freeloaders" down at OWS. You are the 99% whether you think you are or not. Until this country gets very serious about getting big corporate money out of the political system, corruption will be inevitable, and the people that government is meant to serve will be the losers. It has to change.

    And sorry, but trickle down economics just hasn't worked. Statistic after statistic bears that out. The folks at the top are reveling in historically unprecidented tax breaks, and yet we have the worst job market in decades. People don't want jobs handed to them, they just want the opportunity to get a job at a living wage without having to beat out 500 other desperate people for the pleasure. If you have a good job, like I do, then you are lucky. Many people I know who are educated, hardworking people, are piecing together a frail living by working multiple part-time jobs well below their skill level, with no health insurance, one misstep away from complete disaster. That could easily be you or job loss, one illness is all it takes. But hey, as long as the CEO's and politicians are doing ok, then I will sure sleep better at night! Good night and good luck!

  12. busbus - slavery? Overstating a tad? Or does fear of something you do not understand just kick in an automatic reflex to come up with words that have no relation to that which you fear. Using your tax dollars to clean up is not slavery.

    I support any group's right to protest what they think are injustices. Even the Tea Party's protests. I do not have to agree with either to support the basic right of protest.

    As kristina says, it's not the handouts you claim they want but the perception that Wall Street is getting more than their fair share of handouts.

    In my mind both the Tea Party movement of the Right and the OWS movement from the Left should tell everyone that we have serious issues at the top. It is crisis of leadership. Instead of the average folks who make up both movements pissing down each other's leg, maybe it is time for both to go after the leadership that seems determined to use whatever it can to keep us all busy arguing with each other instead of focusing on them.

    If you do not think there is common ground, then you have already been programmed and are now part of the problem instead of part of the solution.