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NYT: Protesters Don’t Know What To Demand

From a feigning ignorance New York Times:

Protesters Debate What Demands, if Any, to Make

October 16, 2011

In a quiet corner across the street from Zuccotti Park, a cluster of 25 solemn-faced protesters struggled one night to give Occupy Wall Street what critics have found to be most lacking.

“We absolutely need demands,” said Shawn Redden, 35, an earnest history teacher in the group. “Like Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ ”

Now that these OWS protesters demands are becoming more painfully clear — and embarrassing, the New York Times and the rest of the media will do their best to claim that they don’t really have any organized demands.

The influence and staying power of Occupy Wall Street are undeniable: similar movements have sprouted around the world, as the original group enters its fifth week in the financial district.

Really? There are still only about 300 people down in Zuccotti Park. The Occupation protests in other US cities have been uniformly paltry, with the news media always outnumbering the protesters. The "similar movements" around the world, like in Rome, all predate the OWS movement.

And their influence is most certainly deniable, since even the Democrat-controlled Senate voted down the Obama ‘Jobs Bill,’ even as OWS protesters were trying to storm the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has had no trouble whatsoever denying the influence and staying power of the Tea Party. Which is actually a ‘grassroots movement.’ And one which brought about, among other things, one of the biggest political power shifts in history less than a year ago, when more than 800 Democrat seats went Republican across the land and in Washington DC.

And there is no doubt whatsoever what the Tea Party wants. Even though The Times and the rest of the news media pretend otherwise.

Yet a frequent criticism of the protesters has been the absence of specific policy demands.

Mr. Redden and other demonstrators formed the Demands Working Group about a week and a half ago, hoping to identify specific actions they would formally ask local and federal governments to adopt.

Not "ask" — demand. You know, like terrorists always do.

But the very nature of Occupy Wall Street has made that task difficult, in New York and elsewhere.

Why? The Tea Party hasn’t had any problem formulating what they want.

Although Occupy Seattle has a running tally of votes on its Web site — 395 votes to “nationalize the Federal Reserve,” 138 for “universal education” and 245 to “end corporate personhood,” for example — Mike Hines, a member of the group, said the list would soon be removed because the provisions had not been clearly explained and because some people were not capable of voting online…

And never mind that most of the OWS crowd have no idea what any of these things even mean.

In New York, the demands committee held a two-hour open forum last Monday, coming up with two major categories: jobs for all and civil rights.

It’s just like when you drop a tab of acid and during your trip your write down your profound discovery. Only to come to the next day and see that you have scrawled "all is one" on your bedroom wall. — Or so I am told.

The team will continue to meet twice a week to develop a list of specific proposals, which it will then discuss with protesters and eventually take to the General Assembly, a nightly gathering of the hundreds of protesters in the park.

Lest we forget, Robespierre has his General Assembly, too. And we all know how that turned out. (Millions were slaughtered.)

A two-thirds majority would have to approve each proposal, and any passionate opponent could call for the entire vote to be delayed.

The General Assembly has already adopted a “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” which includes a list of grievances against corporations and a call for others to join the group in peaceful assembly. To many protesters, that general statement is enough, and the open democracy of Zuccotti Park is the point of the movement

Apparently, the editors of the New York Times are embarrassed by that "list of grievances." So they have to pretend that there is no agreed upon list.

Speaking of history, one of the major causes of the American Revolution was the British army’s occupation of Boston and then New York City. And that ‘army of occupation’ was no more foreign than this one is.

“Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond,” said Gabriel Willow, a protester strolling past a sleeping-bag pod of young adults in the park last Monday. “It’s not like we couldn’t come up with any, but I don’t think people would vote for them.”

Although Monday’s open forum was meagerly attended,

Didn’t this article just tell us that open democracy is the point of this ‘movement’?

politically active members like Cecily McMillan and David Haack, who first proposed formulating demands in a pre-campout planning meeting in August, said they were ready to take action…

“Let’s give ourselves two weeks,” Ms. McMillan said about presenting provisions to the General Assembly. Ms. McMillan, 23, a New School graduate student, feels such dedication to the cause that she has contemplated taking a sabbatical from her studies [sic]— but she has begun to worry that the movement could become “a joke” without specific goals. Still, with the right demands, she said, more union members and diverse contingencies could join.

They have already got the Neo-Nazis and the Communists and just about every union in the country behind them. As well as the Democrat Party. What more could they want?

In Austin, Tex., participants agreed on four demands, including an end to corporate personhood and tax reform. One Austin activist, Lauren Walker, linked the movement’s goals directly to government officials.

“This is our time because we’re coming up to the 2012 elections,” she said, suggesting that protesters saw the presidential election as a “deadline” to draft revolutionary policy suggestions.

In other words, this is all about re-electing Obama. By revolutionary means.

Elsewhere, Occupy Boston, Occupy D.C. and Occupy Philadelphia were among the many groups in the movement slowly formulating demands, though in each city, opposition has arisen from skeptical demonstrators…

We would love to see these protesters reaction to real opposition. In fact, we have. They react very violently.

In Boston, Meghann Sheridan wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “The process is the message.” In Baltimore, Cullen Nawalkowsky, a protester, said by phone that the point was a “public sphere not moderated by commodities or mainstream political discourse.” An Occupy Cleveland participant, Harrison Kalodimos, is even writing a statement about why demands are not the answer…

Again, when did Tea Party supporters ever get so much attention from the New York Times or any members of the news media? Except to be mocked or portrayed as racist know-nothings?

[But] New York’s small group of focused activists said they would not yield.

“If we don’t make demands, the political parties will make them for us,” a longtime protester, Eric Lerner, 64, said from his spot in the cluster last Monday. “We have to get it right this time.”

The Times can’t be bothered to tell its unfortunate readers that Mr. Lerner is a long time radical crackpot. He is a (former?) member of the SDS, and one of the organizers of the notorious 1968 Columbia Students strike.

So, sure, he wants to "get it right this time."

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 17th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “NYT: Protesters Don’t Know What To Demand”

  1. Melly says:

    Grrrrrrrreat to see you Steve!

  2. sticks says:

    So “the process is the message” ok so what exactly is the message? That a certain percentage of people have nothing better to do than hang out in the park and yell meaningless slogans they were taught while causing a headache for the police, oh and by the way they want the “rich” to foot the bill for all liberal craziness (including these “protests”)

  3. DW says:

    The blog Big Journalism has some interesting information about popular media figures actively assisting these protesters:

    Journolist 2.0: Occupy Wall Street Emails Show MSM, Dylan Ratigan, Working With Protesters To Craft Message

    Big Journalism has learned that the Occupy Washington DC movement is working with well-known media members to craft its demands and messaging while these media members report on the movement. Someone has made the emails from the Occupy Wall Street email distro public and searchable. The names in the list are a veritable who’s who in media.
    Journolist 2.0 includes well known names such as MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi who both are actively participating; involvement from other listers such as Bill Moyers and Glenn Greenwald plus well-known radicals like Noam Chomsky, remains unclear. The list also includes a number of radical organizers, such as Kevin Zeese.

    The full article along with many links can be found here:


  4. Anonymoose says:

    I live in a extremely liberal town (had to go where the job is), and every week there are “war protestors” out on the corner, with signs saying “Honk if you’re for peace!”

    Sometimes it’s a handful, other times a minor crowd, and I’ve noted periodically they have union members (identifiable by their caps/vests) and a few times the hispanic/immigrant crowd.

    I’m sure these people have some convoluted way to say this is effective and raises awareness and critically important, but I’ve seen them like clockwork for three years now and nothing has changed a bit. Not even their signs.

    Similarly, the OWS protestors are as ineffective; it’s been more amusing reading their conspiracy theories of how anything that portrays them as a sparse and disorganized rabble is a mind control of the corporate right, or how the left wing press is suddenly only reporting what Republicans want to hear.

    In the end they’re in a Catch-22; they can’t be organized and meaningful without losing the anarchical “pure grassroots” sympathies they hold so close. As soon as they start to coalesce the members will begin to smell (pun intended) political interests not of their own making and pull away for the next protest of the people.

    • Mithrandir says:

      My favorite thing to do, is pull up to the light, when it turns green, honk the horn, the liberal group will whip their heads around to cheer me on, only to see my middle finger up over my car roof.–Watch their smile flip-flop in 1/10 of a second.

      Keep the music loud enough to indicate you can’t hear them calling you a racist. . . Drive away, honk the horn a few times more with your finger up……they’re watching, don’t worry.

  5. Mithrandir says:

    This is what happens when you get the ‘march email’ from the local commissars but they forgot to tell you why.


    ~They always show up, and maybe, just maybe the perfect storm will hit, the crowd will be whipped-up into a frenzy, there will be a flashpoint, and the revolution is on! The politicians must be rubbing their hands in glee just hoping for that right moment to assume total power when the minions complete their dirty work. “Thank you brothers in arms. The people have spoken! Now we must rule!”

    ~The Obama administration is looking for a pulse, ANY pulse out there, –any way to get liberals fired up about something. They just need bodies gathered, the media will lie about the rest. The multiple camera angles of 3 people standing together to make it look like 1000s, a close up of a fiery speech of 1 guy on a park bench, the 24/7 media hammering of the message like loyal soldiers, a catch-phrase given to a protester, an excuse to pass more abusive legislation, an iconic image that will transcend the movement! –too bad they are a bunch of confused bums in sleeping bags huh?

    ~They got the politicians on their side, the unions, the police unions (like in Wisconsin) will do nothing, the courts won’t prosecute offenders, juries likely will not convict offenders. They have nothing to lose except that flashpoint, and they all mill-around waiting for it to happen, usually they go home disappointed.

    But that is what all this festering mob anger is really all about. It’s why all those dirt-bags showed up outside at the O.J. verdict, to intimidate, to riot, to be on hand “in case they are needed.” –it’s the liberal way.

  6. BigOil says:

    I believe we can boil their demands down to simply they want stuff – preferably free stuff.

    My personal belief is this ginned up movement is a dry run to prepare for the real thing down the road – probably around election time. A boot camp for radicals.

    • mr_bill says:

      You said it, BigOil. They are already demanding what they want. They want money, but they don’t want to work one of those pesky jobs to obtain it. They think that just because somebody else has acquired wealth through education, hard work, insight, and perhaps a bit of luck, they should just hand over their wealth to these hoodlums who haven’t put in any effort to earn anything.

      Think about this, if just one of these protestors wanted a job, they could sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the crowd for a buck a piece and probably make a few hundred dollars a day on an “investment” of less than 20 bucks and only minimal effort in sales. They don’t want jobs, they want free stuff, as you said, and other peoples’ money. nerobama’s supporters thought he was going to gas up their cars and pay their mortgages and instead he paid off his buddies with our money. Now they want what they think he promised them 3 years ago. These poor fools will fall for anything and they have no idea they are being yanked around on a leash.

      nerobama did say that he wanted a civilian army and I bet he’s slobbering all over himself watching these little commies waiting for his directions. He has fanned the flames of disdain for success, now he is fomenting outright hatred for those who have made this country great. We have seen democrats advocating “suspending” elections, nerobama openly encouraging these thugs, and worse. Mark my words, something wicked is on its way. I don’t want to think about what these thugs will do when nerobama gets thrown out of office next year.

    • tranquil.night says:

      They wanna know where dem Jews hid all the gold.

  7. untrainable says:

    Watching these people blather on is like watching a 5 year old (sorry 5 year olds everywhere) having a temper tantrum in the Toys R Us. One of the first demands I heard was for : a “living wage” regardless of employment status. That pretty much says it all. They want free money. Enough free money to live comfortably. Meaning affordable mansions for all, free education, free healthcare, freedom from an oppressive “job” or a boss who makes more than “living wage”.

    The USA is currently borrowing 40% of everything government spends. The only money the government has is taken from the people WHO HAVE JOBS through taxes. If everyone is guaranteed a living wage without a job… where exactly is their living wage going to come from? I mean, If you can get paid for nothing… who’s going to work? So who’s paying the taxes? Will they be expected to pay taxes on their free government money? At what rate?

    If the flea party protestors had 2 brain cells to rub together between them they would realize that if govt. pays them for nothing, then eventually the ponzi scheme they’re demanding would end about as well as Bernie Madoff’s did. Eventually they’ll run out of other people’s money. Then what? They will have contributed nothing to the scheme, but they will have collected as much as they could. They will have destroyed the engine that creates prosperity. They will have destroyed the banking industry. And with the oil and coal industries currently on the Obama chopping block, our country will be little more than a 3rd world cesspool and the America we grew up in will be relegated to the pages of history. A footnote that says a 200+ year experiment in freedom failed because critical thinking was crushed under the heel of liberal government’s educationally imposed ignorance and the audacity of “hope and change”. Thanks Barry.

    Judge the flea party by their friends. The Nazi party is on their side. The Communist party is on their side. The Hollywierd liberal elite is on their side. The whacko left is on their side. People who openly shit on police cars are on their side. And finally, our glorious leader is on their side. ‘Nuff said.

    • Mithrandir says:

      Remember: “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.” –Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa

      Now you know how and why the Occupy people exist.

      The democrats need a pulse, totally jealous of the Tea Party, so ……here you are.

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The behavior of a nation, much like a dog, cannot be judged by the actions of its fleas. But you can get an idea of what ails it. Once the fleas are gone, you can better assess the character of the dog.

    The US is being irritated by fleas. They are distracting us from focusing on the matters-at-hand. And, like fleas, they will not go away on their own. It is good that conservatives are exposing them for the pests that they are. Little, annoying blood-suckers who while away their time damaging the very host that gives them life.

    That, of course, is the definition of a parasite.

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