Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the space of power


since its eviction from municipalities all over the country, occupy wall street (OWS hereon) has faded from the news. detractors couldn't be happier. it plays into this assumption that the movement lacked political program and/or direction. OWS had a visible center of energy and attracted a great deal of attention. the status quo had the right intuition: Dismantle it!
If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye. 

though is still too early to say that OWS has failed, there is no doubt that the movement has suffered a setback. how is the status quo so effective in trampling on peoples' rights?

wall street precipitated the 2008 global financial crisis, but they were able to preempt their fall with a "too big to fail" narrative. they got bailed out by the taxpayers and proceeded to (what would you expect?) do business as usual. congress was overwhelmed by an army of lobbyists (twenty-five times the lobbyists defending bank interests as promoting reform!), the result was a reform package that has not addressed any of the fundamental issues that led to the bubble and the burst and the collapse of our economy.

it seems that this time people could see through the system's hall-of-mirrors. the "normal" of the g.w. bush years seemed like a patent display of systemic dysfunction. the 1% had taken our government hostage. how? money interests in the form of campaign contributions (30-70% of our politicians' time is spent rising money for the next campaign!). it's no secret that our government has become a mouth piece of corporate and personal interests. plutocracy rules!
What instead we saw was that congress was overwhelmed by an army of lobbyists – twenty-five times the lobbyists defending bank interests as promoting reform! The product of that swarm of bank lobbyists was a reform package that has not addressed any of the fundamental issues that led to the bubble and the burst and the collapse of our economy. And that’s testimony to Wall Street’s extraordinary power over the left and the right.

lawrence lessig's prescription (above) goes hand in hand with what philosopher john rawls perceives as "one of the main defects of constitutional government," i.e., "the failure to establish the fair value of political liberty":
(...) Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal systemPolitical power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored positionUniversal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish constitutional rule are seldom properly presented.1
these disparities in distribution are legitimized and internalized by people as "personal freedom-narratives," which produce policies perceived -and enacted- as participatory spaces. it's very difficult to become aware that one's own freedom could be "programmed" the system makes it look all fair: to start, the field is opened for all. that only a few seem to make it is not the system's fault, but instead the way things are. it all boils down to personal choices. some just work harder and make it to the 1%!    

take a look at how a chuck bentley, writing for the washington times defends power's narrative:
The only clear phrase of Occupy Wall Street is the call of the 99 percent (mainstream society) against the privileged and aristocratic 1 percent. But the definition of the 1 percent depends on who is doing the calculating and from where they hail. The likes of Michael Moore, Jay Z and Warren Buffet strangely have been given a pass. Few protesters seem to be aware that as citizens of the United States, they've already experienced an unfair financial advantage. According to World Bank figures, the poorest 10 percent of Americans have more income than nearly 4 billion other inhabitants of the planet. Put another way, Americans are relatively rich compared to most of their global counterparts. 
 are we really?

is comparing ourselves with the worse off a reliable way of improving our deficiencies?

16th century humanist étienne de la boétie examines why people usually exhibit bentley's kind of soporific complacency:
It is this, that men born under the yoke thereafter nourished & brought up in servitude are content, without searching any further, to live like they are used to not being aware at all of any other situation or right than the one they know, they accept as natural the condition into which they were born. 2
la boétie mentions a second reason for what he calls "voluntary servitude": the secret of power's domination lies in that it revolves around a structured systems of threats and privileges.

the internalization of the regimes of an impersonal status quo is explored by michel foucault's critique of power. once we've internalized power's subtle constraints, we end up perceiving it as part of our freedoms! power is tolerable because it "masks a substantial part of itself," its success "is proportional to its ability to hide its own mechanisms" 3

power is effective because we are able to tolerate it, according legitimacy to relations of power to the extent to which we fear the chaos which may result in the absence of its presumed stability. the modern subject becomes colonized with "new methods whose operation is not ensured by right but by technique, not by law but by normalization, not by punishment but by control, methods that are employed on all levels and in forms that go beyond the state and its apparatus" 4

with democracy, we take it that the system has rules, that those rules are fair and that we should abide by them. as pieces on a game-board, some moves are licit or illicit depending of the rules defined by the game. so "truth" means making the right moves in a discourse. "right" is what is dictated or tolerated by a truth-regime's criteria for what is acceptable or sanctioned (or excluded by its mechanisms). this is what foucault means when he says that power produces truth rather than merely distorting it. power produces this illusion of "justice" (since it offers spaces of opposition and potential correction).

let's problematize this point: we are not saying that there are no spaces of opposition. only that in our present climate, these spaces have been co-opted by the system.

this is the how charles kadlec, a contributor to forbes magazines depicts OWS: to occupy ... is to take possession of someone else’s property through the power of the mob.
take bloomberg's justification of his decision to evict OWS by force:
 No right is absolute and with every right comes responsibilities. The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out – but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others – nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here – the First Amendment protects speech – it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.

police action seeks justification behind a narrow interpretation of the first amendment (as if dissension could not be seen as part of the first amendment's content):
...free speech should be taken beyond merely "tolerating" dissent: the first amendment should be taken to reflect a constitutional commitment to promoting dissent... dissent is necessary to combat injustice.5
following foucault, we can suggest a space of power:

1- a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately on others, 2-  a normalizing regime, 3- a back-and-forth movement of anonymous processes of subjugation, 4- "a total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible actions", 5- a technology of "disciplinary production of life."

A protester arrested by the police at Zucotti Park, November 15, 2011
countering this trend of power, we may have to reevaluate "place" as a heterogeneous dynamic locus of community, resisting a variety of exclusions, i.e., sexism, racism, ethnic chauvinism and class devaluation, as well fostering inclusions, i.e., joining together in the fostering of an energizing a community.  true, place can imply control and surveillance as much as community and free expression.

in this moment of dissolution of places into micro-virtual differences of solipsistic satisfaction, consumption becomes the sole means of individual communication. "pursuit of happiness" is defined in terms of what we purchase, own & enjoy, as if these things were "real" needs. we miss the bigger picture that consumer society ties the individual into a network of dependencies. this is the subtle and pervading challenge of power: the modern subject becomes domesticated with "needs."

Barbara Kruger, I Shop Therefore I am, 1987
first, new commodities make the necessary chores that much easier, and then the chores become too difficult to do unaided, so what is necessary cannot be distinguished from what is unnecessary but which one can no longer do without.6
each new commodity imply its own new necessity. 

the system has become so ubiquitous that people are clueless to the many links of the chain of commodities. OWS is no exception. the protesters (and for that matter, many of us) fall victim to what could be labeled as the fallacy of "protesting X while consuming X":
Recently, Apple Inc. surpassed Exxon Mobil as the wealthiest American company. The disparity between the two companies' products could not be greater, and yet unlike the ideas of the occupiers, have integration. You would find very little conflict with Apple's wealth in the crowd of protesters occupying Wall Street. Many of them are communicating with iPhones and appreciate their value, and rightfully so. Apple is their example of clean, efficient technology. But mention the name Exxon and you will most likely receive looks of revulsion and a speech about why Exxon is the reason for the ills of the world.
The truth is Apple would not have been a Wall Street entity trading at more than $400 without Exxon.7
against power's colonization of space, we must present an equally effective opposing space. let's call it a space of resistance, where "things are not as self-evident as one believed, to see that what is accepted as self-evident will no longer be accepted as such."8

(it will continue)
1 Steven H. Shiffrin's Dissent, Injustice and the Meanings of America (Princeton University Press, 1999). p. 94. 2 La Boétie, Discours de la Servitude Volontaire, p. 22, cited in  Roland Bleiker Popular Dissent, Human Agency and Global Politics (Cambridge University Press: 2000) p. 63. 3 Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality (Vintage: 1990), p. 86 4 Ibid. p. 89. 5 The suggestion that society should nurture dissent is defended by Ian Shapiro, Democracy's Place (Cornell University Press, 1996).  6 "Practicing Criticism", in Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings, 1977-1984, ed. Lawrence D. Kritzman, tr. Alan Sheridan et al. (New York: Routledge, 1988), p. 155. 7 James H. Head, "The Hypocrisy of Occupying Wall Street," The Washington Times, October 13, 2011. Much more so, after the recent revelations of Apple's sweat shops in China.  8 See The Consumer Society and the Postmodern City (Routledge: 2003), p. 109.


Danielle said...

Good post Triff.

charlene said...

agree about the artificial needs.
a good example is the automobile. What can I do without an automobile in Florida? I am forced to have it. do I need it? NO.

Octavio Guerra said...

Ok, I agree: let's take away all government: let criminals, mafias and other's right violators take the streets.
Ok, let´s take the bankers and corporations out of the equation, who will produce oil, electricity, ships, trains, airplanes..?
Who will sustain universities and schools, build hospitals, expressways, airports, railroad tracks, ports? Who will invest in industries, agriculture, Internet servers, communication satellites?

Who will create new jobs? Who will give away welfare and philanthropy?

And, right away...

Who will distribute “social wealth” (if such thing exists at all) evenly?

Who will keep mobs, terrorists, pirates, dictators, etc. out of sight?

A "new man"? A communist government? a small business owner? the little farmer? The working class? Anarchists? Liberals? Christians? Taliban? Greenpeace? Artists?


Only with that neomarxist metabullshit with any knowledge off economy, sociology, history?

Don't make me laugh!

Alfredo Triff said...

Ok, I agree: let's take away all government...

octavio: agree with what?

i don't see how my critique presupposes the disappearance of government. so all that "about who will produce"-talk does not follow (including "only with that neomarxist metabullshit").
keep overgeneralizing though. it's fun.

Javier Figueras said...

It is always interesting when we discuss what goes on in Wall Street and in our government in general. The fact is that we have not hit an economic collapse...yet! It is inaccurate to say that we have, but it is not over-exaggerated to think that perhaps it is time that we place Wall Street under a rigorous jurisdiction that will monitor its activities to prevent the irresponsible spending that existed in the past, to happen again. The questions that Mr. Octavio Guerra, brought up are pivotal to this argument. Who do we, the citizens and residents of The United States, turn to when we need the means to get educated, rehabilitated, fed, protected? How do we give away programs and practices such as welfare and philanthropy? The reality is that changes come at a price, and many of us do not want to pay that price. We want to see change without the sacrifice. New jobs will begin to emerge in the American market, when America becomes the ideal place to do business like it once was after WWII. Until then, we will be in this back-and-forth with government officials and regulations, and continue to live in the uncomfortable and panic-filled situation that we have been in for the past 4 years. It is wrong to blame the years of G.W Bush's term as president for what has happened to our economy. Granted, the man made mistakes and some of his decisions were questionable. But one must keep in mind, that as President of the most powerful country in the world, it was his responsibility to act on the attacks that this country endured. Lives were lost, and someone needed to fight back. Criticism will always exist, but the world is a better place today, that Osama Bin Ladden and Sadam Hussein are dead. That has been an operation that the Bush Jr. administration started, and Barack Obama's administration executed and completed. But that is getting into a topic that has very little to do with "occupy wall street." But social wealth will be distributed differently depending on the administration in office. I look forward to seeing my peers comment on this, because quite frankly being a business student, it is my social responsibility to debate some of these topics.

Octavio Guerra said...

It can’t be more than that, fun, Triff, when you base any social or economic "critic" in the neo-Marxist , Marxist, post-Marxist or post-structuralism perspective…Such “critic” can't be serious from any theoretical point of view… I haven’t seen any Marxism theorist actually profiting from its “economic wisdom” except in a chair of French or Latin American University, "teaching" his great “knowledge” to the unwary youth in order to make their lives totally useless.

SeanBari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SeanBari said...

I truly enjoy reading these politically-centered posts! As we discussed recently in class, OWS was a matter of morality rather than one of political standpoints. Whether or not one is a Democrat or a Republican, it does not take a genius to note and understand the disparity we have seen in recent years between the rich and the poor. Huge corporations have toppled over the 99% that struggle to pay their bills and taxes. As an example, how can it be justified that presidential candidate Mitt Romney pays less than half the taxes of the average American when he is worth HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS?!?! Provided, the Republican standpoint for years has been to cut taxes for the rich so that they are able to create jobs for the middle class/poor. On the other hand, the Democrats have taken the argument of a "rise from the bottom," where taxes cut for the poor will help ensure a stronger middle class. Which standpoint is "right"?! Yeah, I don't think anyone is prepared to answer that question. Rather, reviewing our notes, answering that question would serve as the fallacy of false dilemma. This isn't a matter of right or wrong, rich or poor, donkey or elephant. People need to understand that our economy is a mess today. No attempts of ANY leader to make the economy better are going to be as effective as they would be in a healthier economy. Yet, OWS is a step in the right direction for our government to note that CHANGE MUST HAPPEN TO BETTER OUR ECONOMY. This will not be easy, but my view stand that this change should not be one of a certain political party. Rather, this should be one as the UNITED States of America: the country that allows healthy protest like OWS without the political/corporate manipulation that we have seen in New York recently.

Addys said...

Seriously, who on earth would not like corporations to keep working? I mean, we are talking about employment, economic progress for the country and for the people in general. Why would someone protest against these?
I hear everyday people complaining about the downfall of employment and the economy in general and yet there people like the participants in “Down with Evil Corporations” are protesting against these corporations that give them JOBS. What do these people want? To go back in time and communicate through smoke signals, or perhaps travel in a horse miles and miles to deliver a message, o no wait! Wear sheep skin as clothing?
Come on! These people should know better than that! If not let’s take a look at what they do:
(They are complaining about BC—big corporations right?)
They sleep in a bed (BC), go to work in their cars (BC), listening to music in an Ipod (BC) with earphones on (BC). They talk to their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover/friend on their cellphones (BC). On vacations they visit their family, outside the country, in an airplane (BC) or they go on a cruise (BC). They eat at McDonalds (BC), Burger King (BC), Wendy’s (BC), or Subway (BC).
In short their everyday life is supplied by Big Corporations. Without them, all of us would be eating dirt right now.

Nathalia Aldana said...

The Occupy Movement has been the result of many unsatisfied workers. I wonder whether these people who protest have actually voted to pick their representatives and elected officials… It’s interesting how everyone complaints that the economy is bad, that our politicians are not doing anything, and that the “government has become a mouthpiece of corporate and personal interests”, but then, how can we be dissatisfied for the current situation if we did not even pick the people on the Senate or the House. The voting outcome in national elections was less than 40% in 2008. Many local elections have had a voter turnout lower than 20% in the primaries. And these are the people who are occupying Wall Street?

I do agree with the movement in that there is a ridiculous gap between the rich and the poor and it should be reformed. Protests are good and they give a clear view of the discontentment of citizens. But first, VOTE. Did you know that we just had elections not only for the Presidential Primary but also for Miami Dade County Special elections this past 31st of January? Did you know we could access all the information of who funds candidate campaigns? This information is published so that citizens can infer the type of decisions he or she will make while on term and whether or not their platform is influenced by the interest of the corporations who fund him or her.

In addition, I wanted to point to this phrase: “power produces truth”. In class, we briefly discussed how there are different categories of the truth. There are numerical, logical, and moral truths. The most complex one is the truth that reflects a certain situation. Such is the case of people in power generating a truth that would reflect their circumstances and for their own benefit. It’s unfair for the 99% of the U.S population who deal with the consequences of their decisions. In contrast to the article, I think that power produces the illusion of injustice.

smarsan said...

It is true that our society has reached the peak of capitalism, as many experts state. Along with the evolution of technology, social events and world history, the definition of antique core values, such as happiness, have mutated to new conceptions in our modern times. Nowadays, happiness has narrowed down to possessions and disposable incomes as if that only could provide us with personal satisfaction and accomplishments. However, regardless of what people perceive as happiness, there is a huge gap between the happier ones and the less fortunate.
Although the movement Occupy Wall Street lacks a structured agenda and goals, we cannot avert the fact that it reflects a state of contempt in the lower classes. I do not think that occupying Wall Street is the most civilized way of addressing such an issue, but I do not think either that the opposition should depict this movement as a bunch of lazy people. For instance, in the post the author states “the protesters (and for that matter, many of us) fall victim to what could be labeled as the fallacy of "protesting X while consuming X.” The fact that the protesters use many of the brands that they protest against does not mean that their point of view is incoherent; we are in the twentieth-century, no one will take serious a manifestation Flintstone style. However, the one who uses a fallacy is the author by distorting the issue in question through an Ignoratio Elenchi, or irrelevant conclusion when using that phrase.

Jordan™ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juan Cardona said...

Even though I am not well educated with regards to the movement of occupy Wall Street (OWS), due to my lack of interest in politics, (which is a big mistake, because all of these issues affect me one way or another) it is evident that this movement has good intentions. Thousands of people march in anger demanding answers over lost jobs and ruined lives. Clearly the millions of people affected by the economic crisis want an end to the mess of Wall Street. It does not take a genius to know that something is not right; they are stilling money from the poor and giving it all to the rich. When the top 1% of wealth controls political decisions, when the money that comes straight out of banks goes to bonuses instead of taking care of problems the country faces, and when some of that same money goes to pay the politicians that make these decisions, people should be annoyed.

Juan Cardona

Dayron Leon said...

Whether we disagree or not, these people have all the right to go out, take the streets and protest for something they believe is being taken away from them. In fact, this is perhaps the single most beautiful thing about this country. However, just like some other of my colleges have pointed out, I do get a sense of disunity in their ambitions, goals and agendas. While some cling to the 2007 House fiasco, question the legitimacy of bank transactions and call for the “responsible” to be put on trial , others go as far as to advocate the eradication of the wealthy classes and total abolition of economic enterprise.
However crazy their ideas might sound, I do share some of their points. For example, I do believe that someone needs to be held accountable for the millions, if not the billions of dollars, placed into the hands of banks under the Obama programs. And by mentioning Obama in the whole dilemma I do not mean to taint him as being guilty of the situation. Quite the contrary, in fact I believe he has done everything in his power as president to combat unemployment, halt foreclosures and raise the standard of living in America. In my opinion, overall, the greatest problem America faces is not the quality of its presidents (well Bush wasn’t very smart…Sorry), but the integrity of its political structure.
Nowadays, both parties appear to be much more loyal to their own parties than to the populace that they are supposed to be representing in the first place. Rather than telling these folks to remove take out their tents, stop yelling and go back home we should be telling them to yell even louder at the doors of Wall Street or Capitol Hill itself. To me, it seems like Congressman and women fell asleep after years of political isolation in Washington D.C. Perhaps the time has come to give them a final wake up call.

Luisana Figuera said...

Most governments that rule today’s nations lack interest on people’s needs, focusing primarily on small groups of privileged, which are generally those with high incomes, and thus leaving behind those who really are affected by dishonesty. As the movement Occupy Wall Street, many opposition movements from around the world have been forgotten or may have not achieved their goals since they have not had good organization and orientation. Personally, I believe that US citizens have the obligation of exercising the right to vote for the candidates who create the policies that represent them.

Although this movement has “failed” at some point, they have expressed a discontent that will never be forgotten. Even thought many governments make huge efforts to silence opposition groups that claim for the mishandling of the law, these maneuvered politics can be noticed on the negative impact on societies . Every day more people will emerge to continue demanding their rights and showing their discontent since their leaders spend more money in wars and political campaigns instead of worrying about health, education and welfare for the citizens of this nation.

Luisana Figuera

Jordan™ said...

The issue that has unfolded in Wall Street has no rationale in their cause because there isn't a specific objective. The Occupy Wall Street (O.W.S.)movement started in the wrong foot due to their lack of organization. To start a movement, there must first be a vision that leads to the main goal, but the people from O.W.S. had only tried to get the governments attention without showing any specific structure to their motives. The view of happiness for most of the people in O.W.S. is to be in equal measures with the rich, yet it is reasonable to say that if they were rich "would they like to be bother for all the benefits they possess?". Instead of envying the rich, it is best to say that citizens must start focusing on how to make a better community for themselves and start voting for more beneficial ideas in their favor.
I'm in favor of supporting those that are in desperate need, but the middle class should pay attention more in who they elect than in protesting against the government. O.W.S. is not necessarily the greatest movement and neither does it has a common set of goals, but some of the points they manifest expresses the courage some people have to stand against some of the injustices caused by government. Everyone is free to make their own choices, so why let the high class decide everything for the rest.

JessicaFernandez said...

And theatrics continue. The political game is in full swing and setting set backs to those who truly care – those who truly care not only for the common interest of the one percent, but the ninety-nine percent who struggle and stress everyday to make it to tomorrow. Within this struggle; however, the very thing Occupy Wall Street is fighting against “consumes” them. “Consumes” them from the underwear they wear to the signs they hold up and the tents that have become their new homes. Everything leads back to the very corporations that have these fed up individuals protesting and fighting for their rights – rights that are being shut down and not listened to because the political theatre has become afraid. An afraid that has escaped fear and turned into a demonstration of power and a dismantlement of Occupy Wall Street.

I believe this dismantle will not last long, and Occupy Wall Street will soon recuperate and gain a supporter from the inside – it takes one of the one percent to stand up and slowly make progress – progress that is country needs to stay afloat and it itself not dismantle.

Beatrice A. said...

Money has and always will be the cause of all the destruction and manipulation that has taken and will continue to do so in our society. We all tend to complain about the economy, about the lack of employment, or how expensive the gas is, but yet, we tend to just watch it all happen. Sure, we have some who protest, but to create change, EVERYONE has to get involved. Our economy is on a downfall that is quickly spiraling. Where has all the money gone? We are supposedly the greatest country in the world, yet we cause the most destruction and are in great debt. Bush's years of presidency, in my opinion, are what led us to this point in time. His greediness and lack of care for his 'people’ drove him to waste trillions on an unnecessary war that could have been avoided. I believe the 911 attacks were just a scheme and it was all planned out, but we will agree to disagree. Everyone will have their own opinions on who’s responsible for our economies downfall. I believe the protests that are taking place in Wall Street show the dissatisfaction in society and also reveals that we are commencing to stand up for ourselves. Change must occur, or total destruction will be seen, not only for us, but for our generations to come. Think about it, would you want to see your loved ones suffer for our previous generation’s mistake? We are just as guilty if we just sit here and watch like robots programmed to listen and obey whatever is assigned to them. We the people have the power, not the government.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Occupy Wall Street, a political protest movement that originated in New York City, is a fair movement for those individuals that want to protest against something they feel is not fair. However, sometimes many of these citizens cause more problems instead of solving the one they are protesting for. Because of this, they are often observed as annoying and a threat to the community. For instance, the article regarding Zuccotti park protestors have taken possession of the park by covering it in tents and tarps. They have made it impossible for the public to safely navigate. Additionally, violence and danger have increase due to the point of view of the protestors and what the law believe is right to do... I believe that, instead of being outside screaming (which at the end doesn’t solve anything) they should look for others ways to solve the problem; for example, creating and organization, taking to powerful individuals etc. Also, they should be open-minded and look at the problem from different points of view since sometimes they can also be wrong. Maybe if they protest against the issue in a more educated and smarter way they might have the chance to solve the problem.

Eduardo Guizan

Anonymous said...

This issue is often viewed as a false dilemma contrasting a supposed belief of the OWS movement and its counterpart on the far right. As long as the debates on such topics remain sparse in the mainstream media they have little chance of making major political reform. The media has made it obvious that it is more interested in covering every move of the next presidential candidates rather than taking part in this movement. This is probably because the media is owned by the 1% aka the enemy of the OWS movement. Political reform against the ruling class has always been proposed and has far affected the relationship between the 1% and the 99% since the times of kings and queens. However, for the political system to be expected to make a 360 turn during times of economic distress is just foolish. This is a major problem with the drastic nature of the OWS movement. That being said, as a movement OWS has had enough momentum to make serious political change if it continues with the same vigor it began.

Michael Millard
Honors Philosophy

Anonymous said...

Iliet Payan

I've never understood politics or the reasons that the government does the things that it does. What they should focus on is the problem we are facing within the country instead of those abroad. We should mend our government and economy before helping other countries abroad. The officials that are sitting in their office this very moment is because we, the people, placed them there. If we don't like the decisions they are making then why re-elect them? How many billions of dollars have gone to waste in the presidential campaigns, which could have been put to good use? All they are doing is persuading those who are weak of mind to vote for them, those who watch their commercials and believe what they are saying. At the end the companies that sponsor the campaigns are those that benefit most from the president that comes to office

Nora Arce said...

Even though the “Occupy Wall Street” movement has been given more credit than it deserves, and people took up their cause when the movement started, it has been significantly dwindling in the last couple of months as they hype and media coverage has died down. Personally, I think it is extremely hypocritical of the protesters to be staking out night and day in tents stationed in the most noticeable parts of metropolises, shouting in outrage against the injustices of the 1% while pumping fists in the air and whipping out their iPhones to contact news stations to come film them and give the movement publicity. If they want to protest the big corporations, the corrupt government, and the policies that allegedly violate their human rights, why don’t they stop consuming all the products these corporations make? I remember walking down to Government Center with a group of friends to take the metro and coming across a furious protester that yelled incoherencies at us as he crossed to lawn to the tented area holding a paper bag from McDonald’s. The true reason for protesting has been lost, and now they are just trying to make some noise. Nevertheless, they can’t be blamed for doing the same thing our political leaders do all the time: make noise. They try to attract attention to themselves while simultaneously diverting it from the fallacies in their political platforms and the holes in their promises. They try to stand in the limelight so that everyone can notice them and so their names can stick to minds and they will be voted for, because at least the majority knows who they are and they assume “Well, he’s not such a bad guy.” The truth is, these politicians have forgotten what they stand for, much like the protesters, and do everything for the theatrics of it, gaining popularity and capturing the attention of the masses. It seems that these days, politicians don’t want to run against each other to become the future leader of a country they love and change the things that are not right, or amend those things that are half-right. They don’t seem to care about the people anymore (if they ever did in the first place) and simply run a popularity contest. As a student, I consider myself part of the future of America, and I hope we can change things before we get too deep into the tangled web of lies everyone has spun for us.

anggie99 said...

Although I would like to say that what the Opposing Wall Street movement is doing to stand up for the rights of that 99% of the population would stir up some kind of change in politics, this is very irrational to believe, in my opinion. If we pause to analyze the contribution of big corporations to political campaigns and to our “regular” everyday life, we can see that it takes a lot more than a group of protesters to change the empire that big corporations have established over the decades. It has gotten to the point where we have developed a symbiotic relationship with them, where we as consumers are dependent on the commodities big corporations sell us, and they depend on our consumption to grow even more (although economically, the balance weighs a lot more on their side). In this case, protesters have the right to go out and claim an answer regarding our economic downfall, but as mentioned in the post, they became part of that corrupted system when they first started feeding off of corporations (as we all have). It will take a good portion of the population for a protest of that magnitude to change the political standpoint about big corporations, but their effort is changing a lot of viewpoints and the media has been in charge of spreading their ideas through our nation.

Anggie Ferrer (MWF, PHI 2010H)

Elizabeth Timana said...

It is not uncommon for people to be hypocrites. I read somewhere that some of the people working to stop piracy in the FBI or CIA would actually download limewire music themselves for free. How hypocritical can it get? People feed their consumer needs and it is part of modern society. We are a mass consuming economy that rely on products and services to survive. Furthermore, there's the idea of power producing truth? What? There is not really any correct idea for justice and it is practically made up by subjective people. Then there's the OWS problem. It wants to and has connected to political parties. The spike of amount of money devoted to campaigns has had tremendous increases thanks to this relationship. The disparity between classes that exists in a country that should have none is enervating to the US. Interestingly enough, when we compare to the world, we are pretty rich. But even so, we are less happy and more ambitious for the wrong reasons like being corrupt.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

I believe that the Occupy movement is in reality a good movement. It is always great to see people protesting for their rights and about relevant and imperative issues such as those of economic inequality, unemployment and the corruption of corporations on government. I think it is important for these people to speak up and protest for their rights. It is important for me because I am a part of the 99 percent. I believe that we are on the threshold of a major change in America. Capitalism will never disappear, which is completely acceptable, but what the Occupy movement strivers for is the disparity between the 99 and the 1 percent to be reduced. These protesters are fighting against corporate greed; too many people are unemployed and suffering from economic problems while the rich just keep getting richer with no regards for others. Although some of the occupiers may seem grubby and their strategies may seem silly or out of hand, all of us in the 99 percent owe them a great deal of gratitude.

Linda Padilla
PHI2010 Honors

Euvie P. said...

Money has always caused that kind of struggle between those who have it yet want to have more and those who do not have it and want to get it. The middle class is not always aware of the advantages being taken away from it because a good part of it consists of immigrants. Coming from poor countries, they consider what they receive here as a privilege. It is a privilege because job opportunities are offered and grants are provided to those that want to go to school. Indeed, they have a better life than they used to have in their own countries, but isn’t that the reason why people leave their home and family for? They are willing to work hard and make sacrifices for a better life. Those privileges are offered by the big companies, but they are also the ones to take advantages from them. I believe that those people have the right to protest for what they believe in. Although the possessions of the rich should be protected by the government, all people living in this country should be treated equally (fair tax). The only problem is that the methods used by the protesters are not effective and can be harmful to themselves. Also, they have to understand that the economic crisis we are going through is not something that can be repaired over night. It requires a lot of work and perseverance for that to be achieved, and the first step toward change would be to choose leaders they think are able to work on that situation.

Gabriel Hernandez said...

OWS was a mess. We’re talking about a group of very unsatisfied ex-employees who tried to make a statement by protesting in a disorderly manner. They were considered to be a group of obnoxious people outside of your workplace or school by the media and by all of us. However, we’re also talking about a group of people that had the right idea in mind. Although they weren’t able to execute their plan successfully, they made it evident to the public that a change definitely needs to be made. After reading a few comments from my fellow peers I am sad to say that I am disappointed to see that many of us have given up or believe that change cannot occur. Despite the fact that our economy is in a state of distress; change is still causally possible. Our government was built on the idea of equality, yet since the beginning of time there has always been the idea of having a higher figure to ‘lead’ us. I understand that these corporations provide jobs and all the appliances that I and everybody I know uses. My idea isn’t to protest and take them all down because then that makes me no better than the people we saw with signs all over our campus. However, we can consider the approach of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” By being a part of these corporations and walking in there with the idea of ‘change’ as our mindset, we now have the advantage of actually having our voices heard when they have a meeting. But please don’t let me hear that change cannot be made because if everybody were to think like that, God knows where we would be right now. Racism would still be a norm along with woman being an inferior race. Change needs to be made because if we all sit here and watch it ‘fix’ itself…see you guys in hell.

Gabriel Hernandez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenny Ann said...

I think that no one is entirely free in this world. If we were free, the system would not set up rules for the citizens to abide on. This is the reasons why we have a government, and we, the people, give it the power to govern us. By definition, the place of power is a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately on others. On the other hand, that does not give the people in power the right to repress us and make us think that we are unable to make our own decision. For instance, here in the US, they say it is the free land, but the government controls every move that an individual does. Now, people do not even have privacy. However, what the people forget that this is their right to oppose against the people in power because I think if we, the people, have elected them, we can ask them to leave also.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this blog in that it is human nature to want to have more space because more space means more power. This is especially the case with these avaricious Wall Street owners . They absolutely dislike the Occupy Wall Street Movement because they see this movement as a threat. A threat that would take away their power and space. These huge corporations are not interested in seeing more citizens acquiring more knowledge about how this country is truly run. If the true majority in this country was to protest against these huge companies; they would be endangered. This is why these bankers are sending threatening letters to politicians. They feel endangered because they want to keep controlling our system. They want to keep controlling the masses and keep acquiring billions of dollars. As Lawrence Lessig stated, "We are the Charlie Brown. [They are] Lucy [and they keep pulling] the ball again [and again]."

Anonymous said...

The previous comment was from Priscilla Suarez.

Francelia Eckembrecher said...

To be honest the first time that I heard about Occupy WallStreet was around the beginning of the fall semester I didn't really know who they were or what their purpose was. I know that in news cast members of this group were being arrested and voicing their opinion on the issue of our economy. I have to say I believe that they weren’t really that successful because they were very unorganized. They are trying to voice their opinion and their beliefs but in the wrong ways. I know that our economy is not at its best and we have been on the verge of an economic depression. Politics is very conflicting and I really don't know what to say other than we the voters have made some unwise decision on the officials that we vote for.

Francelia Eckembrecher

Daphne Eckembrecher said...

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is a protest movement that attracted a large amount of attention as a result of being against economic and social inequality, high unemployment, corruption and the disproportionate influence of corporations on the government especially when dealing with the financial services region. I don’t agree with the movement and their efforts for economic equality because the United States was not created or intended to bring about "financial" equality. The bill of rights does not provide "financial” protection. Everybody in the United States cannot be rich and everybody cannot be poor otherwise society would not be able to function properly. In addition, many of the individuals that criticize the way our government is functioning do not take time to exercise their rights as Americans primarily when it is time to voice their choice in the elections. Most importantly as inhabitants of the United States we should exercise our right to vote! It is a right that most of us take for granted, one that defines our nation as a democracy.

Joaquin Lares said...

As well as the 1% who admits so, I form part of the 99% of the people who don’t really grasp the whole picture of the economy, its issues, or its solutions (even when many claim their otherwise expertise). However, I want to bring two things to the table. The first one is that corporations are a current NEED. If we want to eliminate them, we better off stop having more than one child until the population is reduced in such way that mass production is no longer on demand by consumers (food that we won’t grow in our backyards, clothes that our grandmothers won’t knit for us, etc). So let’s get real. Pro-OWS are the perfect example of the “complain about X, but consume X” mentioned before. I am not Pro OWS, nor against it, but I notice that people against-OWS focus on marketing pro-OWS’s vaguest complains. I never hear them reply to the: YOU KNOW YOUR HEADQUARTERS IN CHINA ARE KILLING OUR ECONOMY RIGHT? ..... The fact that pro-OWS are consuming X does not mean that X is has the advantage to say “it would be absurd to change”. Up to this point I agree with most of what this post has mentioned. Great article.

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