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Occupy Wall Street Protest Anthem

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Come gather round people

come and join your hands

we're taking Wall Street

and we're making demands

and we're heeding the call

and we're crying for help

only 1% of us have wealth

but first we need posters

we need to make signs

but to do so it seems

that we need some supplies

We need poster board

I can't make it myself

but it's 10 cents a sheet

at the store it's on sale

an example of economies of scale

it's so evil

They're saying that freedom

has done little to stop

Corporations from keeping

the wealth at the top

But at what point in history

would a kid and a king

both have clean water to drink?

George Washington was

the richest man of his age

But he lost all his teeth

at a very young age

Because they didn't have Scope

and they all crapped in trays

we're not wealthy?

now there's fountains on streets

from which clean water pours

Four dollar generics

at all big box stores

a sultan and student

both have iPhone 4s

it's not fair

Come gather young people

come on everyone

and I'll tell you a tale

of a fortunate son

He's born in a country

and given vaccine

and rendered immune

to all kinds of disease

the Kardashians are on

all his TVs

it's not perfect

Banks don't need bailouts

on that we agree

so let's start up a group

and let's take to the streets

because if we do that then

you know what that means

we're racist.

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Come gather round people come and join your hands we're taking Wall Street and we're making demands and we're heeding the call and we're crying for help only 1% of us have wealth but

Right. So they should be in Washington, protesting the source of the corruption: power over the economy and business through use of force. Corporations certainly aren't blameless and some defini

John McCain was on CNBC just now. Asked about the "Occupy" protest, he said that he understands the anger because not much has been done for Main St.! yet another GOP politician promoting the class-wa

It is not a protest against capitalism, it is a protest against legalized corporate corruption. The US isn't even capitalist anymore, it's a corporate welfare state. Bailouts and corporate tax cuts are not capitalism. Allowing corporations to buy politicians is not capitalism. Rand would not support the current economic system in the US.

To answer the charge of the protestors being violent: In NY they are actually quite civilized and accomodating. A guy who works on Wall Street came down one night and got up to speak with no problem. When someone wants to address the crowd, the crowd repeats every sentence so everyone can hear since mics and megaphones are not allowed. Everyone shouted out this guy's concerns the same as everyone else's. They are willing to listen to anyone who has an opinion. Everyone is so nice when I walk through the park. When someone bumps into you they say sorry and excuse me; what you usually get in NY is people telling you to get the fuck out of their way.

Objectivists, you should be in agreement with these protestors. Rand said, "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships—thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement."

The middle class in the US is being forced by the government to bear the bulk of the tax burden. This is violence being perpetrated on its citizens. The protestors are peaceful and doing exactly what Rand urged: using reason to discuss issues and persuade people that the system is corrupt and something needs to be done.

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Right. So they should be in Washington, protesting the source of the corruption: power over the economy and business through use of force.

Corporations certainly aren't blameless and some definitely contribute money and favours in order to get unfair advantages, but with the ability of Washington and other governments to decimate whole industries with a few pen strokes, is it any wonder they want to get in on the corruption to protect themselves?

Think about it: if the OWS folk get their way, governments would have even more power and corruption would be worse. The middle and lower class would be worse off in terms of freedom and wealth, meanwhile rich people will still afford to buy off local, state and federal lackeys for favours. Take away that power, and all business can do is try and convince you of the benefits of their products and services. Banks would be far more conservative and make fewer risky loans and investments. No business would be able to legislate against other market actors.

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They are in Washington, and 140-something other cities.

"Get in on the corruption to protect themselves?" This is blatantly anti-Objectivist and I don't even know how to respond to such nonsense.

OWS is not seeking more government, it is seeking less. It is seeking a separation between private enterprise and government. Objectivists should be all for this.

"Take away that power, and all business can do is try and convince you of the benefits of their products and services. Banks would be far more conservative and make fewer risky loans and investments. No business would be able to legislate against other market actors."

This confuses me a little. Isn't this a good thing? I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

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That's entirely not what they are seeking. The Tea Parties are far closer to less government than the OWS people.

When the life of your business is threatened and it's either pay the thug or die, you pay the thug. Unfortunately, some businesses seek thugs (ie. government) out to go after other business, and they are as bad as the thugs in government.

Edited by Chris.S
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Objectivists, you should be in agreement with these protestors.
We can agree that this mixed economy sucks; however, these folk want to take this mixed economy further toward statism instead of the opposite direction. So, no... they are the problem that led us here. More precisely, their parents who were conceived at Woodstock brought us to this position with eactly the same creed that their kids are now repeating.

Also, you're mistaken that it is the middle-class who are going to bear the brunt of our problems. You're making one of the mistakes the protestors are making when you use the concept of middle-class for this purpose. I am middle-class, and I know people of my economic cohort who were responsible and I also know many who were irresponsible. Similarly, many rich folk acted responsibly even while others did not. The responsible and rational -- from all classes -- are going to end up subsidizing the irresponsible of all classes. It is an easy bet that the responsible and rational rich will bear the bulk of the cost for the whole mess.... that's where the money is.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Unfortunately, some businesses seek thugs (ie. government) out to go after other business, and they are as bad as the thugs in government.

They're better than the government in that they at least create wealth. In principle, the government is a power-luster whereas the corporations are simply pragmatic.

The responsible and rational -- from all classes -- are going to end up subsidizing the irresponsible of all classes. It is an easy bet that the responsible and rational rich will bear the bulk of the cost for the whole mess.... that's where the money is.

Good point.

And I'd been wanting to call all of this Hippie Nonsense, but it didn't quite fit. Now I know! Children of Hippie Nonsense!

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This faulty conceptualization of Wall Street versus Main Street is not something the Occupy statists came up with. The broad culture accepts this. In 2008, this way of thinking was echoed not just by Obama, but by Bush, Paulson and McCain. Those last three were trying to pacify people, explaining that the supposed bailout was really going to help Main Street... but they were building on the same faulty way of classifying society. People like them are just as responsible for class-warfare because they validate the basic misconception. (I blogged about it in 2008, and again here with a cheesy but accurate graphic.)

Also, while the TARP was vilified and still is, many aspects of it were exactly the right (aka the moral and practical) thing to do. Once again, faulty conceptualization led people to think of the whole thing as a bail out, when it was not... but perhaps that deserves a separate thread.

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John McCain was on CNBC just now. Asked about the "Occupy" protest, he said that he understands the anger because not much has been done for Main St.! yet another GOP politician promoting the class-warfare idea. He said that so many people in his state -- Arizona -- were underwater on their mortgages that the government should help them. There should be a way -- he said -- to figure out what they can afford to pay, and then help subsidize them to allow them to stay in their homes. He did not point out the obvious: that 95 people in each sub-divisions end up -- via taxes -- subsidizing the 5 who acted irresponsibly.

The anger that people feel all over the economy is very real. There is no denying that, and politicians who deny it do so at their peril. However, anger tells us little about whether the angry person is right about the target of his anger. The Iranian revolution would never have got off steam based solely on religious inspiration. It was fueled by anger. In its essence, it was an anti-monarchial revolution, with common people angry about their situation and looking for change. yet, it would have been ignorant to support the Iranian revolution. The anger of French revolution was probably more justified that the anger of the American revolution, yet that anger did not translate into a better resuklt: just the opposite.

If the American people are angry -- and they are -- they should look in the mirror. They are the only ones to blame for creating the current mixed-economy system that we have. The American people promulgated all sorts of laws in their quest for government-enforced altruism. The corruption that comes from such schemes is simply to be expected, but it is not the primary issue. Corruption actually works to make parts of the system better and to make other parts worse. The real problem is the political ideas of the American voter, and the ignorance of the American voter.

These "Occupy" folks are the type of people who would love to write laws that gives us many more Solyndras.

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A lot of the OWS slogans also seem to revolve around higher education bubble consequences. All those pictures people were putting up about being the 99% tended to revolve around being in crushing amounts of debt. That is certainly a problem, and it's terribly sad that we have let things get that bad (where people go tens of thousands of dollars in debt for basically value-neutral degrees), and I can imagine how that can put someone in a desperate situation. Of course, they don't really understand the cause of their predicament (at least I haven't seen many people who identified that it was partially the fault of their school, for example), or the fact that making it ever easier to get student loans that you can't discharge drives up prices. Universities have managed to capture quite a lot of projected future earnings from students in this manner, and when the economy is booming that isn't that big a deal because people can pay it back, but now that the bubble is becoming unsustainable that really sets someone back a long period of time.

Of course, they could have thought about that before getting into debt, but especially 5-10 years ago there weren't very many people talking about student debt as a big problem. I do think in that respect there is some outside blame that really messed things up. That of course doesn't excuse their mistaken demands for action, but still, I can sort of see where the disappointment and anger comes in.

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A lot of the OWS slogans also seem to revolve around higher education bubble consequences. All those pictures people were putting up about being the 99% tended to revolve around being in crushing amounts of debt.
Yes, I saw one girl being interviewed saying something like this: "We were told to pursue our dreams and to do what we loved doing. So, I did English, and now I cannot get a job, and I have all this debt."

It is sad. Still, that girl ought to look inward and say "What a fool I have been! Shame on me for not teaching myself about what credit is. Shame on me for me for taking a loan that made no economic sense. Shame on me for not educating myself about the type of world in which I live"

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Yes, I saw one girl being interviewed saying something like this: "We were told to pursue our dreams and to do what we loved doing. So, I did English, and now I cannot get a job, and I have all this debt."

It is sad. Still, that girl ought to look inward and say "What a fool I have been! Shame on me for not teaching myself about what credit is. Shame on me for me for taking a loan that made no economic sense. Shame on me for not educating myself about the type of world in which I live"

Oh, yeah. Or at least, if they're going to be mad at other people for giving out terrible advice, they should probably be looking for the school career counselors, or their parents (or whomever else was encouraging them to study whatever they wanted). I do think a lot of so-called experts share a lot of blame in this; yes, it is also definitely the student's fault, but at the same time if you're 18 and everyone around you who is supposed to know what they are talking about guarantees you that it'll be an amazing idea, it's not so strange that a significant number of people would take them at their word. But the fact that they're just focusing on Big Banks is quite sad.

I wish more people would go back to their school, though, and tell people there just how much b/s they're peddling, or write hundreds of op-eds about this to warn other people away from making the same mistake. But you rarely see anyone do that...

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It is sad. Still, that girl ought to look inward and say "What a fool I have been! Shame on me for not teaching myself about what credit is. Shame on me for me for taking a loan that made no economic sense. Shame on me for not educating myself about the type of world in which I live"

I think it's more accurate for her to say, "It's no one else's problem now. I shouldn't feel shameful, because every figure I looked to for guidance in my life told me the same thing, which turned out to be horrible, awful advice for my life. Still, in the end I'm the one who must pay." No shame, but sorrow, then moving on as best she can.

...I see Maarten said something similar.

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All good points, but I am not in support of this because I am in debt. In fact, I am not in debt and don't like credit cards. I have one card attached to my debit card simply to allow me to make online bill payments. I am in support of this because many people who are a part of the so-called 1% are actually immoral - even by Objectivist standards, and in some cases they are actually criminals. This movement is seeking to rectify that in some way. To be honest, if some innocent rich people get forced to pay more through no fault of their own, I'm not exactly going to feel sorry for them. Better for innocent rich people to pay for other rich people's mistakes than for innocent poor people to pay for the criminal behavior of rich people.

This is Rand's version of Robin Hood - it's not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, it's taking back money that the criminal rich stole to begin with.

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... ... many people who are a part of the so-called 1% are actually immoral ...
This is simply false.

To be honest, if some innocent rich people get forced to pay more through no fault of their own, I'm not exactly going to feel sorry for them. Better for innocent rich people to pay for other rich people's mistakes than for innocent poor people to pay for the criminal behavior of rich people.
This is tribalism: I suppose we should lock up all black males too!
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Until OWS can prove that money was "stolen" from the "99%", they're just a bunch of angry, anti-capitalist squatters.  When they do get around to proving that (if ever, I think it's very doubtful they want to prove anything with fact), hopefully they show that the government's help is necessary for these businesses to "steal" from people.  

I'm betting that when proven, it will show that more money is stolen from people through taxes and inflation than whatever these banks are accused of.

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I didn't see this thread when I posted an essay in the politics section called "Don't Blame Wall Street -- The Government Did It!"

But I want to reserve that thread for a discussion of politics and not the protesters per se (they just inspired the essay).

You can read my essay on this board, or at my website link, but basically it shows that the problem is not Wall Street, but rather our semi-fascist government.

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