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Katherine Ernst
You Say You Want a Revolution « Back to Story

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simply fabulous. no matter your opinion of the parade of ignorance on display in z park, this is a deliciously well-written piece. why have i not heard of this writer before? i'm in love.
Forty-one years ago I, along with 50 or so earnest fellow college students and one faculty member destined to win election to the US Senate, blocked the entrance to the Federal Building in Minneapolis as a way of symbolically opposing the invasion of Cambodia by the United States. The demonstration was well choreographed and the police were willing partners in our non-violent protest. We climbed into waiting vans and rode a few blocks to City Hall, where we were booked and eventually released on our own recognizance. A few weeks later we sat in the dock of Federal Court and a judge found us guilty of a misdemeanor and gave us a choice: fifty dollars or five days in jail. Most paid the fine and were happy to go home for summer vacation and a job. I elected jail time, stayed three days plus time already served. Jail was the most boring place in the world. I couldn't understand why my fellow revolutionaries and a future US Senator had elected option B.
Now it's obvious. We were coddled beyond belief and had as much revolutionary fervor as a chocolate eclair. So are the kids down in Zuccotti Park. They ought to re-name the protest "Occupy WAAAAHH Street."
Dear Katherine, it is a shame you did not use the possible skills that one might think a journalist could have and make a point to discuss this present event with the many intelligent and engaged individuals who are at Zuccotti Park each day and whose message is spreading across the country and beyond.

This event is certainly worth more than seven minutes of interviews with people who are less than marginally involved with anything actually happening there. It is worth more than a casual stroll along the internet to quote capture to supposedly build some kind of statement that has little to do with the actuality of these protests.

Overall, this article is a shame to the possibilities of media. I would say "Time to consider a career change" but feel quite certain in reading this article that for you journalism is not much of an occupation.
Hei der, nettopp oppdaget bloggen din pa Yahoo, og fant ut at det er virkelig fantastisk. Jeg skal se opp for Brussel. Jeg vil sette pris pa om du holder a skrive om dette temaet i fremtiden. Masse folk vil ha nytte av a skrive . Cheers !
Whilst it may be humourous to mock the "occupy Wall Street" (and other copy-cat protests), I think it painfully obvious that 'America' has a much larger problem. I use quotation marks advisedly for America because it is precisely the disassociation of the individual from what 'America' represents that is far more worrisome.

Admittedly, I have not kept up with the innumerable reflections of the talking class on the subject but as far as I am aware the question of America as a compound Constitutional Republic has not entered the discussion. It is as though the protesters have become fodder for the political class to advance one argument or another.

As a result, what are we left with but an incoherent babble (and not just on the protesters' part) that drowns out the real questions. First and foremost, how come these individuals have gone through an educational system that does not even begin to provide them with the capacity to ask these real questions? So, what is the role of the federal government? Why are the states reduced to obsequious rent seekers? And, for good measure, where is the individual's sense of responsibility? That is not to mention, how did we get into this mess? What we should be bemoaning is the lack of any curiosity for self-reflection.

Benjamin Franklin is often celebrated for his quip when asked by a lady, "Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy" at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention? His reply of "a republic if you can keep it" is more apt than we should dare to think. Has anybody asked seriously what is meant by that statement? Just a thought.
What a snarky article! In it, I had the privilege of being represented as a bumbling idiot. Without knowing it myself, my sole purpose to the author was apparently to show that the protests are an ineffective sham.

If you read my comments with the agenda of seeing me as an idiot, there is nothing I can say to change your mind, but I'd like to state that my quoted comments are taken out of context to such a degree that the author essentially took things I said and stuck them in the places she wanted in order to make me sound stupid. For example, I never specifically referred to the "corporate tax rate" in the US as compared to Sweden or Finland. I was referring to the graduated personal income tax rates in these countries. I'm not a tax expert, but I know a thing or two about standard of living, and countries with more equal income distribution such as Sweden and Finland tend to have a much higher overall standard of living. Furthermore, the inequality issues we face are more complicated than any specific type of taxation. (And in fact, many companies in the U.S. do not pay that 35% rate).

I did not say that I would stop joining the protests when the weather gets cold. My remark was instead to illustrate that as it gets cold, it's hard to imagine that the people who are spending the night there will be able to maintain it. Cold is deadly. I believe this protest will keep growing, "fair-weather" or not (it has rained for a good deal of the past 3 weeks since the demonstration began). If they can't stay in Zuccotti Park, there will be creative alternatives.

You may dismiss me because I am not a banker or policy expert, however, it's pretty easy to see who's in control of this country. Have you missed the memo? The top 1% of the US now owns 24% of the wealth, representing the highest concentration of wealth since 1929. The banks were essentially rewarded for creating the Great Recession, while the people, like myself, are struggling further. Elections are bought. Obama, who I voted for, ran the most expensive election campaign in history. This is counter-democracy. Prisons are overflowing in what was meant as a new economic market to replace industrial jobs going overseas, and to keep the poor, the addict, the immigrant, the person of color, the child of foster care, permanently disenfranchised.

It's disappointing that the reporter wrote her piece to perfectly match City Journal's desire to dismiss anything that doesn't match its predetermined political leanings. This protest movement will result in creative, progressive changes which will benefit all of us, and City Journal will be on record as being on the wrong side of history.
Thorsten Mehlfeldt October 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM
well written - and a fine example of manipulation by media, that are closely related to liberalist ideology and institutions, that are "like-minded" to "Mont Pelerin Society"
Patrick MacKinnon October 09, 2011 at 8:01 PM
Bless you Katherine for illustrating the utter triviality and impotence of this fruitless
ennui. To suppose that "Wall Street" could gain
the slightest traction without the approval of the White House is to lose touch with reality. Why are there no protestors in Washington? Are they like the Stalinist apologists who protested that Uncle Joe could not have known of these excesses?
"Not a recipe for a movement:" don't hold your breath. As incoherent as it is now, it is taking hold, taking shape, and it will take back control from the right wing crazies parading as a legitimate(call that Republican) party.
Benjamin Lorch, Berlin October 09, 2011 at 5:03 PM
The author finds it quite easy to pick apart the motives, or lack thereof, of the Occupy Wall Street group. However, the mocking, elitist tone of the article is quite offensive and demeaning to those who have found the strength and wisdom to CALL ATTENTION to the inequity of America and the to financial crimes committed that have shaken the foundations of the United States economy.

Has it never occurred to the author that the disenfranchised are just that: marginalized and deprived of a chance to participate and that, yes, this indeed makes people unable to accurately articulate what they believe is wrong? These protesters have taken action and raised their voices to point out injustice when the it because, as I think we all can agree, something has gone quite wrong in the USA.

In addition, it has become difficult to criticize an opaque and secretive financial system open only to the super-rich because it is indeed a “black box” into which the vast majority of us have no access, no insight, no democratic ability, it seems, to change

To criticize someone for ordering “something” using a credit card over a cell phone is naïve and baseless. The real irony is that the author criticizes the protesters for participating in the economy just as we all want to! This is 2011. Most all transactions are made with credit cards and the author has no inkling as to what the transaction involved. Smirky and irresponsible.

Ultimately this is bad journalism. It neither educates nor informs and it is ultimately, to put it in diplomatic terms, “unhelpful.” Come back with some better ideas.
A phrase that some of these youngsters should learn-marketable job skills. I have run across to many "Communication" and "Marketing" majors working as waiters or clerks at Walgreens. If you want a job you have to have the skills employers are looking for. The truth is, too many of these children have been convicted that a college degree is the only way to go. Many of them should have gone to a good trade school instead.
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.Sorry *Katherine*. I had a hard time spelling 'Rosevelt' too. ;O)

LLoyd
Very well written Kahterine. You nailed the spirit of the whole thing. I enjoyed reading it and your humor and its saved and going out to a number of PAC's I've been active with summer, fall, WINTER and spring.


Bahahahhhahaaaaaa Thank You.

LLoyd
According to the Daily Rash, a middle-aged North Carolina man who still lives with his wealthy parents, traveled to New York to protest his parent's greed. http://www.thedailyrash.com/many-middle-aged-wall-street-protesters-still-living-with-their-parents
One smart cookie - You are so right. This is not spontaneous. This has been planned and pushed by unions, move on.org, organized socialists and communists.... I just hope that in 2012 Obama is a Soros loser. Many of these protesters are clinging to the free in freedom. Education is not free. Food is not free. Cell phones are not free. We are free to work for them. We are free to earn them. We need to be sure that we do not freely protest and disrupt so much that we freely bring down the greatest country in the world where people have the greatest opportunity to pursue happiness, success and FREEDOM.
Anyone wondering how this went from some protestors in NY about 2 weeks ago to 77 cities this week? Who are the organizers and how did they get the funding for simultaneous meetings at libraries in these cities to rally the protestors? What about the signs plastered on street light poles and whatever else they can find on the morning of the protests? Who paid for this? This wasn't a spontaneous event. It takes money, planning and an agenda to pull this off. This was funded by someone or organization for a purpose. This article highlights that the majority of these protestors have no idea why they are there. I'm thinking that was the plan for those in charge and who paid for this. They want a crisis and the liberal main stream media, who ignored and maligned the Tea Party, are all too happy to cover this spectacle.

Hasn't this Administration coined the phrase about "not wasting a crisis" or patterned itself after their mentor Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright etc? Wasn't the Obama presidency funded by Soros' Moveon.org? Even today Soros, a Wall Street insider himself, and his Moveon.org is involved in this "Occupy Wall Street" movement. Check out: Big Soros Money Linked to “Occupy Wall Street” http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/9269-big-soros-money-linked-to-occupy-wall-street

Soros is doing just what he did in the 2008 election season for Obama. Check out the quote below and it's link.

"The socialist connections of
Obama and the Democratic Party have certainly not been featured in the
Washington Post columns of Harold Meyerson, who happens not only to be a member
but a vice-chair of the DSA. Meyerson, the subject of our 2005 column, “A Socialist at the Washington
Post,” has praised convicted inside-trader George Soros for manipulating
campaign finance laws to benefit the far-left elements of the Democratic
Party. Obama’s success in the Democratic presidential primaries and
caucuses is further evidence of Soros’s success. Indeed, Soros has
financially contributed to the Obama campaign." http://www.aim.org/aim-column/obamas-international-socialist-connections/

Katherine Ernst's article should get people thinking and putting 2 and 2 together.

Ya know, even dogs know that you don't bite the hand that feeds you. But then dogs also know that you don't don't s**t where you eat, which also seems to be a bit beyond these folks.
I have to agree that the unifying thread seems to be emotional display and thirst for purpose and recognition that is otherwise unavailable to many of these people. The equation of the US with AQ is a handy slogan to spew but what is the basis? How was this reached? I suspect if you ask four people you would get six answers, mostly unrelated. Hopefully a cold winter will set in quickly.
It's history-making! I can't remember when the last time a revolution in favor with a sitting president took place.

Oh, wait, yeah, Nuremberg, 1933.

And yes, the citation of Eric Hoffer is just too appropriate.
From Ace of Spades HQ this morning:

"But wait, there's more!
Now why does a company worth billions need taxpayer funding for some green energy project? Something surely smells here. Let's see: They opened the park in mid-September, and magically on September 23, here's a windfall of taxpayer cash.

You'll never guess who lobbies for Brookfield. The firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair, founded by Joe Biden's son. Well, isn't that a cozy relationship?

In another remarkable coincidence, Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend, Diana Taylor, is on the Brookfield Board of Directors.

There's actually more to it, as someone here has sifted through all the connections. Frankly, it reeks of cronyism and backscratching."
Looks like the management company for Zucotti Park just got a nice, fat check from the administration for $135 million for a wind farm in New Hampshire.

Can you say "cronyism?"
These protesters are pushing for a fascist/communist takeover that won't make everyone rich or even middle class but will actually make everyone equally poor... except for the ruling class that would be created in that type of society. These people need to learn basic economics and study some real history that isn't being taught by a washed up communist professor. Lucky for us these people are too lazy to actually accomplish anything other that have some drum circles, increase the amount of bacteria living on their bodies, and allow the police and other city workers to rack up some overtime.
The president in training in the White House has declared this momentous event by creating true class warfare. What's next? fighting in the streets? bloodshed? sounds like the Communist Revolution or worse... the creation of the Nazi Party. There are enough upset Americans out of work, and slowly out of options. Their next step is to meet these so called street protesters with sticks at first, then graduate to the use of armed force. I hope that we can still talk to each other before the real damage starts to destroy the fabric of the USA.
Great assessment!

We're seeing the same here in Boston. It's difficult to see such energy wasted but what a lot of memories it all brings back. Wish I were 20 again - or not!
As soon as the weather changes and the protesters begin to get cold and uncomfortable, they will go back home to their parents' basements. Growing up and taking responsibility for themselves will go a long way in stopping these protests. We all have a right to our opinions and exercise free speech. But it should be done without violence, without hate speech, without inconveniencing the majority and without costing the cities millions of dollars. We as Americans are entitled to our opinions. We are not entitled to free everything. This appears to be a bunch of disorganized, lost, ill informed people who have been, perhaps unwittingly, organized by unions, Soros related groups, socialists, communists.....
Smart and well written. Bravo.
Mmm, much stupidity on display. But what got them to come out and live in a park for days on end and make noise and want to be heard? Most likely it's fear. Fear that they're in debt up to their eyeballs 'cause someone lent them $150,000 to go to college and now they can't find a job. That's not an irrational concern. They don't know what they want, at least the ones that aren't union astroturfers, commies, anti-capitalists or any other strain of the mixed bag of lunatics the left has to live with at any rally or protest they put on, but they do know that they don't want to be jobless and deep in debt. Their official statement should be this: "We're scared and pissed 'cause we're broke and unemployed and our entire working lives have been spent in the midst of the great recession and we don't know what to do and no one seems to have an answer for us so we got together to talk about it with each other and make some noise so at least people understand we're really bummed about the situation we find ourselves in." By asking for free college or an end to corporations they do themselves a disservice, but ridiculing their lack of focus is not going to make them go away or solve their problems. Their presence should at least make those of us that realize their foolishness also realize that they are desperate enough to make fools of themselves in public and maybe for them things are even worse than we have realized. The thin sliver of me that doesn't laugh at them realizes that they are our fellow Americans and deserving of at least a little more critical thinking and concern than displayed in your piece.
jessefan in chapel hill October 08, 2011 at 12:26 AM
"Usually activists have neither practical experience nor economic literacy, so they go around blithely creating huge costs for those who have to work for a living and those who employ them. Not only businesses but Californians as a whole end up paying a staggering price so that a relative handful of people who are a drain on society can feel superior to those who contribute to it."- Dr. Thomas Sowell

additionally..........


"Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole."- Dr. T.Sowell
Spot on Katherine. The irony of people with iphones and wearing designer sunglasses while protesting capitalism is hilarious and why nobody in the real world takes this "occupy whatever" seriously.
Kid Charles: You are the one who is mistaken, not Katherine Ernst. There HAS been "violence" by these protesters, when a rather large group of them ATTACKED the police at the police barricade! The protesters linked arms and then counted down from 10, and then "ran at the police" standing in front of the barricades. That does appear to be VIOLENCE!
Excellent article! Everyone is saying what a "hap-hazard" group these protesters are---and this article by Katherine Ernst fairly well proves that! But our beloved Nancy Pelosi states that these protesters "are focused"! Nancy has no idea, whatsoever, of what she's even talking about! (I don't think Nancy's "been well" for quite a long time.)
If it is found that George Soros sponsored this
half assed occupation,he should be charged with sedition. Oh for the days of The House On
Un American Activities.
It looks like most of the kids are out there having a good time in the nice weather. I did the same thing they are doing when in college - briefly.

Then such nonsense was put aside since I wanted to have a family and had to earn a living. That was in the crummy economy under another Democratic President - Jimmy Carter. Amazing similarities, at least in terms of the job market. It wasn't easy, but it was doable, just like today, except back then there wasn't much of what we call today a "safety net." How did we survive?
Lots of fun stuff in this article. So they can't spell (but they can because they corrected the spelling). Mockery of them for not knowing tax statistics while exposing your own ignorance that due to loopholes the effective corporate tax rate in the U.S. is much lower than in Scandinavia. A false equivalency with rioters in the UK while there has been no violence or property destruction whatsoever by the occupiers. Also, apparently anyone who is under the age of 30 just needs to shut up. The old trick of dismissing complaints because someone else somewhere has it worse (I guess only transgendered Congolese prisoners with cancer can demand an improvement in their condition.) Oh, and the other old trick that you don't get to complain about corporations if you have ever bought any kind of product from them whatsoever because you need to survive in a modern economy. This is a fine piece of journalism, I can't wait for the next hard-hitting piece from Katherine Ernst. I smell Pulitzer!
After reading most of the comments here it's obvious a large part of these people are as ignorant of economics as most of our Federal legislators. Now, as the most extreme example. let us take all the capital owned by the "filthy rich", both individuals and corporations, and distribute it all equally among the populace. Nopw everbody has $approximately $100,00 to spend. OK. most will be broke in a year. After that, where do they get next year's income? Taking all free capital from the corporations left them with nothing to invest, buy commodities , machinery, pay employees, etc. In effect, there's nothing to buy. So let's just let the government print more money and dole it out to the next "Occupy Wall Street" group and their friends.
All in all, Katherine, an excellent piece>
This is so blatantly, arrogantly dismissive that it really doesn't deserve a response.
The writer obviously considers herself to be in an elite group of intellectual giants - when in fact the tone of the article reveals how small and hateful she really is.
It will be sooooo easy for the South Park guys to just lift dialogue from this theater for their show.
Sad. SDS, Weather Underground, Black Panthers, Marxists, Socialists, drug slaves rear ugly heads. I understand we may have another really cold winter.
The marchers are indeed decided;y unserious. They are in fact simply acting out fantasy theater. See here:
http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-streets-fantasy-theater.html
What Eric Hoffer said sounds more appropriately to fit the Tea Party than these protesters
If the politicians just get out of the way and allow the deficit automatic fiscal stabilisers to do their work and mirror the private sector's net saving/loan repaying desires thus funding it debt free this would be far more effective.

$16 to $21 Trillion of bank bailout equates to $60,000 for every man woman and child...for a 4.4 person family thats $264,000 and would help pay off the debt mountain and sustain spending to support jobs and services in the real economy.

That would be a much better use of public money than subsidising the undeserving rich.
The Rich cocked it up then handed out the begging bowl to the US Government who got one of their own to cough up public money a cool $16 or $21 Trillion to ease their pain so they could carry on raking it in with one hand while their snouts are busy at the states trough/teat, take your pick...but here's the real stinger...even though this wasn't tax dollars, WE the people still have to 'pay' for the plutocrats fraudulent and economy wrecking vandalism!

How about that?
You've documented a (biased?) sample of some of the poorly developed 'trees', but you seem to have missed the growing forest.

This article reminds me of some of the pieces penned in the '60s about the then-nascent Civil Rights movement: Focus on the peculiarities of some of the parts, but ignore the potential importance of the whole.

I'd appreciate a more thoughtful analysis.
About the Eric Hoffer quote: you're talking about the Tea Party members, right?
Unless I missed something in the newspapers, the guy in the White House, the one who's appointed the folks who head up the SEC, the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, The Salt-Free Food Department, and the Department of Silly Walks is one with the protesters: a far-left Columbia University bred Marxist who hates America as much as they do.
So why the protests?
"55 percent didn’t vote in the last election"

OR SAY THEY DIDNT VOTE.

of course they dont want to admit what the actual result of their political agenda really is.
The writer describes the thinking and the people which reminded me of what happened in Sofia Bulgaria in 1990' in the the City of Truth...people who had long been deprived of the chance to actually do politics set up camp near the communist party building... All the groups and individuals were there... It is a hopeful sign... Just to be engaged again... To overcome the fear of the police...to experience the violence of the police...this is going to change the immediate future... Think how wonderful it will be...no longer to trust the cops... Violent thugs just padding their pensions, preparing their disability claims...
"When life is exponentially easier for you than it was for most of the world throughout most of human history— right up until the mid-twentieth century—boredom creates a vacuum."

No, Mz Ernst, yet, life isn't easier for you either, but, it is easier for the 1% richest. And, it isn’t really about static-minded observations, like, whose life is easiest right now?

It’s about trends, the trend in wealth concentration that, at the expense of everyone has enriched so few. I doubt your are with in this small fraction whom is benefitting from U.S. capitalism, but, you shill for them You’re unconscious sadist aspirations are laid out on your psyche as a “belief”, belief in myth, and utter lack of compassion or any understanding of positive freedom?

Twenty thousand in NYC alone, over 200 cities, and is growing exponentially. Demagogic ad-hominem goes both ways.
The most incurably frustrated - and therefore, the most vehement - among the permanent misfits are those with an unfulfilled craving for creative work.... That hatred springs more from self-contempt than from a legitimate grievance is seen in the intimate connection between hatred and a guilty conscience.
So what they need are jobs, self respect and legitimate grievances. Let them go work in Central American sportswear sweatshops for example. They would probably pay for that privilege.
Ernst ought to be careful criticizing the morons' spelling, when she herself can write:" that can only be slayed with..." No such word. Slain is more like, MS. Ernst.... A C-/D+ for your Frosh English theme....








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@Eddiehaymaker:

It sounds like you missed the point of the piece. Ernst was making a criticism of the protesters. That's what all the criticism of the protesters is about. She's not defending this country's corporate taxes (the bit about Scandinavian and American tax rates was to show that Becca got her facts wrong, not surprisingly), she's merely pointing out the hairbrained fecklessness of the kids protesting "Wall Street," and I should know a fair assessment of these people when I see one. After all, I'm a kid myself. I go to school with people just like these wish-I-hadda-problem revolutionaries and they really, truly don't know what they're talking about. And for the most part, neither do you.
What an idiotic piece of "journalism"!
When I have to stop, put my head on the desk and laugh, I know I've read something funny.
Wow. What a terrible piece. Regarding the snide mention of the 35% tax rate on corporations...you don't for an instant think that most corporations pay that full amount?. Our tax code is full of holes and exemptions. The most famous example being General Electric and they paid $0 in federal income taxes last year. Also, making fun of the young protestors inability to be as articulate as you seem to think you are, makes for poor journalism and makes you petty. I would urge you to try and write future articles that can be deemed as relevant and leave the elitist toned writings to the corporate owned media and pundits.
Dear Katherine,

please enjoy your seemingly intact mind bubble while it lasts.

Sincerely,
Reality