On the Occupation...

Two videos:

and this incredible rant:

As a good friend who pointed me to the first of these said, "There is something happening here."


  1. So will there be 110 or so comments on how Christians should respond to the financial crisis to match the the number of comments on immediately preceeding thread? Almost certainly not. Virtually everyone I know under 40 who believes the church is filled with a bunch of irrelevant, self-absorbed navel-gazers. Perhaps they're not so far off the mark. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others." (Matt. 19:23)

  2. You know, Dr. Primrose, I was going to comment yesterday on the fact that we're arguing Lawrence and "them queers" and Covenants and on and on - the rest of the world Just. Doesn't. Care.

    They're struggling for survival. Fear drives those who want nothing to change, desperation and anger drives those who want it all to change. There's no rational debate because these are vital, primal issues and, frankly, the church is still fighting battles of a far more stable and affluent society. On Maslow's hierarchy, we've completely missed it, leaving it to the far-right "religion" that is simply political parties with Bibles to become a beacon of false hope.

    Dorothy Day forgive us for fighting for the dead and murmuring over our beads for the living!

  3. Yeah, what’s happening in Anglicanland seems pretty pale by comparison to Occupy Wall Street, doesn’t it? Still, it is important in its own way.

    I’m spending as much time as I can down town at the OWS camp at Liberty Plaza, helping out in any way I can. This past Sunday, about 100 of us met at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square, and marched down to Liberty Plaza with a paper mache Golden Calf and held an interfaith rally/religious service there. This Saturday, folks are planning to have a picnic and “sleep in” at Tompkins Square Park, famous for its anarchist/squatter/homeless/punk confrontations with the authorities 20 years ago. (I was involved then, too!) This movement is building, and it welcomes the presence of folks from faith communities. Get involved in your own occupations in your communities! Bring the Faith with you as you work beside your neighbors! DO IT!!!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  4. I tend to agree, the squabbles in the Episcopal and Anglican churches don't amount to a hill of beans outside our circles.

    The last vestiges of the Post WWII prosperity are disappearing. The United States is indeed starting to look like Europe, Europe of a century ago where powerful privileged classes controlled everything for their own self-perpetuation.
    Most people under 40 are struggling with huge debt loads, low wages, diminishing job security, shrinking opportunity, and growing insecurity about what the future holds for them.

    All the teabaggers have to offer is Ayn Rand's Thunderdome with a Bible.

    As far as most younger people are concerned, Christianity is just so much superstition and bigotry, and the Church is just another cop or collection agency for the banks. They want nothing to do with it.
    And the worst part is, that they are not entirely wrong.

    We should remember that Jesus took out a bullwhip when he met the financial powers of His day.

  5. I generally agree, Counterlight. But I wouldn’t entirely discount what is happening in the Anglican Communion, here in America and abroad. We should realize that many of the same conservative evangelical elements that have been on the march the past 30 or 40 years against a progressive politics and economics, are the same elements that are trying to steal our churches from us today. Decades ago, unlike Europe, Americans still had more respect for organized religion; church attendance was much higher, etc. After decades of con evo reaction, both political and theological, many people are turned off to religion—even to mainline denominations such as TEC that, in general, have resisted the happy-clappy right-wingers. I see both struggles (for OWS and against ACNA, etc.) as part of the same general fight for progressive change.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  6. My feeling is that the church is meant to be right at the heart of all this . . . and utterly abdicates its responsibility for intellectual games and self-serving goals.

    How can churches claim to be Church when they are the very society, with the very same interests and goals, that we are supposed to be changing?

  7. Let me give folks an update on Occupy Wall Street:

    Brookfield Properties and the New York Police Department both backed off from a confrontation with thousands of Occupy Wall Street supporters this morning. Both Brookfield and the NYPD have stated that they will negotiate with OWS as to how any cleanup will take place.

    Brookfield, the owner of the private park where Wall Street protesters are camped out had given “notice” Thursday that after it power-washes the space it will begin enforcing regulations, which prohibit everything from lying down on benches to storing personal property on the ground.

    The protesters' response was to plan a demonstration for 6 am this morning, an hour before they were supposed to evacuate Liberty Plaza (a/k/a Zuccotti Park) while it was to be cleaned with power washers Friday morning. OWS supporters believed the effort was an attempt to end the protest, which has triggered a movement against unequal distribution of wealth that has spread across the globe.

    Protest spokesman Patrick Bruner sent an email to supporters Thursday asking us to join the protesters at 6 a.m. Friday to “defend the occupation from eviction.”

    The owner, Brookfield Properties, earlier handed out a notice to protesters saying they would be allowed back in the park after the cleanup if they abide by park regulations.
    The notice lists regulations including no tents, no tarps or sleeping bags on the ground, no lying on benches and no storage of personal property on the ground. All those practices have been common at the park, where protesters have lived, slept and eaten for nearly a month.

    Both the NYPD and Brookfield, which has branches in Australia and Canada, showed some common sense in backing off this morning. Every time the kops have cracked down, it has spread the protest even faster. Now, hopefully, we will be able to negotiate a reasonable outcome.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  8. A sigh of temporary relief, and a second to Kurt's comment 3/10/11 2:04

  9. Great - let's occupy everywhere..... after all, what is needed to pay for nurses, teachers, food for those who do not have it in the US.... is for places to be occupied..... and all will be well ....why on earth does Obama not listen to these wise people?

  10. Indeed, the Very Serious People In Suits have been right all along from "Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" to emasculating all the regulators of Wall Street and the banks. We could go back further and see that indeed the North Vietnamese attacked us in the Gulf of Tonkin, and that no, the use of Agent Orange really wasn't chemical warfare and had no effect on anyone at all.

    And look at the utopia we have now, socialism for the rich and raw capitalism for everyone else. Let's ask George W. Bush all about meritocracy, how he worked his way up from poverty to become the greatest President television has ever seen.

  11. Ask $100m man Clinton why he introduced subprime and had light bank regulation, Counterlight.....Bush was no wiser.... and ask the occupiers how they are going to create jobs and get the US economy moving........ somebody needs to invest and lots of people need to work hard..... it is a myth that you can tax 'the rich' and all will be fine........ if they choose not to invest but to invest in China, what will the US gain? One thing I can tell you is that the US is losing out on investment to other countries big time....now, the US remains strong in finance (and no Wall St bank owes the US govt a penny) but they are all paying tax..... you want to lose that business to Shanghai and Singapore? Fine..... the US is still a free country..... people can choose to move their capital to Asia ....... then you can occupy whatever you like and ration food and wonder why the East Germans wantted to live in West Germany..... in the real world, somebody has to invest their capital to create jobs and then there is tax revenue....... the failure of the left is always to imagine that government creates jobs....it doesn't, it just spends the money it gets from the taxes on the profits of those who do risk their capital..... and they are getting less keen on investing in the US by the day..... sorry, this is the real world - maybe you want a marxist revolution in the US but very recent history in the east of Europe shows that leftist economics makes the poor poorer........ enjoy your occupations..... people are moving their money out of the US into Asia.....ironic, the occupiers are creating unemployment in the US!

  12. And who "won" the wars in Vietnam, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan?
    The military contractors and their shareholders.

    I predict the next war will be with Iran. Iran is more profitable a target than North Korea or Venezuela.

    The military, like all the rest of us, are reduced to the hired help, to renters in our own country.

  13. 9% unemployed in the US, counterlight..... how are you going to create jobs? By occupying Wall St and scaring investment away from the US? Maybe they want all the Wall St banks to pay back all govt money? OH, they have done that a long time ago. Maybe they want Wall St Banks to pay tax? Oh.... they pay hundreds of millions. So, what do they want? And what are they going to do to help those poor people who are unemployed? Going to invest and create jobs? Shame that US investors are investing abroad as the US becomes less attractive...... real world, counterlight....... new jobs do not come from the failed left wing economic dogmas which so ruined Eastern Europe...... now, capitalism can fail....that is why I wish Clinton didn't allow subprime....but there were votes in that then.........

  14. Occupy Wall Street keeps its "demands" vague for a reason, to guard against being appropriated, and to give all kinds of people a forum for venting their frustrations without having to take some ideological blood test. Also, true to their anarchist and egalitarian principles, the organization remains leaderless, though not structureless. Meetings can be spontaneous, but remain orderly.

    Speaking for myself, I have some specific demands.

    *Bring back the Glass Steagall Act separating banking from speculation. It worked for 60 years to prevent the very economic collapse that we are living through now. Make the financial industry do what it is supposed to do, capitalizing the productive part of the economy. End the whole shareholder casino it has become. End that casino's dominance over the rest of the economy and over our political system.

    *Medicare for everybody, end that huge drain on the economy and on everyone's future that is the healthcare and health insurance industries, an industry of middlemen and skimmers who don't really produce anything. Restore Medicare's negotiating power with Big Pharma. End the terrible insecurity that most people now live in, fear of financial ruin on top of a major medical catastrophe.

    *I never thought I'd say this, but I think it's time for Congressional term limits. Public office is not a sinecure. New York City now has term limits (despite the Mayor). Everyone complained and panicked when the city charter was amended to limit terms of public office, but the result has been far from the catastrophe so widely predicted. If anything, it has brought a lot fresh new faces into city government, opened up public participation, and given broader representation to communities long under-represented such as the city's growing Asian population.

    *There are petitions going around for Constitutional amendments to reverse the Citizens United ruling, for publicly financed campaigns, and to limit all campaign donations to $100. For a long time, I was deeply reluctant to mess with the Constitution, mostly because the people most eager to amend it for so long had less than benevolent intentions for the rest of us. But Congress is so broken that something has to be done, and there is a provision in the Constitution for the amendment process to be initiated by the states (this Congress will never fix itself).

    *There are other petitions going around to end Congress' ability to vote itself pay raises, that pay increases would be pegged to the rate of inflation. Also their special medical and retirement insurance privileges would end. Congress would live under the same benefits available to all the rest of us. I support that.

    *Expand Congressional representation. About 600 people now represent 300 million plus people. The whole English House of Commons is now about 600 people representing a smaller population. We could easily expand the House to a thousand or more. In addition, I'd take redistricting out of the hands of state legislatures and make some kind of independent commission responsible for that task.

    *Repeal the Reagan era laws that drastically limit the rights of labor to organize and to act. Collective bargaining is a human right recognized by no less a capitalist than Adam Smith himself.

    *End the Electoral College. No more 2000 elections. No more clouds of doubt hanging over the legitimacy of Presidential elections.

    *End taxpayer subsidies to corporations. No more travesties like government handouts to the petroleum industry while it reports the largest profits of any industry in all of history.

    *Restore progressive taxation rates. Warren Buffet should pay a higher tax rate than his secretary.

    *End corporate tax breaks. General Electric and the banks should pay taxes like all the rest of us.

    We are sovereign citizens of this country, and we should remain such regardless of our incomes. We are citizens at work as well as at home. We are not the hired help and we are not tenants. We are citizens.

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  16. Don't argue with the anonymous, Counterlight.

    They are just as anonymous and meaningless in real-life. Knowing they've no power, no voice, and no rational thought, they are ashamed to even put their names to what they spout. Simple frustration. A child beating the floor with its fists.

    Ignore it. You're being drawn into defending against arguments which are so puerile and such a degree of magical thinking that they can only be a waste of time, even for those who believe in it.

    In Jesus' terms - "There are none so blind as will not see," and "Let the dead bury the dead."


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.