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What The Protesters Want    
Wednesday, October 26 2011 @ 09:52 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Lise

OpinionA lot of people have been asking “what do the protesters want.” I think I know. They want the new age and they want it now, not in some mythical future that never happens but right here in our lifetimes.

What does that mean? Crazy as it sounds, I think people really do want peace, love, and prosperity for all. They’re tired of hearing about choices and how this is the best we can do so be happy with what you got. Like Oliver Twist, they are daring to ask for more than just the grim status quo.

But it goes way beyond ideals.

People are sick of the way money allows those who have it to tyranize our world.

People are tired of mechanized systems that force everyone to fit into a prefab mold, whether its education, healthcare, or the job market.

People are tired of the racking divide between left and right, us and them, and the increasingly wide difference between the very rich and everyone else.

They’re tired of the inequities of a system that forces them to pay more and more for basic items like healthcare, food, housing, insurance, higher education, and pretty much everything else — while seeing their own spending power dwindle year by year.

I think the protesters (and many people) would like to live in a world where archaic and even barbaric practices such as war, torture, murder, and thievery are not carried out at the state level, or any level for that matter.

I think people are tired of surveillance. We’d like our freedom back, to know that we can move about in our lives without having our every action recorded, documented, and archived in keyword-searchable databases.

People care about the world itself, our land, air, and water. We love nature and fret about the extinction of species. We regard large-scale events such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or the tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima as disasters and want to avoid such catastrophes in the future.

We want to live sustainably. We want to live satisfying lives. Most of us don’t want or expect to become rich, but just to live decently and to enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer. And above all, we don’t want to sacrifice our own future happiness to pay back debts incurred by greedy rich people who made bad choices, and have been, perversely enough, compensated for them.

Barack Obama may not have known it, but what a lot of people were hoping for when he talked about “change you can believe in” in 2008 was some form of the above — a new era and a new approach, in which people were put before their corporate counterparts and the rich took a back seat to the common good.

That did not happen, alas, but people have not stopped wanting it, which is why they’re out in all the towns and all the cities, occupying parks and forming committees. They’re tired of the old system. They want a new one.

Here in Brattleboro, people have been working at inventing that new system for a long time. There are folks here doing time trade, agriculture, green energy, and small-scale manufacturing. We live in a region where community actually means something and where folks try to support each other in times of need.

Brattleboro is still in the real world and the real world still runs on money. But if people power ever comes into demand, Brattleboro should be well-situated to handle whatever the new paradigm throws at us. Whether the rest of the country is able to make that switch is another matter. But they want it, and who knows what might happen if enough people put their collective desires together for the good of all.

 

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    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: Genie on Wednesday, October 26 2011 @ 11:43 PM GMT+4
    Excellently articulated, Lise. The best article I've read on ibrattleboro in some time.


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    Wonders Never Cease.
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: rootrunner on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 10:49 AM GMT+4
    The Vermont example could lead the way, thanks for such great insight Lise
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: Nan Stefanik on Thursday, October 27 2011 @ 12:01 AM GMT+4
    Hear, hear!
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: annikee on Thursday, October 27 2011 @ 12:13 AM GMT+4
    We all do better when we all do better.

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    veritas fortis vocat
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: paulgardner on Thursday, October 27 2011 @ 10:23 AM GMT+4
    Amen to all of that!
    Well said, Lise.
    You don't write often enough. When you do it is worth reading.
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: xteeth on Thursday, October 27 2011 @ 11:43 AM GMT+4
    On the other hand. It seems to me that most people actually don't wish to be involved in the creation of the environment of their lives. They just wish to be let alone to do "their thing." Have jobs, have kids, go bowling, sit back with a beer or whatever. While I can understand those words, it seems to me that they encompass an impossibility and our collective noses are being rubbed in it as we speak. Comes back to the old thing about creating a little hideyhole for yourself and your friends and letting the rest of the world, which you assume is the same as you, take care of theirs.

    Hasn't happened, can't happen, won't happen. Even without the globalization stuff continual monitoring of events is critical as there are hosts of people who have discovered that they can do very well, thank you, in taking from you that which you don't defend. About half of the growth of the economy in the past fifteen years has been in the financial sector. They create nothing, add nothing, and control everything. Though a hedge fund manager seems uninvolved in your life, the companies he destroys are the ones that used to make the jobs for your kids. All those day traders do nothing but siphon off the growth that does occur. That is the point of the fungibility of money. Even if you steal it, it still is the same money that pays for food and housing and educations etc. for others. If you have it - duh! others don't have it.

    The only known thing that actually destroys money is the stock market. Even a rich person buying that third yacht hires boat builders to build it and they feed their kids. When the stock market drops, wealth is gone for no good reason or no reason at all. We can't allow this to continue. The good thing about the steady slow increase in the stock market is that this is the mechanism by which older people have put money aside so they aren't a burden on their kids.

    There is no longer a choice. If you don't get involved, someone will think of a way to steal that which you thought you had safely stored away. It worked with your pension, your housing equity, your job security, your union, your environmental protections, food safety etc. Each of these things is a huge windfall for the Dick Armeys and Phil Gramms and Koch Bros.

    But you knew that.

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    "Some people cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go." Oscar Wilde
    Goldman Sachs Reacts
    Authored by: paulgardner on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 10:24 AM GMT+4
    "Mega-bank Goldman Sachs (assets $933 billion), has declared war on one of the smallest banks in New York (assets $30 million), the customer-owned community bank that happens to also be the banker for Friends of Liberty Plaza, Inc, also known as Occupy Wall Street."

    from Greg Palast on Democracy Now

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEliOHRO5yI

    Pretty remarkable story here (NPR had a slightly different version of this last night omitting the part about Goldman and Citibank).
    The basics: the Occupy movement has been receiving unsolicited cash contributions - much more than was needed for food ($44,000 according to NPR) and they needed a bank. So they opened an account at the not-for-profit Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union.
    The Peoples bank was having a 25th anniversary celebration dinner and on the invitations they mentioned Goldman Sachs who had contributed $5,000. They also mentioned OWS as a depositor.
    Goldman was displeased and asked to have their name removed from the invitations and their money back - they did not want to be seen with OWS in any way.
    Sort of understandable as OWS has been asking their people to take their money out of the big banks and put it into Peoples.
    Subsequently a dozen or so OWS folks were arrested in the act of legally closing accounts at Citibank.

    If I Were a Rich Man, from Fiddler on the Roof (Zero Mostel - look for the incredible comb forward, not over) - just for fun:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1Ucto7HKKA&feature=related
    Goldman Sachs Reacts
    Authored by: vtjasper68 on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 11:27 AM GMT+4
    So by asking to have their name removed, GS is declaring "war" on this bank?
    This whole thing is getting out of hand.
    Goldman Sachs Reacts
    Authored by: paulgardner on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 11:47 AM GMT+4
    I guess I forgot to mention, they also asked for their $5,000 back.
    Goldman Sachs Reacts
    Authored by: paulgardner on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 12:21 PM GMT+4
    In the Palast/Democracy Now piece there's a whole lot more about GS and what they are supposed to be doing at the community level in return for taking federal bailout money and which they have been very slow to do, virtually not reinvesting anything.

    It's pretty involved and doesn't make as neat a story as the other part above, but is in the end the more important issue.
    If you watch the whole video you'll get it.

    In brief: in 2008 GS was an investment bank. When the troubles hit they were changed in 24 hours time into a commercial bank that handles savings and checking accounts like a regular main street bank so they could qualify for $10 billion in TARP funds. In order to receive those funds they had to agree to give some of those funds through something called the CRF (Community Reinvestment Fund) to lower income community banks like the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union.
    So, the $5,000 they gave to Peoples was actually a required payment, but GS is trying to use legal and political muscle to lean on People's and prevent their support of OWS and other causes unfriendly to GS.
    It needs to be said that the other big banks, Capital, Citi and so on are in lockstep with Goldman.
    And there's more on the table. Some of the deregulation that was signed into law during the Clinton years allowing a blurring of the lines between commercial and investment banks could be reconsidered. Apparently former Fed chief Paul Volker is involved in this. It's something that the big banks would not want and OWS is to some extent shining a light on the issue.
    What The Protesters Want
    Authored by: cgrotke on Friday, October 28 2011 @ 07:03 PM GMT+4
    I'd like the Fed to deposit $20,000 in everyone's account to
    stimulate the economy,

    or

    forgive all debts everywhere and start over.

    Why not? It's all make believe anyway, backed by faith and
    trust. : )