Occupy movement shows significant pro-freedom leanings

I went by the Occupy San Francisco camp outside the Federal Reserve building at 101 Market Street yesterday. This thing is really going strong. Although it was late at night, there were maybe 30-40 people camped there, many sleeping, some sitting around talking, etc. Lots of signs, fliers, books, materials, free food that supporters have dropped off, etc.

One flier I picked up was of particular interest. Headed “OCCUPY San Francisco” and listing the websites www.OccupySF.com and Facebook site www.Facebook.com/OccupySF, it was probably about as “official” a handbill as one would be likely to find at such an event.

Under the title described above, the 5.5″ by 8.5″ flier was mainly composed of a “tag cloud” under the heading, “I asked 200 people from OccupySF and this is what they said (Size of text reflects the frequency of the response)”.

I’ve copied here the terms listed in that tag cloud, grouping them by font size/color (a few of the larger terms were in red ink, the rest in black), putting a (+) beside the terms that seem likely to reflect a pro-freedom concern, and a (-) next to those that seem likely to reflect an anti-freedom concern (many terms like “love”, “economics”, “education”, etc., I did not mark as either pro-freedom or anti-freedom):

1st biggest type size (red ink)
—————————————
(+) end the federal reserve
(-) equality

2nd biggest type size (red ink)
—————————–
(+) anarchy
(+) end corporate personhood
(+) police brutality

2nd biggest type size (black ink)
——————————————-
(-) economic inequality
(+) end the drug war
love
(+) gold standard
(-) social security
solidarity

3rd biggest type size (black ink)
——————————————
(-) 1% lies
(+) anti monopoly
(+) bart police
change
(-) class warfare
direct action
economics
(+) fractional reserve banking
justice
keep it leaderless
killing children
(+) medical marijuana
(-) medicare
mobilizing people
(+) stop the war in afghanistan
(-) tax the rich
unity
(+) we are anonymous

4th biggest type size (black ink)
——————————————
american autumn
(+) arab spring
comfort
consciousness
consensus
education
democracy
dollar
(+) empire
(+) end tax slavery
global harmony
(+) liberty
(+) military industrial complex
nipples [evidently someone being funny!]
organic food
organized protest
political awakening
recovery
(-) redistribution of wealth
restore the commons
revolution
sustainability
(+) true freedom
truth

Of course there’s no way of knowing how representative these responses are of all Occupy protests taking place in cities across the country and in Canada (and elsewhere?), but I believe this constitutes is strong evidence that this is not just a left-wing movement, but one with a significant libertarian streak.

Even assuming that the terms “social security” and “medicare” reflect statist concerns (not necessarily the case, especially with the former), the terms that suggest a pro-libertarian perspective outnumber those that suggest an anti-libertarian perspective by more than two to one.

This would seem to suggest an overlap of common ground between the Freedom movement and the Occupy movement that’s about as significant as the overlap between the Freedom movement and the TEA Party. Libertarians would do well to work with both groups.

71 thoughts on “Occupy movement shows significant pro-freedom leanings

  1. Alaska Constitution Party

    Freedom and Human Dignity must prevail over Global Corporate Fascist Tyranny!!! Don’t let them divide and conquer U.S. anymore. Revolt against the false puppet propaganda machine lies…WE THE PEOPLE WILL PREVAIL! Remember 1776!

  2. Jill Pyeatt

    Starchild, I’m delighted to see you posting here! Welcome to IPR! We can use your radical perspective on things.

  3. Deran

    I see a lot of Left Libertarian practice and issues being raised in the Occupy… actions I’ve stopped in on around the Pacific Northwest.

    It will be interesting to see how this Left Libertarian emphasis holds up as/if the movement grows.

    And I will again point out a great deal of what the Occupy… movement is talking abt is what Ralph Nader has talked abt for at least 15, 20 years. More democracy, ending “corproate personhood”, more transparency and openess in governement, and using that more democratic givernment to rein in predatory big businesses and Wall Street, etc. It’s like Nader pollinated the culture and the Occupy… movement is the flowers and veggies.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    4 d, yes, the thrust of Occupy seems Naderite. Whether that’s something to attempt to join with is questionable IMO. My guess is it’s wishful thinking to think these folk want actual freedom…

  5. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    My guess is it’s wishful thinking to think these folk want actual freedom…

    It’s wishful thinking to think the Libertarian Party wants actual freedom.

  6. CommonTater

    I agree with Starchild

    Even though it is editorial and against IPR “rules”

    But…

    He’s right!

  7. Questions Man

    How many other libertarians here have actually been at Occupy events (instead of relying on media impressions or what you read)?

    For those of you who went; What did you think?

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    QM @9,

    I resemble that remark. Here’s a piece I wrote about my visit.

    To the extent that my opinion has evolved in the week since, it is very much toward the notion that the Occupy movement is about to be co-opted in a big way.

    Big Labor is already turning out rank and file, and I got a message from MoveOn (a Democratic party-line PAC). Even if they can’t seize the movement on the ground, they can define it in the media, and its message, whether the actual activists want it to be or not, will end up being “pressure Congress to pass President Obama’s jobs bill.”

  9. Robert Capozzi

    7 ct: Don’t guess….go see for yourself

    me: Ya know, I know enough about selective perception to know that EVEN IF I went to OWS, I would get a distorted view of the totality of what OWS represents. Try as one might to being open minded, we carry around with us a range of biases and assumptions. I didn’t go to Tea Party rallies, either, as one of my biases is that protests like these are generally ineffective and are certainly not my personal highest and best use.

    I would say the Tea Party has been surprisingly effective, despite all its twists, turns, astroturfing, co-opting by the R establishment, etc. I would credit the TP with the Rs taking House back, and putting in some relatively strong-ish deficit-hawk freshmen who were the energy behind the debt-ceiling stand-off. In the grand scheme of things, however, that “accomplishment” was a minor one. That story’s not yet played out, as we’ll need to see what happens with the Super Committee.

    Look at what’s happened with the “anti-war” movement. They got Obama. And NOW the US has troops in Uganda! Be careful what you wish for, indeed!

    So, the upshot of OWS is for me that corporations are “bad,” CEOs get paid too much, and the Occupiers have a long list of “free” stuff they want. Some of them want to end the Fed and think the bail-outs didn’t go to the “right” people. I’m open to the idea of ending the Fed, but the only way I see that issue becoming ripe is if there’s a sea change in Congress and the intellectual class of people who agree with that AND have a plan to replace the Fed with something more sustainable and infused with integrity. Allowing competing currency might be a step in that direction, but that’s all it is — a step.

    I see “rallies and protests” as the political equivalent of going to church. I much prefer practicing peaceful ethics on a daily basis, not just on Sundays. Events may or may not inspire more consistency in one’s daily practice, but my observation is that rallies are mostly about demonization, which is contrary to peace for me.

    6 rtaa, as for “actual freedom,” you may have some very specific ideas about what “actual freedom” might look like. In my case, I’d like a lot more of it, but I don’t kid myself that something as complex and evolving as “the world” can have a neat, tidy definition of what freedom is. Figuring out what it’s NOT has my plate full. Your ability to invent a workable construct may well surpass mine. Share as you care to.

  10. Jason

    Did anyone else notice that Starchild’s flier uses the winner-take-all voting system that perpetuates the two-party system?

  11. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Capozzi: the Tea Party has been surprisingly effective… Look at what’s happened with the “anti-war” movement…

    You’re suggesting the Tea Party was effective in contrast to the antiwar movement.

    You ignore that the Tea Party grew out of the Ron Paul wing of the antiwar movement.

    Without the antiwar movement, the Tea Party might not have reached the critical mass needed to become long-lasting and effective.

    They [the antiwar movement] got Obama. And NOW the US has troops in Uganda! Be careful what you wish for, indeed!

    Silly statement. Who wished for Obama? The antiwar movement as a whole? If you believe that, you’re projecting your straw men onto the antiwar movement.

    The antiwar movement has always been bigger than Obama, or the LP, or Ron Paul, or United for Peace and Justice, or ANSWER…

    Some elements may have hoped Obama would improve matters, but other elements placed their hopes in the Tea Party — and both Obama and the Tea Party betrayed the antiwar movement.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    15 teeth: You ignore that the Tea Party grew out of the Ron Paul wing of the antiwar movement.

    me: Hmm, it’s hard to ignore something that is not true. S’far as I know, the Tea Party was started by Rick Santelli. RP’s energy was in part infused in the Tea Party. RP also straddled into the antiwar movement. Your conflation is really, really novel. I’m willing to hear your theory, but it sounds like a BIG TIME stretch to me on first blush.

    teeth: Who wished for Obama? The antiwar movement as a whole?

    me: The high-profile antiwar movement, largely non-L, Cindy Sheehan-types. My guess is that 90% of those who attended anti-Iraq War protests were Obama supporters and voters, generally in the left-liberal to socialist camps. Perhaps my impression is incorrect. I never assume 100%-political-lockstep in any group.

    teeth: …the Tea Party betrayed the antiwar movement.

    me: Again, a novel idea. Generally, the Tea Party messaging avoided matters of war entirely, but I suspect most self-IDed TPers were PRO-Iraq, certainly PRO-Afghanistan.

  13. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Plenty of LP members were antiwar and involved in the Tea Party, at least during the Tea Party’s early days.

    They became more of a minority (and over time, an insignificant minority) as the GOP and conservative talk radio moved in and co-opted the Tea Party.

  14. Don Lake, leaving a paper trail

    The street that should be occupied is in D.C.
    October 16, 2011 10:00 AM …….. By FROMA HARROP

    As “Occupy Wall Street” sweeps up attention, a smaller group is running something called Occupy K Street.

    If the goal is to loosen the financiers’ grip over the American economy, the folks protesting on K Street are getting closer to bingo.

    K Street is Washington’s famous boulevard of lobbyist influence, the place where money buys politicians to do money’s bidding.

    Occupy Wall Street and allied movements have been likened to the tea party populists associated with the right.

    Both rage at the 2008 Wall Street bailout. Both resent the corporate powers’ lobbying Congress to rig the game in their favor — the middle class and taxpayers be damned.

    But there’s a very big difference between these movements.

    The Occupy people want a more vigilant government overseeing financial activities.

    The tea partiers do not, oddly favoring a less active government.

    They have no solutions that, frankly, most Americans, including themselves, would want to live with.

  15. CommonTater

    Did anyone else notice that Starchild’s flier uses the winner-take-all voting system that perpetuates the two-party system?

    Actually it doesn’t. In a tag cloud, the top X (say 50) choices “win” by making the cutoff to be listed, to various degrees depending on how many “votes” they get,

    In this case there were two “winners” of the highest category, 3 in the next highest, etc.

  16. CommonTater

    Hmm, it’s hard to ignore something that is not true. S’far as I know, the Tea Party was started by Rick Santelli. RP’s energy was in part infused in the Tea Party.

    Rick Santelli got his idea from the Libertarian Party of Illinois. Following Ron Paul supporters’ Tea Party (2007 or 2008?), LPI planned a “tea party” theme to the April 15th anti-tax demonstrations that the LP has held for many years. Many LPI members were of course also Ron Paul supporters. Santelli joined the LPI facebook group for organizing the event months before his rant, but he did not give LPI credit.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    17 teeth: Plenty of LP members were antiwar and involved in the Tea Party, at least during the Tea Party’s early days.

    me: Yes, thanks, I’m aware of that. Even in the early days, I don’t recall the TP being characterized as “anti-war.” Some of the TPers were anti-war, but that didn’t seem to be a message that came through, IF it was emphasized. I don’t recall it being so.

  18. CommonTater

    The high-profile antiwar movement, largely non-L, Cindy Sheehan-types.

    Sheehan was never for Democrats or Obama during her years as an activist.

    It is true that many or most participants in antiwar rallies favored Democrats against Republicans, and that most participants in Tea Parties favor Republicans over Democrats.

    However, Republicans have not cut taxes and spending, they have increased taxes and spending. And Democrats have not brought the troops home, they have expanded the wars and started new ones.

    As a participant in antiwar rallies as well as tea parties, I know that a significant number of people at both types of events realize this. Some of these same people that realize this are heavily involved in the Occupy movements that are springing up.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    22 ct, I said Cindy Sheehan-TYPES. (My quick research didn’t show WHO she herself voted for.)

    I’m aware of the fact that the Rs and Ds don’t follow through on what their natural constituents want.

    Teeth seems to think that the thrust of the TP was anti-war, and no one has shown evidence that it ever was widely perceived that way.

    And, yes, I’m aware that Santelli may well have gotten the TP idea from Ls. Had Santelli NOT done his initial rant, I suspect the TP would have been another largely uncovered, sparsely attended tax protest.

    Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, either. Popularizers get the credit more often than obscure theorists.

  20. Steven Wilson

    I can’t imagine how pro freedom is going on within each protester. The idea of a class conflict is found quite simply in the logistics of each opponent. The marchers have time and energy. If they had jobs or an objective to pursue a job, then it would be a moot point.

    They have no leadership from what I know of and thusly with no rooster to acknowledge the who we are and why we are here specifically, the protest won’t hit anything because it is not aiming at anything we can notice or identify, especially freedom.

    If anything, they are angry for having free time and free suffering.

    I would also notice carefully that not many of these protesters were seen from 2002 to 2008 marching on wall street. Their job or school kept them busy.

  21. CommonTater

    What’s so hard to understand?

    The bailouts and “quantitative easing” have been a major redistribution of wealth from working, formerly working and poor people and small business owners to America’s wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations, in no small part financial institutions.

    After three-four years, the jobs haven’t come back, the troops still haven’t come home, and the billionaires are still racking up massive profits thanks to their control of lobbyists and politicians.

    That is a completely legitimate class conflict which libertarians and leftists, progressives and constitutionalists and greens should all be able to understand — even though they don’t agree on all the details or all the solutions, there is substantial overlap between all these groups in opposing the insidious crony capitalist government-corporate partnership that is sucking the life blood out of our economy.

    Freedom from this parasitic reality unites the protesters; some want socialist or quasi-socialist solutions, and a substantial minority want libertarian, constitutionalist or anarchist solutions.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp

    CT@26,

    Persuasive explanation.

    I’m pessimistic that Occupy can simultaneously grow and advance on their chosen front on one hand, and avoid being co-opted into standard state-leftist goal-seeking on the other.

    But, I hope my pessimism turns out to have been unwarranted.

  23. Deran

    Cindy Sheehan supported and voted for Cynthia McKinney in 2008. See is stridently anti-Obama and his wars.

    I realize MoveOn and the Democratic leadership want to coopt the Occupy movement and use it to assist Obama’s reelection campaign, but from the people I’ve talked to who are involved in Occupy… actions in smaller cities, and most people participating were not any sort of activists or Leftist.

    At this point the movement is too Left Libertarian populist to be of use to Obama. And despite their great wishes the Trotskysits and Maoists are not able to generate much direct influence. But I don’t deny the movement could lose its economic focus, but as of now it seems like people active in the movement are way to cynical abt the two parties.

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Deran @28,

    There’s an assumption built into your anti-co-option hope. That assumption is that it matters what proportion of the actual Occupy activists or activists are where, ideologically.

    To put it a different way: Just because Occupy can’t be co-opted for any extended period of time on the ground, that doesn’t mean that its bullhorn can’t be seized for a moment and used to fix the message in the media.

    To summarize something I wrote elsewhere and that’s now being distributed at some Occupy actions as a sort of warning/be prepared thing:

    Big Labor has already started positioning itself as sympathetic to Occupy.

    As of late last week, MoveOn was beginning to mobilize its base to get out to Occupy actions.

    Neither of those blocs can turn out their rank and file for weeks on end … but both can do it for a day or a weekend.

    All they have to do is swamp one or two reasonably large Occupy actions, get the microphone, announce (for example) that Occupy’s next goal should be to agitate for congressional passage of Obama’s “jobs bill” …

    … and all you’ll see in the mainstream media for a solid week after that is that “the Occupy movement has coalesced around the goal of pressuring Congress to pass President Obama’s jobs bill” …

    … even if you never again see so much as a single union or MoveOn peep at an Occupy action after that.

    That’s what’s probably coming. There may be ways to beat it, but it won’t be easy.

  25. Deran

    @29 Indeed, I agree with what you’re saying. I’ve been around Left politics for 30+ years, and I know how quick the Democrats and their minions are to try and make use of something that arises from a more Left perspective to furter their own ends.

    The only caveat I’d tag on to the threat of the AFL-CIO getting involved is that the labor unions are extremely desperate and they put a great deal of time, huamns and money into getting Obama elected, and he has done very little that has helped them in return. Yes, the “infrastructure bill” is important to the unions, but my union member friends and family are very distrusting of Obama and for the first time of the Democrats.

    Again, I’m not disagreeing abt the potential for what you say to occur, and I know the Democrats are already spinning the Occupy movement to meet their own poltical aims. They sure used the recent late anti-war movement that way.

    I still think we are at the “we’ll see” stage.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    HF,

    I was using the “jobs bill” as a “for instance.” It could be something else.

    Deran,

    You’re somewhat more optimistic than me, and I hope that optimism is justified.

    The battle is definitely on — and C4SS is in the thick of it. I’m the Negative Nellie there, to the extent that we have one. Several of our people are playing key roles in Occupy in different cities, and that’s about to escalate.

  27. Deran

    Well, the more LPers and libertarian capitaists there are involved in the Occupy movement the better the chances of keeping the Democrats and their minions from completely wrecking things.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    34 D: the more LPers and libertarian capitaists there are involved in the Occupy movement the better the chances of keeping the Democrats and their minions from completely wrecking things.

    me: Thanks for your time-management counsel, D, but I’d put this notion deeply in the highly unlikely file. The train’s left the station on OWS. It may have some elements that are attractive to Ls, mostly the direction is away from liberty, not toward it, IMO. And the numbers of self-IDed Ls remains small. Even if we got on board OWS, we’d be wildly outnumbered.

    Ls seem too busy internally squabbling or advancing obscure theory, anyway.

  29. JT

    Robert: “It may have some elements that are attractive to Ls, mostly the direction is away from liberty, not toward it, IMO.”

    I agree. Although the specific objectives of the Occupy protests haven’t been made clear by organizers and participants, it seems to me like the overall tenor is for more government action and not less. Of course, Libertarians have common concerns as far as foreign war and corporate privileges from government.

  30. CommonTater

    Robert and JT,

    You both sound very sure of that even though the article we are commenting on and many other sources I have seen suggest otherwise.

    Of course, you may talk yourselves into being correct.

  31. Humongous Fungus

    Damon Eris at Poli-Tea gets it:

    “Indeed, those who are most critical of the occupation protests often appear to be the most ignorant of them. As I noted the other day, Herman Cain has asked why people are protesting on Wall Street but not at the White House. Cain clearly has no idea what he is talking about, as Occupy DC has been camped out a block away from the White House for two weeks. Alex Jones has argued that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are pawns of George Soros, since otherwise they would be protesting at the Federal Reserve. Yet OWS protesters have staged numerous demonstrations outside the Federal Reserve building in New York, as have protesters in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and elsewhere. One of the most common criticisms that has been leveled against the protests is that the demonstrators are “disorganized and incoherent.” Yet they are organized and coherent enough to have created an infrastructure to maintain their presence for a full month while gaining the attention of the national and international press. “

  32. Humongous Fungus

    More from Damon Eris…

    “It is both a strength and a weakness of the Occupy Wall Street protest that the movement has yet to develop a concrete list of proposals and demands. On the one hand, it is arguably because there are no such demands that the movement has spread as quickly as it has. Rather than dictating an agenda, the process has left open the space for the articulation of grievances and demands. It is this openness, I think, which is attracting new participants. On the other hand, because there are no such proposals and demands, the reactionaries who have stood in opposition to this movement from its inception have been able to simply pretend that they know what this movement stands for, what its demands are, what solutions it proposes. Many of the movement’s most vocal critics appear to be the most ignorant of it. Herman Cain, for instance, has criticized Occupy Wall Street for being on Wall Street and not in front of the White House. Is he simply not aware that Occupy DC has been camped out a block away from the White House for two weeks? Reading such reports in the media, I am reminded more often that not of the liberal Democratic reaction to the Tea Party movement when it first began gaining steam in early 2009. Yesterday, I suggested that there is significant overlap between the motivations of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movement. Though he reproduces a number of unfounded cliches that have become popular talking points among Republican party hacks, Wayne Allen Root, chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee, and staunch supporter of the Tea Party movement, sees a significant amount of agreement between the Tea Party and the Occupation movement. “

  33. Humongous Fungus

    Last one from PoliTea:

    “As someone who was active in the Tea Party movement until it was infiltrated and destroyed by the Republican party, I urge all Tea Party activists who have maintained at least a semblance of political independence to become involved in the occupation protests. As an Independent, I urge all Independents to become active in this movement. As an advocate of third party alternatives to the Democrat-Republican duopoly, I urge all third party activists to become involved in this movement.

    Perhaps some may say they do not agree with the direction this movement is heading and refuse to become involved. The funny thing is, if you become involved you can change its direction. It is really that simple.”

  34. Robert Capozzi

    38 ct: You both sound very sure of that even though the article we are commenting on and many other sources I have seen suggest otherwise.

    me: In my case, I’m never sure of anything! I’m always taking my best guess. But, I dunno, the whole 99% thing…the litany of “free” stuff they want…. But, yes, it’s possible that 72.3% of OWS are actually Ls, wanting lessarchy now! Unlikely, but possible….

  35. Humongous Fungus

    The whole 99% thing is accurate.

    The 1% (or 0.1%) are growing a lot richer thanks to government, and it has come at the expense of the rest of us.

    The litany of free stuff represents some of the people there. No, a majority are not libertarians, but if libertarians show up they will have more sway over the direction. And they will reach many, many people who already sympathetic to them or at least willing to listen.

    Not everyone (or most people) who participated in the tea parties have been libertarians either. Many, quite likely most, of them want big government when it comes to social and foreign policy issues. Yet libertarians have not had a problem with participating in Tea Parties and letting their view be heard. They should do the same with the Occupy movement.

    They missed a huge opportunity with the antiwar rallies of the Bush years and most of them will miss this one because they identify themselves with the right and the protesters with the left. Hopefully, enough libertarians will overcome that divide and conquer strategy.

  36. Robert Capozzi

    43 hf: The 1% (or 0.1%) are growing a lot richer thanks to government, and it has come at the expense of the rest of us.

    me: Are you sure? Have you conducted an audit? I suspect some have, some may have to some extent, and some not so much, if at all.

    OTOH, it’s probably nearly 100% true that the existence of some government does allow for the accumulation of wealth. In the world of ROAD WARRIOR, to the extent that wealth might be created, the wealthy’d probably have to pay quite a bit to keep what they have.

  37. JT

    Common Tater: “You both sound very sure of that even though the article we are commenting on and many other sources I have seen suggest otherwise.”

    I don’t agree with the premise. There are some issues that I think are being emphasized more than others–and they aren’t indicated by type size.

    At the forefront of the Occupy protests seem to be “corporate greed” (by which they mean a lot of profit, which is disdained in itself) and welfare “rights.” War and empire is also at the forefront, which I think is good.

    Other terms such as “true freedom” and “liberty” mean something very different to far leftists than to libertarians. “Monopoly” could refer to using government force to bust up companies that gain a lot of market share through free competition. “Tax the rich” and “end tax slavery” are contradictions. And what the heck is “we are anonymous”?

    There are many sources I’ve seen that suggest what I’m saying as well. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing good about the Occupy protests from a libertarian perspective though.

  38. Humongous Fungus

    A new one from Poli-Tea (excerpted):

    “Of course, those of us who are not blinded by an irrational allegiance to the parties of the ruling political class understand that the GOP’s war against the Tea Party movement began over two years ago in the spring and summer of 2009 shortly after the Tea Party movement burst onto the national scene. Republican party hacks infiltrated the movement and destroyed it from the inside by wedding it to the apparatus of the GOP. Cooptation was their stated strategy from the very beginning. By the time Tea Party groups began endorsing Republican party candidates, the Tea Party movement had already lost its war for political independence. Ironically, the Republican party elite were aided in this effort by the likes of Rush Limbaugh himself who, time and again, argued against third party and independent political activism within the Tea Party movement. This is a cautionary tale for the OWS protest movement spreading across the country and around the globe.

    This discussion couldn’t be any more timely, given the current danger posed to the Occupy Wall Street movement by the Democratic party and its deluded activists. Via Tirade Faction comes a link to a recent article by Matt Taibbi warning that OWS is in danger of being coopted and castrated by the ruling political class and the corporate media in precisely the same way the Tea Party movement was. Excerpt:


    There is going to be a fusillade of attempts from many different corners to force these demonstrations into the liberal-conservative blue-red narrative.

    This will be an effort to transform OWS from a populist and wholly non-partisan protest against bailouts, theft, insider trading, self-dealing, regulatory capture and the market-perverting effect of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks into something a little more familiar and less threatening, i.e. a captive “liberal” uprising that the right will use to whip up support and the Democrats will try to turn into electoral energy for 2012.

    Tactically, what we’ll see here will be a) people firmly on the traditional Democratic side claiming to speak for OWS, and b) people on the right-Republican side attempting to portray OWS as a puppet of well-known liberals and other Democratic interests . . .

    What nobody is comfortable with is a movement in which virtually the entire spectrum of middle class and poor Americans is on the same page, railing against incestuous political and financial corruption on Wall Street and in Washington. The reality is that Occupy Wall Street and the millions of middle Americans who make up the Tea Party are natural allies and should be on the same page about most of the key issues, and that’s a story our media won’t want to or know how to handle . . .

    Take, for instance, the matter of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks . . . This is an issue for the traditional “left” because it’s a classic instance of overweening corporate power — but it’s an issue for the traditional “right” because these same institutions are also the biggest welfare bums of all time, de facto wards of the state who sucked trillions of dollars of public treasure from the pockets of patriotic taxpayers from coast to coast.

    Both traditional constituencies want these companies off the public teat and back swimming on their own in the cruel seas of the free market, where they will inevitably be drowned in their corruption and greed, if they don’t reform immediately. This is a major implicit complaint of the OWS protests and it should absolutely strike a nerve with Tea Partiers . . . .

    Once again, as someone who was active in the Tea Party movement until it was hijacked and castrated by the GOP, I urge all Tea Party activists who have not yet sold their souls to the ruling political class to become active in this burgeoning opposition movement against the two-party state. As an Independent and a supporter of third party and Independent alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats, I urge all Independents and third party supporters to do the same. It is not a question of whether the forces of the ruling political class will attempt to destroy this movement. It is a question of whether we will allow them to do so. “

  39. Humongous Fungus

    There are some issues that I think are being emphasized more than others–and they aren’t indicated by type size.

    Font size indicates which issues are being emphasized more than others. It’s a tag cloud, which means that the issues most important to protesters are in the biggest font.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    Just had an email from Democracy for America, Howard Dean’s Democratic Party PAC. They’re trying to claim the Occupy movement, too.

    It looks like the co-opt attempt is in full motion, probably with an intended weekend climax.

    Big Labor’s been moving in incrementally.

    Late last week, MoveOn.

    Today, Obama himself and DFA.

    It looks like the “jobs bill” is what they’re hoping to use Occupy as cannon fodder for.

    Their strength is the ability to turn out a big crowd and dominate the conversation for a short time, with the goal of fixing the media message on their chosen topic.

    Their weakness is that they can only do so for a short time. The particular masses they can mobilize are good for a day in the park, but not for a month in the trenches.

    Resist much.

  41. Humongous Fungus

    I believe I read that the jobs bill already died in congress. Maybe I got that wrong.

    Yes, there is an attempt to coopt, I think everyone acknowledges that.

    There is still time to fight back.

    1st biggest type size (red ink)
    —————————————
    (+) end the federal reserve
    (-) equality

    2nd biggest type size (red ink)
    —————————–
    (+) anarchy
    (+) end corporate personhood
    (+) police brutality

    2nd biggest type size (black ink)
    ——————————————-
    (-) economic inequality
    (+) end the drug war
    love
    (+) gold standard
    (-) social security
    solidarity

    So out of the top issues, most are ones libertarians can agree with. Starchild assigns a minus to “equality” and “economic inequality” but I don’t necessarily assign a minus to those. It depends on how they are achieved. I believe a truly free market would have more economic equality.

    As for social security, I am against the government program of that name, but the goal of a social safety net is a good one; it’s just that some of us believe it can be provided both more efficiently and more humanely by voluntary means than by massive government bureaucracies.

    I’ll address the rest of the tag cloud later.

  42. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “It looks like the co-opt attempt is in full motion, probably with an intended weekend climax.”

    The Occupy Movement is being co-opted by the Democrats just like the Tea Party Movement was co-opted by the Republicans.

    If the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Movement would ever wake up and realize that they are being conned by the two establishment parties and that both of these groups have more in common than they realize on a lot of issues, and that libertarianism offers the solutions to many of the problems which inspired them to go out and protest they’d stand a chance of getting somewhere.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    HF @ 50,

    You almost certainly did hear something like “the jobs bill died in Congress.” But bills are like vampires — they come back to life when there’s an opportunity to suck blood.

    Obama’s “jobs bill” lost a procedural voted of some kind in the Senate last week, and the Democrats are a minority in the House.

    So, it’s dead. Unless it’s not.

    The point isn’t really to pass it anyway — it’s to create the reality or the illusion of public demand that it be passed, and to batter the Republicans about the head and shoulders for refusing to meet that real or illusory demand, so as to move next November’s numbers.

  44. Humongous Fungus

    Andy.

    The difference is that it is earlier in the game with Occupy so we can still make more of a difference than with Tea Parties.

    But I still advocate working with both whenever we can find an opening. There are still some Tea Party groups that welcome independents, from what I have been told. I talked to an LP candidate this summer who said he spoke at TPs and was well received. Other TPs, not so much.

    It may be the same with Occupy events – maybe the flavor can be very different depending on what city you’re in.

  45. Humongous Fungus

    If the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy Movement would ever wake up and realize that they are being conned by the two establishment parties and that both of these groups have more in common than they realize on a lot of issues, and that libertarianism offers the solutions to many of the problems which inspired them to go out and protest they’d stand a chance of getting somewhere.

    Some of them do. We should make an effort to find these.

    The MSM is not comfortable with reporting anything that does not fit their bipolar red team/blue team world view, so naturally they tend to select the people there who conform to their narrative that this is the “left wing equivalent of the tea parties.” But from people who actually go, many (not all) have a different story.

  46. Humongous Fungus

    3rd biggest type size (black ink)
    ——————————————
    (-) 1% lies
    (+) anti monopoly
    (+) bart police
    change
    (-) class warfare
    direct action
    economics
    (+) fractional reserve banking
    justice
    keep it leaderless
    killing children
    (+) medical marijuana
    (-) medicare
    mobilizing people
    (+) stop the war in afghanistan
    (-) tax the rich
    unity
    (+) we are anonymous

    I can put a libertarian interpretation on almost all of the above, including “1% lies” and “class warfare” (look up Agorist Class Theory).

    The only unambiguously unlibertarian issues in the above group — “medicare” and “tax the rich” — are misguided attempts to use monopoly government to fix problems caused by market distortions caused by
    state-corporate collusion.

  47. Humongous Fungus

    4th biggest type size (black ink)
    ——————————————
    american autumn
    (+) arab spring
    comfort
    consciousness
    consensus
    education
    democracy
    dollar
    (+) empire
    (+) end tax slavery
    global harmony
    (+) liberty
    (+) military industrial complex
    nipples [evidently someone being funny!]
    organic food
    organized protest
    political awakening
    recovery
    (-) redistribution of wealth
    restore the commons
    revolution
    sustainability
    (+) true freedom
    truth

    Again a pretty group.

    I don’t necessarily assign a negative value to wealth redistribution; it depends on the means used to accomplish it.

    The bailouts (among other things) have been government forced upward redistribution of wealth. Ending corporate-government collusion would redistribute wealth back down through natural market forces.

    So, out of (50?) issues, the only unambiguously bad ones are SS, medicare and taxing the rich – which are all bad solution to real problems.

    I’d say that is a pretty good basis for finding common ground, no?

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    HF @ 55,

    “I can put a libertarian interpretation on almost all of the above, including ‘1% lies’ and ‘class warfare” (look up Agorist Class Theory).”

    Yup! The sign I carried down to Occupy STL said “SMASH THE STATE” on one side and “NO WAR BUT CLASS WAR” on the other.

  49. Starchild

    Lots to respond to here, that’s what I get for posting something and then not checking back on it for a couple days! Let’s start at the top…

    Jill @2 – Thank you! I was granted posting privileges a while ago and have been meaning to use them and finally got around to it.

    Trent @3 – In political terms I believe libertarian is synonymous with pro-freedom, so I use the terms interchangeably.

    CommonTater @8 – I was not aware that editorializing in posts was against IPR rules. Is this true? It seems to me that I’ve seen plenty of editorializing in other folks’ postings, though I’d have to go look to give you specifics.

    Thomas @10 – Yeah, I can see that danger (of the Occupy movement being co-opted). Labor groups can definitely turn out large numbers of people to do their leaders’ bidding. But I think there’s going to be resistance from core activists to being pushed into being water-carriers for something like an Obama jobs bill.

    I was at a Campaign for Liberty Meetup in SF tonight, and afterward we hung out at a pub for a bit, and then I convinced around half a dozen folks to walk over with me to the Occupy SF camp a few blocks away. There are actually two camps now, the original one in front of the Federal Reserve which had maybe two or three dozen people there, and a larger one a couple blocks away on the Embarcadero promenade across from the Ferry Building, with maybe a couple hundred people. I recruited a couple C4Lers to help me hand out some copies of the Blue Republican essay I’d brought in flier form (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/blue-republican_b_886650.html?page=1). One middle-aged, hippie-looking woman to whom I handed a copy asked me what it was, and I told her it was about why people on the left should support Ron Paul instead of Obama, and she said, with more than a touch of irritation, “Do I look like someone who supports Obama?” It was a great moment, because I think most Americans would have said she looked quite a bit like someone who supports Obama. 🙂

    Jun, one of the main SF C4L organizers, introduced me to a friend of his who happened to be there. This friend was also a Ron Paul supporter, and had been camped out for I don’t know how many days. He said a lot of people there were for Ron Paul. Although he told me he had been working with the Green Party, he sounded like a libertarian to me. He said many of the older people there were socialists, but that many of the younger people understand we don’t want more centralization and control.

    The other thing that may help prevent the Occupy movement from being co-opted was the sense voiced by a couple people I heard at the camp, that many people there simply have little interest in electoral politics.

    Robert @13 “…one of my biases is that protests like these are generally ineffective and are certainly not my personal highest and best use” As if spending lots of time commenting on IPR is more effective and a higher/better use??

    “…rallies are mostly about demonization, which is contrary to peace for me.” You would’ve liked the Embarcadero camp then. People were obviously having a good time, hanging out, talking, making signs, smoking pot, playing musical instruments, taking turns riding a stationary bicycle that was being used to power generators to supply electricity for computers. Some people even burst into a spontaneous chorus of singing the national anthem while we were there (it was a little campy, but the sentiment seemed genuine — I think even conventional conservatives, had there been any there, would’ve been moved. There was a real feeling of freedom and camaraderie in the air. Apparently the camp had been attacked by police the previous night, who according to Jun’s friend had beaten people, seized property, etc., but the Occupy folks stood their ground and managed to avoid being driven out.

    CommonTater @22 – True what you say here, afaik. Cindy Sheehan has weighed in on the current SF mayoral race to support Green Party candidate Terry Baum (the only candidate in the race, again afaik, explicitly running as affiliated with a party other than Democrat). [Side note – I thought about running for mayor of SF myself, but it’s $5000 to get on the ballot, and I decided the activism/publicity opportunity wasn’t worth giving government that kind of money or the effort of getting 10,000 signatures at $.50 a signature (you can practically get a measure on the SF ballot for that many sigs).]

    CommonTater @38 – Bingo! Excellent observation. I believe the trashing of the Tea Party by many on the left as just a bunch of right-wingers became to some extent a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I think many on the right are aiming to do the same thing to the Occupy movement.

    It’s a shame, because as I said I think both movements are legitimately grassroots, and my impression is that they have enough commonality that with some careful diplomacy by people on both sides, they could conceivably join forces to push for shared goals. If THAT were to happen, I think it would become a MAJOR threat to the establishment, and thus a reason for libertarians to cheer. Even if we couldn’t get behind 100% of the agenda, I think likely areas of overlap would tend to be mostly things we’d support (stopping the bailouts, taking on the Fed, rolling back government fascism like the TSA and “PATRIOT” Act abuses, etc.)

    Humongous Fungus @50 – In response to this and other comments about my designation of various terms as pro-freedom (+) or anti-freedom (-), I agree it’s not an exact science, and many of you have valid points. To clarify, my choices were based on what I thought was the most *likely* political sentiments of the folks using those terms. Yes, “equality” *could* reflect a libertarian agenda, just as “true freedom” *could* reflect a leftist agenda, but given the more frequent political associations of these terms, and the fact that respondents probably wanted to communicate their senses of what Occupy is about *in terms that would be accurately understood by others*, I don’t think those are the most likely interpretations in either case. I actually think “Social Security” was one of the more ambiguous ones, because the term *could* have originated with a young person concerned about the unsustainable nature of the program and wanting alternatives — but I think it more likely came from a statist-oriented person who wants the program shored up.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    58 sc: As if spending lots of time commenting on IPR is more effective and a higher/better use??

    me: For me, yes. The transaction costs are VERY low. I can share my ideas easily, indoors, and out of the elements. I can challenge premises that IMO have restricted the liberty movement severely, then go onto other things with virtually no transition restrictions.

    For others, perhaps the act of protest is fulfilling in and of itself.

    Could be that Occupy Embarcaderoans recall the spirit of the Summer of Love, and are not all about demonization. Angrytarians might find that unsatisfying.

  51. paulie

    I was not aware that editorializing in posts was against IPR rules. Is this true? It seems to me that I’ve seen plenty of editorializing in other folks’ postings, though I’d have to go look to give you specifics.

    The current rule is that we can post other people;s opinions in articles but not our own. I did tell you that but I guess you forgot. Not everyone always abides by the rule but Trent is above me in authority here, I suggest not arguing with him and just doing what he says.

    If you catch one of the other writers editorializing in articles you can point that out to them and/or Trent.

  52. paulie

    For me, yes. The transaction costs are VERY low. I can share my ideas easily, indoors, and out of the elements. I can challenge premises that IMO have restricted the liberty movement severely, then go onto other things with virtually no transition restrictions.

    I like to share on here too (too much, as everyone here knows) but I like to check my premises by talking to a lot of different kinds of people in person – conducting informal “polls” of the general public, if you will.

  53. Robert Capozzi

    61 p, yes, informal, in person polling sounds like a flowing thing to do, and I do some of it myself in daily life. Doing so at a demonstration might be interesting, although the downside might be that demonstrators are likely to self-select, skewing the results. All good, of course.

  54. Jason

    The Nolan chart is a flawed system for building the Libertarian Party, because it takes away time from ranked choice voting projects in multi-winner districts.

  55. 99 Percenter

    http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2011/10/17/krampus-launches-protest-to-occupy-the-north-pole/

    “This morning, it was noted that the occupation movement inspired by the Occupy Wall Street has expanded to all seven continents, including Antarctica. There’s one place on Earth where there has not been an occupation protest yet, however, and that’s the North Pole…

    …until now. Krampus, horned spirit of winter holiday mischief and independent presidential candidate, has announced his intention to begin an occupation protest right on the Arctic ice, right outside of Santa’s office window.

    “Santa’s workshop is a sweatshop,” Krampus said in his press release. “The elves do 99 percent of the work, but Santa and Mrs. Claus take all the credit, and all the milk and cookies.” Santa’s elves have never received any wages at all. They are categorized as “permanent interns”. Reindeer are routinely asked to fly all night without any overtime pay, and without flight insurance.

    “The days in which Big Santa can just creep down people’s chimneys in the middle of the night without being noticed are over,” Krampus said. “The man in the red suit paid no taxes at all last year, and appears to have given substantial gifts, year after year, to each and every member of Congress, as well as the President. He wants us to focus on the toys, but in reality, it’s all about Pay To Play. Santa can check his list all he wants, but we will Occupy the North Pole until we can move beyond the facade of ho ho ho, and start seeing progress on real solutions.”

  56. Yo Ming

    There will be no OPH booths at occupy.

    Most LP libertarians would not be able to take a clue out of the box if you sent them one as a christmas present.

    Then they would try to take it to the store for a refund, even without a receipt.

    It would probably be the wrong store anyway and they would get lost on the way there, that is if they could find the key to the car ignition and remember to take the parking brake down.

    Thankfully, Ron Paulitarians are not so clueless.

  57. Moderate Pragmatic Libertaryan

    You people are delusional.

    These occupationists are dirty, unwashed, and most importantly broke.

    If we kiss up to the 1% really, really good, they will give us the big checks.

    I’m tellin ya, they will.

    After all, it will buy them lots of influence.

    Do you think it would help if we all wore polo shirts?

  58. Pingback: Occupy Wall Street

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