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Morality And The Occupy Movement

This is a discussion of the role of morality in the Occupy Movement.

For those who wonder what exactly the Occupy Movement is demanding, look no further. The answer is simple – a new moral agenda, a moral democracy that radically opposes and hopes to alter the role of government and corporations, that is, the selfish, small-minded autocracy that has ruled to date, and that has seriously hindered and interfered with the lives and progress of Americans.

It’s a tall order, but the revolution has begun and is sweeping under its wings not only the government we now have in place in this country, but those on Wall Street and around the globe for whom the buck, rather than human interests, have taken priority. There is a new world order on the rise, and it will encompass even the small minds of our politicians.

Morality, as you may have gathered, is very different for progressives than it is for conservatives. We progressives have a head start in what it means to be moral. We care more about people’s needs, their jobs, education, health care, pensions and futures. We will not, for example, support an agenda that aims to provide tax breaks for the rich at the expense of most Americans.

So, if you think anarchy is a part of this vision, you would also be right. Anarchy is. Anarchy means disrupting the current world order and that is what is required for a new moral order to move forward. Dadaism came before Surrealism. So must the Occupy Movement disrupt before America blossoms.

However, as you may have also gathered, the disruption of the current social and political order has all along in the Occupy movement in America been simultaneous to the presentation of peaceful and constructive ideas and approaches. It is helpful to provide a library of truth to people, as was done in Zuccotti Park. It is helpful to have all members of a society, however big or small, working together toward common goals that benefit everyone. This was also true of Zuccotti Park. It is helpful to have medical care and support systems of every variety for the people of a nation, again, as Zuccotti Park demonstrated.

The Occupy Movement has changed the terms of the debate over who owns public space in America. Artists, union workers, the retired, the young, middle-aged and unemployed all have a say in this debate and are making themselves heard loud and clear across America. If you live here, you are a part of this debate and have a say in it. If you are a citizen of this country, you have a right to question your government’s failings and present a new agenda to the powers that be. Occupy, discuss, debate, transform; these are all words that reflect what is happening in the Occupy Movement. Americans can join the revolution of consciousness that it represents or become part of a silent minority.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

THOUNGDUC December 29, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Brennan are you saying rape is okay if its only a few???? How would you have felt if it were you or someone from your family, you state you were there I was also did you film the Rape Center, where those that were raped were induced into not reporting it to the NYC Police (I wonder Why)??? Are we not talking about crimes that have and will continue to happen or should we look in the opposite direction? A few bad apples can destroy a good movement especially the rest that are attempting to do good, is that a true statement? Happy New to you and all that have blogged on this thread (RATHER INTERESTING) and i found it to be very informative.
FL4LIFE December 29, 2011 at 08:58 PM
thoungduc- i am sure no one is supporting rape and drug use. i think the point people are trying to make is you cant group thousands as drug users and rapist when its just a select few doing it. i am not saying i support OWS- but i believe there are certain people in the group who are intelligent and doing this for the right reason. however when you get large open gathering you are going to get idiots as well as people who have nothing better to do. acting like supporters of OWS support crime, drug use, and rape is a stupid thing to say... many catholic priest have been caught molesting children- does this mean all catholics support child molestation? obviously not- but with any large group there are individuals the misrepresent the group. unfortunetly we do not have a media system that shows both sides equally.
Donna Brennan December 29, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Thoungduc... If you were there at the "rape center" where was it? And to whom did you have a conversation with were you were told, "those that were raped were induced into not reporting it to the NYC Police (I wonder Why)??? Did you bother to ask why? How were these rape victims "induced" into not reporting? Unless, you have verifiable facts your statements don't make sense. Please answer the above questions. Thounduc, no disrespect, but, really
Ridgewood Mom December 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM
I don't disagree with you, Mario, that our government is to blame for not adequately governing. Indeed, there is much blame to go around. But I also think that the extra-governmental financial power is very much tied up with influencing and controlling government. And, I think that this is not so compatible with the democratic/republican ideal of government that you and I take for granted as an ideal. It is not properly representing and serving most American people.
Ridgewood Mom December 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I think this is ad hominem. To equate rape with the occupy movement is baseless. Moreover, it has nothing at all to do with the topic of what the occupy movement or its discontents are discussing. We all get it. They are sweaty. They are smelly. The men have long hair. They plays drums in circles. So we shouldn't like them or listen to anything they say.
Donna Brennan December 30, 2011 at 06:09 AM
My hats off to you Ridgewood Mom. Exactly.....We are all human, made up of flesh, bones, blood and even all kinds of "hair do's". Most of the blog responses have certainly been more elevated than others that fixate on the "seriously lacking" toilet habits of occupiers, and worse. Furthermore, that a couple of individuals keep drilling us on how the vast majority of OWS people are rapists, have been raped, have been forced to keep quiet about being raped, do drugs etcetera is not only ludicrous but not true. And I am also happy to see this is not the sentiment of the majority here on this blog. Still waiting for Thounduc to answer my questions. Either way, his silence, should he determine not to answer, will speak reams. Of course I hope he does respond.
Linda McNamara December 30, 2011 at 08:20 AM
It isn't about redistribution of wealth, it is about allowing the 99% to participate in the American Dream. Recent studies show that one in two Americans live in or close to the poverty level. We rank third in the world in income disparity between the rich and the poor. To fuss about closing tax loop holes and slight increases in taxes on those making over 1 million dollars while trying to reduce or take away completely minimum wage guidelines is really a form of slave labor. If you have to work over 80 hours a week at minimum wage to barely reach the poverty level, there is something seriously wrong with our policies. Under Dwight Eisenhower, taxes on the wealthy approached 92%. Clearly too high. In the Kennedy years taxes on the wealthy were reduced. The Bush administration funded 2 wars without a tax hike. This was never done before in our history not to mention tax cuts introduced in the same time period which basically put an end to job creation during those years. Not everyone occupying Wall Street understands the causes for their frustration, they just know that somehow present government favors the rich at the expense of the not so rich.
Ken F. December 30, 2011 at 12:28 PM
From ABC news: "We always encourage victims to go through the proper channels and contact police," said Brendan Burke, 41, who helps run the security team in Zuccotti Park. But that's not always the case. Burke admitted there have been times when members of the community have taken it upon themselves to chase off men who exposed themselves in the park. "If there is a consensus that someone is bothering another person, the community will take care of it," he said. "Still, we always notify victims to contact police."
Jon December 30, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Linda I think you are right in your thinking the problem is small tax increases here or there wont help, our policies currently are prohibitve where in companies or people with money see very little reward to take risk, they wont expand their business or create new one's and sadly that will not change in 2012. There are trillions of dollars looking for investment opputunities and ideas , corporate balance sheets are as healthy as they have ever been but until this country at every level starts to put its fiscal house in order that money is staying put, and unemployement is going to stay high, the crazy and sad thing is it wouldnt take much policy change to get our economy roaring again.but this system of borrowing .40 of every dollar we spend is unsustainable and higher taxes wont ever solve that.
Jon December 30, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Linda I think you are right in your thinking the problem is small tax increases here or there wont help, our policies currently are prohibitve where in companies or people with money see very little reward to take risk, they wont expand their business or create new one's and sadly that will not change in 2012. There are trillions of dollars looking for investment opputunities and ideas , corporate balance sheets are as healthy as they have ever been but until this country at every level starts to put its fiscal house in order that money is staying put, and unemployement is going to stay high, the crazy and sad thing is it wouldnt take much policy change to get our economy roaring again.but this system of borrowing .40 of every dollar we spend is unsustainable and higher taxes wont ever solve that.
MARIO SICARI December 30, 2011 at 03:24 PM
@Linda...what exactly is the American Dream??? Didnt they try that by manipulating interest rates and lowering the standard to own homes, and look where it got us. we werent born to a right of success, there are no short cuts in life...I attended college, by brother didnt, does my brother deserve my job simply because ts part of some fairy tail dream??? Linda unfortunately your are missing something in your study, the poverty level in this country has grown since the FED Reserve began manipulating currency...Thomas Jefferson predicted it would happen... by lowering and raising interest rates they have caused food prices, energy prices, healthcare cost and educational cost to skyrocket, all basic needs of the middle class, to accomodate the demand, credit standards were loosened, allowing middle class workers, whose salaries over the same period remained the same,to borrown more than they could ever pay back. As far as your recollection of fiscal policy , Mr Bush, should be in Guantanamo, for successfully destabalizing an already turmoiled Middle East. The Political Machine in thsi country feeds us nonsense, yes nonsense wealth is not entitlement, it is acheived, through patience and commitment, unless of course you are a politician...but again as I have stated time and time again, Corporate America is not GREEDY, people are GREEDY and to think politicans are not people is just silly, they have created this mess with bad policy and lack of good policy.
MARIO SICARI December 30, 2011 at 03:59 PM
As far as tax increase or tax cuts, it is only going to result in creating a bigger hole.The problem is in-effiencies which exist in the tax code and lobbyist which prevent legislators in changing those in-efficiencies. We all know the tax code is old out dated and un fair, why don they fix it?Why is it 30 million Americans have no health insurance and the Governments solutions is to unravel the entire system and rebuild a new system for the entire 300 million Americans at the same time exclude themselves? there is your answer, opportunist running the system and because its about money,and controlling it...I am beginning to believe many good people are very naive. Recently the Government passed a stimulus 870 billion dollars, they gave a portion to the banks to bail them out. Because of the lack of liquidity, the banks recieved the money and since have made fewer loans than ever. 870 BILLION???? they could have given each AMERICAN CITIZEN 1 million and still have had 865 billion left. It is disgusting how they spend money and the FEDERAL Reserve is a printing press, like a drug dealer providing the cash to satisfy their desire to spend. My problem is spend it wisely, spend it on provding shelters for our homeless, not schools in IRAQ to be blown up next week, feed our hungry, not pay farmers not to grow agricultural goods, rebuild our infratsrutcure, not increase the military budget to build more weapons to destroy and threaten other nations, The Government is broken.
T.Maher December 30, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Agreed on all points , except a billion, or a trillion, doesn't go so far : (from stats.com) One billion is a thousand millions. One billion is a 1 with nine zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000,000. One billion seconds is about 31 and a half years. One billion pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower almost 870 miles high. If you earn $45,000 a year, it would take 22,000 years to amass a fortune of one billion dollars. One billion ants would weight over 3 tons - a little less than the weight of an elephant. One billion dollars divided equally among the U.S. population would mean that everyone in the United States would receive about $3.33. Trillions After this is a trillion: One trillion is a thousand billions, or equivalently a million millions. It is a 1 with twelve zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000,000,000. One trillion seconds is over 31 thousand years. One trillion pennies stacked on top of each other would make a tower about 870,000 miles high - the same distance obtained by going to the moon, back to earth, then to the moon again. One trillion ants would weigh over 3000 tons. One trillion dollars divided evenly among the U.S. population would mean that everyone in the United States would receive a little over $3000. even if we divided a trillion among every TAXPAYING citizen, it would amount to approx. $7000.00 per. But I certainly would be glad to get it- even though the leeches would tax us on it
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 01:38 AM
More number fun: 1. The wealthiest 400 Americans have as much money as the less wealthy half of the entire population combined. 2. The wealth of six members of the Walton family equals that if the bottom 30% of all Americans combined. Source = http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2011/12/05/the-few-the-proud-the-very-rich/ ----------- Here is Forbes list of America's 400 wealthiest people: http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#p_1_s_arank_All%20industries_All%20states_All%20categories_ All of them are billionaires. A billion is a thousand millions. That is a 1 with nine zeros after it, denoted by 1,000,000,000. etc. Of course, these people work a lot harder then everyone else. All of the other people who get up and go to work every day just aren't working hard enough. They are lazy. Everyone else only needs to start behaving like these harder working people and they will have as much as them. It is just that simple. If you have a problem with it you are a SOCIALIST and like to rape people. ROFL
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 01:59 AM
While most Americans are getting poorer, the very rich are getting much richer. CEOs: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/12/ceo-pay-20-year-historical-chart.html Bank Executives: http://money.cnn.com/news/specials/storysupplement/ceopay/ And how much is being "earned" from capital investments?
MARIO SICARI December 31, 2011 at 04:04 AM
@Ridgewood MOM...."I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed) 3rd president of US (1743 - 1826) Class warfare will only divide us, as we fall divided the politician will only tighten their grip on our liberties...READ " ART OF WAR" Sunzi
T.Maher December 31, 2011 at 02:41 PM
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." - Thomas Jefferson Kinda says it all
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Many of America's unemployed (most of them, I think) would like to be employed and engaged in a healthy give and take with society. It gives a person a sense of pride to feel that they have earned what they have. But the recent dramatic increase in unemployment makes a clear case for the fact that unemployment, largely, has a systemic cause, as opposed to being a simple matter of individuals lacking personal responsibility. Certainly, most everyone prefers working when they see the act as substantially improving the quality of their life for doing so. But look again at the numbers in the links posted just above. No one in their right mind could seriously believe that the people who are amassing so extraordinarily much wealth are putting even close to as much into the economy as they are taking. The unemployed are taking peanuts from the economy compared to what is being skimmed off the top. Moreover, as a broad rule of thumb, it is people at the very top who are really doing the least work for what they have.
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Paul Krugman: "We are just three years after the greatest banking crisis since the 1930s. I think it was brought on by excesses on the part of the financial industry and the financial industry was bailed out at the public’s expense and risk and yet we’re still in an economic crisis. And somehow the discussion of who are these guys, why are we supporting them, why haven’t they paid more for this, what are the reforms that’s going to stop this from happening again, all that disappeared from the debate. We have been arguing about who’s going to cut Social Security and what about that budget deficit? And we lost the whole thread of the core issue in our society right now. And these protesters, who are a mix of all sorts of people, suddenly brought that back into the center of our national debate. And that’s an enormously positive contribution." Here: http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/10/14/gps-krugman-occupy-wall-street.cnn
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Joseph Stiglitz on Occupy Wall Street: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrW0ypOBngU
carol simon December 31, 2011 at 05:44 PM
I'm very confused that our President Obama was not included in this discussion as class warfare is a prevalent hope and change for the man at the top. I believe that the lack of leadership is a dominant problem. President Obama appears to be in the pockets of Wall Street while applauding those that feel so cheated. It is hard for me to condone the Occupied Wall street. I work very hard as a NYC teacher. When our building was, again, filling our halls with possible asbestos, our Union leader, Milgrew, hung out at the rallies, while our young children's health and staff was burdened with problems of disease, overcrowded classrooms, limited materials, and fear of cancer in a 100 year old building. Yet the Union opened their beautiful building to the occupiers and we still have no contract. Union leaders are in this for political gain and this movement was not spontaneous but herded and led by political interests. I got a firsthand look at the site and saw defecation, drugs, rock and roll and people that want to belong. I thought it was so grand that our Union leader was all over the news on this matter yet no where to be reached for our huge breaking New York City school system. Goods were provided for the occupiers, yet asbestos was ignore. Leadership is diminishing. i understand that freedom of speech is great...but the stench and lack of a message demonstrates flocks and herds of people brought together for political gain, momentum going,.. a clear voice is missing.
THOUNGDUC December 31, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Just excellent Carol this is what most on this blog have been attempting to articulate, a movement with a thousand directions and directors and not one real meaning. Happy New Year to you
THOUNGDUC December 31, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Ridgewood mom, you have been backing this movement in this thread, i have a suggestion invite them into your home too live, they need a place to sleep, a bathroom/toilet, food and your paycheck to spend your hard earned money since they don't have any and demand to share your wealth with them that have nothing so they can sit on their asses and complain and do nothing. - HAPPY NEW YEAR
THOUNGDUC December 31, 2011 at 05:58 PM
T. MAYER excellent blog!!!!
T.Maher December 31, 2011 at 07:25 PM
“The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” Had to be a mean-spirited Tea Party conservative, right? Wrong. President Franklin Roosevelt included these words in his 1935 State of the Union Address.
T.Maher December 31, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Twenty-nine years later, the American welfare state was still relatively small, consuming only 1.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The American family was also still intact, with 93 percent of children born into stable families. But then, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty happened. Forty-five years and $16 trillion later, thanks to big government, poverty is winning. Thanks to over $900 billion a year (over 5 percent of GDP) of spending on over 70 means-tested welfare programs spread over 13 government agencies, more than 40 million Americans currently receive food stamps, poverty is higher today than it was in the 1970s, and 40 percent of all children are born outside of marriage. We can say that it is and has been a failed policy- can anyone say that 16 trillion dollars was well spent? more money stolen from the people in the form of taxes to throw away on yet more gov't. programs would be more of the same failure- wouldn't that money have been better off in the pockets of those earned it? actually , it doesn't matter if it would be better or not- it belongs to the people tha worked for it, and to their families-period
MARIO SICARI December 31, 2011 at 08:51 PM
@ Ridgewood Mom...Please dont quote Paul Krugman in a debate. he is a Keynesian economist, and Maynard Keynes studies of Government intervention doesnt work as we have just witnessed, Paul Krugman speaks of excesses by the Financial industry, doe she speak of th ePROPER regulation which should ahve been adopted to prevent the Financial Industry Excesses??? Does he criticize MR Greenspan and MR Clinton on passage of the Commodities Futures Modernizations Act...does anyone on OWS know aht th eLegislature it and what it did and that it was passed in 2000??? No my dear on the contrary he is in part, part of the problem, he comes up with his masterful books and antidotes after the crisis already occurred...anothre MONDAY MORNING I shoulda coulda woulda...
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 09:48 PM
I wouldn't try to claim authority for, not discount, Krugman on the basis of Keynes. I just think that Krugman had a good point there that was worth quoting there. And one goes along with the perspective of other respected economists (I have also mentioned Sachs and Stiglitz in this discussion, who surely concur). Is there something in that Krugman quote that you disagree with? Krugman (and Sachs and Stiglitz) certainly speaks in favor of regulation. Do you consider the sort of regulation that he would favor to be the wrong sort of regulation? What would you consider to be the proper sort of regulation? I think that it is very difficult to meaningfully separate government from big business when determining responsibility. The two are birds of a feather, and I think that is the essence of the problem. http://www.geke.us/VennDiagrams.html The whole private vs public sector argument is just a nonsensical distraction for the little people.
Ridgewood Mom December 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM
I think that you and I can agree that unemployment is one of the biggest problems in our country right now. People need to "get jobs." The difference in our perspective seems to be that you see large scale unemployment as being the result of some sort of inherent vagrancy, and I see it as being quite obviously related to the many things that have gone wrong in our economy of late. Housing bubbles, banking crises, etc. and lack of government regulation. Correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth. I see helping the unemployed to become employed as being a sensible investment for all of us, and the biggest part of the key to getting the flailing economy back on track. As I see it, your position is one that will further increase unemployment and, thus, the number of people looking to sleep on your front porch, use your toilet, eat your food and take away from your hard earned paycheck. I can't speak for Occupy Wall Street, because I am honestly not part of it. What I said was positive about the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it has inspired discussion about inequity, which is a necessary prerequisite to improving upon unemployment and thus fixing the economy. If it hadn't been for Occupy Wall street, you and I wouldn't be having this discussion. If you would like to counter protest, then I would suggest you consider the PR that you are giving to the occupy movement and take mum as your word. Happy New Year to you too.
Suzanne Troya August 12, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Wow! I'm reading these comments as I'm trying to understad how this country is in the shape it's in, and Mario, in reading your comments, you've provided clarity!

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