Seattle, Occupied

The Emergence of a Movement, the City's Botched Reaction, and What It Means to Be Part of the 99 Percent

Seattle, Occupied

Paul Constant

DEFENDING WESTLAKE Protesters link arms on October 5 to protect their encampment. Police arrested 25 protesters that day.

It's Time for Stronger Leadership

It's not hyperbolic to say that we've never seen anything quite like this before.

That's probably because America has never been in this kind of shape before. The Great Recession has illuminated the growing chasm between the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and the 99 percent who make up the rest of us. But political leaders have been unwilling to discipline the banks that tanked our nation into the Great Recession, and Democrats in particular treat the yawning economic inequality like an issue too toxic to talk about. Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street protest, which inspired similar protests in cities around the country, including Seattle, this overdue conversation is dominating newspapers, radio programs, and television networks.

The first Occupy Seattle protesters at Westlake Park were passionate revolutionaries, but in the week and a half that followed they were joined by a cross-­section of mainstream Seattle—parents with kids, elderly couples, blue-collar union workers, Microsofties from the suburbs, and, of course, the homeless.

The city's reaction to their presence has been confusing at best. Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle police have been playing the role of abusive husband to the Occupy protests. During the daytime, they are considerate and thoughtful—at one point when protesters were blocking Fourth Avenue and Pike Street to traffic, police negotiated with leaders to open the road back up, avoiding any WTO-style pepper-spray baths—but at night they become cruel. After a rally and march on Saturday, October 8, Seattle police occupied the dry space under the awnings, turning their bikes into barricades and refusing to let protesters protect themselves from the cold rain. Thus far, McGinn will be best remembered as the Seattle mayor who outlawed umbrellas: For reasons that are hard to fathom, umbrellas on the ground were deemed "structures," which he banned in Westlake Park, but if you were "standing and holding" an umbrella, a policeman explained, you were fine. You were also allowed to lie on the pavement under a tarp.

McGinn has blown what could have been an opportunity to be as forward-thinking as the mayor of Portland. Hell, if he had gotten behind the Occupy movement as quickly as some members of his staff are rumored to have suggested, he could right now be gracing magazine covers as the Mayor of Occupied America. Instead he's come across as a quavering, equivocating doofus who doesn't recognize the future when it's literally parked in the center of his own city. His first misstep was on Wednesday, October 5, when Seattle police and the parks department began taking down protesters' tents and arresting occupiers who sought to protect their encampment. Twenty-five were arrested for obstructing a police officer, with 16 released and nine sent to King County Jail.

But owing in part to the publicity these arrests generated, the nightly assemblies continue.

The next day, the state's largest labor unions called on hundreds of thousands of workers to support the Occupy movement, and Saturday, October 8, brought thousands of people pouring through Westlake Park. Among them was City Attorney Pete Holmes, who expressed support for the protesters by saying, "I hate sanitized terms like 'economic injustice,' but it's so obvious to everyone that the system is broken." And he confirmed that peaceful protesters who are arrested will not face charges unless they choose to take "the more difficult path" through the legal system to make a statement (i.e., fight back or struggle with cops when they get arrested).

But the unfocused march later that day—from Westlake to the Bank of America Plaza—was far too polite, with protesters chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets!" as they stopped for traffic lights and remained on the sidewalk. Then at the Bank of America Plaza, they proceeded to chant vigorously toward an empty lot for the better part of an hour. Thankfully, the march back to Westlake was a forceful, proud parade of hundreds of humans down the middle of Fourth Avenue. They seized the intersection at Fourth and Pike, smiling and laughing and dancing around on stilts.

Occupy Seattle is genuinely inclusive and moving, but it needs leadership. The passion and energy of the early days were spectacular, but the organization—which requires lengthy "general assemblies" to make decisions by consensus, and sometimes issues conflicting "official" announcements—is now having some real growing pains as the movement struggles to keep its headless, everyone-is-a-leader communal spirit. They don't need a Gandhi, just an organized, smart, ambitious team of people.

David Freiboth, executive secretary of the King County Labor Council, says that unions intend to "organize [the Occupy protests] a little bit more," but he wants to make clear that he respects how far the movement has already come: "I think these people are doing a pretty damn good job," he says. Service Employees International Union 775 president David Rolf adds, "We can lend our support, but this is not ours. We didn't invent it. We can just admire it and put people and resources into motion." While Rolf's wariness of stepping on toes is admirable—unions are the 800-pound gorillas of the protest movement—some of that institutional strength and decision-making power is just what the Occupy movement needs.

Make no mistake: What these protesters started, what the brave occupiers who are camped out at Westlake right now are keeping alive for us, is absolutely real. It is going somewhere. It's not going away. But it is time for the organizers in Westlake to meet with the professionals and let the Occupy movement grow into what it must become: Something that will change everything.

How the Movement Grew

Sept 15, 2008
John McCain declares: "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." The same day, Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—the largest bankruptcy in US history.

Oct 3, 2008
President George Bush signs a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout designed to purchase failing assets from troubled banks. The FBI investigates 26 lending companies for fraud, including Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Annual bonuses paid out to Wall Street bankers grow 17 percent to $20.3 billion, according to the New York State Comptroller. Meanwhile, national unemployment levels hit 10.1 percent.

Jan 2011
US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reports that "this crisis was avoidable."

March 2011
Mother Jones reports that the top 1 percent of US earners make an average of $1.1 million annually, while the average income of the bottom 90 percent is $31,244.

July 13
Anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters calls for a September 17 occupation of Wall Street, "the financial Gomorrah of America."

Sept 17
Over 1,000 people begin occupying Wall Street, proclaiming "We Are the 99 Percent."

Sept 24
New York City police pepper-spray and arrest approximately 80 peaceful protesters. Occupy Chicago begins.

Sept 26
Occupy Seattle begins in front of the Jackson Federal Building on Second Avenue.

Oct 1
Occupy Seattle moves to Westlake Park, where 80 people set up camp. New York police arrest 700. Occupations begin in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.

Oct 3
Occupy protests spread to Boston, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Honolulu, and Portland, Maine.

Oct 5
Seattle mayor Mike McGinn orders police to arrest anyone in a tent. Twenty-five people are arrested. McGinn offers overnight camping at City Hall, but protesters refuse to leave Westlake Park.

Oct 6
Approximately 4,000 protesters march in Portland, Oregon. In Seattle, the King County Labor Council, the Washington State Labor Council, and Service Employees International Union 775 ask their members to support Occupy Seattle.

Oct 8
Over 1,000 protesters rally and march in Seattle. Two are arrested. Mayor Mike McGinn declares that using umbrellas as shelter is illegal but allows protesters to use sleeping bags again.

Oct 10
Seattle police threaten to arrest protesters who stay in Westlake Park. Protesters consider moving as The Stranger goes to press. Occupy Wall Street protests reach 140 cities across America.

The 99 Percent Are Getting Screwed

Divergent Trends The top 1 percent of Americans have seen their annual income climb, while the bottom 50 percent are making less and less.

Take a look at this line graph. It shows the trajectories of income in this country over the last three decades. In 1980, the top 1 percent of Americans made about 9 percent of the nation's income. By 2008, they were reporting 20 percent of the national income. In other words, their share had more than doubled.

And where's that money coming from? The bottom 50 percent!

The poorest half of the country saw its share of annual income drop sharply in that period, from about 18 percent to 13 percent.

This chasm of wealth widens thanks to unchecked corporate profits and tax cuts for the rich. Meanwhile, lower- and middle-class workers toil in the companies, the factories, the stores, and the call centers that cultivate astronomical profits for the 1 percent. It's become so odiously unfair that even a number of people who sit comfortably within that 1 percent are disgusted.

"I earn in the range of 1,000 times as much as you do," local venture capitalist Nick Hanauer said by phone to a Stranger reporter, "but I don't have 1,000 times the effect on the economy. If lower taxes on millionaires created jobs, we wouldn't have a recession, we wouldn't have the unemployment that we do. It's an insanely stupid lie."

Nowhere is the gulf of taxation inequity wider in the United States than in Washington State, where we don't have a state income tax. We rely largely on sales taxes, which hit poor people the most because they spend more of their income on basic goods and services, rather than squirreling their money away in hedge funds. While the wealthiest people in our state (those who make a half million dollars a year) end up paying only 2.3 percent of their yearly income in taxes, according to the Institute on Tax and Economic Policy, the poorest people (those who make less than $20,000 a year) pay a staggering 17.3 percent of their yearly income in taxes. Proportionately, the poor are paying more than seven times as much of their income in taxes. No other state in the country is that bad, according to a report from the Sightline Institute.

"I think that we have a super-regressive tax system and I think it places a crushing burden on the middle class and the poor, and it lets the wealthy off scot-free," says Hanauer, a leading contributor to the unsuccessful initiative last year that would have implemented a state income tax on the people who make up the wealthiest 1 percent.

How long could Americans tolerate this growing wealth gap and criminally backward tax burden?

Until last month. After decades of unscrupulous corporate greed and giveaways, people stormed Wall Street. The camel's back broke. America broke. Americans were broke.

"We have clotted up so much of the nation's wealth in the hands of so few, you can't get the cycle going again because nobody can afford to buy anything," Hanauer laments. "I am hopeful that people are finally waking up to that reality and are joining together to try to change it."

Support Is Coming Out of the Woodwork

In Seattle and elsewhere, progressive groups are beginning to catch up with the Occupy Wall Street protests, even as they carefully avoid the appearance of trying to co-opt it.

Five days into the Occupy Seattle protest, the Washington State Labor Council officially expressed solidarity on behalf of its 500 affiliated unions and 400,000 union members, followed by an enthusiastic pledge by the King County Labor Council to urge its 75,000 members to "join in the protests" and lend their support. Later that day, Service Employees International Union 775, representing 42,000 health-care workers, announced it was asking its members to join the protests. "I think it's the start of something big," says SEIU 775 president David Rolf.

Rolf was there on Saturday in Westlake Park, along with hundreds of members from various union locals, who in addition to showing their support also delivered food, socks, blankets, porta-potties, and other supplies. Local business and community leaders chipped in, including an anonymous donation of 700 sandwiches, a delivery of pizzas from Big Mario's owner Dave Meinert, and 20 dozen Top Pot doughnuts courtesy of some guy named Dan Savage.

One of the more innovative contributions came after police started enforcing a ban on tents in Westlake Park, when a Capitol Hill startup donated 24 of its $250 "JakPaks": a waterproof coat that subversively transforms into a sleeping bag and tent. Protest organizers were proudly wearing them the next day, proving that commerce and anti–Wall Street protests are not mutually exclusive.

We Are the 99 Percent

Tamara Kelley, 23

Graduated from the University of Washington in 2010 with $30,000 in school debt and is "nowhere near paying it off," Kelley says. Works part time at a preschool. Saturday, October 8, was her first day at the Occupy protests.

"I'm fed up with these executive decisions that benefit a very rich few while the rest of us can't get a job. I'm afraid the middle class is going down for something that isn't our fault.

"I hope to make things better for the students who are younger than me, who are in school and in debt—they should be able to graduate and get a job and thrive. But in order to do that, we need to stop Wall Street from making selfish decisions."

Tom Behan, 66

Retired Vietnam veteran, served as a navy officer in charge of an underwater bomb squad from 1968 to 1970.

"I'm pissed as hell. The outrageousness of the economy and the feeling in the country right now is reminiscent of the Vietnam protests. Those started with the radicals, the hippies, and the intellectuals before spreading mainstream. I want a better future for my 10 grandkids. I'm here fighting for that future."

Robert Dimpsey, Tanya Dimpsey, Pearl Dimpsey (5), and Iris Dimpsey (8)

Robert is a programmer at Microsoft. Tanya is a stay-at-home mom. The family has been down at Westlake every day since Wednesday, October 5.

Tanya: "I'm heartened to see all the people with children and I wish more families would join us. Robert and I were both raised by working-­class people—my mom was a single mom. This is a middle-class movement. This isn't the fringe. We're talking about regular people.

"Our system is unfair and when you have two young children running around, and you're trying to teach them about fairness, and you look around and see that the power structure in this country isn't designed to be fair—it's frustrating. And it hasn't always been like this."

Medina Pode, 55

Caregiver for five years, SEIU member.

"I cannot pay my bills. English is my second language, and I've been on and off employment since 2010. It's gotten really bad. Corporations lay off people but we cannot lay off our bills."

What's Next

Okay, so what can you do? There's a national day of action planned for Saturday, October 15. Meet at noon at Westlake Park to be a part of it.

Plus: Right now in Congress, lawmakers are considering President Obama's "American Jobs Act," which the president wants to help pay for by laying a new tax on the 1 percent (aka people earning more than $1 million a year). This is exactly the kind of thing the Occupy protesters are calling for. So write or call Washington's two Democratic senators—Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell—and tell them to keep supporting this idea in the US Senate. Then write or call all of our state's Republican House members. Then, rally! On Thursday, October 13, at 10:30 a.m. at Seattle's Victor Steinbrueck Park—at the north end of Pike Place Market—there's a gathering to promote exactly this agenda, called the "Rally for Good Jobs Now." Be there.

Also, right now in Olympia, lawmakers are getting ready for a November 28 special session in which they'll be dealing with a revenue shortfall that's expected to hit $2 billion. This state has already slashed $10 billion from its budget since the start of the Great Recession—without raising taxes once or making any serious effort to close tax loopholes that cost Washington $6.5 billion annually (many of those loopholes benefit the likes of Wall Street banks, plastic surgeons, and owners of private jets). Get online, find your state legislators, and tell them that another all-cuts adjustment to the state budget is not an option. Then, rally! On Sunday, October 16, at 2:00 p.m. in Seattle's Westlake Park, there's a gathering to promote exactly this agenda, called the "Jobs Not Cuts" rally.

You can also join the protesters in Westlake Park (or wherever they may be after this issue goes to press) or donate provisions to help people get through these wet, cold nights. For more events and ways to get involved, check out The Stranger's news calendar (thestranger .com/news) and the Occupy Seattle calendar ( recommended


Comments (44) RSS

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pdonahue 2
I still find people who marvel at the "spontaneous" uprising of people during the WTO events in Seattle. I know for a fact that a cadre of dedicated, experienced organizers put in full time work for a year in advance, backed by union resources like office space, phone banks, staff people. Insurrections are built by the concerted efforts of the few talented individuals who find issues that spark the imagination of the many.
As of now, OccupySeattle is full of political newcomers who think they are in an essay contest with CNN about how to fix America. If I hear another person say, "we need a demands list" I am going to weep. They have been encouraged at this game of pattycake by the Municipal officials and media who alternately beg us for a laundry list of solvable problems or threaten us with mounted Calvary if we don't get on board with a protest permit they can agree to.
While practical realities such as food, shelter and medical have been left up to the individuals (something experienced activists always organize first), internal groups such as "demands" and "media and information" have been busily chatting about minute details of syntax and livestream bandwidth. The shocking part is the solid organizers I have know for 25 years in Seattle are no where to be seen, they have left the ground game to these inexperienced newcomers to work out for themselves.
In a way this is probably for the best. My generation of "x-ers" has had its day, we had the lost decades of the 80's and 90's to organize this type of thing and blew it on garage bands and reality TV. There are some 'boomers in the mix but the kids won't talk to them, probably because they look to much like mom and dad. I am in the caboose on this thing, as Cornel West said, when interviewed at OWS. That is the most important thing I have taken away from this entire two weeks; how can I, as a 45 year old man, tell a 19 year old to seize control of their future? If they don't know already then they never will.
Posted by pdonahue on October 12, 2011 at 11:02 AM · Report this
This is a paid event..not news, just PR for whatever bill the unions and their masters want passed. I am sure you will pull this but I must say it. Stop manipulating the press with half a story...not all the sheep are going to head to your slaughter.
Posted by sickofit on October 12, 2011 at 12:28 PM · Report this
along with that nice plot of percent income, would you please produce a plot of the basis for that percent calculation versus time?

I ask, because I think (but do not know) that that basis is GDP, which has been growing since 1980. And if that's the case, it's awfully misleading to show a plot of percent versus time when the basis is changing with time as well. In other words, the percentage of the pie that the bottom 50% gets will change over time, but if the pie is getting bigger over time, using that plot, I can't tell what the actual amount of pie the bottom 50% is getting.
Posted by semi-crepuscular on October 12, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
I'm trying very hard not to become cynical about this "movement". On one hand, I too would like to live in a better world. On the other, I don't believe a few utopian platitudes will solve the problem.

Will the idealism yield to a pragmatic course of action or is this going to amount to little more than "raising awareness"? Whatever happens, I really hope it isn't this:

Tea Party:Kock Brothers::Occupy:Unions
Posted by repete on October 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Anthropomorhpise Me 6
"Instead he's come across as a quavering, equivocating doofus who doesn't recognize the future when it's literally parked in the center of his own city."

If this is the future then we are all fucked.
Posted by Anthropomorhpise Me on October 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Fnarf 7
@4, their chart isn't very good. Try this series, especially "Winners Take All", on the left.…

Basically all of the income gains over the past 30 years -- ALL of them -- have been in the top 20%, and even within the top 20% income gains have been almost entirely within the top ONE percent.

That chart is adjusted for inflation. What it's NOT adjusted for is the many-fold increase in health care costs, which means that if you are not in the top 1% your standard of living has been going down for thirty years.

This is sometimes difficult to explain to people, because some or all of those thirty years have been their period of greatest earning power. One individual's income is going to go up, because he or she is gaining experience and tenure on the job; but the AVERAGE of us all is declining.

A good deal of that decline is in older workers from the rising-standard-of-living period (postwar through the sixties and early seventies) retiring, and being replaced by younger workers at a lower wage. Look at all the union deals, from car companies to police forces, that give raises to older workers while agreeing to slash new hire wages. These are commonplace now -- two-tier systems that screw the newer generations, who will NEVER see wages like their parents had.
Posted by Fnarf on October 12, 2011 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
@4, their chart isn't very good. Try this series, especially "Winners Take All", on the left.…

Basically all of the income gains over the past 30 years -- ALL of them -- have been in the top 20%, and even within the top 20% income gains have been almost entirely within the top ONE percent.

That chart is adjusted for inflation. What it's NOT adjusted for is the many-fold increase in health care costs, which means that if you are not in the top 1% your standard of living has been going down for thirty years.

This is sometimes difficult to explain to people, because some or all of those thirty years have been their period of greatest earning power. One individual's income is going to go up, because he or she is gaining experience and tenure on the job; but the AVERAGE of us all is declining.
Posted by Fnarf on October 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Fnarf 9
Posted by Fnarf on October 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM · Report this
I just found this article about the SCCC Occupy gathering that happened today:…
Posted by Sparkplug on October 12, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
"On Thursday, October 13, at 10:30 a.m. at Seattle's Victor Steinbrueck Park—at the north end of Pike Place Market—there's a gathering to promote exactly this agenda, called the "Rally for Good Jobs Now." Be there."

I just read at "The Stand" newsletter that the location of this rally was changed to Westlake Park. You might want to double check to see if that is the case.
Posted by Smell on October 12, 2011 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Thanks for the thorough and expansive article. However, I completely disagree with the basic premise - that this movement needs leaders.

At present, this is a disorganized and broad reaching mass movement that has sprung up spontaneously all across the country, and which demonstrates that average people, regardless of any kind of affiliation (political, religious, ethnic, etc.) are fed up with the bullshit happening in our economy, and the fact that our political leadership has been co-opted and doesn't do shit about it. For me, this is the beauty of this movement - that average people of all stripes are fed up, and are making it known around town, around the country, and around the world.

Leaders will fuck this whole thing up, and here's why:
-Leaders will come up with specific demands. This may seem like a winning point, but leaders will inherently make demands that reflect their personal desires (no matter how good their intentions are), and specific demands can hardly sum up how 99% of the people who live in this country feel. I.e. - having leaders will alienate people, and having a few sacred points reduces the power of the current situation - that masses of people in this country are demonstrating their unhappiness with the status quo.
-Leaders will attempt to interact with the media, political leaders, and possibly leaders of the financial services industry (if they enter the discussion) on behalf of the entire movement. This fucks the whole movement because it legitimizes the current power structure, in which money carries more political weight than a constitutionally granted right to vote as an enfranchised citizen. The political power wielded by the wealthy and big businesses is not legitimate - it has been usurped by decades of legislation. True political power belongs to the people of the United States, regardless of socio-economic-status and it would be a naïve act to negotiate for a bigger share of what belongs to the people outright.

I also find it ridiculous to say that this movement needs more organization and leadership by "experienced protesters" or union leaders. What has any protest you have ever been a part of ACTUALLY in fact changed? Sadly, nothing. What is the function of a union? To give power to a group of individuals against the EXISTING structures of power. To repeat, negotiating with the super rich or the financial services industry is a disgusting idea to me because it completely legitimizes their current position of power and reduces the American people to beggars with an angle, demanding a little more of a pie that belongs to us all in the first place!

Nothing will change by the actions of a "small group of dedicated leaders," I'm sorry to say. REAL change in the economic and political structure of the United States will take EVERYONE participating in making a change. We will differ in how we want to approach this, which is why leaders will only fuck it up and divide this mass movement (divide and conquer or co-opt the leaders, both ways to defeat this movement).

Finally, my two cents on what is really needed here:
-Accept the fact that the 99% are 99% responsible for the current situation we find ourselves in. You either didn’t vote, or continued to vote for leaders that are nearly openly influenced by moneyed interests, unlimited campaign donations, and have time after time upheld or bolstered the power of money in the political decision making process over the constitutionally granted power of the citizen to be represented by a leader who looks out for their interest or fails to be re-elected. Out of the deal, we all got jobs, lots of shit, lots to do, and a pretty safe place to do it (in general). You and I alike saw corporations granted the rights of individuals, and stood by silently as banks too big to fail became the biggest multi-national financial institutions EVER. Bottom line – we are not victims, we are participants and must take action rather than calling for justice, for only we can deliver it to ourselves.
-Fucking go vote!!!!!!! STOP voting for representatives of ANY kind that do bullshit to placate the super-rich and powerful corporations. If you vote strictly along party lines, you’ll get bought and sold – vote for the representative that ACTUALLY represents you… and write to them and call them if they don’t, or don’t vote them back in. This is basically how YOUR political system works, and YOU need to take responsibility and action to change anything.
-Business is not bad, and corporations are not bad. However, they have no place whatsoever in our political system. This is just a way of giving the people who run these companies and major shareholders an additional and louder ($$$) voice in the current system… don’t blame corporations for the present situation, take away their power to influence politicians, policy, regulators, and regulations. The owners, employees, shareholders, suppliers, and customers all have an equal vote by the founding document of our national government – let’s keep it that way!!!
-City bureaucrats, the mayor, and the police are not your enemy. Fighting “the man” dooms this movement to obscurity or failure because they are NOT the man in this case. These people are normal people who are probably also just as unhappy as you are with the way things are… in short, they’re part of the 99%! Would you be working a desk job at the city or become a bike cop if you were wealthy? Fuck no! So, instead of fighting local, state, national government, or the police, take the tactics that usually come from the established authorities… co-opt them!!! In other words, if you accept the bureaucrats, police, and officials as part of the 99%, you co-opt their legitimate power simultaneously. A mayor or police officer who feels hated will likely willingly do his or her job without much internal conflict. However, a police officer who feels that he or she is part of the thing that he or she is responsible for shutting down will be more likely to resist from WITHIN the current system.

This is an exciting movement, but I can’t help but fear its quick and painless death… and I see leaders and organization as a short path to this end. It is the longer, more difficult road that we must all walk together that will bring about real change. These demonstrations are a signal of the growing willingness to take the first step… now all we have to do is put one foot in front of the other and repeat.


Posted by NBW on October 12, 2011 at 5:47 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 13
I wish you guys would stop using that image of Tamara Kelley. I support the cause but that girl is a bad example. She took $30,000 out in loans on her own accord; it's obviously going to take a lot longer than 1 year to pay them back.
Posted by ItsAllOverNow on October 12, 2011 at 5:55 PM · Report this
The Dopest 14
I'm feeling the opposite of #5 up there.

I'm trying very hard not to become cynical about this "movement". On one hand, I too would like to live in a better world. On the other, I don't believe a few utopian platitudes will solve the problem.

Even if it's unfocused, even if it's not directly changing anything, I will continue to support this because anything is better than the nothing/apathy that we've seen.

We all know there's a problem. We've all talked about it. We've all said that we need to do something about it, and now something, anything, is being done. I jump the fuck on board that gravy train.
Posted by The Dopest on October 12, 2011 at 7:03 PM · Report this
The Westlake Plaza protest is a candle in the wind of what has been happening in NYC. Let's face it: Seattle's vaunted liberalism has been killed and replaced with corporate technology capitalism.

Smug, job-addicted computer nerds don't make for a population of lively radicals, or even for a fun Friday night, something else Seattle has come to lack.
Posted by Mob Barley on October 12, 2011 at 7:28 PM · Report this
The Dopest 16
Well, you also have to remember that Seattle is being occupied in solidarity with the NY protesters who not only are in a city of 10 million+ but are also across the street from the NYSE which is in many ways the nexus of the corporate power that has come to unfairly influence/control our government. And that's what we're protesting anyway.

I don't see any way or reason that any city's demonstrations should match the size or ferocity of New York's. The ever-growing kleptocracy of Westlake plaza? Not a real thing.

Seattleites can be pretty introverted sometimes, but I'd wager there are plenty of non-smug, plenty angry people willing to make some noise.
Posted by The Dopest on October 13, 2011 at 12:15 AM · Report this
For a group that supports an administration that is led by the most INEPT business minded individual to "occupy" the office since should be no suprise that they JUST DON'T GET that the 1% they vilify ACTUALLY know something about BUSINESS and the 99% are only grasping at business. When the exhaulted one, says..."it's time to start hiring"...he's talking out of his ignorant ass. So when I see occupy gnashing their teeth and getting uppity. I can only recall a line from a song " Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand" These useful idiots will be ashamed someday.
Posted by osage2112 on October 13, 2011 at 7:45 AM · Report this
slade 18
Coinciding with Republicans "trying?" to tie the 99% to the Democratic party?

From stinky hippies to Disgruntled Americans to the Democratic "Fee Party"?

Every Morning I see 3 to 5 Media Vans who every morning are trying to twist and spin a story in every and any direction other than digging up any facts that are relevant?

Gary Oakland The Steve Jobs of Money it seems?

Money that will not give you a (Not responding)sign and totally waste your time and your employers time?

and Ooooooh yea! Republicans suck! they all suck and Reagan was a sheet wearing clansman from Birmingham.

Posted by slade on October 13, 2011 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Agreed with #13.

I took out around $22,000 in student loans and have been steadily paying them back ever since on a 10-year payment plan. But yeah, that's sort of what college is. You pay back the loan and you find a job, and you work your ass off doing shitty jobs until you get a career. And sometimes it takes a while, and you may have to move around or make sacrifices just to get by.

But that's pretty normal twenty-something stuff.

I sort of feel like her "struggle" is not as compelling or relevant as the Vietnam veteran or the family of four.
Posted by mostly on October 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Sheesh, what sort of doofuses would begin their long-term "occupation" in October? I don't think the Occupy Seattle crowd was exactly dealt from the top of the deck. Good for the cops, by the way. It's a no-brainer to let the rain do the dirty work.
Posted by Mister G on October 13, 2011 at 1:11 PM · Report this
One of the demands for all the Occupiers must be the formulating of state banks. There is only one state run bank in the entire country. Why are OUR tax revenues going to fucking BOA!!!! Why is BOAmaking money off of our taxes? The brought us to us to our knees yet we still keep giving them money of which they make billions on.

Posted by pickthescab on October 13, 2011 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Geez, #21, you really think that's a panacea? You know, besides the lunacy of starting outdoor protests in mid-October, may I tell you that it might actually help to know a single fuckin' thing about the business you are pretending to oppose?
Posted by Mister G on October 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM · Report this
burn the banks! cops are defenders of the one percent
Posted by 206peep on October 14, 2011 at 4:36 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 24
If you are looking to attack corporations, you are not looking for solutions, only consolation prizes.
Posted by KittenKoder on October 14, 2011 at 5:51 AM · Report this
#22, I like your logic.
Posted by osage2112 on October 14, 2011 at 9:06 AM · Report this
The Occupy Seattle "movement" is a joke played on the media by a bunch of well-meaning upper-middle class entitlement junkies who are too lazy to go to the effort of bringing specific problems to the public's attention in a way that might actually change things. No--doing that kind of research would be too much like (gulp) work! These folks just want to feel like they’re “involved in something” and are taking a comically dumb route to effecting change by protesting generalities with vagaries. “Big Money is influencing government” eh? Well no shit, Sherlocks! Welcome to how it’s been since the dawn of civilization! Why not also march around our public parks with signs that read “Down with Murder!” and “Evil is Bad!” Or better yet, if you’re really more interested in making a difference than in hanging out with your buds (on stilts, I think the article said?) doing something “cool,” then find out who the specific culprits are and bring them to light. March in front a particular company or a particular CEO’s house. Don’t just wander around with a sign to make yourself feel “authentic” while you’re waiting for your trust fund to kick in. Fucking actually DO something!
Posted by curtis martin on October 14, 2011 at 9:54 AM · Report this
It's hard to feel sorry for fellow Americans. Capitalism works but every chance we have to vote we vote against America. Every dollar is a vote and time after time the American people vote in favor of destroying the middle class and to make our competitors strong and when you do that we shift wealth to the upper classes. I bet every flag and banner in every protest is made overseas. Start voting with your money and punish companies with your vote. We have been given choices time after time and we are only patriotic when the button that says, “I love America” is free and made in China. Stop blaming everyone else and start acting and free handouts are not the answer. We allowed this to happen and now we want to blame the people that sold us the shit we begged for. We vote for our leaders thinking they will help but the answer is your pocket the dollar is still powerful. Don’t go shopping for 1 week and see what that does. Start buying American goods(One pair of Redwings are better then ten pairs of Chinese shoes). We are all guilty and we can change it Wall Street just profits from our trends and greed. Yes they screwed us but we asked them too.
Posted by richardfromotis on October 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM · Report this
What amazed me was how Wall Street was so hated by everyone by the end of Bush's 2nd term, and then, somehow, that hatred seem to dissipate and fade as if their destructive greed was just an oversight. These job creators were just chasing the American Dream a little too hard -- they weren't doing anything any other red blooded capitalist wouldn't do. It was the poor folk who couldn't pay their mortgages who were the real blame -- them and the liberals who ran Fannie May... The only way to get America back on tract was to pay less taxes. No, get rid of all taxes. And while you're at it, get rid of the government too.
The country seemed to be buying into this bullshit. It was like yeah, the Republicans controlled everything for six years, nearly destroyed the country, but let's return to the philosophy that got us here, and see if it works this time. Obama seemed to legitimize this trend by constantly caving in to the Republicans' demands. Then they would make him look weak by, after getting what they demanded, calmly making more demands, and eventually voting against whatever he had proposed. And he kept trying to negotiate with them despite this. Then, when the GOP took the house back, it was almost like Obama was thinking,"Hey, maybe being a Republican is cool."
I hope the Boycott Wall Street movement knocks some sense into Obama. I hope it gives him the courage to drastically change the direction this country has been headed ever since Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers union.
Posted by WestSeattleJab on October 15, 2011 at 3:09 AM · Report this
This movement does not need leaders. Historically, social movements have been co-opted via leaders and infiltrated through corporate funding of non governmental organizations. Funding dissent inevitably weakens the movement by making demands and concessions which is their whole reason for being. Be on the lookout for interference of trade unions, NGO's and political parties of all stripes.
Posted by grokker on October 15, 2011 at 7:25 AM · Report this
Marching on the sidewalk is totally OK!
Posted by ww on October 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
A former Seattleite who moved to New york City six years ago, I was caught by surprise when my contract job ended just as the banks failed. I realized, when I could not find a job, I may never be an employee again. Have I been down to Wall Street to protest? No. Now I am self-employed and many of my clients work in finance. I don't mistake the face of a junk bond salesman as the face of greed, nor do I mistake the faces of a former DOW Jones president or a Credit Suisse executive. They are giving a lot of their money to me. So is the local liberal food co-op.

And I don't work in finance. I work to survive, and my survival is generating a lot of jobs for others.

You can't find a job? Stand up and make one. Occupy yourself!
Posted by strangerreader on October 16, 2011 at 7:35 AM · Report this
#31, you are presuming that any of these people want to work.
Posted by Mister G on October 16, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
@31: I'm working on being self-employed!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 17, 2011 at 4:53 AM · Report this
hans millionaire 34
@31, got any job openings? instead of telling others to get a job or make a job... offer a job to people
Posted by hans millionaire on October 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM · Report this
platypusrex256 35
@21. you're a hopeless idiot. the answer to the problem of state banks is not more state banks. that is retarded. just punch yourself in the balls right now. cut your own throat. i don't think you even know how "state banks" is exactly what the 1% would love to have. it would make them rich as fuck.
Posted by platypusrex256 on October 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Fnarf 36
@27, Red Wing boots and shoes are mostly made in China. There are few models still made in the USA; you can spot them easily, because they cost twice as much.
Posted by Fnarf on October 17, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
@14: See 26
Posted by repete on October 18, 2011 at 7:35 AM · Report this
slade 38
Look at all the that chum! look at all those fishing boats! I mean like...... if you have one hour of posting and you bothered with a picture?

Bright as rusty nails! I do believe its the British American Colonies? all that Banks are lovely! quite charming! worth every Shilling and bedazzled with heartwarming joy.

So full of chum we will call them chum!

All right then chum! you proved you love to comment on things you dont seem to understand and as well seem to have no real interest in?

Banks have nothing better to do then pay out billions of dollars in CEO bonuses and over seas investments as America cant home its homeless and feed its poor or police its streets or keep its prisons open or keep its schools open? we have the worst child abuse of any European nation but nooooooooooooooo.......... We have no better use of our money then to give it to the American British Colonies so they can shower Diamonds on the Queen?

Posted by slade on October 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Publicly funded elections (EOM)
Posted by flounder on October 18, 2011 at 11:05 AM · Report this
please do your part to invite/welcome the other 98.99% of the people to come down to westlake during their lunchbreak, afterwork or on the weekend. just their physical presence for an hour, a half hour, even 15 minutes would be appreciated. thanks for your time.
Posted by nv on October 18, 2011 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Part of the rising income decrepancy is the rise in educational leverage. If you are a smart person now you will be able to transform your human capital into Dollars much more effectively than 150 years ago.
Posted by Dave001 on October 19, 2011 at 7:04 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 42

Oh, god, that was so funny.

Good one!

Posted by Will in Seattle on October 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
If your both of the Lower Class AND are not racially "White",then you are "occupying" by default. . . .
Posted by 5th Columnist on October 24, 2011 at 5:49 PM · Report this
I'm sure by now you have heard about the nationwide occupations of parks, city halls and any other public areas.

Maybe what you are asking yourself is "How do I fit in?" or "How can I help?" or "What is it about?"

What are the Occupations about?
The occupations are about unity with other people who are concerned about our future. All people are needed in every occupation. It doesn't matter what your concern is, heck, we are overwhelmed with concerns at this point. What matters is that you speak up about what matters to you. Most concerns can be traced back to greed. That is why you keep hearing that the occupations are about "corporate greed".

How do I fit in?
You fit in because your future is at stake. You fit in because our children are at stake. You fit in because you eat poisoned food, drink poisoned water and breathe poisoned air. You fit in because you see the wrong all around us. You fit because you strive for a better world. You fit in because you are tired of seeing our soldiers in an endless war. You fit in because you have lost your job, your home or your stability. You fit in because you care. You fit in because you want to make a change.

How can I help?
-Close your bank account
- Tell or Discuss this with 5 different people every day
- Print posters, flyers or signs
- Plug your occupation on radio stations -
- Write to your mayor -
- Donate - Donate - Donate! -
- Send Pizza - Food / Coffee -
- Send Care Packages through Snail Mail -
- Donate to the Livestream media teams -
- Go there today, Go there tomorrow, Go there on the weekend - JUST GO!
- Contact local organic farms that deliver
- Take out ads in your local newspaper under "announcements" or other areas.
- Participate in Civil Disobedience whenever possible
- Send up fundraisers

We are growing, our voices are being heard, forces are joining and we need you to be there! General Assemblies (GA) is where your voice is heard. You get to be part of decision making, the process and we need you to be there! Things are growing organized, people are beginning to find their spots and we are strong.

Much Love to you all !!!
Posted by ANON2012 on October 25, 2011 at 6:48 PM · Report this

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