October 11th, 2011
03:30 PM ET

Occupy Wall Street as a fight for "real democracy"

Editor's Note: Michael Hardt is Professor of Literature at Duke University. Antonio Negri is former Professor of Political Science at the University of Padua and the University of Paris 8. They are the authors of Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth.

By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Foreign Affairs

Demonstrations under the banner of Occupy Wall Street resonate with so many people not only because they give voice to a widespread sense of economic injustice but also, and perhaps more important, because they express political grievances and aspirations.

As protests have spread from Lower Manhattan to cities and towns across the country, they have made clear that indignation against corporate greed and economic inequality is real and deep. But at least equally important is the protest against the lack - or failure - of political representation.

It is not so much a question of whether this or that politician, or this or that party, is ineffective or corrupt (although that, too, is true) but whether the representational political system more generally is inadequate. This protest movement could, and perhaps must, transform into a genuine, democratic constituent process.

The political face of the Occupy Wall Street protests comes into view when we situate it alongside the other "encampments" of the past year. Together, they form an emerging cycle of struggles. In many cases, the lines of influence are explicit. Occupy Wall Street takes inspiration from the encampments of central squares in Spain, which began on May 15 and followed the occupation of Cairo's Tahrir Square earlier last spring.

To this succession of demonstrations, one should add a series of parallel events, such as the extended protests at the Wisconsin statehouse, the occupation of Syntagma Square in Athens, and the Israeli tent encampments for economic justice. The context of these various protests are very different, of course, and they are not simply iterations of what happened elsewhere. Rather each of these movements has managed to translate a few common elements into their own situation.

Read: Why the Rich Are Getting Richer. 

In Tahrir Square, the political nature of the encampment and the fact that the protesters could not be represented in any sense by the current regime was obvious. The demand that "Mubarak must go" proved powerful enough to encompass all other issues. In the subsequent encampments of Madrid's Puerta del Sol and Barcelona's Plaça Catalunya, the critique of political representation was more complex.

The Spanish protests brought together a wide array of social and economic complaints - regarding debt, housing, and education, among others - but their "indignation," which the Spanish press early on identified as their defining affect, was clearly directed at a political system incapable of addressing these issues. Against the pretense of democracy offered by the current representational system, the protesters posed as one of their central slogans, "Democracia real ya," or "Real democracy now."

Occupy Wall Street should be understood, then, as a further development or permutation of these political demands. One obvious and clear message of the protests, of course, is that the bankers and finance industries in no way represent us: What is good for Wall Street is certainly not good for the country (or the world).

Read: The Broken Contract.

A more significant failure of representation, though, must be attributed to the politicians and political parties charged with representing the people's interests but in fact more clearly represent the banks and the creditors. Such a recognition leads to a seemingly naive, basic question: Is democracy not supposed to be the rule of the people over the polis - that is, the entirety of social and economic life? Instead, it seems that politics has become subservient to economic and financial interests.

By insisting on the political nature of the Occupy Wall Street protests we do not mean to cast them merely in terms of the quarrels between Republicans and Democrats, or the fortunes of the Obama administration. If the movement does continue and grow, of course, it may force the White House or Congress to take new action, and it may even become a significant point of contention during the next presidential election cycle. But the Obama and the George W. Bush administrations are both authors of the bank bailouts; the lack of representation highlighted by the protests applies to both parties. In this context, the Spanish call for "real democracy now" sounds both urgent and challenging.

If together these different protest encampments - from Cairo and Tel Aviv to Athens, Madison, Madrid, and now New York - express a dissatisfaction with the existing structures of political representation, then what do they offer as an alternative? What is the "real democracy" they propose?

Read: The Tea Party of the Left?

The clearest clues lie in the internal organization of the movements themselves - specifically, the way the encampments experiment with new democratic practices. These movements have all developed according to what we call a "multitude form" and are characterized by frequent assemblies and participatory decision-making structures. (And it is worth recognizing in this regard that Occupy Wall Street and many of these other demonstrations also have deep roots in the globalization protest movements that stretched at least from Seattle in 1999 to Genoa in 2001.)

Much has been made of the way social media such as Facebook and Twitter have been employed in these encampments. Such network instruments do not create the movements, of course, but they are convenient tools, because they correspond in some sense to the horizontal network structure and democratic experiments of the movements themselves. Twitter, in other words, is useful not only for announcing an event but for polling the views of a large assembly on a specific decision in real time.

Do not wait for the encampments, then, to develop leaders or political representatives. No Martin Luther King, Jr. will emerge from the occupations of Wall Street and beyond. For better or worse - and we are certainly among those who find this a promising development - this emerging cycle of movements will express itself through horizontal participatory structures, without representatives. Such small-scale experiments in democratic organizing would have to be developed much further, of course, before they could articulate effective models for a social alternative, but they are already powerfully expressing the aspiration for a "real democracy."

Read: Anatomy of A Protest.

Confronting the crisis and seeing clearly the way it is being managed by the current political system, young people populating the various encampments are, with an unexpected maturity, beginning to pose a challenging question: If democracy - that is, the democracy we have been given - is staggering under the blows of the economic crisis and is powerless to assert the will and interests of the multitude, then is now perhaps the moment to consider that form of democracy obsolete?

If the forces of wealth and finance have come to dominate supposedly democratic constitutions, including the U.S. Constitution, is it not possible and even necessary today to propose and construct new constitutional figures that can open avenues to again take up the project of the pursuit of collective happiness? With such reasoning and such demands, which were already very alive in the Mediterranean and European encampments, the protests spreading from Wall Street across the United States pose the need for a new democratic constituent process.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.


soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Peter

    Got to love this! Doesn't anyone remember what Ronald Reagan had to say about the Occupy Wall Street protests? http://www.washingtonpastime.com/drupal/occupywallstreet

    hahahaha

    October 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  2. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Reagan put the CON in CONservative.

    October 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Boskoo

      People, as in the two thirds of Americans who are fat or obese AND stupid. Sorry, smurffs, the Savvy Chinese and Indian Youths work much harder than you loafer loser morons. There is NO future in the US for tardosmurffs. Have a marketable skill and knowledge or DIE, Losers will end up in a big pot of menudo and be fed to PitBulls.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:46 am | Reply
      • MY TWO CENT

        Boskoo your name should be bozoo or forest gump. You seem like intenionaly clueless or clueless by default.

        October 16, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  3. Onesmallvoice

    Since the Reagan Presidency, the U.S. has been becoming less and less of a true democracy as the MIC(military-industrial-complex) has steadfastly increased its power year after year. If this is not a struggle for true democracy, then it should be. Someone needs to break the power of the MIC and restore morality back in our government!!!

    October 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Reply
    • me138

      we never were a democracy! why do people think we are a democracy?

      October 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • Leopold

        Ask the people who risked their lives to cross the Berlin Wall. Ask waves of immigrants to the US over the past 200 years. Democracy is not perfect certainly, it is noisy, messy and gets exploited. And it can be improved, updated, etc. But it is there....will you or I be leaving any time soon? That was a rhetorical question but you know what I mean. The demonstrators have in no way been harmed, not really.

        October 11, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
      • me138

        at leopold--–I am saying the united states is not nor was it ever intended to be a democracy, we are a republic.

        October 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
      • MY TWO CENT

        There was no democracy to begin with it is all hypocracy. The rich get away with everything and they labled as job creators. To the contrary they are job killers. They kill American jobs for the sake of greed by outsourcing the jobs seeking cheap labor. Getting tax breaks with tax loopholes by using their lobbyst (bribe) to favor their interest.

        October 16, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Really ?

      Are you one of the people who in response to the abortion issue says "we can't legislate morality"?
      And whose morality are we talking about? What standard are you using? Are you one of the people who says religion has no place in the public schools? Whose religion are you promoting when you talk about morality. Jesus himself said "the poor you will have with you always". Yes, he also said we (his followers) should reach out to the poor but he gives us the choice. You have no right to covet or steal your neighbor's money. Even if they choose to be greedy.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  4. James Hovland

    America needs a new alliance. Labor and Enterprise need to unite and stand up to the Wall Street traitors.

    Corporate America has suffered the wrath of Wall Street just like the unemployed, the victims of the housing market, etc... We're not the ones pushing the price of oil up, divesting from American enterprise, betting against our economy to profit from other currencies, gold etc... When these traders make money, it can only come from one or two places, our wallets or our profits.

    Labor and Enterprise are what makes America great. This is the foundation of the land of opportunity, but without money in our pockets, we can't be consumers. Without consumers, businesses can't survive. Without business people don't have jobs. We need each other. What we don't need is traders in the markets skimming off the top of everything, driving prices up and profits down. We don't need analysts in the financial news spreading fear and pessimism, driving prices up and profits down.

    Our two party system has failed to do anything but divide our nation, allow corruption to rule and destroy our trust in government. It's time for a new party. One that isn't based on class or ideology. America needs to unite.

    Labor and Enterprise! The new independent party. You scratch our back and we'll scratch yours.

    October 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • Heart_of America_guy

      Nicely stated, could not agree more.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:27 am | Reply
    • Keith Reagan

      Amercans need to participate in government. A nother party is not the solution and someone needs to educate America. I hear people refer to the left and the president as Nazi or Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini but in fact both Hitler and Mussolini were extreme right wing dictators. I wish CNN would have a program to explain this to America. and the idea that we aren't a democracy is ignorant. What do you think the words "for the people by the people" mean?

      October 12, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    Democracy without the populace is like a flower without fragrance. Can democracy be obsolete? Democracy can't re-invent itself, it's us who re-define democracy! Democracy is a perpetual construction site and reflects the state of affairs and our particiipation in them.

    October 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  6. Daisy

    It's nothing personal, Wall Street. It's only business.

    Improper valuation, removal of regulations that protect value, false inflation "trickling down" to the middle and lower classes. Hyper consumption of shared, finite, natural resources, with profits relegated to the pockets of the few. "Income tax" only for those who don't work in or profit from, The Financial Industry. Negative externalities born by the public - in increased public health costs, environmental management costs and false market advantages. And we SUBSIDIZE those industries, companies and individuals doing this to us; so, essentially, we pay them to increase our public costs! Does this sound like a rational, "Free Market" to you?

    It's nothing personal, Wall Street. It's only business.

    October 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  7. Daisy

    ...and what's so wrong with companies having to make an effort for consumers, again? Showing us exactly what we get in value for all these increased costs? Trying to anticipate the changing values in society - like in energy consumption - and make the proper changes and investments? Why do these Big Business mouthpieces, go on about "Private sector jobs creators" and then look to our Government to make profits for them?! Why are we paying for their play-pretend success and "profits"? Why WOULD they invest, when they have no inducements to?! The risks our government should be taking in the private sector with public money, are ways to produce better quality of air, water and the possiblity to reduce our public costs: Sustainable energy and "green" infrastructure. When this multi-headed industry does hit its boom, we will get so much back in value for our investment, the initial money will seem like a pittance. Companies that want to continue reaping-in profits at the expense of public health and welfare, can do so at their own expense. We shouldn't have to pay for it.

    Companies need to make major investments every decade or so. They can't ride on the fumes of outdated technology and ideas. They need to WORK for our business, loyalty and customer goodwill. This should never just be expected. They might need to HIRE people to help them do this. Those companies that really make an effort, will emerge as the new "kings" of the market. But they need to now put something in, to continue getting something out; they've squeezed every, last drop of profit, out of current labor efficiencies, as possible. Many have even gone too far. People are making the conscious choice to go without certain things because they know when they are being "had", being exploited. They know when business is blatently unfair (that's what we have regulations for, like, those functions that prevent against monopolies).

    If our economy is going to bounce back and businesses want people to consume, again, they're going to have to work for it. Or they can put all their "eggs" in the emerging markets basket and look to someone else, besides The American People, to bail them out when they take the wrong risks. Hint: There won't be anyone else waiting aroudn to do it...

    October 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  8. Daisy

    Point – We need more of these things: Proper, accurate valuation (like the value of urban planning in public transportation and the value of natural systems - and what they do for us). Transparency of products and services. Fair regulation. Fair taxation.

    You can't have a true "Free Market" without these things in place. Consumers can't consume rationally, even if they wanted to. Government can't make the most economic choices, with public money, for the sake of public interest and to provide the highest quality of life and human dignity to the highest number of its citizens; we are getting little in return for what we invest. Some think the answer is to stop putting anything in, at all. But we live in a society. A civilized society.

    As of now, the economy is imbalanced because we are entirely subsidizing the wealth hoarding of a few. And we are getting nothing of value - only increased costs - as a result of this "investment". A business that takes and takes from the public without giving value back, is not a business - it is a scam racket.

    October 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  9. Daisy

    Maybe if banks donated manpower, money and time, to set-up armies of advisors that could sort through this mess; allow people to re-finance mortgages and loans, re-structure credit card debt, plan retirement - anything. They need to give something of value back to the society that helped them avoid the consequences of their own business decisions. And they profited from the opportunity. We've seen nothing - nothing but increased profts, lost jobs and fighting against future regulation. They need to wake-up. What if they were on the other side of this shoddy "business deal"? Would they still shake hands and move right along?

    October 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  10. Rz

    FINALLY! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD ! HALLELUJAH ! LET THE TRUTH PREVAIL ! This CNN acknowledgment is like having tried forever to communicate with aliens in another world, and then finally they understood the message. But this is a drop in the bucket. Now is the time to be smart and careful. Now is the time to clearly demonstrate the reasoning and solidify in support of a real cause. And if there is ANYONE in government who thinks they might have what it takes to be a real leader and wants to truly demonstrate their honest concerned for America and it's citizens, then let your voice also be heard by resigning immediately! Because standing in support of a system which has become purposefully designed to ruin a people, a nation, and possibly even the world is beyond reprehensible and completely unacceptable.

    October 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  11. reason

    The protestors are protesting the wrong people. They should be in Washington D.C. outside the White House and Capitol Hill, not Wall Street or Main Street USA.

    October 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • jony3322

      But it is the right place since US corporations outsourcing all factories jobs to China and call services to India.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • NOT DEMOCRACY-USEFUL IDIOTS

      @ reason..you’re right. There is much to protest but these kids and otheres are being led to believe it’s about THEIR OWN cause; it’s not. This is an orchestrated event BY SEIU, Moveon.org, MediaMatters and former Acorn group now known as Working Family Party planned in July.. They need bodies and they’re getting them in the form of misinformed college students and hard left libs… Do your thing but do not be part of this communist agenda..

      October 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  12. him3

    Finally somebody gets it.I'm amazed they could see through the smoke screen the GOP has thrown up to make this movement appear to be thugs and unwashed hippies all.
    What the movement is and what some people prefer it to be are 2 different things.Its the real thing and its far over due

    October 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  13. angrynotmad7

    The picture is not our government.........its wall street...........why? Read up about it...........:)

    October 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  14. Phil G

    Yes, many Americans are saying the same thing about one of our nation's biggest problems. Namely, that those that can afford to make large contributions to political campaigns have gained too much influence over our politicians. In the process, we're losing our democracy.

    For example, did you know that in order to raise 1 billion dollars, one must raise an average of $685,000 per day, every single day for 4 years? Put another way, that means raising $28,500 every hour on a 24×7 basis for 4 years. And this is the new norm for American presidential campaigns. Regardless of your party affiliation, I think one can agree that this is bad news for democracy.

    This is not a partisan issue. It's a patriotic issue.

    Running for any national office should not result in representatives indebted to their deep pocket donors. Yet this is the American political reality today regardless of party.

    The recent decision by the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. FEC), which allows special interests (corporations, unions, etc.) to make unlimited, anonymous political contributions, looks like another nail in democracy's coffin to many.

    There is new hope in the growing recognition of this problem and in the rise of peaceful protests against it. Since our politicians are not going to fix this problem on their own, the hope is for a peaceful mass uprising of the American people to force the system to change.

    The most difficult changes have always started from the ground up in this country, and this grass roots movement is no different.

    The corruption that money brings to politics is a simple, non partisan issue. With the right approach, it can be something that unites Americans to bring about positive change. Let’s try to find common ground and try to move forward as a country.

    October 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Really ?

      Okay, come on over to the TEA Party. There's room for you. And don't forget to do your research on Soros, Michael Moore, Ford Foundation, unions and slew of others who line the pockets of liberals and progressives. Yes, and a patriot is someone who loves their country and supports it's authority and interests and serves. I'm all for defending this country against those who want to fundamentally change it into socialist, Marxist, or communist. That is not what our patriotic veterans were defending the last 100 years.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Reply
      • Phil G

        Agreed. Lining the pockets of politicians is bad, regardless of party. And no matter who is doing the lining, we end up with politicians more interested in representing their donors than the voters. So ending the corruption money brings to politics is an area where we can find common ground between the TEA party and the Occupy movement. I'm certainly not in favor of socialism or communism. Just a return to representative government. And as I recall, opposing a government without representation was considered patriotic in 1776.

        October 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
      • MY TWO CENT

        Who says socialism and communism? People are demonstrating for accountability and transparency. Who created this mess now the country is in. Every body knows that it is the greedy fat cats. On top of they get bailed out as if they did outsatnading job. While they are making millions still they get bailed out. The poor hard working people get the short end of the stick at no fault of theirs. Americans are smart the know what's up. Don't take their patience as a weakness.

        October 16, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Thinks2010

      Amen.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
    • FedUpPeriod

      Well said. Excellent post.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:32 am | Reply
  15. me138

    a fight for real democracy? we are not a democracy the US has never been a democracy. if you want democracy move to india.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • jony3322

      Are you awake?

      October 11, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
      • me138

        yep wide awake. we are a republic not a democracy. The US has never been a democracy!

        October 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  16. Really ?

    The article is written by Michael Hardt an American literary theorist and political philosopher probably best known for Empire, which he wrote with Antonio Negri and published in 2000. It has been called the Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century.
    This is the kind of propaganda the liberal professors teach our youngsters and get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for and most students are duped into taking loans so they can pay the tab. Now they want someone else to pay the bill for their stupid mistake.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • conoclast

      If a communist showed you that your hair was on fire would you believe your own eyes?

      October 12, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
  17. J. P. Marat

    Protest without action is impotence. Where are the tumbrels?

    October 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  18. Thinks2010

    Great editorial.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  19. laughorcry

    This is a fight for real democracy. However, it is not a fight between democracy and socialism. The battle cry is "Democracy not Plutocracy." The fight is against those who by virtue of their overwhelming wealth are exercising power over our representatives and senators to the extent that the 99% are ignored.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • jony3322

      The fight for corruption and corporation irresponsibilities

      October 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Phil G

      Very well said. All patriotic Americans should be in this together. "Democracy not Plutocracy."

      October 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Reply
    • me138

      we are not a democracy! We are a republic.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:04 am | Reply
  20. Brian

    "But at least equally important is the protest against the lack – or failure – of political representation.............................
    All of this demonstrates – again, that America is a republic and not a democracy. If we want democracy we will have to get rid of the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and the Senate. Those "founding fathers" were Indian killing, slave owning reactionaries. We are struggling with the reactionary system they set up to protect people like themselves.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  21. him3

    We have to start somewhere,the politicians pretend they dont hear what the country thinks and feels.They listen only to what the money says.And that has to be stopped.You think we can really do that in the voting booth?
    Please research the protests WITH AN OPEN MIND.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  22. Gabi

    Search Facebook for "Bail-Out The American People" its time we get our fair share and get the money we deserve

    October 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  23. TruthWillSetYouFree

    The ultra-rich and the ultra-poor are the only ones that get welfare. The middle-class
    get no welfare. We call the welfare for the rich "bush tax cuts", "tax loopholes",
    "fraudulent mortgage loans", etc. We call welfare for the poor "food stamps",
    "welfare checks", etc. A duck is a duck no matter what you call it. The middle-class needs to vote Democratic
    from now on. Please study up on what is going on because only if the middle-class
    bands together is this country going to survive.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  24. TruthWillSetYouFree

    I couldn't care less about getting higher multi-million dollar bonuses for the ultra-rich corporate execs in this country. I care not about the financial statements qtrly, yearly, results of any one US corporation. What I care about is what is best for the country as a whole, not just what is good for the top 1%. The top 1% DO NOT give a dam about what is best for the country as a whole. They have extreme tunnel vision based on selfish GREED. They do not even attempt to find answers that are good for the country as a whole. This country is controlled by the money of the few, the 1% that buy all of the political influence in the US. The US is no longer a capitalist country, it is now a dictatorial regime of the ultra-rich corporate interests. There is no way in H that can continue.

    October 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  25. TruthWillSetYouFree

    We would definitely all feel better about this country of ours if we prosecuted and sent the guilty ultra-rich corporate banking/rating executives to prison for the felonious mortgage fraud that they committed that cost us all so very, very much. A country that does not have a fair legal system that sends people to prison if they are poor, but does nothing if the people are rich is called a dictatorial regime if another country other than ours does it!!! Our country has more people in prison, percentagewise, than any developed country and in the US they are 99.999% poor. To quote many celebrated intellectuals, "If that is the law, then the law is an as". Let's prosecute the guilty that caused this and let's make dam sure they go to prison, regardless of how much money they have. I, for one, am very tired of all this BS!!! If the law means nothing for the ultra-rich in this country, why should it mean anything to anyone. Let's enforce and prosecute equally regardless of how much money they have.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:01 am | Reply
  26. Heart_of America_guy

    I fully agree with the protests having to start at some grass roots level, then compounding exponentially when people begin to perceive a way to actually influence their lives and their country. Most I know, including myself, feel helpless against big money, big government, lobbyists, corporations off-shoring their labor pool, etc..

    Perhaps this can make more think about this in different terms. With much larger groups of protesters organized in a sensible way, perhaps there is a chance for the common man's voice to be heard. I realize this sounds utopian, as many on these boards are. The odd thing is, after reading of these protests and associated commentary which compared it to protests in the Middle East as well as other developed countries, it strikes me as something that could very well give otherwise apathetic, "nothing I can do about it" type citizens some means of being heard and directing change.

    On another note, why is it never mentioned in any of the jobless, economy talk that not everyone can be a manager, CEO, Oil Magnate, big time market trader, college professor, business owner, IT professional., teacher, politician, Writer, Poet, Artist, Born into the right family, etc..

    Many people have the necessary traits and intelligence, but blow it on their own. Ther are countless others who are not blessed with the intelligence, personality, upbringing, genetics, whatever it may be. The gov't answer seems to be "Everyone should seek higher education and get a degree". Who is going to work the production lines, grow our food, serve our food, build our houses, build our roads? Apparently the gov't and big money corporations have forgotten about that. Well, maybe not. I forgot about the huge cheap labor pool in our global economy. Forget about our country, it is all about greed and stock price. I see it first hand each day as I was recently laid off from a floundering Eastman Kodak and my wife travels to one of our "republics" which does not pay taxes as well as other border states to train the outsourced employees how to take her job eventually.

    It is common sense. Unfortunately that is worth even less than the $ these days.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:13 am | Reply
    • Heart_of America_guy

      If anyone has good ideas on how to create a more organized approach to these protests, please speak up! I am sorry for griping about a problem then not having an answer. There are many out there much more creative than I who have the ability to be on the foundation.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:17 am | Reply
  27. conoclast

    The kids on The Street, to their great credit, see what's at issue clearly: it's who we are at our core as Americans versus what we seem to be fast becoming. If you have to ask what they're protesting then you are probably too disconnected from on-the-ground American reality to understand the answer.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:22 am | Reply
  28. Phil G

    Here's a little personal note to the politicians.

    I've had email exchanges with lots of family and friends lately about what's wrong with America. The common thread? Our politician don't represent us anymore. They're bought and paid for by big money special interests.

    If you're a Washington politician, I'd suggest you start thinking about about how to fix this. It's clear this hasn't been in your interest, since big money put you into power, but it's going to be very soon. This movement is only going to grow, since millions of us are quietly thinking the same thing.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
    • tchampio

      God I hope so but I really doubt this might sustain until the elections. We are so short sighted, the odds of this lasting for another year are long.
      When election time runs around, and the money is flowing, and no one can make any sense of anything, they'll persevere. They always have, and I depressively think always will,

      October 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • Phil in Salinas

        Hang in there. I know things can really look bleak, but we can make change happen in America if we persist and stick together. Stopping the corruption that money brings to politics is a simple and clear non-partisan issue. We can do this, so let's all continue the fight and grow our numbers.

        October 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  29. Brian

    "You think we can really do that in the voting booth?".................................

    When you vote you have a choice between a Republican S*** and a Democrat S***. This country is just a big plantation where the slaves have the "freedom" to vote for which master will use the bullwhip on them.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:41 am | Reply
  30. Littleblueleaf

    This is the real 'Tea Party', reminding me of People's Park of the late 60s protesting against the Vietnam War. Today, the US government is a joke, all money politics heavily influenced if not controlled by the 'moneyed' – Wall Street, MIC, Big Oil, Big Pharma. It is strange but encouraging that the "Arab Spring" has come home to roost. It is about time the people stand up to let the politicians (and the power behind them) know we, the people, are not the 'silent majority', and all dummies. Wish a new Martin Luther King will emerge!

    October 12, 2011 at 12:42 am | Reply
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