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October 24, 2011

"Occupy Burlington" Plans to Truly Occupy Burlington

IMG_3040 Now in its fifth week, the Occupy Wall Street solidarity protesters in Burlington are beginning to channel their energy into more direct action.

Demonstrators plan to stage an actual occupation — of City Hall Park — starting this Friday.

On Sunday, about 150 people gathered in City Hall Park and marched up and down Church Street. Back at the park, the crowd held a "speak out" and "general assembly." The latter resembles a large town meeting, where facilitators help people make proposals to the group — either to form subgroups or take collective action — and bring specific proposals on which the assembly can vote.

The biggest "Occupy Vermont" rally to date was last Saturday, when as many as 500 people gathered in City Hall Park and marched through downtown Burlington. At last Sunday's weekly rally, about 250 people came together and held Burlington's first general assembly. From that meeting, several subgroups were formed — including ones focused on direct action, anti-misogyny, the economy, and media.

After a brief report from the spokesman for the "strategy working group," a demonstrator who identified himself only as Will, the rally-goers agreed to occupy City Hall Park starting at 3 p.m. this coming Friday. The occupation will last through the weekend.

When asked what the purpose of the occupation will be, Will replied, "That's a good question. We're open to suggestions."

People planning to camp out for the weekend should bring tents, sleeping bags, food and other things to keep themselves "comfortable," said Will. People who have extra camping gear were encouraged to bring it.

This is the status of the nascent "Occupy" movement that is bringing together socialists and libertarians, peaceniks and labor activists, veterans and students. There is no one unifying message, platform or list of easy-to-recite demands.

In general, the crowd wants justice and fairness, and wants big government and big business to stop messing around with little folk. And, they want to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reform the Federal Reserve, get rid of the two-party political system, call on the University of Vermont to craft fair budgets for students and workers and — last but not least — close Vermont Yankee.

Additional occupations are in the works. The University of Vermont is one possible location as is Vermont Yankee, according to rally attendees who have attended a so-called "strategy working group."

"There are other places we are thinking to occupy that might get us into trouble," said Will. "Because of that, we're not saying where that might be in order to keep the element of surprise on our side."

Matthew Cropp, one of the early organizers of Vermont's Occupy rallies, suggested a group of people picket outside of one of the large, out-of-state banks.


Al Salzman, a retired teacher from Franklin County, made the trek to Burlington to unveil his latest protest sign, a police tape-style banner that read: "Shumlin's Budget = Mortal Idiocy & Cruelty! Makes the Rich Richer & Screws the Elderly & Poor!" Under these words were written, "We're all Greeks," referencing the unrest in Greece over austerity measures being taken to keep the country from complete insolvency.

Salzman said he wants to channel some of the pent-up anger and frustration at Wall Street toward things closer to home, for instance the state budget. He hopes more people begin paying attention to the budget-cutting measures being weighed in Montpelier.

Gov. Peter Shumlin has asked agency budget writers to cut next year's budget by 4 percent. As of now, that would not include restoration of a 3 percent pay cut to state workers.

The "media working group" has established a wiki for the "Occupy Burlington" effort, which is designed to allow more people to participate — albeit electronically — in the various working groups that meet in between the weekly rallies. That wiki site is There, people can check out reports from the various working groups, and follow the "Occupy" groups springing up in other parts of the state — including Bennington, Brattleboro, Montpelier and Rutland.

The general assembly, which occurred around the fountain at the center of City Hall Park, displaced some of the homeless who had been gathered there to drink and play chess.

Upset by being displaced, two of the men confronted the protesters. In turn, the protesters tried to explain to the men that they were, in fact, allies. That didn't seem to appease the men who were stumbling and slurring their words. Shortly afterward, two uniformed police officers arrived to talk to the men; the officers also dumped out liquid from at least one water bottle belonging to the homeless group, which sought refuge from the protesters on the steps of City Hall.

Unlike in New York City, where police officers are buffering the 1 percent from the rowdy masses, Burlington cops were keeping the 99 percent from being harassed by folks who might be called the 99.999999 percent.

250->150 already? That didn't last long.

Hopefully someone will be at City Hall Park at midnight on Friday with a video camera, so we can see whether the "occupiers" get rousted or whether the rest of us have some serious questions for the Kiss administration on Monday morning.

"When asked what the purpose of the occupation will be, Will replied, "That's a good question."

Of course he did.

BTW, I love the detailed (near-)bumfight play-by-play! Really tied the whole piece together!

So now we're moving from non-violence into trespass and vandalism? Because occupying and (inevitably) damaging City Hall will send a message to big bad banks?
You guys have lost me. Enjoy your tantrum and don't complain when the Police step in.

Ok they are open to suggestions, here are a few.Mayor Kiss's and CAO Leopold's use of 17 million from the cash pool for BT.
Mayor Kiss's support of raiding pennies for parks of 150 grand for the skateboard park.
Mayor Kiss's back room dealings with South Burlington on airport payments.
Mayor Kiss and building of a 14 million dollar airport parking garage before funds were gathered.
Mayor Kiss's claims of 80,000 ice climbers(numbers supplied by him from the ice factor) in the Northeast as potential customers for the ice factor at Moran.
There's more but I think i supplied the theme here.
Anything Kiss.

City Hall Park closes at midnight every night of the week, and this ordinance is enforced 99% of the time. Will the protestors refuse to comply with this city ordinance? Will they be staging a rally at the four C's? Will Will out will-power of the will of the local authorities? Tune in next week to find out, same anonymous time same anonymous channel.

After 5 weeks these guys are still out "We are open to suggestions."

Enough said on that.

Now lets turn to the occupancy of City Hall. Can we get them to do it during working hours. I mean as long as they are going to be disruptive do it when they can prevent Kiss from his next snafu

Okay, occupy Wall Street because you think bankers are evil. I get that, I support it. So why occupy City Hall Park? Because you're rebelling against homeless people and farmers' markets? And for heaven's sake, enough of this "We don't know what we stand for" nonsense. It's been five weeks, come up with an actual mission already!


AND, in case you haven't noticed, we, the consumers and taxpayers, have a lot more power than you might think. Period.

Protest the billions spent on the war not the corporate greed. Peace is what we should be fighting for.

"When asked what the purpose of the occupation will be, Will replied, "That's a good question. We're open to suggestions.""

Cuz we've got nothing else to do?

Cuz we're filthy and our parents don't want us back at home?


What place? Burlington?

"AND, in case you haven't noticed, we, the consumers and taxpayers, have a lot more power than you might think."

I've kind of noticed the opposite. Because this generation's "revolution" is a ton of people standing around and not only not accomplishing anything, not only not agreeing on WHAT they want to accomplish, but proclaiming that it doesn't matter. Clap... clap... clap.

Thanks for the constructive critisim Jimmy. What do you offer as an alternative?

Why are all the people posting here snidely criticizing this movement, or writing comments supposedly from within the movement saying things like "WE'll TEAR THE PLACE APART"

HAving participated in the occupation rallies, and having heard the people speaking, this kind of violence and ignorance is not the message. We are simply saying that The economic and political systems in America are no longer serving the people, but hurting them. WE are experiencing a financial crisis, and legislation doesn't seem to be helping us. We want a redress of grievances that is more direct, and we want to speak out, and hear others speak out against injustice and fiscal piracy.

Oh yeah, and, thanks for the Spin, 7D. You couldn't quote ANY of the reasons given for the occupation, except for a single sentence taken out of context? that made it look like they had NO clue why they were going to occupy? You said it all earlier : Iraq, Afghanistan, and The military industrial complex's disproportionately large budget which would be better spent domestically on things like health care and education and food security, our economy going the way of europe's, while the rich who created this crisis give themselves large bonuses and buy legislation to get tax breaks. And all you could come up with was a quote of "IDK"?

This was in response to giving SPECIFIC demands to those employed in local public service. It is difficult to address the concerns of so many in a country that is so morally and fiscally bereft right now, especially when you have to do it by a general assembly vote. BUt some that have come up, not just within this movement, but have been generally voiced in vermont and the nation, are:


CLOSE VERMONT YANKEE (this has been a big one, where it is a clear case of big business against the will and the health and well being of the public)





FAIR SOCIAL SECURITY POLICY(as social security faces being cutback to nonexistence in the near future)



that it is hard to know where to start.
by not taking this seriously, you are discrediting the very basis of peoples right to a redress of greivances. It would be so nice to see at least one LOCAL MEDIA source favor positive change, and to see something other than trolling and scoffing from readers. Don't any of you see anything wrong with this picture, and if so, what are you doing about it?

Please reply, thanks all for posting

It ain't trolling Joe. A lot of farmers sell their family farm produced goods in City Hall Park, how will you explain it to them that you're shutting them down?

After the park is trashed, the grass trampled into mud, the benches broken, the trees scarred, the alleys peed in, will you be paying for the clean up or will the people of Burlington? I'm afraid we know the answer.

You want to take on corporations, Wall Street, etc so how do you accomplish this by attacking your neighbors? That's not a plan, it's a self indulgent tantrum.

You want to take on Wall Street, get on a bus and go to Wall Street. Don't smash up the park.

Small Side Note: The farmer's market has actually been specifically discussed, and the intention is to begin the occupation on the south side of the park where no vendors set up so as to not interfere with what is itself an excellent community institution. My hope is that folks can pop by after getting their breakfast and veggies to chat about our current situation, the future, and what needs to be done...

Thousands of people use the park on a regular basis. An organized, peaceful occupation will not cause any significant damage that exceeds the normal wear and tear.

There are multiple other community events that happen in the park on a regular basis concurrently with the Farmer's Market. If this Occupation occurs as planned, it can be supportive to the market rather than disruptive. This movement supports local agriculture. To imply that we are going to disrupt the market is unfair... do any of the other events that occur "shut down" the market? If anything, they bring more people out.

This occupation is not a self indulgent tantrum. It is an organized display of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world. There are Occupations occurring in cities and states all around the world, not just in NYC. Not everyone can afford to take a bus, or to take off of work, to go to NYC. This is a way for people to participate globally, while acting locally! It calls awareness to a struggle that plays out across the planet, not just on Wall Street.

And if you have questions about reasons for the movement, check out this manifesto:

It clearly lists reasons for the movement.

Perhaps this article would be more accurate if the reporter would have done a little more research rather than capturing a few random quotes and making fun of people....

Instead of everyone taking a hostile stance, it might benefit us all to look for the strengths and beauty in each other instead of giving into the current dominant culture of mockery, cynicism, and negativity. We are what we think... we create what we project into the world.

I hope we can all manifest a happier collective future together.

Tim, occupiers are already contacting farmers to be sure we can work together. The occupation is planned for the southeast corner of the park, so it shouldn't physically interfere with shoppers and vendors.

There is enormous people-power erupting all over the country right now. Burlington is only one of 1,500+ cities where people are not only rising up together in protest - but more importantly - they are working together to creatively construct alternatives, support more sustainable models, get educated, network, and build power to reform or rebuild the corrupt and broken system we find ourselves in.

The model is peaceful, inclusive, horizontal, non-hierarchical, non-violent, democratic, and autonomous. We're all unaccustomed to these things. They're the opposite of the world we've grown up in and understand. But that is exactly the point. It's not easy, it's not perfect, and it's not fast. But I believe that people have the skills, intelligence, compassion and wisdom necessary to make this world a better place. Now we're building our power to do that by coming together and BEING THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

What are your skills and talents? What resources do you have at your disposal? Think this movement needs your help? We do too! Please join us, add your voice, and help make the movement stronger. We don't want to be victims of corrupt politicians and economic systems that are stacked against us, and we have the power to do something about it. See you in City Hall Park!

"And if you have questions about reasons for the movement, check out this manifesto"

A manifesto typically includes some details on what the author(s) want, and optionally guidelines on how those goals will be attained. That's not a manifesto, it's a list of grievances. Yeah, the world's messed up, no shit, you're a real pack of geniuses.

"What do you offer as an alternative?"

What do I offer as an alternative to what, standing around yelling about a ridiculously broad range of topics without offering a concrete solution to a single one of them? How about... anything?

"that it is hard to know where to start."


Enjoy your nine hour "occupation."

Why so much hate, Jimmy?

this video explains more about the change that we are trying to bring...

this is not just a bunch of people standing around and yelling.... it's a process to bring about a change in the way that power and wealth are distributed in the world.

Feel free to join us....

You need to behave better. The language and attitudes only make you look like angry, spolied brats (with a smattering of old hippies). I see mostly brand-name labelled clothes, shoes, etc., albeit shabby looking, and the anger and rage is almost comical. Go home, stop voting for democrats and progressives (who are owned by corporate donations too). You want a better life, vote for lower taxes, more personal responsibility, and vote out any politician that doesn't uphold their oath to protect the US Constitution. Socialism is not the answer; never worked, never will!

I don't hate anyone, I just feel kind of sad that this is the best you can do. In Burlington, the sitting administration has done a TON of damage to the town and are continuing to do so every day. They've done things that are going to severely negatively impact residents at all socioeconomic levels, but the outside their offices are instead talking about issues related to the federal government and wall street that affect them only in the most tangential ways.

"this video explains more about the change that we are trying to bring..."

Did you actually watch this video? It does nothing of the sort. It talks about the process by which the NY group is going to decide on... well, they don't say exactly, I would imagine it's "what they want."

I asked this weeks ago, and I'll ask it again... name one thing that this "movement" is asking for, and articulate the specific action plan for getting it. I mean, it's been what, a month now? The Burlington gatherings are already shrinking. If you can't answer the question now, you never will.

Jimmy - I'd encourage you to show up and propose such a plan re: the City Government. I think it's a conversation that needs to happen, and you might some like-minded folk interested in working on it ;).

I can find like-minded folk interested in working on it without sitting around in a park waggling my fingers in the air. And they'll be folk who are capable of actually accomplishing things.

I submit that posting a comment on a newspaper's message board is as productive an act as the Occupy Wall Street protest.

With all due respect, Jimmy and other detractors, whatever your strategies have been up to this point do not seem to have been very effective in addressing the issues you cited. Voting one way or another hasn't really gotten us anywhere, except in a deeper hole. Aren't you tired of trying the same old thing and getting the same old results? That's what this is about. Our democracy is flawed. In fact, it isn't a democracy at all. So what exactly is the point of voting when most often it's a choice between the lesser of two evils? And we can assume if recent (and ancient) history is any indicator, that those elected will probably be bought off anyway. Occupations provide a literal staging ground for direct democracy. General assemblies allow everyone to participate -including you- if you'd like to give your input.

And JIMVT, when you say, "The language and attitudes only make you look like angry, spolied brats," perhaps you should compare what supporters are saying on this thread to what detractors are saying. Supporters have hope and are taking time and effort to help build solutions. The unsolicited anger against the movement serves no one.

I'm sure you all have good ideas that can help get us out of this mess, and this occupation provides the perfect forum for you to gather the support and people you need to make it happen. Please, come be a part of the solution!

Articles like this don't reflect what is really going on. There are many people who know exactly why we are there. I care more about people than companies, I want companies to pay tax, and so many other very human ideals.

"Occupations provide a literal staging ground for direct democracy."

This is meaningless. It's like sitting around at a party voting on what you're mad about. The fact that all of your friends agree that they're mad about the same things doesn't get you the tiniest bit closer to solving anything.

The idea that consensus has to be achieved among a bunch of dumbasses who came out to a park to talk about things essentially eliminates any chance of success in any of these (yet to be defined) endeavors. People who know how to get things done don't come out to these things; they're primarily populated by people who are angry and don't know what to do about it but yell.

The one thing you said that you want to do is not vote. Great, go ahead, stay home. The people you hate love you for it.

I guess no one wants to answer my specific problem / specific action plan question. What a shock.

Jimmy, please don't jump to hasty conclusions. Clearly you have not participated in a general assembly. Perhaps you have witnessed some of the speak-outs, which provide a forum for people to be heard. Many people do feel dis-empowered and angered by the system and don't know what to do about it, but are comforted by the solidarity of those around them. You also express anger in all of your posts, and you are using this forum to vent it - why can't they use their forum to vent theirs?

A general assembly requires the use of the funny hand signals and the consensus process so that people can construct and agree upon proposals. Proposals are not grievances, they are constructive. You say, "name one thing that this "movement" is asking for, and articulate the specific action plan for getting it." Over a dozen working groups have organically formed in Burlington alone to develop many action plans for achieving many goals. You see, we can't define an entire movement by asking one simple request or formulating one specific action plan. This is about shifting a paradigm - there is much work to be done; and despite what you might assume, Jimmy, people are doing it.

I challenge you, Jimmy, and anyone else who reads this, to develop a goal to better our society and a specific action plan for achieving it. Come to one general assembly and propose a working group to get other like-minded folks on board. Draft a proposal and bring it to the group; if it's a strong idea, I guarantee that many will stand behind you and help you achieve it. That's what it's all about. See you in City Hall Park!

What I find interesting in all of this is that the Occupier's refer to this "will of the people" and our gov't no longer works. Like somehow our Constitution has been corrupted. The irony here however is that pretty much all of their proposals amount to altering our Constitution. Something that largely has served us well.

Reform free speech... that sounds like something I want no part of.

Then we have this doozy

CLOSE VERMONT YANKEE (this has been a big one, where it is a clear case of big business against the will and the health and well being of the public)"

This does nothing to help your cause Joe. It merely makes you look like an ignorant fear monger. First off, there is nothing that says it's the will of the people, and EVERY entity with the expertise and knowledge to evaluate VY disagrees with your assessment of a health risk.

This will all end in a month or so. Once it get's cold that will be enough and everyone will go back home. The reason this "occupation/revolt" will never go anywhere is the same reason the gov't will never take them seriously... all they do is talk. This country would not be here if all our founding father's did was talk.

"Over a dozen working groups have organically formed in Burlington alone to develop many action plans for achieving many goals."

I didn't ask for THE one action plan, I just asked for ANY one. Because I know it doesn't exist, thus proving my point.

"Come to one general assembly"

If I have an action plan for bettering our society, I'm taking it to someone who can help me enact it, not your "general assembly." I would literally sooner take it to the aforementioned nieces and nephews.

I mean, there's next to nothing on your wiki so far but here's one nugget, an actual agenda item from the "Anti Opporession [sic]" group:

"Diversity is the well of our union, oppression poisons that well"

...again, it's all about what you're mad at, not what you're going to do about it. I'll be waiting to hear about that second part, but I won't hold my breath.

Keep posting those videos by the way, they're comedy gold!

Why OWS? Well, here are the words of William Dudley, chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: “I certainly understand why people are upset. You can argue very clearly that what happened was very unfair in the sense that to rescue the financial system, the federal government had to rescue individual firms. Then those firms go prosper while the unemployment rate in the country rises.” If that's not enough, how about the Pope Benedict XVI's words: ‎"The conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from 'influences' of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way... In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise." Last but not least, the words of trillion dollar bond fund manager Bill Gross: " Class warfare by the 99%? Of course, they’re fighting back after 30 years of being shot at."

I don't think anyone will dispute Bill Gross' prominence and expertise on Wall Street, yet he writes this month in his Investment Outlook that ‎"even conservatives must acknowledge that return on capital investment, and the liquid stocks and bonds that mimic it, are ultimately dependent on returns to labor in the form of jobs and real wage gains. If Main Street is unemployed and undercompensated, capital can only travel so far down Prosperity Road. Until recently, economic recovery has been relatively robust if one were a deployer of capital as opposed to the laborer who made that deployment possible. Near zero percent interest rates have allowed profit margins to widen even in the face of anemic end demand. As well, “productivity” has remained high, but only because of layoffs and the production of goods and services with fewer people. While that is a benefit to capital, it obviously comes at a great cost to labor." The commenters here on 7dvt who ask that protesters develop an action plan are genuinely missing the point. People have a message to share and they are successfully doing so. It's not essential that they also have an action plan. Plenty of us who are employed (yes, even as investment professionals) comprehend and are prepared to respond to their message with strategies for divestment and/or reinvestment, borrowing or raising capital, etc. Not everyone is a legislator, nor must every one be one.

Seven Days: This article is a disgrace to journalism. I've been in the areas for a few years now for grad school. I've been mostly impressed with the level of integrity, and the quality, of many of the local news sources, including your paper. This article was suprisingly sensational, (in a very manipulative way) AND ignorantly drafted. Definitelly a spin. I was at this meeting and this is NOT an accurate synopsis of events. While many news sources nationally have blindly reverberated, this misguided notion that the OWS movement is a bunch of hippie kids with no clue why they are angry, even main news outlets, such as CBS and ABC, have done a better job at times of representing the truth of this movement than you have. This is a perioud of great change. A chance for people to wake up from the apathy. Please do wake up and join the movement toward active engagement in both democracy and your own life, by practicing first clear reporting. This article is clearly more of an attempt to play out a tired narrative, while poking fun and trying to be cute. Who were you trying to please by writing this? Your boss? An unamed group of people who even your conciousness is not aware of? Try pleasing yourself by acting with integrity. You will be amazed at how liberating it is.

While I'm not a protester myself, I don't think it's fair to say they're not accomplishing anything. If not for Occupy Wall Street, I doubt we'd see any mainstream media outlets running stories about the large, and growing, gap between rich and poor in the United States. But they're all doing that now, so to say Occupy Wall Street is a waste of time because they don't have a detailed action plan is disingenuous.

That said, I really don't think it's a good idea to start occupying during the Farmers Market. Just push it back a day and everyone will be happy.

My most humble (but rather lengthy) opinion:

In light of the extensive list of grievances supporters of the OWS movement could legitimately cite, I don't think it's unreasonable to say there is not "one" mission, action plan, or solution. After all, if there were one solution to fix our country's (and our world's) problems, surely someone would have come up with it by now. Yes? Now that we're on the same page, onward...

The process with which the OWS movement seems obliged to uphold is that of grassroots democracy. By maintaining a leaderless movement, the power is distributed among the participants, and the participants are thus empowered. The process is strengthened this way. Within such a system of organization, tried and true methods of communication and decision-making, such as general assembly, speak-out, and report-back, are necessary for an effective and efficient process.

To speak to the issue of "the purpose of occupying a public space," will first reference a paragraph that can be found on Occupy Wall Street's News page ( It comes from a statement of solidarity from "Comrades in Cairo, Egypt":

"We are occupying. We are reclaiming those same spaces of public practice that have been commodified, privatized and locked into the hands of faceless bureaucracy , real estate portfolios, and police ‘protection’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the boundaries of your occupations grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and disciplined? Reclaiming these spaces and managing them justly and collectively is proof enough of our legitimacy."

More on that: A root of many of the problems we are facing right now, such as high unemployment, federal budget deficit, and a strained economy, is inequality. That's a pretty broad statement-- is it inequality of men and women, inequality of rich people and poor people, inequality of "white" people and "non-white" people, inequality of gay people and non-gay people? It is, indeed, all of the above. And more significantly, the root of the problem lies in the IGNORANCE of the role that inequality plays in the more concrete problems that people can actually talk about.

Since most people don't have access to post-secondary education, where they might have the opportunity to learn about these issues and causal relationships in Sociology 101, it is important for those that DO have knowledge about these issues, who DO have care passionately about social justice, to share that knowledge. By getting attention from the public as well as the media, more light is shed on the issues we are trying to address, and it gets more people in on the conversation. What better place to get the public's attention than in a public place like City Hall Park? It is a strategy of outreach, if you will. The VERY FIRST STEP to democratically making the changes that we want is to educate and inform others so that they can make educated, informed decisions, and contribute meaningful ideas to the bigger conversation.

I realize this process might seem slow and ineffective to some (apparently Jimmy in particular), but what you need to realize is to be effective is going to take the force of EVERYONE in the 99%. The purpose behind this slogan is a call to join forces. The amount of political power that has accumulated and that is concentrated in the hands of the top 1% of the income bracket prevents the interests of the other 99% of we, the little people, from being addressed and taken care of. The people-power that will be required to reclaim our democratic process really is enormous-- it's going to take EVERYONE. And to get everyone, apparently it's actually going to take carrying around signs, yelling, throwing it in your face that THEY ARE PISSING ON OUR CONSTITUTION.

This is not about amending the right to free speech, it's about having an opportunity to express an opinion in the first place. What the political power of the 1% does is dilute the political voice of everyone else, which secures their personal interests, including but not limited to: engaging in various wars to secure oil while crushing any legislation that would pursue more sustainable methods of creating energy; keeping higher education unaccessible for lower-income folks which then perpetuates the inequality; misleading the general public with all kinds of fear-mongering and propaganda in the media and spreading disinformation; the list goes on...

The point is that this is the first step to a very long process. This is about issue awareness. This is about getting angry and getting motivated to seek change, and to seek solutions, and it is about getting OTHERS to seek change, to inform themselves, and to bring solutions to the discussion.

This is from the Occupy Vermont FB page, truly disappointing: "We have bent over backwards today to make nice with certain vendors from Burlington's Farmer's Market.We are done with that.Apparently our reassurances that we are in support of their market,are CUSTOMERS of theirs,and would NEVER compromise their flow are just not enough.They will not be happy until we postpone OCCUPATION until they've wrung every last centimo out of their clients,and apparently they're afraid we might jeopardize the transaction regardless of our stated friendship,kinship,and support.Sounds kinda like a big bank,doesn't it?In their favor,the market manager has been very receptive and offered to share the park with us.Hmmmm.SHARE OUR PARK WITH US.Well.Very generous.It all tasted like chicken until the relentless crowd of unreasoning vendors descended without hearing a word of our message,and proceeded to complain about how we would hurt their profits,and they continue on the thread below this very moment.Whatever group turned these people out today is culpable.They have COMPLETELY and DELIBERATELY disregarded our message.I tried to assure them that we would not be a nuisance.I even let them know that we are a very small group and really would not be a presence.They don't care.Told them we have business in Montpelier Saturday and many of us would be traveling,and not in the park at all.No matter to them.All the while they used our terminology(probably got it from TV) telling us we were hurting fellow 99%ers.COME ON!We need to eat,right?FEED US!We need groceries,right?SELL TO US.Not one of them offered leftover prepared foods.Not one of them told us they were at a rally ONCE.They are our brothers and sisters,but they dwell in dark places.Let's bring them into the light.This Saturday,let's make sure the vendors of the Farmer's Market know why we are there.We've had a most obtuse day of input from them.I believe they may be in need of education.I guess that will be up to you.Thank you."

Jimmy, perhaps you will acquaint yourself with this document, just released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, that presents data compiled by the IRS and Census Bureau about our nation's changing income distribution. Then read Jeff Bailey in Forbes magazine yesterday:

The CBO document is here:

Does the mob imposed "Anti-Misogyny" Rule mean that if hip-hop mogul Russel Simmons shows up with financial support for the cause like he did at Zucotti Park that he would be turned away and/or ostracized? Or would the group hypocritically take his donation and then boot him?

Perhaps the Farmers Market folks (who are at least trying to make a living) just don't want to be strongarmed and/or shamed into having to donate their lost sales, lost time, rules they've followed, and probably their inventory to YOUR cause without just compensation or even thanks.

Uh... why was my last comment deleted, young Tyler?

"perhaps you will acquaint yourself with this document"

More about why you're mad, nothing about what to do about it - whoopie

"I even let them know that we are a very small group and really would not be a presence."

MLK would be proud!

The Tea Party has figured out how to articulate positions, get candidates that support those positions elected, and shape US policy. I originally said that you're all too stupid to follow their blueprint, I guess that's why my comment was deleted. So I'll revise that: you're all super awesome and you should never follow their blueprint because who wants to accomplish anything anyway?

Jeez, you noticed that quickly.

Because you need to dial it back a notch or two. Enough posts dripping with condescension. You can make your points without calling everyone stupid. It's not much to ask.

I'm as confused as Jimmy and I have to agree. This is more about why occupiers are mad. Not what they want to do about it. At least not framed in anything realistic and/or legal.

Near as I can tell LeeLee just wants income redistribution.

Outside of that...

Dear Jim, I'm not mad. I earn a good income doing something I love, and I'm grateful that I've received excellent advice from investment professionals with integrity, who put my interests ahead of their pockets. But our industry (financial services) is the same as any other, rife with unscrupulous individuals. That is why we self-regulate, and why many of us welcome the large scale public protests, as such demonstrations often do precede positive reforms and initiatives. I'm not sure I've seen anything useful in your posts, nor any acknowledgement that the protesters have even an iota of rational dissent. I'm afraid that makes you the equivalent of your caricature of the protesters. Extreme. Unreasonable. Unsophisticated. It's not my problem that your expectations of protesters are that they behave and act like lawmakers. I can point out to you that they are citizens, and have no obligation to formulate solutions or draft legislation, merely one to weigh in on the issues that affect their daily lives, to participate in discussions, and to vote either with their conscience or their wallet, or perhaps both. I am not sure why you are mad, yourself, but I am curious. Maybe you don't like your job? Your salary? The lifestyle you can or can't afford? Is it some other small yet persistent degradation or humiliation? Or is that you wish to help the unemployed or those lack a way to tap into their drive to succeed? I hope it's that, but I doubt it, since what comes across mainly is the sneering mentality of someone who harbors a lot of insecurity, albeit unexamined.

"I am not sure why you are mad, yourself, but I am curious."

You can say I'm mad all day long if it makes you feel better, but I'm not. I'm not sure what I've said that would make you think I am. I'm not the one sitting around in the park doing call-and-responses about how I'm going to decide what to talk/yell about. I'm spending weekends with my family having a good time.

When I say I think things are funny, I mean it. When I say I think something's sad, I mean it. I've never said any of this makes me angry, because it doesn't. On the contrary, regardless of your personal perspective, you have to admit that the core of this "movement" is fueled by anger.

"any acknowledgement that the protesters have even an iota of rational dissent."
"have no obligation to formulate solutions or draft legislation, merely one to weigh in on the issues that affect their daily lives, to participate in discussions"

If "rational dissent" and "participating in discussions" are the end goal of this whole thing, fine, you're the first person I've seen admit that. Although you must realize that you disagree with many in your movement, who are claiming that something will ultimately be accomplished with all this.

Squatting in Burlington's City Hall Park (and stupidly getting in fights with the Farmer's Market people!) will accomplish . . . absolutely NOTHING. ZERO, NADA. ZILCH.

How many of the "occupiers" actually vote?

"I can point out to you that they are citizens, and have no obligation to formulate solutions or draft legislation, merely one to weigh in on the issues that affect their daily lives, to participate in discussions, and to vote either with their conscience or their wallet, or perhaps both."

Huh? They aren't politicians so they have no obligation to formulate solutions. Instead they should just weigh in on what the problems are (because no one else was smart enough to figure it out??)

Actually what you described exactly resembles a politician. Most specifically Comrade Sanders.

Best quote ever "Bernie is the best problem pointer outer ever."

Good grief. If you are going to protest be constructive. If you can't be constructive with solutions and ideas then stop protesting, go home and come up with a plan. Then go back to occupying. Kind of putting the cart before the horse.

Ok, well this is my last post. Jim, I'm happy for you, genuinely, as it seems that your productivity at least has amounted to a lifestyle that you can enjoy. You and I can disagree about whether or not, and to what degree, each of us should care about the well established fact that the lifestyle you enjoy has gradually become more and more elusive to the majority of the American people. You and I can disagree about whether or not or how much to care about the ongoing deterioration of real wages and the wide scale exportation of affordable wage-earning jobs to overseas locations. And you an I can agree to disagree about how much each of us expects any citizen to do when the aforesaid facts become so obvious, so deleterious, and so widespread, that an international protest movement springs up like a colony of mushrooms. Stay well, and avoid downtown.

"Stay well,"
You too

"and avoid downtown."

I honestly don't think I'll have to.

We have already accomplished something. Look what is happening across our country and our world. People are coming together, organizing themselves, raising awareness... it's only been one month. Imagine the impact we will have by the 2012 elections! And beyond? We will not be tear-gassed, beaten, bullied, or teased into submission.... the sleeping giant has awakened. Here's to many years of growth, of change, and of healing... for all of us... all 100%.

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