Protest Group Seeks Permission to Camp in Lee Park

Occupy Charlottesville has asked City Council’s permission to protest 24/7 in Lee Park, Ted Strong reports for the Daily Progress. Occupy X groups have been popping up across the country in the past couple of weeks, beginning with Occupy Wall Street, with left-leaning protesters staging live-ins in public opposition to economic inequality and corporate power over government, especially since the September 2008 economic collapse. Lee Park has a 11 PM curfew, which prevents the protesters from remaining there around the clock, as is the norm for the Occupy protests. Occupy Charlottesville has been protesting in Lee Park since Saturday, but has asked permission to carry on non-stop, for a month. Given that Council doesn’t permit homeless people to remain there overnight, Councilor Holly Edwards said that she felt uncomfortable with the idea of allowing protesters, while Councilor David Brown expressed concern about the precedent that permission could set.

10/18 Update: Council agreed to give the group a permit to remain in the park through Friday night. It’s up to parks director Brian Daly to decide if they can stay longer.

57 Responses to “Protest Group Seeks Permission to Camp in Lee Park”


  • failing to see the issue

    “Councilor Holly Edwards said that she felt uncomfortable with the idea of allowing protesters, while Councilor David Brown expressed concern about the precedent that permission could set.”

    With their vocal opposition on the record, you can be assured that Dave Norris will vote to allow the protesters to remain in the park in a cynical, pandering move that has no chance of success.

  • If Lee Park was, in fact, Wall Street, then perhaps these guys would have a point. But it isn’t. Its one thing to inconvenience a bunch of hedge fund managers and stock brokers on Wall Street and quite another thing to ruin a city park for regular people who just want to sit down on the benches or have a picnic.

  • If you do not believe in the this Fight of our Generations, then considerations of undisturbed picnics are paramount.

  • I don’t know David Brown, so I could be wrong, but from what I read in that article, he kind of sounds like a dick.

  • Kind of interesting that Kristin Szakos expressed concern about disrupting funerals at Hill and Wood across the street, and got “sparkle fingers” from the protesters for her comment. I was at a midday funeral at Hill and Wood this past Saturday, and festivities in Lee Park were in full, loud swing (amplified music, etc.). It didn’t bother me personally, but I’m telling you that ANY noise in that park is going to be heard loud and clear in the chapel at Hill and Wood–those double doors open right onto the park. I could see future mourners feeling very, very upset by such a juxtaposition.

  • Oooh! Will they have “freedom nets” and “designated free speech zones” as well? Or will our noble governance ‘express concern’ and ‘struggle with’ all the potentially authorized options of the protest too. Do they *ever* do anything other than express concern and wring their nervous hands? Ineffectual pawns.

    And tell me, why couldn’t the homeless be allowed to stay in the park as well as the protestors for the duration of the protest permit? What possible difference could it make? Gonna check for residency at the “freedom gate” to the designated protest zone?

    Why on earth does protesting have to be so unbelievably lame? Don’t ask permission, just go out and do it.

  • Other than the clear precedent it sets I have almost no problem with the protestors as long as they are not doing damage and not breaking laws. That said what will the city do when/if Haven decides to use the park for a tent city to protest the lack of housing for the homeless?

    Would the city have done this for a group of Tea Party protests- probably not. Is the ill behavior of Wall Street worthy of this type of protest- absolutely. Is it ironic that this park was given to the city by Paul G McIntire who made his fortune on Wall Street- you bet!

  • I doubt that tea party activists would want to do something as strenuous as camping out in a city park.

  • You mean camping out in a city park ILLEGALLY?

  • I doubt that tea party activists would want to do something as strenuous as camping out in a city park.

    When protesting Perriello, they all but demanded La-Z-Boys and nachos.

  • Barbara- I think most people are smart enough not to bother camping in Lee Park, Tea Partiers included. Funny that one of the organizers actually thinks that they might draw thousands to the protest in Cville. I would also say that your comment makes little sense; the protestors aren’t doing anything strenuous, while most Tea Party types are likely working regular jobs and don’t have time to sit on their butts trying to recreate the 60’s. I wish I had time to sit on a couch in the park, but I’ve three children to feed and employees to keepworking so they can support their own families. Screw the protestors.

  • failing to see the issue...

    re:”Why on earth does protesting have to be so unbelievably lame? Don’t ask permission, just go out and do it.”

    I think this should read, “protesting IN THIS TOWN”.

    If there are those that believe that this is the “Fight of our Generation” (and I’m not saying it isn’t), then why is remaining in Charlottesville so paramount? They should be in NYC, supporting the protest there, with their voices and labor. It is these local wannabes that don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to travel a long distance.

    And they’ll be protesting under a statue of Robert E. Lee? What are they protesting, exactly? Economic slavery, under a graven image of an icon of the forces for actual slavery.

  • @ TOMR

    “Funny that one of the organizers actually thinks that they might draw thousands to the protest in Cville.” Well, you don’t seriously believe that that spokeperson would have instead said BUSED “thousands to protest” here. Yeah, that would’ve been real hillarious. One thinks of lead balloon.

  • failing to see the issue

    Well, I sure was wrong about the council vote, although I was right about Dave Norris’. I guess I assumed that the council would apply a standard of fairness to the vote.

    Would they also grant this kind of permit to ANYONE that wanted to camp in the park?

  • Re: “while most Tea Party types are likely working regular jobs and don’t have time…”

    “Welcome to Costco. I love you.”

    Seriously though, by ‘regular jobs’ you must mean organizing to put party before country, right? You know, by resolving to freeze all hiring in order to hurt the ‘sekrit muslin soshalist in chief’. Second to the last paragraph, baby:

    http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3355873%3ABlogPost%3A1566647&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_post

    Stay classy, tea-hadists.

  • failing: “[…]why is remaining in Charlottesville so paramount? They should be in NYC, supporting the protest there, with their voices and labor. It is these local wannabes that don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to travel a long distance.”

    So you’re asking the bulk of the #Occupy movement who are students paying usurious loans, the unemployed, the ruined by healthcare costs folks to somehow cough up the $$$ to get to NYC, be arrested for their 1st Amendment rights far way from home, so you and Jack can have undisturbed picnics?

    Yeah, okay. I see the logic.

  • failing to see the issue

    Christian,

    Some of the protesters are trust fund babies, happy to live off of the wealth generated on wall street but quick to decry the inequity generated alongside that wealth when it because a cause célèbre.

    I’m not asking anyone to do anything, but rather commenting on the need for convenience these particular protesters have. They cannot be bothered to actually protest on Wall Street, so the city council should temporarily alter a city ordinance so that their lives will not be too disrupted. They even have a couch so that they can be nice and comfy.

    I’m all for protesting against inequity in our economic system and I’m all for social justice. But it appears to me that believing you are protesting against the evil machinations of the big banks while staying within walking distance of the downtown mall is a high priority for these people.

    It may be hard for you to hear, but these people have FAR more in common with the Tea Partiers than they do with Che Guevara.

  • I wish I had time to sit on a couch in the park, but I’ve three children to feed and employees to keepworking so they can support their own families. Screw the protestors.

    You’re complaining that unemployed people, protesting economic policies that have led to one of the highest rates of unemployment since the Great Depression…should get a job? Really?

  • I’m not asking anyone to do anything, but rather commenting on the need for convenience these particular protesters have. They cannot be bothered to actually protest on Wall Street

    I don’t understand why you say this. One of the goals of the Occupy X movement appears to be to hold protests throughout the county. These people are attempting to do so in Charlottesville. Would you say that any protest regarding federal policy that takes place outside of Washington D.C. is conducted by people who “cannot be bothered to actually protest [in D.C.]”? Or isn’t it possible that a lot of what protesters are attempting to do is influence public opinion, rather than directly addressing decision makers?

  • I sure hope #Occupy understand that only lasting public opinion can change the course of things. Little tweaks by decision makers to appease the 99% is not worth the paper it’ll be printed on.
    I think they do.

  • re: One thinks of lead balloon.

    “The purpose of this posting is to tell the true story of how, in the early part of the 20th Century, dedicated chemists and engineers at Arthur D. Little were put to the task of breaking the adage that you couldn’t make a silk purse from a sows’ ear. And then, some 50 years later, in 1977, how another group of dedicated scientists at the company decided to do it again, and this time show that lead balloons really could fly.”

  • re: One thinks of Rosa Parks

    “Nonetheless, she took her action as a private citizen ‘tired of giving in’. Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store.”

  • failing to see the issue

    I should refine my objection. It is to the fact that the city council has expedited this permit request.

    I agree with the protesters point of view and calls for social justice and yet I am bothered by my own notion, which is completely speculative, that the city council would not grant this kind of permit to the tea party (for example), were they to wish to camp out in the park.

    Indeed, David Brown’s infamous joke implied that he wasn’t worried about the precedent setting nature of this approval since he didn’t think Carol Thorpe would seek to camp on city property. Why this is funny Mr. Brown has not explained and is left to one’s imagination.

    People should protest wherever they want, of course. I am bothered when government grants preferential treatment to a group based on the ideology of that group, as I suspect has happened with this decision. This caused me to be annoyed with the protesters themselves, even though that annoyance is misplaced.

  • failing… I appreciate your candor. In the purest sense you are correct. Let me be candid too: one group is heavily funded by the Status Quo and the the other are real protesters who have real grievances. Of course, that depends on your point of view, which comes back to your point.

    How can this be resolved? The 99% are hoping that people will take a hard look and realize they are also the 99%. Might be a lead balloon, but contrary to that endeavor, which was meaningless, America as it was thought to be designed is at stake.

  • People should protest wherever they want, of course. I am bothered when government grants preferential treatment to a group based on the ideology of that group, as I suspect has happened with this decision. This caused me to be annoyed with the protesters themselves, even though that annoyance is misplaced.

    And that, I think, is a fair concern. I suspect strongly that other groups will now receive the same treatment, but in an alternate reality in which this was a Tea Party group asking for the same permission, I think that reasonable minds may disagree on whether Council would have granted them the same permit.

  • Well, Waldo- who bought their damn i-phones and computers? Where do they get their money from? My point is that if I didn’t have a job, I’d surely not be wasting my time protesting… as if that will meet their needs. Maybe they just don’t have enough common sense to figure out how to take responsibility for their prior decisions… maybe they just can’t stomach working for less than they feel they deserve. They are not victims and to suggest they are seems pretty shallow.

  • I think they should go stand in front of the Wachovia/Wells Fargo/whatever-its-called-this-week buildings and protest there. That would make sense. Go inconvenience the bankers.

    In Lee Park, its like you are protesting parks instead of protesting the problems with the financial system.

  • Jack – If you guarantee posting their bail, maybe they will protest in front of the banks…
    tomr – You claim shallowness because some may have iphones and computers? Well, I feel completely certain if they were w/o a single penny or possession, starving and sick, begging for your omnipotent reverential mercy, you would be the premier person to come to their aid!

  • who bought their damn i-phones and computers?

    How do you know that they have iPhones and computers?

    Where do they get their money from?

    What money? How much money do you need to sit in a park?

    My point is that if I didn’t have a job, I’d surely not be wasting my time protesting… as if that will meet their needs.

    If you’d sent in hundreds of job applications over the course of three years and only got a couple of callbacks, and didn’t get either of the jobs, you wouldn’t spend one hour joining a protest? Your unemployed time is that valuable?

    Maybe they just don’t have enough common sense to figure out how to take responsibility for their prior decisions…

    Responsibility for what prior decisions? Do you really not know any unemployed people? My life is thick with twenty-somethings who graduated from college between 2008–2011 and can’t seem to get any better employment than 10–20 hours a week for $10/hour, often inconsistently. When they started college, it was understood that they’d go to college, get a degree, graduate, get a job, advance in a career, and pay off their college loans. Instead, they’ve got debt with no way to pay for it, often barely enough to cover their cost of living. So, specifically, what responsibility is this whole micro-generation failing to take?

    maybe they just can’t stomach working for less than they feel they deserve.

    That describes very few of the people who I know.

    I’m not sure who these imaginary people are with whom you’re so upset, Tom.

  • Lemony Snicket—aka Daniel Handler—provides a few useful suggestions along these lines:

    There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.

    Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.

    Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.

  • Waldo- Usually you have pretty good arguments- you disappoint this time. Go see for yourself; in fact, just watch CNN news feeds. Maybe I’m wrong and you are managing their website and sending their tweets out for them- they seem to keep up with their Facebook page pretty well. NPR had a great story on the “micro-government” that the movement has set up in NYC and interviewees noted that they are using technology as a primary tool to get the movement rolling. You have nothing to argue with me about, because my questions are valid and have been raised by many.

    “When they started college, it was understood that they’d go to college, get a degree, graduate, get a job, advance in a career, and pay off their college loans. Instead, they’ve got debt with no way to pay for it, often barely enough to cover their cost of living. So, specifically, what responsibility is this whole micro-generation failing to take?”

    You answer your own question! If I make an assumption and it falls through, I have to take responsibility. So your friends decided to go to college, get loans and rely on the assumption that things would be the same as they have been for the last twenty years. Who’s fault is that? Who made them go to college? Who made them get loans? Who told them that going to college instead of seeking a trade was the right thing to do? I’m sure that if one of your friends had followed the route of learning a trade, they would have a job. I know that there are plenty of opportunities for sharp people in trades like plumbing, HVAC, etc. The problem with that is that most young people think that those jobs are beneath them, so they opt for college because that is what we’ve always done. I have interviewed plenty of college grads over the last 15 years who have communicated the same.

  • Christian- I claim that one is shallow if they consider these protestors to be victims; you can reread my original comment. There are many like me who sympathize with some of the views of the group, but disagree with their methods of getting the message out. By the way, charitable contributions were more than 12% of my gross income last year, so yes, I would be a great one to lend a hand.

  • Go see for yourself; in fact, just watch CNN news feeds. Maybe I’m wrong and you are managing their website and sending their tweets out for them- they seem to keep up with their Facebook page pretty well. NPR had a great story on the “micro-government” that the movement has set up in NYC and interviewees noted that they are using technology as a primary tool to get the movement rolling.

    I’m confused—what does New York have to do with these folks in Charlottesville? Your evidence that there are secretly rich kids is that at least one person who attends the New York protests owns a computer or a telephone?

    If I make an assumption and it falls through, I have to take responsibility. So your friends decided to go to college, get loans and rely on the assumption that things would be the same as they have been for the last twenty years. Who’s fault is that?

    They are taking responsibility, Tom. What action should these people be taking that would be “taking responsibility” that they are not presently doing? What should my hypothetical unemployed person be doing that he’s not doing?

    Who told them that going to college instead of seeking a trade was the right thing to do? I’m sure that if one of your friends had followed the route of learning a trade, they would have a job. I know that there are plenty of opportunities for sharp people in trades like plumbing, HVAC, etc.

    You are absolutely wrong about that, Tom. I had a house built last year. Many of the guys were unemployed except when they were working on our house. When our house was finished being built, they were back to collecting unemployment. Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but construction is at one of its lowest levels in the history of our country Just look at BLS’s unemployment numbers in the construction industry: a 13.3% unemployment rate, as of September, down from a 15.6% high in June. That’s worse than the general public. That’s awful.

    Your suggestion that simply taking up plumbing or HVAC maintenance would guarantee sufficient employment is the worst possible example that you could have selected, second only to buggy-whip making or rotary telephone manufacturing.

  • Waldo- When construction declines, repair and reno increases; new construction HVAC and Plumbing are somewhat different animals. Don’t look at the Bureau of Labor to find out- call Ferguson, Southern Refrigeration, Eck, ABC Roofing- any will tell you the same. People will maintain and improve what they have when they can’t buy or build new. I’d also point out there are also plenty of blue collar trades that are unrelated to new construction.

    Since the Occupy movement centered out of the NYC protest, and they are linking to one another, I’ll assume that they are of similar ilk.

    Lastly, you ask what they should be doing- maybe they should be working at US Express (hiring drivers), Sheetz, WalMart, etc…. or moving to South Dakota, where they don’t seem tobe feeling the job crunch.

    Since you rail at my suggestion that there is plenty of tweeting and internet usage among the “poor” at the park, I would hope that you could actually prove me wrong. Their is at least some truth to what I say and using Socratic condensation in your response can not prove otherwise. Generally, I find some common ground with you at some point; maybe, as time goes by, I’ll be proven wrong and I can quietly read without commenting. Until then, I’ll just have to appear as the ogre who doesn’t care about anybody except the rich.

  • Couple things… You don’t have to be destitute to be poor. There are many shades of grey, it is just that most of said shades of the economic spectrum are kinda waking up to just how badly the game is rigged against them by that tiny little speck at the other end – the so called 1%, or whatever. And they are pissed, and rightfully so. That last bit, though, is just my opinion.

    I also take umbrage with the portrayal of the OWS folks as unemployed, LSD addled dirt twirling trust fund crusties, and finally some survey results are emerging that decimate this. They are, by and large, you and me. So rather than kicking hypothetical straw men back and forth, lets just look at who these people actually are, shall we? Cool.

    http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-demographic-survey-results-will-surprise-you.php

  • Lastly, you ask what they should be doing- maybe they should be working at US Express (hiring drivers), Sheetz, WalMart, etc…. or moving to South Dakota, where they don’t seem tobe feeling the job crunch.

    Tom, this is jaw-dropping. There’s a 9.1% unemployment rate. That’s 14 million people without jobs, and millions more who are underemployed, working part-time for wages below what they require to live. And your advice to those 14 million people is to get a job? Do you advise that the starving eat brioche? If people don’t have enough rice to eat, do you suggest that they eat meat?

    Good Lord.

  • The unemployment rate is really almost double that which is bandied around by our institutions. See the U6 indicator here. On this subject, just use your common sense: if there are no benefits in filing for unemployment, folks will not.

    But this is all about much more than unemployment, even if that is an essential element. I am gainfully employed as are many protesters and sympathizers. It is about our corrupt socio-political system as it exists today. It is about a complete breakdown of the balance of power whereas corporations are immune to risk and deflect it back onto the public. They, the nepotistic 1%, are ‘too big to fail’. They have seized public monies to bail themselves out and are taking for themselves surreal rewards for doing so. Even considering this blatant corruption, even clearly identifying these maneuvers as Socialism for the Rich and Powerful, we find an absurd amount of ordinary people that can’t connect the dots.

    To wit, tomr wants young folk to assume responsibility for obtaining an education and not being rewarded by decently paying jobs, yet he demands highly qualified folks, young or old, to beg for a gas station job, work for a behemoth like Walmart or move to South Dakota (!!!) Where is this righteousness when it comes to demanding accountability of Wall Street’s biggest puppet masters? What is it about so many people in this land who refuse to confront this reality infecting our nation? The bogeyman is in fact already in complete control of the system you cling so hard in defending.

  • I’m an employer- I know what is out there. Now you can see for yourself. They are not jobs everyone wants, but they are jobs.

    https://www.vawc.virginia.gov/vosnet/menulandingpage.aspx

  • Sorry- the link sucks, but you can enter as a guest and see that more than 3500 job openings were available in the Cville VEC office.

  • What is “economic inequality?” How do we get economic quality?

  • As for Council’s actions, as I have said many times before, it depends on who’s asking. David Brown’s comment about Carole Thorpe is not the first time someone on Council has hurled an insult to the Tea Party. Check out the Mayor.

  • Why doesn’t Szakos want the protestors to have their own porta-potty rather than use the facilities at The Haven? It is right across the street from Lee Park.

  • I’m an employer- I know what is out there. Now you can see for yourself. They are not jobs everyone wants, but they are jobs.

    There are always some jobs, Tom—there is a constant churn of positions opening and people being hired. But there aren’t 14 million jobs. At the core, your implied thesis that there are jobs out there for everybody who wants them. So give it to us straight: Is that what you believe? That anybody who is unemployed is choosing to be unemployed? That they just don’t want it enough?

  • I love this story: local Tea Party folks complained about Occupy Charlottesville getting their permit so fast, and then they got their own permit just as quickly. I wonder if they’ll be complaining about the rapidity with which their own request was processed?

  • “At the core, your implied thesis that there are jobs out there for everybody who wants them.”

    What are you saying? I merely began by commenting on the good protestors of Cville, and their noticed their similarities to their compatriots in NYC. You seem to think that I am grouping them with the all the unemployed across the country. You are smarter than that so why even try to put words in my mouth. It was not me who brought up unemployment- it isn’t even the main issue. If we talk about protests in our area and you bring up the fact that your life is thick with unemployed college grads, then lets talk about what is happening here. The Cville protestors live in one of the more privileged areas in the state and I think that blaming others for their debt or unemployment/underemployment is pretty lame. The people that really ought to be protesting are the people in Danville and Martinsville. That is where unemployment is an issue in our state, but as Christian pointed out a bit earlier, unemployment isn’t the driving factor (and he also noted that he and many others ARE employed).
    In regards to Christian- you’ve got me partially pegged.
    “…young folk to assume responsibility for obtaining an education and not being rewarded by decently paying jobs, yet he demands highly qualified folks, young or old, to beg for a gas station job, work for a behemoth like Walmart or move to South Dakota (!!!)” And they will get used to it as our economy continues to crumble. You are wrong though, in your assumption that I am defending this system. I just am not willing to support people who have defaulted on their home loan, or have large school debts but are underemployed, and blame the banks for their folly. Higher Ed is just as much to blame as the banks and the Fed is right there with them. If the Tea Party folks protest, I’ll be just as critical- and maybe we’ll agree a bit more.
    So back to the beginning, I have more important things to do with my time than sitting on a couch in the park tweeting, posting, and reading- and I believe this will get much worse before it gets better, no matter what happens in DC. I am not changing any minds here, and Waldo, you won’t be, nor will the protestors. At least they have a toilet, now and for only 70.00 per month.

  • tomr – Let’s get this straight. The #Occupy protests stem from mostly young people who have little to lose because they are not experiencing the “American Economic Miracle” our parents were fortunate to live in. Mine were born in 1934 and by the time they were teenagers, as long as they were willing to work for it, the world was truly their oyster. Sure, many students are victims of their own illusions of grandeur and feel a sense of entitlement having taken out an outrageous loan for their education and facing the reality of America after 2007’s economic bubble implosion.
    But you are missing the core issue entirely. It is ultimately about fairness. And don’t give me the “life ain’t fair” crap. Because if that’s the way you feel, then you need to state clearly you don’t believe in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights! Why not just declare a return to monarchy whereas a privileged few dictate how things are run and can act in complete impunity whenever their personal, intimate desires for greed and power command? Although it’s purposefully hidden and filtered through their indentured courtesans like the corporations they own, or the media and government they control, this is in fact what we have for a system today. There’s even very little pretense left! It’s just we cling to calling it a Democracy. Hell, there’s really only one viable political party: Modern-day Republicans who follow orders directly from their Kings, Princes and Barons, and Democrats who do so by adding a weak filter for the sake of maintaining the illusion of a Republic. There’s very little difference between them. You think Obama mandating all Americans pay private health insurers isn’t a gift to his Lords? Or TARP wasn’t payback for his election? Or Geithner? Have there been any major indictments of the Kingpins for the Fraud of the Century?
    But let’s not have students complain about being hoodwinked, yes? Serves them right for thinking they could be more than Walmart greeters, right?
    This is what #Occupy Wall Street is about. And this is why free men and women should join in. If we do not redress the situation very soon, America will have been a failed experiment just as disastrous as the Soviet Union. Perhaps worse.

  • tomr wants to assume that anyone protesting is making a personal statement about his/her own situation — “blaming others for their debt or unemployment.” it seems more likely to me that many/most people are protesting as a more generalized critique of the current system (a la Christian’s post above). for example, I could simultaneously have debt that I don’t particularly blame anyone else for (it was me that wanted that student loan, after all) AND believe that the current system is deeply flawed and needs to be changed. and so I might go protest. but that doesn’t mean I’m protesting because I’m personally in debt and I want to blame someone else for it.

  • Can’t resist jumping in here. In general, I do feel that the “occupy” protesters are bringing up legitimate issues. However, this is hardly the first time that college graduates were unable to find jobs worthy of their education. My generation–I was born in 1968, graduated from college in 1990–faced a similar situation. My classmates and I all worked as nannies, bank tellers, and “counselors” at the local reform school after graduating, or else went to grad school. Most of us, myself included, went on to get second degrees in fields that had better employment opportunities, like nursing. I’m sure the economy is a factor, and it was in 1990 as well, but my classmates and I grumbled about the baby boomers who were hogging all the jobs. Most baby boomers still haven’t retired. People are healthier, live longer, retire later. We have entered a new state in which you can pretty much expect to spend your twenties either in grad school or working at low-level jobs. I’m not saying it’s great, or that I support it, but it hasn’t been true since my father’s generation that a college degree is a passport to a decent job.

  • And while we are arguing about working or not working at Mall Wart with our MBA’s, Bank of America is quietly trying to shuffle $55 Trillion (no that T is not a typo) in questionable derivatives over to their depositors, which of course is backed by the taxpayers.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/sleight_of_hand_uy96iNSbW99JHMRnbxgvfL

    But by all means, continue to argue about whether or not Blimpie is hiring.

    Jesus.

  • what belmont yo said. and this, too, that Waldo said:

    “protesters staging live-ins in public opposition to economic inequality and corporate power over government”

    there might be trust-fund babies at these protests. there might be someone who made one dumb career choice in her past that was her own decision. the economic backgrounds and past decisions of the protesters is not the point: the point is that the system that we’re all caught up in is rigged in favor of America’s Corporate Citizens. every time someone points at a protester and says “ooh, that one has an iPad, therefore he/she has nothing to complain about, he/she could always sell that iPad to buy some generic store-brand beans and live off of that for two weeks, that’s what a truly virtuous hard-working American Patriot would do, therefore this whole protest is illegitimate!”, then the point is missed.

  • Waldo, a couple of days ago on your other blog, you posted a story about people not wanting to harvest onions. They just quit halfway through the day. The article is proof that there are some jobs, and some people are unemployed by choice. Part of the problem is that a lot of jobs are where workers are not. Another part of the problem is that some workers feel they are “above” certain jobs. Another part of the problem is that jobs available may not be able to support a family. But another part of the problem is that available jobs are not able to support a family in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to.

    All that said, I am of the opinion that these protests are fine. I don’t agree with a lot of what these Occupy Wall Street/Charlottesville people have to say, but for goodness’ sake, they should be allowed to say it.

    Belmont Yo is correct: “Why on earth does protesting have to be so unbelievably lame? Don’t ask permission, just go out and do it.”

    They shouldn’t have to get a permit to protest, in my opinion. In my eyes, the 1st Amendment is pretty clear on the right to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    (Plus it’s entertaining for me to laugh at the damn dirty hippies.) ;-)

  • “available jobs are not able to support a family in the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to.”

    it’s possible that many of the complaints today boil down to this implicitly (though Michael might not have meant it this way) snobbish/spoiled/entitled position. it’s possible that there are lots of people who feel above certain kinds of work, or are refusing to take jobs that won’t pay enough for them to afford flat-screen TVs, etc.

    I don’t know, though. I kind of feel like the problem today isn’t that the available jobs are too hard or too dirty or pay too little. I think it’s that there’s no job security to go along with these difficult jobs. my grandparents and my othe relatives of their same generation did difficult, unappealing, dangerous, low-wage jobs. but they had a level of job security that went along with those jobs (which were unionized). they had some benefits to go along with those jobs. even though they weren’t living a life of luxury, they knew with relative security that their job wasn’t going to be yanked away at a moment’s notice. I have to think that the prospect of doing a really crappy job today WITHOUT any kind of security or benefits is just too disheartening to consider. I hear all the stuff about “back in my day I worked hard and you didn’t hear me complaining” from oldsters, but in terms of industrial and blue-collar labor, those jobs were all unionized, and the union made a huge difference in terms of ensuring that the people doing those difficult jobs had some protection, a pension, etc. All that stuff is being stripped away from middle- and lower-middle class workers.

    I mean, I might harvest onions for a low wage, IF I believed that there were going to be some benefits and some job security associated with the work. But it becomes radically less appealing if I feel like there’s no commitment to me as a laborer beyond the day’s work.

  • “…it becomes radically less appealing if I feel like there’s no commitment to me as a laborer beyond the day’s work.”

    I hope, for your sake and others like you, that we don’t experience conditions like we did during the Great Depression. Back then, people were selling apples on the street to survive, and for many, “making ends meet” just didn’t happen. It is that attitude that people display today that rankles me. When people are really needy and the government teats dry up, they will work. Until then, there isn’t really a need to control immigration, as these newcomers will take the jobs that spoiled Americans refuse.
    Big Business and Big Banking the problem? Why is there no mention of the boardroom, where decisions are made with only the cares of the stockholders (check out your 401k portfolios) in mind. BoA et al are publicly traded, just like Wal-Mart, Big Oil… how many of us sit smug and happy on a little nest egg made up of such investments. Maybe we need to start up some witch-hunts for the holders of stock in the companies that are being bantered about in the Occupy protests.

  • The establishment of 401K ‘retirement plans’ in lieu of paid benefits was yet another scam by Wall Street. I think it’s quite clear where you stand, tomr, even though you can’t quite come to grips with your delusions. You think your 401K gives you access to the “boardroom”? What can I say?! Let’s hope, “for your sake and others like you”, to reprise your phraseology, that you you don’t experience the hardships you deride.

    Claire – I don’t believe people of any education level, in the USA of today, should work for non-living wages. And especially not when profits for companies are at historical highs and other salaried *employees* in the C-Suites rake in millions, even hundreds of millions, with unbelievable benefits, perks and conditions. And I’ll add, this despite their frequent incompetence.

    The lack of job security is just another way of controlling the masses. The absence of universal health care has the same intent. That’s why the puppet masters will never give an inch on that subject. Can you imagine if people actually could go to South Dakota w/o fear of losing the meager coverage they have for unknown conditions?

    I think it’s clear the nascent #Occupy movement has much to overcome, probably even too much so, as they’ll never convince large swaths of people at this point in time. The reality is that even though 99% *should* be on board, because it’s in their best interest, only maybe 20 – 30% are hurting enough to potentially take to the streets. Apathy reigns supreme in the majority and that’s all that counts.

  • “Big Business and Big Banking the problem? Why is there no mention of the boardroom, where decisions are made with only the cares of the stockholders (check out your 401k portfolios) in mind. BoA et al are publicly traded, just like Wal-Mart, Big Oil.”

    tomr, have you been paying no attention to the critique of corporate capitalism from the left over the past fifty years? the boardroom gets mentioned. you should check it out.

    “how many of us sit smug and happy on a little nest egg made up of such investments”

    um, not me. you, perhaps?

  • “how many of us sit smug and happy on a little nest egg made up of such investments.”

    Smugness, in any context, is quite unappealing. That aside, it occurs to me that many of these little ‘nest eggs’ -ret accounts, pensions, 401k’s’ – were basically pillaged by investment banks and their fractal-esque layers of derivatives. My gramps climbed utility poles his whole life for PG&E. EnRon took care of PG&E, and there went the retirement fund. He now lives in a double wide.

    I know the plural of anecdote is not data, and I know that the Enron thing was a few financial scandals ago, but that kinda is my point. Reagan looting SS funds to compensate for deficit spending, the Savings & Loan scandal, Enron and the gang, credit default swaps… Its a pattern that has been going on and on my whole adult life. Clever, well connected people turn predation into a business model and then ride it until the wheels come off without regard for whomever is affected.

    While I know greed is kinda hard wired into our grey matter, and it would be really hard to prevent any segment of the population from taking advantage of any dubious opportunities that come their way or are manufactured for them. That is not the question. The question is when such predation happens on such an unimaginably large scale, in such an obvious manner how do we as a society react?

    Well, Keating went to jail – kinda The Enron boys got their come uppance eventually, some with a little help from karma. But this time round, *we* shelled out a lot of money to cover for the golden parachute gang, who unapologetically continue to manipulate a system that is already heavily heavily stacked in their favor. Essentially, we rewarded them for bitchslapping us.

    I believe people are pissed, as well they should be. I support both the ongoing overt and clandestine protests that are popping up all over the world. And I really couldn’t care less who has a permit for what.

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