Can anyone explain what the Occupy movement is actually protesting, aside from hard work, prosperity, lawful behavior, and personal hygiene?

About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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15 Responses to Occupy

  1. wow, I’d have thought you’d know, seeing as it started in your country.

    from the bits I’ve read about it, it seems the protests are mainly about corporate greed and about bankers who ruined the economy being bailed out by taxpayers’ money and carrying on their lifestyles regardless whilst the general public is having to go through a lot of belt-tightening. there’s all sorts of specifically US stuff as well, to do with corporations having too much political power, but I have only been skim-reading all that.

  2. Lance Ponder says:

    Your description, like the descriptions given by most of the people protesting, is very vague. The reality is this whole movement is promoted by specific hard leftists. Is it any wonder it has no tangible public agenda, just a lot of hate speech and angry teenagers who don’t know any better?

    • so, this thing about specific hard leftists – do you actually know this for a fact? and even if it turns out to be true, even if there are people with a particular political agenda behind it, does this make the anger of so many people less valid? There are lots of people who are out protesting because they are angry about these issues – now I don’t know all the ins and outs of the US economy and politics, but we’re seeing the issue with the bankers here in the UK too, with people feeling that the bankers who dropped us all into this mess – or at least played a large part in dropping us into it – are sitting comfortably, getting nice fat bonuses, and all because the government decided to use our money to keep the banks going, whilst at the same time there are huge and painful cuts in welfare because, guess what, the money has to come from somewhere and it ain’t coming from those whose fault the whole thing is – is this still vague enough and leftist enough so that you can just ignore it? I’m really disappointed to hear you dismissing people’s pain so easily.

      For the record: I’m not left-wing, far from it. I believe capitalism can work really well if it is tempered with benevolence, with care for the needy. And I believe that as Christians we should be slow to judge and eager to listen to people’s cries.

  3. Lance Ponder says:

    My dear Meirav, I’m so sorry you find me cold hearted about this movement. My problem is not with disgruntled folks and I share the pain. I lost my job two years ago and after having several intermediate jobs I’m back to making just a little over half what I was before and have no health insurance for my family. My home is worth less than before, the savings is gone, and we have a son in college who is breaking us. We just finished paying off a credit agency for an ER visit my wife had back in February. I understand the economic pain. Please don’t mistake my rational analysis for cold heartedness.

    I have no problem with people protesting. There’s a difference, I think, between the criminal element in all this and the well intentioned voices being lifted up for a purpose, be that purpose right or wrong. The criminal element I speak of are the rapists and murderers and druggies and those who exceed civil disobedience to become violent against legal authority. I’m not talking about those who are making a stand to improve a situation, but those who initiate violence against police because they are filled with hatred. A large chunk of these occupy people are being up to all this by radical organizers with agenda. They contain a core which is dredged up from the pit of society. These people defecate on police and civilians alike. They stop traffic so people who actually do work can’t get to or from their jobs. They are people who don’t have jobs trying to stop people who actually work from doing theirs. They have sparked a TB problem in one city and there are many reports of lice and other public health and safety problems. They are costing the cities a great deal of money and they are turning broad public sentiment against them because they are incoherent in their protest and offer no solutions to the problems they claim plague them.

    The solution to my lack of work is not to keep others from working. If I am hungry I can work – and I do work. I don’t make so much as I did (which wasn’t all that much before anyway), but I’m not laying around the house or pitching a tent on public property so that others can work for me. There’s a strong class warfare argument being made here. It is a popular sentiment even if the occupy movement itself is becoming unpopular. The thing is, why hate someone because they’ve worked hard and experienced success? Why hurt those who have created the jobs we so desperately need? Why blame someone else if I’m not happy with my own situation? Americans and westerners in general have no idea what oppression really is. I want liberty. I want to do as I wish on my property. I want to raise my children with my beliefs. I want to give of my own free will to help those I see in need. I do not want thugs dressed in suits carrying government ID’s stealing from me what I’ve worked hard for to pay others to be lazy and support their own agenda. That’s oppression, that’s evil, and that’s the force driving the government and the unions and all who are either nannies or babies who suck at their nanny state’s financial breast.

    I share their pain, but I don’t share their values.

    • Thank you for this. My initial feeling was that you were tarring all these people with the same brush – but I’m glad to hear you say now that you do see a difference “between the criminal element in all this and the well intentioned voices being lifted up for a purpose”. Obviously I’m watching this whole thing from afar and I don’t really know what the proportion is – from the posts I’m seeing by people I know online it sounds like the disruptive element is very small, but they say the media is portraying it very differently, and I have no way of judging from this distance what the facts really are. Nor do I know enough about your politics or economics to be able to judge the validity of all the points I’ve seen raised. But from what I’ve read, I’m not hearing hate for people just “because they’ve worked hard and experienced success” – the anger at the bankers is because they got greedy and took huge risks and, contrary to the principles of the capitalist free market, they have not paid the price when those risks proved wrong, the people who are paying the price are people like you, Lance, whilst the guys who caused this mess are living very comfortably and not suffering the consequences of their actions. It’s stuff like this that people are angry about – people who believe in capitalism but feel the system has become skewed so that the free market isn’t working as it’s supposed to.

      • Lance Ponder says:

        The masses involved are more like the hippies of the 60s who had nothing better to do with their time. They are not working people who are working for a better country. Bankers make as good a target as any. In the 1930s it was the Jews. In the 1960s it was the military industrial complex. Now its the bankers. **sigh**

        • Deep sigh.

          Lance, I know you are an intelligent man, and you have the capacity to question things and think for yourself. Why are buying all this stuff the unobjective media is selling you? Why aren’t you bothering to find out for yourself what is really going on in your country?

          • Lance Ponder says:

            Okay, so I use a broad brush. Of course all the OWS people are not alike. Having been around the block I am well aware there are exceptions to rules – which paradoxically enough only seem to prove the rules. I have been told lots of stereotypes, for example. What I’ve found in reality is that a stereotype is a statistically good predictor even though particular individuals do not fit the stereotypes. I’m not going to color this in any further, only saying that if the shoe fits – wet and dirty from camping in a public park and running from the police, then they should wear it. If the people in these protests don’t want the labels they’re getting, they have options.

  4. Lance Ponder says:

    Which media? I felt this way about OWS long before the liberal media turned against them. In fact, the liberal mainstream media hasn’t so much turned against them as gone largely silent about it. When they were useful stooges the administration encouraged it, but when they started turning ugly the administration quietly started silencing and dispersing them. As to the question of which media, there’s the right wing radio, the somewhat right FOX network, the rest of the very liberal mainstream media, and the far left BBC, Huffington Post, and so forth. So, which media to whom are you referring – they all have their own spin.

    • So you’re aware that the news reports you’re getting are biased, yet you buy what they’re telling you about the protesters all being a bunch of no-good out-of-work hippies etc etc… and about the protesters supposedly “turning ugly”… Posts I’m seeing online are describing a very different scenario.

      But like I said, I don’t know all the ins and outs of US economics and the various issues that are being discussed, obviously these are things you know a lot more about. I thought you might be interested in hearing some intelligent points of view from people who sound like they do know what they’re talking about – I came across a post this evening which got a really good (and wonderfully civil) discussion going, with different opinions being raised: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115598805733343663963/posts/SF5TPqqEYja

      p.s. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Lance Ponder says:

        …and of course not all of the protest locations have been as bad as others. And of course those participating who believe in whatever flavor of this cause they’re supporting are going to have a rosy outlook on it. There are plenty of verifiable police reports of the violence at these OWS sites. The Tea Party doesn’t have that kind of track record, yet I would suppose the press you’ve heard on them is worse.

  5. From Someone who Cares About You says:

    Hi Lance.

    You’ve finally said something where I feel pressed to chime in. You know I care a lot about you and we’re in agreement on many things, but here you’ve judged a whole group of people you don’t even know with a very broad brush, and I don’t want to see you go down that path.

    People in the Occupy movement are of mixed ages and races, and many of them do have jobs. A lot of the younger crowd are struggling with massive college debt while they can only find low-wage jobs that won’t cover the bills. But there are many older people there too. There are also many veterans (I cried the day I saw police beating a Vietnam vet because he stood his ground). They also hold various ideologies. One of the reasons so few people understand them is because they do not have a single leader to make specific demands, even if some liberal groups have co-opted a big part of the movement. You think the “liberal” media has written them off, but the media was never behind them in the first place. It took two weeks before they got any real coverage in MSM, and even then it was very derogatory. The media didn’t disown them because of violent outbreaks. They’ve been biased from the beginning because they are the epitome of what the Occupiers are protesting against – corporate control of the masses. All MSM outlets are controlled by large corporations, including FOX, and they all attempt to manipulate the way the viewers think about different situations.

    I do not agree with some of the changes that many in the Occupy movement would like to see, such as complete forgiveness of college debt and even tighter regulations that would affect small and honest businesses, but I do admire the tenacity of the people protesting, most of whom are peaceful. Some may not fully understand what they’re protesting, but they do understand that they’re being oppressed, it has something to do with the banks and large corporations, and they want it to stop. Though many of the solutions being considered miss the mark because of their ignorance of the cause of their oppression, at least they are out there fighting, trying to get something to change.

    A lot of Occupiers may not understand the difference between true free-markets and crony capitalism (especially since people say we’re a capitalist country, but there hasn’t been any true capitalism here for at least a century), but they wouldn’t begrudge an honest man his earnings. It’s those who make their money through corruption they have a problem with. What they don’t realize is that our federal government is implicit in this corruption, but more and more are waking up to this fact. Patient instruction works much better than broad condemnation.

  6. Lance Ponder says:

    Yes, I used a broad brush. Point to you.

    Yes, they’re from all ages and many walks of life. Not all hippies were teenagers in 1969 either, but I’ll give you the point anyway.

    I don’t want to see a veteran being beaten, or anyone else for that matter. I am not familiar with the particulars of the incident you mention so I’m not going to comment.

    Fox is in many ways no different from its MSM competitors. A different slant is still a slant.

    We are being oppressed. We elect our oppressors. As you’re very avatar states – we need to take back our constitution. There needs to be liberty, not socialism. By liberty I do not mean democracy, for voting rights is not the same as liberty. Some of the oppression is the result of what people call capitalism, but the real problem is Washington, not Wall Street. I don’t think most of the OWS are evil, but I do think they are in general misguided, gullible, and led by a false set of values.

    Finally, you say they wouldn’t begrudge an honest worker his earnings. While this is certainly true of some, I do not believe it is true of all or even most. This is the ugly side of class warfare, though I don’t think its really even begun to get ugly yet. This is the handywork of those who play the jealousy card to rouse up opposition. Those who are dependent want more, but instead of gaining through work, they want to take from those who do work. This is the nanny state mentality being acted out on the stage of public parks. I pity the hapless dupes among them, for they are many. So were the many who took to the streets of Cairo only to have their plea for freedom answered by a dark molevolent force that calls itself the Muslim Brotherhood. Here its not Muslim, its the atheistic Marxists like Van Jones pulling the strings.


    You will not find all this in the MSM. I’m not quite the stoolie you think. 😉

  7. From Someone who Cares About You says:

    I wasn’t looking for points. I was looking for understanding. Didn’t you just do a piece on some guy named Jonah? Wasn’t he the guy who wrote off a whole group of people because he didn’t believe they deserved mercy? ; )

    Anyway, I totally agree that the government is complicit (that was the word I was looking for last time LOL), but if you think Wall Street has nothing to do with all the economic problems we’re having, I suggest you look at the people in this administration and where they come from. How many are from companies like Goldman Sachs and Monsanto? Occupiers may not fully understand what is going on, which is one of the reasons they are under the false impression that more government regulation can help, but Republican Tea-Partiers don’t seem to get it either. Where Occupiers see bad corporations, Tea-Partiers see bad government, meanwhile in reality it’s a combination of both. The large corporations are the ones who lobby to get the regulations and handouts that benefit them legislated (this is NOT capitalism, it’s corporate welfare). Plus not only did banks and other large corporations get bail-outs authorized by Congress from which they are now profiting while people continue to lose their jobs and homes, they also received some hefty sums in 0% loans from the Federal Reserve that were NOT authorized by Congress. A recent partial audit of the Fed showed about $16 trillion dollars went out in 2008 – that’s greater than our current national debt – and about $5 trillion of that went to foreign banks. Now there are reports of even more secret loans from the Fed. So you see, Wall Street is indeed part of the problem, and these bail-outs and secret loans along with the Citizen United SCOTUS decision are mostly what OWS was originally protesting against.

    Not a stoolie? LOL Okay, but the way you described the movement was very similar to what I’ve seen and heard coming from MSM – including and especially FOX (yes, it too is corporate owned mainstream). I’ve watched some clips shown on CNN and FOX, showing the violence with the police, then I’ve seen some of those same clips on YouTube and alternative news sources without having the beginning of the incidents cut out, and it paints a very different picture when you see it in context that MSM won’t show you. I’ve also seen clips on MSM where they seem to find the worst of the worst to show the viewers how bad it is, but it’s amazing how many “normal” people they skip over because they don’t want their viewers to see them. Yes, there have been a few moments of vandalism and violence started by people within the group, but people who have been deeply involved in the Occupy movement have said that those people were not really a part of the movement. Giving them the benefit of the doubt since I’ve been keeping an eye on it from the beginning, it could very well have been people either taking advantage of the situation or people who purposely set out to make the movement look bad. On the whole, Occupiers may be annoying, but they’ve been mostly peaceful, not only across the country, but in places around the world, which is why I don’t begrudge them their right to protest as long as they continue to remain peaceful. While I agree with you that the majority seem misinformed and are unwittingly offering solutions that would lead us into greater oppression, I don’t think everyone in the group should be condemned outright as beatniks because they’ve been tainted by liberal groups who have co-opted the movement, just as I don’t think the whole tea-party movement should be condemned because they have been co-opted by neoconservatives.

    • Lance Ponder says:

      Your points are fair. Of course the problems cannot strictly be localized to the government. I just can’t help believing the occupy movement is a truly terrible way of expressing that frustration. It begs to be co-opted. The Tea Party would seem to share that same vulnerability, but I don’t think as bad because the people in the Tea Party are in general better educated, working, and (broad brush stroke here) of higher moral fiber. They are people who seek independence from rather than dependence on a nanny [state]. If the OWS movement had a truly coherent focus it would be much easier to either agree or argue against them. Instead it is a fuzzy thing, not the cute tribble kind of fuzzy. I know a few kids from our area who have started doing some of this protesting and I’ve tried to get them to explain it. They can’t articulate it coherently and their solutions only darken the horizon, but they are blind. I’ve heard several interviewed on the radio and the essence is the same. As for the Tea Part being coopted by neo-cons, yes I see your point. That is true, but only to a degree. If it were true to a large degree the primary debate season would already be over and Romney would be a done deal.

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