Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, April 17

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew Huff / October 5, 2011 11:40 AM

Did any of you see the sign at the Board of Trade? "We are the 1%."

vise77 / October 5, 2011 11:42 AM

In general, I agree with them--much like I agree with the general anger of much of the Tea Party. Unless you already have a firm spot on the lifeboat, who wouldn't be angry? I'm luckier than most, but I know what it is to be really poor, and I have many friends and relatives who've been without regular work for some 4 years now.

But I am again annoyed that general anger is hard to translate into specific policies and moves that would attract enough people to really make change; shit, if we can't get meaningful financial reform in exchange for all the taxpayer-backed super loans of a few years ago to all those reckless and shamelessly greedy financial institutions, what chance do a few kids and other angry people have now? I mean, just because they are banging drums and really,really, really mean it this time, change, you think will come about? And don't get me started on the commune-like view of democracy these people have--the pages of history are littered with more examples of such things failing than of such things succeeding, I am sorry to say. (Points for trying, though.)

In short, one of the very few others things that history also shows is that nothing will really change until the lower middle classes feel either the fear or real pangs of starvation. Poor people never revolt; they riot, which leads to nothing. And the richer people already think they have their spots in the lifeboat, rendering them useless. The only hope is the lower middle class, and the lower middle class obviously doesn't feel squeezed enough yet to spark real revolt, either through ballots or (more darkly) bullets.

I wish these Occupiers luck--their anger is certainly in the right place--but I can't imagine them succeeding in any real way. Which is a shame.

In the long run, I fear this country will have to undergo some kind of directed, coordinated violence before the people at top really start the fear to so-called 99 percenters. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think I am. (Nor am I myself specifically calling for violence, only making an observation. I certainly don't want blood in the streets. Nothing about violence is ever romantic.)

Peter / October 5, 2011 4:48 PM

I know the people who put the signs in the CBOT windows, and yes, it was meant to ridicule the "occupiers".

There are some views that are reasonable (although the bulk are deserving of ridicule). I think we'd all like to see some reform in the financial markets (not Dodd Frank!). Other than that, the socialist, communist, and anarchist mish-mash that makes up the crowd is looney tunes, and isn't supported by anyone other than the fringe.

I work a block away, so I've spoken with a few of them and it seems that the biggest complaint from the 20-25 year old set (which is the clear majority) is that they have an inflated sense of entitlement of what a 4-year degree gets you and they resent that they have student debt. They should be protesting their universities rather than "corporations" (of course with the fed gov't taking over the student loan industry, the problem will not be addressed in any meaningful way).

That these are real grass-roots movements, I think it is a load of BS. The coordinated nature of the endorsements of labor and the progressive caucus, before any specific demands/statements from the OWS is hard to take seriously. Groups like organized labor and politicians have much to lose by attaching themselves to a unknown entity, so that they did so quickly raises red flags. Add that to the "October surprise" Van Jones hinted at a week ago, the ability of every protester to repeat the 99% slogan (all from day one), the inclusion of media strategy sessions, outreach sessions, security liasons, etc... and its obvious that this has been planned for some time.

That being said, their movement is going to succeed or fail based on its substance. So far its a little light on that front.

What does trouble me is if you want to donate to the NYC group, you must send money thru a Nicaraguan organization

- it is very odd that any foreign participation would be required from a financial perspective.

charlie / October 6, 2011 6:30 AM

My thoughts are very much in line with the protests themselves. I am really not sure.

charlie / October 6, 2011 6:31 AM

P.S. The "we are the 1%" sign is nothing but good old fashioned humor and it made me chuckle.

Charles / October 6, 2011 9:33 AM

Not a die hard fan, think it's disingenuous, not moved, isn't Wall St. in NYC? Could be more creative, substantive, etc...

JasonB / October 6, 2011 11:31 AM

lost legitimacy when the zombies showed up.

Charles / October 6, 2011 4:51 PM

Anyway, kudos to some folks for mobilizing and speaking their minds, $10 says they won't be around when the snow hits.

Joe / October 7, 2011 2:14 PM

We live in an America where one if four children lives in poverty based on the last census, I dont see how anyone can be ok with this. Americas income gap has gone well beyond 3rd world countries. With income gap comes a power gap. That is what I think these are about, changing that power gap. For the last 30 some odd years weve seen stagnation in wages of the majority of amiercans while the top percent has gained tremendous wealth and power, even beyond what they already had. This influence has somehow continued to convince people that the best way to help the economy is to ease the burdan on the weathy and somehow benifits will fall to the rest of us. I dont see how its unreasonable to think this trickle down mindset is a failure based on, you know, facts. Now in the last 10 years we have emptied the coffers paying for war, bailing out Banks that tanked the economy, tax cuts (yes tax cuts do cost money as its lost revenue) and the people who have benifited the most are bankers and military contractors and the rich. Now that the tax base has been decimated by this depression/recession and we are deeply in debt we have politicians saying that the best way to deal with this is cut taxes. I'm sorry but thats way crazier than thinking the tax rate should go back to where it was pre- bush. I understand that banks were "too big to fail" but why arent people too big to fail as well? Moving more towards austerity for the masses and handouts for the fewest is not going to get us out of this mess, its only going to make America look less and less like what I've always though America was or at least should be. Thats at least why I go. And thats why you should go. Sorry for brevity but im at work, because i have a job. We're not all "crazy hippies." And if trying to help the most instead of the fewest is crazy, then im pretty proud to be crazy.

Charles / October 7, 2011 2:32 PM

A legit demo would have been fastened at the stairs of the Supreme Court building on 1st street (DC). A legit demo would also have direction and meaning. I am not happy with the flux in income distribution. Is this movement about that? Is it about corporate political contributions? Both? Socialism? Don't tell me to go downtown to hang out with you if you can't tell me what the fuck the gathering is about. Let's maybe try to illegalize tobacco or something first. Is there focus on type of product? Whatever. I am bored.

David Tortuga / October 9, 2011 10:39 AM

Most of the people who work on Wall Street are not in the 1%. They work for the 1%.
Also, expressing discontent is far superior to being discontented and doing nothing.
Having said that, I am terrified of large, stupid men with firearms. Therefore, my involvement is limited to a few words of encouragement on the gapersblock comment page:

Mucky Fingers / October 10, 2011 1:23 PM

I think Occupy Wall Street and any related protests are fine for those interested in doing so.

I genuinely think these financial problems are a direct result of baby boomers confronting their mortality by trying to take all the money with them. We simply have to wait for them to die before this will balance out.

Spook / October 10, 2011 8:24 PM

Ahhh, now that Sha-caah-go-uns have happily chosen a strong new Massa, Massa Israel EmanueI to run the Daley Plantation, (until President Elect of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Patrick Daley Thompson's grubby stubby fingers are steady enough to hold the mint green reins), some uncouth and dirty hippies, (who've nothing else better to do with their time) forced them for the first time outside the strict confines of their collective safety zone, during football season no less!!!!!!!

Now, in between between warm up pre Super Bowl commercial breaks, they have to confront the terminal and growing hoarding of American wealth by the plutocratic two percent of the population. But instead of critically engaging the call to question, they now demand that the small number of Chicago protestors become public policy experts and write legal briefs prescribing remedies to alleviate the monstrous greed of these plutocrats.

Now in New York, all sorts of public policy and legal aide non profits are getting involved in what could be MLK's real dream, an economic based human rights movement plugged into a world wide movement.

But not in Chicago because the WBEZ fair and balanced Whole Food bunch won't sink to the level of that dirty commie/hippie Amy Goodman of Democracy Now Radio.

Personally, I deeply admire and respect the Chicago protestors who are indeed true American Patriots . But I think their efforts would be much better spent fundraising via house parties for the New York Movement.

Because the sad truth is that in Sha-caah-go, all we have are milk toast liberals who besides for purchasing a cool 60 dollar mug as part of the mainstream WBEZ pledge drive, consider the building of a fantasy football team or leading an Eat Love & Prey Book Club as the highest form of civic participation.

eric / October 10, 2011 8:34 PM

I support the Occupy protests. Money has perverted the political process; although this has been true since the Constitutional Conventions when it was agreed that white, wealthy land-owners should be the power-holders in the nation and not the illiterate and lowly poor/landless/wage-slaves/slaves/non-whites.

What we need is an evolved or modern democracy -- one person one vote, proportional representation if not freely associating and autonomous networks of direct democracy. I disagree with anyone that is espousing some form of Marxism just as much as I disagree with anyone thinking that private interests should reign free of any regulation, taxes, or public oversight -- i.e. free-market capitalism. Such ideas are best left to the previous two centuries -- what we need now is a different path that better balances individual liberty with social responsibility. I do not have an exact outline or plan or manifesto, but I think that is the direction we need to head. The closest economic plan available is Participatory Economics. But of course, any such plan would have to come voluntarily and not by force ala the Marxism of the 20th century. The new path should also value the small, the local because the further power gets from us, the less freedom we have. I am not interested in massive nation states and government. Such is best left in the past as well.

I believe there is no hope for our current form of government. It will be brought down by it's support of the corporate agenda and it's own public debt. Corporations will evolve and fill in the vacuum left by the state. Corporations will have their own military forces and will operate only upon it's duty to their shareholders and profit agenda. The wealthy and powerful will live in secured, heavily guarded communities while the poor and powerless waste away on the outside like some sort of government-less third world country.

If there is any hope, it will be a truer, bolder, non-hierarchical free democracy. I think this new century is a turning point. The question is, which way will we go?

eric / October 11, 2011 7:48 AM

regarding the "need for demands and leadership" that we keep hearing in reaction to Occupy:

a good read.

Spook / October 11, 2011 9:25 AM

eric, funny how you
with a board brush longer than the Cuban Embargo "disagree with anyone that is espousing some form of Marxism"

while not disagreeing with anyone that is spousing some form of Capitalism, instead you
gently tap dance around it with "just as much as I disagree with anyone thinking that private interests should reign free of any regulation, taxes, or public oversight -- i.e. free-market capitalism" Sounds like you're proposing some form of legislation in the Senate to tweak or modify Frankenstein instead of building something new from the ruins.

The truth is Capitalism has harmed most of the people all of the time since Plymouth Rock first landed on America's real and first citizens, with a gift that has just kept giving like government blankets with small pox.

While I don't know you, judging buy the totality of your comment, I hold you in high regard. But please consider if some ingrained American anti intellectualism centered around progressive ideologies might be at play in your above comment about Marxism, because going by what you wrote, you just issued a blanket disagreement/rejection of not just whole swaths intellectual Europe, but Africa, South America and Asia. You should google a nifty little read called

"Marx's Revenge: The Resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism"

p.s. the only boogie man is the one inside you.

eric / October 11, 2011 9:40 AM

I do not believe Marxism in the form of a state dictatorship is the answer. The history of the 20th century shows this. I also do not think that any solution could possibly come from Washington DC -- I am not sure where you got that idea.

I agree with you (and perhaps some of Marx) on your analysis of capitalism.

eric / October 11, 2011 9:50 AM

Are you familiar with Participatory Economics? Thoughts?

David Brooks / October 11, 2011 9:57 AM

If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent. This is a theme that allows the people in the 99 percent to think very highly of themselves. All their problems are caused by the nefarious elite...They will have nothing to say about the way Americans have overconsumed and overborrowed.

Spook / October 11, 2011 5:00 PM


Neither did Karl Marx or any other serious Marxist scholar today. And you might want to admit that you know little of Marxism instead of using phrases like "the history of the 20th century shows this" because the history of the 20th century shows nothing and every thing, including America undermining progressive Marxist Governments( and killing its elected leaders and torturing it's citizen in what were once called Third World Nations. Seriously there is nothing wrong with not knowing something, the problem comes with not admitting it and then not willing to check it out. Which pretty much kills serious discourse. This is a lesson best learned young.

The "problem" with participatory economics its applicability to large urban populations and its workability in an international stream of commerce. But I'm for any serious consideration of compelling frame works that combine social justice and economics. Hopefully the brave folks in New York and else ware will bring these conversations to the mainstream along with the urgency to implement.

Yea, D. Brooks speaking of people talking about what they know nothing about. Yea I guess they need to come home and sit at your feet and learn how to create a mass movement. Oh and belated congratulations on your work in Egypt.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15