Quotes of the day

“Partly because the movement has coalesced so quickly and captured growing media coverage, it faces both uncommon promise and peril as it tries to turn the corner and sustain itself for the longer term. The next two weeks are crucial in deciding its identity and structure, say a host of experts who study grass-roots political movements…

“Professor Agger says Occupy Wall Street is occurring for the usual reasons laid out by Karl Marx: class struggle as a response to the failures of capitalism.

“‘Marx predicted the overthrow of capitalism from below, by workers. He perhaps underestimated the capacity of the welfare state (FDR) and the culture industry (Hollywood, the Internet, shopping) to bleed off revolutionary discontent. But have economic crisis and class struggle disappeared? Occupy Wall St., the latest street action against capitalism, suggests not.'”

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“Heather Amato, 35, a psychologist who lives near the protest area, said she felt disturbed by some of the conduct of the protesters. She said she had to shield her toddler from the sight of women at the park dancing topless. ‘It’s been three weeks now,’ Ms. Amato said. ‘Enough is enough.’

“Mike Keane, who owns O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub, said that the theft of soap and toilet paper had soared and that one protester had used the bathroom but had failed to properly use the toilet. Both Ms. Tzortzatos, owner of the Panini and Company Cafe, and Mr. Keane said the protesters rarely bought anything, yet hurled curses when they were told that only paying customers could use their bathrooms…

“Mr. Zamfotis closed his bathroom after it repeatedly flooded from protesters’ bathing there…

“In a widely distributed pamphlet, ‘Welcome to Liberty Plaza: Home of Occupy Wall Street,’ participants were instructed where to find relief. ‘After you’ve dined,’ it reads, ‘feel free to refresh yourself in the restrooms of neighboring businesses like Burger King and McDonald’s without feeling obligated to buy anything.'”

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“Becca, a sweet ‘organic gardener’ from Brooklyn, was there to ‘end a capitalist system that treats people like cattle’ and live in an America where everyone has ‘equal wealth.’ She wanted a country with a ‘high tax,’ a la ‘Sweden and Finland,’ to ensure ‘personal well-being.’ (Those Scandinavian examples both have a much lower corporate tax rate—26 percent and 26.3 percent, respectively— than the U.S.’s 35 percent rate, but let’s not get hung up on details.) Then the irony gods flexed their muscles as a friend interrupted Becca; she handed him her Visa card to order something over the phone. The revolution will not be televised, but it will be magnetized…

“There’s this running gag on the Internet where, whenever someone makes a mountain out of a molehill—“GRRR! Glee sucking this season!!! FML!!!—someone retorts, ‘#FirstWorldProblems.’ Three simple words, but they illustrate one’s lack of proportion with comparative ease. When life is exponentially easier for you than it was for most of the world throughout most of human history— right up until the mid-twentieth century—boredom creates a vacuum. To be a hero, you have to create your own dragon to slay. But fighting real oppression, the kind ayatollahs dispense daily? Too brutal, too gauche. Mastering the intricacies of credit-default swaps so as to articulate an effective reform of the broken financial system? Way too tough. Better to create a dragon that can only be slain with performance-art zombie metaphors.”

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“For fifteen years we rode a tsunami of foreign capital pouring into American markets. We didn’t save a penny. Why should we? Our home equity was our retirement account. Our smartest kids got MBAs and went to Wall Street derivatives desks. Engineering was for dummies. Home prices rose so fast that local governments swam with tax revenues and hired with abandon. Everybody went to the party. Now everybody has a hangover, especially the bankers. We thought we were geniuses because we won the lottery. Now we actually have to produce and export things, and we have to play catch-up. Our kids are competing with Asian kids who go to cram school and practice the violin in the afternoon. This isn’t going to be easy, and the sooner we decide to roll up our sleeves and get back to work instead of looking for bankers to blame, the better our chances of coming back.”

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“If you don’t like to think of [Steve] Jobs as a corporate exec (and a famously demanding one at that), think of him as a guy who went to work, and worked hard. There’s no appetite for that among those ‘occupying’ Zuccotti Park. In the old days, the tribunes of the masses demanded an honest wage for honest work. Today, the tribunes of America’s leisured varsity class demand a world that puts ‘people before profits.’ If the specifics of their ‘program’ are somewhat contradictory, the general vibe is consistent: They wish to enjoy an advanced Western lifestyle without earning an advanced Western living. The pampered, elderly children of a fin de civilisation overdeveloped world, they appear to regard life as an unending vacation whose bill never comes due…

“Apple and other companies were free to be as corporate as they wanted, and we’re the better off for it. The stunted, inarticulate spawn of America’s educrat monopoly want a world of fewer corporations and lots more government. If their ‘demands’ for a $20 minimum wage and a trillion dollars of spending in “ecological restoration” and all the rest are ever met, there will be a massive expansion of state monopoly power. Would you like to get your iPhone from the DMV? That’s your ‘American Autumn’: an America that constrains the next Steve Jobs but bigs up Van Jones. Underneath the familiar props of radical chic that hasn’t been either radical or chic in half a century, the zombie youth of the Big Sloth movement are a paradox too ludicrous even for the malign alumni of a desultory half-decade of Complacency Studies: They’re anarchists for Big Government. Do it for the children, the Democrats like to say. They’re the children we did it for, and, if this is the best they can do, they’re done for.”

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“I hope that one of the things we’re seeing down at Zuccotti Park is the first rustlings of what will eventually (though maybe not in our lifetime, comrades) become a full fledged revolution — not against capitalism but against what Rush Limbaugh likes to call Big Education and Michael Medved calls the Educational-Industrial Complex…

“[I]f an Occupy Wall Street kid is ever inclined to look for work, the job he finds is not likely to be the groovy one he and his beleaguered parents envisioned when that $200,000 was shelled out for a four-year degree in poli-sci or women’s studies.

“So, Occupy Wall Street kids, you’re right — there are some sleazy characters out there! But I wish you’d turn that laser of your rage on the educrats hiding behind their ivy-covered walls; the ones hawking the notion that without a four-year college degree, you’ll end up the gutter; the ones exploiting fear to sell a product that grows more expensive, and more shoddy, every year.”

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“The more the left ridiculed the Tea Party the more I felt sympathetic with them. The more we were told it was a fringe movement that would die off any day, the more I wanted to see them prosper.

“Well, that cuts both ways. These kids on the street might be latching on to some really simplistic ideas about the 1% not doing their part, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about fear. Fear of maybe not having a job, maybe not for years. Fear of drowning in personal debt. Fear of being in a situation over which they feel they have little or no control, i.e. lobbyists and corporations have all the power and they are caught up in the machine. I’m not saying it makes sense only that it probably feels like it does, maybe to a lot of people who aren’t out there…yet.

“None of this means we need to lay back and take whatever proposal they have to offer. I don’t support any of it. But arguing against the agenda is different than mocking the fear that under-girds and is driving this. If we’re smart, and we are, we’ll show OWS the modicum of respect they never showed the Tea Party. Not because we like what they have to say or because they even deserve a whole lot of respect for what they’re doing, but simply because to do otherwise will confirm for some people (and by some people I mean swing voters) that conservatives are mean a-holes who shouldn’t be trusted to run things.”

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“Imagine a world in which Tea Partiers clogged a bridge in urban area & crapped on a cop car & it was not THE ONLY STORY on TV.”

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Via Mediaite.

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Content warning.