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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Occupy Wall Street and the sad state of American protesting (Page 7)

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Author Topic: Occupy Wall Street and the sad state of American protesting
talsmitde
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Yeah, now that more information is out, it doesn't look as good for the protestors. Although I'm loathe to trust the New York Post's version of events, as they're a Murdoch paper, it's clear from even the protestors' versions of events that they were providing "testimonials" while inside the Citibank branch, which suggests that there was at least some shouting and civil disobedience, which will, of course, lead to arrests.

As at least a few people mention in this Reddit thread, it'd be much more powerful if there were a much longer video available, where we see the protestors peacefully into the branch, standing in line, and while in line, politely talking to other customers about how student debt impacts their lives, but the video conveniently doesn't begin until the police are already on the scene.

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Samprimary
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Conveniently, of course.
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The Rabbit
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From the New York Post's article

quote:
Sandra Fox, 69, of Baton Rouge, La., stood, confused, on 46th Street with a ticket for "Anything Goes" in her hand as riot police pushed a knot of about 200 shouting protesters toward her.

"I think it's horrible what they're doing," she said of the protesters. "These people need to go get jobs.

This is a pet peeve of mine. In my experience with war protests "Get a job" is, with the exception of obscenities, the most common thing for conservatives to yell at protestors. Why do thy automatically assume people protesting don't have jobs? Nearly all the activists I know have jobs and families -- just like all the people in Sunday School.

In this circumstance, its particularly stinky because

1. One of the central drivers of OWS is high unemployment. Lots of people are there specifically because they can't find jobs -- despite trying really hard. Is this woman unaware of the high unemployment rates? Does she really think that the 10% of the population is out of work because they just aren't trying hard enough to find jobs?

2. The woman making the insult is on vacation in NYC(i.e. enjoying expensive leisure activities rather than working), on her way to a broadway show (i.e. not going to work) and 69 years old, so most probably retired and collecting SS and medicare benefits. What possible right does she have to be calling other people lazy because they choose to spend their time trying to change the world rather than taking expensive vacations.

This is just a classic example of the way I see people subtly dehumanizing the opposition. It reflects a subconscious believe that "They aren't as human as we are, so they can't relate to the challenges that face real people like us."

I wonder if people yelled "get a job" and Tea Party protests?

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Mucus
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Arizona has a bunch of job openings for fruit pickers and the like after their immigration bill was put through [Wink]
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Destineer
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http://occupyphilosophy.blogspot.com/2011/10/99-53-and-distributive-justice.html

quote:
Hardly anyone chooses to live in poverty. The tens of millions of Americans who, like our friend the Marine, can’t afford health insurance, aren’t choosing to forgo it. (Maybe the sign-holder would refuse socialized medicine on principle—it would be interesting to find out if he takes advantage of the services of the Veteran’s Administration—but, pretty clearly, most would not.) If circumstances of those even at the bottom rung of current casino-capitalist realities aren’t even close to as bad, in many obvious ways, as those of Saudi women or Roman slaves, it remains the case that they have legitimate grievances, and despite the sociologically-illiterate babble of the Herman Cains of the world, it’s impossible to seriously argue that the difference between their circumstances and those of the Wall Street profiteers are entirely, or even mostly, under their control.

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fugu13
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quote:
That isn't what I read. Stories elsewhere say that the protesters swarmed into the bank during the march, only one person actually closed an account. They were asked to leave, they refused, they were peacefully, with one exception, arrested.
Lyrhawn: read the article "describing the incident from the perspective of the protesters" linked above. This quotation, in particular:

quote:
The demonstrators (all Citibank customers) were asked to leave, and when they tried to comply Citibank’s security locked them in and wouldn’t let them leave!
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate. My comment was on the *portrayal by protesters* of their actions. Note that the woman forcefully arrested was yelling about being there to close her account.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate.
"Only one person closed an account" is not the same as "Only one person wanted to close an account." If Citibank refused to serve people who wanted to close accounts (I don't know if they did or did not but its consistent with the story), it would be rather deceptive of them to later report that only one person closed an account even if its technically true.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
That isn't what I read. Stories elsewhere say that the protesters swarmed into the bank during the march, only one person actually closed an account. They were asked to leave, they refused, they were peacefully, with one exception, arrested.
Lyrhawn: read the article "describing the incident from the perspective of the protesters" linked above. This quotation, in particular:

quote:
The demonstrators (all Citibank customers) were asked to leave, and when they tried to comply Citibank’s security locked them in and wouldn’t let them leave!
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate. My comment was on the *portrayal by protesters* of their actions. Note that the woman forcefully arrested was yelling about being there to close her account.

I read it but found it mildly confusing.

Were they all there to close their accounts but only one person succeeded before they were asked to leave? Did they move to leave as soon as they were asked, or did they stick around until the police were on the way? All but one of them were peacefully arrested, and in the past protesters haven't particularly resisted since their legal team is all over it with getting legal counsel to arrested protesters.

You can read it to say that they went there to close their accounts and were asked to leave then trapped inside. That sounds like a bizarre event, so you can disregard that, but then what happened?

The woman who was dragged insice kept saying "I'm a customer" but we don't know if she was a bystander there to make a deposit or if she was a proster there to close her account (unless I missed something in that video).

You can read their account negatively or positively. There's enough information missing to put whatever spin on it you want (I'm not accusing YOU, fugu, of that. I mean anyone, myself included).

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I wonder if people yelled "get a job" and Tea Party protests?

If it happened, I don't recall reading about it.

You lay out my reaction for me most accurately, so I'll leave it with a "what she said." [Smile]

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Mucus
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Random news bits
quote:
Bank of Canada head calls Occupy protests 'entirely constructive'

In a television interview, Mr. Carney acknowledged that the movement is an understandable product of the ``increase in inequality’’ – particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest.

"You’ve had a big increase in the ratio of CEO earnings to workers on the shop floor,’’ Mr. Carney said, according to a transcript of the interview with Peter Mansbridge of CBC News, parts of which aired on Friday evening. "And then on top of that, a financial crisis.’’
...
The words that Mr. Carney applies to the civil disruption carry extra weight because the Harper government is pushing for him to become the next chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a group charged with co-ordinating the overhaul of international banking regulations. There is widespread fear that, the more time that passes, the tougher it will be to muster political enthusiasm for reforms, against which the financial industry is lobbying furiously.

Mr. Carney has been a fierce critic of the industry backlash and has vowed to counter it.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/bank-of-canada-head-calls-occupy-protests-entirely-constructive/article2202064/


quote:
After nearly a three-hour discussion of if and when they should march, Occupy Toronto demonstrators finally took the streets and marched to Dundas Square. Their occupation lasted only 10 minutes, before the group walked back to St. James park.

The group chanted "we say fight back" and "we are the 99 per cent" as they marched on the roads, while also stopping at traffic signals.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hours-later-occupy-toronto-takes-to-the-streets/article2202532/
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fugu13
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quote:
You can read their account negatively or positively. There's enough information missing to put whatever spin on it you want (I'm not accusing YOU, fugu, of that. I mean anyone, myself included).
But what I'm saying re civil disobedience is about how the situation is being portrayed by people who were there and others sharing a similar agenda. I'm saying if it was an act of civil disobedience, it is being portrayed entirely wrongly to have the effects that civil disobedience targets.

I am also saying that protesters so far have given no reason to think the police at the bank acted anything other than maybe a bit hastily, and fully within the general limits of police behavior. Again, I'm not spinning what happened beyond pointing out that all the accounts lead to that conclusion, so no matter which is true, I see no reason to be angry at the police (or claim there was injustice).

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Lyrhawn
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I tend to agree on the last point. It doesn't appear the that, as you said other than being a little hasty, that they acted particularly improperly.

And I guess I see what you're saying about how the protesters themselves are portraying it. If they really were all there to close their accounts and were arrested, then it was really just a plain old boycott/protest rather than civil disobedience.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I tend to agree on the last point. It doesn't appear the that, as you said other than being a little hasty, that they acted particularly improperly.
I don't have enough information to judge. In my opinion, they acted improperly in forcing the woman who was outside the bank, back into the bank. There maybe some justification for that, but I have not seen it.

It also seems to me that, since the protestors were not threatening violence, it would have been sufficient for the police to escort them out of the bank. Arresting them seemed excessive to me.

But I think the question of whether or not the police acted appropriate is off target to begin with. The police were not the target of this action, the bank was and from the footage I've seen the bank reacted very badly in a way that escalated the problem.

Customers have a right to close their accounts for any reason, including to protest Bank policy. They have a right to inform the bank of their reasons for closing their account, as long as this is done in a non-violent non-threatening way, which based on the videos it was.

How do I think the bank should have handled the situation? I think a manager should have come out on the floor and said, "I understand a number of you are here to close your accounts as a protest. Will those of you who are customers here to close your accounts please form a line here." Then they should have proceeded process the closing of accounts as quickly as possible. If the protestors remained after closing their accounts, the manager should have announced "Those of you who have closed accounts are no longer customers of this bank. We kindly request you leave immediately." If at this point, the protesters refused to leave, the manager should have asked bank security to escort them out. If they resisted -- then and only then would calling the police have been a proportionate response.

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Scott R
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Rabbit, that seems reasonable.

If I were protesting, I most definitely would have NOT stood in the line they told me to stand in.

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kmbboots
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This. I imagine that the point was to close the account publicly. For it to be effective, they needed to draw attention to the act.
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fugu13
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quote:
I don't have enough information to judge. In my opinion, they acted improperly in forcing the woman who was outside the bank, back into the bank. There maybe some justification for that, but I have not seen it.
If she had been asked to leave bank property (again, which extends outside the bank), and had not, and they had decided to arrest her for protesting, it would make perfect sense to get her inside with the others being arrested for trespassing. If they told her to go inside (there's no evidence they didn't) and she refused to do so, then using physical force has to be acceptable, or the police wouldn't be able to arrest anyone who just refused to go with them.

quote:
Customers have a right to close their accounts for any reason, including to protest Bank policy. They have a right to inform the bank of their reasons for closing their account, as long as this is done in a non-violent non-threatening way, which based on the videos it was.
You missed non-disruptive; banks have always insisted on high levels of decorum from customers, out of politeness to other customers. Much as I'd expect any library to throw out a group of people protesting in a reading area even if they were non-violent and non-threatening.

quote:
How do I think the bank should have handled the situation? I think a manager should have come out on the floor and said, "I understand a number of you are here to close your accounts as a protest. Will those of you who are customers here to close your accounts please form a line here." Then they should have proceeded process the closing of accounts as quickly as possible. If the protestors remained after closing their accounts, the manager should have announced "Those of you who have closed accounts are no longer customers of this bank. We kindly request you leave immediately." If at this point, the protesters refused to leave, the manager should have asked bank security to escort them out. If they resisted -- then and only then would calling the police have been a proportionate response.
The bank stated only one of the protesters asked to close an account, and was able to do so. The videos made available don't show enough to know how much protesting was going on inside the bank, but the accounts of protesters certainly suggest they didn't just say they wanted to close their accounts, but actively engaged in protesting. Which is disruptive, something the bank has an active policy against (whether the disruption is protesting or not).

I am not saying the bank or the police responded in the best possible way. I am saying the bank and the police both seem to have responded in acceptable ways. Nothing heinous or outrageous went on there, just protesters disrupting a place of business that responded by trying to get them to leave, leading the police to be called, who decided to arrest them for trespassing.

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fugu13
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kate: certainly. But they also have to accept that when drawing attention to the act violates the standards of conduct of the business they are in, they are likely going to be asked to leave, and that staying past that is trespassing, for which they can be arrested. There's nothing to be hugely outraged at anywhere here, as I've seen a lot of people in various places saying they are.
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kmbboots
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Once they are asked to leave and don't it becomes civil disobedience. I would also note that one can be public without necessarily being disruptive*. A t-shirt or sign (without a stick), talking in a conversational, non-threatening manner to other customers I think puts the bank on thin ice when demanding they leave and then the bank is prompting the disruption and arrests.

* I am not saying that they did this, just that it would have been possible to do this.

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fugu13
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quote:
Once they are asked to leave and don't it becomes civil disobedience.
If that was their intent, then they should stop saying that they were about to leave when the police arrived.
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kmbboots
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I don't know their intent. Or if they had an intent and decided not to stick it out. Or if they intended to leave but got carried away or waited too long.

The line where protest becomes civil disobedience can get pretty blurred and easily crossed in the actual event (even with people trained in how to know where that line is) and it doesn't always depend on the intentions or the actions of the protesters.

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fugu13
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Certainly. Of course, since any civil disobedience in this case is aimed at larger policy decisions, the bank manager and police are still acting within reasonable limits -- any changes the civil disobedience would be aimed at need to occur on much higher levels.
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kmbboots
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True, but those higher levels are hard to reach. Sort of like customer service. Unfortunately, you have to make a lot of fairly helpless underlings miserable before you can even reach the people who have any power.
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fugu13
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That's fine, just don't get outraged at the bank staff or police. They aren't responding outrageously.
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kmbboots
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I don't believe I did get outraged at either.
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fugu13
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Most excellent. Please make sure to pass this reasonableness on to the numerous people talking up the bank arrests as an example of heinous misconduct.
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kmbboots
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Well they may have been. I wasn't there so I don't know the specifics of that situation.

I am just trying to provide a little insight about how things can go inside a protest/civil disobedience action. Much of what colours an event can even be less what is done than how it is done. I have found it fairly easy to be arrested in a polite and cheerful manner, but then the police arresting me have generally been polite and friendly. And my fear/anxiety response tends to be expressed as humour or getting really chatty. The same situation can get a lot uglier when the police are overly aggressive or when the fear response on either side is aggressive. The bank may have responded better by not escalating the situation by trying to force people to leave. The protester could have been more threatening than they meant to be.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Certainly. Of course, since any civil disobedience in this case is aimed at larger policy decisions, the bank manager and police are still acting within reasonable limits -- any changes the civil disobedience would be aimed at need to occur on much higher levels.

Yes, but one of the reasons for civil disobedience is that normal channels aren't working. The average customer can't get access to the CEO to discuss their concerns or voice their complaints. If their goal is to get the upper echelons to start listening to and addressing their concerns, then getting their attention by non-violent disruption of business at the accessible levels, it is a reasonable application of the principals of civil disobedience.
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The Rabbit
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fugu13, Where did you get the idea that there are well established standards of conduct for banks like there are for libraries. Standards of conduct for libraries are widely accepted and often posted. I've never heard of a bank having any particular standards beyond, wait your turn in line. I've never heard of any one being thrown out of a bank for talking loudly to other customers, carrying anything short of a weapon or wearing clothing emblazoned with political statements.

While it's certainly true that a bank is private property and has the right to demand people leave the premises, its also true that banks have contractual obligations with their customers and preventing customers from accessing bank services, violates those obligations. Banks can't just throw people out because they want to withdraw money from their accounts. That isn't legal or just. And while it also isn't exactly what happened, its a part of what happened.

Banks have to balance their desire to maintain "standards of conduct" within their business against their obligation to provide services to all their customers. From what I've seen of the videos, I think Citibank did a rather outrageously bad job of it.

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fugu13
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quote:
Yes, but one of the reasons for civil disobedience is that normal channels aren't working. The average customer can't get access to the CEO to discuss their concerns or voice their complaints. If their goal is to get the upper echelons to start listening to and addressing their concerns, then getting their attention by non-violent disruption of business at the accessible levels, it is a reasonable application of the principals of civil disobedience.
I never said it wasn't (though I have said they're going about it ineffectively if their message is civil disobedience). It is entirely possible for both sides to be acting reasonably.

quote:
I've never heard of any one being thrown out of a bank for talking loudly to other customers, carrying anything short of a weapon or wearing clothing emblazoned with political statements.
I've seen people asked to be quiet in banks (well, more often credit unions, but I don't think they are drastically different for these purposes) dozens of times (mostly when younger, because I hardly go to physical branches nowadays). I've never seen anyone thrown out, but that's probably because the people have quieted down.

quote:
While it's certainly true that a bank is private property and has the right to demand people leave the premises, its also true that banks have contractual obligations with their customers and preventing customers from accessing bank services, violates those obligations. Banks can't just throw people out because they want to withdraw money from their accounts. That isn't legal or just. And while it also isn't exactly what happened, its a part of what happened.
I think you're assuming rather more about what went on inside than I am.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
If she had been asked to leave bank property (again, which extends outside the bank), and had not, and they had decided to arrest her for protesting, it would make perfect sense to get her inside with the others being arrested for trespassing.
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
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kmbboots
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Actually, at least in Illinois, you can be charged with criminal trespass on public property (such as a sidewalk) if a police officer asks you to leave and you decline.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
I think you're assuming rather more about what went on inside than I am.
I'm not assuming much. My opinion is based on the videos that have been posted and the reports of eyewitnesses. What I saw is that a group of about 2 dozen people stood in a large lobby area inside the bank and announced they were there to close their accounts. One of them was able to do that. Several members of the group gave brief speeches explaining why they were closing their accounts. The protester were very calm and generally respectfully. Description of this group as "a threatening mob" are entirely inaccurate. There was no shouting, name calling, or other threatening behavior. The crowd of protesters was not large enough that it interfered with the movements of bank employees or customers. While I'm sure the speeches were distracting, most of the bank employees appeared to be ignoring it and going about their business. Unless the protestors escalated things after the video clips I've seen, the bank could have chosen to continue ignoring them. Some other banks did and there was no incident.

What are you assuming about what went on inside.

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fugu13
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I'm assuming that what happened inside was roughly equivalent of what you saw, or worse. Anything in that range and citibank's request for the people being disruptive to leave or be quiet is reasonable. People aren't complying with reasonable requests by the bank staff? Calling the police is reasonable. The best choice? No, but not an unreasonable one.

I'm seeing more of videos of the inside of citibank, now. People were yelling at staffers. Yelling speeches, yes, but I'm not going to get annoyed at a manager who doesn't want people yelling inside their bank branch. Especially as the videos clearly show the protesters are completely surrounding the customer service counter and are right next to the offices. That's right from the first video, here: http://redgreenandblue.org/2011/10/17/occupy-wall-street-citibank-was-stupid-chase-bank-was-smart/2/ .

The videos of people inside other banks I've seen so far usually show much more circumspect protests.

Again, best response? Probably not. Within the range of acceptable responses to people yelling at bank staff and customers who refuse to leave? Yeah. Well within.

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fugu13
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quote:
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
If you look at the google street view of the bank branch, it is away from the sidewalk, on a private plaza.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Actually, at least in Illinois, you can be charged with criminal trespass on public property (such as a sidewalk) if a police officer asks you to leave and you decline.

I don't generally doubt you kate, but I'm skeptical that you have the facts correct. I'm willing to believe that you can be charged with trespassing in a public park. I'm also willing to believe you can be arrested for loitering on a sidewalk. But laws that guarantee right of access to thoroughfares, like sidewalks, are pretty standard. Until I hear it from an Illinois lawyer, I'm not going to believe you can be charged with criminal trespass on any sidewalk that's a public thoroughfare.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
If you look at the google street view of the bank branch, it is away from the sidewalk, on a private plaza.
I did check that before I made my post. The Citibank in question is located in Washington Square Village which is owned by New York University (not Citibank). The sidewalks in front of the bank are a thoroughfare that provides access to the gardens and apartment complex. New York University might have the right ask people to leave the grounds, but Citibank almost certainly did not.
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kmbboots
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Rabbit, I believe the statute is:
quote:
Sec. 21-5. Criminal Trespass to State Supported Land.
(a) Whoever enters upon land supported in whole or in part with State funds, or Federal funds administered or granted through State agencies or any building on such land, after receiving, prior to such entry, notice from the State or its representative that such entry is forbidden, or remains upon such land or in such building after receiving notice from the
State or its representative to depart,
and who thereby interferes with another person's lawful use or enjoyment of such building or land, commits a Class A misdemeanor.

Bolding mine. At least here, the sidewalks were (at least in 2003) considered land supported by state or federal funds and police officers were considered representatives of the state.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=094-0263

I don't know whether those charges would stick as they were generally dropped in the cases I am familiar with but they were certainly made. And the legal advisers didn't suggest using the fact that the people charged were on a sidewalk as a defense.

But I am glad to know that you don't generally doubt me. [Wink]

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fugu13
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quote:
I did check that before I made my post. The Citibank in question is located in Washington Square Village which is owned by New York University (not Citibank). The sidewalks in front of the bank are a thoroughfare that provides access to the gardens and apartment complex. New York University might have the right ask people to leave the grounds, but Citibank almost certainly did not.
I bet you citibank got authority in their lease over the part of the walk in front of their branch, as is typical in business leases when the location involves plazas and such.

And if you had looked that up, what was up with the talk about sidewalks?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
And if you had looked that up, what was up with the talk about sidewalks?

They were on a sidewalk which is a thoroughfare to a park and an apartment complex. Typically, charges of trespass can only be made on sidewalks which are for the sole access of a private business or residence. Trespass is not normally a legitimate charge on a sidewalk that serves as a thoroughfare or which is used to access multiple properties, which this is.
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Glenn Arnold
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I'm trying to figure out why Rush Limbaugh thinks trust fund kids are protesting against Wall Street. Does he even know what a trust fund is?

Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
I'm trying to figure out why Rush Limbaugh thinks trust fund kids are protesting against Wall Street. Does he even know what a trust fund is?

Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.

Of course they are! I know a lot of trust fund kids who go to UC Berkeley, and virtually all of them are on the side of the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

The idea that people aren't willing to work against their own short-term economic "self-interest" in the pursuit of goals they believe are moral and overall beneficial is silly. Both liberals and conservatives knowingly vote against their personal "self-interest" all the time, based on whatever their philosophy might be.

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BlackBlade
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There's a really good series of lines from Platoon that discusses this dynamic. Warning quite a bit of profanity.

King: "Hey, Taylor, how in the f*** you get here anyway? You look educated.
Chris: I volunteered for it.
King: You did what?
Chris: I volunteered. I dropped out of college, told 'em I wanted the infantry, combat, Vietnam.
Crawford: You volunteered for this s***, man?
Chris: Believe that?
King: You's a crazy f*****, giving up college?
Chris: Didn't make much sense, I wasn't learning anything. I figured why should just the poor kids go off to war and the rich kids always get away with it.
King: Oh, I see, what we got here is a crusader.
Crawford: Sounds like it.
King: Shiiit, you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that. Ever'body know, the poor are always being f****d over by the rich. Always have, always will."

The line "you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that" stings because in a way it's very true.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.

Yep.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

The line "you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that" stings because in a way it's very true.

Rich in the sense of leisured and educated. I think, whether you're rich or not, a leisurely and educated life will inevitably lead some people to conclude that they are getting *too* sweet of a deal. That, and the confidence inborn of a person who's life has always worked out in every way, will make you believe you can do anything. In many ways I identify with this attitude. As somebody from a moderately wealthy background, I've always craved the stress and uncertainty of dynamic environments and foreign places. Had it not been for the wishes of my parents, I would have joined the military in my early 20s.

Growing up with money, you just assume anything is doable and that you deserve the chance to do it. It never occurs to you that you aren't entitled to be whomever you wish. I don't think I even realized that blindness in myself until I'd really lived for a long time without support from my parents, and found that I was doing few of the good things I had always imagined I would be doing on my own. I had friends like this too- people without money and without real hope. And I would ask them- "If you want to do something, and really change something in your life, then why don't you ask your parents for help?" And I was so naive that i actually hadn't realized that I had friends whose parents *couldn't* and *wouldn't* help them financially to achieve things. And we're not talking about starting a business or something, but just going to school for a year, or moving, or buying a musical instrument, or whatever. And though I had had this pride in not asking for things, I wasn't *doing* anything I wanted to do- I felt like I couldn't; like i had no confidence. So I asked my parents for money to start over- and magically the confidence returned.

I'm not ashamed of that, I think it's human nature to imagine your invincible when you know there's a safety net. That's actually the reason I'm so much in favor of a social welfare system: when you know that failure is not death, but only shame, your gaze widens to encompass all your possibilities. Conservatives tend to think that a safety net makes you lazy, but I think that's backwards. My safety net always made me more daring.

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Lyrhawn
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This interesting article from WaPo got me thinking about some of the complaints about the movement.

One of the complaints is that they don't form a party or political movement that works within the system, and the usual answer seems to be "that's because they're trying to fundamentally change the system."

At the end of the day, we need some sort of functional political system. Protesters might want to overthrow the system and replace it with something, but what? We still have the government we have, flawed but not terrible (and I think campaign finance reform goes a long way toward fixing problems in why the government is so dysfunctional). A new constitution or a revised one isn't going to happen, and given the political climate, I'd be scared to death if we tried it.

So aren't going to fundamentally restructure government. How do we reform it? Campaign finance reform is a big one. I think as a part of it, we need some other campaign reforms as well. I think certain kinds of election air time in advertising should be free on networks. Ban congressmen from working for a lobbying firm for 5 years after they are out of office. I have a feeling like campaign finance reform is also going to have to include some sort of constitutional amendment that limits corporate personhood, and at least puts severe limitations on corporate money's involvement with campaigns. That seems unlikely as well, which I guess just means waiting for the composition of SCOTUS to change before trying again.

Reforms that are aimed at the process of elections and how congressmen stay in congress seems like the easiest way to effect real change in the system, but I can't imagine most anyone in the system now will really support it, not unless at least some stand up and start calling them out on it.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... Why do thy automatically assume people protesting don't have jobs?

Really tiny example, but the source appears hostile enough to the Wall Street protests that it's still helpful
quote:
On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
...
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).

An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won't vote.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html

I was also heartened by seeing articles that said that the Wall Street organizers are well aware of their serious demographic deficit among visible minorities and have started efforts to attract more.

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Destineer
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quote:

I'm not ashamed of that, I think it's human nature to imagine your invincible when you know there's a safety net. That's actually the reason I'm so much in favor of a social welfare system: when you know that failure is not death, but only shame, your gaze widens to encompass all your possibilities. Conservatives tend to think that a safety net makes you lazy, but I think that's backwards. My safety net always made me more daring.

Very apt.
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Destineer
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From that WSJ article:

quote:
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions.
So depressing. Nothing like being absolutely right to lose you an election.
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Samprimary
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quote:
A new constitution or a revised one isn't going to happen, and given the political climate, I'd be scared to death if we tried it.
ok liberals, revoke roe vs. wade, agree that waterboarding isn't torture, dismantle the EPA, get rid of that silly concept of 'separation of church and state,' commit to voucher systems for public schooling, recriminalize marijuana, have a federal 'right to work' law to undo the unions, and we might not block parts of your campaign finance reform in the new convention.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
From that WSJ article:

quote:
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions.
So depressing. Nothing like being absolutely right to lose you an election.
Reminds me of the first time I heard Glenn Beck say the real lesson of Vietnam as it pertains to Afghanistan and Iraq is that we didn't try hard enough. We should have stuck around even longer as we were on the cusp of victory, and we snatched defeat from its jaws. It was listening to the whiny spineless anti-war crowd that screwed us all over.

I nearly pulled over I was so angry. Seriously like saying the lesson of the Crusades was Europeans just needed more spunk.

[ October 18, 2011, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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