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The "Occupy" Movement

Getting to the 1% isn't as hard as the occupiers would have you believe. Just take courses with real value, apply yourself and even if you don't get to the 1%, you can probably make it into the 10% or 15% (or whatever percentile you choose). The important quote is highlighted:


Matt Gurney on the Occupiers’ new slogan: Feed the poor! Tax the veterinarians!
Matt Gurney  Jun 6, 2012 – 10:44 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 6, 2012 10:46 AM ET

Comments Email Twitter Researchers at the University of British Columbia have prepared a report examining who exactly constitutes the much-discussed 1% in Canada. The term refers to the top 1% of income earners in the country, who activists in the Occupy movement (and those of like mind) contend are unfairly accumulating too much of society’s wealth, to the detriment of everyone else. And the study did find some support for that theory — the top 1% of Canadian income earners are pulling in 14% of the total earnings of the country. Their average income is $450,000 a year, compared to an average of $36,000 for everyone else. And the study also found worrying signs that sharp recessions, like the one we just endured, are driving the trend toward increased inequality, not necessarily by favouring the 1%, but by eroding the employment opportunities for the middle- and lower-classes.

That would certainly seem to lend credence to some of what the Occupiers were saying. But the study also looked closely into who qualifies for the Canadian 1%. They are overwhelmingly male, generally over the age of 35 and spread across multiple economic sectors. While the average wage of someone in the 1%, as said above, is $450,000, the minimum wage required to enter it is a surprisingly low $230,000 a year. That’s a lot of money, but not huge money. And those making it aren’t the stock brokers and financial executives you’d expect. Indeed, for every banker on the list, you’ll find a dentist or veterinarian.

And that is interesting. Becoming a medical doctor, a veterinarian or a dentist isn’t exactly easy — there are years of schooling, costly education bills and obviously a lot of hard work. But these are certainly accessible careers that anyone can aspire to. Not all of us have the brains or frankly the interest to find success in these fields, but they’re hardly a professional elite that sees more and more power concentrated in fewer, potentially corrupt, hands (the popular stereotype of the financial-sector plutocrat). Indeed, as our population grows (and our pet population along with), there is a constant demand for more doctors, vets and dentists. Their success isn’t about inheriting family wealth, lucky breaks or a broken economic model that rewards using accumulated capital to generate unproductive, and unsustainable, profits just by moving money around. It’s about polishing teeth and spaying cats.

None of that speaks to the underlying criticisms of the increasing concentration of wealth, nor does it disprove what the Occupiers were saying. Our society is absolutely seeing friction along economic, and generational, lines. My friend Barbara Kay made the point beautifully last week when she recounted an awkward encounter between herself and a Gen-Y waiter, pointing out that while the younger generation has legitimate gripes, the older generation has all the economic and political firepower. “If this were a real war, millennials wouldn’t have a prayer,” she wrote. “Oldies’ greatest fear — realistically — is outliving their money … They won’t cede their entitlements willingly.”

She’s likely right about the outcome of any such contest, but the fact that we’re even talking about the prospect is unpleasant, and bodes poorly for our society’s future. While the Canadian Occupy movement was too disorganized to be effective and seemed at times to operate in a reality-free bubble of whimsy and wouldn’t-it-be-nice economics, I maintain that they were worth listening to if only as a symptom of a greater issue within our society. They might not have had the answer — which is to say, none of their bazillion answers would have worked — but their mere existence was illuminating. As anyone who actually spent some time at an Occupy site, particularly at the beginning before the movement became its own worst enemy, could attest, it wasn’t just the standard hippy protest movement. It was bigger than that.

But it suffered from a problem laid bare by the UBC report, and arguably one being mirrored by the Quebec student protests. While there was an ideological hardcore there who protest inequality on general principles, many of the Occupiers (and I’d wager students clogging Montreal’s avenues) aren’t so much interested in inequality as they are in making sure they get their unequal share of the wealth. In tough economic times, where youth are bearing a disproportionate burden of the continuing consequences of the 2008 crisis, they have reason to be alarmed that their educations and job hopes may prove worthless, and that a job that pays in the mid-thirties may be all they can hope for. So it’s easy for them to freak out at the 1% and demand they pay more … probably not realizing how relatively easy it is to become one of those resented, distant elites. Forget the upper floors of bank-owned skyscrapers. You’ll find them in your local strip mall, urging you to floss.

Setting out to become a high-powered investor isn’t something one can just decide to do. Same with CEOs. You need certain inherent skills for that. Not to denigrate our medical professionals, who are of course highly skilled, but entering medicine or dentistry isn’t quite so impossible. Good grades, hard work and determination will give you a fair shot. The Occupiers and student protesters of today, demanding that the rich pay more or that education be free, may well in large part get their way. And if they benefit from it now and go on to enjoy some success later, they may easily find themselves picking up the tab for everyone. Tax the rich might not sound like such a good idea once people realize how low the bar for that really is.

National Post

And the opposite side of the coin: the "students" don't want free education, just expect us to pay for them. Nice takedown by George Jonas:


George Jonas: Quebec students don’t want free tuition, just someone else to pay it
George Jonas  Jun 6, 2012 – 9:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 5, 2012 5:38 PM ET

There’s no free education, only education charged to someone else. If something has any value, a dollar or a million, it cannot be free. It’s logically impossible. Repeat after me, especially if you’re an NDP supporter: If it’s free, it has no value; if it has value, it’s not free.

After Quebec’s rebels without a cause took a pasting in the press, a few errant knights rose to defend the underdog. Guest editorialists and even some resident pundits wrote pieces explaining why striking students and professors aren’t as bereft of sense as they seem. The rebels have a point, defenders declared; higher education should ideally be free.

Don Quixote tilting at windmills is attractive in a weird sort of way. But Cervantes, although sympathetic to the “knight of mournful countenance,” has kept things in perspective with a donkey ambling behind the noble steed Rosinante. It carried a roly-poly practical fellow with his feet touching the ground, who called a windmill a windmill.

Hello, Quebec students and professors, rioters and taxpayers, here’s Sancho Panza with news for those who haven’t heard it yet: There is no free education.

There’s no free education, only education charged to someone else. There’s no free lunch, no free love, no free bicycles, no free anything. Cost is inherent in value. If something has any value, a dollar or a million, it cannot be free. It’s logically impossible.

Repeat after me, especially if you’re an NDP supporter: If it’s free, it has no value; if it has value, it’s not free. When people carry placards in the street demanding a “free” education, they’re demanding nonsense. (Unless they think education has no value, but let’s not open up that can of worms.)

A $5 pumpkin is worth five dollars. Removing the price tag and handing the squash to the first person who comes into the store won’t make the pumpkin “free;” it will only make the merchant pay for the customer’s supper.

Can goods or services of value be made freely available to a particular person or group? Ah, that’s a different kettle of pumpkin.

The answer is yes, of course — as long as another person or group pays for them.

Quebec students could demand an education that is free to them, but under what banner would they do it? Carrying a sign that says “Zero Tuition” is one thing, but it might be impractical to parade under “Pay For My Tuition, Or Else!”

Zero tuition is humbug, but it trumps the truth as an exercise in public relations. Even vandalism and violence won’t harm the protesters’ cause as much as a placard that said something truthful like “Thanks For Sending Me To University Instead Of Taking Your Family To Disneyland.” Or “Caring Means Sharing Your First Born’s College Fund With Me.” Or perhaps: “Are You Choosing Your Elective Surgery Over My Diploma? How Selfish Can You Get?”

The word “free” is code about who should pick up the tab, with students displaying a sense of entitlement to the contents of other people’s wallets that would be comical if it weren’t so alarming. Pickpockets used to show more respect for what didn’t belong to them than some protesters do, who flock about like hysterical magpies, coupling atrophied judgment to a hypertrophied sense of self-esteem.

Some gowns support the goons in calling for low- or no-cost education. That’s jolly, but I’ve yet to hear any offering to donate their services, so presumably in a system of “free” education faculty would still expect to be paid. (Even if they didn’t, schooling wouldn’t become free, only faculty would assume some of the cost.) It’s a moot point as none of the marching professors have offered their educational services gratis, to the best of my knowledge. Nor has anyone made any reference to heating oil, schoolbooks, audio-visual systems, seed for flowerbeds or cadavers for the pathology lab at the medical school. The way it looks, a “free” university would cost exactly as much as a paying university, only with nobody to pay for it.

Who should pay? There are two schools of thought, not only in education but generally. One holds that costs should be borne by those who incur them; the other, that they should be assessed against those who can best afford to pay. In the cultural divide of our times, the philosophically right-of-centre usually favour the first school, while people left-of-centre prefer the second.

“Lefty, the crime is robbery. Robbing the haves is no better than robbing the have-nots.”

“The crime is you, Genghis. No better? The haves have, for heaven’s sake; the have-nots haven’t.”

In logic and equity, it should be no contest. The students take home the $5 pumpkin. They benefit. The pumpkin-taste is in their mouths, the pumpkin-lore in their heads, the pumpkin-contacts in their iPods and the pumpkin-eating diplomas on their walls.

They owe society five bucks.

But hasn’t education value for the entire community? Sure, and communities chip in big time. Universities are subsidized; scholarships are available to bright students, remedial assistance to dull students, and student-loans to just about anyone. In addition, the wealthy shower gifts, bequests, endowments on educational institutions. Where’s the beef?

If the world were governed by logic and equity there would be none. But the world’s governed by fashion, confusion, greed and — especially — envy. That’s where the beef is, and boy, look at it sizzle!

National Post

Thucydides said:
Getting to the 1% isn't as hard as the occupiers would have you believe. Just take courses with real value, apply yourself and even if you don't get to the 1%, you can probably make it into the 10% or 15% (or whatever percentile you choose).

Just to expand on the "courses with real value", this isn't necessarily restricted to courses with immediate high-paying jobs either, as it would seem on the surface.  If you take a (for example) liberal arts degree that widens your horizons and opens new opportunities to you, then apply yourself in that direction, success can come that way as well. 

As for the "pack up and move" argument, we do need vibrant rural communities - it's in nobody's best interests, city-dwellers included, if it's impossible to prosper in a rural economy.  In my corner of rural Ontario there's a lot of poverty - the food bank has never been busier.  Ironically, it's a farming community, producing food for the nation along with many other such communities.  I don't know what the answer is but it seems that too many people are being left behind in the current economic system, and I'm not convinced it's just because of their own lack of ambition. 

I haven't read all 33 pages of this thread, so my apologies if I'm restating something. 
So the people behind the "spontanious and unorganized" Occupy miovement admit that plan "A" has failed, now they have plan "B". This is what you may expect to see this summer:


Adbusters Admits OWS Flopped; Now Promoting 'Flash Encampments'
By P.J. Gladnick | June 10, 2012 | 19:10

The Occupy Wall Street movement was first proposed by the leftwing Canadian magazine, Adbusters. However, now even they are forced to admit the obvious about the failure of their creation which you can read in their sad OWS obituary:

Burned out, out of money, out of ideas… seduced by salaries, comfy offices, book deals, old lefty cash and minor celebrity status, some of the most prominent early heroes of our leaderless uprising are losing the edge that catalyzed last year’s one thousand encampments. Bit by bit, Occupy’s first generation is succumbing to an insidious institutionalization and ossification that could be fatal to our young spiritual insurrection unless we leap over it right now. Putting our movement back on track will take nothing short of a revolution within Occupy.

Your humble correspondent begs your pardon for this comparison but does the preceding Adbusters quote not sound eerily similar to this declaration by Bela Lugosi as Dr. Eric Vornoff in that epic film, Bride of the Monster?

Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, Living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

And what is the Adbusters version of "a race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world?" An equally unrealistic solution as called "flash encampments" as Adbusters explains:

The next big bang to capture the world’s imagination could come not from a thousand encampments but from a hundred thousand ephemeral jams… a global cascade of flash encampments may well be what this hot Summer will look like.

And here is their "glowing example" of a flash encampment:

...The new tone was set on Earth Day, April 22, in a suburb bordering Berkeley, California when a dozen occupiers quietly marched a small crowd to a tract of endangered urban agricultural land, cut through the locked fence and set up tents, kitchens and a people’s assembly. Acting autonomously under the banner of Occupy, without waiting for approval from any preexisting General Assembly, Occupy The Farm was notable for its sophisticated preplanning and careful execution — they even brought chickens — that offered a positive vision for the future and engendered broad community support. While encampments across the world were unable to re-establish themselves on May Day, this small cadre of farm occupiers boldly maintained their inspiring occupation for nearly four weeks.

What Adbusters doesn't tell you was this "flash encampment" turned out to be yet another dopey counterproductive idea as reported by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson:

The group cut through a secured gate to enter the property in mid-April and has been squatting on the land since. Protesters have planted vegetables on 2 acres of land being readied for a corn crop used in biofuel research.

Unfortunately, their claim to the land and the reasons they've cited for their actions are as empty as the section of field they have commandeered.

...George Chuck, a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher whose work is literally grounded on those same 2 acres, sees it much differently.

...For the past decade, he's worked on mapping corn genes to identify which ones produce energy. His work adding corn genes to switchgrass has more than doubled the yield of biofuels produced by the hybrid crop. His findings were published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

...That research, which has the potential to increase alternative fuel sources sounds more important than the desires of two dozen or so people growing 2 acres worth of anything.

"What's worse is that when I tried talking to (some of) these guys, they just started spouting slogans someone else told them," Chuck said.

And as far as the group's efforts to grow crops on land Chuck said is not yet ready for planting, "They have no idea what they're doing," he said.

Since protesters arrived, they've managed to destroy a fruit tree that was the subject of a research project, created a waste pile, built a rickety chicken coop and left the gate open allowing wild turkeys to escape or be killed by predators that entered the unlocked facility, he added.

It sounds like Dr. Vornoff's race of atomic supermen will have more of a chance of conquering the world than these silly Adbusters-hyped flash encampments have of achieving anything productive.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/pj-gladnick/2012/06/10/adbusters-admits-ows-flopped-now-promoting-flash-encampments#ixzz1xUyspG2g
They won't be doing much "Occupying" in Ottawa this summer...

Original link

Top cop warns Occupiers

Would-be Occupiers won’t even get a chance to hammer in a single tent peg this summer.

At least, not in Ottawa.

Less than 100 days into his first term as chief of police, Charles Bordeleau told the Sun editorial board Friday he’s promising to not only shut down a repeat of the Occupy movement but not even let one get established.

“You want to protest, fill your boots,” said Bordeleau. “But they will not occupy any land here in Ottawa.”

Cops have learned from last November’s 40-day occupation of Confederation Park and have noticed a troubling trend.

“There are more demonstrations and protests around the world,” said Bordeleau. “The number is a concern and we’re monitoring it here in Ottawa.”

He says police respond to nearly 600 protests or demonstrations annually. Last year, only one went “sideways,” according to Bordeleau — the demonstrations outside the Congolese embassy where rocks were thrown at Ottawa cops, who responded with large cans of pepper spray and arrests.

The chief said officers have been developing a plan and methods that see them ready to step in and remove protesters if they begin some sort of occupation.

“There are steps in place,” he said.

Someone who knows about those steps is Insp. Mike Maloney of the Emergency Services Unit — the squad which responds to protests. He said the “strategic vision” they’ve developed is “consistent with the chief’s expectations.”

According to Maloney, officers are gathering intelligence to determine which of the many summer protests could lead to some sort of occupation. He said the main issue this year is anti-austerity.

“That’s a significant change, but it’s all the same people,” he said. “It’s always the same people who show up.”

Maloney wouldn’t call it a war, but rather “a pitched battle,” and wouldn’t be surprised if all the protests in Montreal worked their way to Ottawa for national exposure.

“Our intelligence-driven information indicates there is going to be something taking place here,” he said.

His group, together with London police colleagues, get together for a week of protest and demonstration training at CFB Petawawa in May. Officers were able to use live smoke bombs, pepper spray and tear gas to combat violence and Molotov cocktails on the specialized urban training grounds that simulate an actual village.

Bordeleau said the Occupied movement lends itself to infiltration by anarchists and troublemakers because much of the activity is organized through public social media.

Long article in Rolling Stone about the Occupy Movement. Reading it several times, I still cannot make out any coherent idea or strategy behind the movement, and I wonder what the leaders and backers of the movement really had in mind. (If it was to generate an army of Brownshirts as some have hypothesized, it failed miserably). Propagandizing seems to have failed as well, as most occupy memes have failed to catch on in any big way, or have been coopted as figures of fun.

Thucydides said:
Long article in Rolling Stone about the Occupy Movement. Reading it several times, I still cannot make out any coherent idea or strategy behind the movement, and I wonder what the leaders and backers of the movement really had in mind. (If it was to generate an army of Brownshirts as some have hypothesized, it failed miserably). Propagandizing seems to have failed as well, as most occupy memes have failed to catch on in any big way, or have been coopted as figures of fun.


We live in interesting times.  Yes, it does seem like spoiled kids complaining about their 1st world problems, but things are different today as compared even to a decade ago.  The middle class has been increasingly pushed out as free trade/globalization allows more and more work to be sourced out to the 3rd world.

I'm no expert, but I do watch as my university educated daughter has a terrible time finding decent paying work in her field (law) and even if she does, how would she ever buy a home?  20 years ago I bought a nice place for 78,000.  Today you'd be fortunate to have something like it for 350,000 and I don't think that it can all be accounted for with simple inflation.

People who are content with how things are going and where their future prospects lie seldom bother to protest much of anything in the streets.  The 'occupy' movement hasn't managed to articulate hardly anything in particular and that in itself should be very troubling to us as it speaks to a very complex problem in our society that isnt easily defined. 

Any of us can think of at least 1 thing that the 'occupy' movement tried to speak about.  Can you think of a solution to that 1 thing?  I'm guessing you can't.  Solve the widening gap between rich and poor?  Good luck with that!

We've built a society in the west on a principle of infinite growth.  What we're finding, however, is that we live on a finite planet.  You really don't need to be a mathematician to see that like any ponzi scheme, an end point will come.  Maybe we are already seeing a taste of it in the European Union or in the continually deadlocked and handcuffed US government.

Maybe the protesters never could tell us what the problem exactly was, but as a group, we should be asking the hard questions about why so much unfocused discontent would exist at all.
exabedtech said:
Maybe the protesters never could tell us what the problem exactly was, but as a group, we should be asking the hard questions about why so much unfocused discontent would exist at all.

Part of the problem is unmanaged and unrealistic expectations, coupled to an increasingly dysfunctional education system. Students apparently believe they should be able to graduate from University with their Wymns studies degree and jump into an $80,000/year job.

Having some personal experience instructing people with this sort of background in many military courses, I can tell you most are shocked at simple concepts like discipline, many have trouble expressing themselves in clear, coherent sentances or organizing their thoughts on paper (to write an order or estimate, for example), and indeed, often have difficulty in actually organizing their thought processes to take inputs and generate some sort of meaningful output.

Since the Army has had 5000 years to develop these skills and plenty of organizational aids and aid memoires to do so, they can be trained, but how many other organizations have this sort of training program or background to do so? Indeed, one of the reasons business supports public education is it lets them off the hook for training.

As for income inequality, this has also been a feature throughout all societies at all times and all places, so while it mayu not be "fair", at least in our society you can actually work your way into the 1% (see upthread).

Edit to add- And a wonderful addition which shows where it starts (the teacher who defied the "no zero rule is a hero, BTW):


Edmonton teacher may lose job for refusing to let kids skip assignments
Joe O'Connor  Jun 2, 2012 – 4:26 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 2, 2012 4:34 PM ET

Rick Macwilliam/Postmedia News
Edmonton high school teacher Lynden Dorval has been suspended for going against his school's no-zero policy. Under that policy, a student who completed only six of 15 assignments was only graded for what he did - and got a 63% average.

Lynden Dorval tried to talk himself out of it. He understood the stakes.

You push back against school administrators, swim against school policy and you become a marked man, an “insubordinate” problem teacher with a bull’s eye on your back.

But the problem was the more he thought about it, the more Mr. Dorval, a physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton with 35 years’ experience, became convinced of what he had to do — even if it cost him his job.

“I knew it was going to be a lot of stress,” he says. “But I just couldn’t talk myself out of it. It was the right thing to do.”

N.S. school backs off from ban of student’s T-shirt with pro-Jesus message

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What he did, over the past 18 months, was what he had done for over three decades when a student didn’t submit an assignment, skipped a test or missed an exam: he pulled out his red marking pen and gave them a zero.

It was a lesson in consequences, one contrary to the school’s no-zero policy, an official dictum Mr. Dorval willfully ignored.

After repeated warnings from the principal to toe the line, the renegade was hauled before a school board hearing. Three days later, on May 18, he received a letter informing him he had been suspended indefinitely. He suffered the consequences.

Mr. Dorval fully expects to be fired in the coming months.

“It was against my principles not to give zeros,” the 61-year-old says. “Through experience, I found that giving a zero — a temporary zero; the students could come to me to make arrangements to do something to erase that mark — was the most effective way to get students to do the work.

“It put the onus on them. I could see some other method working with younger kids. But these are high school students. They are becoming adults. They are getting ready to step out into the real world and it is time for them to start taking responsibility for their own actions.”

The anti-zero argument goes something like this: Getting a goose egg discourages students. Zeros are not a measure of intelligence but a matter of behaviour. Kids should only be graded for what they do — not for what they don’t do.

So … why do anything?

Mr. Dorval gives the example of a student who transferred to his class from a non-zero class. The student completed six of 15 assignments for his previous teacher and, since he was only graded for what he did, had a 63% average. Mr. Dorval made it clear to the boy that missed work meant zeros on his watch.

“With me, he did seven of seven assignments,” he says. “It is right there in black and white.”

Other teachers at Ross Sheppard expressed support for Captain Zero, telling him they wished they had the courage to do what he did.

And he understood why they didn’t. Being younger, they had a career to think about. After 35 years, his career was nearing its end.

Ron Bradley, principal of Ross Sheppard and the man responsible for adopting the No Zero Rule, declined to take my phone call Friday. A school secretary directed me to the local school board. The board did not return messages.

In the vacuum, however, is the voice of common sense. We all have it, those of us who somehow survived high school. And we all know the voice speaks the truth: Life is about consequences.

It is a series of tests.

Don’t submit the job application and you won’t get the job. You get a zero. Skip work, tell the boss to shove it, neglect to file your taxes, miss a mortgage payment, bounce a cheque or get a speeding ticket, and what happens? You pay for it.

‘When I was a student it never occurred to me that if you did not do something that you wouldn’t get a zero’It is Newton’s Law: for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Unless, of course, you are a student at Ross Sheppard high or some other institution where every missed assignment is met with an excuse.

And not from the kids, but from an apologist administration that encourages serial irresponsibility by offering second, third, fourth — and 10th chances — but not zeroes, never a zero.

Lynden Dorval knew it was wrong. He had had enough. So he picked up his red marking pen and stayed true to his conscience. It is a choice, he says, he would make again.

“When I was a student it never occurred to me that if you did not do something that you wouldn’t get a zero,” he says.

“Things like exams — I would never think about not writing an exam. I would never think about asking a teacher to write it later.

“It was just assumed, even if you were sick, that you went to school and wrote the exam. You went to school and you did the work.”

National Post

How popular culture spreads memes that support the magical thinking of the Occupy movement and its various supporters (Including politicians who are on record as supporting the movement). More education in basics early on might squash this sort of magical thinking:


The real Hunger Games
Philip Cross, Special to Financial Post | Aug 20, 2012 7:44 AM ET
More from Special to Financial Post

Courtesy Alliance People who don't understand economics, like Collins or Naomi Klein, think growth is a witch's brew based on subjugating people or extracting cheap natural resources.

Watching The Hunger Games, the film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel, most people probably see an adolescent fantasy about being exploited by adults, filmed in the nauseating hand-held camera style made trendy by The Blair Witch Project. What I saw was class warfare in its depiction of how the districts relate to each other. Sorry about that, but I am trained to sniff out ideological bias, and my nostrils were inflamed as soon as the opening credits ended.

Remember, the basic premise of The Games is that, in a fictional future country called Panem, two adolescents are selected from each of 12 districts to fight to the death, the ultimate winner-take-all game of market forces. So far, so good, not the worst way to keep the kids off the street at night.

However, the depiction of the districts is strictly class-based. Hunger is unknown in the richer districts. Naturally, the richer the district, the more thuggish the tributes, since richer people spend disproportionately on martial arts instead of, say, music or education. The career tributes of District 1 and 2 have trained for The Games, and are enthusiastic participants. Is it just a coincidence that District 2′s Cato, the most blood-thirsty of the tributes that survive to the end, is also the name of a well-known right-wing think tank in the U.S.?

Meanwhile, the tributes from the poorer districts that produce food and coal are the most humane and cuddly. Our plucky heroine, Katniss, is of course from the poorest district, and voluntarily takes the place of her younger sister, when the latter is selected in the lottery for contestants. Her best friend among the other tributes is Rue, a petite girl from District 11, the agricultural hub. Thresh, the male tribute from District 11, spares Katniss’s life during a fight. Who doesn’t like a farmer? An image marketing boards have exploited for decades.

The film even has an anti-school and anti-commercial message that should appeal to adolescents. The Training Centre is a surrogate school, a place to practise and demonstrate your abilities, before being pushed into the Arena with about as much enthusiasm as most kids today enter today’s labour market. As their sodden overseer Haymitch says, “Good scores are important because a high score could attract sponsors.” Remind your kids of that the next time they complain about homework. The love affair between Katniss and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta is faked just to get sponsors. This naïve belief that duplicity is the key to how the adult world works is a teenage rite of passage.

Beyond how income is distributed lies the real mystery of how Panem, especially its parasitic Capital, actually sustains itself economically. While the Capital’s society is modelled on ancient Rome, with an added dose of really bad fashion sense, its economy is strictly command-based, like the old Evil Empire itself of the USSR. Just sit back and order up what you want the subjugated territories to produce. In return, being obnoxious seems to be the Capital’s principal export.

The conundrum is why a society with all technical prowess needed to control weather, genetically engineer endless mutations of animals, birds and fruit, and produce force fields as well as the invisible but ubiquitous cameras in the Arena, still relies on brutish violence and the primitive exploitation of resources such as coal to survive. If you have mastered all this technical wizardry, why not just export the results of these engineering marvels to the districts in an open market and reap the rewards of your huge advantage in trade? Personally, these days in drought-stricken Ontario, I would have traded bushels of apples for one turn of that rain-making contraption.

People who don’t understand economics, like Collins or Naomi Klein, think growth is a witch’s brew based on subjugating people or extracting cheap natural resources. The Western World, rooted in sound institutions like universal education, got rich mostly by trading goods and ideas with itself. Fundamentally, the Western World did not lift its standard of living by exploiting developing nations, as has been revealed by the progress of developing countries in recent decades. Instead, the rapid development of emerging nations in recent years has been a source of enrichment to the West by opening new markets, especially for nations like Canada that produce both manufactured goods and natural resources.

This film demonstrates an adolescent’s understanding of how life and markets work. Adults disappear in the morning, and magically return at the end of the day with cartloads of stuff to shower on their kids. A recent Time/CNN poll found that two-thirds of adults think their kids are spoiled, which makes the smoldering resentment of teenagers in this film, or on the streets of Montreal, hard for adults to empathize with. There is no appreciation of the expertise acquired and traded by adults in the marketplace, usually the result of years of sacrifice and hard work. Money falls out of the sky in a haphazard manner, like gifts parachuted by the drunken benefactor Haymitch. If only life and economics were so simple.

Philip Cross, the former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada, now screens other data. The Hunger Games was released on DVD Saturday.
Is the occupy movement still alive?

Maybe we should check them for the undead virus.
Frosh week's over. Now we see what they'ye made of. I love how I get accused of being brainwashed by these people, when many of them went into debt to be told what to think and what to read.
They're baaaaack ... according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

The comeback of Occupy Wall Street

NEW YORK — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Sep. 14 2012

It’s a balmy September evening in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. I’m standing near a tall fellow I know only as Mike from Ohio. Our left elbows are touching (in a getting-to-know-you game). We’re asked what our favourite sign was from last year’s Occupy Wall Street protests-slash-encampment. “If money is speech, then debt is censorship,” says Mike, smiling.

The group of about 40 people has gathered to practise tactics for an upcoming demonstration. Early Monday, some of them plan to don corporate camouflage – suits, dresses – and, together with hundreds of other protesters, move as close as they can to the New York Stock Exchange. There they will sit until the police tell them to leave, or they are forcibly removed or arrested.

If you thought Occupy Wall Street had disappeared, think again. After months of internal wrangling and low morale, the campaign is staging a return to the spotlight. Sept. 17 is the first anniversary of the movement that took over a slice of downtown Manhattan for two months, spawned offshoots in cities from Toronto to Hong Kong, and coined its own slogan to direct attention to inequality: “We are the 99 per cent.”

For all the energy generated by the protests, the movement never made the leap into the political mainstream. Amorphous and leaderless by design, Occupy Wall Street includes people who are pushing for radical change to the financial system but also many who believe it is simply beyond repair. Absent a set of concrete demands and common goals, it remains difficult to categorize and ineffective as a rallying point for large numbers of people.

Yet it’s too early to write an epitaph. For one thing, two of the main problems the movement referenced – income inequality and the influence of money in politics – have only become more pronounced over the past year. There have also been interesting, if embryonic, things happening under the surface. Occupy-associated groups have met with U.S. regulators on financial reform, helped to fight foreclosures, supported union drives, and are close to forming their own bank.

So far, the chief accomplishment of Occupy Wall Street has been to attract media and policy attention to the broader issue of inequality, a focus that remained long after the police cleared away the tents in Zuccotti Park (which happens to be owned by Canada’s Brookfield Office Properties) last November. Earlier this week, the U.S. census released data showing that median household income in the country, adjusted for inflation, fell in 2011, while a measure of income inequality increased.

Occupy Wall Street “put inequality on the political agenda in a way that simply wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” said Carne Ross, a former British diplomat and author who is involved in the movement. “That is an extraordinary achievement, even if Occupy never did another damn thing.”

How the campaign evolves from here is an open question. It will depend in part on deliberations – themselves laborious exercises in direct democracy and consensus-building – taking place Monday in New York and in cities across the United States and Canada.

“A lot of decisions need to be made by a lot of people about where to go,” said Todd Gitlin, a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University with a long history of activism whose book about Occupy Wall Street was published this year. “The core of the movement doesn’t like the electoral process – more than doesn’t like it, it’s appalled by it and wants to overturn it or secede from it.”

My partner in the elbow ice-breaking exercise – whose full name, I later learn, is Michael Aaron – seems to fit this category. A genial, lanky 31-year old in cargo pants, Mr. Aaron returned to the United States from Germany in May to throw himself into the Occupy cause. He taught English part-time for cash and spent six weeks this summer sleeping in the cafeteria of a Catholic school in Brooklyn, which turned into an activist dormitory, thanks to sympathetic nuns and parishioners.

“Asking a corrupt thing to fix itself is never a good plan,” Mr. Aaron said, as darkness fell on Zuccotti Park. “We’re not asking power to do it for us.” He said he would be at Monday’s protests at the New York Stock Exchange and elsewhere on Wall Street, but hoped to avoid being arrested.

If Mr. Aaron is one face of the Occupy Wall Street movement, then Akshat Tewary is a different one. A 34-year-old employment and immigration lawyer, Mr. Tewary began attending protests last September because, he said, banks had received bailouts, while “there weren’t any analogous benefits being provided to the average person.”

Mr. Tewary became a core member of another Occupy subsidiary, dubbed Occupy the SEC. The group met throughout the past year. In February, it submitted a 325-page letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in response to the regulator’s request for public comment on the Volcker rule. The rule is a key part of the financial reform law that aims to prevent banks from engaging in risky trading for their own benefit.

The letter combined exceedingly detailed responses to policy questions with some memorable flourishes (“the Volcker Rule simply removes the government’s all-too-visible hand from underneath the pampered haunches of banking conglomerates,” the authors wrote). The group later went to Washington and met with the major U.S. financial regulators and a large group of congressional staffers. Mr. Tewary said the SEC officials had clearly read the letter and posed detailed questions.

Mr. Ross, the diplomat and author, is involved with an Occupy offshoot focused on “alternative banking.” Earlier this month, Sheila Bair, the former chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a major U.S. banking regulator, came to speak with the group for an hour.

In the near future, Mr. Ross said, the group plans to launch what sounds, for all intents and purposes, like a bank under the Occupy name. It will be governed by its users and staff, transparent and risk-averse, and accessible to all, he said. The group has received “tremendously good advice,” he said, from people including the ex-head of Chicago’s largest community bank, former regulators, and even finance professionals secretly moonlighting as activists.

“Our vision was always to establish an alternative, not just to debate it,” Mr. Ross said. “We don’t think Washington is capable of legislating effectively given the grotesque influence of the big banks.”

Such efforts remain very, very small. Mr. Ross and Mr. Tewary say their groups rely on roughly half a dozen committed activists, although more are involved periodically. Some people working to further the Occupy cause would like to see its energy channelled into becoming a broader, more progressive force in American politics – the flip side of the conservative Tea Party.

To have a lasting impact, Occupy Wall Street will need to move well beyond its core enthusiasts. “Probably every anarchist or revolutionary in America has already signed up in some fashion,” said Mr. Gitlin, the Columbia professor, and no further recruitment is possible in those quarters. “Will they become a full-service movement that offers roles and useful work for people of various types? I don’t know. It’s plausible.”

Back at Zuccotti Park, the group is rehearsing protest tactics. A few office workers stop and listen, while the occasional tourist appears befuddled. Off to one side, five New York police officers and two private security guards monitor the group’s activities.

A young woman named Sam urges the participants to remember why they’re there, issuing a brief manifesto. “There are many ‘yesses,’ many visions of where to go from here,” she says. “There is only one ‘no’… the current world is not working for us.”

It is important to remember that there is only one significant difernce between these nice young people and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the Coptic Christian filmmaker who gave us Innocence of Muslims and, indirectly, an excuse for innocent Muslims to murder diplomats: the difference is that the Occupiers want exclusive use of public space, the peoples' space, for their own private purpose - they want to deprive me, for example, of my 'right' to the quiet enjoyment of, say, Confederation Park in Ottawa, so that they can have a convenient illegal campground; Nakoula Basseley Nakoula does not intrude into my, your or anyone's privacy, there is no conflict of rights, no one was conscripted into watching his trash.
The anneversery celebration of the Occupy movement is somewhat less than stellar:


OWS: Pushing Up Daisies, Not Pining for the Fjords

Quick: what important world event happened one year ago yesterday? Give up? Don’t worry. We didn’t get it either.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street—the movement that was to be the Left’s answer to the Tea Party, the one that had the chattering classes abuzz with excitement that History had reached an inflection point.

Instead, the slow process of attrition has all but killed off the movement. As MercuryNews reports, fewer than 500 people showed up for an anniversary demonstration in San Francisco, and very small numbers turned up in New York as well, considerably fewer than the thousands who were turning out at events late last year.

OWS, like John Cleese’s parrot, is still dead. If you can’t get more than “hundreds” of demonstrators to turn out in San Francisco, it’s past time to call the hearse.

And GlennReynolds (Instapundit) opines on what a "real" course on the Occupy movement should teach:


A Syllabus for the 'Occupy' Movement
Conservatives are wrong to deride college courses on the anti-Wall Street protests. Here's a lesson plan and possible reading list.


Schools from New York's Columbia to Chicago's Roosevelt University are offering courses on the "Occupy" movement. This has inspired some derision from the right, but I think that derision is misplaced. There is much that a course on the Occupy movement might profitably cover. Here are some possible lessons:

1) The Higher Education Bubble and Debt Slavery Throughout History. Since ancient times, debt has been a tool used by rulers to enslave the ruled, which is why the Bible explains that the borrower is the slave to the lender. One complaint of many Occupy protesters involves their pursuit of expensive degrees that has left them burdened by student loans but unable to find suitable employment. This unit would compare the marketing of higher education and student debt to today's students with the techniques used to lure sharecroppers and coal miners into irredeemable indebtedness. Music to be provided by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

2) Bourgeois vs. Non-Bourgeois Revolutions: A Comparison and Contrast. The Occupy movement left its major sites—McPherson Square in D.C., Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, Dewey Square in Boston—filthy and disheveled. By contrast, the tea party protests famously left the Washington Mall and other locations cleaner than they found them, with members proudly performing cleanup duties.

This unit would note that social-protest movements are sometimes orderly and sometimes disorderly as a matter of approach, and it would compare the effectiveness and ultimate success of such relentlessly bourgeois movements as the tea party, the pre-1964 Civil Rights movement, Women's Suffrage activists, and the American Revolution, against such anti-Bourgeois movements as the post-1968 Black Power and New Left movements, and the French Revolution.

Which accomplished more lasting good? Is Max Weber's Protestant work ethic applicable to social movements?

3) Class struggles and the New Class. Professor Kenneth Anderson of American University has suggested that the Occupy movement is best understood as a struggle between the upper and lower tiers of the elite. In recent years, the upper tier, composed of bankers, financiers, etc., has become decoupled from the lower-tier sub-elite of "Virtue Industry" workers in fields like education, nonprofit activism, social work and the like—with the latter feeling betrayed and abandoned.

Mr. Anderson writes: "It was, after all, the upper tier New Class, the private-public finance consortium, that created the student loan business and inflated the bubble in which these lower tier would-be professionals borrowed the money. It's a securitization machine, not so very different from the subprime mortgage machine. The asset bubble pops, but the upper tier New Class, having insulated itself and, as with subprime, having taken its cut upfront and passed the risk along, is still doing pretty well. It's not populism versus the bankers so much as internecine warfare between two tiers of elites. The downward mobility is real, however."

This unit would begin with Milovan Djilas's analysis of the managerial "New Class" that ran the late-stage Soviet Union, and would then consider that analysis's application to American society today. Similar thoughts by Friedrich Hayek and Christopher Lasch would provide insight on the nature of the intra-class, intra-elite struggle that marks the Occupy movement.

4) Scapegoating and anti-Semitism in mass economic-protest movements. The Occupy movement began as an assault on "the 1%," a shadowy elite of bankers and financiers charged with running the world for their own benefit. Within a few months, the Anti-Defamation League was noting that anti-Semitic statements and sympathies seemed surprisingly widespread within the Occupy encampments. Compare with other such movements that led to similar results. Are such developments inevitable? If so, what strands in Western (and perhaps non-Western) culture account for this?

5) The Fragility of Public Health. Young and healthy upper-middle-class Americans, when huddled into encampments without modern sanitary facilities, developed a number of diseases, ranging from scabies to lice to tuberculosis, with surprising rapidity. In addition, populations of rats and other vermin exploded. What lessons can be learned about the fragility of public health, and the complacency bred by modern sanitation? Are we similarly complacent in other areas?

6) Class Differences Within Economic Protest Movements. While the Occupy movement's proletariat were sleeping under canvas, many of its leaders were staying in five-star hotels. Six-figure sums of money were collected, but their disbursement was cloudy. Does every movement, however egalitarian in doctrine, inevitably produce its own overclass? Are "egalitarian" movements more prone to such outcomes? Readings: George Orwell's "Animal Farm," Li Zhi-Sui's "The Private Life of Chairman Mao."

It is likely, of course, that the Occupy courses offered will partake of none of the above, and will instead be tedious, dated mashups of Fanon, Marcuse and Frances Fox Piven. But if students are offered no better than that, it will be the fault of their instructors, not of the subject matter.

Mr. Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee. He hosts "InstaVision" on PJTV.com.
E.R. Campbell said:
I have been reading about and watching/listen to report of the "Occupy" movements (I don't think it's one, monolithic 'thing,' yet) with careful albeit not rapt attention. A few observations:

1. Inequality, growing inequality, is both real and problematical;

2. The "children" (my, personal view of them - from being 35-50 years older than most of them) express "frustration" and "disillusionment" with a system which they cannot fathom;

3. What the children see is that there are a very few, very, very rich people - some of whom appear to gain great wealth for little effort - and there are many, many people who do not have enough. "Enough" is not just sufficient to keep body and soul together, a roof over one's head, adequate clothes and some recreation; "enough" means more than that, it appears, to me again, that it means a higher level of comfort and pleasure that with which the traditional "working class" might be content;

(Parenthetically, I do not detect any real concern for the "poor." The "Occupiers" appear, to me, most concerned with the relative decline of the middle class - the class to which they belong. Really poor people do not, because they cannot, afford the time or the money march and stream live video at the same time.)


Niko Salassidis chants as he streams a live video of the Occupy Toronto protest in Toronto, Ont. October 16, 2011.
Protesters have set up camp at Saint James Park near Toronto's financial district.
(Michelle Siu for Globe and Mail)

4. So, what do these "frustrated" and "disillusioned" and, I repeat, inchoate bands of children do? They 'mobilize,' something they can do well because they are skilled social media users and they have the absolute luxury of free time, and then they 'demonstrate;'

5. We get some ideas of what they are against. Thus far I have no idea, not from "Occupy Wall Street," or "Occupy Bay Street" or "Occupy __[insert street name here]__," what they are demonstrating for;

6. I am tempted to look back, before I was born, to the early days of the Great Depression. People 'demonstrated' then, too - about the essential unfairness of the disasters which had befallen them. But we society knew what they wanted: charity;


Hunger march, Edmonton, 1932

7. But in the "dirty thirties" most people (as many as 63% of non farm workers, 75% of all workers) took whatever jobs they could find - two jobs when necessary;

(Parenthetically, again, I can cite known family history - my parents both graduated from university about the time the Great Depression was getting started. They had debts - there were no student loans but family members (both families) had chipped in ($10.00 here, $20.00 there) to finance the last year or so of study and that all had to be repaid. At the same time the good, high paying, professional jobs to which they had looked forward were gone. They had to take more than one lower paying job and live more frugally while they survived, gained experience, paid debts and so on. Maybe attitudes have changed.)

8. So what is the problem? Is it the 1%/99% myth? (Look it up for yourselves, please, you are not bloody helpless - if you were you would be out "occupying" some public park.) Or is it that the Great Recession is so much harder on people than the Great Depression? Or, perhaps, is it that the "children" are too lazy to work and too nervous to steal?

9. Two things about which we can be certain: the children are very media savvy and the media is, comme d'habitude, easily fed/led.

I have said before that the Good Grey Globe's European correspondent Doug Saunders and I rarely agree but I must admit that he has a knack for clarity. This column, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, sent me back a year to rethink what I said then:

Poverty gives way to inequality and the Great Frustration

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Oct. 20 2012

Former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos recently told me a story to explain why he, like a growing number of political leaders, has stopped viewing poverty as his primary problem.

The story involved a poor village in the foothills of the Andes. When Mr. Lagos was education minister in the early 1990s, he built its first school. Later in the decade, as minister of public works, he built the first modern road to the village. Then as president after 2000, his programs delivered the village’s first supplies of clean water, agricultural irrigation and electricity.

And then the presidential election came around. Mr. Lagos campaigned hard in the village he had so dramatically transformed, reminding voters that he had ended poverty there within a decade.

“My opponent? I am not sure he knew where that village was,” Mr. Lagos said. “But he got 60 per cent of the vote there, and I got 40 per cent. Why? After we gave them so many things? Well, what the villagers told me was that those things had made them less poor, but also gave them more stress and made them less happy.”

Water and electricity meant there were now bills to pay, and expensive TVs on which to watch the inaccessible lives of the country’s upper-middle class. With roads came car payments and trips to the city, and the growing discovery of just how poor these newly middle-class villagers really were – and how impossible it would be to bridge that gap.

Around the world, politicians are making the same discovery. Their constituents, who were satisfied simply not to be poor a generation ago, have now entered an era that might be called the Great Frustration. Those people on the lowest edge of the middle class – in both poor and rich countries – have discovered they have little chance of advancing further. In countries such as Canada, they may be starting to slip back.

That’s why inequality has replaced poverty as the great political theme of the moment. Once upon a time, we might have believed the two were related – but it turns out, as leaders from Beijing to Berlin to Bogota are discovering, they’re very different problems.

Five decades ago, Lyndon Johnson built his presidential election campaign around a “war on poverty,” a phrase that was to dominate his country’s politics for a generation. Today, Barack Obama is running a re-election campaign that makes far less mention of poverty, instead focusing on inequality and the frustrations of an American lower-middle class whose situation, financially and emotionally, looks a lot like those Chilean villagers.

In poor countries, the emerging almost middle classes are stuck. In countries such as Canada, the middle classes have seen their incomes and purchasing power stagnate, even slip back somewhat. Inequality has increased – and when that happens, economists have shown that there’s a corresponding collapse of social mobility, the ability to escape your income group for a higher one.

Yet, as much as we use the word “inequality” to describe this problem, we really don’t understand it. Politicians on both ends of the spectrum abuse the term, and suggest unrealistic solutions.

When those on the left discuss inequality, they too often fall for a “lump-of-money fallacy” – the belief there’s a fixed pile of cash, too much of it in the hands of the rich, that needs to be spread around more evenly.

But wealth doesn’t work that way: What the non-rich lack is not a share of the pot but a productive economic situation in which to generate wealth. The problem isn’t the 1 per cent. It’s the 60 per cent whose world of productivity and security is increasingly denied to the lower 40 per cent.

When politicians on the right discuss it, they too often fall for the “zero-sum fallacy”: the belief that fixing inequality through government action will kill wealth creation and, by extension, make everyone poorer. It’s true that less poverty usually equals more inequality – the policies that get people out of poverty (by creating growth) usually benefit the rich even more. When the rich get richer, the poor usually get poorer. But the converse isn’t true: Countries with strong redistributive systems and free economies are usually both wealthy and equal.

And it isn’t inevitable: Both Brazil and South Korea have seen lengthy periods where their citizens became both wealthier and more equal. The U.S. once did that, too, a century ago. Now that the fulcrum has swung from poverty back to equality, maybe it will again.

I agree, fundamentally, with two points:

1. "Wealth doesn’t work that way: What the non-rich lack is not a share of the pot but a productive economic situation in which to generate wealth;" and

2. "Countries with strong redistributive systems and free economies are usually both wealthy and equal."

But, before the usual suspect chime in, read what Saunders said: "Countries with strong redistributive systems and free economies are usually both wealthy and equal."

Equality does not mean eliminating poverty; equality ≠ communism; equality means allowing (almost) everyone to have a chance to participate in "a productive economic situation in which [they can] generate [their own] wealth [through their own use of their own capital and labour]."

I still stick with the nine points I made a year ago, especially 1 through 4, but, as I saw in rural China in 2010, the difference between "poor" and "unequal" is both real and perceived. I visited a region in which real poverty (not enough food, no advanced medical care, backbreaking labour, etc) is, largely, gone, but in which people, who can now see how the (relatively) rich, sophisticated East coast people live, finally understand that, despite having risen out of abject poverty they are, in fact, less equal (with the people in e.g. Beijing or Shanghai) than they were 25 years ago. I do not, in any way, wish to see the Chinese people revert to the poverty which was so depressingly real and widespread in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, but I understand that "happiness" and "equality" are related ~ the really poor, in the 1970s were "happier" because their poverty, which was dreadful, was 'shared' by most people. Now the new lower middle class can see that while they have full bellies, half decent medical care, good education for their kids, etc, they have not "kept up" with much of the country.
The occupy movement reminds me of a story that I had from my first year of university.  I attended The University of King's College in Halifax, NS for the journalism program, and soon discovered that it was a largely philosophy based school with journalism also, and that a large number of "rich" kids went there (total student population of 800, probably 500 or so had gone to private schools such as upper Canada College, son of the guy who owns Dare cookies, daughter of guy who owns Leon's, etc) and a large difference between them and the rest of us.

Now, skip ahead to April of that year when the annual student protest march occured.  The same private school kids, who often talked about how much cheaper university tuition was for mom and dad than the private school, were the ones out protesting.  The "rest of us" attended the classes.  When the aforementioned son of Dare Cookies asked my friend Dave and I why we were going, we just said, "because we paid for it" and got booed by the kids who weren't paying for it.

The occupiers, to me, are the same species.  They have all the luxuries of life (internet, sattelite TV, Iphones, etc) but feel entitled to MAINTAIN that lifestyle once they leave home, the one that mom and dad had paid for.  The reality of working for it isn't there... just the knowledge that there is a gap.
Bird_Gunner45 said:
The occupiers, to me, are the same species.  They have all the luxuries of life (internet, sattelite TV, Iphones, etc) but feel entitled to MAINTAIN that lifestyle once they leave home, the one that mom and dad had paid for.  The reality of working for it isn't there... just the knowledge that there is a gap.

Exactly! They know there's a gap, but they refuse to accept that someone else paid for it. The corollary is that they refuse to pay for it themselves now that the mom/dad money tap has been shut off. It plays into the "everything is someone else's fault" paradigm that developed in the last decade where personal responsibility was cast aside in search of someone else to blame for one's misfortune or bad outcome.


Upon reflection, based on the post below I probably should have said century where I said decade.
ModlrMike said:
Exactly! They know there's a gap, but they refuse to accept that someone else paid for it. The corollary is that they refuse to pay for it themselves now that the mom/dad money tap has been shut off. It plays into the "everything is someone else's fault" paradigm that developed in the last decade where personal responsibility was cast aside in search of someone else to blame for one's misfortune or bad outcome.

The paradigm of which you speak developed long before the last decade ~ it is rooted in the 1830s when we (Britain, mostly) moved from a primarily static, agrarian, family based society with very Confucian values, to a mobile, urban, disconnected society with very liberal (individualistic) values. It took wings one hundred years later, during the Great Depression, when literacy and mass communications, especially film and radio, made the propagation of very conservative and even more illiberal (statist) ideas and values easier. In the 1960s and '70s the "greatest generation," the one that lived through the Great Depression and fought World War II decided on their own, domestic version of never again and through the likes of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Pierre Trudeau created our own culture of entitlement.

Don't blame the kids of the last decade, blame their grandparents.
A very succinct and fitting eulogy for the Occupy movement. Last line sums it up perfectly:


Eulogy for #Occupy: beautiful, brutal postmortem
Cory Doctorow at 8:06 am Wed, Dec 12

Except where indicated, Boing Boing is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution

Quinn Norton's Eulogy for #Occupy is a wrenching, beautiful, long postmortem on the Occupy movement, including an eyes-open (and scathing) critique of what went wrong inside Occupy:

But living in parks, having to rub elbows with the people society was set up to shield from each other, began to stress people and make them twitchy from constant culture shock. Grad students trying to reason with smack addicts was torture for both sides. The GA [General Aseembly] became the main venue for this torture, and sitting through it was like watching someone sandpaper an open wound. Everyone said “Fuck the GA” as a joke, but as time wore on, the laughter was getting too long and too hoarse; a joke with blood in it. The metaphorical pain became less metaphorical with each eviction, with the gnawing feeling that something was coming.

Because the GA had no way to reject force, over time it fell to force. Proposals won by intimidation; bullies carried the day. What began as a way to let people reform and remake themselves had no mechanism for dealing with them when they didn’t. It had no way to deal with parasites and predators. It became a diseased process, pushing out the weak and quiet it had meant to enfranchise until it finally collapsed when nothing was left but predators trying to rip out each other’s throats.

By the time I returned to NY from visiting the camp in DC, exhausted with the pain of six evictions, the NYC GA was a place where women were threatened with beatings, and street kids with calls to the police. All the reasonable people had gotten the fuck out. It had become a gladiator pit no one enjoyed watching. Even Weev, the famous internet troll, didn’t last through the nastiness of the GA I took him to. He left while I wasn’t looking, without saying goodbye. We never spoke about it. I didn’t blame him, and I didn’t have to ask why. It was the tiny, brutal, and bitter politics of failed people.
Ya think?
The Mounties compiled a dossier on the Occupy Ottawa movement, scouring social media sites and even quizzing campus security after protesters held planning sessions at a university, newly released documents show.

Meeting notes show there were also plans to monitor the Confederation Park protest site using a camera mounted to the nearby offices of the National Capital Commission.

The camera is normally pointed at Ottawa’s city hall, the notes say. However, the NCC says it does not operate the camera and it did not use the device to monitor the protests from its offices.

The documents show NCC staff did keep close tabs on the makeshift encampment throughout the occupation, snapping dozens of photographs and reporting on the protesters’ activities.

Details about the surveillance tactics are only now coming to light, some 14 months after police ousted the Occupy Ottawa protesters from Confederation Park in late November 2011. It took the NCC until last week to provide documents in response to an access-to-information request from The Canadian Press ....
The Canadian Press (via National Post), 4 Feb 13
Maybe THAT'll teach those Quebec student protesters ....
Marc-Antoine Dumas would show up for each of his history classes after his student association voted to strike in February 2012, and every time he would be turned away by picketing students. After a month of frustration, he gave up and dropped out.

In a decision that is being called the first of its kind in Quebec, a judge has ordered the Université Laval history students’ association that co-ordinated the blockades to reimburse Mr. Dumas $1,220 in lost tuition and gas money.

The July 26 decision by Judge Daniel Bourgeois of Quebec Court’s small-claims division strikes a blow to student leaders’ claims that their strike votes have the same force as those of trade unions.

The judge dismissed the students’ association’s claim that its right to strike and picket was protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “In fact, nowhere in the law does one find clauses that allow for the triggering of a strike vote or powers that compare to the rights granted to unions,” Mr. Bourgeois wrote ....
National Post, 20 Aug 13