Naomi Klein on Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A protester at the Occupy Wall Street march. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Naomi Klein, syndicated columnist for The Nation and The Guardian and author of The Shock Doctrine  and No Logo, one of the most influential books for the anti-corporate globalization movement, talks about why she's in town to support the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Today is day 20 of the Occupy Wall Street protest, and the movement is growing rapidly as labor unions and disenfranchised people from around the country join in to express their frustration. The demonstration is scheduled to last for two months and is spawning similar movements nationwide. Two members of Congress have signed a statement of support for the movement, and today Naomi Klein speaks at the action that she calls “the shock resistance.”

Klein said the main thesis of her shock doctrine is that many of the policies that are favored by and profitable to the elites, such as privatization of social services, cuts to regulation, are unpopular generally in the country. The great leaps forward for this type of ideology, she said, have come “on the backs of major crises.”

There has long been an understanding among free market economists that in times of crisis you are able to do things that you could not do during normal circumstances, particularly in democratic societies. And when there is a panic, when people are fearful, they tend to trust the experts and they will give up power.

As an example she pointed to the financial crisis of 2008 and the $700 billion TARP program, which was initially opposed but as fear was more and more ramped up, an urgency to pass the legislation intensified.

It was just like, either we pass this thing or the whole world collapses, and they managed to get it through.

She said one of the things that most offended people about the legislation was the lack of provisional requirements attached to the money, rather than the idea of taking strong action. People felt it was unfair that banks were being bailed out while homeowners were left to face foreclosure, but also that the trillions in loans and bail out money came with nothing asked in return.

I made the analogy of, the International Monetary Fund, when they go and bail out Greece, for instance or Italy or anywhere... they always have quite an extensive list of demands. They used to be called “structural adjustments” So why didn’t we structurally adjust the banks?

Klein said the image that moved her to leave her home in Canada and hurry to Wall Street was that of a young woman holding a sign that read, simply, “I care about you.”

The more time that I spend with these young protesters, the more inspired I become that their project is really about trying to change the culture that we live in so that it is less focused on greed. Yes, they want to change the banking system too, but I think they want more than that.

She said while the protesters have drawn criticism for being amorphous in their goals, she sees that as a strength of the protest.

I’m just happy that they are not foreclosing on the big dreams right now, because I think it would be really dispiriting if they came up with a list of wonky demands that you can read in a very good New York Times column.

She said no one--not the protesters here, nor the demonstrators that toppled the Mubarak regime in Egypt – have perfectly formed ideas of what a better world looks like, but that should not stop them from protesting what they understand to be harmful to their country.

She contrasted the statement of caring from the protester on Wall Street with what she called the “Let them die” moment during the Republican presidential primary debates.

This is what we’re taught to do. To live in a society that puts greed above all else. You have to learn not to care about other people, and it’s quite an art. And if you work on Wall Street, you’re really, really good at it. You’re really good at disconnecting what you do all day and the way it affects real people and real lives.

Yesterday the AFL-CIO joined the protest, bringing a large establishment voice to support the younger protesters.  Klein said that it may be the youth of the people who started the movement that is inspiring hope in older and more established factions.

It is a lot harder to blame these young people for the problems that we have, because a nineteen year old who is looking at massive student debt, and graduating into an economy in which she’s not going to get a job, did absolutely nothing to create this crisis. And they can say that very clearly, and it’s a very powerful moral rallying cry.

She said that in Chile, in Spain, in protests nationwide, it is young people leading the way. The movements, she said, are not the same, but the spirit is contagious and all ultimately look to end the high existing economic inequality.

You watch US media and the question is “why are they protesting?” where, everywhere else in the world, the question is, “what took them so long?”|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE


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Comments [66]

Voicegig from UK

A full copy of Naomi Klein's speech is available for free on Voicegig:

Oct. 08 2011 08:48 AM
Tony from Sacarmento,CA

I support the movement,however there is a need for a leadership which i hope will emerge after all the noise is over.
I think the democratic part needs to be turned upside down by the labor movement.
Democratic party need not to be the other side of the coin and fight the republicans who serves the rich more.They need to be a new shiny coin that will appeal to the masses.
A new labor movement National leadership to fight to take over the democratic party and turn it into the people's party.

Oct. 07 2011 02:49 PM

O.K. Here are some concrete steps to help end the economic crisis. 1) Wall Street sales tax--you pay it--why don't they?--you could gear it towards high volume/high frequency trading so you don't hit the little guy 2)make federal reserve give 0% loans to states for infrastructure and manufacturing (QE for Main Street) 3)stop all home foreclosures for the duration of economic crisis 4) retool defense plants to build high speed rail and other such projects, thereby keeping highly skilled workers employed and using defense budget money for more productive means 5) end any austerity budget cuts--they result in destruction of human resources and ultimately less tax revenue--austerity only quickens the descent into a depression. You can't cut your govt. sector either as it is your only viable portion of your economy left. Use it as an engine of stimulus and a tax base. The federal reserve can give QE to Main Street at 0% interest. The resultant increase in domestic goods will retard inflation. Also, if the rich want a tax incentive to stimulate economy, then let them build a manufacturing plant first and then get a tax credit. Don't give them tax breaks first and hope they will invest in production at home. They will just keep money for themselves or invest it in Wall Street casino. In addition, stop propping up zombie banks which hold vast amounts of toxic derivatives debt. It it is too large to ever be payed back. People and civilization come first, not finance capital's risky adventures. These are the kind of concrete steps that OccupyWallStreet must address if they wish to put some teeth into their movement. They can't remain obsessed with process for much longer. Get some specific demands and a program to deal with the economic crisis together. The window of opportunity won't be open for much longer.

Oct. 07 2011 08:17 AM

I totally disagree with Naomi Klein about it being good not to have a plan, program or even a list of "wonky" demands. This is exactly what you need or in the end all you'll wind up with is a touchy-feely catharsis in the park. This may satisfy some emotional needs, but that is all. It is known that this movement has modeled itself after the "indignados" movement in Spain. They have been protesting for much longer than OccupyWallStreet and haven't gotten anywhere. Spain is still locked in an economic crisis and its people continue to suffer under austerity measures. The critical mass is already there and the discourse has been opened up. Now it's time to get down to business (banal as that may be) and formulate a plan with its list of "wonky" demands and all to get out of the economic crisis. If the OWS movement doesn't do this, then a bunch of hacks will just direct the energy of OWS into the campaign to reelect Obama.

Oct. 06 2011 11:44 PM


Let me start from a common ground - I agree with you that the country is in an "unhappy place".

The question is how to get out of the mess we are in.

I believe there has to be specific steps that can put us on the road to recovery. These are:

1. Restoration of accountability - prosecution of white collar crimes before the expiration of statute of limitation.
2. Election Finance reform
3. Universal Health care
4. Some degree of protectionism in order to stop outsourcing and importation of cheap foreign labor

My concern is that Utopian demands from people like you will make such reforms impossible.

Oct. 06 2011 04:46 PM
Susan from Manhattan

I'm astonished at these comments. Did anyone listen to what she said? The significance of this protest doesn't seem to be about details or plans or programs, it's about principle and what principles are followed to organize human society. Greed, overemphasis on profit, exploitation - all aspects of materialism - have brought us to this unhappy place. Bringing the underlying assumptions to light will allow us to change the structures they create. You can say greed is part of human nature - so is altruism - so is "I care about you" - those are the essence of being human, and can also be instilled and cultivated. What if we examined the principle of justice, and allowed it to inform all of our practice and policy? We worship gain in this country, and we lose by it. Saying "it'll never change" prevents us from cultivating what is latent within us, and within our society.

Oct. 06 2011 04:04 PM
Katherine Jackson from LES

The best commentary yet, and especially her response to the facile criticism, heard so often, of the Occupy Wall Street-ers "lack of focus." Listen, and be inspired!

Oct. 06 2011 03:35 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ sanych -

So simplistic...again. There is no need to "buy" anything you just need to see that there's is way more than what you claim. Protectionism is but ONE part of Germany's social democratic success and they can't even do that on the Chinese level because of the EU). There is their federal industrial/economic planning, inclusion of labor into their corporate boardrooms, wage-setting, innovative work sharing programs, provision of healthcare, stricter banking regulations, and, yes, a strong "culture" of work

Likewise, in Canada, the ENORMOUS difference of reducing the personal cost of healthcare to its society by making it universal, is followed by stronger banking regulation and capital requirements (hey, they didn't meltdown like the US did because of this), expense limits for campaigns/candidates, VAT/GST taxes, etc. Similar, eh, not the same.

What do you think, the US doesn't have a culture (in fact there are and always will be many, no one EVER suggests one? There is no need to reeducate (ludicrous) which is just a scare tactic that the Right uses to avoid comprehensive planning, even on a corporate level, because we already have the answers, some just don't like to do what is needed to be competitive in a globalized economy. The invisible hand will take care of it, correct?

Time to start sucking your thumb, there, eh sanych?

And, by the way, protests now are simply about energy, so who is down there now is not as important as what comes out of it, if anything, and whether it unites segments of society and works its way into institutions. Maybe, maybe not.

Oct. 06 2011 01:57 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em -

I literally work everyday connecting people (poor to rich) with freshwater resources as well as teach people about how to conserve water and use it more efficiently. Even with higher degrees I spurned more lucrative jobs to take this career.

I provide some money to charity, but that's WILL ALWAYS be drop in the proverbial since it's through the tax code where most revenue will have to come to keep the richest, most complex republic in the history of the world hum. States don't run on charity and it's silly and inane to argue that people should "donate" to the Treasury. The only way it works is if there is a broad contribution from all parts of society. Period.

All people pay taxes. 50% don't pay Federal taxes. The middle class should probably pay SLIGHTLY higher taxes over time with a more progressive but not excessive revised tax code. Either that or cut out many of the tax loopholes, lower the tax rates across the board but have a slightly more progressive tax code with one or two more tax brackets. Increase the Cap. Gains to 20%

Certainly spending cuts will have to occur, but some of the drastic ones will be offset by tax revenue on high earners and Cap. gains with sensible cuts being made, especially reducing foolish war-making. Tweak SS, but it's really the healthcare system (Medicare/Medicaid being just part) that needs addressed.

So, what's your story oh Wise One?

Oct. 06 2011 01:21 PM
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope Brooklyn

Thank you Naomi. Thank you to everyone who is allowing themselves to care about our world, our future, our lives - opting out of the lie and the hype that advertisers and private interests promote and proclaim. Hoping that this movement will also include the revolt against animal abuse so flagrant and prevalent. Here are some pics from the oct 5 protests -

Oct. 06 2011 01:21 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em -

I literally work everyday connecting people (poor to rich) with freshwater resources as well as teach people about how to conserve water and use it more efficiently. Even with higher degrees I spurned more lucrative jobs to take this career.

I provide some money to charity, but that's WILL ALWAYS be drop in the proverbial since it's through the tax code where most revenue will have to come to keep the richest, most complex republic in the history of the world hum. States don't run on charity and it's silly and inane to argue that people should "donate" to the Treasury. The only way it works is if there is a broad contribution from all parts of society. Period.

All people pay taxes. 50% don't pay Federal taxes. The middle class should probably pay SLIGHTLY higher taxes over time with a more progressive but not excessive revised tax code. Either that or cut out many of the tax loopholes, lower the tax rates across the board but have a slightly more progressive tax code with one or two more tax brackets. Increase the Cap. Gains to 20%

Certainly spending cuts will have to occur, but some of the drastic ones will be offset by tax revenue on high earners and Cap. gains with sensible cuts being made, especially reducing foolish war-making. Tweak SS, but it's really the healthcare system (Medicare/Medicaid being just part) that needs addressed.

So, what's your story oh Wise One?

Oct. 06 2011 01:20 PM

@ amalgam

""Protesting greed" is embodied in the state politic-economic structures and culture of Germany, Sweden, Canada..."

First of all, I don't buy it. Germany's success is due to the policy of protectionism - Germans insist on keeping its manufacturing base. Other than having universal health care, Canadian economic system is very similar to the US. Thus, your statement appear to be sucked out of you thumb.

As far as your claim of "culture" - this only confirms my earlier point of your types calling for re-education (or eradication) of people with "incorrect" culture.

Oct. 06 2011 12:09 PM
James from Manhattan

"History has it that it was the salespeople of the banks that falsified documents"

So every one of the hundreds of thousands of defaulted mortgages that caused the mortgage meltdown and corresponding market collapse was falsified? Check the history that you referencing. While antics went on, only a small portion of the hundreds of thousands of defaulted mortgages had falsified paperwork, a drop in the bucket, a rounding error on the collapse. BTW, most of the "falsified paperwork" was to cover up the poor credit history and income of the borrower in order to conform the mortgages to the pool and thereby trick The secondary market into accepting them. A unsavory practice indeed, but driven only by the ridiculous demand for mortgages in the first place. This brings you straight back to a borrower knowingly taking out a mortgage that he or she could not afford. Hey, I would love a Ferrari but I know I can't afford one. "Poor" people can't make that same simple value calculation for a house? You borrowed money you should have never borrowed, how can that be someone else's fault? Was someone standing on a street corner telling you that a mortgage payment that was half your monthly take home pay was something you could sustain? I love how individual economic responsibility is never a tenet of anyone's protest movement. There always has to be a boogie man out there because there's absolutely no possible way that "poor" people game systems and take advantage. When "rich" people do it it's called greed, but when "poor" people do its called necessity. I wonder how many home finance and debt repayment "workshops" are being held out there in the Occupy Wall Street encampment. There's an end to the money somewhere folks, just ask Greece.

Oct. 06 2011 12:01 PM

@ amalgam

You obviously had not been to Liberty park.

Most of the people there protest "corporations", "corporate greed", etc., without having a clue of what it means or how to solve the current problems.

It is all "I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it any more". Good luck!

Oct. 06 2011 11:53 AM
Calls'em from Here, there & everywhere.

@amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night:

what do you do to help the poor? How much charity do you give each year? what does your company do? Have you donated money to the US treasury to help the poor? Do you know that close to 50% of the population pays no tax. Would you be for a minimum tax on these people - just to make things fair?

Oct. 06 2011 11:18 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ sanych -

"Protesting greed" is embodied in the state politic-economic structures and culture of Germany, Sweden, Canada, etc...under totally different democratic circumstances at the will of the people that you seem to ignore in favor of 20th Century Totalitarian states (better read some H. Arendt "theory of totalitarianism").

Moreover, protesting greed is fine and is part of our 1st Amend. rights does NOT mean that "human nature" should be "outlaw[ed] or eradicate[d], which is "stupid" to even bring up because NO ONE suggested that. Of course, no state needs to outlaw human nature when, as in both the U.S. and Europe with a long histories, capitalist (not "socialist") regulations on capital requirements, insurance, interest rates, etc.

Certainly no need for imprecise, unsubstantiated, rhetorical overreaching.

Oct. 06 2011 11:05 AM
John A.

Trickle Down was the great lie, or the great hope if you want to be optimistic with it. It is still with us. Financial analysts say that taxation in the 1960's was much more progressive. Today we have massive Fed debt, Republicans who love trickle (2 benefits: more populist votes, more crony money). Trickle down lives because of false hope. If we just leave business alone they will take their money and Not offshore it (as they are doing), but invest in your job. I'd like to see that Ideal skewered and dead by the next election.

Oct. 06 2011 10:55 AM
Calls'em from Downtown looking for commie agitators

@ amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night... boo hoo...

There were 25,000 people at a TEA Party rally at City Hall two years ago and not a peep from WNYC or most of the lame stream media. Local Fox stations did cover the event.

These "public" (really run by money from leftist elites) stations need to be fair or else they need to be privatized.

Oct. 06 2011 10:53 AM

@jgarbuz -

I wouldn't want to eat them but I certainly don't want them to eat us!

Before the Internet, we could be pretty certain that the rich could only take so much of their assets with them if they chose to leave the country. Modern telecommunications has made that just one more relic of a bygone era - like keypunch operators and telephone booths.

I don't think it is reasonable to let accumulated labor, i.e. capital gains, be taxed at a lower rate than regular ol' labor labor. If it were call to make I'd tax income from foreign companies more than domestic sources.

Those to whom much is given, much is asked.

Oct. 06 2011 10:48 AM
Steve from Manhattan

I support America and the Police, not the "protesters". Looking forward to WNYCs guests and discussion as to what we can do to support the poilice, and get these troublemakers out of our city.

Oct. 06 2011 10:45 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ gary from queens -

Your analysis is simplistic, one-sided, dogmatic propaganda; good luck working with that in the real world!

Oct. 06 2011 10:43 AM

"protesting greed" - this is what stupidity looks like.

Greed is in human nature, you can't outlaw or eradicate it, although many tried - just ask Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

Oct. 06 2011 10:43 AM
Cheryl Petersen from Astoria New York

Naomi Klein, please don't say that we who work in New York city don't care about people. My husband is a banker/lawyer (both of us former musicians) at one of the big banks and we live right smack in a great low cost new york neighborhood (2 housing projects nearby) and we're democrats and we make sure to spend a lot of our money right here in our neighborhood. We are practically the only English speaking people here and we see and experience every day the lives of people who don't have what we have. And I grew up in Sweden and I'm a liberal - it's in my blood and I always thought that Americans are stupid, not being politically active in a way that takes care of their own lives the way they do in Sweden. We even have a best friend who's from the "low" class, low income and always votes republican!! It will take a long long time for American progressives to really have any success. The Swedes have been totally committed to it since the 1800's. You have to be very very committed and never sit out elections like some progressives do here. And you always need to have high voter turnout. We don't think society would be worth living in even if you make a lot of money if people are suffering and poor. We see that in Sweden - everybody is healthy and that's way better for everybody. And cheaper for society.

Oct. 06 2011 10:41 AM
John A.

"Let's not forget that the root cause of the economic crisis is people taking out mortgages that they could not pay back."
--> Who did the lying? History has it that it was the salespeople of the banks that falsified the paperwork.

Oct. 06 2011 10:37 AM
Erin McCandless from Brooklyn

I liked Naomi's point about the disconnect of Wall Street from people, from what matters in life. However, it is not just Wall Street! Wall Street is a reflection of America - what percentage of the population have stock investments with no clue of what they are invested in? Certainly the majority. In the US there is exceedingly limited degrees of awareness of "socially conscious investment" as alternative way of investing...My brother worked at Etrade and I was intransigent about wanting my little $ to go towards social conscious investment, it was as if I was speaking Latin. This is something the protesters should be focusing on in my view.

Oct. 06 2011 10:35 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em - You're always at a different place depending...just saying.

Your simplistic descriptions of both social and economic modes and structures (i.e., Canada, US, Sweden, Germany, etc...) fits well with your always dismissive tone. To wit; you rely on rhetoric without any substance and can't be heeded.

Oct. 06 2011 10:33 AM
Susan from nyc

Thank you Naomi. Occupy Wall Street is about more than protesting greed. This country is losing its HUMANITY. We need to reclaim our humanity. I was there yesterday at the protest and it was amazing. The majority of the people were intelligent and civil and some of the signs were very caring indeed. But when I got home and turned on the TV, the media focused on the one incident of violence. The media and the politicians are missing the point.

Oct. 06 2011 10:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

You can't eat the rich. Their private jets can take them anywhere they want to go. WE can only eat each other.

Oct. 06 2011 10:31 AM
ellen b from nyc

brian, you are giving these condescending callers too much talk time....are you picking the callers who are against the protests just to sharpen controversy. I marched yesterday...1st time in decades...the crowd was huge, many middle aged working people.....these nay sayers calling in saying they're having fun but won't matter are scared and can't admit it. They have no solutions only criticism, so let's hear them, yes, but don't let them drone on and on while klein has to sit their waiting to answer.

Oct. 06 2011 10:30 AM
joe g from LI

the crux really is that we have become such a divided country ( and looking back to archie bunker and hippies and hardhats
maybe we have been for a long time if not forever )----i have co workers who are upper middleclass by income who are fox news types who rail against obama and the democrats and unions and have no intellectual objectivity whatsoever---they dream of being richer someday i suppose--
( one of whom has health insurance thru his wife's unionized job as a nurse while i pay almost $300 a week )---this hypocrisy is typical and leaves me very pessimistic

Oct. 06 2011 10:30 AM
Sasha from NYC

The wealth of the country has become concentrated in the hands of the very wealthy, 1% of the population. Many of us think that this is at the expense of the rest of us. Yes, we are trashing about but this protest is an attempt to try to articulate this very real problem in a graphic, visible way. 99% of us can't be taken for granted. This is how movements start. The articulation will come. By the way, I am 70 years old. Stay tuned.

Oct. 06 2011 10:29 AM
Calls'em from Downtown with eyes wide open

Coo coo, coo coo... smile Naomi, you're on candid camera...

Brian, I love ya, but I think you need to move to Greece with your family to see how well the socialist/unionist really model works.

Canada is only still in business because of energy riches. America is richer, but is deliberately being killed by socialist environmentalist crazies.

Oct. 06 2011 10:29 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Current caller is fundamentally wrong. The TP didn't seize anything, the Left slept thru the 2010 election cycle.

Expecting some reversal of the Obama wave in 2010, the TP-inspired Right pushed harder and turned the expected rollback into a rout.

I blame Tim Kaine for not adequately sizing the Democratic effort to stay in power. Dismantling the the election machinery of 2008 turns out to have been a mistake but that is hindsight talking. Thinking that the GOP would eventually horsetrade rather than let the country stew for four years was wrong. But what reasonable person would have thought they could be that treasonous?

Oct. 06 2011 10:29 AM
john from office

James from Manhattan, the problem was that they were approved for mortgages they could not afford, pushed by Clintion and HUD, under Cuomo.

Oct. 06 2011 10:29 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

As Klein reminds us (merely by her presence), the OWS is a (finally) homegrown movement against the Neoliberal form of economic globalization, which has been acknowledged and studied for 30+ years, and have been opposed on a global level for at least 20.

Many of us have been involved in this movement in an academic/scholarly/advocate way for decades and on a global scale across many countries.

Oct. 06 2011 10:28 AM
Brent from Midtown

It may be time to start a new nation to set an example

Republic of Olancho


Oct. 06 2011 10:28 AM

99% of 99% are dumb - they just want bread and circuses.

Oct. 06 2011 10:27 AM
sammy from nyc

to the first caller ....people are protesting not because they are asking for things/services they don't want to pay for....they are protesting because they are losing there jobs right and left....also why are you looking at jobs as a form of charity.....

Oct. 06 2011 10:27 AM
KD McNulty from Chappaqua, NY

I consider myself independent, who finds myself more and more disconnected from the right. What upsets me about the TARP and 2008 is not that we bailed out the banks, but more that we did nothing to change public policy and prosecute wrong-doing. It seems like responsible industries and individuals walked away scot-free. This is why I am happy to see Occupy Wall Street raise awareness.

Oct. 06 2011 10:27 AM
gary from queens

Dodd Frank did nothing to deal with the overleveraging by fannie and freddie. It did nothing but stiffle investment.

EPA is enforcing a thousand new regs to finish the job. Some regs even Europe wouldnt touch.

There are no jobs because Obama chased away private investment with his stimulus (gov) spending. read about it here:

Oct. 06 2011 10:27 AM
George from Westchester

It seems to be about a wholesale change in government and how government business is conducted - lobbying through money. I don't think they want small change they want wholesale change, as in other counties. And as a response to the previous caller, much of the TARP was paid back by playing the spread between Treasuries and the near nil pct they were charged on the money. In essence free money.

Oct. 06 2011 10:26 AM

Naomi, I have a program that is the answer to the problems you are discussing (OWS), on a global scale, not just national or local, regarding finance, banking, "culture" change, and so on, with results to prove it. I got the support of the people of Russia (government, military, mafias, ministers, general public, etc.) in 5 months, with a 6-week program, after first facing hatred so extreme I had doubts about my staying alive, and other results equally as powerful. If you are interested you have my permission to get my email address and contact me. We can discuss what can be done, and how to do it.

Oct. 06 2011 10:26 AM

To the (self identified rich) caller Frank:

1. People are protesting because they are frustrated. They are gaining energy, the focus hopefully will come. I loved that sign, "Soon the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich." Makes ya think! Or it should. Perhaps the rich will be prompted to REfocus?

2. That TARP was "paid back" is only beside the point if you believe that the government is an investment bank, or re-reinsurance fund. Are you a communist? If so then you are speaking exactly along your party line. (And some of the world's wealthiest individuals, as you probably know, are communists!).

I understand your instinct to mock the protestors and defend corporations, but keep in mind that since 2008, the old arguments of rich men often sound downright silly now.

Oct. 06 2011 10:25 AM
moose from jc

Ms. Klein mentioned that students who took out massive loans were made 'some kind of promise' of some insured future- That to me seems like wishful thinking, almost rightly punished in a way...

Oct. 06 2011 10:25 AM
Laura from UWS

Where is the real power?

I heard that it's not on Wall Street, but more on 57th St. with the hedge funds.

Where, really?

Oct. 06 2011 10:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

Where the "blank" is Naomi getting her information from? I will say again, unless someones asks THIS progressive their opinion directly, NO ONE should be speaking in general terms, for me!!

President Obama will win a second term - mark my words!

Oct. 06 2011 10:24 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Martin Chuzzlewit

Good call, Frank.

Bailouts are OK if they are for General Motors so that they can transfer it to UAW union coffers.....or for states to bailout their bloated public union pension plans.

Oct. 06 2011 10:23 AM
Edward from NJ

@Jon from Mahwah, if you do a Google search you get ridiculous sets of demands produced by individuals who may or may not be part of the movement. Some media recognize that these demands aren't those of the movement. Others find that they fit the planned narrative and run with them.

Oct. 06 2011 10:23 AM

The Tarp may have been paid back, but GM is making cars again and the banks aren't making an economy we can use.

Oct. 06 2011 10:23 AM

How can you say that these disparate, simultaneous world movements are not related? People are FED UP with the status quo Corporatism!

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple.

Oct. 06 2011 10:23 AM
james from manhattan

Let's not forget that the root cause of the economic crisis is people taking out mortgages that they could not pay back.

Oct. 06 2011 10:22 AM
Calls'em from Downtown videoing the perps

These people need to be protesting 0bama and the Dems who broke every promise they made to the left. Listening to Naomi is like listening to one of my room mates in college doing acid in the late 1960s. What planet is she living on??? By the way this Soros funded "event" does have a crazy list of demands that rival George McGovern's giant platform in 1972. Another failure. What a joke. Go back to Canada, ay.

Oct. 06 2011 10:21 AM
John A.

The "Greed is Good" revolution was slow, popular, and years in the making. If the kids can turn it around in one generation, they deserve Much... respect, responsibility, etc.

Oct. 06 2011 10:20 AM
gary from queens

Yes, and Obama "cares"---at least for his friends. he has given taxpayer money to his rich friends, and whom he deems poor, to stimulate the economy. it hasn't worked under obama, or under Hoover and FDR.

The conservative plan, on its face, appears not to care. But investment with the aim of earning profits is what creates wealth, value, and jobs. It works.

One protestor said to Fox news that he would never work for a corporation. There's you answer. These young kids are idiots.

Oct. 06 2011 10:20 AM
Ralph Johnson

it seems that the major companies wanted to have global free trade and free business, but now it seems that people realize that it also works the other way. Where people now realize they have power to band together to protect all this free profit and money.

Oct. 06 2011 10:20 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Thank You Naomi. It's amazing to me that the media need to have some "demands" or talking points in order to understand (or categorize) what's going on. Did they ask protesters for demands in Tahrir Square? Did we present demands at Lexington and Concord?

The mainstream (corporate) media apparently needs to belittle and patronize the OCCUPY WALL STREET movement because they (and their corporate masters) feel truly threatened for the first time. Because for the first time, this is a pure people's movement about WE THE PEOPLE. Simply put, we care about all of us!

Oct. 06 2011 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What self-righteous blather.

Oct. 06 2011 10:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Here is "change I can believe in." We got rich after WWII, when everyone else became poor. When everyone else started to compete, we borrowed a lot of money to try to feel rich. And now, that debt has collapsed, and a lot of people are going to die poorer than when they were born, myself included!

That is "Change I can Believe IN," because it is reality, like it or not.

One thing that will never change. The rich will always get richer, because they can always move to greener pastures, which may be East of Eden today.

Oct. 06 2011 10:18 AM
Brent from Midtown

Please ask Naomi if the cloward-piven strategy was an early shock doctrine methodology. Could it be used today in the OWS movement?

Oct. 06 2011 10:17 AM
Jon from Mahwah

I'm getting really tired of hearing that their "demands are vague". The US media, on every level, seems to be failing to do a simple Google search. Why is this protest understood by the global media, but not even in NYC itself?

Oct. 06 2011 10:16 AM
Brent from Midtown

Please ask Naomi if the cloward-piven strategy was an early shock doctrine methodology. Could it be used today in the OWS movement?

Oct. 06 2011 10:16 AM


Here's a laca link for you

Oct. 06 2011 10:14 AM

As soon as the professional left gets involved this movement will die. They along with the Tea party are part of the problem. I cannot wait for the Hollywood types to weight in with their LaLa land opinions. I like that it is average people out there and am starting to see their point.

Oct. 06 2011 10:12 AM

Naomi, thanks for showing up!! Thanks for your brilliant and insightful writing!!

Oct. 06 2011 10:11 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

This business of the RIght and now the Left going to the streets reminds me of what happened in Germany after WWI, and what it eventually led to.

Oct. 06 2011 10:05 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Has Naomi Klein ever heard of Rosa Luxembourg?

Oct. 06 2011 10:01 AM

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