Revolution - Page 2
Old 10-07-2011, 07:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm going to start fresh because I'm not sure that I can get my points across adequately by trying to intervene into what is effectively a two-person conversation.

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Originally Posted by Benzo View Post
I have decided to post some feelings in light of "occupy wall street". It really got me to thinking. As a preamble I really hope we can keep any debate that spurs out of this civil and not personal. I am not going to reference anything, or wiki "facts" to back up what I am saying because this is more just an emotional response to something I can't quite wrap my head around....

...Revolution

I understand that my views of the world, politics and money leave me on an island of sorts and thats ok, but as a look back on history and its great revolutions I can't help but think that those on the barricades in france or fighting for their freedom in southern US, would look at most the people standing on wall street with disgust.

Historically people fought for the right to vote and have a free opinion, they fought for the right to earn money and they fought for the right to eat in some cases the fought for the right to exist.

What are these people fighting? Capitalism? Money? Corporations? I am not going to take my opinion from sound bites from the news as I have come to the conclusion that all media is biased and you will never get the truth anyway.

They stand there in protest of a system, that while not perfect has provided the greatest opportunity of wealth to the most amount of people. Why do they care if a corporation makes billions of dollars and a bunch of shareholders are getting rich? Is it because they feel they should be rich too?
Is their problem not then with the government and while I disagree, why are they not protesting the white house? Instead, naively they sing the praises of Barrack Obama who took more money from "wall street" backers than any president in history.

I just wish I could get a clear answer on what great evils "Wall Street" has brought upon them? They have almost everything they could ask for including the ability to protest.

There was a time, and in some countries it would still happen where at the first sign of protest they would be shot. All great revolutions were fought with a clear understanding of what injustice needs to be reversed. I just don't understand what they are fighting against, or I should say that their anger is misdirected.

They have the right to protest, that revolution was fought long a go by both liberals and conservatives, rich and poor and I do not begrudge them exercising that right, I just hope it isn't being taken advantage of.

I just can't help but think that those that rose up against real injustice are not looking down and with a sigh and saying "what the fuck?"
You raise some points that have been on my mind.

For example, when I first heard that people were protesting Wall Street, I was left wondering: why not criticize consumerism? Surely you can see how the preference for needless products over the well-being of others is a serious fault on the part of consumers, too? When you go home tonight to watch Two and a Half Men while tweeting on your iPad, do you not see how that is similarly irresponsible and greedy?


However, that is simply one story, one perspective. One thing I have noticed is that it seems that while the protesters agree on one central point (Wall Street needs to change), there seems to be a great deal of disagreement on just about everything else. There are socialists and Tea Party members there. Essentially, this is a populist movement, so it is not at all surprising that you will see a patchwork of ideologies represented. Some of these people are legitimately willing to give up the sort of consumerism and capitalism that they are complaining about. Some of these people are there because they believe that Wall Street has a disproportionate sway on the government. Some of these people are there because they just want to advance whatever their personal cause is. I think trying to denigrate the entire protest because of the cultural context in which it takes place is a bit unfair. Some members may be hypocrites, but the fundamental points still stand: is it not the case that capitalism as a whole tends to value the protection and acquisition of capital above all other things? Is it not the case that many on Wall Street are pursuing their own financial interests and not those of the greater community?


I'd also like to point out that what is happening in this thread is as old as protest itself. Assuming that you're referring to the US Civil War and the French Revolution, I feel like it is extremely misleading to call that "fighting for something real" (my summary, not your quote) while this is just a bunch of hooey. The US Civil War and the French Revolution were not strictly matters of the righteous fighting for their liberty, and faced many of the same challenges (and criticisms) that you see here.



I may not have clearly addressed what seems to be your basic question: what are they fighting for? Well, they are fighting for many things, since they seem to be unified in only one particular respect. Especially when movements are young, it takes a little while to tidy up the groundfloor and get a clear framework off which one can expand, although it has to start with collecting people and finding a common cause (which is what I believe is happening). I don't see that as a good reason to shoot down the protests, and in fact see some glimpses of rationality that I could agree with.

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Old 10-07-2011, 07:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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An aside about logic, fallacies, hypocrisy, etc.


An argument either is a logical fallacy or it is not. It is often not hard to tell, either, you just need to be familiar with them. It is also my subjective opinion, based on a limited experience, that those who object the most to being called out on a fallacy are often those who are not familiar with them. To hear your argument being described as illogical or fallacious seems deeply upsetting to those who aren't used to that sort of discussion. In my background, it is entirely normal and expected to analyze the logic of all arguments, so it is second-nature for me to point out such incidents, perhaps without properly understanding how others will react.


The two points I think trane was driving at:

1) If there is an argument against the behaviour of a system in the aggregate, then pointing out problems in particular instances of the many moving parts does not logically address the argument being made about the aggregate. In this context, saying something about the behaviour of many protesters does not speak against the protest per se.

2) Charges of hypocrisy do absolutely nothing to quell the arguments being made. Suppose I were to argue that eating too much sugar was bad for you. You could reply "But you eat sugar all the time!" Would that address at all the point I'm making? I could very easily answer with "Well, I'm a bad and weak person, and it's not my claim that sugar is easy to cut consumption on, but you really should eat less sugar." In the context of this conversation, the fact that many people partake in a corrupt system doesn't actually mean that the system isn't corrupt and shouldn't be changed. Note that I'm not asserting that it is a corrupt system; just trying to point out the logic.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:18 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Jeffrey Sachs says it all for me. This guy should have been Obama's chief of staff. Anyway - if you don't want to watch it all, the bit from his book, thirty seconds in, wraps up much of the root of what I think stirs people to move. The Inside Job also does a good job of laying out the need to act against Wall Street, using facts and the voices of those who came up with the schemes.

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Old 10-07-2011, 11:42 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Old 10-08-2011, 02:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
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so what are they supposed to do at protests? wear nothing? they're protesting at the fact that the CEOS and higher staff of these corporations are pretty much paying 2% of taxes while the average person has to pay 15% (rough estimate)
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Old 10-08-2011, 02:23 PM   #26 (permalink)
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If RP gets elected then I will have my faith restored in civilization... well, at least the people that reside in the U.S.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:29 AM   #27 (permalink)
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so what are they supposed to do at protests? wear nothing? they're protesting at the fact that the CEOS and higher staff of these corporations are pretty much paying 2% of taxes while the average person has to pay 15% (rough estimate)
If they're buying the products they're still supporting this "evil system".
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:04 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DVS View Post
If they're buying the products they're still supporting this "evil system".
Who called it an evil system? The problem is that it isn't working for a lot of people, and that there just aren't a lot of ways for people to impact it and their own lives, other than trying to be better consumers. Your little picture shows me the emptiness in that pursuit. If people can't take hold of citizenship rather being defined by what products they buy, then democracy is pretty useless, especially when corporations are given unlimited access to the levers of power.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:29 AM   #29 (permalink)
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If RP gets elected then I will have my faith restored in civilization... well, at least the people that reside in the U.S.
If that happens i'll lose mine, whats left of it. The RP is a joke, which shows in their presidential candidates. Mitt Romney is in the lead now with 25%, which shows the lack of confidence in any of them. Every single candidate has problems with their own base which is why they were clammering for Chris Christie, who BTW would never get the nomination because he's too liberal in his views. But it shows how desperate right wing nuts are for someone they can fully get behind.
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:13 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Jeffrey Sachs says it all for me. This guy should have been Obama's chief of staff. Anyway - if you don't want to watch it all, the bit from his book, thirty seconds in, wraps up much of the root of what I think stirs people to move. The Inside Job also does a good job of laying out the need to act against Wall Street, using facts and the voices of those who came up with the schemes.
In addition to watching "The Inside Job" and reading "The Price of Civilization", I might also suggest the book "The Trouble with Billionaires".

I remember something from Psychology 101 along the lines of "People only accept things that reinforce their belief systems", so I don't hold a lot of hope that Benzo will read these books.

I'm perplexed by people who don't understand what the Wall Street protests are about.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:55 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Who called it an evil system? The problem is that it isn't working for a lot of people, and that there just aren't a lot of ways for people to impact it and their own lives, other than trying to be better consumers. Your little picture shows me the emptiness in that pursuit. If people can't take hold of citizenship rather being defined by what products they buy, then democracy is pretty useless, especially when corporations are given unlimited access to the levers of power.
If they can afford all these luxury's its obvious they aren't really hurting as bad as most. Maybe they should look at the ones much more less fortunate then them. You know the guys who can't take the day off to parade wall street. Or the ones getting nickled and dimed to assemble those products overseas. Or how about the people dying of diseases that we are fortunate enough to recover from because of care we have.

Maybe the wealth has been taken away from this group but maybe the greed hasn't
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:21 PM   #33 (permalink)
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why wallstreet? maybe because its home to the massive financial ponzi scheme where bankers, connected fund managers and traders get access to the free money via the federal reserve and collect their massive bonuses that american's fit the bill for in one way or another. Paper pushing parasites that bring nothing material an economy yet have gamed the system and have central banks all around the world in their pocket, supplying the cheap money to keep the ponzi going, inflating their way out and profiting because when you have access to free loans you can buy up all the assets that will rise as the dollar falters from the printing which they are behind.

Christ, most these fuckers wouldn't even be employed had they not been bailed out in 2008 and now the financial sector is even more leveraged up, going wild with the multi million dollar bonuses they don't earn because who the FUCK couldn't make money getting unlimited loans at a .25%(or .50% in europe) when you don't need to mark down the losses

now personally, i'm not against capitalism, i'm not against investing, i'm not even against trading but i am against people on wallstreet/bay street/london showing up at there firms and getting near free loans to invest/speculate while they drive the price of shit up and create bubbles while the average person could get a 4-5% loan at best to buy a house with let alone invest. I'm against wallstreet bonuses when the dow would be at 6000 points with no banks trading and completely insolvent without the federal reserve flooding the system in liquidity. i'm against bank ceo's that pay themself 100 mil a year to run a legal ponzi....


Biggest fucking welfare bums in the system, i truely hope it ends in people hanging from lamp posts..... hmmm , maybe when the gov cuts foodstamps to pay for all the debts it incured bailing out the financial sector whether directly or indirectly through the fed. When people starve they truely lose their minds, when people starve people in suits hang

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Old 10-10-2011, 11:40 PM   #34 (permalink)
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If they can afford all these luxury's its obvious they aren't really hurting as bad as most. Maybe they should look at the ones much more less fortunate then them. You know the guys who can't take the day off to parade wall street. Or the ones getting nickled and dimed to assemble those products overseas. Or how about the people dying of diseases that we are fortunate enough to recover from because of care we have.

Maybe the wealth has been taken away from this group but maybe the greed hasn't
So, because they feel that the rights of the public to good governance and an infrastructure upon which they can all build upon and benefit from has been taken away, they are greedy for not recognizing that they still have access to luxuries like cellphones and sharpies and shirts from gap? Again - I think you make a good point for them. If all they have is to be put in a box where they must be happy just to be able to be consumers on some level, or be accused of not being thankful for only facing a future as a peasant rather than being one in the present, then trying to bring about a fundamental change seems like the only option.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:33 PM   #35 (permalink)
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So, because they feel that the rights of the public to good governance and an infrastructure upon which they can all build upon and benefit from has been taken away, they are greedy for not recognizing that they still have access to luxuries like cellphones and sharpies and shirts from gap? Again - I think you make a good point for them. If all they have is to be put in a box where they must be happy just to be able to be consumers on some level, or be accused of not being thankful for only facing a future as a peasant rather than being one in the present, then trying to bring about a fundamental change seems like the only option.
Don't get me wrong I will never be someone who sits in an office totally clueless that the choices they make effect millions negatively. I'm just saying as much as I respect their freedom to go walking down Wall Street bitching about corporations and crying about the lifestyle taken away from them I don't think these are the type of people needed to change the system. You have hard working small businesses making an honest buck within the rules of the country who get nothing but shit on when election time rolls around. Do they use some creative accounting to stay in business? Problably most do yes but at least they aren't hiding behind local 442 and taking a sick day so they can walk around Wall Street with their Samsung camcorder. I guess I'm not seeing the big picture but I really believe if a real revolution were to occur you would need less hypocrites making the walk.
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:00 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I learned in high school that a precondition to any revolution was a population with basic needs not being met, so you may be ight DVS. I found the lesson a little disappointing at the time, but saw that had been the case. But now we are seeing governments fall due to discontentment from well-educated, middle-class people, and it's not about tremendous poverty as much as seeing basic needs becoming a roadblock to a better life.
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:06 PM   #37 (permalink)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/op...=occupy&st=cse

From the New York Times.

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Editorial
Protesters Against Wall Street

As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions. The message — and the solutions — should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening.

At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people. On one level, the protesters, most of them young, are giving voice to a generation of lost opportunity.

The jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 has averaged 9.6 percent over the past year; for young high school graduates, the average is 21.6 percent. Those figures do not reflect graduates who are working but in low-paying jobs that do not even require diplomas. Such poor prospects in the early years of a career portend a lifetime of diminished prospects and lower earnings — the very definition of downward mobility.

The protests, though, are more than a youth uprising. The protesters’ own problems are only one illustration of the ways in which the economy is not working for most Americans. They are exactly right when they say that the financial sector, with regulators and elected officials in collusion, inflated and profited from a credit bubble that burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, incomes, savings and home equity. As the bad times have endured, Americans have also lost their belief in redress and recovery.

The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer.

Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment.

When the protesters say they represent 99 percent of Americans, they are referring to the concentration of income in today’s deeply unequal society. Before the recession, the share of income held by those in the top 1 percent of households was 23.5 percent, the highest since 1928 and more than double the 10 percent level of the late 1970s.

That share declined slightly as financial markets tanked in 2008, and updated data is not yet available, but inequality has almost certainly resurged. In the last few years, for instance, corporate profits (which flow largely to the wealthy) have reached their highest level as a share of the economy since 1950, while worker pay as a share of the economy is at its lowest point since the mid-1950s.

Income gains at the top would not be as worrisome as they are if the middle class and the poor were also gaining. But working-age households saw their real income decline in the first decade of this century. The recession and its aftermath have only accelerated the decline.

Research shows that such extreme inequality correlates to a host of ills, including lower levels of educational attainment, poorer health and less public investment. It also skews political power, because policy almost invariably reflects the views of upper-income Americans versus those of lower-income Americans.

No wonder then that Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for discontent. There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing.

It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:29 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:46 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Historically people fought for the right to vote and have a free opinion, they fought for the right to earn money and they fought for the right to eat in some cases the fought for the right to exist.

You're right Benzo. However, sadly, i don't think what you see now is what they fought for. They came outta WW2 with a dream, and they emerged from the cold war with renewed passion for it. Not this manipulation of the system we see now.

I'm not as versed as you guys are on this stuff, to be honest I'm quite in awe of how well you all present your arguments. My take is much more simple, however I feel there is wisdom in keeping things as such if you want to make any headway at all.

So, I really just think that certain people, as is human nature, took advantage of loopholes created in their system. Law is all messed up with precedents, and politics takes its cue from law. Clever lawyers began playing the loopholes more than half a century ago and people gained way more wealth than they should have. Now, you have the Bureaucracy, and the financial powers running the asylum because they also run the polling stations. Look for the onset of the digital age to change that, I will live to see an internet hero-nobody challenge for the presidency of the USA.

Sound impossible? Naive? I wouldn't be so quick to call that one.

As for Protestors. Hey listen most those kids are just that, kids. We see the media picking these kids apart like the canadian comics do america citizens with questions about Cananda to make them look dumb. It's a bit silly. Fact is, they are there. If they weren't there, then I guess the problems created by the US economy wouldn't be so bad. Its an indicator and nothing less and if any conservative dope wants to have it out with me on that one, fine, but common sense will in the end prevail.

And if a protestor has an Iphone is a hypocrite for loving such a wonderful product, or is he there to feel angry about the business practices of the people who run major corporations? Lets be honest here because the bullshit I read about this is overwhelming. Saying that you simply cannot do business unless you break the law, lie, cheat, and steal is just wrong. Period. I might own a nice shirt, but that doesn't mean I can't demand that the guy that sold it to me treat his employee's like human beings.

I guess thats all I have to say. Coincidently, I spent a couple hours hours with a guy a while ago, got to talk about a lot of stuff. He was the just recently former CFO of a pretty big, well, one of the biggest companies in Canada, ever. Has a billion dollars..... yep, a billion dollars. He quit. Said it was all a joke, and a pain in the ass. he uses his money to help other people now. he admitted the system in place was terrible, and I really believed he was happy to no longer be a part of it. funny, he had nothing bad to say about protestors at all... quite the opposite and I don't think he was speaking from a position of guilt.

I don't think rich people owe poor people anything. Just their share. And Just a promise to play with ethical and just business practices. Thats all. Legal Loopholes aren't legal, they are loopholes and they are wrong. You don't need a degree to understand that, you just need a soul.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:30 PM   #40 (permalink)
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an interesting take by gerald caplan at the g&m

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The occupiers have the backing of academics, veterans, civil-society organizations and several major unions that had ferociously opposed the anti-war protesters of the 1960s, with which Occupy Together has many obvious similarities. Even some politicians are sympathetic – Philadelphia Mayor Michel Nutter, for example, told Occupy Philly protestors: “The things you’re talking about are the things I talk about every day.”

Of course conservatives are hysterically dismissing the occupiers as a mob of flakes and hippies, if not subversives. The Wall Street Journal, reflecting well the ethics of its owner Rupert Murdoch, calls them “a collection of ne’er do wells.” CBC’s own pride and joy, Kevin O’Leary, elegantly described one well-known protestor, Chris Hedges, as a “left-wing nut bar.” Ann Coulter, once again plumbing depths few thought were attainable, compares them to the early Nazis. Yet many of these critics lauded the Arab Spring protest movements and consider Tea Party radicals to be bold freedom fighters.

In truth, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party can be seen as rather distorted mirror images of each other. Both are mad as hell and won’t take it any more. But the differences are critical. The Tea Party is funded by a small group of reactionary billionaires and pushes simple-minded nostrums that will even further enrich these patrons. Gun-carrying supporters were rife at Tea Party rallies. Occupy Together is a genuine non-violent grassroots movement that understands the larger, ugly truths about modern capitalism while sensibly having no simple prescriptions for dealing with them.

What has brought the occupiers together is that they know exactly what they don’t like: vast social inequities, climate change, rising unemployment, precarious jobs, the lack of upward social mobility and the egregious corporate influence over government. They understand there’s been an active, conscious, successful class war against them in the United States over the past several decades. As they say repeatedly, they are sick and tired of struggling to make ends meet while 1 per cent of the American population has 40 per cent of the nation’s wealth. In Joseph Stiglitz’s nice phrase: it’s government of the 1 per cent, by the 1 per cent and for the 1 per cent. The occupiers are “the other 99 per cent” and they’re finally speaking up. And if they assemble in public spaces, it’s because their elected assemblies – both Democrat- and Republican-dominated – have failed them.
Quote:
Canadians should welcome this collective protest against concentrated corporate power when the occupation comes to Canada on Oct. 15. As long as the protests remain peaceful, we all have much to gain from an open, democratic dialogue about the ways that our government privileges corporate profits over the public good.

Well-documented inequality of wealth and disparities in Canadian living standards are unprecedented. The youth unemployment rate is 17.2 per cent. An increasing number of Canadians – young and old – are precariously employed or underemployed, without benefits and without job security. The poverty rate in Canada is over 10 per cent, and one in seven children live in poverty. Our homeless shelters are over capacity and our food banks face constant shortages. Tuitions at Canadian universities are rising, and graduating students are debilitated by student loan debt. A nation of such wealth simply should not have such glaring social inequities.
This is what democracy looks like: Occupying Wall Street and Bay Street - The Globe and Mail
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