Occupy Wall Street’s core principle is an appeal to fundamental fairness

Dave Masko's picture

EUGENE, Ore. – Occupy Eugene and Portland protesters will tell you that they’re putting their lives on hold for a cause they think is vital at this time in American history; meanwhile, protesters hope a Nov. 17 “International Day for Action” will result in some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, said one “Occupy Eugene” protester, while pointing to "regular rainbows" that seem to appear during protests.

The core principle of the “Occupy” protests nationwide, wrote Leif Dautch, “is an appeal to fundamental fairness and the belief that the highest-earning among us should help those struggling to meet the basic needs of life.” With this in mind, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has called for an “International Day of Action,” Nov. 17, with members of both “Occupy Eugene” and “Occupy Portland” stating they’re in solidarity with OWS nationwide; while encouraging “everyone to participate in this day of non-violent and direct action.” In the meantime, college students, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, firemen, solders and “other” Occupy Eugene protesters will meet at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, at 8th and Oak Street in downtown Eugene, starting at noon Nov. 17 to begin yet another march in the rain, with hopes that the ever present “rainbows” will again appear as they have over the skies of Eugene and Portland recently.

Thursday’s International Day of Action march is for the people

According to “Occupy Eugene’s” website, the Nov. 17 “International Day of Action” protest march will focus “on direct action and civil disobedience against big banks and corporate influence in the U.S. government.”

The Occupy Eugene website also points to Richard Davis, head of U.S. bank, as saying his company “expects to recoup about half of potential lost profits from swipe fee reform by nickel and diming the unemployed through prepaid card and related products," per a reference from the website FairEconomyOregon.org.

Meanwhile, a Nov. 14 report in USA Today noted how bad winter weather will play a key role in both the International Day of Action and other planned protests for November, December and January.

“As winter closes in on its open-air encampments and public attention prepares to move on to the next big thing, the Occupy movement faces a dilemma: Conflict and confrontation, which have helped make it a national phenomenon, also can derail it,” USA Today reported, while pointing to the start of the OWS on Sept. 17 in New York City when protesters were pepper-sprayed, and “about 7000 protesters were arrested for allegedly trying to block the Brooklyn Bridge.”

“Similarly, Occupy Oakland got noticed more after protester Scott Olsen, an ex-Marine and Iraq War veteran, suffered a fractured skull when hit by a projectile as police and protesters clashed.”

“Conflict gets people’s attention,” Caroline Pincus, a 53-year-old San Franciscan who told USA Today that she marched in Occupy Oakland’s non-violent “general strike” that briefly closed the nation’s fifth-busiest port. “It’s put the story on the front page. It’s given permission for much more coverage of income disparity.”

GOP and Tea Party members believe “Occupiers” are just upset that they’re not rich too

Fox News regularly features top Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on its political talk shows so Boehner can rally the GOP and Tea Party with the mantra that “we won’t give one iota when it comes to new taxes.” Boehner said that this line in the sand also applies to the richest one percent of Americans who should not have to pay more tax.

At the same time, Boehner dismisses the OWS view about a “wealth gap” that seems to be growing in America; most especially in this time of recession.

As for the poor and lower class Americans losing hope, Boehner and the GOP presidential candidates for president in 2012 “never seem to address that issue,” said one OWS protester in Eugene. “Why don’t they talk about helping the poor?”

In turn, others who participate in peaceful OWS protests wonder why are the protests being met with such vehemence by Republicans and Tea Party members?

OWS is “about morality,” says Harvard Law School graduate

“Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement note that protesters lack a fine-tuned political or economic message. But this critique misses the point. The unifying principle of the movement is not based on political or economic theory, but instead on a quintessentially moral theme,” writes Leif Dautch, a recent Harvard Law School graduate who shared his point of view in the Nov. 14 edition of USA Today.

“The signs say it best. From ‘Robin Hood Was Right” to “Hey You Billionaires: Pay Your Fair Share,’ the movement’s core principle is an appeal to fundamental fairness and the belief that the highest-earning among us should help those struggling to meet the basic needs of life.”

“Although religion has no monopoly on social morality, one might recognize the concept as a core tenet of, among other religions, Christianity: the claimed faith of 80 percent of Tea Party members and 95 percent of GOP members of Congress,” writes Dautch, who also points to the “outrage that spawned Occupy has many causes, from staggeringly high unemployment rats to proposed cuts to government services.”

Meanwhile, news media from both across the nation and overseas, are reporting how new conflict during the Nov. 17 “International Day of Action,” will prompt new conflict with local police who may not separate “violent fringe groups” from legitimate OWS protesters who are mainly working class family members, seniors and students.

Protesters hunkering down, fear police violence and Tasers

Eugene and Portland protesters said on Monday – prior to the recent black lash against OWS in New York City, Portland, Oregon, and other cities across the U.S. – that their antennae are picking up the subtle increase in tension as both “Occupy Eugene” and other Occupy Wall Street protests nationwide have reached a peak of intense feeling; with real threats of police using violence and Taser guns against them.

Tensions rose a few more percentage points for “Occupy Eugene” protesters who recently staged a candlelight vigil in solidarity for fellow protesters in nearby Portland where riot police drove “Occupy Portland” demonstrators out of their established areas.

Arthur, a retired Eugene teacher said -- during a Sunday, Nov. 13 protest march in downtown Eugene -- that he felt a “sudden chill” when witnessing Portland police “brandishing their Taser guns” while pushing back against protesters.

Arthur said his friends are active with the Occupy Portland protests that began on Oct. 6 in the downtown parks where they’ve built tent-city encampments in much the same way as Occupy Eugene protesters. “The difference between Portland and Eugene is size,” explained Arthur, “and that they keep moving us here in Eugene. We are all ‘One’ in our nation, and that’s why Occupy Eugene is doing a candlelight vigil for friends in Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Oakland and L.A. who’ve also been threatened by police with violence and those terrible Tasers.”

“We sat in stunned huddles Sunday as we heard about the police action up in Portland,” added Arthur as his fellow “Occupy Eugene” protesters chanted “how about the 99 percent who were not bailed out.”

Democrats support occupy protests, while GOP hates them

“Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren recently that she had no problems being linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement and stands by her statement that she "created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” reported ABC’s WCVB TV Boston Nov. 13.

"Yes, I've been fighting Wall Street for a very long time," said Warren on WCVB TV's political show OTR. "I'm glad to see people push on this issue."

“Warren's comments were made on the same day American Crossroads, an independent group associated with political operative Karl Rove, debuted a new ad linking Warren to violent video from the Occupy Wall Street movement,” ABC’s WCVB TV Boston Nov. 13.

"Fourteen million people out of work, but instead of focusing on jobs, Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme left protests," the 30 second ad states, "as Occupy Wall Street protesters attack police, do drugs and trash public parks. They support radical redistribution of wealth and violence. But Warren boasts, 'I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do."

“Let me draw a distinction. Virtually every American has a reason to be angry. I think virtually every American has a reason to be worried. I think the people who are protesting in Wall Street break into two groups: one is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who frankly are very close to the Tea Party people who care. And actually...you can tell which are which,” added Warren in a recent Boston TV interview. “The people who are decent, responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it, so let’s draw that distinction.”

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