Say What You Will About Occupy Dallas. But I Find It Inspiring. That's Right. You Heard Me.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn
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I walked for a while yesterday with those Occupy Dallas people. I don't care what anybody says. They're cool. You know why? Because they're awake.

People were all over the map about their specific issues. Some of them talked to me about Timothy Geithner and President Obama's failure to put bankers in jail. Some talked to me about oxyhydrogen ("I can run my car on nothing but water") and antineoplaston ("Way more effective than chemotherapy").

I'm not sure everybody's specific personal agenda is the important thing. What's more important is the awakening itself -- the bond of marching, the fusion of individuals into a mighty force. And don't get me wrong. There was real focus. The mantra of "We Are The 99" is a powerful battle cry, and people out there knew exactly what they meant by it.

I asked Zach Kazarinoff, a 25-year-old musician, why he was marching.

"I am supporting solidarity with people in New York and Boston and elsewhere in the world," he told me. "I am against huge economic disparity between the top and the bottom. I am here because I want to end the wars. I want to have more of our government money toward education, toward helping people in need, toward health care. I am here because I want to see some change in our government and our world and our economic system."

Susan Nichols, 46, and a man with her who gave his name as "John Doe" drove in from Marshall to march. I asked why.

"To stop corporate greed," she said.

"We can't afford to remain silent any more," he said. "None of us can."

"We're getting fed up," she said. "People get apathetic and think they can't do anything."

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Photo by Stephen A. Masker
Marching changes that. Marching is ferocious magic. Marching turned fear into power in the Civil Rights Movement. It brought the corporate/university war machine to heel in the Vietnam anti-war movement. Marching liberated South Africa. And, of course, it ripped Northern Ireland's guts out.

Marching is a mighty force that commands respect. None of us knows exactly how or why. It is beyond rational explanation.

Maybe it's the rebirth of hope. Just being out there, being a part of it lifts people up out of despair. Mavis Belisle, 67, who describes herself a retired peace activist, said to me, "Maybe things are working again."

Cameron Wilson, 24, was hobbling along on crutches after losing a foot in a car wreck. "You can't pinpoint it," he said. "I'm out here because of the of the secrecy which the government continues to hold on to."

He's the guy who talked to me about running cars on water and that other thing, anti-neo-plasticism or something. I just nodded yes. I think I'm against that too.

From the day of Thomas Jefferson to today, nothing has ever put the fear of God in the hearts of the greedy like the sound of boots trampling the cobblestones. It is a mighty voice.

I heard it here in Dallas five years ago when half a million Latinos marched from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe to City Hall. It was good to hear it again yesterday. It means we were only asleep, not dead. Not yet.

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153 comments
Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

Judging by the comments here, The Observer's readership is more conservative than I would have thought (at least on the issue of Occupy)...

bb
bb

There are more Plutocrats than the system can support.

N1chol2sduke
N1chol2sduke

People, this has to do with corporate greed and an unjust government. Look at the records of the companies that received bailouts but then turned around and gave their CEO's MASSIVE bonuses. All the while this is going on, they consider cutting the pell grant fund (the fund that helps college kids go to school that wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise). This is about the FED being a "private" entity. Look it up guys. Why don't you google "CEO bonuses during bailout" google "is the federal reserve private" google "wells Fargo drug money laundering" Or even "Obama sells guns to drug cartels" just become educated people. This is much bigger than "those dirty hippies need to just get a job.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I graduated in 1982 with a degree in Political Science, just in time for Reagan to shut down gov't hiring. I did not protest, I got a job as a waitress, lived on the cheap and had a rollicking great time in the mid-80's. I moved on to other jobs, and eventually joined the Army. Took FIVE YEARS for me to get to the level of a career I wanted back when I was 21. I did not cry or vent, I worked. In return, I lived in Europe, travelled and perfected a second language. For years, I also voted, worked on campaigns and volunteered ad nauseum, both in and out of the military.

When I got RIF'd in '92, thanks to the end of the Cold War, I went back into retail, lived on the cheap again, and became a teacher. I never expected anyone to do anything FOR me, but WITH me. What I don't hear from this group is a PLAN. A FREAKING PLAN, PEOPLE. Signs with sayings and chants means NOTHING without a plan behind it. Tea Party people got into an election with candidates, a plan and some hard work. They are now in the catbird seat, and you are where??? Get a grip, get a sense of humility and get moving. You want indictments? Then get a legal team together to push the gov't into action, or even file suit yourselves. Want work? Great, we all do. Take ANY job, live cheaply and use your spare time to help others get job skills. Help get an idea off the ground to start a business.

And Jim, protests may have been a voice of movements, but boycotts got apartheid pulled down, lawsuits helped to end Jim Crow, and Cronkite himself put a nail in the coffin of the Vietnam War. Protesting was a sign, not the cause.

For the record...
For the record...

Stig, that's an interesting link from the UK about older people joining the Occupy movement. However, it's good form to tack on at least a sentence of explanation, rather than just a naked link, both because of computer security fears of blindly clicking links, and because the message would not then be read at all.

Amieroberts
Amieroberts

Awesome article. My son and I marched on Thursday...this article is right on the money. As my son told reporters..there are a thousand people here, with a thousand different reasons, but the one commonality? We are all here to voice our opinion and let it be known that we are sick of the way the government is currently being ran.

julianfernandez
julianfernandez

Over the last forty years a concerted effort has been made to dismantle the protections instituted during the Great Depression(the last time that the Corporatists destroyed the world economy with their Lord-of-the-Flies philosophies).  We've witnessed the largest transfer of public wealth in private hands in the history of the world and it continues to this hour.  Our government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of business and financial interests.  Does none of this warrant taking to the streets?

I'm 49 years old.  I work. I earn a good living, own a home and work in the yard on weekends. I'm you.

I marched with the protest on Thursday and will again. If you think that everyone there was either looking for something for nothing, that they all had purple hair and nose rings, that the unemployed are unemployed because of some personal flaw, or that this movement's message is incoherent... you've swallowed the Man's line, as they used to say.

By marching will I bring down the kleptocracy currently running our country? Nope. But the only thing more pointless than marching for your beliefs is sitting at a keyboard carping.

Later. 

SteveT
SteveT

Fact: You will never eliminate corporate (much less personal) greed--that is fundamental to capitalistic enterprise.  What we need is a government that protects the rest of us from its abuse--to balance it.  But that we have to pay for.

LISA
LISA

It should be noted that "Wall Street" is not the only culprit for our progressively deteriorating economy. An equal cancer has metasticized throughout our country. There are multinational corporations running various countries including the U.S. How does this happen?  The government and non-profits merge together to launder money through local collaborations. What is becoming evident now is a generation affected by the inappropriate use of medicare/medicaid incentive programs. Instead of the funds being used to go to the poor as most assume, the federal and state funds are going to Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and other non-profits. In particular, Legal Aid states they use their funds for the disadvantaged clients in family law, will and estates, landlord/tenant cases, public benefits and real property matters. As a result of these misused incentive programs, we are creating a generation of future adults who have been forced to become accustomed to illegal, tortuous situations.The government which has no accountability, has full control of our children.

See the links below showing some details of lack of accountability, much of which Deloitte and Touche is involved. It is important to note that Dallas County is audited by Deloitte and Touche.

Our government officials assume we are unaware of this "secret system" It is our responsibility to be able to articulate specifically what we know, and that our current situation is unacceptable. Lets speak out to our federal, state and local officials!

We should be solution oriented, not partisan oriented when trying to solve our global economy.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/...

http://www.courthousenews.com/...

http://www.courthousenews.com/...

http://findarticles.com/p/arti...

http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

See details from link below of the private non-profit organization AFCC and their questionable tax practices and other misdeeds. Dallas family courts and other court professionals have membership with the AFCC.

http://www.stopcourtorderedchi...

pak152
pak152

would someone pls define "corporate greed"? was Steve Jobs guilty of corporate greed? one could so say when one looks at what his products cost.

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

I'm sure all those people bravely blogging on their mobile devices have given their corporate masters quite a good laugh over it all.  Let's see..blogging and pics with $700 iPad 2, sending blogs and pics over giant wireless network created by giant corporate machine, hosted on computers owned by giant corporate machine and spread over the Internetz which is maintained by giant corporate entities. CORPORATE GREED if you must, just don't try and bullshit us all, because i know dam well most of the people protesting wouldn't give up their iphone or droid as a real act of protest.

Markovitchlove
Markovitchlove

keep the protests going.. I'm coming all the way from mount pleasant just to be there saturday and sunday... 

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

I am very happy they are here also saw group of Postal Workers marching to keep their jobs.If I did not have broken ankle I would join both groups both are very worthy.When I marched for Bruce Sherbet at 411 Elm group was mostly white and Tea Party however we were all there for Bruce.Color of Marchers is not important issues are.

marla tovar
marla tovar

I am filled with so much hope I thought I was the only one with these thoughts and feelings that something needs to be done in a civil manner as united citizens. Today I saw on a newspaper green is not profitable that is the mentality that corporations have we are not talking about profits we are talking about doing the right thing for the world we've made enough money now 99% are facing poverty if we don't stand up and stop talking about profits but fairness. I'm tried of hearing people got into home loans they couldn't afford no they went to loan sharks who charged them 2,500 a month for a house that was only worth 1,000 a m that is not fair housing where is fair housing for our citizens? Health care is not suppose to be profitable we don't need all these hospitals start shutting them down that would bring the cost of healthcare down pharmacies should have a clinic to diagnose and give meds and only one hospital in town if you need surgery or emergency. Bring home our factory jobs and stop saying americans don't want those jobs because they do. Be aware that corporation are given welfare checks to set up in other countries and ruin their environment we the people pay to put ourselves out of work.

Svobodnik
Svobodnik

Schutze likes these people because "they are awake".  Wow.  I'm sensing his incredible intellect.  This guy Zach is marching to "end the wars".  Is that how you convince the Taliban to end a war - you march??  Amazing!  Also Zach also thinks that more money will help our schools.  Hey Zach, our dumb kids don't need more money.  Plus, our government is broke - there isn't any money. We are 15 trillion dollars in debt.  Are you awake yet???

Texan MD
Texan MD

You know who else is awake, Schutze? Tea-partiers... and in far greater numbers. Where was your ode to those folks? The irony of the 'Occupiers' is that they rail against (Obama's) bank bailouts yet continue to fellate at the phallus of The One.

sam
sam

Nothing says serious political movement like a Guy Fawkes mask.

primi timpano
primi timpano

All best wishes to the Occupy Dallas/Wall Street protestors.  There has to be a better world out there than what we have now.  I hope they find a way to create it.

Facebook User
Facebook User

The Occupy Wall Street movement is the Left’s answer to the Tea Party. According to occupywallstreet.org “The American Dream has been stolen from the world. Workers are told that they aren’t allowed health care, shelter, food. Students are told that they aren’t allowed jobs, and that they will be in debt for the rest of their lives, unable to declare bankruptcy. The 1% has destroyed this nation and its values through their greed. The 1% has stolen this world.”

The country the Occupy Wall Street protestors want to live in was never contemplated by the Constitution. The government’s role is to provide for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is not to provide health care, shelter, food and jobs. For the Occupy Wall Street movement to be successful the government will have to take the property of those who have succeeded and redistribute it to those who have yet to succeed. The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be arguing for ‘equality of outcomes’. In the most myopic sense equality of outcome seems fair, but it will be devastating to our way of life. In America we have fought for ‘equality of opportunity’ but never ‘equality of outcomes’. From the first settlers who fled Old Europe to the civil rights leaders in the 60′s – each fought for a better way of life, a chance to succeed. Our system only works if ANYONE/EVERYONE has the chance to succeed.

The life of Steve Jobs is in stark contrast to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Steve began life the unwanted child of an unwed mother. He was adopted by working class parents and had to drop out of college for financial reasons. Of course the one thing going for him was that he was born in the United States where our founding fathers sought to create an ‘equality of opportunity’. Had he been born in a nation focused on an ‘equality of outcome’ I dare say we would have never seen the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone or iPad – thank God for Steve Jobs and this great country.

The Occupy Wall Street protestors have already given up. They believe the American Dream is dead. But it is not dead. It is alive, but we must fight to keep it alive. The Tea Party movement was started specifically to ensure the American Dream’s survival. We must not let our leaders, our government create a system that precludes success. The Tea Party began simply because our leaders forgot what made America great. Our leaders – Democratic and Republican have set us on a unsustainable course. Medicare and Social Security set our country on a course for bankruptcy for decades, but with the addition of ObamaCare our fiscal demise was assured. The Tea Party began to fight ObamaCare and the underlying borrowing and deficit spending our leaders (both Democratic and Republican) have become addicted to.

The White House and Democrats in Congress as well as Big Labor have aligned themselves with this new movement they see as an answer to the Tea Party. Any movement based on a theory that we have already lost – i.e. the American Dream is dead and we need to take it from those who have already realized that dream – is doomed for failure. The British tried to take our liberty and property a couple of hundred years ago and it didn’t go well for them. Americans will fight to preserve their liberty and opportunity. I am not sure they will fight to take away liberty and opportunity simply to provide what they were not able to achieve on their own.

JimS
JimS

Phelps and Jason Johnson, sittin' in a tree...

Observist
Observist

I think the left-wingnuts can be as nihilistically anti-corporate as the right-wingnuts are nihilistically anti-government.  However, I'm pleased to see some left-wingnuts making noise to counter the endless din of the Fox/GOP/Teabag/Koch propaganda machine.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

People don't vote, people don't attend town hall meetings, people don't attend city council meetings even at night or Saturday, people don't communicate with their civic leaders, people ridicule those who take the time and effort to make some noise and make some change. These people who march on the streets are the opposite. Now tell me, who is more concerned with their destiny?

bb
bb

There is no cohesive voice because this is not a political movement. It is a collection of people venting at the perceived source of their financial problems.The political system is, and most likely will always be, a two party system. The Tea Party is being cooped as we speak. They are just a different shade of red. Remember the red team is the big tent party. The old, rich guys behind the curtain are really controlling things.The economy we live in is built on consumption. If people really want to be revolutionary, they simply need to stop consuming. Pay off debt, close commercial bank accounts and either move to a credit union or go cash only with a pay as you go debit card for electronic transactions. Mix it up with some bartering to reduce taxable income, and buy used products you actually need should send a few ripples through the system.The bank bailouts interfered with the natural order of business, the weak should have perished, not bailed out. There are simply too many financial institutions and not enough customers. They engaged in increasingly risky behavior to make profits until the whole thing collapsed.

jfpo
jfpo

Before the specific actions you call for can be implemented, an apathetic and lethargic populace such as ours must be awakened. Hopefully this is a start.

JimS
JimS

Upside down, Diane. Cronkite came along for the ride. The Viet Nam War ended in Ann Arbor.

Phelps
Phelps

Protesting is group therapy for leftists.

bb
bb

Yea, I just like the pictures:) What is the old saying.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Which backs up my premise that NOTHING will come of this. A shotgun approach is what the Right wants, to label it a group of misfits or a mob with no direction.

Want to scare the crap out of them? March quietly, strongly, well-dressed and with a unified statement. I swear, they will pee themselves when they have nothing to hit back on but the MESSAGE.

For the record...
For the record...

Definition 1: Abusing the 2004 tax holiday, and now lobbying for another one. The corporate tax holiday greatly reduced taxes on overseas profits, theoretically allowing multinationals to repatriate more international money back to the U.S., which theoretically should have led to more investment and therefore more jobs. However, "...58 corporations that benefited from the holiday slashed a total of nearly 600,000 jobs. These 58 giant corporations accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total repatriated funds and collectively saved an estimated $64 billion from what they otherwise would have owed in taxes." (Institute for Policy Studies)

Definition 2: Bank of America imposes a $60.00 annual fee on debit card users, that is, those customers will be charged for using their own money. BofA, beneficiary of untold billions in public relief, is simply gouging individuals because it's possible. BofA's chairman hystrionically said, "We're entitled to make a profit." Yes, you are, and you're making one thanks to public funds, so why gouge individuals?

Nobody has accused Steve Jobs or Apple specifically of corporate greed, to my knowledge, before you so tentatively did just now.

You're welcome.

marla tovar
marla tovar

issues are the important part I watched one of the meeting and everyone was encouraging as people made their comments on their views and what they thought was important and some people made remarks but everyone got a turn to say their peace and that's important it should be the people not just one person or group

BTS
BTS

We don't have money because we have been fighting two wars for ten damm years now. How long do you want to fight the taliban, forever and at what cost?

JimS
JimS

Yeah, but it's like the Tea Party got all formed up and ready to march, and then Dick Armey came along and led them all down a blind alley. They're still trying to find out if Obama reads all of this thoughts from a secret teleprompter scripted by invisible white people. How can that be expressed as a chant?     

julianfernandez
julianfernandez

or a dozen lipton tea bags hanging from a tricornered hat. 

Observist
Observist

You got your analogy wrong.  The protesters are the Americans, and Wall Street are the British. 

jfpo
jfpo

Most of us ignore Phelps' trolling and are mildly amused by his antics (calling someone else a troll = gold). Jason has given him quite the hard-on today.

Phelps
Phelps

You keep posting shit, you'll keep attracting flies, Jim.  You've spent enough time at County Court to know what attracts them.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

No, war actually ended in Saigon... When old Walter said the war could not be won, many in America awakened to the idea that a war--an undeclared war at that, could be lost.

Still, the point is, activism only gets a movement so far. Women chaining themselves to the White House fence got attention, but the idea of women voting for Prohibition got them the vote. Civil Rights marches, especially in Selma, gave IMAGES to the movement that was being conductedi n courtrooms, classrooms and in work places. I love protests. I have protested "W" and others in my time, but always with a specific POINT in mind, a specific ACTION.

The best advice I ever got in the Army applies here: Never go to the boss with a problem. Go to the boss with a SOLUTION to a problem he cannot fix. Right now, I see people who want a protest more than they want action. Yes, it is early days, but in a 24/7 news cycle, you have only a few days to get and hold the attention of the public. They are wasting it by having too many messages, too many points.

bb
bb

Hoarding guns and ammo and joining militias is group therapy for rightist.

bb
bb

There is the cathartic, therapeutic benefits of hanging out with other choir members.

For the record...
For the record...

Definition 3: In return for purchasing the northern/midwestern regional telco, Ameritech, in 1999, thereby re-establishing the old AT&T monopoly, SBC promised the SEC that the entire country would be covered with high-speed service within ten years. SBC used one excuse after another for not doing so; Ed Whitaker, then SBC's chairman, essentially lied first to the SEC and then to Congress itself. Today, not only is the U.S. very much behind such counties as Latvia in modern, high-speed coverage nationwide, Ed Whitaker was chosen to become GM's chairman and CEO as a result of the bailout. He should be in jail for lying, but he's pulling untold millions in salary provided by us taxpayers through the bailout.

Phelps
Phelps

If only we could elect a president who would promise to end these wars and bring the troops home...

One that isn't a bald-faced liar, I mean.

marla tovar
marla tovar

They have to stand on their own sometime we can't stay there another day bring home our troops

Anonymous
Anonymous

nah, this movement is already being "aided" in New York by the unions to try and turn these voices into votes before they get distracted by the fact that they were expecting an iphone 5 and all they got was an iphone 4Sseriously though, the Tea party didn't instantly attract the big money from the Kochs. that only shows up once they know there is a critical mass to exploit. the unions would never have let their involvement leak out if they didn't think they could use this to their advantage at the polls. I guess the unions are dying and the Kochs are thriving, so maybe there's your difference in motives. but it still feels like once the raw energy get channeled for political gain it will sort of lose its authenticity. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

this is wrong. those who occupy and abuse power unjustly are motivated more by fear than you seem to believe. fear that the party will end, fear that people won't act in predictable ways. you think a corporation knows what to do with people who don't consume in the way their model predicts? on the flipside, what do you think the protesters are motivated by? they are afraid of what happens to the worst off people in the wealthiest country in the world when its power goes into absolute and relative decline.

the real power of the protests is that it gives a visual reminder that the anger has not subsided. the boiling pot is bubbling over and if people think shoving a lid on it will contain it, they're crazy. the only people happy with the government are the ones profiting from it. right and left alike are fed up. 

primi timpano
primi timpano

You write and I reply:"Civil Rights marches, especially in Selma, gave IMAGES to the movement that was being conductedi n courtrooms, classrooms and in work places. I love protests. I have protested "W" and others in my time, but always with a specific POINT in mind, a specific ACTION."

The first Viet Nam War protestors were viewed by mainstream society as aberrant--either communists or drug addict anarchists.  The same with abolitionists, unionists, etc.  You have become your parents.  Long journey, small steps.

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