Archive for the ‘ Media Response ’ Category

The Business World Responds to Occupy Wall Street

Whether you look at Occupy Wall Street as a group of hippies with ridiculous demands or a group of courageous idealist looking to change the world for the better, it’s time to take notice of the effect this movement is having. When bank aligned politicians like Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke express, albeit awkwardly, empathy with the group, businesses can no longer ignore the movement.

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The loose-knit group has yet to publish a list of companies it believes they should target. One member suggested targeting companies that outsource American jobs as noted in CNN’s "Exporting America" list. On the list are companies from all backgrounds, not just big banks. Notable members include MetLife Auto Insurance, Microsoft, Nabisco and Walgreens. Some suggest the focus can only be on government regulations to control these companies. Even as the group works to sort out exactly what it wants, businesses are beginning to respond to its presence.

Interestingly, the response from businesses looks like a pyramid, with a large number of small businesses on the bottom and a few middle-sized businesses above that. Missing, however, is the pointed tip of the pyramid, where the main targets of these protests have failed to respond at all. The biggest targets of the protests are keeping their cards close to their chests as they tighten security and ignore the mayhem surrounding them.

Small and Medium Business Response

The response from small and medium businesses is pragmatic, stemming from the impact the movement has on their sales. NPR’s Margot Adler interviewed several small businesses on the ground at Occupy Wall Street and found winners and losers from the additional foot traffic brought in by the protests. The food vendors in and around Zuccotti Park aren’t complaining although revenues are a bit down since the protesters aren’t buying. They get free lunch as part of the event. Coffee revenues however are up 10 to 15 percent. A Dunkin Donuts operator said business is up because of increased police presence.

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Larger retailers like Sephora and Brooks Brothers are a little less happy. Although they wouldn’t comment publicly, workers expressed frustration over the barricades that make it harder for customers to make their way into the stores. Occupy Wall Street representatives go around to work with these businesses and address the problems the movement may cause for them. As a result, the strongest response from small and medium businesses has been a resounding shrug.

Even some companies that might expect rage from the group are chipping in without taking a stance on the movement itself. The McDonalds near Zuccotti Park is offering use of its restrooms and Wi-Fi free to protestors. UPS receives packages for them.

Businesses Responding with Cause Marketing

Some businesses see the movement as a marketing opportunity. Cause marketing is a feel-good enterprise that seems like a win-win for business and charities. In Seattle, small business, Big Mario’s has been handing out free pizza for a month. The Main Street Alliance, a small business support group, hails itself as part of the 99%, the movement’s expression of the disparity of power, where 1% of the population controls what happens to the remaining 99%.

Ben & Jerry’s posted its support of the movement online and then went down to serve ice cream to protesters. Even though Ben & Jerry’s is owned by corporate giant Unilever, the company has kept its small business atmosphere through an independent board of directors that does not answer to Unilever. A company representative wrote, "Unilever respects the unique social mission of Ben & Jerry’s and the independence of its board in speaking out on social issues." 

Corporate Giants Remain Silent

As the protests wear on, it is becoming increasingly difficult for corporate giants to keep their composure. In the beginning, many underestimated the leaderless movement as a flash in the pan. Now the group is flexing its muscles, with executives hiding from scrutiny.

Chief Executive for Goldman Sachs canceled a lecture at local liberal arts school, Barnard College. Many suggest the cancellation came from fears of protests. Officially, however, a Goldman representative said the cancellation was due to a scheduling conflict.

A Reuters report details the corporate response:

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‘Witold Henisz, an associate professor of management at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania who has studied the public reaction to the financial crisis, said banks’ response to anti-Wall Street sentiment had been woefully inadequate so far.

"Leadership from the heads of some of these banks would be a powerful signal and it’s just not there," said Henisz. "They’re putting it all in terms of, ‘You can’t tell me what to pay my workers, you can’t regulate me, that’s not the role of government, the role of government is to stay in the background.’ Well, where would they be without the bailouts?"’

The corporate response has largely been internal, with heightened security. The Reuters report details the "heightened awareness" among corporations on and near Wall Street.

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"The New York City Police Department has kept banks in the loop about protester activity by sending out email blasts to its Lower Manhattan Security Initiative and Midtown Manhattan Security Initiative, according to sources familiar with the matter. The emails tell landlords and occupants in those areas, including large banks like Goldman,Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp, where protesters are headed and whether there are any unusual risks."

The lack of public response by these companies is likely to hurt them in the long run. To heighten security inwardly and ignore protests outwardly will be perceived as a yet another selfish act that further defines them as part of the 1% that does not stand with the 99%.

Source: Business Insider

A Day in the life of Protestor–Russia Today Report

Some of the U.S. mainstream media outlets have called the Occupy Wall Street protesters unorganized slackers who don’t know what they’re really doing out on the streets. RT’s Anastasia Churkina takes a look at what a day in the life of a demonstrator is really like.

 

Some of the US mainstream media outlets have called the Occupy Wall Street protesters unorganized slackers who don’t know what they’re really doing out on the streets. RT takes a look at what a day in the life of a demonstrator is really like.

When not maced in the face or dragged around during police arrests, a peaceful tone prevails at the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Hundreds of people have been out on the streets of New York’s financial district for over three weeks, all day and all night. Sleep here is scarce with the camp abuzz around the clock.

“It’s only really the dead of night, maybe for three hours, maybe from 3 to 5, when it really calms down some,” said Rick DeVoe, a volunteer with the Occuyp Wall Street press team.

The crowds have been consistently growing.

“I just took the train down from Buffalo, New York to show support,” said student Dave Koszka.

A daily schedule has kept the occupation in order.

“Breakfast is 9 a.m., we have a General Assembly meeting or working group meeting, so that working groups can address the things that they might need for that day,” said outreach group volunteer Ronnie Nunez.

Volunteers at these groups are busy all day long. The media center live streams video of developments from the ground. Others spread information and petitions on paper.

“We don’t want to give any more tax cuts for millionaires. The economy is not in any position right now to give millionaires a tax cut when everyone is suffering. We can’t pay teachers. We can’t pay for people’s healthcare. Basically, people don’t have jobs,” said activist Amy Miller.

The Occupied Wall Street Journal published by the people, for the people, is spread around.

“We had a media blackout so no one knew about it. You’d talk to common people, and they’d be like, ‘we don’t know what’s even happening,’" added Koszka.

A big screen with messages set up by occupiers reflects growing global support.

“What we have here is now over 250,000 people have signed a pledge of support for the occupiers saying we’re with you, we stand with you, we are united in the fight for real democracy and against corruption and for a government that’s truly accountable to the people and not corrupt elite,” said global campaigner Mia Cambronero.

The kitchen is constantly abuzz with people preparing meals for other occupiers. Those working in sanitation are busy keeping the camp clean. Comfort and medication area volunteers give out warm clothes and emergency assistance.

“As the matter for rest rooms, we make due. There are surrounding areas to use the facilities. As far as intimacy, in the crowds, you know, it’s dark at night, so I couldn’t imagine wondering about what’s going on under everyone else’s covers,” described protester Cory Thompson.

Daily needs brushed aside, self-education has occupied many.

“I spend a lot more time reading, versus like television or playing video games,” said newspaper stand volunteer Michael Wallace.

When they are not marching the streets of the Financial District, they demonstrate at the camp. Those with a creative streak paint and draw sketches to document the revolution.To relax some play chess or take yoga and meditation classes.

The General Assembly meetings pull everyone together. Held during the day and then at night, that’s where the big decisions are made through direct democracy, as protesting continues for one cause – to change a corrupt economic and financial system.

“99 percent of the country don’t have control of the wealth as they should – it’s not evenly distributed. One percent of the country owns 42 percent of the wealth,” said hip-hop artist and poet Talib Kweli to RT.

The day of a protester is packed. The mind occupied with revolution. The people out on the street want to bring real change to America through protest – the only way they see left.

Own the Media own the democracy

The OccupyWallstreet protest has been three weeks old. At the very start there was no media coverage of OccupyWallstreet, None whatsoever. All major news outlets refused to acknowledge if there was protest on Wall Street.

American public had no idea that a massive movement was unfolding right in Media’s own backyard here in New York City. Within blocks from their offices, they could hear the sounds of marching, charging feet, and the roll of drums. A determined group of youth were about to start what has now become a full fledged national conversation and a movement touching the lives of millions of Americans, weighed in by the President and the members of Congress.

 

We have been covering Occupywallstreet from day one. So how do we know where to find what is happening in our country apart from the traditional assist from our media ? It is called Social Media. It is made up via Social contacts, where no one controls anything, and there are no limits, on any conversation. There are no gate keepers and Inkwell owners and print press owners, to hold back the truth.

HOW THE MEDIA LIED TO AMERICAN PEOPLE

What started on September 17 , 2011 in New York City has now become a national movement. From the start the Media deliberately ignored the events. But with the star powers of Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon, they had to report it and they did it in a very muted fashion.

You wonder if there is a protest or gathering in far off Arab lands like Tahrir Square, Tripoli or Tunisia the media is all over the Arab world and imprints every little detail, and throws a gauntlet of news stream around you so you can’t escape it. But when the events unfold in our own country ,and in our own backyard, and in New York City and Lower Manhattan, where the media is hunkered down, you don’t hear a thing ? Why? Because the gatekeepers decide you don’t need to know about Wall Street’s corruption and Greed and the imbalance of Wealth and Social inequality in America. They want to block your mind set like they have done numerous other times, and mold your opinions in a democracy, which will suit their own interests, and their own people. These are thoughts and ideas, that can dislodge a powerful elite in America and change the social structure forever.

SOCIAL MEDIA REPLACES OLD MEDIA

The media in the US is made up of few giant sized news outlets. They are top down. Executives and editors decide what is good and whats bad for you in advance. But those were the days when cigar chomping fat cats would dictate a copy, place an order, and shout down your days worth of news.

But not anymore in this day and age. With the proliferation of Internet, it is at it’s best, degraded from it’s former glory. Now there is a thing called the Web and there are web sites like this one, that you are reading, who have just as much control on the news as they have. The proverbial inkwell is now replaced by the mighty Internet. It’s funny to see how these cigar chomping, aging, Media moguls are sitting like bewildered rabbits in this fast moving digital divide. They are completely out of their wits ! Some of them don’t even know how to operate laptops and computers. What has replaced them and degraded them into such antiquity ? Twitter, Face book, You Tube and Iphone and the newly emerging technologies plus the growing population of Americans.

Now there is no need to have a paid camera men shooting film for the evening news cast. Anyone with a cell phone can just shoot a segment and upload it on You tube where it will be picked up by millions without any royalties or hassles. It is all free to access and use. The video attached here is an example of this brand of Journalism that is free and open and knows no bounds.

OCCUPYWALLSTREET BEATS THE ODDS

The Unions have been demonstrating against Wall Street’s greed for the last three years. You probably never heard about or did you? Every time they will come in New York and demonstrate the Media will ignore them flat out. They will picket and demonstrate the old fashioned way. The old crowd was totally ineffective against the owners of democracy the traditional US Media .The media has protected Wall Street for three long years and the Unions have failed to make a dent themselves and their voices heard.

This is what the Media did to the OccupyWallstreet movement. Ignored them flat out and completely- just like the Unions. But here comes America’s elite from Ivy League schools, students from Fordham, Columbia and Harvard and other places, who have been dealt a severe blow in this economic downturn. They had nowhere to go. They had nothing to lose. They were young. They knew their way around Internet. They had the technology on their side. They had the Media in their own hands. Twitter, Face book and You tube. It didn’t take long for the conversation and awareness to spread like wild fire. Live stream broadcasts gave viewers minute by minute updates. A movement was born out of nowhere puzzling the traditional gatekeepers as it spread to nationally just under three weeks.

It was only when the news became too big to ignore, than the US media got involved. Their own credibility took a hit, and they reported it with condescending attitude and ridicule. You can see in this video, how they get treated as the crowd chants and ridicules back.

HOW THIS WILL WORK NOW

The media does not wants you to know there is a protest against big banks. As always the media has protected the rich and powerful elite. They are cut from the same cloth as the rich Wall Street Barron and Institutions. They are their mouth pieces. They hardly have any sympathy to the poor in America or those who have suffered long and hard in this economic distress. They have no reason to be on the side of those who have lost jobs, homes and the American Dream.

They will continue to muddle the waters and shine the spotlight somewhere else. The only thing you can do is peel yourself off their grip and create your own media and enjoy the benefits like we do.

Source: http://www.financemoz.com

Distressed homeowners join anti- corporate movement

Published: 11 October, 2011, 01:15

 

The Occupy demonstrations we are seeing in cities throughout the US have encouraged diverse groups to march in the streets.

In Los Angeles, homeowners facing foreclosure loudly expressed their shared grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement and are planning to fight back.

Ten protesters took over the lobby of a Bank of America branch in Los Angeles and were willing to get arrested in order to send a clear message to Wall Street.

“We’re here to let the banksters know, you’ve stolen all the money from the land and we want it back,” said Peggy Mears, a protester yelling through a microphone.

More than a thousand people took to the streets of Los Angeles to speak out against the nation’s biggest banks and the role they played in the financial crisis.  Protesters from Occupy Los Angeles joined the demonstration in solidarity with foreclosed homeowners and union workers, demanding that banks pay up.

Dozens of police officers, many in riot gear, were called to keep the crowd under control.

The anti corporate mobilizations, which started in New York, are spreading and now some of those most affected by the nation’s economic crisis are joining in.

Rose Gudiel received an eviction notice after falling behind on her mortgage payments.

“I’m a state worker and due to that I was furloughed and they lowered my hours so they also lowered my pay,” said Gudiel.

Gudiel also had a death in her family, which caused further financial hardship. She claims her bank refused to deal with her when she tried to renegotiate her mortgage.Gudiel was arrested during a peaceful sit in earlier in the week, but she believes that this type of political action will bring results.

“They’ve been governing our lives, our money, and just taking it,” said Gudiel. “There has to be a stand and this is the stand that you’re seeing at this point,” Gudiel added.

From struggling homeowners to the unemployed, people of all walks of life are becoming emboldened by the recent street demonstrations.

“Two years ago I lost my job due to the economic meltdown that the banks created,” said Javier Sarmiento, an unemployed homeowner.

Sarmiento used to work at an auto parts plant.  He is part of the 4.5 million people who have been unemployed for more than a year. Now, this father of two is struggling to hold on to his home.

“Wall Street created this mess and they should be held accountable,” Sarmiento said.

Diverse groups have made up the mobilizations in cities across America in recent weeks as more people become inspired to vent their frustration with our financial and political institutions.

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” said Dr. Cornell West to demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles.

There is still uncertainty about whether these protests will cause direct change or whether other self-interested groups will try to capitalize on the popularity. But it appears that the financial state of the nation, has helped motivate Americans to take democracy to the streets.

Source: Russia Today

Protesters Against Wall Street

The New York Times Editorial

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.

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

October 6, 2011
I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

That slogan began in Italy in 2008. It ricocheted to Greece and France and Ireland and finally it has made its way to the square mile where the crisis began.

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” “We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.” And most of all: “Welcome.”

Many people have drawn parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the so-called anti-globalization protests that came to world attention in Seattle in 1999. That was the last time a global, youth-led, decentralized movement took direct aim at corporate power. And I am proud to have been part of what we called “the movement of movements.”

But there are important differences too. For instance, we chose summits as our targets: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the G8. Summits are transient by their nature, they only last a week. That made us transient too. We’d appear, grab world headlines, then disappear. And in the frenzy of hyper patriotism and militarism that followed the 9/11 attacks, it was easy to sweep us away completely, at least in North America.

Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, has chosen a fixed target. And you have put no end date on your presence here. This is wise. Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It’s because they don’t have roots. And they don’t have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away.

Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful. But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen.

Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately. And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom.

But the biggest difference a decade makes is that in 1999, we were taking on capitalism at the peak of a frenzied economic boom. Unemployment was low, stock portfolios were bulging. The media was drunk on easy money. Back then it was all about start-ups, not shutdowns.

We pointed out that the deregulation behind the frenzy came at a price. It was damaging to labor standards. It was damaging to environmental standards. Corporations were becoming more powerful than governments and that was damaging to our democracies. But to be honest with you, while the good times rolled, taking on an economic system based on greed was a tough sell, at least in rich countries.

Ten years later, it seems as if there aren’t any more rich countries. Just a whole lot of rich people. People who got rich looting the public wealth and exhausting natural resources around the world.

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite—fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful—the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society—while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.

I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says, “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

A few final thoughts. In this great struggle, here are some things that don’t matter.

§ What we wear.

§ Whether we shake our fists or make peace signs.

§ Whether we can fit our dreams for a better world into a media soundbite.

And here are a few things that do matter.

§ Our courage.

§ Our moral compass.

§ How we treat each other.

We have picked a fight with the most powerful economic and political forces on the planet. That’s frightening. And as this movement grows from strength to strength, it will get more frightening. Always be aware that there will be a temptation to shift to smaller targets—like, say, the person sitting next to you at this meeting. After all, that is a battle that’s easier to win.

Don’t give in to the temptation. I’m not saying don’t call each other on shit. But this time, let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before will demand nothing less.

Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.

Editor’s Note: Naomi’s speech also appeared in Saturday’s edition of the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

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