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“Occupy” Needs to Solidify its Message

On Friday, we posted some advice for OccupyWallStreet from Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi and it’s great advice.  One of the downsides of a “leaderless” movement is that “message” is all over the place.

Is there corporate greed?  Absolutely.  Are all corporations greedy?  No.  Is there corporate money in elections?  Yes there is.  And corporate money in elections often times finds its way into the hands of politicians you want elected.  Public financing of elections?  It won’t happen, especially if a canddiate can raise more money than they’d receive from a publicly financed campaign like Barack Obama did in 2008.  A third party run?  Usually hurts the candidate you’d like to see win.

Make no mistake, the Occupy crowd would benefit from getting more Democrats elected because all the Republicans in DC do is say “no” to everything in hopes thsi President fails.  They are willing to let the country go down the drain as long as it means they can pin it on President Obama.  Hoping, of course, that Americans will forget who was driving the nation’s economy off a cliff to begin with.

But to see signs that say “corporations are evil” conflict with other signs that say “where are the jobs?”  Corporations create jobs.  If you have a job offer from a company you don’t like or don’t respect or disapprove of their general business practices, don’t work there.  If a corporation created 1,000 new jobs, would they be evil?  What if those jobs were at a health insurance company?  I’m not saying there isn’t corporate greed, because there is. But if you want new private sector jobs, those are created by corporations and small business.

BigBanks are evil?  That’s pretty subjective.  I would have loved to set up my small business banking needs with my credit union, but they don’t do SMB banking services.  And the bank I went with was acquired by Chase.  I take great delight in telling Wells fargo “no” when they call asking for my business when I had an issue with them 14 years ago with my personal accounts. 

And as consumers, you can hold corporations into account.  Which corporations give money to tea Party Republican candidates?  Don’t do business with them.  Which corporations support blue candidates for office?  Support them.  Not buying a GM car because they took a bailout? Well, you could be putting hundreds of union workers on the street.  I don’t stay in certain hotels or eat in certain restaurants because they advertise on Rush Limbaugh’s program or Sean Hannity’s radio show.  I will support business that are on Stephanie Miller’s show or Ed Schultz’s program.  And if the business swings between right and left, I usually say no (consorting with the enemy).

So let’s do some homework here.  I’m sure healthcare insurance providers would be a ripe target of protests.  Speaking of “Target.” remember they had a bad “anti-union” training video out there preaching the evils of unions. Don’t like Ralph’s Grocery chain; buy your food at the local Farmer’s Market.  Shoot, just listen to some of the advertisers on Limbaugh, Hannity, or John and Ken for that matter and you can probably have a list of boycotts in a day.  The boycott of Glenn Beck’s show is what led to his cancellation (or resignation) from his crazy hour on Fox News.

I hope the OccupySantaAna people learn from the mistakes of the OccupyIrvine event; get your permits earlier.  Have cold water and food available for consumption.  Port-a-potties anyone?  How about instructions on where you can park your car?  A good food truck would have made a killing Saturday.  A hot dog cart would have sold out.  Cold water anyone? $2 please….

It’s also amusing to see the LaRouche types and Ron Paul fans show up at these events.  They were greatly overshadowed by college students facing enormous debt, retirerees who saw much of their savings disappear in the stock market fiasco, and the middle class families struggling to pay a mortgage on a home that’s probably underwater with kids to put through college soon.  Its the later where all the energy came from this weekend.

If you want, identify some of the companies out there who don’t deserve your dollars and explain why in the comments below.  Take action not to patronize those businesses.

The comments from the conserverati about the growing Occupy movement remind me of the left’s initial thoughts on the Tea Party.  Occupy needs to sustain its message through the coming primary season and affec tthe 2012 elections the same way the Tea party did in 2010.  It can happen.



  1. Vern Nelson Vern Nelson October 17, 2011

    Too bad you don’t have a vote in this, since you choose not to be part of this very democratic movement.

    No, I take that back. It’s good you’re not part of it, because you would obviously vote for chasing away any kids that showed up with signs saying “Corporations Are Evil,” and telling them not to come back till they have something more responsible, something that doesn’t “confuse” people who are never going to support us anyway.

    • Chris Prevatt Chris Prevatt October 17, 2011


      I could be wrong here, but I think all voices and opinions are welcome in this movement. Dissent is the very essence of democracy.

      While you are correct that Dan’s voice (vote) would only count if he showed up and participated in a general assembly, you certainly are in no position to say who can say what. I watched a portion of last nights General Assembly meeting and I noted that a Causes Committee was set up for the OccupyOCIrvine group. That I think will help move the group towards a better clarification of message.

      That said, I like the idea of a “We’re Mad As Hell” message as the core to work from.

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 17, 2011

        If corporations are evil, where are the jobs coming from that we need Vern? I am suggesting people extract change from corporations by where and how they spend their money.

        I work with several companies that are very generous with time and contributions to charitable organizations. I don’t think you have any concept of how private business works.

        • Vern Nelson Vern Nelson October 17, 2011

          Duh. I would not hold a sign that says “corporations are evil,” or write a song or compose a blog post that said “corporations are evil.”

          But there will be folks in our crowds, innocent simplistic young folks or possibly provocateurs, who might have a sign that says that. And it’s not in the nature of this movement to chase them off.

          It’s too bad that irritates you. It also bothers our enemies.

      • Vern Nelson Vern Nelson October 17, 2011

        And Chris, I don’t understand how you hear the opposite of what I say. I am the one saying “all voices and opinions are welcome in this movement.” It’s Dan, in his article, who is trying to prescribe what signs participants should and shouldn’t be sporting. Clear now?

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 18, 2011

          That’s not what I’m saying Vern, but pointing out the group should rally behind certain themes makes the message more pointed not more pointless.

  2. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 17, 2011

    Vern — it *doesn’t* irritate me. But holding a protest for the sake of protest without affecting policy change isn’t productive.

  3. Henry Lipton Henry Lipton October 17, 2011

    I just came across a good one on the FB page of a friend of a friend. “occupy a walmart until half the merchandise they sell is made in America. hell that used to be walmarts signature advertising angle.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 18, 2011

      another store I won’t shop at because they pay their employees so poorly and direct them to government assistance for healthcare.

  4. Chip D Chip D October 17, 2011

    Actually Dan, you are parroting right-wing talking points with your “corporations create jobs” trope.

    Corporations do NOT create jobs- they create products that people buy.

    Consumers create jobs with their demand for those products.

    This is more than a minor issue- the right wing has successfully persuaded many Americans to accept the basis of aristocracy, the notion that certain groups are better, more productive and valuable to society than others.

    This is where all the tax giveaways and special treatment comes from that the Occupy folks are protesting.

    The notion that their message is muddled is nonsense- what ties it all together is the concept that the 1% have too much power, and the people have too little.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 17, 2011

      and someone needs to think about the product, and someone has to build a prototype, and someone has to make sure its safe, and someone has to source the raw materials, and someone has to make it or make the machines that will make it, and someone has to market it and someone has to package it and someone has to sell it and someone has to collect the money for selling it and pay the bills it cost to make it and take care of the paychecks of everyone who did their jobs. Thanks for demonstrating you know nothing about business. Business is not a right wing or left wing talking point. Green is one color reds and blues can agree on. Paying a fair share of taxes on that green and how it’s spent is clearly a political battleground. Thanks for playing.

      • Chip D Chip D October 18, 2011

        “and someone needs to think about the product, and someone has to build a prototype, and someone has to make sure its safe, and someone has to source the raw materials, and someone has to make it or make the machines that will make it, and someone has to market it and someone has to package it and someone has to sell it and someone has to collect the money for selling it and pay the bills it cost to make it and take care of the paychecks of everyone who did their jobs. ”

        And someone has to buy it.

        Job creation is not magic- it doesn’t come exclusively from Galtian ubermensch who grace us with their benevolence; job creation occurs when there is robust consumer demand, adequate capital, and functioning infrastructure among other things.

        Fixating on capital as the sole “job cretor” only destroys the concept of a society where consumers and financiars both contribute to the economy.

        Oh, and if you are going to borrow lines from Instapundit like “Thanks for demonstrating you know nothing about business” you should at least close with a hearty “Heh indeedy.”

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 18, 2011

          Well, what sort of business builds and makes a product that doesn’t meet demand? A bad one. And more point exactly regarding consumer demand — if consumers take a company and decide it needs to change its business practices, they can boycott the company’s products. If enough consumers join in, it affects a company’s revenues and prompts change.

          Economics is cyclical; the supply chain is vast. Jobs are in the mix with suppliers, manufacturers, customers and users.

          A company’s policies affect where I shop, where my retirement investments are parked, and the products I use. For example, I no longer buy Nike products per the Tiger Woods Fiasco (but I will use the products I purchaed prior to teh spot where his dead father asks a staring Tiger “what are you thinking?”) Once they have served their purpose, gone…

          And I didn’t borrow the line from Instapundit, but if you have the link, I’m happy to go and read the post where its used.

  5. Henry Lipton Henry Lipton October 17, 2011

    you should in the least be as staunchly irritated that your police department stymied the efforts of citizens to express themselves even if they dont hav a message that you can articulate.

    I cannot believe that your elected city coucil members, whom you enjoying touting as having progressive liberal worldviews actually hold those ideals when they allow thier police department to treat citizens like that.

    In fact, I going to just flat out say that your elected majority of Democrats, and supposed progressives are mere liars and frauds for foisting that image. Even further, i cannot discern them from the likes of Allan Bartlett, and Adam Probas(alsk) what ever the F**kski. Heck Krom Agran and Kang ought to just register as Republicans.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 17, 2011

      All three councilmembers were out of town. Occupy Irvine didn’t have all the appropriate paperwork filed. Should have called the city manager’s office.

      Krom, Agran and Kang are responsible for a number of progressive achievements including the iChip program for providing healthcare services to needly kids, they passed a $10 minimum wage for all city employment even if you are a subcontractor, we have no issued with the city employee unions. And, due to our city’s reserves, we’ve managed to withstand a bad economic stretch without cutting services to residents while being America’s safest city.

      You cannot pick and choose which laws you obey. If you don’t like them, seek to change them.

      • henry lipton henry lipton October 17, 2011

        Lame answer dan. How convenient for ALL THREE democrats to be out of town for this event which had plenty of advance notice.
        The forward thinking elected official would have left some sort of instructions on the ethos of the City’s response.

        Going with the flow and letting people speak their peace, and not being heavy handed as to toss citizens fromt he city hall campus would be the appropriate ethos I would come to expect from a forward thinking progressive majority of electeds who wish to honor the 1st ammendment rights of its citizens.

        Oh and you left one of your patented typos in your response.

        • Where were you Henry? Where were you Henry? October 18, 2011

          Were you there Henry? This event had little coverage other than blog stories. Hate to break it to you but OrangeJuice and NewSantaAna dont have the readership you think they do. From 1000 people to 10. Wow. Maybe the cops should have arrested them so Nelson could get a free meal

          • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 18, 2011

            Henry — the council’ has a very full dance card and weekends are no exception. If I would like some of their time for an event, I contact them about 6-8 weeks in advance. Krom was in SF on Saturday at an awards dinner. Kang was out of town. Not sure where Agran was but he is usually at the Great Park on Sundays at the Farmer’s Market.

            Any “instructions” given to the city manager or the police chief would be subject to a directive from the entire city council; if the coucil majority were to direct action, it wiould be a Brown Act violation. Irvine is not Santa Ana.

            • henry lipton henry lipton October 18, 2011

              dan, there was ample advance notice of this event. Ample enought to come to an approach on how to handle it. And apparantly ample enough for the city council to tell the police to molest harrass and stymie all and any efforst of the occupy attendees.

              Anonymous who replied to me, I dont know what you mean. I dont take my directives from blogs. I do compare coverage or lack there of between blogs. And apparently the Liberal OC is not very liberal at all. heck not even progressive. Its a place to have a peeing match for grudges with the city of santa ana.

              I would like to see an occupation of walmart. America has lost millions of jobs to china as a result of the efforts over time of walmart. Sink walmart and you rebuild our economy and Wall Street will feel the pain of no more slave labor from china I guarentee it.

            • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | October 18, 2011

              given that the organizers contacted the city two days before the event, I’d say there wasn’t. Yes, the blogs wrote about it but if you expect the city council members to be pouring over the blogs, you’re flat out wrong.

              Henry, I’ll say this again; we are all volunteers here. I’m sorry I’m not spending every waking moment writing stories you want to see or saying all the things you believe a liberal ought to say. I run a business, I have two kids who keep me hopping, I give time to three charities and I tap out a blog post when I can.

              If you don’t like what you see here, there are other blogs and news pages online to read.

  6. junior junior October 17, 2011

    I think that Kang is a Republican.

    enjoying the in-fighting …..

  7. junior junior October 18, 2011

    “Occupy” Needs to Solidify its Message”

    I think that if you leave the “message” out in the sun it will solidify and then you can burn it as fuel – ultimate “green.”

  8. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten October 18, 2011

    The OCCUPY WALL STREET movement has a solidifying message; the message is this:
    “We are sick and tired of Democrat & Republican Party talking points.”

    What changes after Congress reinstates Glass-Steagall (1933-1999)?

  9. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten October 18, 2011

    OCCUPY CHICAGO list of demands:
    Chicago Tribune 2011-10-16

    Demand #1 of 12:
    “Occupy Chicago’s list of demands
    October 16, 2011
    1. Pass a bill to reinstate Glass-Steagall, a safeguard separating banks’ commercial lending and investment operations. “Its repeal in 1999 is considered the major cause of the global financial meltdown of 2008-09,” the group states.”

    From LaRouche PAC:
    $16 trillion in bailouts under Obama, most of it going to foreign banks.

  10. junior junior October 19, 2011

    I heard that one occupier left the “message” on a police vehicle.

  11. santa ana guy santa ana guy October 22, 2011

    Kind of sad when the OC’s “Liberal” blog bashes OWS activists in Orange County. We’ve got the mainstream media for that. This article seems to have have a smug, mocking tone, instead of what should be a clear endorsement, IMHO. Thanks for the supports, folks. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    • Vern Nelson Vern Nelson October 22, 2011

      Well, SA Guy, you know where to find OC’s real liberal blog.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski October 22, 2011

      A bashing? Hardly. Caring around signs that say “Han shot first” aren’t going to make a dent. By all means, protesting against corporate greed should include notes on how not to patronize greedy corporations. But if it’s jobs that are the priority, corporations create them.

      Vern, I am completely at wit’s end with you. Have to love the smack talk online when you could barely utter a peep in person when I spoke with you. Do us all a favor. Figure out which deodorant company doesn’t qualify as a greedy corporate entity and apply some to your pits. A shower or fresh laundry couldn’t hurt either. Yea, that’s my way to telling you that you stink

      • Vern Nelson Vern Nelson October 23, 2011

        Very flattering, I’m sure, to tell yourself that when someone doesn’t say much to you it’s because they are timid and fearful, rather than they just don’t like you. I understand perfectly.

  12. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski October 23, 2011

    I’m a Teddy bear Vern. Ask my kids, my friends, the kid I coached over 10 years. What I am is direct and I will remind you that I asked you direct and pointed questions which you refuse to answer or take any action on. You’ll lob bombs behind the safety of your computer keyboard yetvyou take no responsibility for your obligations. I could care less if you like me. But know I pity you

  13. Anon Anon October 24, 2011

    chris and Dan why do you let posters talk smack to either of you on this blog? When I write comments critical of Nelson or Pedroza on their blogs the comments are deleted or changed. Pedroza is always rewriting my comments to say something I didn’t. WTF?

Comments are closed.