“There’s tens of millions of dollars spent protecting the perimeter so we’re shaking something up.”
—-Dana Balicki, Occupy Wall Street protester, on today’s “birthday” protest of about 1000 nostalgic OWS types that resulted in almost 150 arrests and a disruption of traffic and commuter travel, but, as ever, nothing coherent, useful or productive.
Yes, this is Occupy in a nutshell: happily wasting the publics money despite rising deficits at all levels of government, inconveniencing honest people trying to make a living, and annoying as many as possible without having anything constructive to contribute to the nation’s policy debates or to offer as practical solutions to its intensifying problems.
A year ago, I summed up the efforts of this irresponsible, arrogant, lazy, destructive group, and was too kind.
But 100% correct.
Source: Wall Street Journal
5 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Week: Dana Balicki, Proud OWS Protester”
Hi there, I’m the author of this “unethical quote” above; and there seems to be some confusion. Occupy Wall Street didn’t make the Mayor spend millions of dollars barricading the streets around the NYSE. The city made the decision to waste the public’s money all on their own. This wouldn’t be the first time they did that either. In fact, Occupy Wall Street was so transparent about our plans for a non-violent demonstration on Wall Street that we even held our planning meetings at One Police Plaza so there would be no confusion about what we were going to do.
As for constructive contributions to debate, we’ve done a hell of a lot. And there’s more to do. Before last November the national conversation about economic justice, corporate greed and income inequality was next to nil. There’s been a shift in the way folks (media, prez candidates, the public) talk about these issues. The 99% and the 1% are frame now, not just some relics from a bygone era of 12 months ago.
If policy change is the best any of us can hope for in terms of social change then that sign above is as apt as ever. Policy change doesn’t come out of the blue, and it doesn’t happen because some politician is struck with divine provenance to be a leader in some issue area. They are pushed. They are affected by debate. They see that people really care. If all people care about is getting to work on time, well then we’ll all get what we deserve (a whole lot of nothing.)
I’m sorry you’re so cynical. It must be sort of awful.
Proud to ring this blog’s ethics alarm,
Proud OWS Protester
PS as for “nothing coherent, useful or productive” I hope your readers find this useful, as I’m sure some of them could use it: The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual http://www.scribd.com/doc/105887484/Occupy-Wall-Street-Strike-Debt-The-Debt-Resistors-Operations-Manual
Nothing you write remotely rebuts what I wrote, and I’m only referencing what you wrote that is arguably true, Dana, which isn’t a high percentage.
Your first comment is utter nonsense. Occupy has had violent protests repeatedly, and the Mayor had no choice but to have expensive police protection. Your own quote marked thisan OWS achievement, proof of the protest’s impact. Making a city spend scarce funds is hardly productive or responsible.
Nor did the protests encourage any discussion that was not already well underway. The earning gap between the richest and poorest had been a concern for a decade–maybe you just discovered it, but most literate and involved citizens had been reading about the issue and thinking about it for a long time. OWS added nothing of substance. Advocating “change” and “caring” IS a whole lot of nothing. It is the equivalent of a baby’s scream, signifying disapproval and nothing else. Your protest is, and has always been, infantile. You can object all you want—the results are obvious to anyone who is honest and objective, and I predicted them at the beginning: waste, posturing, crudeness, incoherence, violence, and nostalgia for the Sixties.
I don’t know what it is you’re proud of, but self-esteem, even unjustified self-esteem, is something to build on, I guess.
There seems to be some confusion? You betcha. You are the “author” of a quote that makes as much sense as “there’s a locked door on your house so I have to break into it.” Or as much sense as the sign in the graphic – did you write that, too? I remember the chant from the beginning of OWS last year, and it sums up your movement still: “What do we want? We don’t know. When do we want it? NOW!”
I’ve been reading some post on your site and I appreciate several of them, I am glad to see someone concerned for ethics. I think several entries are well written and well supported, but I find your responses very rude and out of place for someone concerned for ethics…You could be slightly more polite, would it be so much effort? I find internet commentary to be similar to road rage sometimes, people respond with so much resentment because they are confined to not imaging an actual human being behind the text they read (similar to being angry with another car, David Foster Wallace wrote something about this behavior) which they fervently respond to with so much hostility.
So, I’m going to say thank you to Dana Balicki for the clarification, and thank you for what you have done for the movement.
Also, there are multiple sites you can find with clear goals and complaints from the protesters. http://www.nycga.net/resources/documents/declaration/
As for them being violent and destructive…this is very debatable. Breaking windows could be very ethically different: breaking the windows of the home of a single parent is very morally bad; breaking the windows of a large stores that profits from unethical labor in foreign countries that do not follow labor laws of the U.S., this is more of a neutral morality (for me, loosely speaking).
What has happened here in Montréal with the student protests against tuition hikes has been tragic. Students were beaten while peacefully protesting, young women beaten on the ground by grown men with batons, someone lost an eye, another was hospitalized with brain damage, people were unlawfully arrested, the list goes on… My husband was arrested by the police while waiting at the bus stop by himself, he was doing absolutely NOTHING wrong, while wearing his red square ( a sign of solidarity with the movement). They gave him a ticket for being ”drunk on the ground in public”, they explained nothing when they asked randomly for an identification card from him which they then used to give him a ticket, when they drove off my husband told them what they were doing was unjust and unfounded, the police started saying “HILE HITLER” and doing the salute while laughing. I KNOW my husband wasn’t drunk, he came home right after, he was coming home from work. His case was one of several cases of abuse from police, it turned out. It’s also been well documented that police in civilian clothes go into the protest crowds and provoke, break things, because they are pissed about protest. They like being brown nosers. And, I say this as the granddaughter of the chief of police (from the a town in the U.S., I immigrated for my husband to Montréal). I respect police, moral ones that is. My mother has been working as a social worker for 20+ years, I come from a family concerned with social activism and helping the community. Whenever in the U.S. I saw a police officer, I would smile and nod, because I respected them for keeping justice and putting their lives on the line in and being in stressful situations. Abuses from officers can not be tolerated, it’s against the ethical code they should follow. Anyways, my point being, the protest we had in Montréal were by peaceful protesters, and I would imagine the same gas-lighting and black washing by the media that happened to our protesters is what happened to the Occupy protesters. (To note, we also had our Occupy division in town, but it got hard to continue due to the climate.)
There are individuals in a protest occasionally who are anarchist who see property damage in certain contexts as not morally apprehensible. I don’t agree with them, I would say the majority of protesters do not agree with them. Mob violence looks VERY different than damage done by these destructive individuals who unfortunately present them selves at a protest. Look at riot videos in Europe, the Middle East, etc., those are violent protests. This is not what Montréal had and wanted, and it’s not want the Occupy protesters had and wanted either.
It’s easier to write the protesters off as being undefined in their goals and hippies, but I think, Mr. Marshall, you actually do agree with their moral inquiries. I have enjoyed you posts, thank you for letting me read them. Have a good day. 🙂
Dear Mary: I have written some rude responses. Usually I apologize for them. This response was not rude, but fair, deserved, and accurate. Pointing me to multiple “unofficial” websites with various proposals does nor address the problem or my criticism. Your link was typical: broad, over-stated, misleading and simplistic “complaints” without coherent suggestions. This wasn’t a rebuttal of my point, but a confirmation of it.
There is no question about the violence. There were multiple rapes in Occupy encampments; robberies, beatings. There were riots, especially in Oakland, but also elsewhere. There is no question about the expense to the various cities so inflicted. This statement of yours: “Breaking windows could be very ethically different: breaking the windows of the home of a single parent is very morally bad; breaking the windows of a large stores that profits from unethical labor in foreign countries that do not follow labor laws of the U.S., this is more of a neutral morality (for me, loosely speaking)”—not to be rude, but that’s ethically absurd, and idiotic to boot. Destroying any private property is wrong—your theory of a sliding scale—killing bad people is more justifiable than killing good ones is the next “logical step” for per se wrongful acts shows a giant hole in your ethical comprehensions. There is no other way to say it.
Now let’s look at those clear goals and complaints you cited. For one thing, there isn’t a single goal at all, much less clear ones.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
Exaggeration and incoherent. All foreclosures are illegal? What process? Who is “our”? Everyone has been foreclosed?
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
Bailouts were granted by government—they were supposed to turn them down? Ridiculous. Define “exorbitant.” Which executives? All? No. Most? Some? Which? What’s the standard?
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
So you say. Oddly, we still can eat. How much more expensive are you willing to have food be? What is your definition of “monopolization”?
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
Are we going to pass a law making everyone a vegetarian now? What bizarre definition of “torture” is this? Do you really think anyone enjoys the suffering of live stock? If this is the lazy use of words being employed, why should anyone take anything here seriously?
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
How? If this is referring to public unions, then it is misleading.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
Advanced ducation is not a human right, and debt is incurred by they debtor. Incoherent and untrue.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
With the alternative as going out of business or also cutting benefits. Outsourcing is a legitimate business strategy, not a crime. Human beings benefit, too.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
Moronic. Untrue. Misleading. Ignorant.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
Who has? What if the contracts have been breached? Everyone has a right to challenge contracts. Some abuse it. Over-general and unfair.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
100% untrue. What the hell does this mean?
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
Details, please. Completely without use in the absence of specifics. There are serious penalties for doing this, and they are enforced.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
No, they don’t. They influence policy, as is their right in a democracy that they are a part of.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
Then complain to the politicians that accept the money.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
Political nonsense. Since none of the alternative forms except nuclear can begin to replace oil at this point, this is misleading. And who is most responsible for blocking nuclear?
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
How do you cover-up an oil spill? “inactive ingredients”?
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
Right: banks and the finance industry get such good publicity from the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
Honestly: this ISN’T incoherent?
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
Please. Welcome back, Abby Hoffman.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
Now it’s just getting silly.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
I’m sorry. This is the dumbest list I’ve read in a long, long, long time. And it is completely useless as the basis for productive protest.