Occupy Occupy Wall Street!

Animal Farm

Everyone is equal in the barnyard, but some animals are more equal than others.

I didn’t think I would see it get this stark this quickly, but this article really reads like an article from The Onion.

It seems the Occupy Wall Street folks are getting ticked off over corporate greed and underperforming governance. This wouldn’t be news, except that this time it’s within their own ranks.

The disputes are arising, ironically, but predictably, over money. They have something like $500,000 in the bank.

Dwell on that last sentence for a few moments.

A rag-tag populist movement with socialist roots, an ill-defined mission, and an internal policing problem, has a “General Assembly” and a “Finance Committee,” and has raised $500,000 in a few short weeks which they’re keeping in the bank. I’ve got no problem with them keeping their money in a safe place like a bank, but aren’t the bankers and financiers the Worst People in the Their World?

Then, the tension has arisen because a bunch of the people doing the work of OWS aren’t getting the funding they feel they deserve or need to perform their function. Like the guy in the Comfort Group who has 3 tons of wet laundry from rain storms and no ability to get it all cleaned, along with the responsibility to get adequate cold-weather clothing as the fall wears on and winter approaches.

See, the Comfort Group only gets $150 per day from The Man in Finance, who says he is powerless to give more because it hasn’t been authorized by The Man in the General Assembly.

In other words, it’s just like life in general. Once again, Utopia lives up to its name.

I would quote extensively, but that would mean either just posting the whole article or leaving our some of the good parts. So go read the whole thing, and realize that it’s a serious news article, NOT from The Onion.



  • Howard Coughlin

    To Tom Crowe and anyone else commenting here, find a place near you where people are occupying in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Talk with them at the site before coming to a conclusion about what this movement is about. If you can’t find one near you go to http://www.occupytogether.org If you are still not convinced that our faith is aligned with the occupy movement try http://www.ethicsdaily.com. In the editorial page is “Catholic Church provides moral gravitas to Occupy Wall Street.”

    • John B.

      I agree, Howard. Here is a direct link to the release from the Vatican.


      • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

        “The Vatican” is misleading, at best. Do some research and you’ll see why it was not only not binding, but not even well-advised.

  • davide

    I agree. Good post

  • Mike

    Socialism is a state-planned economy. Can you explain how a progressive tax system is socialism? Can you explain how regulations of any kind are socialism?

    • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

      Erm… Can you explain the genesis of your questions?

      • Mike

        You say the movement has socialist roots. As what they are protesting seems to have nothing to do with socialism or advancing socialism, I’m curious what socialist roots you are referring to…since OWS is largely about bank regulation and maintaining a progressive tax system.

        So…tell us about your knowledge of the socialist roots.

        • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

          The problem, Mike, is that OWS is largely about whatever the person writing at the given moment about “what OWS is about” is writing about. You say it’s largely about bank regulation and maintaining a progressive tax system. Others say we need across-the-board debt forgiveness. Others say it’s about “I get what I want for free.” Other videos have OWS protesters calling for the abolition of money. So if I’m incorrect about the “socialist roots of OWS,” because what I meant was “anarchist roots of OWS,” it’s not because they’ve been clear.

          • Mike

            Then the Tea Party is anarchist too; they are calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve (abolition of money); the abolition of the income tax, capital gains tax, sales tax, estate tax, etc. (I get what I want for free); the elimination of all national debt (across-the-board debt forgiveness).

            In fact, given the infighting among Tea Party interest groups, most notably Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Express, and the complete disagreement over what the Tea Party’s true platform is, the Tea Party seems to be “largely about whatever the person writing at the moment about ‘what the Tea party is about’ is writing about.” Guess that makes it anarchist as well.

            Yet no CatholicVote writers ever found the need to explain that part. In fact, most of the reviews of the Tea Party on here are pretty glowing.

            Some of us would call that hypocrisy.

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            Yes, yes, some of you would call that hypocrisy. And I yawn, because you’re grasping at straws.

          • Joe M

            Mike. How are increased regulations not more socialist? A movement doesn’t need to ask for Communism in order to be for more a more socialist system. More regulation is more state intervention, a la more socialist.

          • Mike

            And yet, you can point out no flaws in my argument.

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            Perhaps because they weren’t really arguments.

          • Jeremy

            But to say that is to merely dodge Mike’s point. It’s a fair point, I think, and it deserves a response.

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            Erm… Okay, how’s this: No, the tea party aren’t anarchists, any suggestion that they are is, well, idiocy, while the guy who started the OWS movement calls himself an anarchist; and there is no similarity between the “infighting” among tea party groups and the tension described above within the OWS. Both statements being true, i didn’t feel it necessary (and still don’t) to actually try to introduce counter-arguments.

          • Mike

            You really could use some work on your arguments.

            1. “Any suggestion that they are is idiocy.”

            That’s not a reason.

            2. The guy who started OWS calls himself an anarchist.

            Why should we conclude that every protester, or the majority of them, all have this same agenda? After all, CatholicVote even argues that there is NO central point to the protests.

            “Despite the fact these Occupy people are protesting, they’ve offered neither an argument against something or for something. What do they mean? What do they propose? What do they want?

            No person or persons can remain adrift forever. At some point these persons must either swirl toward the abyss of nothingness or they must define themselves.

            The problem with the former is that these Occupy persons are just finding one more diversion from what must be their very boring lives. The problem with the latter is that these people are opening themselves up to the worst form of demagoguery. Indeed, what opportunistic politician of the last 100 years would not take advantage of such an ill-defined group, perhaps many of whom are well meaning.”


            So which is it? Are they in lockstep or utterly disorganized? And if they are in lockstep, why did CatholicVote publish that they have no defined purpose?

            3. There is no similarity in the “infighting.”

            Again, your opinion…you offer no evidence to back it up. You don’t seem to have much of an argument at all.

          • Whitney

            Mike, they are lockstep in that they are socialist, anarchist Marxist liberals, and they are utterly disorganized because every socialist anarchist Marxist liberal is out for only one person: themselves. They have a common cause, but that common cause is “Me First.” When everyone sees “Me” as a different person, things get disorganized. It makes perfect sense.

          • Jeremy

            Whitney, I don’t think it’s possible to be an anarchist, a socialist, a Marxist, and a liberal all at once. There are too many conflicting ideas at play. I also do not think it is accurate to say that all of those ideologies are primarily self-centered. Even if it were possible to be all four, it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that everyone involved in a given movement falls into that category.

          • Joe M

            Mike. Where has it been established that the Tea Party is, in any significant numbers, for the things that you list? Reduced taxes does not equal elimination of all taxes as you imply. I’ve never even heard of the argument that all debt should be forgiven. If anything, most Tea Party members want people and companies to be held accountable for their own debts and not be bailed out on a selective basis (see GM, Fannie and Freddie, etc.). Some see the “Contract from America” as representing the agenda of the Tea Party movement. It doesn’t contain anything as radical as you characterize. — The bottom line is that the story Tom linked to describes the OWS complaining about the centrally planned system they are using to divide funds while the protest is for a more centrally planned system in general (more regulation, re-distribution of wealth). If Tea Party protesters were to complain about that happening within the protest, it would remain consistent with their general position for smaller government and that there are limits to the effectiveness of central planning (that we have clearly exceeded). The irony is that The Comfort Group’s complaint is the Tea Party complaint.

  • Rob

    Wow. You’re making some huge assumptions here.

    What bank is the money in? Is the bank in a community savings and trust? A type of institution built entirely on local savings accounts and not largely connected to the recession? Or is it a big bank?

    You don’t tell us…and neither does the article you link to. Yet you simply assume and expect us just to believe it.

    • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

      Yes, Rob, that was the only thing I said in my post and the only bit of irony in the article. Very good.

      • Rob

        Actually, that seems to be your central point…as the rest of your story isn’t really ironic at all.

        If you think it’s ironic that a group has a general assembly and a finance committee, with a central person who directs the spending, you might want to look at your local Catholic church, with their elected parish boards and their finance committees and their pastors who have the final say on expenditures. How strange!

        If you think it’s ironic that a large group of people has issues with the way it’s money is being spent, you might want to turn right around and go back to your Catholic church, where many groups are itching for their piece of the pie to further their work (and that’s not a bad thing, either. It’s unfortunate that certain groups like Respect Life can’t get more funding at some parishes).

        And…those are your only points.

        • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

          Except, Rob, my local Catholic Church isn’t Occupy Wall Street.

          • Rob

            Then why does it matter if OWS has these committees? Why is it right for one group to have them and not another? That, quite obviously, is the central problem with your argument.

            Clearly, you are alluding that this bureaucracy is a sign of OWS’ faulty mission. Why is the same bureaucracy appropriate for the Church?

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            Rob, you may have noted that OWS is a reaction *against* such structures and their machinations. Which is why it is ironic that they are not bogged down by them. The Church is not agitating in that manner, thus the irony you keep trying to introduce does not exist.

          • Joe M

            There are several ironies in that story. However, the most glaring one to me is that OWS groups are complaining that regulations are preventing them from having the resources that they earned.

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            that’s a big one, yes.

          • Rob

            You are living in a fantasy world.

            OWS is largely calling for regulation. That’s a government structure. Other CatholicVote writers have decried the call for more regulation. But you gotta admit, regulation IS GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE.

            If anyone is against these structures, it’s the Tea Party! That’s the organization calling for the end to the Departments of Ed, Commerce, HHS, etc.; the abolishing of the IRS; the abolishing of the Fed. Why is this okay? When will you write about the irony of the Tea Party?

          • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

            Rob, of course I admit that. I wasn’t aware of a place where I didn’t admit that. But, there are different kinds of government structures, and yes I am opposed to a whole lot of them. Generally, “more government” (i.e., more socialism) is the answer OWS supports and the tea party folks oppose. Which is why it is ironic when OWS folks get ticked about government in their own midst crimping their style. You may note that there is no government structure in the tea party movement of this nature because the tea party hasn’t thought it efficacious or at all attractive to, you know, form a collective and takeover a park for days, weeks, months? on end. Because it doesn’t make much sense.

        • Greg Smith

          Dear Tom and Rob ~yesterday my parish celebrated our 1centenial with the largest mass and reception we’ve had in decades. We have a Parish council, finance committee, written, tested procedures etc. and 100 years of institutional history. As a result, it went off without a hitch. Given the ad hoc nature of OWS, I’m actually surprised they are doing as well as they are with logistics i.e. sanitation, field feeding, etc. What they find themselves now facing is what’s known in MBA speak as “stove piping,” that is, decisions about things like resource allocation ,must occur after a bureaucratic a fixed chain of tasks have occurred. It leads to inflexibility, sluggish response to departmental requirements, like those of the comfort group. It happens in big business, small business, military organizations and yes …. our beloved Catholic Church. The Post’s making a mountain out of a molehill. While OWS has attracted folks with their own pet causes (“US Out of Somewhere,” “Save the Split Tailed Newtimander,” etc.) their core message is that, in the face of the economic crisis, the burden ought to be a carried more by the major corporations and the wealthiest among us and less by those most personally affected by it. As this thing goes on, I’m starting to believe that the conflict is essentially between the teachings of an obscure, radical philosopher named Ayn Rand (Followed by Paul, Paul, Ryan and Cantor) and the social justice teaching of Jesus Christ and His Church. ~ Pax Vosbiscum, Greg

          • Joe M

            Greg. Limited government is not no government. Conservatives recognize that administration is necessary in many contexts. However, they also recognize that it can be harmful and is not the answer to all problems. When it bogs down an organization, conservatives recognize that it needs to be pulled back. They might make this observation in government, business, a protest or local church planning. — Moral hazard, created by regulation and government entanglement in the home lending market is what caused the economic crisis to begin with. The solution is to remove both regulations and public liability for the success or failure of lending institutions. Further regulations will simply continue the legacy of giving politicians a carrot to hold over banks heads, to be cashed in on (as Democrats have) via favors-for-donations. — I have long believed that we’re in a conflict between the central concepts of the founding fathers, that are a significant factor toward our countries economic success and liberty and the teachings of a well known athiest, Karl Marx, followed by many re-branded but similar movements. This is not the first time that you have characterized the concept of limited government as coming from Ayn Rand. If you really believe that is the case, I can refer you to several authors and books other than Rand. I can assure you that the concept is far from obscure.

          • Greg Smith

            Joe ~ Please note that Paul, Cantor, Paul and Ryan aren’t telling us that their thinking was profoundly influenced by these other authors, but rather by Ms. Rand whose philosophy is oppositional to Christianity and goes far, far beyond advocating for limited government, Pax ~ Greg

  • Joe M

    Hah. Sounds like the Comfort Group is disappointed to find that the Kitchen Group represents their top 1%.

  • The Zapman

    At least there’s not a Committee for Public Safety yet!

    • John B.

      What does everyone think of this release from the Vatican? Seems aligned with OWS.


      • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

        Do some research and you’ll see that it was not, erm, definitive. A few scholars and bishops does not doctrine make.



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