Occupy Wall Street Protesters Make Demands

by Ryan Young on October 5, 2011 · 107 comments

in Economy, Features, Sanctimony, Zeitgeist

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Until recently, I haven’t been paying much mind to the Occupy Wall Street protests. They’re a lot like Tea Party protesters. They’re upset with the status quo, and are being quite vocal about it. But — also like the Tea Partiers — they lack a unified voice. What do they want?

That incoherence was partially solved when one activist posted a list of thirteen demands on OccupyWallSt.com. It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously. Some protesters are focused on different issues than the ones he chose. But it’s reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands.

From an economist’s perspective, the demands are both fascinating and disheartening. Fascinating because people who haven’t studied economics believe some really strange things; disheartening because many of the policies would hurt the very people they’re meant to help. Intentions are not results.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the demands. I have left his grammatical errors intact:

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

He’s being far too moderate here. Take as true that importing goods across international borders kills jobs. Well, as a matter of logic, importing goods across state borders is no different. Oregonians should be forbidden from importing goods from Californians. Inter-city free trade has the same harmful effects. Consistency demands banning that, too. Even inter-household trade kills jobs under this line of thought.

If the protesters arbitrarily draw the line at the national level, then there is an inconsistency in their thought. And economists from the left and the right have been openly poking fun at that inconsistency for over 200 years.

And why only a $20 minimum wage? Think big. If Congress can raise living standards simply by mandating higher wages, why not $200 per hour? Why not $2,000 per hour?

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Because monopolies work so well.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

This isn’t worded clearly. Does this mean a $20 minimum wage for all workers, as in Demand One? Or does it mean giving unemployment benefits equivalent to a living wage, however defined? If it’s the second case, it’s pretty easy to see that fewer people would choose to work if this demand was met. As any economist will tell you, incentives matter.

Demand four: Free college education.

This should be re-worded as “Demand Four: The poor and uneducated must give money to the rich and educated.” This just sounds like the protesters, many of them students, don’t want to pay their tuition and their student loans (see also Demand Eleven).

This demand is fundamentally regressive. Wealth redistribution from rich to poor is one thing. But asking the poor to subsidize the rich strikes this writer as morally wrong.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

This day will come. I look forward to it. Progress is a beautiful thing to behold. But these kinds of transitions can only happen from the bottom up. He is demanding that it be top-down, which is the same thing as demanding that it never happen at all. Top-down is how Solyndra happened. Top-down is how ethanol happened.

Top-down is also an open invitation to the exact kind of cronyism that the Occupy Wall Street crowd – and this writer – despise. Again, think results, not intentions. The best way to achieve this policy goal is to make entrepreneurship and innovation easier. It’s a bottom-up world. Policies must acknowledge that if they are to succeed.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

He must be unfamiliar with the data. Government infrastructure spending is about 2.5 percent of GDP right now. That’s the highest it’s been since the 1950s, when the interstate highway system was being built. And today’s 2.5 percent is sliced from a pie that’s nearly 7 times larger in real terms. That puts current spending on par with about 17 percent of 1950 GDP. That is hardly austere.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

More unfamiliarity with the data. The EPA’s budget is currently a little over $10 billion. He demands a century’s worth of EPA spending over what one assumes is a period of years, not decades. That’s a lot of money that we don’t have.

Meanwhile, forest acreage today is roughly what it was a hundred years ago, despite U.S. population growing four-fold. And getting rid of dams and nuclear power plants means using more coal and natural gas. That’s what economists call a tradeoff. And that tradeoff directly contradicts Demand Five.

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

Just such an Amendment passed on July 9, 1868. The Fourteenth Amendment reads, in part, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Emphasis added, though the egalitarian language is clear enough on its own. Perhaps he should press for more consistent enforcement of that language. That certainly has been lacking.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Yes. I don’t have a problem with background checks to keep out recidivist criminals or terrorists who, while rare, would hurt other people. And screening people for communicable diseases is a reasonable public health measure. But, like the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I don’t think anyone should presume the moral authority to tell other people where they may live, work, or travel. Right on.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Mandatory recounts are a bit much; most Congressional elections are 60-40 or 70-30 affairs. But there’s not much to object to here. Though there will come a time when computerized voting machines will be harder to corrupt than paper ballots. He should instead demand honest vote counts, whatever the medium.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Do this and no one will ever lend again. This demand has so little understanding of basic human nature, let alone basic economics, that it frankly doesn’t deserve serious scrutiny. It just sounds like he wants all the trappings of a modern first-world lifestyle without paying for them. As the economist Deirdre McCloskey would say: no, dear.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Moody’s and the other ratings agencies played a starring role in inflating the housing bubble. Oh, they deserve plenty of blame. But the solution isn’t to outlaw them. It’s to outlaw Congress from giving them special treatment. Congressional coddling allowed them to lie to their customers and not get punished by market mechanisms. Their legally protected oligopoly is an outsized example of crony capitalism. Don’t confuse it with the real thing.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

Government policy should be neutral towards labor unions. Not hostile, not favorable. Neutral. Part of that neutrality means ensuring secret ballot elections when workers are deciding whether to unionize. If the ballots are open, it’s pretty easy to imagine both management and unions putting pressure on workers to sign with their side. Better to preserve anonymity. Let workers express their true feelings without fear of reprisal from either side.

This demand’s wording is unclear on neutrality, and unclear on secret ballots. Hard to tell what to make of it.

So there you have it.

Like almost any list of demands, there is good and bad here. Two common themes animate the list. One is that the writer clearly hasn’t studied economics. Free trade promotes wealth and peace, and has almost zero net effect on employment in the long-run. High minimum wages price the lowest-skilled employees out of work, and hurt them. There is no free lunch. Nobody will lend money if they aren’t going to be paid back.

None of those statements are controversial inside the profession, only out of it. Regardless of one’s political leanings.

The second theme is entitlement. Other people should pay for my health care. Other people should pay for my college education. I shouldn’t have to pay back my credit card balance. In short, gimme. How millennial.

The tea party movement’s uninformed populism is embarrassing to many on the right. No wonder Brendan O’Neill, seeing the same phenomenon on the left, wrote in The Telegraph that “The teenage moralism of the Occupy Wall Street hipsters almost makes me ashamed to be Left-wing.”

I agree with some of their demands, but it’s hard to see the Occupy Wall Street crowd being taken seriously. For that, they must first be able to be taken seriously. Given the movement’s lack of policy knowledge, its unseemly thirst for other people’s money, and the fact that some of them actually think that standing in the middle of a bridge invalidates their opponents’ arguments (!), they have a ways to go.

david October 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm

The fact that you published this means that you never bothered to talk to anyone actually PRESENT at the protests. This list of “demands” was on a public forum and submitted by someone not even participating directly in the General Assembly at the protest. It in no way represents an official list of demands, and presenting it as such is insulting to the protesters and degrading to you as a journalist.

Do some research somewhere other than twitter.

Deryn October 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm

So, David:

a) Are you part of this “General Assembly”?
b) Where is the “General Assembly” list of demands?
c) Do you disagree with some or all of the “public-forum” demands? If so, which and why?

Mr. Stark October 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

You have a collection the of people “protesting” with no real goal other than attack Wall Street and while these demands are not representative of the whole they certainly offer insight into the the mindset of those that are actively on the streets. Of course people are going to say I’m wrong, and this list is BS, but what ARE you protesting for then? Against corruption and greed? Politics? Government? Or is it the whole 1% deal that has people going nuts? Oh yes, that it. The theme is that there are people that have more than you, who have capitol and no debt, and protesters are angry about it. It doesn’t matter who – bankers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, inventors – everybody with wealth is a target. Protesters are not angry about the politics, the economics that can produce the wealthy and the poor, but instead focus on one thing: I want more, and they tweet about it on their smart phones over the internet and then surf their blogs on their computers later that night. Those not protesting are probably hammering away at their prestige level on Call of Duty. What a hard life!!

Bill M October 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Suffering reading comprehension, I see. He never said it was a list of “official” demands, just that most would agree with them.

Goliath October 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm
Rich R. October 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Ok David..where is the official source for what the protesters want and how they expect to get it?

D October 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

OK, david, fair enough. What’s your counter point? DO YOU KNOW their list of demands? Where is this so called research to be carried out then? Are you presenting yourself as a member of the protest, or in anyway knowing the info?

Refute with FACT or GTFO.

Hayek October 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm


How is wealth created?

Brendan October 6, 2011 at 10:24 am

The money gods drop free money from the sky. Everybody knows that. The problem is that the evil rich people have huge buckets up in the clouds that collect all the money before it reaches the ground. What we need to do is take away the buckets. What part of OWS logic don’t you understand?

Karl Hallowell October 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm

So how long will it be before we find out what these protestors are complaining about? I see that the organizers remain coy about the purpose of the protests. And why won’t that list of demands be any less bug-eyed crazy than this list?

Hmmm October 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

“…one activist posted a list of thirteen demands on OccupyWallSt.com. It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously.”

david, what part of that sentence is unclear to you?

Kyle October 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

So what are their demands? And, if no one knows what their demands are, what the bleep are they protesting?

Bill M October 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm

David, improve your reading comprehension. He never wrote they were “official”. Just than many would agree. A chill pill would help too.

Dawn S. October 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

free chill pills for everybody!!!

Steve2 October 5, 2011 at 11:39 pm

“It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously.” I think this quote is where Young makes clear that this is not official. Can you pull out the text when he suggests otherwise?
Did the General Assembly come up a list different than this one? Or any clear statement at all?
Leave the crying to infants; if you’re going to make a fuss at least have some notion of what the hell you want so you won’t look stupid when someone asks.

Nonnie October 6, 2011 at 5:17 am

Hey David,

Would you like a unicorn with that?

Wesley October 19, 2011 at 3:16 am

Since the Occupy Wall Street Protesters have no official list of demands after one month, I feel that we can honestly say that ALL OF THEIR DEMANDS HAVE BEEN MET. Thank you for playing, have a nice day.

Rob Crawford October 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm

“All debt must be stricken from the “Books.””

Well, there goes my savings account — a loan to the bank — and all my investments. This jerk just wiped out my life’s work.

Anonymous October 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

No, the recession did that.

Chris October 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I can just see this guy with his pinky to the corner of his mouth “I want one Trillion Dollars for Solar Power or I’ll destroy Wall Street with my non-nuclear powered Laaaaaaser” LOL

DC October 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

OK David, offer the demands up? From where I stand the protesters have been venting their anger for 3 weeks in the wrong direction. Companies work within the laws passed. As someone who has worked in operations and in finance I know that no amount of SOX or Dodd/Frank will keep companies from pushing the laws to the limit. Again, the source of all this anger should be directed at Washington. Tea party activists while generally aligned with the GOP also understand that the GOP needs to be watched very closely otherwise we’ll return to the 2006 GOP. While I have not spoken to anyone at the protests the theme seems to be the solution is more government (typical Democrat thinking) and that if it wasn’t for government corporations would be out for blood. Again speaking as someone who has worked for large corporations the past 15 years they are as good as their management. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. It’s best to let the free market “weed” out the bad.

DC October 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Nice article Ryan, I think you were rather fair in your critique. This is my first visit to openmarket.org so I’ll have to look around and kick the tires. Thanks, DC

Sigivald October 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

david: So, uh, who has an official list?

There isn’t one, because nobody has authority to make one. Which is fair, in a way, as a sort-of-decentralized “Rage”* movement.

But what the hell do the protestors want, then? What are they protesting to achieve, and why haven’t they been able to make it clear to us?

(Oh, they’ve made a few things clear – they really don’t seem to like “corporations”, and “banks”, and “rich people”. But that’s not a policy statement or a demand, it’s emotional posturing.

And some of them want to smash the state. More of them seem to want a bigger, more powerful state, but one doing what they want it to with its proposed gains in power.

But even “more government” isn’t a very coherent or useful position.

I’ll give the anarchist contingent props for at least having a clear and concise position. One I utterly oppose, but at least they’re communicating their stance well.)

Can you tell us, with your implicit claims to have been there and/or talked to them?

And our host says “It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously. Some protesters are focused on different issues than the ones he chose. But it’s reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands.”

That is kinda the opposite of presenting it as an “official list of demands”, ain’t it?

It does assume rather more agreement than is proper, I agree; I don’t think we can say most protestors would agree with most of his demands.

But on the other hand, from what I’ve seen on their internet rants and their “wearethealmostahundredpercent**” group signs and their cardboard signs at the protest, they’re not exactly completely wrong as a reflection of what the protestors and affiliates desire.

I’d expect a lot of sympathy with these demands from the protestors, given their own communications on the matters, and the communications of all the sympathizers I’ve seen online.

(* “Day of Rage”. Remember that? I do. Oh, the angry anger.

** Who the hell do they think they’re fooling? Themselves, I guess? They’re lucky if they’re 40%, and that just in vague sympathy rather than real agreement.)

mikee October 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm

“Think results, not intentions.” Sounds sensible to anyone except the Occupy Wall Street author of that list, and all who support the occupation.

James Felix October 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm

First you said this:
“Inter-city free trade has the same harmful effects. Consistency demands banning that, too. Even inter-household trade kills jobs under this line of thought.
If the protesters arbitrarily draw the line at the national level, then there is an inconsistency in their thought.”

A few paragraphs later you said this:
“But, like the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I don’t think anyone should presume the moral authority to tell other people where they may live, work, or travel. Right on.”

Since there’s no inconsistency to YOUR thought I can only assume it’s cool with you if I come live at your house. I’ll bring 10 or 15 friends with me. By your own admission you have no moral authority to stop us.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that a controlled border is one of the bare minimum requirements to qualify as a nation? Every single country on Earth has borders, and most of them (including Mexico’s) are guarded and enforced much more stringently than ours are. Yet it is only Americans that are, for some reason, considered racist for wanting our government to carry out this very basic duty. That makes absolutely no sense.

Liberty Belle 1959 October 7, 2011 at 12:43 am

Lovely …. excellent points …

JorgXMcKie October 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm

@David apparently represents the problem of the protesters. He either can’t or won’t read the appropriate material whether economic or here ["one activist posted a list of thirteen demands on OccupyWallSt.com. It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously. Some protesters are focused on different issues than the ones he chose. But it’s reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands."] or he is incapable of understanding it or he doesn’t really care or all of the above.

No wonder so many find the “protesters” and their demands fatuous.

Tantor October 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

With regard to open borders migration, I believe what they actually want is to allow open border crossings into the US, which will never work. Everyone south of the border will want to come to America to get free schooling, free health care, free housing, free everything. There is infinite demand for free stuff.

Rather than encourage the corrupt and dysfunctional countries of central and South America to send their problems to us, we should encourage them to reform so that their citizens will stay put. Let them build the Good Life at home, rather than take ours.

Craig October 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

And if I am reading the other demands correctly, while you will be allowed to freely cross the US boarder, you will not be allowed to bring any trade with you.

Richard Zeien October 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm

“How millennial.”

Do you mean “How much like a Boomer”? Don’t put this all on us.

Walter Sobchak October 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm

They want $20 minimum wage, high tariffs, and open borders. It would be an interesting episode in experimental economics. What failure mode do you think would predominate?

KMDowney October 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

david: Where does the author state, or even imply, that this was “an official list of demands”? He quite clearly says in the second paragraph, “It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously.” It’s his opinion that “most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands” — and your comment gives me no reason to believe otherwise.

I wish I could see a “Twilight Zone” episode where the activist gets to live in a world that is organized along the lines he advocates. Although he leaves out an important element: the state must be equipped with an adequate internal police force to enforce the fulfillment of the demands, and to imprison those recalcitrant elements that refuse to adapt to the new order.

Tioedong October 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Two problems.

One: you support open borders, but believe me, open the borders and a million Filipinos will be on the next PAL plane to San Diego.

Two: paper ballots? Ask our lovely ex president Gloria how to steal an election with paper ballots. Here in the Philippines, they spent a lot of money for electronic machines figuring our politicians are not yet computer literate.

Basil October 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm

david, perhaps you would be so helpful as to provide a link to the protesters’ *actual* list of demands?

Victor Erimita October 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I think the “open borders” in Demand Nine means international borders, not state ones.

I wonder weather the “credit reporting agencies” he wants to ban in Demand Twelve are the ones that are preventing him from getting a credit card because he has no income and skipped the rent on his last three apartments.

I think he should add a Demand Fourteen: Everything I ever want in life should be provided to me for free. By, you know, the grownups.

Wamphyr October 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Demand Two contains that all private insurers be banned from the system. So in a poor economy, your ‘plan’ is to force all employees of Blue Cross, Sharp, etc. onto the unemployment line? So now we have more people which now require unemployment benefits at the cost of the taxpayer? Oh, I suppose some of them can go work for the government ‘approved’ insurer, inflating the number of federal employees. Because growing the government payroll has been working so well thus far.

John October 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Or in other words: Free unlimited welfare for all deabeat students and anyone that wants to come to the United States and get $20 an hour for watching TV all day long.

Ben October 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

David, read paragraph 2. The author answers your objection in the second paragraph.

My question is this: What do we? What do the protester offer in exchange for obliging them in this list of demands?

If we give them what they want, what are they giving us in return? More importantly, what CAN they offer in return?

katrina October 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

why do they have to give you anything in return these people are actually suffering and need change now. This would be a great time for trickle down economics to finally kick in, but i guess that won’t be happening since companies are more concerned with taking tax payers money (that they don’t have to give) and spending it on massive bonuses (bonuses people could live off of for years) for the same top dogs that made the bad decisions that made the companies feel the need to beg for bail outs from the american people in the first place. Why is rewarding people (who don’t even need rewards to stay ahead) for being greedy, careless, and unethical ok in this country?

thats what occupy is so fired up about. they are tired of watching greed be continuously rewarded and reproduced at the expense of the people who really need to be getting the bonuses and the bail outs. they are tired of the puppet democracy that the 1% continuously hides behind. they are sick of not being heard while washington flails around, bogged down by destructive party politics and polluted lobby practices, making things worse. they are sick of money meaning power when, in a democracy, citizenship should be the only thing that can give a person power (or does equality not count when money could be involved).

so guess what, a bunch of citizens got together and decided that the options we are being offered aren’t enough and that everyone needs to know it. this isn’t a political party, its a movement seeking to bring awareness to a corrupt system and force people to have serious discussions about real, pressing issues. maybe they don’t have an official list of demands yet because its a diverse group of people who have different needs and therefore seek different ends, but i guarantee you there is more open conversation going on within the occupy movement than there is in washington right now. no ones got a good answer, so why rag on the people who can find solidarity in honestly discussing our nations problems when our own government can’t set aside their party differences (or set aside the needs of companies running a muck of our system and profiting from it) for two seconds to brainstorm any sort of new plan to make the system whole again.

so let the people keep talking and let them keep making people talk. see what we, as an actively political nation, can come up with outside of party lines which only serve to restrict innovative ideas from surfacing. this isn’t a party its a general movement, maybe a party will come out of this, maybe a few parties will come out of it, we don’t know where this can go. one thing is for sure though, these people are committed to change, they have to be. because of this actions will be demanded, and once they are honest politicians need to step up to the challenge of being a real public servant and help the people level the playing field. show the people we can trust you and follow through with the plans of your constituents, the people who decided to lend their power to you.

also can you all stop side stepping the actual issues here by ranting about the author not technically saying that what he was presenting was the official list of demands -who cares!- what he was presenting was something he found on the internet from some random individual he probably knows nothing about and has probably never even seen. he assumed (“But it’s reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands”) that logically because this person, that he’s never met or talked with, is affiliated with occupy (or says he is remember it is possible to lie on the internet- eh hem sexual predators ring a bell?) that this person must obviously be the best spokes person for the entire movement. the fact is this david character picked up on something a little dishonest that could possibly make this entire article meaningless, but the author found a loophole around that problem by leaving a word out and you guys were kind enough to point that out to david (over and over and over and over again). thanks for letting the world know its ok to bend the rules as long as we don’t technically break them. sounds familiar.

DWPittelli October 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm


He was not “presenting it” as an “official list of demands.” (“It doesn’t stand for the whole movement, obviously. Some protesters are focused on different issues than the ones he chose. But it’s reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of his demands.”)

Given the signs I’ve seen photographed and published in numerous places, I think it is reasonable to assume that if you ever get around to putting together an official list of demands, its flaws will resemble those of this list.

Robert Hanson October 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I haven’t been to the protests either, as I don’t live anywhere nearby. But I did watch videos of actual protestors, explaining their reasons for being there. Among those reasons was to get rid of the “inequality of income”, another wanted to eliminate all political influence by corporations. A number of photos show people holding up a sign for “workers.com”, which is a website for the openly Stalinst/Communist World Workers Party. Finally, one of the protestors summed it up concisely: “Smash Capitalism”.

TANSTAAFL October 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm

….and pie!

TANSTAAFL October 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

“….it as such is insulting to the protesters….”


Lou October 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Can you do a similar article with a reasoned critique on this ridiculous list of demands?


Californio October 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Onward comrades! I, for one, welcome our new slacker overlords. However, to better serve them, they will need a vanguard to implement and protect their vision. Perhaps a Committee…no, no a “guard” of motivated, correct-thinking vigorous young people – men and women. The Guard will, of course, need to be kept separate from the general population – lest it be infected with materialistic impulses. It will also require resources, lest it have to beg the same general population to enforce what may be short-term unpopular measures. And uniforms, and torch-lit marches to strenghen the Guard’s resolve – oh and barracks, and tanks …. and perhaps a symbol of their fierce resolve such as lightening bolts or little skulls. Or BOTH! And everyone who implies that such a wonderful progressive Guard of our new order is in any way fascistic – well, straight to the re-education camp with them! on electric/solar powered freight cars. So you see, things will be totally different this time……..because they have the very best of intentions.

TRD October 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I am surprised they didn’t demand a ban on soap and water.

Tim October 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I think people who support open borders should start with a small scale experiment before they foist it on the rest of us. Leave your house unlocked and let anyone who wants to enter & live.

tanstaafb October 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I want free beer along with my $20 per hour living wage. Do I get paid when I am sleeping?

John October 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I read demand twelve as referring to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, rather than Moody’s and S&P. Otherwise I agree with your analysis.

David P October 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Where are all these lists of demands coming from? This is as much a load of crud as the other ones. You sir, need to learn about Due Diligence in reporting.

crypticguise October 5, 2011 at 11:36 pm

“…They’re a lot like Tea Party protesters…” They most certainly are not in the least like the Tea Party Protesters. The demands indicate how IGNORANT these clowns are about almost everything: business, economics, our Constitution… they are truly the most poorly educated, and miseducated incompetents I’ve seen in my life.

These are PURELY FASCISTS in their demands. They have no interest in Freedom and prefer socialist-Marxism over Capitalism. Clueless loser being led around by Socialists and Communists.

Nickie Crackel October 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Who do you think is behind all these losers? I think Obama..

edh October 6, 2011 at 12:30 am

“Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.”

I think he meant Credit REPORTING agencies, like Equifax and TransUnion.

Not Credit Rating agencies, like Moodys and S&P.

Clearly, from his agenda, it sounds like this guy has some serious personal debt he wants to unload.

Occupy October 6, 2011 at 3:52 am

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
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.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
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.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government ontracts.*

To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!

Evie October 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Dude, Wall Street didn’t do more than half of those things, our government did!! And some of your claims are conspiracy theory rhetoric.

Stop playing the blame game and take stock of your life, you want things to change, then start with you. You hate capitalism, put down the computer made by a capitalist company, unplug from the internet, provided to you by a capitalist company, give up all trappings of civilization and buy some land, plant and grow your own food. Otherwise you are just a tool and you bore me!!

Me, Myself, and I October 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Firstly alot of what you said had no evidence to back it up and some of it contridicted the trueth; for instance:
there are regulations, you know, that keep corporations and businesses from segrigating employees.
and what evidence do you have to support what you said about using the police to prevent freedom of the press? same goes for what you said about “….. profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.”
You haven’t presented any evidence and unless you do nothing will convince me.

point number two, who do you think creates jobs?
Well duh, not uneducated or poor people. So the question is, do you think attacking the people who create jobs will help? my answer to that is simply stated no. Logic behind this, because by attacking it doesn’t encourage expansion and it won’t make them egger to hire you.
A long time ago I wrote a school news paper with my good friends we worked for hours and hours we did this because we wanted to please other people, not to mention our writing improved; then one day some people made fun of us and said harsh things for doing so and after that we didn’t want ot continue, we didn’t want to write any more, we didn’t want to expand. I know this is a pretty lame example but in a way it applys, do you think corporations are going to hire people who protested against them, make fun of them, and labled them with false acusation?
So what I am trying to get across is that protesting against corporations is not the solution, neither is regulating them. It costs money for businesses to comply with regulations, some of which are good but there are some regulations that are so silly. Did you know that their are regulations that ban my inhailer because it lets out some toxins that are putting holes in the ozone layer!? give me a break, now I can’t breath normally because my inhailer is putting holes in the ozone layer; can you imagine what silly regulations are being pushed on businesses to help the enviornment? wait a minuet what were you saying earlier about faulty products “They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit” and, oh ya, the medicine thing “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.” Well you’ve accused the wrong people, because isn’t it the government who’ve issued the regulations that prevent these things, who are making it difficult for me to breath?

So in conclusion, WHY ARE YOU ACUSING CORPORATIONS? You have come up with reasons, I’ll give you that much, but no evidence, to support your claims, has been presented. To convince me and many others you need to come up with, “this is my reasoning, here’s my example/ my evidence, and here’s where I get my facts.”

This is just one place I get my facts where do you get yours?

Nonnie October 6, 2011 at 5:13 am

I’d like a unicorn with that.

Bryan October 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Golden hoverpony?

Davis October 6, 2011 at 6:01 am

On demand 11: Do they realize that bank deposits, like checking accounts and CDs are loans to banks? Bet not.

Jack October 6, 2011 at 6:23 am

Just go check some interviews of these people…a lot morons there, I have worked for what I have, sacrificed being home with family on holiday, live comfortably, non-union and invested myself. I have health care and everything I need. In addition I am taking care of my adult daughter by myself…all of this on a HS education and two years of college…so I have litte care for these idiots and their idiotic ideas. They want socialism and that is the bottom line. They can’t even say that word without others shutting them up. Stupidity…socialism, will lead to tyranny, I would rather have my freedom, so thanks, but no thanks.

Jeffrey Pinyan October 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

Demand four: Free college education. This should be re-worded as “Demand Four: The poor and uneducated must give money to the rich and educated.”

I’m not sure I follow. Are you saying that if college education is free for everyone (rather than just for those who cannot afford it) that it doesn’t provide any advantage to the poor, since the rich won’t be spending any money to be educated either?

I’d also like to know how college professors are to receive a living wage when their college isn’t allowed to charge tuition… or how long the government can remain in operation paying everyone’s college tuition… or how high the taxes have to be for us to pay for everyone’s college tuition…

Daniel M. October 6, 2011 at 7:41 am

“. . . It in no way represents an official list of demands, and presenting it as such is insulting . . .” -David

@David, the author never stated this was an official list of demands, and plainly stated that it obviously didn’t stand for the whole movement. He merely claims that it is reasonable to assume that most of the protesters would agree with most of the demands. Now, before you go off on how inappropriate it can be to make assumptions, let me point out that you’re making at least two bold assumptions in your own post above. It happens. It’s part of freedom of expression.

The author is expressing an opinion about the protesters to which he is entitled, and which many neutral observers would happen to agree with. If he’s correct about the protesters, their intentions, their lack of understanding (as a group) of proven principles of economics, and their collective desire to get a free ride from the productive class, this will be proven in time. I suspect it will.

Mike Schinkel October 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

@Daniel M.:

tl;dr. The article’s TITLE was “Occupy Wall Street Protesters Make Demands” NOT “One Person Makes Demands in the name of Occupy Wall Street Protesters.” Far more people will read the title and scan the article but miss the caveat. Thus at best the title was amateur, at worse it was subversive. It doesn’t help honest discourse when people publish things like this and people support them for it like you did.



Gunga October 6, 2011 at 7:52 am

Greedy, whiney, and by now smelly socialists gathering together in unity of mind and spirit…is the new Beaujolais out already?

buzz harsher October 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

Demand twelve says, “Outlaw all credit _reporting_ agencies,” not “all credit _rating_ agencies.” These are really quite different.

Credit _reporting_ agencies tell lenders if you are or are not a good credit risk, and are, therefore racist.

buzz harsher October 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

Please assume sarc tags in previous comment.

Evie October 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm

How is it racist? If it is a number and not a person that they are looking at. Also, a white person can have bad credit and not be approved for a loan just as a black person can have bad credit and not get approved. It’s not racists, what they are looking at is debt to income ratio, how were payments on previous debts paid, late, on-time, not at all? Those have nothing to do with race and everything to do with how well you can manage additional debt.

buzz harsher October 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

Please insert sarc tags as appropriate in previous comment.

Paul Hoffmann October 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Nice, quick point-by-point analysis. I think the Tea Party formed because they are not represented in Washington D.C., while these protestors are fully represented by Obama and the unions.

s lee October 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Some folks have been asking for the original list or a document with the demands. Here is the google doc that I have referenced. It contains a list of declarations and demands.


Michael October 7, 2011 at 4:04 am

When will OWS realize that government officials accepted bribes to benefit Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank, Incorporated? When will the public demand the impeachment of the government officials who violated their oaths?

Michael October 7, 2011 at 4:05 am

The ultimate irony of the Occupy Wall Street protests is that vicious police “officers”, who were hired by the New York City government maced and beat innocent people on public property (such as Brooklyn Bridge). The cops prevented the public from walking on the public streets and eventually herded the protesters into Zucotti Park.

It is interesting that Zucotti Park is a private park owned by a corporation. I share no sympathy for the special privileges of corporations, but those privileges were granted by government officials – so-called “public servants”. Yet, it was government power that beat and maced the OWS protesters. It is truly ironic that the OWS protesters received sanctuary on PRIVATE property and mercy was extended to them, not by government, but by one of the corporations they revile.

When will OWS realize that government officials accepted bribes to benefit Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank, Incorporated? When will the public demand the impeachment of the government officials who violated their oaths?

Molly October 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

I would expect someone who bilks investors for money to support a continuation of the ‘accepted economics.’ But the thing is, the system is rigged to the 1% and we are not interested in continuing to contribute. Instead, we will focus our energy on achieving our goals of separating BigBank and BigCorp $$ from OUR Government. The ultimate controllers of those Corps have voting rights, why do they deserve MORE influence than 99% of Americans? No one is self made, and if they claim they ‘deserve’ not to die from cancer because they achieved more material wealth, they ‘deserve’ to select candidates for the 99% to choose from…well, that’s obviously selfish and self centered, and NOT a value on which we should base decisions that affect the entire world.

Head Doctor October 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

All you IDIOTS need to go live in Greece and see how well your socialist ideas work.

ken October 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

It’d actually be interesting to ask OWS protesters if there is an unified list of demands….would be interesting. This seems like something one of them wrote up as a starting point though since no one else has said anything…

And no, they’re not like the Tea Party at all. The Tea Party, and Libertarians before them, have consistently said politicians are violating the Constitution (e.g., “Patriot” Act) and wayyyyyyyyy out of control w/ their spending (so much so that they’d rather raise taxes on you then cut down spending and they’re effectively only able to keep paying interest on their “credit cards” yet keep increasing spending!). But the media has consistently said they’re all lunatics, and look at where we are w/ the out of control deficit and spending now (10-20yrs after Libertarians sounded the warning claxons)-:

Todd October 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Correcting the dis-information about our ACTUAL:

We should make the demands below very publicly at a press conference a few days after arriving in DC. When doing so, we should give a clear deadline of 3 days for a firm written commitment with signatures from at least 60% of members of House and 60% of the members of the Senate to pass these bills by the end of the year. If this commitment on the full slate of demands is not met by midnight on the 3rd day (which it won’t be) we should be prepared to non-violently block access to all or part of the Capitol complex the next morning by traditional proven non-violent tactics. The purpose is to bring the leaders of the House and Senate to the negotiating table.

NOTE: There are always entrances because there is always a point where people who work there have to leave the public street and enter secure space. We should focus our non-violent direct action and civil disobedience on those entrances no matter where they move them because these are, by definition, always accessible.


CONGRESS PASS HR 1489 (“RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT” http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1489 ). THIS REINSTATES MANY PROVISIONS OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act — Wiki entry summary: The repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. Most economists believe this repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors’ money that was held in commercial banks owned or created by the investment firms. Here’s detail on repeal in 1999 and how it happened: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act#Repeal .

USE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND OVERSIGHT TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AGENCIES FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis in the following notable cases: (insert list of the most clear cut criminal actions). There is a pretty broad consensus that there is a clear group of people who got away with millions / billions illegally and haven’t been brought to justice. Boy would this be long overdue and cathartic for millions of Americans. It would also be a shot across the bow for the financial industry. If you watch the solidly researched and awared winning documentary film “Inside Job” that was narrated by Matt Damon (pretty brave Matt!) and do other research, it wouldn’t take long to develop the list.

CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION which essentially said corporations can spend as much as they want on elections. The result is that corporations can pretty much buy elections. Corporations should be highly limited in ability to contribute to political campaigns no matter what the election and no matter what the form of media. This legislation should also RE-ESTABLISH THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES IN THE U.S. SO THAT POLITICAL CANDIDATES ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME FOR FREE AT REASONABLE INTERVALS IN DAILY PROGRAMMING DURING CAMPAIGN SEASON. The same should extend to other media.

CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE. No more GE paying zero or negative taxes. Pass the Buffet Rule on fair taxation so the rich pay their fair share. (If we have a really had a good negotiating position and have the place surrounded, we could actually dial up taxes on millionaires, billionaires and corporations even higher…back to what they once were in the 50′s and 60′s.

CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION and staff it at all levels with proven professionals who get the job done protecting the integrity of the marketplace so citizens and investors are both protected. This agency needs a large staff and needs to be well-funded. It’s currently has a joke of a budget and is run by Wall St. insiders who often leave for high ticket cushy jobs with the corporations they were just regulating. Hmmm.


CONGRESS PASSING “Revolving Door Legislation” LEGISLATION ELIMINATING THE ABILITY OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS GOING TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS THAT THEY ONCE REGULATED. So, you don’t get to work at the FDA for five years playing softball with Pfizer and then go to work for Pfizer making $195,000 a year. While they’re at it, Congress should pass specific and effective laws to enforce strict judicial standards of conduct in matters concerning conflicts of interest. So long as judges are culled from the ranks of corporate attorneys the 1% will retain control.

ELIMINATE “PERSONHOOD” LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS. The film “The Corporation” has a great section on how corporations won “personhood status”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuUzmqBewg . Fast-forward to 2:20. It’ll blow your mind. The 14th amendment was supposed to give equal rights to African Americans. It said you “can’t deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law”. Corporation lawyers wanted corporations to have more power so they basically said “corporations are people.” Amazingly, between 1890 and 1910 there were 307 cases brought before the court under the 14th amendment. 288 of these brought by corporations and only 19 by African Americans. 600,000 people were killed to get rights for people and then judges applied those rights to capital and property while stripping them from people. It’s time to set this straight.

Anthony A. Heying October 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

And to think that so many people have had to die to give these people their freedom to say such outlandish nonsense. A great man once said;”stupid is as stupid does.” These are nieve kids, backed by socalists and worse. How sad for our great Union.

Dr. Deborah Ash October 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm

No, Anthony; with all due respect, these are not “nieve kids, backed by socialists and worse.” By the way? “Nieve” is spelled “naive”. If we were naive – we would still be silent. “How sad for our great Union” you say? Was it not a revolution that helped build this great Union/Nation? Study your history.

This isn’t a kidnapping – so we may not have a main list of demands and there are solutions – but not just one list could ever address it but one sign said it all [verbatim]: We don’t have ONE demand, because America has a lot of problems.

I am an educated, working college professor with perfect understanding of how the free market works, how capitalism works, and how democracy works. The problem is none of these things are now working FOR most Americans; but against them. The wage of the average American has remained stagnant while corporate wages and salaries have risen exponentially. The cost of a college education has risen at rates faster than the job market can keep up with. Jobs were lost due to trade agreements, workers were sent to college to get “re-educated” and then upon graduation – there were no jobs. But who got the bailouts? Who got the compensation bonuses? Not the average, hard-working American.

The Occupy coalition (I prefer that to protesters) may not be creating a list of demands for one reason – its pretty obvious what is wrong with our country; our world. 99% of the people are being ignored and have no voice; that’s been given to special interests and lobbyists. But, this is probably going to change very soon. I am pretty sure this column and its derogatory tone says volumes to that. This is not some fly-by-night protest. You can choose to ignore it, keep ridiculing it, and keep arresting people… as Ghandi is cited as saying: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (Although to be fair, I believe it was Nicholas Klein who first said this in 1918 during a trade Union address). :-) Smile – because we will not forget. Laugh now – because we will not forgive. Be sure of one thing – our Nation was built on the backs of the 99% and not the 1% and we are taking back our Nation.

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