The Rich Kids of Occupy Wall Street

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of numerous books, including "Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America," now available from ISI Books. Read Daniel's blog at www.flynnfiles.com.


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Even the 19th-Century Populists who spoke for “the people” weren’t men of the people. People’s Party Congressman Jerry Simpson, the so-called Sockless Socrates, worked employees long hours as he paid them meager wages. Sockless Jerry made a political career railing against the railroads. He finished it by accepting a job with the Santa Fe line. Prince of Cranks Ignatius Donnelly had served as a lobbyist for Jay Cooke and James J. Hill and partook in insider trading as a Congressman. William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 running mate on the Populist ticket was Georgia landowner Tom Watson, who historian C. Vann Woodward noted had “more tenants on his land than his grandfather had slaves.” Bryan’s 1896 running mate on the Democrat ticket was Maine banker, shipbuilder, and railroad magnate Arthur Sewell. If the opponents of populism really did seek to crucify mankind on a cross of gold, they might have bought the precious-metal materials from Simpson, Donnelly, and Watson.

Occupy Wall Street’s rhetoric of the 99 percent taking on the 1 percent conveys upon the protestors a moral authority speaking with the voice of the people. They are the masses rebelling against the masters, they seem to say. But as the Daily Caller’s examination of their arrest records shows, they are predominantly white and wealthy, like the vague figures they inveigh against. This doesn’t invalidate any specific claims made by Occupy Wall Street. But given the movement’s aversion to specifics, and emphasis on slogans and symbolism, the notion of kids from the leafy suburbs lecturing the rest of America on wealth and poverty seems a bit, well, rich.

Alas, a study of Weatherman, the Populists, Edward Bellamy’s Nationalist Movement, the Fourierist Communes, and so many other share-the-wealth crusades demonstrates how historically pedestrian it is for rich people to speak on behalf of the poor.

Friedrich Engels? Landlord. Robert Owen? Industrialist. George Soros? Financier. John Kerry? Wealthiest Senator. Katrina vanden Heuval? Heiress.

Who occupies Wall Street? Rich kids.

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  • http://www.dailydoofus.com Frank

    What's wrong with rich people? So what if the OWS protesters are wealthier than you are? Enough with the class warfare, you pinko.

    • Rifleman

      Lol, any absurdity to keep from admitting your heroes are hypocrites

      • Herman Caintonette

        Do the math properly, and the equation changes.

        • intrcptr2

          If the equation changes, then that means you've done your math wrong; that's the entire point of "equations", you dip.

    • kateyleigh

      Indeed, what is wrong with them Frank? Why are they out protesting their existence?

    • Big Irish

      you make sooo much sense Frank….NOT!!!!!!!!

    • Justamom

      Frank, the point of the article is not to criticize rich people. It is to criticize the hypocrisy of the OWS protesters who damn the rich but who are the rich themselves. If they really want to help the poor and the 99%, they might press for the elimination of strangling regulation which keeps competition for the huge conglomerates all but impossible and prevents the little guy from getting a foot in the door. These OWS rich kids didn't earn their wealth, they were given it and then want to prevent the struggling up and comers from achieving anything but the crumbs of big government oppression. .

  • Jason

    First of all $305,000 hardly buys anything even in the ghettos of the 5 boroughs. Check a real estate website of your choice if you don't believe me. Second of all property in the NYC costs over 3 times the national medium. The fact that the protesters come from properties less then 2 times the average means what? That they on the low end of the middle class. Big surprise there. Third I thought the problem was that the protesters were dirty homeless hippies now your saying there is some diversity in the 99%. Lol I can't believe this guy takes the lower middle class of New York and goes on a rant about every movement in history that was led by the rich. You gotta love the far right.

    • Rifleman

      Excuses, excuses,lol. Hey brother, could you spare $300K?

    • intrcptr2

      "The point" is that the original hippies were spoiled, little white kids, too.

      Please to notice that the arrest records also compiled rent statistics; I doubt homeless people are paying $1400 a month for a walk-up. Of course, nothing here claims that everyone arrested lives within NYC in the first place.

      The homeless poor do not shop at Cabelas, nor have they any need for protable generators to power their blogtops.

    • kerrari1898

      Yes they are filthy hippies. Hippies were predominantly spoiled rich kids as well, genius.

  • scum

    Then why do others accuse it of CLASS WARFARE, of the POOR against the RICH? At least you and your buddies should get your story straight…

    • intrcptr2

      Because that is the claim that OWS makes, and the media trumpets.

      IF FPM has the story crooked, it is only because that's how it was given them by OWS.

      • Herman Caintonette

        FPM has the story wrong because it is a propaganda mill.

        • intrcptr2

          While I am glad we agree on one thing; http://www.thefreedictionary.com/propaganda

          that is mostly because you've managed, in your self-contained fog bank, to agree with my point about OWS not knowing who or what itself is.

          'Tis a distinct pity watching a college education go to such waste. Perhaps Dan Quayle was right after all;
          "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is".

      • scum

        So you're sheep following the 'propaganda of your enemy'? Doesn't speak too well for you, now does it? You guys crack me up…

  • Rifleman

    Who else can afford to camp out for months will all the latest evil corporate electronic gadetry? They ran off the real homless and destitute.

    • Herman Caintonette

      The gadgets are cheap and besides, we're talking about the bottom 99%, as opposed to the bottom 1%.

      • kateyleigh

        Meaning what? What percentile of that 99% do you consider yourself? Gadgets are cheap, huh? Perhaps in your percentile they are. Cost is relative to income. How much of yours are you willing to — redistribute?

        • Herman Caintonette

          If it meant more business walking through the door, I wouldn't mind taking a bit of a haircut. Better to pay a 40% on $250k of net income than 35% of $100k.

  • kateyleigh

    Sadly the same mental disconnect. They don't get that sharing wealth means sharing theirs

    • Herman Caintonette

      Buffett gets it. And yet, he is willing to do precisely that.

      • kateyleigh

        Oh yes, Buffett. Tax me more, please. If he's that adamant, I expect this tax season, he'll forego all the deductions he takes, including charitable contributions (it is more 'charitable' if you get and expect nothing back—altruism, you know), claim all of his income, both earned and unearned, all of his assets, and pay accordingly. He'll do that, right? Because he isn't paying his fair share. And he really, really wants to.

        • Herman Caintonette

          He really isn't, but even he knows that his would be a drop in the bucket. We need to tackle the big fix — tariffs on Chinese-made goods, elimination of the capital gains subsidy, single-payer health insurance, reforming the B1B visa program, reducing our military footprint in the Middle East, et al., ad nauseum. And yes, raising taxes on the fabulously wealthy.

  • mrcontrol

    Us poor people are too broke to get a message out, we are too busy grinding our teeth at the uncertainty of tomorrow. Even poor people know that communism doesn't work but how about some good economic policy? that sounds good eh?

    • Herman Caintonette

      It's not that we are broke but rather, that all of our representatives either have David Koch or Lloyd Blankfein on speed-dial, and can afford to ignore us.

  • tanstaafl

    In George Bernard Shaw's play, "Man and Superman", one of the characters remarks to another, "You are rich and can afford your socialism".

  • Tony

    Shouldn't the protesters in Portland have run Michael Moore out of town the other day? Isn't he in the class of people they are protesting? After all, he is worth over $55 million. Made his money the good old fashion way while knocking the same system that let him make his millions.

    • Herman Caintonette

      More like $25-30 mill, and he isn't averse to paying more taxes on his income, as long as everyone else in his yacht club does.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    What about those privileged aristocratic brats who founded the United States of America. Nothing but obnoxious creeps living in giant mansions spouting off nonsense about Natural Law and the “consent of the governed.” What pretentious slackers!!!

    • intrcptr2

      Interesting;

      Ben Franklin–printer, publisher, inventor
      John Adams–farmer, lawyer
      John Hancock–shipper
      George Washington–planter
      Thomas Jefferson–planter, inventor, architect
      http://www.usconstitution.net/constframedata.html http://www.usconstitution.net/declarsigndata.html

      Survey says?!? EHHHHN.

      Thanks for playing! Johnny, tell us what lovely partinng gifts our contestant has won…

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        Right. They scrabbled on their hands and knees in hard soil. Worked their fingers to the bone tilling and ploughing.

        • Herman Caintonette

          They had slaves to do that.

      • scum

        Uh, dude, survey says: Franklin: Slave Owner. George Washington: Slave Owner; Thomas Jefferson: Slave Owner. You win the idiot prize, now go dump somebody else's tea overboard (and refuse to pay for it…).

        • intrcptr2

          ouch.
          Ya know, you guys should really quit your day jobs; these jokes are killin' me.

          Franklin a slave owner??! Good thing you're not in my history class.

          See, this thread shows the very reason you two(three) are SO disrespected when you open your traps (And I am quite aware that none of you clicked the links); the many Quakers and New Englanders on the lists were proto-abolitionists, even in '76.

          If you honestly think I am unaware that many of the Founding Fathers held slaves, there is little to do but ask you to come a little closer so I can slap some sense into your stultified pea-brains.
          That and point out, again, since you completely missed it before you flunked out of high school, that Washington freed his slaves, eventually. And Jefferson lacked the spine to act on his own convictions (Which fact leads to rank him much lower than most as a President and a man). Dare I contionue and remind you that the 3/5 Compromise was virtually forced on northern representatives who rather wished that no slaves be counted, or that Jefferson is the one who signed the act outlawing the Africa slave trade, ASAP, in 1807?

          Such rank stupidity (Depicting such men as European royalty) also demonstrates that not one of you has ever gotten dirt under the fingernails either.

          Which last point clearly implicates each of you, since I am fairly sure I can safely assume you are not posting these comments from Zuccoti Park.

        • intrcptr2

          "…now go dump somebody else's tea overboard (and refuse to pay for it…)."

          And what, prey tell, do you think all these demands for college debt remission are?

          Hmm?

          Thought so…
          Shut up, and get a bleeding clue, you git!

        • intrcptr2

          Beg pardon;
          you are right about Franklin owning slaves,

          but wrong about his attitude during the struggle for Independence; your implication of his hypocrisy being a nice bit of slander.

          As for the others, lo and behold, 13 out of 55 held slaves; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_

          amazing stuff, books and words, you should try them sometime.
          An A for effort and an F for content earns you a C. You should be proud, you passed.

          • scum

            Gary Nash established that Franklin WAS a slave owner. He also freed them and found one of the first abolitionist societies in Philly. I NEVER SAID WASHINGTON DIDN'T FREE HIS SLAVES. Washington owned around 600 slaves in his lifetime, but freed them after this death. But to own 20 or more made on a 'planter.' Jefferson was also a 'planter' and one of Viriginia's foremost slaveowning families. If you read your own history books (Peter Wood, Ira Berlin, for starters), they were all part of what was called the VIRGINIA DYNASTY. I seem to hold Jefferson in higher regard than you: Jefferson was complex, helped to prohibit slavery in the Northwest Territory & applauded the abolition of the slave trade. It was Congress that voted to abolish (112 to 5, I believe) and he willingly signed (he hated the slave trade). You wrongly assumed I was making a MORAL argument about slavery. The thread was about whether the Founding Fathers were elites. Slaves were expensive, and if one owned over 100 of them (not Franklin), that made one a PLANTER (elite).

          • intrcptr2

            Look, if you are going to try to lecture me about things of which I am already well aware (VA Dynasty, planters being elite because they were wealthy slave holders), you ought to at least notice when I admit one of your points (Franklin's owning two slaves).

            I suppose your pompousness stems from my being a colonial, and your not.

            And since you've not clicked the links in my last, allow me to spell it out; at the Constitutional Convention, according to Wiki, 13 out of 55 representatives had owned slaves at some point (Franklin being notable for having freed his some 15 years earlier). To elaborate, fewer than 1 in 4 of those who argued over and signed the Constitution were slave owners. By your own calculations making them NOT elitists. I would suggest they were, but more because they recognized the dangers inherent in democracy stemming from leaving political power in the hands of the uneducated masses (So sorry, too, to rain on your one-man parade, but your state administered schooling does not counter this).

            And no, I was not ascribing a moral judgment about slavery to you, I was atacking your false moral judgment on the Founding Fathers as exclusively slave owning, self-serving hypocrites. But now that you mention it, why would you avoid a moral condemnation of slavery? Jefferson did indeed argue that it was immoral, without ever actually puttin his own money where his words were. Do you feel the need to protect his legacy at the expense of his slaves?
            You are correct that I hold Jefferson a bit lower than most; he never freed his slaves, and his concept of republican agarianism was a mythological anachronism, affection for and adherence to which both convinced the South to break the compact with the Northern states, and lost them the very war they so eagerly sought (A very nice demonstration of the dangers of the democracy of the uneducated masses; 300,000 slave owners out of a population of 9 million, and they decided to go to war for the sake of preserving slavery).
            Let us also not forget that it was an undue veneration for the VA Dynasty that supported the antebellum planter class' belief in the superiority of their culture, which itself fueled the KKK, Jim Crow, and the "South Will Rise Again" parocialism we still see in Amerika.

            I make no apologies whatsoever, especially to a foreigner (Who most likely has been living under US military protection his entire life), for my scorn for those who believe there was anything redeemable in the old South.

  • Herman Caintonette

    Flynn: "The Daily Caller has examined the arrest records of hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and found that they live in homes with a median value of $305,000 versus the national median of $185,000. The median rent for apartments listed by OWS arrestees was $1,850."

    The average listing price for a home in Harlem is $731,000 (http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/New_York-New_York/ ). HARLEM, for cry-iy!! Hell, even a house in Bedford-Sty goes for $500K, http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Stuyvesant_Town… and Levittown, $312K. http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/11756-Levittown

    You can't conclude from that one raw stat that the OWSers are rich kids.

    • scum

      FPMers make a point of telling us how poor most Americans are compared to OWS protesters. This is like shooting oneself in the foot: 1) The fact that most Americans are VERY POOR is PRECISELY THE POINT of the protest. 2) If the OWS is composed of the weatlhy, then the FPM argument that the protests amount to CLASS WARFARE are equally idiotic and inconsistent. The truth is, bozos here try to through any criticism they can, without any attempt at consistency. But it's fun to listen to their own hysterical rants, and to listen to Rush now and again for a laugh.

  • DuncanIdaho

    And the mechanism for soaking the rich, the income tax, doesn’t care where you live

    • scum

      You're right, I feel so sorry for the billionaires.

  • Margaret

    The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

    Instead of yelling at others about their financial sins, start with yourself.

    Socialists , communists don't really want to change the system. They just want to be the new masters. Pull up and destroy the ladders of class mobility and opportunity behind them. They will be the new royalty who will hypocritically extend their noblesse oblige to us inferior peasants for our own good.

  • Larry Darnell

    perhaps the headline, to be a tad more accurate should read, some ows protesters live in homes with a median value of $305k.

    the median meaning, perhaps, if someone who lived in a home worth $4m was there, the entire skew of value would rush skyward. not the average.

    herein an attempt to obfuscate.

    • Fist de Yuma

      I think you might want to pick up a math book before posting again. You have confused mean with median. Not that I expect a liberal attempting to "obfuscate" to have any real understanding.

  • scum

    How about an article entitled: "The Rich Kids of the GOP, and how they soak the taxpayer." In the first paragraph, we could begin with loser Rick Perry, because of Perry using a house rental on a $1.85 MILLION HOUSE as a govt mansion, "taxpayers have spent at least $595,000 for rent, utilities, repairs, furnishings and supplies." Then we can move on to Romney's PRIVATE FLEET OF MANSIONS. One wonders if he can take them with him when he dies…

  • keoke888

    I have spent the past few days working on a project with someone who has spent most of his life being supported by rich girls, and making jokes about how he should go to Occupy Wall Street, what a coincidence.

  • mlcblog

    Why does this not surprise me? Wasn't this the same group of "intelligentsia" who fomented many European revolutions in history?

    • scum

      No

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Truly the demonstrators and those opposed are a mixed bag of incomes and
    background that share one thing in common, and uncertain future. We will
    all live in a Republic with Capitalism or a Democracy gone Socialist State,
    maybe something inbetween. One thing we do not want to be Eastern or
    Western Europe. With the political class and elites running the show we
    are more likley to wind up a very large Haiti………………………….William

  • Bob1am

    the "OBAMA VILLAGES", which pop up wherever the "occupy" protesters are, provide a fitting testament to the legacy of BHo

  • Daniel Fagan

    As these tools rapidly loose their credibility through the disjointed and irrational rhetoric that is spewed forth daily by the true believers, they will resort to political power by other means. Nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes. As they accumulate more real enemies, we will see how craven and selfish these feabaggers are. A hero marches to the sound of guns as the imposter flees for safety. These frauds will flee at the first sign of real opposition. The first sniper, bomb, or counter mob that allows a few of these "heroes" to achieve room temperature will see a vast majority run back to their parents basement. It is my fervent hope that the blood split will be on the hands of other members of the Left, as it was in the 60s.

    • Jim

      Will you be in that mob of hate mongers that attack those who have been impoverished by the welfare Queens of Wall street and those fighting for justice against the Lobbyists
      of Wall Street who paid congress to turn on the American people.
      Will your mob of haters attack the people who have had their social security cut in order to pay the Wall Street welfare queens .
      Will your mob attack the marines and soldiers who are joining the occupiers.
      Perhaps it would be safer for your dream mob to stick to beating up on homless women and their children. They are easy to find. They live in the sewers of this town when ever the police brandishing clubs are not chasing them out. Yes go get em big man.

  • Change

    Really Daniel? Wow! So you are hoping for bloodshed because a large group of people decided to utilize their right to speak freely? So, what kind of hero are you? Commander Fascist? Super A-hole? I'm sure we could find you a nice Boehner costume with a cape. You could be Captain Anti-America! Though, it appears he is the one running for cover now in the form of tax hikes on corporations and the wealthiest 25%. (Though, he isn't the only one. It seems all of the politicians have been changing their tune after OWS started). So, you can have your "GI Joe wannabe" idea of a hero and live in your imaginary world where all is great, all is good, and there is nothing in need of change. In the meantime, the real heros will be doing their part to stand up for what is right. And if I have to explain what is wrong, then perhaps any hope of you understanding is lost. But, your grandkids can thank them later.

  • Jim

    The movement was years in the making. Thousands of posters posted away on the Business ,Banks and Wall Street rip offs slowly but certainly the people began to move. It is growing as more and more people are disenfranchised
    If the children of the rich are fighting against the Banksters the good for them. Too bad the posters who disparage the occupiers aren't out them selves fighting to bring democracy back to America.
    Perhaps the people who disparage the occupiers are too rich to care or feel they are immune from the growing poverty .
    Show your concern for your fellow Americans and with draw your money from the Banksters and vote corruption out of Washington.
    The Marines coming back from the mid east have seen the injustice first hand and are beginning to join the movement.
    Even the unions are joining in to defend America as they did when they supported the war in Vietnam. The Unions are marching with the occupiers
    If the poor had the money to make the trip they too would be there. Thanks to the rich kids for trying to help.

  • mlcblog

    It's just like the statistics I am beginning to personally keep. When I hear someone screaming It ain't fair! give us govt (other people's) money! I take note of where their paycheck is coming from. 100% so far are on the govt dole, not even holding a job, let alone in business for selves.

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  • Ricardo Cantoral

    1,850 a month ? That is a single bedroom at most in the Bronx.

  • http://tersazzxvvnmnsdxz.com Denis Mcghaney

    I hate to be negative, but… (don’t you love it when people start out that way?) Anyway, we had an account w/Capital One, and had destroyed the actual physical card ages ago. We then decided to go ahead and get a new card (to take on vacation, no less). We waited 2 days past the 14 business days we were quoted, called back, and they hadn’t even sent it out just flat out lied to us, I guess. This happened twice. It took us from October to mid-January to get our card. Maybe since yours is a brand new account you’ll have better luck, but I would suggest that you call back in a week or so and just make sure that it’s in process. Have fun in Europe!

  • http://uncensored.citadel.org/ IGnatius T Foobar

    No surprise here. OWS was a socialist movement run by wealthy racist liberals. I’m just glad it’s over.