Occupy Berkeley!

Steven Plaut is a native Philadelphian who teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He holds a PhD in economics from Princeton.  He is author of the David Horowitz Freedom Center booklets about the Hamas  and Jewish Enablers of the War against Israel.


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The focus of the country has lately been on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, or “OWS.”  You know, the people who claim to speak for the 99% of Americans who are not wealthy capitalists and who think they can create social justice and equality by marching around the New York Stock Exchange and other centers of capitalism, like Greenwich Village.

Here is how the leaders of the leaderless OWS describe themselves on their Web site:

“Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”

They go on to promise: “We are growing.  Block by block – city by city.  We will see change in this country, in this world.  It will happen sooner than you can imagine.”

Now it occurs to me that there is only one appropriate and sensible response to the “Occupy Wall Street” anarchists and street urchins.  And that is to create a competing grassroots mass movement that will challenge the attention OWS is receiving in the media, while offering a rational and constructive alternative agenda for real social change.

I propose that the alternative mass movement be called “Occupy Berkeley.”

OB will be a mass movement holding protests and street demonstrations in Berkeley, California.  Its first order of business will be to occupy Telegraph Avenue.  The slogan of OB should be, “We are the other 99.999999%,” referring to the fact that people who despise Berkeley street hippies and “anarchists” represent exactly that proportion of the general population.

OB will specialize in civil disobedience and street theater.  Among its initiatives will be a mass roundup of Berkeley hippies who will be conducted to the central facilities of OB, where they will all be given free baths.  A special re-education campus will be set up in Orange County, California, where all Bay Area communists and drug users will be sent to learn about the disadvantages of communism.

OB will also rid Berkeley of those asking passersby for spare change.  Instead, OB will promote entrepreneurship for panhandlers and for homeless youths.  Anyone in the Bay area stopping passersby and asking for spare change will be ordered to do pushups, where the first 40 are unpaid but after that, payment will be made to the panhandlers at the rate of 20 cents per pushup.  Tax free.  Pregnant panhandlers and those over 70 will be permitted to do their pushups from the knees.

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  • Howard

    Why stop at Berkeley??How about Madison,Wisconsin??Please?

    • tagalog

      Hell, how about Occupy New York University? It isn't even all that far away.

    • mlcblog

      he said that

  • davarino

    Dang it, I was getting ready to by a plane ticket to Berzerkley to join in the movement. I wanted to sit around in circles, sing kumbya, eat pizza, and smoke cigars, but its not to be.

    But really, that would be funny to see the freaks, and flights to Berk are cheap : )

    RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

  • maturin20

    Good idea. Make that happen.

    • tagalog

      They could include an Affirmative Action Donut Sale.

    • mlcblog

      yeah, where do I sign up?

  • tagalog

    As to the issue of the OWS folks being the "99%," I am not among the 1% of rich folks, nor do I count myself among the OWS types, so I guess the OWS really is something like the "98.99999%."

  • irv

    Great article. Wish we really made it happen!

  • Jane White

    Sounds like you've never even been to Berkeley and have no idea what you're talking about. How clueless can a person get?

    • Brandon

      Actually, this professor taught at Berkeley. That makes you the clueless one.

    • guest

      "Sounds like you've never even been to Berkeley"

      I was thinking the same thing. I go up to Berkeley all the time and this clown's description can't even be called a caricature, because that implies an exaggeration of the truth or of an aspect of the truth. This is the exaggeration of a myth. But remember, he's writing for people who don' t get out much, they'll believe pretty much anything,. esp. about places like Berkeley.

      To take one small example – the young street panhandlers (or "spare changers" as locals often call them). No one is more annoyed by them than people who actually live in Berkeley. But reading this nonsense you would get the impression that a) they are so numerous you have to wade hip deep through them to get down he street, and b) they represent or are embraced by the people who live there. Fact is most of them are runaways from middle America. In fact, i wouldn't be surprised is a couple of them fled the close minded and repressive homes of FPM readers!

      • Kranti

        The panhandlers hang around Berkeley because Berkeley liberals hand them out spare change. So just like cats will hang around your door if you give them food, the Berkeley liberals are the source of the problem.

        • guest

          You are such an idiot, really. The kids on the street in Berkeley did not come there because it's a panhandling paradise. It actually isn't, which you would know if you weren't a complete moron. It's part of a route that groups of runaways travel up and down the coast, and being around the campus means it's easier to blend in with students and avoid the cops. Berkeley has actually cracked down on homelessness (sleeping in public, etc) over the past 15 years pretty heavily. You would know all of this and avoid saying stupid sh*t if you weren't such a useless fool. Go now, Fox News is missing you

          .

  • howdydoody

    you people have way too much free time on your hands. You had your chance with your Tea Party rallies, now let the young people speak up.

    • UCSPanther

      I'm a "young person", but I am more interested in getting an education and surviving on my own rather than demanding a handout like those unwashed skidders at Wall Street are doing.

      • howdydoody

        i haven't seen nor heard anyone asking for a handout ( i work 2 blocks away from the park). They are asking that Wall ST be held accountable, just like you demand that government be held accountable. Accountability has to go both ways, not just for the one you think is convenient and fits your agenda. OWS is spreading and will continue to spread, despite your ramblings and mudslinging.

        • Maxie

          You REALLY need to define what you mean by "Accountability" and by "Wall Street". W-a-a-a-a-y to vague. Spell it out. Details please.

          • trickyblain

            Sort of like "common sense," "freedom-loving," "small gov't" and "socialist policies" that really aren't socialist?

            How's this for an example? If, through fraud, you are responsible for bringing the nation's economy to its knees, you should get prison time. Not a multi-million dollar bonus funded by the tax-payer.

            Accountability.

    • Brandon

      Ya, young people with liberal arts degrees that don't know diddly squat about Wall Street. The people that took out risky variable interest rate loans and speculated on the real estate market trying to get rick quick or simply upgrade their home so they could "keep up with Jones's" are just as greedy as Wall Street and just as responsible for the recent financial crisis. Don't blame 1% of the population for a problem that stems from a very sick American culture of spend spend spend and never save!!

  • sedoanman

    Code Pink will be run out of town, and its headquarters turned over [rent-free] to the military recruiters.

  • James Q

    This is probably the best satire FPM has run! Ever!

  • myohmy

    Excuse me but street people and pahhandlers are not the problem here. Occupy Berkeley sounded like a good idea until I saw that you didn’t know where the problem really is. We should occupy UCLA Berkeley and all the other ivory tower hate America factories and give them a taste of their own medicine. We should protest all the universities who teach students to hate America and use government funding to turn young students into enemies of our Constitution. It’s not the street people doing that, it’s the universities, the media and the people in power in DC. No Conservative can deliver a speech at one of these putrid universities without being protested. But you can praise Che till hell freezes over at all of these hate America institutions.

  • trickyblain

    Berkeley has some of the highest real estate prices in the nation, and hotels are likewise expensive, pricing out the FPM-types. It takes A LOT of work to get into the U there, so you're not going to find a lot of slackers there. You will find some homeless folks to hang with, but you can find those in little flyover redneck towns too. Only the bums in Berkeley are smarter.

  • Glib

    Only the chosen ones know "why Berkley" ))) We actually can go far beyond Berkley and US into international arena..Can you imagine a perfect world of thousands of movements of people competing for "better way of doing nothing"???

  • trickyblain

    Plaut's dream world brings to mind an alternate universe in which the Third Reich won.

    • Kranti

      Trickybrain should be renamed No Brain

  • Sacreole

    I would suggest that the OB movement commandeer Pacifica Radio's flagship station, KPFA, which located in the "tie dye free zone." KPFA could be converted into the official voice of the "Occupy Berkeley" movement. Replace Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! with David Horowitz and call it "Front Page Radio – KFPR."

    • mlcblog

      This is the best idea yet!!

  • musterion

    I am so glad you recognized Amherst for the boil on the backside it is. My officemate used to call the area "The Valley of the Unconscious" (It is normally called "The Pioneer Valley").

  • mikenk

    That's nice, 'Occupy Berkeley' and all that brings to mind. However, the last four Presidents since Ronald Reagan, a graduate of Eureka College in Illinois, have all graduated from Ivy League schools. The socialist education problem in America, while some is attributable to Berkeley, stems from north-east dominated universities that schooled George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush and Barrack H. Obama. I don't see a recent, or any Berkeley schooled Presidents. Try, 'Occupy the Ivy League.'

  • elihew

    This whole thing is a liberal movement; a mass bowel movement.

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  • Anne Havranek

    Often the people who clamor for tolerance are among the most intolerant people in our society. The only acceptable prejudice of our day is the bias against Christians.

  • Leah Lax

    There is no more Occupy anything. As far as pan handlers I did that as an experiment for 6 months spring summer and part of the fall when I was in college and wrote a paper on it. If you ask for 19 cents they give you a 20 cents If you ask for 24 cents they give you 25 cents and so on. At the end of a slow day I would come home with about $200 in change. not bad for just a sign asking for money and a box infront of you. I found the best place to ask was at 7th and South Streets in Phila. There on a slow day I came home with $3-400 a day. Beats working wont you say. I gave the money to charity . I got an 98 for the paper I wrote for college.My professor taped 19 cents on it too. Gee