Signs, signs everywhere

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Protesters gain credibility with both correct spelling and witty observations

Today’s Occupy Sacramento gathering was interesting mix of social activists, anarcho-punks, young hippies, libertarians, commies, old hippies, homeless, students, zeitgeisters, union folk, families, crazies and others. I failed in my attempt to spot the FBI agent (you know there was one), but maybe she was off getting lunch while I was there. As I am fascinated with communication tools such as T-shirts and bumper stickers, I took plenty of pictures of the signage (posted after the jump). Spelling and grammar were both spot on, so don’t expect a crop of hilarious, left wing examples of Teabonics.

After speaking to several of the organizers, I became impressed with their intentions and plans to work with the participants on developing goals and policy recommendations to back up their frustration with government and corporations. I also appreciated the good nature, friendliness and humor of participants as they held votes on long term strategies and short term plans for things like food and Porta-Potties. This was not an angry demonstration, but a determined one.

Unfortunately for them, much of these planning efforts will be wasted as their camping plans will be interrupted by SacPD tonight. It seemed to be common knowledge among everyone except the protestors that they would either leave by 11pm or be arrested. A few hours after I learned of this, the first warning was issued that the party would not be a sleepover.

Despite their impending removal, organizers are determined to continue to refine their message and disseminate it through a variety of channels, including social media, news and through demonstrations. Follow them on their competing Facebook pages and web sites.

About Stickie

Stickie is a Nor-Cal native with family stretching back to the Amador mines in the 1920's. He is currently conspiring on secret ways to make your life better without you knowing about it. You should thank him for it.

27 Responses to Signs, signs everywhere

  1. cogmeyer says:

    Is the Duran-Duran guy at the top of the article attempting to be ironic by wearing corporate made sunglasses, tweed jacket, hair gel etc while waving an anti-corporate sign?

    Protests are fun and all, but you may want to advise this group that a targetted effort to boot a few congressional incumbents from office is far more effective than urban sleepovers.

  2. grassroutes says:

    Re: cogmeyer

    As the ironic Duran-Duran guy in the picture above I’d like to say a few things.

    Unfortunately we live in a superficial society where image is everything. I figured it would be a bad day for my usual Grateful Dead t-shirt and hemp pants seeing as the media is portraying this movement as a bunch of Marxist hipsters so I decided to clean up my look. I suppose my attempt at credibility hasn’t satisfied standards by the likes of you.

    This Occupy____ idea is far beyond a protest movement. A resistance to corporate tyranny overall is taking shape with these initial meetings being only the beginning. In case you haven’t noticed our government has been hijacked by people who are dangerously addicted to power.

    The game is rigged my friend. If you think giving a few congressional incumbents the ‘boot’ through a little old fashioned get-out-the-vote, I suggest you take a break from the internet/TV,etc find a nice quiet space in your house or back yard just think for a moment about what is at stake here. If your not out on the streets with us by the time your done I think you have an obligation to tell us why. Besides, how could you know it was ‘fun and all’ if you were not here?

    And I don’t wear hair gel. I’m losing hair!

    And those are my roommates sunglasses. Just borrowing them

    And Duran Duran sucks.

  3. Bart Rude says:

    Look closer, cog. He’s calling out corporate personhood, not the existence of corporations. One can hate special rights given to corporations without hating corporations. Unless you know if what he wrote is the opposite of what he meant to write or is contrary to readers’ expectations, then, no, it isn’t ironic. It is sardonic.

  4. Meg says:

    I totally opposed the bank and auto bailouts; investors, no matter their size, should bear the risk of their own decisions. I think a peaceful protest movement aimed at giving a voice to what people are going through is a great idea.

    But honestly a lot of these people just seem like losers who can’t accept responsibility for their choices in life. Did you look at the stories on their 99% website? People complaining about having to pay child support or that their Masters in some vague topic isn’t turning out to be practical. There is a repeated statement that the 99% has nothing and the 1% has everything. That is just flat out absurd. It doesn’t sound like the most grown up and socially responsible movement.

  5. CoolDMZ says:

    Nice pics! I like the one where it looks like the sign says NO RICH, NO POO, NO CAPITALISM. Now that’s a world I want to live in, except for the first and last part.

  6. Meg says:

    I think my sign will read:

    “My husband and I are faithfully paying our debts without complaint because the payments are in accordance with lawfully executed contracts in consideration of goods and services received. We do not expect the government to subsidize our honesty but we would appreciate sending our children to a public school that is free of liberal indoctrination. We are some percent.”

  7. cogmeyer says:

    Grassroutes. Your attempt at credibility satisfied me completely. And sorry about the hair gel crack, my corporate phone has a tiny screen.

    I disagree with your lack of faith in the effectiveness of booting incumbents on two points. One is that no movement has tried it recently, especially on a broad bipartisan basis. Secondly, this is the path of change that adheres to our Constitution and our judicial process.

  8. Richard L says:

    I agree and disagree with parts of each comment (except Mr. DMZ’s, which is totally Cool). I wish our Congressional and other leaders could have such thoughtful and respectful interchanges.
    My take is that the protester’s goals are rather vague. They want to stay until what, banks stop being greedy and corporations stop trying to profit? Or is it the inexcusable pay given to some executives (and the light tax thereon)? What, exactly?
    When I marched against war in the 60′s, there was a fairly precise goal and we achieved it after Walter Cronkite signed on.
    These protests seem to have about as much focus as the TeaParty.

  9. Stickie says:

    Richard, the reason why the protesters’ goals are vague is because they are still developing them. As mentioned in the article, this is a broad coalition of diverse people with numerous issues with the direction of our country. The gap between the superrich and the rest of us is widening, leaving the average citizen feeling powerless to participate in a democracy that increasingly caters to the superrich. This is why people from the left, right and everywhere in between are organizing in hundreds of cities.

    The Occupy Wall Street people have been there almost a month and they just released their first collective statement explaining why they are there. Occupy Sacramento is working on creating the same statement in a democratic manner. This is a decentralized movement (unlike the Tea Party gatherings, which were disguised as a grassroots movement but funded and organized by powerful members of the Republican Party) that is discovering what they stand for and what changes they want to see.

  10. Richard L says:

    I was hoping primarily to applaud the civil discussion occurring here (with perfect spelling and use of apostrophes).
    I fully agree with the goals of the protesters as you’ve described them, and want to apologize for any possible suggestion of similarity to the Tea Party that might have been implied or inferred.
    Being old and jaded sometimes gets in my way. Please understand, I very much want Occupy to win.

  11. RiverParkEric says:

    I’m all for protest, don’t get me wrong, but how long until these peaceful gatherings turn into London-esque riots? A few weeks, at most?
    And Stickie, come on. You can’t be serious in believing that the DNC is not behind this. SEIU just got public about it last week, but they’ve been organizing since the start.

  12. Meg says:

    Richard L: You want Occupy to win what, exactly?

    River Park Eric: Yes and President Obama and Nancy Pelosi have both endorsed this movement.

  13. Stickie says:

    Working draft of their statement: http://occupysac.com/?p=292

    Eric, while I am sure organized aspects of DNC are supporting this, the Tea Party movement was lock, stock and barrel paid for by the Koch Brothers, Murdoch and Dick Armey: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html . I have seen no evidence that there are billionaires behind the scenes bankrolling Occupy and disguising it as an authentic grassroots movement. Time will tell, but I see a difference.

  14. RiverParkEric says:

    Stickie- Of course many of the Tea Party events and organization have backing by financiers (but linking to a Frank Rich opinion piece? come on), but no more so than organized labor supporting the current protests.
    Just as the Tea Party started with some really pissed off people on the right, then was eventually co-opted by said financiers, these “occupations” have followed the exact same path. Started at grass roots, now heavily influence by a $ group. In this case, it’s labor and DNC ops. I worked for a few years in campaign ops for the CDP, so I’ve got some experience here.
    Their “statement” you linked to does provide some indication that there’s somewhat of a goal in mind (granted, about as vague as the TP’s), and that’s good to know, but it’s appalling that these protesters don’t have a problem with the $ influence that labor wields in Sac and DC.
    Intellectual consistency kids…Learn it. Know it. Live it.

  15. Stickie says:

    In a week, Occupy Sacramento has already been co-opted by organized labor and the DNC? Wow, they work fast.

    While I am sure outside influences will try to muscle in on this, I think it is premature to assume it has already happened.

    And how exactly is Organized Labor supporting these protests? The SEIU guy I met brought tubs of ice and bottled water. Maybe he also donated some magic markers for sign making. There are definitely union people in the marches, but no more of them than a variety of other groups and interests. This is largely a worker’s rights and social justice movement, so it is natural to expect Labor’s involvement, but it is certainly not at the same level as the billionaires who run the Tea Party.

  16. RiverParkEric says:

    But let me guess…The Koch bros were influencing Tea Party rallies in peoples back yards since day one, right? In the immortal words of Mr. McEnroe, “you can not be serious!”

    The rest of your statement is, with all due respect, horribly naive.

  17. Stickie says:

    Show me a money trail.

  18. cogmeyer says:

    Stickie
    I actually like most of the Occupy objectives at your link, glad to see something on paper. If the restriction on corporate lobbying was expanded to include union lobbying, then I think you have something worth pooping on a squad car for. I might even join in.

    Union lobbying may actually be more insiduous than corporate lobbying, since the dollars are forcibly extracted from laborers at the the threat of job loss, whether they support the cause being lobbied or not.

  19. CoolDMZ says:

    If this is a “workers rights” movement, why is the guy from the massive labor union just handing out water bottles?

  20. Stickie says:

    Because it is being organized by ordinary working stiffs, and not the massive labor unions. But, as Eric mentioned, there is a definite chance of the movement being co-opted by Big Labor, but I have not seen it happening yet. Give it time and maybe they will get more involved, but the Occupiers don’t seem to want the larger power players around at this moment, probably because it will rob them of credibility.

  21. Joe says:

    Dear Critics,

    Way to nitpick by making focusing on the trivial and irrelevant without addressing the substance of their argument at all.

    @Meg – Aren’t public schools a liberal institution in the first place? They’re taking tax money from *you* to educate other people’s children. If you’re going to go tea party, go all the way. Support throwing out public education altogether. The free market will fix education. Am I wrong?

    Also, *you* are paying your debts and don’t expect a subsidy, but you’re not mad at the banks who didn’t pay *their* debts, tanked the economy, suffered no consequences and got bailed out? Sounds a lot like you’re mad at the people who are mad at the banks, because they’re “liberal.” Yeah, that makes sense.

    @Cogmeyer – Union dues “forcibly” extracted from workers. You must mean the workers who benefited from the union bargaining in the very jobs they’re working. Those workers?
    —-
    Honestly, who cares *who* is co-opting or running the group? Why does this matter in the least? The message to me is that people are pissed off at economic injustice, at the rising separation of the ultra-rich from the rest of us and at the lack of accountability on Wall Street. You can nitpick around the edges all you want. I fail to see the problem with this message.

  22. RiverParkEric says:

    Joe, how is who is behind this trivial and irrelevant? It’s OK for Stickie to be upset about the Koch Bros relationship with the Tea Party, but asking the other direction is somehow verboten?

    Your reply to cogmeyer is shortsighted. The point is not that the union dues are extracted (which depending on whether the state is a Right to Work state of not determines the legitimacy of that argument) or that a worker “benefits” from them, but I believe the point was–and I’m not trying to speak for him–that the PACs support one side of the political spectrum almost exclusively, while the members are “forced” to contribute to said PAC, and often support the opposing spectrum. If you’re really serious about removing cronyism, unbalanced influence, and horrific conflicts of interest out of politics, there is absolutely no target greater than organized labor. I hope you’re able to admit and recognize that.

    Again, my professional experience has been working with these groups and the Dem Caucus in California and I’d be more than happy to help answer any questions you’ve got. Obviously, I’m no longer involved. ;)

  23. CoolDMZ says:

    @Stickie I guess I just don’t understand why you would hold a rally about the need for workers to have a voice and purposely exclude one of the nations largest labor unions, but that’s just me.

    Or to take it from another angle, wouldn’t the CTA and the SEIU be a good target for this group? If workers are paying their wages to these orgs and still feel so voiceless they need civil disobedience, isn’t organized labor failing them? Maybe that’s the point? In which case SEIU guy better keep a can of tear gas in his ice chest.

  24. Stickie says:

    Good questions. It is easy to think that they aren’t savvy enough to consider unions as either an ally or as a threat, but I personally think that unions simply aren’t on their radar yet.

  25. cogmeyer says:

    Stickie
    Along those same lines, the best defense against a movement being co-opted by Unions would be condemn all lobbying (corporate, union, religious – whatever). Make it all about stopping the flow of dollars which are corrupting our government, and you will have a non-partisan movement that will draw in the masses.

    Joe
    “Bargaining” is not the issue, nice straw man argument though. Workers do and should have the fundamental right to voluntarily organize, collect dues, bargain, and strike if necessary, Period. But forcibly collecting union dues and then dumping those dollars (without consent) into partisan political races and lobbying efforts, is corrosive to our democracy.

  26. SRD says:

    I really should have invested more heavily in my Guy Fawkes mask company. We’d totally be rolling in the dough right now; it’d be McMansions and private schools galore!

  27. cogmeyer says:

    Looks like the union co-opting has begun. Occupy Sacramento will be protesting at the non-union Hilton hotel on Arden today in support of UNITE HERE local 49.

    http://occupysac.com/?p=405

    That didn’t take long. It is now time to ignore Occupy Sacramento as just another noisy union agitation group.