Dear Occupy Asheville

Dear Occupy Asheville: Here’s a list of ten things you can do that will make more of a difference and be less annoying:

1. Educate yourselves: Read three books on the economic collapse. The Big Short, The Greatest Trade Ever, When Genius Failed and A Colossal Failure of Common Sense are good ones. All of these should be available at the library.

2. Watch some Frontline episodes on the economic collapse. Here are some good ones: “The Warning,” “Breaking the Bank,” “Ten Trillion and Counting,” “Secret History of the Credit Card” and “The Madoff Affair.”

3. Attend the Crystal Ball Economic Seminar each year in April at UNCA.

4. Take a course in economics, business or accounting.

5. Contact your congressman and senator and ask them to double the budget of the SEC and prohibit SEC employees from ever working for companies they have regulated or investigated.

6. Contact your Congress and the Senate and ask them to pass a bill that will prohibit any senator, congressman or staff from ever working for a lobbyist.

7. Research your congressmen and senators. Support the ones who support the Securities and Exchange Commission and tougher regulation of banks, investment banks, brokerage firms and rating agencies.

8. Pick a financial publication, subscribe to it and encourage the financial journalists to do their jobs.

9. Educate yourself and then go work for the SEC, FBI, Justice Department, Federal Reserve, IMF or member of Congress. Work in the financial crimes divisions.

10. Volunteer with some organization that helps people who are economically stressed: Pisgah Legal Services and On-Track are good ones. Do research on the Internet to find one you like. Volunteer for a member of Congress who supports tougher regulation of the people who got us into this mess.

— Paul King


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

24 thoughts on “Dear Occupy Asheville

  1. Paul King

    Dionysis: I am trying to raise the bar. The Occupy demonstrations are very ineffective and are a waste of resources. They play right into the hands of those who created this mess by being distracting.

    To solve a problem: Understand it, then take positive action.

    • bill smith

      I disagree that they are a ‘waste of time’ or ‘resources’.

      I agree the city chooses to waste taxpayer money over-regulating these protests.

      I think all forms of protest towards a more beneficial system interests all of us, even if I think a lot of Occupiers are misguided and naive.

  2. Dionysis

    It appears the letter-writer, while offering some good suggestions, is doing so in an effort to derail Occupy activities (“make more of a difference and be less annoying”).

    A better suggestion would be to take some of these suggestions but continue to annoy, and annoy and annoy some more. As long as it’s peaceful and consistent with our constitutional rights of assembly and free speech.

  3. Barry Summers

    I am trying to raise the bar.

    I’m not sure that Occupiers are going to take you seriously when you suggest they go get a job with the FBI or the IMF.

    And what makes you so sure that many of them are not suitably ‘educated’ on the subject, or active in the other ways you mention?

    I agree with Dionysis – I think the point is to be annoying, in the higher sense of the word. The things you suggest sound very much like, “Learn to work within the system”.

    Fine and well, but I’m glad there are some committed individuals out there reminding us that the system is broken.

  4. Dionysis

    “Dionysis: I am trying to raise the bar. The Occupy demonstrations are very ineffective and are a waste of resources. They play right into the hands of those who created this mess by being distracting.

    To solve a problem: Understand it, then take positive action.”

    Granted, the Occupy movement has, in many places (including Asheville), allowed itself to become “distracting” and has enabled its detractors to use it to marginalize the movement. That has not been the case uniformly, however.

    As of December 20, there were 2,751 distinct ‘Occupy’ groups throughout the world. More people support it than oppose it. It has focused clearly on the on-going corruption of government and corporations, and has raise the level of awareness universally. I see that as valuable.

    As I noted, you offer some very good suggestions, and people would do well to take your advice on many of them. I believe, however, that to simply throw in the towel on maintaining the Occupy movement would be a mistake. Hopefully, the anger and passion will find itself being expressed in ways that will fundamentally “raise the bar.”

    As a noted Republican strategist recently admitted, “the Occupy movement scares the hell out of us (Republicans).” That alone makes it valuable (to me, anyway).

    • Eucris

      The Occupy movement reflects how delusional people are and also the lack of basid knowledge in economy. They think they found the “guilty” and scapegoat capitalism moving the West toward socialism,when socialism/communism already proved to be a failure, more than that is a monstruosity which claimed the life of millions. How blind can people be?
      Communism is a utopia.
      Not only Republicans are scared of such movements (actually it sadens more than scares) but any person who reason.

    • bill smith

      @Eucris-This notion that occupiers want ‘communism’, or ‘utopia’ is absurd.

  5. D. Dial

    If Occupy does nothing else but focus the attention of a large majority of young people on the inequities in our alleged Democracy, that is good enough for me. Once the flame of outrage is lit, it tends to grow stronger. We need many more people paying attention and annoying the hell out of our “leaders.”

    • Aleteia

      It is important to understand that equality is a utopia and can be enforced only, will never exist. Those who want equality actually sign up for dictatorship. We are not born the same, we don’t have the same abilities.
      What we need is education, morality and good work ethics.
      Free market and free initiative brings prosperity.
      Not every person who is poor is that way because of inequities and other vehiculated theories, often reflects poor work ethics.

    • bill smith

      @Aletia-Why do you keep posting your ideas under different names in this thread?

  6. Dionysis

    “Educate yourselves: Read УEnvy: A Theory of Social BehaviourФ by Helmut Schoeck.”

    “Educate yourselves…?” If the goofball nonsense of a hack Russian writer is not enough to convince you of the righteousness of greed, then dust off the sociological ‘theory’ that was written to counter the 1960s egualitarian movement. Here is someone who posits the notion that the only real cause of social discord is simply envy. Basically, in today’s venacular, the 99% are envious of the 1%. Among Schoeck’s more well-known quotes include this gem:

    “The envious man thinks that if his neighbor breaks a leg, he will be able to walk better himself.”

    Thanks Mr. Peck; I needed a good laugh this morning.

    • Aleteia

      You remember the film Amadeus? It is the story of envy. Salieri the mediocre envies Mozart the talented musician, we could also call it Cain syndrome. It si very human to feel envy. Especially those who have low self-esteem are prone to envy and instead of admitting it, they may become destructive.
      As I observe there is a necessity in humans to socially justify their actions so they glaze destructive attitudes with socially acceptable ones, “we fight for equality, we want justice …”. In fact the undelying message is, “I want what you have, I don’t think I am capable to obtain it”.

  7. Dionysis

    “Yes, the immoral philosophy of egalitarianism is a hoot.”

    Yes, almost as funny as trying to get people to buy a book written about that very idea decades ago, as if it had any relevance to today’s Occupy movement. But neither of these sources of mirth can hold a candle to Ayn Rand’s railing against “leeches” who took “government handouts” until she herself began to do so.

    I guess you feel you should rightfully be among the elite, the ‘producers’, and that if it were not for being held back by this mongrel mix of capitalism and socialism (which characterizes virtually every Western democracy to some degree), that is where you would find yourself.

    Go for it, Don Quixote. There are lots of windmills to be taken down!

  8. sharpleycladd

    “Envy” isn’t in any of the economics texts on my shelf. I think Tim’s citation is making stuff up.

    Look at it this way: Randian economics-of-despair would have us believe that the market is always rational, always efficient, and the individual always acts in his/her own rational self-interest.

    Except when most people believe redistributive economics efficiently address broad social problems. Then the rationally self-interested human is displaying “envy.”

    Oh, and except when a lot of people get together to protest government handouts to companies that serve no purpose other than concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands. That’s “nihilism.”

    “Rationality” to defend one’s own ideas, emotionally-loaded words to characterize the ideas of others. This is one of the markers for a condition psychoanalysts describe as “crazy.”

    Ayn Rand wrote a book glorifying a man who blew up a building because he was unhappy with it, i.e., a terrorist. Ayn Rand is the champion of dog-eat-dog savagery, a total nihilist, and an enemy of civilization.

  9. “Ayn Rand wrote a book glorifying a man who blew up a building because he was unhappy with it, i.e., a terrorist. Ayn Rand is the champion of dog-eat-dog savagery, a total nihilist, and an enemy of civilization.”

    Does it even bother you that what you’re saying is completely false? I never understood that.

    • sharpleycladd

      Please compare and contrast the behavior of the central character in The Fountainhead and Osama bin Laden.

    • Barry Summers

      One is an radical, egotistical, fundamentalist lunatic who blows up other peoples buildings to prove how right he is, and the other is some guy from Saudi Arabia.

  10. Barry Summers

    Every time I have to listen to someone rant about objectivism, I am reminded of an incident from college. I lived in a dorm for a semester, and one night, one of the guys who used to live on the floor had broken up with his girlfriend & gotten drunk & went on a minor rampage in the hall. He broke some lights, ripped the receiver off the payphone – nothing too serious. The next day, even though we all knew who did it, nobody would rat on him, so the school charged everybody on the floor around $4 to repair the damage.

    We were all mostly OK with it, but one guy kept carrying on that it wasn’t his damage, so he shouldn’t have to pay. We made it clear to him that he had two choices: rat out our friend who would face serious punishment, or just shut up & pay the $4. He said no, he had another solution. If he was going to get charged $4, by God he was going to get $4 worth of fun out of it. So, he went into the hall & busted out what he figured were $4 worth of light bulbs. We all got tagged for another 50 cents, but he claimed the moral victory.

    Ayn Rand and her followers represent an amoral fantasy that ignores our collective responsibility to each other. If it were truly embraced by more than a tiny, selfish fringe of the population, it would lead to anarchy – and not the good kind.

    • Aleteia

      Theoretically may sound great what you say, but it cannot be implemented practically. It sounds great the “collective responsibility” idea. But as you can see even in a small community cannot be obtained because we have free will. You can only impose it and we are free beings. This is why in every country in which communism was implemented, ended up in dictatorship, not to mention that once the “equalitarianists” got the power they made sure to impose their ideology on others and became a sort of “demigods” actually demagogs.

  11. TJ

    I agree wtih Barry. I am glad there are “annoying” people out here reminding others the system is broken. Of course, everyone knows it, no one wants to “do” what needs to be done to fix it, so Occupy gets to be the “fall guy.” When I talk to people about what I do here, they don’t get it, because I am not the “homeless anarchist hippie.” As D. Dial says, if the only thing is bringing to the attention of the young, that is a good thing. I think of my 9 year old saying she is part of Occupy and feeling heard and valued. I say, “yes, you are.” SHE will grow up knowing this is wrong and seeing us standing to speak what we see wrong with the system, rather than go with the status quo, she will know. When people know the truth, they are harder to turn into sheep. When they BELIEVE the truth, they are more likely to act. My daughter will hear what is true, she has the heart of a lion, the tenderness of a lamb. In the end, the lion and the lamb shall lie together. For her, that means that she will have the courage to show the care for humanity her heart feels. If that is all Occupy does, I will be happy.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.