The following is an abridged version of a discussion on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edpagecourant.
Ed Page: City officials finally won their battle to clear the green of Occupy New Haven. The occupiers say the 99% has just begun to fight: Brave last words or should the 1% keep its eyes open?
Sean Cooper: I thought that movement was literally 'de-loused'?
Jean Lenotti-Albanese: Obviously, Sean, you didn't know any of the occupiers or the causes they stand for. To spew negativity is really uncalled for. Maybe you can talk to some of the people associated with ONH ... you will be pleasantly surprised how versatile, bright, well-mannered and good-hearted they are.
Robert Strasdauskas: The 1 percenters are the people that feel they are above the law and can squat on public land that was set aside for the enjoyment of all. If this had been those vile tea partiers living in filth and squalor and disrupting the lives of those trying to live and work around their encampments, I wonder how sympathetic the editorial board of The Courant would have been? They will be back, because they will be used along with the new black panthers, La Raza (the race), the reincarnated ACORN, the Earth Firsters, and the other hodgepodge "progressive" groups to bring chaos as we get nearer to the coming election.
Sean Cooper: Jean I saw the men in bio-hazard suits cleaning up the feces, the garbage, the syringes and the flea-infested mattresses from Zucotti Park.
Robert Strasdauskas: Jean, if they are so "well-mannered" they wouldn't be camping out for six months on a greenspace established for the enjoyment of the whole community. There is nothing wrong with using the space for a couple of hours to give voice to a position, but to "occupy" the green they way they did, doing considerable damage, and turning it into a garbage dump is not what most people would consider being "well-mannered."
Ellen Raff: I think Occupy is a good response to the Tea Party, plus it shines the light on important facts about economic imbalances and corruption, while Tea Party is mostly about obscuring the facts (Keep government away from my Medicare! and so on). I'm glad Occupy is back for spring and IMO they will at least cancel out the Tea Party impact on the election.
Ralph Capenera: It would be nice if they attempted to occupy a job and contribute to society.
Ellen Raff: Ralph that is the kind of remark that is oh so pithy and oh so meaningless. Perhaps they are unemployed as a result of outsourcing/layoffs/bad economy exacerbated by the 1% imbalance. They agree with you, no doubt. A job would be nice.
Courtney Miller-Rao: I have a job, Ralph. Whatever do you mean?
Robert Strasdauskas: Good comparison there, Ellen. A group of truly well-mannered people, that get the required permits for an event, keeping thier activities civil, cooperate with the police, and leave the area cleaner than when they arrived, compared with an unruly mob that intimidates the surrounding bussinesses, ignores permits and ordinances, openly uses drugs, and stays unwelcome for months on end. Yes THAT will surely make them cancel each other out.
Courtney Miller-Rao: Generally, I'm finding the negative comments to come from certain parts of the state (i.e., Naugy Valley, Waterbury, which are more conservative) and from Caucasian males. People hate that which they believe won't benefit them.
Ralph Capenera: Ellen, perhaps they are unemployed for the reasons you state. However, they sure as hell are not going to find employment camped out in a park!
Ellen Raff: Robert, the Tea Party miraculously seems to have all roads paved for their activities, and all cameras illuminating their smallest squeaks, while Occupy took about a month before mainstream news reported their activities at all. Power and money like the Tea Party, power and money do not like Occupy. So their activities seem downright rude. And yet IMO it is really rude to cause foreclosure crises and outsource jobs.
Sean Cooper: If you want someone to blame for outsourcing and joblessness then look no further than the White House and our other politicians who have caused the U.S. to lose its competitive edge over the years. We are the most expensive country in the world to do business in. The Occupy solution seems to be the same ole rhetoric of raising taxes and spreading wealth around. It ain't working.
Ellen Raff: @ Sean LOL spreading wealth around ain't working! What an understatement — since wealth is completely concentrated right now, everything ought to be wonderful, I guess. I would say concentrated wealth ain't working.
Christian Stephen Meagher: I agree with the writers of this editorial. It is nearly impossible to evaluate the effect of Occupy New Haven. Mainly because most of the state didn't know it existed. Taking credit for MoveOn and the Green Party's initiatives (also which most of the state/country don't know about) is silly — does anyone really believe those groups wouldn't have made similar announcements without Occupy?
Chris Ward: While I was certainly sympathetic to their cause, any group that does not have clear, well-defined goals is going to fail. Nothing was accomplished by their actions. They should register to vote, get involved in city or state government and then work for change within the system.
Jean Lenotti-Albanese: Just by our talking about ONH, they have accomplished something ... dialogue.
Chris Ward: Jean — How many Wall Street execs looked at them and said, "Hey, maybe we should be less greedy"? None. They just laughed at them. How many politicians did anything other than pay lip service to their movement? None. It was a waste of time and energy. Drum circles are not going to reform the tax code.
Deirdre McCarthy Casserleigh: I find it amazing that the men here are worried about a little dead grass but not concerned about cleaning up our banking and financial institutions!
John M. Stanko: The right is acting like the Occupy movement consists of people who are naughty, ill-mannered riff-raff who have nothing better to do than to hang around town greens. The right has historically viewed progressive movements in the same fashion and still it has been progressive movements that have moved the country in the direction of positive change and will continue to do so. Considering the economic and social injustices that still exist in our country, the Occupy movement is just starting. It may not cause immediate change, but it will eventually cause positive changes as it has in the past. If it didn't, we would still be peasants living without a voice at the mercy of the ruling class that has unlimited power. At least today, the 1% does have to abide by the law of the land and do for the most part; and the 99% does have some power to make sure the laws are fair and equal. ... By the way, it is easy to blame the president for the ills of our economy, but the truth of the matter is that the 1% controls the money in the country and therefore the economy.
Clifford F Boyle: John — positive change on the economy comes from hard work and ingenuity, not social movements. Henry Ford did far more for working Americans than William Jennings Bryan. What your ilk fails to understand is first you must produce, and only then do you have the luxury of determining distribution. President Obama's policies of unionizing health care is going to help Democratic politicians and a minority of unionized workers, and will hurt everyone else. Americans see this and have responded with the economic results you lament. Many Americans want to get the economy moving again and so support freedom and not socialization.
Christian Stephen Meagher: John, if economic and social injustices still exist, then the Occupy movement failed and is over. It was a good try, but the group never came together and all that remains is the slow, steady fade.
Bette Barrett: Double bravo, John — thank God we still have people who stand behind their convictions and take action. I for one would hate to think that activism was dead in this country. ONH certainly didn't have a comfortable time of it the last several months, but they stayed and I say thank you to them.
James Pavlick: The Occupy movement has had its 15 mimnutes. It is now time for them to get a job so they can contribute to society rather than mooch off the labor of others.
Ellen Raff: It's wishful thinking to assume that because a park has been cleared out, massive economic injustice has been erased. As long as economic injustice is the problem for a critical mass of U.S. citizens, the Occupy movement will have legs.
Bette Barrett: Clifford, you state positive change does not come from social movements. What about the right to vote, woman's rights, slavery? I could go on and on — you've got to be kidding or living on some other planet.
James Pavlick: There is no economic injustice in the U.S. There is capitalism. Some people fare better than others. If one wishes to live in a nation of equal outcomes, I would suggest North Korea or Cuba.
Ellen Raff: @ James, the playing field is not level, and that's why the free market is corrupted in the U.S. today. Furthermore, capitalism isn't perfect; it works better when tweaked with regulation, otherwise we end up with the robber-baron situations we had at the beginning of the past century, and are now experiencing again.
Mario Hasz: The Occupy movement is trying to improve life for everyone, including the 1%. An economic system that is workable and fair, wise use of resources, safe and just working conditions, effective and affordable health care, immigration policies that are humane and rational ... these are issues that benefit everyone, including the 1%. Would you rather be in the top 1% of a society that is finding morally correct solutions to our problems or be in the top 1% of a society that neglects and exploits its vulnerable members?
Kathy Adams: To get back to Ed's original question ...Yes, in some ways, the movement resembles the one MLK led in the 1960s, but today's Occupy movement is missing an important factor: a recognized and charismatic leader. It was King who made the civil rights movement what it was, and without him, it faded out. I don't think today's movement has much of a chance of revival unless someone takes a King-like position in it.
Dawn Cooper: Someone like Karl Marx, Kathy?
Ellen Raff: You are the ones inserting the hammer and sickle references, and Karl Marx. ... It's ridiculous to jump to cries of communism when a movement asks for social justice.
Sally Melrose: Ellen — when you demand economic redistribution you get the hammer and sickle — that is the definition of communism. Social justice? How do YOU define it?
Dianna Talbot Wilson: I am so proud of the Occupiers who woke America up from a coma! I brought my kids to the first encampment on Wall Street within a month after it started and showed them what true and free democracy is. With 1 out of 2 college graduates unemployed or underemployed, I think the Occupiers are just getting started and this movement will hopefully morph into another movement that will bring about the necessary changes that John is talking about. It's a shame that the lucky, fortunate and entitled resent the 99% for wanting change. I suspect if they wore a different set of shoes, they'd be cheering the Occupiers on, too.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times