Opinion: Occupy Wall Street: When basic biological needs are criminalized

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The Occupy protesters are learning what homeless people have long known, writes Barbara Ehrenreich in an Op-Ed from Sunday’s pages.

What occupiers from all walks of life are discovering, at least every time they contemplate taking a leak, is that to be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born ‘illegals,’ facing prohibitions on the most basic activities of survival. And because many of the occupiers are looking at walks of life that slope downward -- from debt, joblessness and foreclosure -- they are getting a frightening view of what their futures could hold.


Wear diapers, she warns.

Not surprisingly, the reaction on our discussion board is split -- drastically – though the comments are based more on the worthiness of the Occupy movement and less about how we live in a society that criminalizes basic biological needs. Here’s a sampling:

Oh, the hypocrisy

The Republicans are outraged at a handful of protesters peeing in the bushes while BP spills billions of gallons of crude oil in the gulf and is rewarded with new gulf drilling contracts. The Koch Brothers pump huge noxious clouds of chemical plant waste in the air and stick the taxpayer with the consequences. The Republicans should do something about the mess that they are creating before they criticize others.


An alternative bathroom

I think the Occupiers should just en masse march into the lobby of Goldman Sachs and go potty there. Not in the restroom. Right on the gleaming marble floor where the plutocrats will have to step in it. It doesn’t smell any worse than the fraudulent CDOs they marketed, and caused all of this.


--shockratees _

Occupiers would have benefited from a plan

if you choose to ‘occupy’ a place that doesn’t have adequate resources...maybe you’re not thinking it through very well.

Why don’t they rent an RV and use that toilet, kitchen and beds in there--on a rotating basis? I’m sure there are also hotels in the nearby area...OR you could always park a Port-A-Potty in the back of your pickup truck and just leave it parked nearby.

what these people are doing is BY CHOICE putting themselves in an awkward situation. Want to pee outdoors? Make sure it’s in your own backyard because the rest of us don’t want to STEP IN IT, SMELL IT or be otherwise confronted with it.

GROSS! I hope they DO get tickets for P-U. There’s a reason it’s against the law and if you don’t understand it...then you’re part of the problem. Get some sense in your head.



The Occupy movement isn’t funded by billionaires

Rent an RV? The Occupy movement isn’t funded by billionaires like the Tea Party movement is, nor do they have a friendly and helpful (and bought-off) police force and local mayor to allow them to park their RVs on the streets.

Logistics are much easier when you ‘run’ an AstroTurf organization.


The 99% needs to get a grip

what do you mean that food, warm accommodations, medical care, etc ‘must be provided’ whom ?? if Obama, Van Jones, and George Soros want to stage a ‘revolution’, they should have thought, in advance, about themselves providing such things for their troops. why should the 53% be responsible for babying the 99ers ?


as for the real homeless, there are myriad services provided by both the taxpayers and by charities (funded by those some taxpayin’ folks) where they can find food, shelter, and medicine. that many of them refuse to take advantage of what is offered is their choice, not my problem.

--el polacko

*Spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.


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-- Alexandra Le Tellier