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Jeff Ward: Let's Not Only 'Occupy' Wall Street, But All of Chicago's Western Suburbs!

We can park ourselves in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Wheaton, Lisle, the Tri-Cities, Glen Ellyn, Western Springs, Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills! Power to the people!

As I perused my way through Patchdom this week, I was surprised to see we haven’t conducted a west suburban poll on the merits of the Occupy Wall Street movement. You already can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an on the subject.

Since I’d never want us to be considered behind a bunch of teeth-clenched-while-they-talk elitist New Englanders, I think it’s time we far-more-sophisticated-west-suburban folk wade in on this burgeoning protest movement.

Of course, no Patch poll would be complete without me doing my darndest to skew the results in the specific direction. And I have to say, I haven’t felt this giddy since Mr. Dylan first uttered that subversive phrase, “The times, they are a-changin'.”

Unless you’ve been living in Berwyn, you already know our month-old Occupy Wall Street movement started with a small group of folks staging a '60s-style sit in at Zuccotti Park in New York City’s famous financial district.

And since its September inception, the movement has grown exponentially, spreading to virtually every major U.S. city and beyond. We now have a full-fledged Chicago chapter, a group of Aurorans just marched in front of a Bank of America, and an Occupy Evanston movement is in process.

Though those blithering Fox News talking heads derisively sneered at the protestors for failing to issue specific demands, one can’t help but admire the Zen nature of this movement. Their mere presence is a demand!

For the past decade we’ve witnessed the kind of damage that can be wrought by corporate greed, a financial sector run amok and a political party co-opted by the wealthiest Americans. In response to that imbalance, these protestors are simply saying, “Remember us? We matter! You’ve ignored the 99 percent for far too long.”

Some in this loosely knit movement have issued specific and reasonable stipulations. They want more SEC financial sector oversight. They want those behind the subprime mortgage fiasco to be held accountable. They want the Supreme Court to reverse their decision by overthrowing a 100-year-old precedent by allowing corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions. They want the banks and government to forgive student debt.

Of course, this didn’t stop the Fox News nincompoops from trying to portray this diverse group as nothing more than a gaggle of itinerant college students bent on the destruction of western civilization as we know it. Contrary to what that moron Sean Hannity said, they don’t hate capitalism, they actually want to preserve it.

Considering our economic state, stronger financial oversight certainly sounds like a good idea to me. I’d give my left you-know-what to see the former Countrywide Mortgage CEO behind bars. And you know what? Forgive my socialist heart here, but forgiving student debt isn’t such a bad idea, either.

Why not! Wasn’t it financial sector shenanigans that tanked the economy, and then, facing that self-inflicted extinction, we, the taxpayer, bailed them out. When do all those fine middle class folks who’ve had to face foreclosure get their bail out?

And you’d think these rescued financial institutions would show some sympathy, but not only have these banks failed to evince any gratitude, in addition to jacking up fees, their latest tactic is to sue foreclosed homeowners for the remainder owed. It’s unconscionable. And remember, because of the credit card industry’s lobbying efforts, regular folks can’t declare bankruptcy anymore—only corporations can.

Then the very Standard & Poors idiots who gave those doomed mortgage-backed securities a triple-A rating just downgraded our treasury bonds. NOW they get religion!

If the government doesn’t provide the appropriate deterrents and necessary consequences to combat corporate and Wall Street malfeasance, then it’s up to the people to step up and, in their best Italian, say “basta.”

Occupy Wall Street is the kind of movement the Tea Party should have been! And one of the best things about the far-more-numerous Occupy movement is it signals the long overdue death knell for the Tea Party. Every day those protestors sit outside the Chicago Federal Building, the Tea Party becomes that much less relevant.

These Occupy protestors are true patriots who want to preserve a middle-class way of life that’s rapidly being eroded. This country was founded on dissent. This is democracy at its finest! What’s wrong with “justice for all”?

And it's already having an effect. It’s working. After GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romeny referred to the Occupy movement as “dangerous” and “class warfare,” he reversed himself this week in New Hampshire saying, “I look at what’s happening on Wall Street and my own view is, boy, I understand how those people feel … The people in this country are upset.” Someone sees the writing on the wall.

Patchland! Rise up and throw off your political shackles! We can “vote” in places other than the polling place.

So let’s follow our New York, Chicago and Aurora brethrens’ fine example. Who wants to get Occupy Wheaton going? There are three Elmhurst Bank of Americas ripe for some marching. There’s another one in Hinsdale. Let’s not forget the Citibank on Main in Downers Grove. Occupy Glen Ellyn has a really nice ring to it.

The right to assemble is a magical thing! By God, I love democracy in action!

Michael James October 27, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Yes...the foolishness of our strategic thinking...make the products in China...use cheap cheap labor and cheap materials to produce the cheapest products...let the labor in the least protected of labor pools do the dirty work....let our children be highly educated for the good paying jobs....destroy the unions...get rid of collective bargaining...ignore alternative energy and drill baby drill....invade Iraq to make sure we maintain total control and access to their oil.....do the same in Libya...who's next...don't get in our way or we will end you! Foolish..foolish thinking! You are correct David. We are entitled to nothing. Hard work is always the answer and always the least traveled path! Take out a second mortgage to help pay for your child's college. Have your child take out whopping student loans to make it through, only to realize you are not needed any longer. Yes, it's going to take hard work to clean up the mess we have made for our future! Hard work to reform education and to get rid of entrenched Universities of higher learning. The system is totally out of whack and obsolete as we know it! mj
David October 27, 2011 at 10:35 PM
But products are way more expensive too (in Europe). A can of coke is $5. Feeding a family of 4 at a McDs in Switzerland is $65. If Americans are addicted to cheap products (at Walmart or Target), then the only way to produce is to use cheap labor.
MIKE October 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Occupy Chicago is a protest that seems to be waning with the cold weather. The protesters are mainly young people but there are some middle age activists. Understand there situation but why should the gov't. forgive their debt or anyone's debt. Empathize with people who have lost their jobs or can't find a decent job but does that mean they are entitled to the American Dream? College kids with loads of stundent loans and can not find employment, are we supposed to allow the debt to be cancelled ? Why? If you dance to the music you have to pay the piper, if a homes value decreases and people can't avoid the home anymore, is the gov't. and the bank that owns the mortgage supposed to say, "oh that's OK, don't worry about it" I think not. it is tough economic times and alot of jobs that Americans have lost are not coming back. Let's face it, manufacturing in the U.S. is in the tanks and will remain there because of a global economy. Employers can manufacture cheaper in Mexico or the Pacific rim and they will go there to employ people there at $5 or $6 an hour with no benefits. One thing that bothers me is the exporting of Information jobs, computer and IT jobs to places like India when we are hurting for are recent IT grads., GE is a great one for doing that. Not right!
Earl M. McGuire October 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM
These are some of the more thoughtful comments then usually on the Patch. I still don't know how to grasp the "Occupy Wall Street Protests?" I personally have mixed emotions, I know capitalism is what makes this country great, but on the other hand the working class is struggling more than ever. I have peers that are doing well and call the protesters scum. Then I know older workers that have college degrees, advance degrees, and long good work histories but no or little paying workable currently. “Earl People are hurting…” says a person who I personally know that often has a conservative voice on the current issues of the day. I hear about young workers with college degrees with huge school loans to pay off with little or no deceit paying full-time jobs able, and still living with Mom and Dad. Small business owners and small investors who are struggling to stay open in business or just get by. Is it really the top 1% earners fault? Or the 47% Americans who don’t pay income taxes to Uncle Sam, is it their fault?
Chris Smith October 31, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Terry, They all paid it back so they don't have to comply. We can only look during the period of the loans and then of course nobody was looking for or could qualify for the loans. There is such a pain involved in switching banks that most people wont do it. IT would be great if there were some "how to" tips for people to understand this process. Some people may want to participate in parts of this movement and not others.

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