Occupy Los Angeles

Right now people are camping out on the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall, and many other sites across the country, in solidarity with the Wall Street occupation (go to http://occupytogether.org to find one in your city).  The privilege I’ve seen in the movement so far worries me–yesterday I sat in on a planning session in which a white man, supposedly to demonstrate the effectiveness of a silent action he was proposing, managed to drown out every non-white-male speaker without even saying a word–but I still think it’s important that this gather steam, and stories like the ones Manissa McCleave Maharawal and Hena Ashraf have posted at Racialicious give me hope.  The Los Angeles occupation has events planned for the entire week; their calendar is at http://occupylosangeles.org.

Instead of a lengthy post on the topic, though, I’m giving you pictures!  Unfortunately, I could only get a couple into the post before the image inserter stopped working for me forever, but you can view the full set on myFlickr page.

Image description: A tent with a gigantic cardboard sign leaning against it.  Sign text: THEY TOOK AWAY UR JOB UR RIGHTS UR HOME UR COUNTRY UR SAVINGS, WHERE R U?

A white sign on the grass surrounded by cardboard signs.  Although the text on the other signs is obscured, the words "we the people" and "tax... is a..." are visible, along with a heart.  Text: It's not a crisis it's a SCAM  Let's stop being SLAVES to the $$  This is a REVOLUTION ("evol" is written in backwards letters to create the word "love")

(Note, in the above picture, the problematic use of the word “slaves.”)

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38 Responses to Occupy Los Angeles

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Get a job, hippies.

  2. 2
    chingona says:

    They’re trying to, Robert.

  3. 3
    Robert says:

    No they aren’t. People complaining about “capitalism” are not disappointed job-seekers yearning to trade their time for money. (Or if they are, then they have some funny notions about where the other side of that transaction comes from.)

    I shouldn’t have posted, however, I was just being obnoxious and Julie probably did not intend this thread as “let’s discuss the different systems of economic organization and why only one of them is worth a shit”, so I will bow out. Sorry to have barged.

  4. 4
    chingona says:

    And I was trying to get your goat, more than I was trying to get into that debate (though I do not accept that raising the marginal tax rate on people who make more than $250K is even on the same continent as ending capitalism).

    While I apparently succeeded, I agree that that is not why Julie posted this. So I, too, will bow out.

  5. 5
    Susan says:

    Frankly, given the current high rates of unemployment, and the fact that huge sums of taxpayer money were given to the people who engineered this crash, I’m surprised there haven’t been more protests. And more populism.

    When the income spread between the very very wealthy and everyone else gets as big as it is now, capitalism isn’t working very well, and needs some revision. Of course the wealthy (with some honorable exceptions like Warren Buffett) cannot be expected to advocate higher taxes on themselves; it falls to the rest of us to push for a more equitable situation.

    They can’t get a job, Robert. Real unemployment in California is in excess of 10%; it’s like musical chairs with 100 players and only 90 chairs. One out of every ten people is going to be left out of the seating.

    With unemployment (and insecurity!) this high, I leave it to more imaginative people to figure out who’s supposed to buy all the stuff that’s necessary is to keep the economy going. The Chinese….no, that doesn’t work. The Europeans….the less said the better. …

  6. 6
    Susan says:

    @Robert,

    I shouldn’t have posted, however, I was just being obnoxious

    Yes, so far so good.

    But I’m curious about what you think should be done (if anything) about the one-in-ten (in California, one-in-eight) unemployment rate. Bear in mind that this only counts active job-seekers, not people who have given up, nor people who are working part-time who need to and want to work full time. And bear in mind also that this is an average, and that unemployment in minority communities is much higher. (Brown skin = moral deficiency? I think not.)

    Suddenly, from a “structural” 4% unemployment rate only a few years ago, we’ve arrived at a situation where one in eight job-seekers don’t “really” want to work, or it’s their fault somehow? We out here would really like to see an explanation.

    While you’re at it, you might try explaining who-all is supposed to buy all the stuff the factories churn out, and so to keep the engine going, when one out of every ten or eight is unemployed, and perhaps twice that number fear for their jobs and so are afraid to spend money.

    Your explanation of the “conservative” position on welfare and SSI on another thread was so coherent, so encouraging, that I’m hoping you have something equally cogent here.

    Something better than “get a job, hippies.”

    I know you didn’t mean it.

  7. 7
    Robert says:

    Every time I try to write more than a very brief comment, the site crashes. So, in super brief: government interventions to fix economies do not, generally, work. The current situation is largely if not entirely the result of previous demands that the government fix the economy. Let the market work, which means letting GM die, which means letting the bad actors in the financial sector crash, which means letting the winners win and the losers lose, instead of constantly trying to soften the landing or mitigate the cycle or whatever fuckwittery the know-nothings in DC have in mind this week. I can’t take the protests seriously, despite the heartbreaking stories, because the people in them are mainly calling for more of the same asshatted bad decisionmaking that has put the economy in the current mess in the first place.

  8. 8
    Robert says:

    Also: The unemployment rate is high because we have made it a smarter decision to automate or improve processes, than to hire new people to do work, at least as far as the decisionmakers can ascertain. Right now nobody knows what it will cost to hire a warm body, because nobody knows what health care reform is going to do in the courts. When I am comparing option A (“automate the factory and replace 100 people with machines”) I can compute a cost for that decision; option B (“hire another 100 people to increase production”) has a cost of ??? beats me dude wait a few years and find out ??? – and so option A is ALWAYS going to be the option I choose. Uncertainty is death; right now we have a self-inflicted massive uncertainty right square in the middle of the biggest component of labor cost. You’d be an idiot to hire in this environment; unsurprisingly, the supply of idiots who are in a position to hire is turning out to be small.

  9. 9
    Charles S says:

    “Right now nobody knows what it will cost to hire a warm body, because nobody knows what health care reform is going to do in the courts. ”

    Oh good God.

    Robert, I know it was in the talking points list and you need the “cash for right wing comments” money, but still… :p

    Susan, you should really have left it at letting him bow out.

  10. 10
    J Meltzer says:

    I think that the media and the public need to hear a cogent list of goals that you want to achieve. Now that you have the attention of the media you should not squander it. You might want to consider this :

    Demand that Fredie Mac or Fannie Mae immediately require the banks which are ( simply the servicers of the loans and not the owners of the loans) to allow all borrowers regardless of the credit to re fiance their property to the latest low interest rates.. This will boost the economy in a significant will revive the economy

  11. 11
    J Meltzer says:

    Second : Investigate and institute a Win-Fall profits tax on any company or individual who profited from the US Bank Bail out or the shorting of the market prior to our financial collapse.. My understanding is that toward the end of the the collapse of Lehman Brothers there were a few traders who invested relatively small amounts and were able to reap huge profits.. These profits should be used to offset some of the loss to the Federal Government for helping to re-finance Ginnie Mae mortgages

  12. 12
    J Meltzer says:

    Third : The US should move towards a gradual shift of helping split up larger banks in favor of Credit-Unions..Since Credit-Unions are non profit they should in theory be less likely to try and do what the banks have done in the past. Besides the ” Too Big To Fail” situation with large banks is dangerous for our country. Allowing Credit Unions to get involved in more banking services then they can do now under very strict regulations ( Which the banks most likly lobbied Congress to be enacted by the Bank Industry ) more credit Union services will help consumers

    Split up large banks ( B Of A , Citi Bank )

    Change regulations to allow Credit Unions to take their place !!!

  13. 13
    chingona says:

    My husband stopped by to chat with our local occupiers and found they were pretty interested in getting rid of the Federal Reserve. Not quite what he expected.

  14. 14
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Charles S says:
    October 5, 2011 at 12:12 am

    “Right now nobody knows what it will cost to hire a warm body, because nobody knows what health care reform is going to do in the courts. ”

    Oh good God.

    Do any of you know a lot of employers? I do. i represent tons of consumers, but businesses as well.

    There is an inherent conflict between the social justice reforms that you’re pushing for on this blog (in a variety of posts,) and the interests of employers. That’s no surprise. But I sometimes wonder who, precisely, is expected to bell the cat.

    For example: If I hire someone and then the business goes downhill and I lay them off, I’m in it for a whole hell of a lot of unemployment payments. My solution is not to hire anyone, since there aren’t any great temps.

    It’s all well and good to extend unemployment benefits. I agree! People should not starve for lack of work.

    But of course, the economy sucks ass. And it’s not just me. If Joe and Mary hire someone and they prove to be a bad hire… well, they may be contributing to unemployment for the next two years, instead of the next 3 months. So, Joe and Mary become (like everyone else) less likely to hire.

    If I hire someone who doesn’t have their own health insurance, and who expects me to provide it… well, I can’t afford to hire them at all.

    If I hire someone who is a sole caregiver and who needs to be able to cover his kids (emergencies, illness, teacher days, snow days, conference days, etc.) then it won’t work either and yes, I tried.

    I’m not bound by the ADA or FMLA because I’m too small, of course. But some of my clients are. And I know–not a guess; I know–how expensive such compliance can be. I know that people don’t get hired, and sometimes positions don’t even get opened, because the benefits of hiring an employee simply don’t outweigh the costs.

    Plenty of businesses are getting near the red. It’s a shitty economy. And if you think that the law has no effect on their decision to hire, you’re simply uninformed.

    So, again: Who will bell the cat? There are a few megawealthy corporations that are screwing their employees, of course. But although they make good sound bites and poster children for reform, they represent a minority of the jobs out there. There are huge numbers of positions at small and medium sized businesses, and those get affected as well.

    If you own a business and it goes under, you get sympathy for being in the 99%. What if you own a business and you’re trying NOT to go under, and you’re trying NOT to end up in the 99%? What help do you offer then?

  15. 15
    Charles S says:

    My husband stopped by to chat with our local occupiers and found they were pretty interested in getting rid of the Federal Reserve.

    Showing that you don’t need to know how to fix it to know it is broken, and probably a good reason to be focusing the protests on what is wrong rather than on a solution. The Occupy Together movement is diverse, lateral and spread out all over the country now. It seems like it presents a pretty coherent vision of what has gone wrong, but not a coherent vision of how to fix it. I think that is fine. For the past several years, most people I know have been saying, “The system is completely fucked. Why aren’t people out in the streets protesting against all this?” Now they are out in the streets protesting all this and the new question we should be asking ourselves is “Am I going to support this? Am I going to join this?”

    The system is fucked up. No specific proposal made by protesters in the streets is likely to get implemented any time soon. The important thing in going out into the streets to make public our grievances is to change the balance of power.

    That said, J Meltzer, I do like your proposal in comment 10. I think the best proposals need to simultaneously (a) improve the economy and (b) directly help people who are suffering from the current collapse. Another one I think would be worth advocating for would be extending unemployment benefits beyond 2 years. There are a lot of people who are passing 99 weeks and finding themselves with no support at all. In the current collapse, unemployment benefits should be extended to 5 years. This would put money in the hands of people who desperately need it (which is both good for the economy and good for the people who are suffering).

  16. 16
    Charles S says:

    g&w,

    Let’s move this discussion to an open thread.

  17. 17
    Ampersand says:

    Every time I try to write more than a very brief comment, the site crashes.

    Can you email me and describe the problem in a bit more detail?

    In the meanwhile, if you have a long post that you can’t post directly, you can email it to me and let me know which thread to post it on, and I’ll post it in your name.

  18. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    OK, Charles. Which one? Or, perhaps a mod (are you a mod?) can just make a thread for discussing the costs/benefits of social justice issues…?

  19. Pingback: Occupy Wall Street/We Are The 99% (NoH) | Feminist Critics

  20. 20
    Charles S says:

    Today looks like a beautiful day to Occupy Portland. Sunny and cool. I don’t know exactly what will be going on today (where the march will take place), but anyone who goes down to Chapman or Lownsdale Squares (abutting SW Main St between 3rd and 4th avenue) will be able to get directions to wherever the march is taking place.

    Occupy Portland had a first day march of 10,000 people, and then settled in to occupy Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. The occupation of these two parks is complicated by the fact that the Portland Marathon is this Sunday and the finish line is right next to the park. I attended the GA meeting last night to see what was going on this weekend.

    The plan as I understood it last night is to remain in the parks (the Portland Marathon organizers are okay with Occupy Portland remaining in the square, but they will be locked down during the marathon itself) through the weekend, but to have a different main location Sunday for people to gather. I expect the shift in location will happen at some point today (lock down of the 2 squares starts Sunday at 4 am), but there will still be plenty of people at the squares to redirect people.

    Joseph Stieglitz demonstrates the amplification system the Occupy movement is using for its meetings. One thing cool about this method is that it means that I feel like I was an active participant in the GA meeting, even though I never was a speaker, because I was serving as part of the sound system and saying the words that the speakers were saying.

  21. 21
    Charles S says:

    I lost a really long comment about my experience Occupying Portland yesterday, which I’m not going to try to reproduce.

    There are two starting march locations for Occupy Portland today:

    People started assembling at 8:00 am at the PSU section of the Park Blocks and will start marching at 12:00 noon. This is the location approved by the GA Sunday morning. The march path is being decided today, but will end up at SE 3rd and SE Main at 5 pm.

    In addition, the Portland Marathon yesterday afternoon decided to show its support for Occupy Portland by inviting Occupy Portland to march the final section of the marathon route, assembling at the Rose Quarter at 2:30 pm and marching across the Broadway bridge. This march will also end up at SE 3rd and SE Main at 5 pm and the two marches will presumably merge somewhere along the way.

    I’m volunteering as a police liaison in the march following the marathon route. It should be fun (if a little rainy).

  22. Pingback: Occupy Portland Information – March TODAY | Alas, a Blog

  23. 22
    Charles S says:

    I don’t have time to write anything of substance right now, but I thought this post on Native Appropriations about the representation of Native Americans in the Occupy movement was interesting.

  24. 23
    RonF says:

    Susan, I’d be a lot more admiring of people like Warren Buffet if they would not just talk about raising taxes on people like themselves but lead by example by actually sending the government some money.

  25. 24
    Jake Squid says:

    I’d be a lot more admiring of people like Warren Buffet if they would not just talk about raising taxes on people like themselves but lead by example by actually sending the government some money.

    That action doesn’t actually achieve Buffet’s (or my own) goals, though. The goal is for the gubmint to get more revenue by raising taxes on the wealthiest. Buffet sending in extra dough on his own doesn’t achieve that goal. What it does achieve is getting the gubmint a tiny bit more money from a volunteer.

    If sending extra $$$ to the gubmint all by my lonesome would raise taxes on the wealthiest (or on people of my income level and higher), I’d do it in a heartbeat. But if sending in that extra money by myself doesn’t improve infrastructure or the safety net, it does nothing to achieve my goals.

  26. 25
    Robert says:

    But if sending in that extra money by myself doesn’t improve infrastructure or the safety net, it does nothing to achieve my goals.

    Or perhaps it demonstrates that any marginal revenue received by the government will not go towards your goals – leading one to inquire why you think the government will more wisely spend a new billion dollars than it will spend a new thousand dollars, or a new hundred dollars.

    If I’m broke and asking people for $1000 so I can buy food, but the first time someone gives me $5 I use it to buy crack cocaine, you’re going to ask (a) where does this guy live that he can get cocaine for $5, and (b) was buying food anything other than a cover for “gimme some money”?

  27. 26
    Eytan Zweig says:

    If I’m broke and asking people for $1000 so I can buy food, but the first time someone gives me $5 I use it to buy crack cocaine, you’re going to ask (a) where does this guy live that he can get cocaine for $5, and (b) was buying food anything other than a cover for “gimme some money”?

    Well, sure, if you believe that the government will waste any amount of money you send it, the only conclusion you can reach is that you shouldn’t send the government any money.

    But the analogy is unfair, on many levels. First, the government is not a panhandler. Like it or not, Western society is based on the principle that the government works for the people. In other words, the government is not a begger – it’s a contracter. In many ways, its not a particularly good one, but that’s a different issue. If I hire a contracter to build my house, and she says “I need $10,000 for the roof” – well, there’s a chance that if I give her the $10,000 she may use it to buy herself a plane ticket to the Bahamas and I’ll never see her again. And there’s a chance that if I give her the $10,000, she’ll build me a roof. But if I were to instead say “that’s too much money for me to trust you with. Here, take these $5 and show me how much of my house you can build with them” I’m not likely to get anything at all, because you can’t build any useful part of a house for $5.

  28. 27
    Robert says:

    “you can’t build any useful part of a house for $5″

    True. But if the contractor calls me and says “$5 is meaningless, we can’t do anything with that, so we’re buying crack with the money”, you learn something differently than if the contractor calls and says “we’re putting that $5 in the escrow account for your roof fund”.

    Jake appears to think that his marginal contribution, and even Warren Buffett’s marginal contribution, will not be applied with any wisdom. I think it a fair question to ask him why he thinks larger sums will be used more wisely.

  29. 28
    KellyK says:

    Jake appears to think that his marginal contribution, and even Warren Buffett’s marginal contribution, will not be applied with any wisdom. I think it a fair question to ask him why he thinks larger sums will be used more wisely.

    I don’t see Jake saying that the money will be spent poorly or foolishly. He’s saying that a little volunteer contribution isn’t going to solve the problem, and is beside the point.

    Additionally, you don’t get to choose what your taxes are spent on. It’s not like the Red Cross where you can do targeted contributions. (Not that those are a good idea, because you end up with piles of Katrina money sitting around that really should be spent on Japan, but you get my point.)

    That’s not quite the same as “they’ll spend it foolishly” because probably everyone has at least one thing that taxes are spent on that they’re opposed to, or at least not a fan of. And there are also things the government is doing that may be perfectly good and useful in and of themselves, but that don’t actually do anything for the mess we’re in. If the proposal is, “Tax people who have buckets of money, shore up education and infrastructure, and extend unemployment,” saying “Here’s $100 for…whatever,” doesn’t actually contribute to that. It’s not even asking how much roof you can get for $5–it’s more like randomly handing the contractor $5 apropos of nothing and getting upset that she bought lunch rather than put it toward the roof you haven’t actually ordered.

  30. 29
    Robert says:

    OK…well, we have no understanding in place that new revenue is going to go for wise infrastructure spending, or whatever it is that Jake wants Warren to pay for. So why the push for more revenue, when for all Jake knows it’s going to go straight to the War on Costa Rica or the Bail Out Billionaire Beermakers agenda, or whatever?

  31. 30
    mythago says:

    Right now nobody knows what it will cost to hire a warm body, because nobody knows what health care reform is going to do in the courts.

    Robert, this is complete horseshit. Employers are not refraining from hiring because they are playing Fantasy Federal Appeals Court and are iffy on the split rulings on the health care legislation. They are refraining from hiring because the overall economic picture is extremely grim.

    RonF @23: They’re leading by example by making it not only voluntary, but mandatory for them to send the government money. What’s your problem?

  32. 31
    RonF says:

    Because they’re not just making it mandatory for them to send in the money, they’re favoring making it mandatory for others to send in the money. It’s always easy to look morally superior giving away other people’s money. As I say, lead by example.

    Frankly, there’s an issue of trust here. If the whole concept was take everyone making > $5M/yr and get another ‘x’ amount of money out of them I’d likely favor it. Even though you really won’t raise much money that way. But I suspect that it’ll end up being mandatory for people who make a lot less money than that. In fact, I suspect that in the end it include a great many small businesses owners who can’t shelter their money but hold it as ordinary income and who would otherwise put it into operating expenses and capital acquisitions that would enable them to hire more people who would then become productive and pay more taxes themselves.

    Jake:

    Like it or not, Western society is based on the principle that the government works for the people. In other words, the government is not a beggar – it’s a contractor.

    And both the Tea Party movement and the OWS folks hold that this principle is being violated.

    Additionally, you don’t get to choose what your taxes are spent on. It’s not like the Red Cross where you can do targeted contributions.

    True. OTOH, you could quite readily spend money on a great many things that government entities do that are things you favor. Warren Buffet could set up a fund to give $10K a year to every teacher who will agree to serve in various inner cities, send private contractors in to renovate a bunch of schools, buy stacks of books for them, etc., etc. Since he’s not constrained by Federal law he could spend the money much more efficiently (he’s not required to pay union wages on those renovations, for example). In fact, he could just start some private schools up – build them, equip them, staff them, let kids go there for free. Again, without governmental and public union (but I repeat myself) constraints, he could do it much cheaper and more efficiently than the government does. Why doesn’t he do that? Why is he in favor of giving the government more money when he could do the job himself cheaper?

  33. 32
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Ron @31 –

    First, I’m not Jake.

    Second, I don’t dispute that this relationship is violated (neither in the US, nor in my home country of Israel, nor in my current residencee in the UK). But where I differ from the Tea Party – and probably a lot of the OWS people too – is that I believe that that problem cannot be fixed as long as the relationship between government and people is seen in adverserial terms. The government exists to serve the people, and therefore, people shouldn’t be fighting to limit the power of government, because that deprives the same people of a powerful tool. People should be fighting for powerful governments that use their power correctly.

  34. 33
    Robert says:

    “The government exists to serve the people, and therefore, people shouldn’t be fighting to limit the power of government, because that deprives the same people of a powerful tool. People should be fighting for powerful governments that use their power correctly.”

    Governments ought to serve the people, yes. But to simply say that because that’s the purpose, that’s what they automatically do and it’s thus wrong to try to limit government power, is stunningly naive.

    According to people enamored of patriarchal social structures, “Men exist to serve women and children, and therefore feminists shouldn’t try to limit the power of fathers, they should be fighting to have powerful fathers who use their authority correctly.” You can immediately see the empirical flaw in the argument; things (and people) do not always, or even often, do the things they are intended to do.

    Governments on balance do not have a good track record of “serving the people”; those of us who want limited government think (as I imagine Ron does, and as I do) that the ideal government does indeed serve the people, but we insist on recognizing the historical reality that mostly, governments oppress.

  35. 34
    RonF says:

    Mythago:

    Employers are not refraining from hiring because they are playing Fantasy Federal Appeals Court and are iffy on the split rulings on the health care legislation

    How do you know?

  36. 35
    Eytan Zweig says:

    According to people enamored of patriarchal social structures, “Men exist to serve women and children, and therefore feminists shouldn’t try to limit the power of fathers, they should be fighting to have powerful fathers who use their authority correctly.” You can immediately see the empirical flaw in the argument; things (and people) do not always, or even often, do the things they are intended to do.

    I agree that my argument is not an analytic truth – it doesn’t work because of its structure, and you can’t just substitute any social construct there and keep it making sense. That doesn’t mean I think it’s invalid.

    I also agree that historically, governments have not done a great job. I just disagree with you as to the nature of the solution – specifically because I believe that a weaker government simply means that other forms of oppressive power will rise. History isn’t just unkind to governments – it’s equally unkind to capitalism and the idea of free markets. Just like goverments may start out idealistic but quickly become beaurocratic and self-serving, markets start out free but quickly become unbalanced and skewed towards serving existing financial structures.

    The problem is, quite simply, that humans are terrible at creating social structures. We are inherently self-serving, short sighted, and blind towards everything outside our immediate experience. History has proven that whatever we do, it will be terrible.

    And (democratic) governments – for all their problems – are, in my opinion, the least of all evils. Because regardless of what they are actually up to, they are supposed to be accountable to the people. And they have mechanisms in place to allow for this accountability, even if those mechanisms are faulty. So I believe that the best route lies in fixing government, rather than breaking it further.

  37. 36
    RonF says:

    Eytan (sorry about the confusion):

    I believe that that problem cannot be fixed as long as the relationship between government and people is seen in adversarial terms. The government exists to serve the people, and therefore, people shouldn’t be fighting to limit the power of government, because that deprives the same people of a powerful tool. People should be fighting for powerful governments that use their power correctly.

    The U.S. was founded on the principle that the relationship between the government and the people is inevitably adversarial – that governments will always attempt to accumulate and abuse power. That tendency expands as the government increases in size and remoteness from the people. They based that on their studies of Greek, Roman and other culture’s histories. It was taken as a given that there is no way to have a powerful central government that can be and will stay “fixed” so that it will have great powers but not abuse them – a viewpoint that I heartily agree with. So two measures were taken to fight that.

    1) The powers of the government were separated into 3 branches – executive, legislative and judiciary – and each branch was given means by which it could limit the powers and actions of the other two. The inefficiency of the Federal government’s decision making and action taking system is not a bug – it’s a feature.
    2) The powers of the higher levels of government were limited in scope to those the founders determined were absolutely necessary to have at a centralized level, with all others being restricted either to smaller units of government that would be closer and thus more accountable to the people or to the people themselves. The concept that large governments are less accountable to the people they are supposed to serve and are thus antithetical to the concept that governments exist to serve the people is key here.

    But the Federal government has aggrandized powers to itself that it was never intended to have. And powerful corporations (including public unions) have been able to take advantage of that by using their money to influence the Federal government to use its powers to create laws, especially regulations and tax structures, that favor their aims over those of smaller businesses and individuals. The OWS seeks to fight that by persuading the government to change those laws, regulations and tax structures. The Tea Party movement figures that a powerful Federal government gives the corporations “one stop shopping” and thus seeks to fight that by stripping from the Federal government those powers that it is using to favor those corporations. Corporations cannot buy something from a government that it does not have to sell.