Category Archives: Occupy

9-11-2015

Some pictures of my trip back to lower Manhattan on 9-11-2015

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                  (On the train)

I’ll admit to a bit of nervousness and fear in going into New York City dressed like this – what with the police assassinations and the threats against the American flag. Was I setting myself up as a target? When soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors returned from Vietnam, they were told not to wear their uniform else they would raise the ire of the war protestors.

Well these many years later – this is my uniform, and I decided I would not be intimidated or shamed again – so off to NYC I go.

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Off the Metro North at Grand Central Station  from New Haven

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The main concourse at Grand Central

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The new “Freedom Tower” Over the years, we watched it going up.

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The new tower from the front corner of St. Paul’s Chapel. The Chapel dates back to colonial days and was undamaged by the attack even though it is right across the street from the twin towers. The chapel was used as headquarters and a retreat for the first responders and rescue workers from all over the world. 

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Looking out the back of the chapel towards the Trade Center.

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A lovely choir, most likely from the Pennsylvania Amish country.

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The always busy feet of New York.

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No shortage of police. These are NYPD. I also saw New York State Police (the first time I’ve ever seen them in downtown NYC), Army/National Guard, and Port Authority police. I’ve always like the New York cops.

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These pictures are at the front of the Century-21 department store. They had the whole side done up with a huge mural, and at the sidewalk people were writing messages on large rolls of paper.  

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New York Fire Department

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Another hat like mine, only Army or Marine Corp.

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I had quite a chat with this fellow. He was walking around carrying this flag so he called me over and we talked. Where ya from? I asks noticing a strong accent. Kosovo he says – been in this country 47 years.

Ziggy they call him, and he’s from up in my neck of the woods in Waterbury CT. He told me that in 1991 he spent all of his Sundays in New Haven on the Yale campus supporting our troops in the first gulf war. So nephew Mike Johnson of the 82nd Airborne – here’s a guy that was rooting for you!

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These shots are of Zuccotti Park. The last time I was there, it was filled with the Occupy Wall Street crowd –Communists, Anarchists and such – and there I was among them with my American flag shirt and Vietnam Veterans hat.  I like it a whole lot better this way.

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Honoring the victims of 9-11-2001

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From the corner of St. Paul’s Chapel looking into the chapel. If you’ve read “The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn, I believe this is where the Harbinger tree was uprooted.

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The Harbinger tree as it was following 9-11-2001

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Prayer in back of the chapel.

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Flag of Honor – each victims name appears in this flag inside the chapel

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Memorabilia in the form of patches and hats from police and fire departments around the world.

 

Don Johnson – September 11, 2015

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To My “Occupy New Haven” Friend Mick, The Marine

Do you remember me Mick? We met at the Federal Court House in New Haven where the judge heard testimony that eventually resulted in “Occupy” being evicted.

You told me that you were also a member of something called “Occupy Marines” if I recall. You also told me you took an oath, an oath of non-violence. Do you remember that conversation Mick?  Do you remember me telling you to remember that oath when your friends turned violent? Do you remember me telling you to walk away at the point where things get violent? Do you remember the next day when I woke you from your noon-time slumber in the park and gave you a copy, a free one at that, of Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny”?

Do you remember any of that Mick?

I’m writing this directly to you Mick for a couple of reasons:

  • I’m curious Mick, you have my card with this web site on it and an e-mail where you could contact me; I gave it to you along with the book and I’m curious if anything I said made any sort of impact on you.
  • I’ve heard of a lot of violence from you people in recent weeks; blowing up a bridge in Cleveland, attacking dinners in a Chicago restaurant just yesterday, with hammers and pipes, breaking storefront windows in Seattle close to where my niece lives, breaking storefront windows in New York City. And more if I cared to scrutinize the main stream media which tend not to cover such trivial things.
  • Where are you Mick? Are you in Cleveland plotting to blow up more things? Are you in Chicago using your Marine training to beat people in restaurants?
  • Are you the one that Glenn Beck warned us about several years ago?
  • Or have you taken my advice and walked away from all of that and are you now looking for work in order to make something meaningful of your life.
  • Are you making people feel good and proud when they see you in your Marine Corp. T shirt while breaking windows and attacking women in restaurants, or are they proud to see you working with the Toys for Tots program with other Marines?

Just wondering Mick, just wondering.

Don Johnson – May 2012

Anarchy–The Occupy New Haven Federal Court Hearing

Anarchy.  I title and start this essay with this word because it best describes the day I spent on and around the New Haven Green on March 28, 2012. This day was to be the “eviction” hearing date before a federal judge literally across the Green from the “occupy” site. I hadn’t intended to sit in on the court hearing, but thought I would “”occupy “occupy” ”and wander around the site to see what was to happen. I did wander around inside the site and talked to a few of the folks. Some seem obviously down on their luck and I try to be sensitive to that in talking to them. I introduced myself to one fellow and asked where he lived; he pointed to a tent just a few yards away and told me that’s where he lived. I asked how he was able to make ends meet and he said he was able to pick up odd jobs once in awhile. We parted with a handshake.

Then I talked to Jeff who I have seen and met several time in past weeks. Jeff seems to be a leader there on the site and I asked him one of my standard questions “… some in the occupy movement want to destroy American capitalism, is that your position?” His answer was “definitely!” I then asked another of my standard questions “… what would you replace it with?” Jeff’s answer “Anarchy!”  and thus the title of this essay started to come into focus. Jeff was the most direct and forceful in his answer of all of the occupy folks I have talked to, including those at Zuccotti Park at Wall Street; others are typically more hesitant to answer these questions, but as a whole the assorted graffiti messages in the camps betray the underlying motive of Occupy.

I talked to a few others including a high school student on assignment for a class project.

It started to rain heavily and it was close to the court hearing time so I decided I would attend.

This is the setting; the occupy site is on the edge of what is called the Upper Green and is inside the Green. Directly across the street is Yale University. Directly across the Green but outside of it is the Federal Court house. Next to the Court House is City Hall. So the setting is cozy with all of the protagonists very closely co-located.

Given that New Haven is one of the few remaining occupy sites, I expected an overflow crowd at the hearing, but the actual head count was modest and many seats were unoccupied. Cameras were confiscated at the entrance so I have no audio or video to present, but here is a story from the local newspaper.

The Hearing

There were two witnesses called during the time I was in attendance; the first was Drew Days, the head of the group of five “Proprietors of the Green” that has perpetuated itself since the 17th century; the second was Robert Levine, the Director of the city Parks and Recreation Department. The questioning of Mr. Day and Mr. Levine was very interesting and brought to light the history of the Green I was not aware of; you can read some of that history here.  The New Haven Green has a long history but is not city property although it is maintained and administered as if it were city property. The arrangement between the city and the five proprietors of the Green seems to be a traditional arrangement dating back to the 1700s, but has never been formalized. The proprietors, whose decisions about the green are final, are a self-perpetuating body whose power goes back to Puritan times, but has no administrative, maintenance or policing capability, and this was the thrust of the occupiers case before the judge as far as I could tell.

So it seems that the occupiers through their lawyers are attempting to create a sort of “no mans land” where no one has authority. After all, if the city has no administrative authority to evict, then it would also seem to me that they also have no police authority either. Thus the rape that actually occurred on the site several weeks back would by definition have to be un-prosecuted. I don’t know if the victim has pressed charges, but it would seem to me her case would have no standing in court for the very same reasons the council was presenting before the federal judge.

The rebuttal to the occupy strategy seemed to be  based on a common sense, I’ll call it a “Common Law” argument, but I’m no lawyer.

So this hearing and the occupy strategy seemed an appropriate bookend for my anarchy theme.

My Friend Mick the Marine

In attending these type of events I try to reach young people and present them with an alternative point of view which they may not have heard. Mick is such a young fellow, an ex Marine sitting beside me in the court room. At the recess I had an opportunity to engage Mick in what I think was good and meaningful conversation, a two way conversation and not an argument; he talked to me about why he was involved with “occupy” and expressed some of his frustrations and concerns and presented himself quite well.
In turn I presented my case and concerns about the movement and why he perhaps should think about a different direction for his young and still developing life. One of my chief concerns is that “occupy” will morph into a violent mob and start going after the 1%, whoever they perceive them to be and with whatever means they choose. This is a legitimate concern based on events within the movement, and in similar uprisings in history. 
I also presented to him my case for supporting Wall Street and the American Free Enterprise Capitalistic system.

Mick told me that he is also a member of “Occupy Marines” and has taken an oath of non-violence and assured me that neither he nor the movement would become violent. I asked him to remember that oath if and when those around him become violent and walk away from it.

This morning I went to the Yale bookstore and picked up a copy of Mark Levin’s book Liberty and Tyranny and gave it to my new friend Mick. He received it with grace and we parted ways once more.

The judge will be returning his decision in a few weeks, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Other essays I have written on Occupy are:

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/occupy-new-haven/

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/the-wall-street-i-have-known/

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/occupying-wall-street/

Don Johnson – March 2012

 

Occupy New Haven

“New Haven ‘proposes’ Occupiers leave city Green” 
So reads the headline of this mornings New Haven Register. So I thought I best go there and see what’s going on for myself. I’d also traveled to New York’s Zuccotti Park last October and you can read my report here.

As at Zuccotti, I wore my Vietnam Veteran hat (but not my American flag shirt). I took my camera and a handful of gospel tracks I hoped to pass out (and did), caught the city bus and off I went.

I had walked by Occupy New Haven a number of times before, but had never seemed to catch anyone at home. This time there was a small circle of people in the midst of the camp so I decided to join them. They were having a meeting (the circle) dealing with some sort of sexual impropriety on the part of some male member and the discussion centered on what to do with him. They discussed banishment before settling on a chaperone scheme where another male would chaperone the accused while within the camp. The accused was brought into the meeting and agreed to the arrangement/punishment. All in all a well run meeting with respect shown to all participants.

In going to these events I try to be civil. And I try to single out young people in particular in an attempt to steer them away from some of the destructive potential of such movements. In this case I met young 18 year old Daniel, an Irish lad by way of Uganda; a Yale freshman majoring in computer science. After the circle meeting Daniel and I sat together for about an hour and had a delightful exchange. I shared with him a bit of my career as a software developer and also my Christian testimony, and why I go to Occupy events and openly express my support for the American Business community and yes, Wall Street. Not a popular stance in such settings,  but it’s what I believe in my heart.

I listened intently as Daniel also shared a bit of his life with me. A five year old when his family moved to Uganda he watched as his father tried to grow a faith based organization, and then later tried to convert it to a commercial enterprise. He told of how a “friend” of his father worked to destroy the company and apparently succeeded. Daniel told me of how his father somehow became much more peaceful and patient during this great trial and I asked if this could be attributed to his fathers faith. Daniel said “he thinks so …”.
I didn’t catch all of the details, but Daniel said something about his parents buying or working a farm in the new country of South Sudan. He asked me to put this endeavor on my prayer list. Actually, Sudan has been heavy on my mind recently since I watched this video about what’s happening to the people of the new South Sudan. It makes me want to go there and help, and perhaps I will even though I’ve just turned 68.

I then asked “how is it that a young Irish fellow living in Uganda, one of the poorest nations on earth, with his father out of work winds up at Yale?” He told of his mother’s (a school teacher) work in finding educational opportunities in the UK and the US and he  wound up here at Yale and was very grateful for the support he is receiving from Yale.  An amazing story, and to me another example of the greatness of America and the opportunities it still provides.

I mingled with people from different backgrounds today; some young and idealistic students, some older fellows who looked as if they’ve had a tough slug of it, and some who just wanted to hang out and be part of the crowd. I don’t support Occupy goals of destroying capitalism, but I also won’t judge the individuals as long as they respect the American ideals of individual liberty and the opportunity that American free enterprise can provide.

Don Johnson  – March 2012

Why Labor Backs ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and Why Labor Is Wrong

An article in the Wall Street Journal by SEIU President Mary Kay Henry (October 8, 2o011) deserves a paragraph by paragraph, thought by thought response. I will do so by including all of her commentary with my own commentary interspersed; she is wrong and deceptive at almost every point.

The images of row upon row of stoic airline pilots, fed-up students and thousands of Americans marching through downtown Manhattan have captivated the nation.

Yes, we’ve seen them block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, confront police and defecate on police cars, invading and attempting to shut down the Harte Senate Office Building in DC (at least they have the right target) and invade the Aerospace Museum in Washington DC.

Seemingly overnight, the organic , scrappy protests in the financial center of the world have blossomed into a national movement from Chicago to Los Angeles, calling attention to the gross inequality in our society and the unwillingness of our politicians to correct this imbalance.

Glenn Beck has put the lie to  this claim by showing videos of union leaders planning such a mob months before the breakout of the mobs. Before you discount Beck, know that he has a good solid investigative record on folks such as these “occupy” leaders and predicting outcomes. A prophet?  No, but pretty darn good at paying attention and informing those who will listen.

The Occupy Wall Street actions are a potent example of what is happening across our country as the anger and frustration of ordinary Americans builds. While the media and pundits obsess over what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want, the protesters have already succeeded in shaking our conscience as a nation and forcing a national conversation about everything that is wrong with our economy.

Many of the rank and file in these mobs are young idealists, but there are so many others who align with Marx, Lenin, William Aires, Bernadine Dornan, Abbie Hoffman, Mao, Tom Hayden, George Soros and others who have not only advocated violent revolution, but have actually brought it about. So many of these protesters are not ordinary Americans, and Ms. Henry knows this.

The hard truth is that things are pretty lousy for most Americans right now. And while students, seniors and workers didn’t cause our economic collapse, we’re the ones paying the price.

Here I can agree to some extent  with Ms. Henry.

It’s been three years since Wall Street CEOs crashed our economy. When Wall Street was on its knees, the American taxpayers came to their rescue with trillions of dollars in bailouts and promise from the big banks that they’d invest in our recovery.

Wall Street CEOs did not crash our economy! This is such a flagrant lie and deception. When the economy started crashing in late 2008 I had already lost my job; we were losing our home in San Diego because one of these Wall Street “Monsters” Archstone, bought the land under our homes for building an apartment complex. We fought this at City Hall and in the streets, but at no time did I consider Archstone  to be evil in what they were doing; and of course the stock market crash took away 22% of our retirement nest egg and here I was at 64 years old.
I determined that I would find the truth in this economic calamity, and believe it or not, the truth was not hard to find; it begins in the Democratic Congress of the 1990s and the Community Reinvestment Act which set the stage for all of the sub-prime mortgages, the “liars” loans where borrowers who could not afford the loans could actually lie about there financial status and get away with it. At the end of it, banks were required to set aside a large percentage of mortgage funds (up to 55% at the end)  for low income loans; a noble idea and goal, but one resulting in the crash of the mortgage industry. It continued with quasi-government Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slicing and dicing these loans into Mortgage Backed Securities.  It continued with the three quasi-government rating agencies S&P, Moody and Fitch failing in their ratings responsibilities and marking these sub-primes as AAA.
By the time this chain of events percolated to the Investment community, the banks themselves became victims by buying investment grade securities  rated at AAA that were actually junk.
So yes, Wall Street contributed to the collapse, but the real culprit were folks like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the rest of the then Democratic Congress; Jim Johnson, a wheeler and dealer Democrat CEO of Fannie Mae and others of like ilk. Read “Reckless Endangerment” for the whole sad story.

Instead, the banks used our hard earned tax dollars to enrich themselves. They robbed millions of Americans of their jobs and their livelihoods. They refuse to invest in the small businesses that drive American growth. And they continue to kick us  while we’re down by foreclosing on millions of families.

Listen to American business men like the two founders of Home Depot, the CEO of Starbucks, Steve Wynne of Las Vegas fame, Jack Welch the ex CEO of GE,  Harvey Golub, former chairman of American Express, calling the “jobs” bill an incoherent mess, and others who actually create jobs and see if they are blaming Wall Street and the banks. They are not, but rather pointing a very sharp finger at Barak Obama and his progressive czarist regulators. And how many of these foreclosures are on loans of the sub-prime type.
And yes Ms. Henry some of us ‘students, seniors and workers did cause our economic collapse’ because of our reckless personal borrowing.

Today, the richest 5% of the population holds 72% of the wealth in our country. We have 25 million Americans looking for full-time work. And those  Americans lucky enough to have a job have seen their hours slashed and their benefits cut. I recently met a worker in Chicago who told me he’s been forced to
feed his family by foraging for food in the dumpsters behind the grocery store
by his house. Not because he’s out of work but because his hours had been cut
back and there simply wasn’t enough money to keep a roof over his family’s head,
pay the electric bill, and put food on the table every night.

Yes and much of that wealth was created by people with good ideas willing to take risks with their lives and what little money they had when they created their business. People like Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple getting fabulously rich but creating millions of jobs along the way and wealth for many others as well. Or how about the story of the fellow that started the company I worked for for so some years; Walter Zabel started Cubic Corporation  in 1951 and is still President and CEO at the age of 96, all the while providing jobs for many thousands as well as producing products such as the ticketing systems that most of these occupiers use in the subways of New York. And, by the way, all without unions.

We demonize these job producers at our own peril.

We have an entire generation of young people who were promised good jobs if they worked hard, played by the rules and attended college. They kept their end of the bargain and when they graduated they were left with no job prospects and a record amount of debt.

How is it that so many people still work their way through college incurring little debt along the way. When I got off active duty from the Navy in 1966  married with a young two year old son, my wife took a job as a key punch operator (data entry) and put me through college. Two years at the local junior college and then 2 more at the local state college. I had the GI Bill money coming in which was vital, but back in 1966-1970 we didn’t know of such things as student loans. A good part of that time we had no car and traveled by bicycle or bus. I don’t remember being “promised a good job”, but as it turned out I did get a good job out of college, a job at an American corporation, and as the years unfolded several other good jobs, all with American corporations and all without the help of unions by the way which were non-existent in my industry.

Americans watched in horror this spring as Republican politicians held our country hostage during the debt-ceiling debate to win harmful cuts to our communities and more tax breaks for millionaires. And this week House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor again turned their backs on the American people by refusing to even bring the American Jobs Act up for a vote.

Well good for you Ms. Henry, you didn’t accuse the Tea Party of hostage taking this time. But wrong again on the Republican Party. The Republicans in Congress and the Tea Party are trying to reign in the massive and accelerating national debt which will bury us all if not stopped. Debt of this magnitude can and does kill nations and it’s time Ms. Henry and others on the left realize this and help fix the problem before it kills this nation.

The anger of the American people has been brewing for quite some time, and now that it’s boiled over there’s no bottling it up. The importance of Occupy Wall Street can’t be measured by any set of demands. What’s more important to understand are the values that unite the protesters and their authentic
understanding of what has gone wrong in our economy.

Authentic understanding? Hopefully they will come to an authentic understanding of who it really is that is manipulation their bunch of “Useful Idiots”. Folks like George Soros and union leaders from SEIU.

We can begin to right the wrongs of our economy and respond to the growing
demands of the American people by putting our country back to work and by holding Wall Street and big corporations accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted on us all.

Corporate greed is the theme of the occupiers. Why then have we recently seen the following from the world of “CORPORATE GREED”:

  • The near bankruptcy of General Motors just a few short years ago.
  • The near bankruptcy of General Motors just a few short years ago.
  • The bankruptcies of: Gottshalks, Goody’s, Circuit City, Bosvov’s Department Stores, Mervyn’s, Linens ‘n Things, KB Toys, Wolverine Tube Inc, Ambac Financial Group, American Media (National Enquirer) and others.
  • Bank of America recently laying off 35,000 employees.
  • Bankruptcy of Solyndra in spite of massive government aide.

Doesn’t it seem that there is something working here other than simply “corporate greed”? Can all of these greedy corporations have gone out of business because they have made too much money? Think people! Think! Don’t Go Lazy On Me, get the facts.

And how about the greed of a national government that has placed its citizens and future generations in debt to the tune of $15,000,000,000,000 and counting?

When Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz was asked what one demand on Washington the Occupy Wall Street protesters should make right now, he didn’t hesitate a moment before saying: create jobs.

Duh!

We can’t begin to fix what is wrong with our economy without creating good jobs. We have work that needs doing in this country and millions of Americans  looking for full-time work. It’s time to put the two together to make America a stronger nation. And it’s time to use the money being made on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms across the country to put Americans back to work.

These corporate boardrooms are what is keeping people working right now and have been for over 200 years, all across America. Only you worthless union leaders who produce nothing seem not to understand that.

Congress can begin by passing the American Jobs Act and immediately put
Americans to work rebuilding our outdated and dangerous roads and bridges and
ensuring our kids have first-class schools. We can invest in our communities to keep teachers in our classrooms, police on the beat, health-care workers at our hospitals and clinics, and ensure that we have enough firefighters to protect our communities.

Sounds good, but are you just feathering your own greedy nest here Ms. Henry? Are not “teachers in our classrooms, police on the beat, health-care workers at our hospitals and clinics, and ensure that we have enough firefighters” your core constituencies who provide the bulk of your greedy union wealth?

The 2.1 million nurses, janitors, school-bus drivers and other members of the Service Employees International Union stand arm in arm with the peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors. While unions cannot claim credit for Occupy Wall Street, SEIU members are joining the protesters in the streets because we are united in
the belief that our country needs a change.

Previous comment applies here as well.

Nobody can predict what’s next for the Occupy Wall Street movement. And no one institution or person should try to exert their pressure on this inspiring collective of people.

Oh boy! Yes, it can be predicted where this movement may lead. What with all of the demonizing going on along with a worsening economy it is not hard to picture a day when mobs start searching out the “1%” and the Tea Partiers  with a vengeance. That day will bring blood in the streets and neighborhoods burned to the ground. I pray that will not happen, but history does not make me optimistic in the outcome.

The importance of the Occupy Wall Street protests lies in the simple fact that all it takes is a small group of courageous people to light a spark and forever change the arc of history. The auto workers in Flint, Mich., lit that spark in the 1930s through their sit-down strikes and forever changed American industry. The civil-rights activists lit that spark when their sit-ins forced us
to confront the racial inequality that poisoned our nation.

I’m tiered of  responding to this crap so read on. I’m done!!

We saw that spark in Tahrir Square and across the Middle East this Arab Spring as a few brave people inspired millions of fed-up citizens to challenge
their governments and demand better lives. It’s what I’ve witnessed for the past 30 years as a union organizer watching working people stick their necks out and stand publicly for a union to win a chance at a better life for themselves and their families.

And it’s what countless Americans see in this growing Occupy Wall Street movement. They see the opportunity to restore the very American notion that each of our citizens deserves a shot at reaching his or her own dreams, of finding a good job, and leaving the next generation better off.

The people are finally speaking. Now it’s up to our leaders and CEOs to listen and respond.

Ms. Henry is president of the Service Employees International Union

Occupying Wall Street

I spent 4 hours last Friday at Wall Street with the “occupiers”. Here is my report.

I traveled to Wall Street by train and subway from New Haven not really knowing what to expect and not knowing how I would be received with my American flag shirt and Vietnam Vet hat and my message.

I prayed on the way down asking the Lord to calm my spirit and give me wisdom in whatever came my way, and especially my demeanor, attitude and tongue. I also prayed that if given an opportunity to present my views before this gathering that I would be prepared and willing to do so.

I met and talked to quite a number of people, mostly young people since my intention was to try and influence some of the youth there into examining what to them would probably  be a contrary view.  There was quite a mixture of folks; a great number of idealists, Communists, Marxists and 60s style radicals with most presenting the theme of 1% controlling and oppressing me the 99%. But they were all Americans, and I do respect that.

I sought out those who seemed to be obviously anti-capitalist and anti-business and asked two questions: 1) do you want to see our capitalist system changed, and 2) what would you like to see it changed to? I preceded these questions by stating my own purpose for being there which was;  1) to support and stand beside Wall Street , and 2) to support and stand by the American business community (I’ll explain in more detail later). I didn’t get the blowback that I may have expected from such an approach, and in general entered into a good and civil conversation although obviously on different sides. 

The first fellow I challenged was one who struck me as being a Marxist, I don’t recall why but it struck me that way. As he struggled with formulating a response to my second question, I tried to help him along by suggesting that what he was describing might look a lot like North Korea. He jumped on that in a very enthusiastic way and started describing the perfect society of North Korea where there is universal freedom, education, jobs for everyone and everyone is taken care of.

As I walked away from the Korean fellow I found myself looking squarely into a movie camera lens and a microphone held just off the side of my mouth. I was being interviewed by United Nations TV Channel 51. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  I didn’t have time to react and I launched into a strong defense of America as the Shining City on a Hill spoken of so often by Ronald Reagan, and a defense of the American free enterprise system as the greatest source of liberty and opportunity (and jobs) the world has ever known. Was this an answer to the prayer I sent up from the train earlier?

Another fellow, an older man like myself, attracted me in two ways; the way he was dressed, and the sign he was standing next to suggesting revolution and blood (I saw no explicit calls to violent revolution, but many of the signs and posters suggested that). The man was dressed in an old military uniform of some sort, and when queried about it by me and others, said that it was an army uniform from the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the old East Germany. The gentleman said he was actually English, but had build up the uniform over the years and was a bit sympathetic to the Communistic ways of the old GDR. Right next to us was a small group and paraphernalia representing the 60s radical movement of Abbie Hoffman.

I then had a long conversation with a 29 year old from Indiana. Mark is an atheist very concerned that the world is rapidly running out of resources and becoming very much overpopulated. I questioned him on how that could be fixed and he confessed he really didn’t know (I don’t either), but perhaps returning to simpler ways of life in small villages or self sustaining communities may be the answer.  I then asked what about the millions of people all around us in this great city of New York who can’t move to a small farm in Kansas? Again Mark did not know, and neither did I. Then Mark asked me why I believe the Bible is true and I was able to share with him my personal journey and the search for the truth of the Bible. We parted on good terms.

A young lady with a homemade sign saying “My employers pets have health insurance, why can’t I?” caught my attention. Her employer paid for the pet insurance she said, and I then asked why she didn’t buy insurance for herself. I offended this young lady and was wrong in doing so. She explained that she has a number of health issues, works long hours at menial jobs and can not afford insurance. After a couple of feeble arguments on my part she asked me to leave, and was right in doing so.

I shared my message of support for American business with a few other folks and then stood face to face with a late middle age man holding a sign containing the words “Revolution” and “First Blood” (blood in red ink). I pressed  him on the meaning of this sign and was he advocating violent revolution? About then he was tired of me and said “Get out of my f***ing face or I’ll hand you a piece of your ass right here and now.” I took him up on his offer and left.

I finished the day talking at length with a young fellow who stepped right up to being anti-capitalist. Adam is sympathetic to Marxism and Communism and excused, as so many do, the abuses and atrocities of that world view by claiming that true Communism has never been implemented. Adam is a real idealist and very intelligent and my hope is that some of the advice I left with him may cause him to seek truth in a different direction.   What advice?

  • Read and study the lives, values and ideas of the founders of this nation; Washington, Madison, Hamilton and others. 
  • Seek the truth and answers for yourself and trust no one until you have a settled sense of the truth.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a different slant on the issues; watch Fox News and Glenn Beck for starters. 
  • Have heroes, but choose them wisely and know who you are standing beside. Know the difference between a Lenin and a Washington.

A number of times during the day I brought up Fox News and Glenn Beck and do you watch them? The answers were typically “absolutely not”, “you’ve got to be kidding me” or “it’s nothing but propaganda and brainwashing”. They all claimed to know all about Fox or Beck, but could not answer my question “how can you profess to know what they are saying when you confess to not listening?”

I said earlier I would say more on my purpose and message. It is simply this:
The American free market system i.e. Capitalism, has been the greatest force for good in the history of mankind bringing more liberty and opportunity to millions from across the world, and from all walks of life. The best hope we have in breaking free from our current economic distress is to tap into this history and make the American businessman our friend. But, knowing human nature and history I also know that this friendship needs accountably from a free people in the form of reasonable regulations approved by our elected  representatives.

May the Lord help us in these endeavors I pray.