NJ Assemblyman (R-1%) Has Some Advice for OWS

Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Trenton: a guy who represents some of the wealthiest towns in the United States has some advice for you.

Jon Bramnick of Westfield, who represents towns like Chatham, Millburn, and Warren, has this to say:

“Blocking traffic and clogging sidewalks creates confusion and disruption, but won’t produce a single job or help the economy.

“If protesters want to get their point across, they should knock off the stupid stuff and demonstrate without violence and mayhem.”

He apparently subscribes to the Stephen Colbert theory that linking arms and protesting in public constitutes “violence and mayhem.”

And, to point out the obvious – the fact that a random state assembly member is putting out press responding to OWS – means that they are getting their point across.

Thanks for the validation, Assemblyman!

Comments (6)

  1. ken bank

    Recent polls have shown OWS is getting attention, but not necessarily  the right kind. Support for them has dropped significantly not because people disagree with their agenda but with their tactics. You can blame the mainstream media as part of a vast rightwing conspiracy if you want, but it is what it is. In politics perception is reality and if OWS is perceived to be clogging sidewalks and disrupting traffic, then that is how they will be reflected in public opinion surveys.

    Although the teabaggers also engaged in public protests, so far as I know they did so without any significant disruption to the surrounding community, and without violating local codes and ordinances. So far as I know not one teabagger was ever arrested, though I’m sure there were exceptions. Maybe it’s all part of a vast rightwing conspiracy among all the police departments to on;ly arrest occupiers and leave the teabaggers alone. I don’t know. But I do know the teabaggers, though they represent a small minority, were politically influential in disproportion to their numbers because they spent their time organizing politically and supporting candidates in GOP primaries who favored their agenda. The only reason we don’t have a budget deal in Congress today is because the GOP members are more afraid of the teabaggers than Democrats are afraid of occupiers.

    I think OWS needs to take a step back and rethink its strategy, especially in light of the unfavorable media coverage and slippage in public support. If income inequality is the real issue, that has to be addressed politically and the best way to do that is to “occupy” Congress with progressive members. If occupiers used the same energy in GOTV, especially in primaries like the teabaggers do, they can accomplish real change.

    Just as important as political action is collective bargaining. It is especially frustrating to watch OWS solve the problem of income inequality by putting up tents in Zuccotti Park while 99% of the workers on Wall Street don’t even have union representation. Perhaps, instead of linking arms, singing songs and marching on sidewalks, they devoted their energies and resources to organizing the workers whose interests they profess to favor. And if the union leaders don’t want to get involved, then maybe it’s time to occupy their offices instead of Wall Street.

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  2. the_promised_land (Post author)

    Ken, I think you make good points. But I also think there are some important things about OWS that your points miss:

    – While part of the disparity between Tea Party and OWS public protest is how they take action, as mgm8822 says, part of the disparity between Tea Party and OWS is how the police treat them. For example, if OWS had made a public announcement about bringing guns to a march on the Capitol – there would be riot gear, applications for injunctions, etc. If one of OWS’ major leaders said we outnumber them, and we have the guns? Media frenzy. But the Tea Party? Well, that’s all ok.

    – Another big difference: big $ behind the Tea Party movement, in the form of Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, etc. (a big part of that whole “GOP members are scared of the teabaggers thing). The good news is that not all of the Tea Party people have been coopted. The bad news is that the media tends to treat them all as the same. Those Tea Partiers engaged in politics in support of right-wing Republicans? That’s some of the Tea Party and not all – but it’s the ones that we see. I’m not sure that a similar media spin could work with OWS, esp. because the media SEES OWS in major cities, while day-to-day Tea Party events tend to take place in smaller towns and cities less tied into the national media.

    – OWS has been undoubtedly successful in raising the profile of economic inequality issues. If they had started off with organizing people to go to the polls – that would not have happened. It is possible that OWS could now shift towards more political organizing as Ken suggests and keep the, well, branding that they have developed – but (a) they wouldn’t have developed that branding without the public protests and (b) often the same people who do public protests are not the people who lead political organizing, and that’s ok, because both are really important.

    In any event, who knows where this is going. While I share some of Ken’s fears, I also think that even if many people don’t agree with OWS, they do agree with the message – and that is having an impact because OWS is the first group to make the message a focus of national debate in a long time. In fact, I think there’s a good chance that there wouldn’t have BEEN a big switch banks movement without OWS…

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