Questioning the 99%: The System Is Criminal – It’s Not Just Bad Apples

I (Joe) participated in the comment thread to this article by Josh Eidelson about labor and progressive groups joining the Wall Street Protests, seeking to intervene in what I’ve already seen/heard happen too much: repressing/shushing critical thought in the name of ideological unity.


“Yes to the rank and file. No to the top leadership.

The top union leadership are generally lackeys of the democrat party as is MoveOn. They will try to drive the General Assembly into trying to reform the democrat party. It’s a con.

People on the left should be aware of this, since every movement for real democracy and away from corporate capitalist rule that the dems touch turns to co-opted, tragic slush. The protests should be separate from the #2 business party entirely. Union leaders and MoveOn will try to push the protesters into the conventional political stream saying that’s where the real power is. It’s a mirage. The power is there because the corporate money is there. They should avoid this at all costs if they want ANY real change. Democrats are 100% in opposition to the changes the protesters want. 

People in the US should finally consider both big business parties what they are—the third rail for real change. Know who their operatives are—the co-opters of real change.”

Pelican Beak:

“Scarcely is our 99% unity proclaimed,
when folks as noinks go to work undermining it 
and emphasizing disunity.

His choice got 0.12% of the vote in 2008.
Talk about disunity!
Everything he addresses gets dragged down toward that.
The poison politics of divisiveness are all he knows.”


“You have no idea what my choice is. The democrats servants of Wall Street. You don’t even understand that much. The protesters do.”

Pelican Beak:

“More divisiveness.
You even do it when you’re denying doing it.
Why is unity so distasteful to you?

Join us, noinks.
Don’t always set yourself apart like this. “


“Better to be divisive in favor of the truth than repressive in the name of ideological unity.”

Pelican Beak:

“Joe has decided to declare a false opposition in the service of divisiveness. Clever wickedness, indeed.”


“You baldly assert false-opposition like it’s an argument. It’s a conclusion and you have no argument to back it up.

Noinks remarks are a call to broaden our protest to include not just the high-profile, almost cartoonish players of “wall street”, but also the uncomfortably everyday figures of the 99% like the business-friendly leaders of our unions. Your call to repress that uncomfortable truth about the nature of the crisis we’re in is no different than those people who blatantly stand up for the hyper-rich and denounce their critics as engaging in class-warfare. The 1% is not simply an income-bracket. It’s a matter of principles and relationships to the power of money. If anything, it’s a call to MORE unity.”


“Noinks wants to exclude caring people because they may only be activists like MoveOn who have been working for progressives for years.

There are also people who may have jobs even good jobs but care about what’s happening to the rest of us.

I welcome both.”


“I welcome both too; haven’t read anything by Noinks that makes me think they don’t either. What they’ve taken to task is the idea that our unity can be reduced to some abstract opposition to an income bracket. Because thinking and strategizing that way defines US in the terms of THEIR fucked up world. Many of the terms of their world, the limits placed on us by their ideological myths about labor and capital (while creating a sense of stability and security for some), are ALL OF OUR problem. 

The players in creating that world are not limited to an imaginary cable of bankers or even their political consorts in DC. We in the 99% personally know many “caring” people whose INVESTMENT – financial, emotional, spiritual – is still fundamentally in that imaginary world of winners, losers and the “hard work” that separates them. They are in a way people who confound the whole 99/1% thing, but when push comes to shove their class ties to the so-called 1% are as important to interrogate and evaluate as any politician. Most people aren’t saying exclude the politicians, but they are demanding an account of their relationship with “Wall Street” and there is a broader group of people than Big Bankers and Big Politicians and Big Business that deserves that scrutiny. 

Seriously though, it’s already happening. Even a local NY Fox station is reporting at the end of today that “During the day, unions and students joined the demonstrators. What was once a protest of powerful Wall Street financial firms and banks is growing into a larger movement about the working class, employment, poverty, education, and more.Read more:…”