08 Oct 2011

Who Is Occupying Wall Street?

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Who is out there demonstrating against the American financial system?

J.D. Samson, a representative Boho artist, explains just how badly the capitalist system has failed her.

Like so many teenagers, I believed in the “American Dream,” that I could move to New York from the Midwest and become an artist. I would achieve both fame and success, and I would never have to think about money. The first half was true. I made art and lived activism, and I achieved amazing amounts of success that I feel incredibly proud of. The second half, not so much. I have been able to live well, eat well, invest in my arts and make my own schedule, but I forgot to save money and think about my future.

This summer I tried to rent an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The process sent me into an emotional crisis and awakened me into a whole new realization of our economy, the music industry at large and, more specifically, what it means to be a queer artist in 2011.

I spent days trolling around Williamsburg, looking at shitty apartments with cockroaches lining the doorways, fighting neighbors, rats in the ceiling, bedbugs infesting the linoleum floors, fifth-floor walk-ups and cat-pee-soaked carpets. The rent was exorbitant, availability was scarce, and I was turned down by two different landlords for being “freelance.” To be honest, I don’t blame them. Not only am I freelance, but I’m lesbian freelance. Double whammy. What was the reason they turned me down? Because it was easier to rent to a rich, trust-fund, straight-guy banker who wants to live in the coolest borough in the world? Because when he met me he saw a tattooed gender outlaw who makes “queer electronic punk music” and isn’t sure when the next check is going to come in? Yeah, I don’t blame him. He doesn’t give a shit about how kids email me all the time thanking me for keeping them from committing suicide. It’s not part of his capitalist business practice.

I surround myself with amazing and talented people, people who have made it in every sense of those words. They buy apartments, invest in their futures successfully, have children, save money. How do they do it? How can I keep up with them?

So I have to ask myself: where did I go wrong? And I can only guess that the answer lies in a combinations of three things: 1) my family is not rich, 2) I am a queer woman, and 3) I am trying so desperately to keep up with my peers that I am living beyond my means. …

I’m so lucky to have gained so much from my life and my amazing career, but I’m ready to feel secure. I’m ready to build my future and save money so that I can have a family, so that I can enjoy making art and not trying to create a product out of it, so that I can spend more time being present and less time being a workaholic, frantically searching for the profitable answer. And if I need to, I’m ready to get a job, go to work in the morning, get a paycheck once a week, go to the dentist, get a check-up, bottom out to a boss and appreciate music without being worried that I can’t keep up.

We live in a society where people equate success with money. They see me on the pages of Vogue. They see me playing to an adoring crowd. They see me flying to gigs all across the world. And I’m not sure what people imagine, but I’m struggling, too. Over the past couple of weeks, I have realized how many other artists and musicians are in my position, people who are proud of their success but feel unable to continue, based on financial strain. Artists such as Spank Rock, Das Racist and the Drums have featured lyrics on their new records about struggling financially. My band MEN put out a record in February with similar tones. I know the economy is failing, but I think it is important to remember that it is failing for everyone. Even the people you think might have money. So here we go. Another reason to come together. Another reason to occupy Wall Street. Another reason for change.

Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg.

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Frances Fox Piven (a government-salaried university professor) addresses the crowd.

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6 Feedbacks on "Who Is Occupying Wall Street?"

MB

Funny. She kind of answered her own questions, but missed out. “I forgot to save money and think about my future.” Ok. And why is that our/society’s fault. Its YOUR fault, and you just pointed it out. Learn from your own mistakes. Which you refuse to.

“He doesn’t give a shit about how kids email me all the time thanking me for keeping them from committing suicide. It’s not part of his capitalist business practice.” And why should this matter when renting out an apartment to someone? And how would he know and why should he care??

“where did I go wrong? And I can only guess that the answer lies in a combinations of three things: 1) my family is not rich, 2) I am a queer woman, and 3) I am trying so desperately to keep up with my peers that I am living beyond my means.” #1- SO? many successful people did not have rich families. #2-SO?? why do some people think that their sexual orientation someone defines them or determines their success. #3- yes, and again, why is this OUR/SOCIETY’s fault?? Its YOURS. Take responsibility!!!

“I’m so lucky to have gained so much from my life and my amazing career, but I’m ready to feel secure. I’m ready to build my future and save money so that I can have a family, so that I can enjoy making art and not trying to create a product out of it, so that I can spend more time being present and less time being a workaholic, frantically searching for the profitable answer. And if I need to, I’m ready to get a job, go to work in the morning, get a paycheck once a week, go to the dentist, get a check-up, bottom out to a boss and appreciate music without being worried that I can’t keep up.” OK, GOOD. Why are you going to a protest???? GO GET A JOB!!!



Donald Sensing

She complains that the system is all about money, and the whole time she is also wishing she had a lot more of it.

She complains that the prospective landlord didn’t take into account her emails from changed-mind suicidal people, but she never explains how those emails would help pay the rent.

Well, lady, if you had gotten a degree in computer science or petroleum engineering, you wouldn’t be worrying about paying the rent.

Or maybe you would, since failure to plan and save and invest is found across all income layers.



Maggie's Farm

Sunday morning links…

Via BI, Here’s A Rarely Seen Video Apple Employees Made For Steve Jobs On His 30th Birthday:     Preschool isn’t much good: If anything, preschool may do lasting damage to many children. A 2005 analysis by researchers at Stanford Univers…



Susan Lee

Yes. Well. Where to start? I, on the other hand, did not pursue an artistic career because I could see the uncertainty inherent in it. I chose a stable man to marry, we bought a homesteading house for very little down & spent years working & living in construction dust until we got it renovated.
I sucked up to employers so that I could maintain a job & an income.
I got little help from my family because they were not wealthy and had a Down’s Syndrome child to provide for.

Now, I’m 61 and have a pension, savings, a home that’s paid for. I have lots of friends whose life is pretty much the same as mine. I do charitable works through my church.

I’m not sure how I came to be prudent while JD Sampson was not – but I’m satisfied with my life. Every choice we make is a giving up as well as an accepting. Maybe her family never told her that.

Susan Lee



geTaylor

Compare Ms. Fox Piven’s reception with the reception given to Congressman John Lewis.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QZlp3eGMNI



Steve Bodio

You know, I have no sympathy. I am a lifelong rather Bohemian “artist” type (writer), over 60 and not rich, but I own a house and have work and CHOSE MY WAY OF LIFE. I have never taken the government’s coin, have worked lousy jobs when I had to, and paid all my bills, insurance etc, I drive twenty year old trucks but have good art, library, and shotguns- again, my choice. I chose a free life and some degree of reckless adventure instead of a secure one, and have no regrets.

What this whiner seems to want to be is some sort of Soviet kept functionary artist, but she is too historically ignorant to even know what that was..

All of which doubtless makes me a right- wing nut. So be it.



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