Rosanne Barr speaks at Occupy Wall Street protest

Yesterday marked the fourth day of the Occupy Wall Street protest in lower Manhattan. Activists are speaking out against corporate power over the political system. Or, in the words of Roseanne Barr, who made a surprise appearance on Monday, the fact that “we’re all royally screwed.”

The actress, who is now officially running for president, spoke eloquently about the need for a new economic system: “I’m talking about a system that rewards hard work and ambition but cares for it’s weakest child–and being called a feminazi for saying these things will be considered treasonous.”

Transcript after the jump.

Although the crowd fell far short of the 20,000 organizers hoped for, Saturday’s protest drew about 2,000 people and by Tuesday night a couple hundred committed activists remained. As Amy Goodman noted, if 2,000 Tea Partiers had marched on Wall Street, you’d better believe the media would be making an enormous fuss.

But I hadn’t heard much about the protests until yesterday when news broke that Yahoo appeared to be blocking emails about the protest–a charge they have since apologized for but claimed was inadvertent. Sixteen protestors have thus far been arrested–for offenses such as wearing masks and writing on the sidewalk with chalk.

Meanwhile, as 46 million Americans slip below the poverty line, the GOP is claiming that President Obama’s modest proposal to require the rich to pay their fair share in taxes is “class warfare.” Now what was Roseanne saying about “common sense solutions?”


I want a new capitalism. Not fueled by wars. One that doesn’t pass on its wealth to a handful of white guys and call that free trade. One wherein the elderly actually get paid their retirement monies. We’ll have capitalism, but we’ll also have socialism. And education and basic compassion and health care. I’m talking about a system that rewards hard work and ambition but cares for it’s weakest child–and being called a feminazi for saying these things will be considered treasonous.

We will simply combine capitalism and socialism and create peopleism, where ideas work together for a functional system. No one will cling blindly to single, unyielding ideology just because of a bloated, obese talk radio host who tells the starving to tighten their belts or because of that goddamn Ayn Rand book. We will actually comprise, adjust and make reasonable choices. We will have common sense solutions.

I’m so glad to see you guys here. I’m just so thrilled that so many of us have been actually able to crack our program–our mind control program that we’ve been living under for all of these years–and i salute you. I salute you for thinking freely. [reading protestor's sign] “the corrupt fear us, the honest support us, the heroes join us.” I love your masks. I love you guys. We all love freedom. I’m going to quote from a wonderful writer, a wonderful woman, her name is Mary Daly. She’s my idol. “There is no liberty without truth.

[interrupted by person in crowd] How do we get more people here? I’ll tell you what we have to do–we have to merge small ego into large ego. That’s what factioned the left the first time around in the ’60s when i was there and saw everyone’s supposed small ego keep them from coalescing and uniting. That’s what we have to do–put it aside. Don’t say, I’m starting my own website. Get with people who already have a website and have already done the work and just walk in and volunteer. That’s what we do. We unite. We get the Teamsters on our side. And after we have that, we close down every branch and every road. It’s hard. How do you do it? You just walk over there and do it. We get the police on our side against those people who are taking their retirement funds. We will ask for unity from the police and also the military. First responders like yourself, absolutely. Royally screwed. I mean, we’re all royally screwed. Anyone who makes less than 250,000 a year is royally screwed in this country and it’s only going to get worse until they have labor camps and they get your free labor.

And that is where it’s headed. It’s not going to stop. So whatever you have to do–even if it seems hard. We know, right? If it’s easy it’s no worth it. I just want you to know that I hear you and I know you hear me and pretty soon the whole world will hear us. Pretty soon it wont be 500 people and there won’t be a choice either, because that’s where it’s headed. There won’t be a choice. The more people who are disenfranchised…we’ve already won by sheer numbers alone. We’re asking the police and the people in the military to join us, because we’re on the same side against the same people. Same hands, same people. Just let it sink in. Do anybody else have anything to add? [Occupy Wall Street chants begin]

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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