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.”

http://youtu.be/v_0riq6C8Kc

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?”


Transcript:

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]

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    We went by this Saturday with a lot of reservations (as many long time activists also vocalized) about the nebulous way this was gone about. Rosanne was there then too. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Occupy Wall Street thing itself, but I’m glad Roseanne has a clear sense of focus on what needs to be done!

    I will also add that the police violence of yesterday was completely and utterly unnecessary. Not that it ever is necessary, but but that crowd was thoroughly non-agitative. Really it felt more like a big block party than an occupation of anything.

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    I almost made it out there on Saturday, but the subway car I was on got totally offloaded for a police investigation. I didn’t want to board another one, so I did something else for the rest of the day.

    I’ve heard there will be something like it here in DC as well.

  • http://feministing.com/members/runninggirl/ Cate

    I would be interested in this, but I haven’t heard a single thing about it before now. I’m in Philly, which is not that far away. Do we know anything about who was setting this up, or how it was publicized?

    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      There are conflicting ideas as to who set it up, Anonymous (who deny being the organizers, but had a presence there), Adbusters (who also had a presence there), some random group of kids. I’m not sure. A few people saying they were organizers had spoken on WBAI, and there’s a website http://www.occupywallst.org

      Posters & graffiti were certainly present in my neighborhood, though I have to say the poster, a cartoon illustration, depicted a far more multicultural group of people than I actually saw present Saturday. I’ll make a point of getting a photo of one, there are actually a few hung around our building.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dandydextrous/ Dandy Dextrous

    i’m not sure if it matters who started it as long as it keeps going and more people get involved. there is no doubt that there a multitude of legitimate reasons to protest corporate greed… i do agree that if they are going to make it a sustainable action then they must get more people from different groups and be conscious of who is involved, who is not involved and why that may be. here is a link to their live feed on which i have seen many women’s voices speaking to the group and getting arrested alongside everyone else . i don’t believe they really have everything figured out but there is definitely a need to gather critical mass against the corrupt powers of corporations and their friends in politics. oh yeah… and i love roseanne.