Occupy Portland: $20/hr min wage & free college tuition, awesome!

by NW Spotlight

24 year old Justen Charters, a Portland area conservative political activist, spent some time at the Occupy Portland march yesterday. He estimated the crowd to be several thousand at one point.

Justen’s understanding is that Sam Adams allowed them to march in the streets without a permit, and to camp without a permit last night. The marchers stopped traffic, and Justen observed people getting out of their cars and sitting on the roofs.

Below is a video of one of Justen’s interviews with some of the people participating in Occupy Portland. He references a list of demands on the Occupy Wall Street web site, including a $20 an hour minimum wage (marcher:  “That would be awesome.”) and free college tuition (marcher: “That would really be awesome”.)


The Occupy Wall Street web site clarifies that the demands were posted by an individual, and are not an official list of demands.

Justen Charters is a 24 year old political activist. In the last six months, despite battling an immunity disorder, he has been a major contributor on social networking sites such as youtube, facebook and twitter. His youtube channel has videos that are frequently featured on Patriot Action Network, one of the largest conservative social networking sites, and he’s one of the most followed bloggers on Red County.


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  • LC

    I want to go to these so bad, but none of my friends are at all interested in politics.

    • guest

      I went to Occupy Portland yesterday by myself. None of my friends were willing to leave work. I made some friends there

    • Educateyourself

      If you are interested in politics, you would do much better to educate yourself about all sides of the issue instead of involving yourself in something you really aren’t knowledgable about.

  • Earl Humphreys

        I Think someone should go back to school and study a little history.  The Soviet Union failed using the same ideas.

    • eljefe

      the soviet union failed because it was “state capitalist.”  it still based the material reality on capitalistic (bourgeois) quantitative rationality.  use you brain and think outside the box.

      • jefe

        In an attempt to use my brain and think outside the box as you suggest, it is still hard for me to draw a distinction between public ownership of the means of production and what you call state capitalism. 
        The best I can come up with is the early Soviet planners’ attempts to abolish prices. It was a disaster. Lenin then implemented the New Economic Policy that I suppose you accurately agree led to the Soviets’ ultimate demise in 1991. The problem is that the alternative had been leading them to an ultimate demise at a faster pace. 

        • eljefe

          it is state capitalism because it still focuses on the quantitative reasoning (such as “surplus,” “prices,” “costs,” “wages,” etc.) of capitalistic organization.  the goal was not to satisfy needs, but to industrialize the soviet union so that it might have the ability to manufacture “the means of production.”

          as for prices, i think you need to go back, and reread, your conception of the soviet union’s early history.  lenin and the soviets did not abolish money–they contemplated it, but they never went through with it, as russia was not materially ready for such a stage.  the new economic policy was put into place because of the civil war and the disastrous effects of “war communism.”  at the time, the ussr had not the ability to produce the machines necessary for industrial production.  instead of destroying the “primitive market” that existed in the countryside, the soviets allowed for “socialism in the cities,” and “capitalism in the countryside.”  the “kulaks” emerged from this NEP, and the NEP was a successful endeavor, even though it was contradictory.

          what killed the NEP was the takeover by stalin.  this also led to the liquidation of the kulaks (a genocide, as most kulaks weren’t even [subhuman] capitalists).  stalinism them nationalized the farmland, and transformed the ukraine into a concentration camp.  the russian agricultural products were then seized and sent abroad in the export market, in exchange for industrial machinery (which was then dissected and reproduced, in order to eliminate any dependency on western machinery coming from bourgeois states).

          as for post-stalin russia/eastern europe.  they were still encapsulated by bourgeois epistemology and rationalization.  they could not transcend the market-ideology, even though the state (undemocratically) directed the means of production–and worse, did so on a macro scale instead of providing more freedoms for economic decision-making on a local scene.  the failures of the soviet union are many, but that is because of historical circumstance and the dogmatism of orthodox marxism (i bet my life that the readers of this website have no clue that 2 of marx’s early works, when uncovered by the marx-engels archive in moscow, were banned in the soviet union because the contents negated the existence and legitimacy of the soviet union [as “vulgar communism,” since qualitative freedom did not exist]).

          socialism (and the stage that follows, “communism”) has never emerged on a level that marx envisioned.  the goal was not state ownership, per se, but a democratic state-directed focus that would attempt (under socialism) to satisfy needs and to push intelligent thinking beyond capitalist rationalism.  for marx, communism (which he never “mapped out” since his consciousness was still encapsulated by his historical moment and doing so would only “taint” communism) is the unlocking of nature’s secrets, thereby leading to complete and total needs satisfaction.

          i would like to add, the energy and power of the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century (such as the american revolution) are not dead.  socialism is the continuation of the enlightenment principles, a revolutionary drive that the bourgeoisie abandoned after they acquired control over the mode of production.  the historical era of the bourgeoisie was lead by a humanistic drive, abandoned by the bourgeoisie and taken up by the socialists.  you should think in terms of your historicity: i’m sure your positions and energies are reflective of the former feudal lords, when they stared in the face of changing historical circumstance.

          we’ve come to a point where the crises are no longer industrial, but systemic.  the crisis is not production and consumption, but capital (finance) itself.  it is best to come to terms with this, and to toss aside your unhistorical reliance on the artificial reality constructed out of 18th century principles.  why should our culture and society persist, when, in the face of history, so many others have fallen?

          • jefe,

            The abolition of prices in lieu of a system of rationing quotas was central to the leadership of Alexei Rykov, head of the VSNKh. That is a fact. If you do not believe me, read any of the writings of Oskar Lange. He was the most respected socialist economist of his generation back long ago when there was such a thing. His life’s work was an attempt to learn from the failures of that era. 

            In those days, when revolutionary socialism was taken seriously, they did not fall back on quasi-religiously Hegelian excuses that attribute failure to the “moment” or data-driven decision making as “bourgeois epistemology.” They were very much focused on “quantitative reasoning” other wise known as “math” because such things as surpluses, prices, costs, and wages have real meaning when faced with the need to feed real people in the real world. 

            If Alexei Rykov and the nice folks at the Supreme Economic Council could not figure out how to have an economy without prices, what do you have to say to those two young ladies in Justen’s video? Somehow they understand that free tuition means it has to be financed from somewhere. This leads me to think they are more interested in empirically driven evidence to support a cost benefit analysis of a proposed policy than the promise of an eventual new epoch of history and toss aside their “unhistorical reliance on the artificial reality” that they encounter when taking an Economics 101 course to meet their social science requirement at PSU.

  • Anonymous

    What fools there mortals be.

    • eljefe

      yes, how dare they challenge the (artificial) domination of market relations.  i mean, it is as if they don’t know that human beings did not create the market and that it is eternally holy–an ahistorical entity that transcends time & space.  (i’m afraid that the reading populace of this site will likely have time comprehending that i’m being sarcastic.)

  • Bob Clark

    Maybe they think Portlandia is for real, and Portland really is a place where young people come to retire.  And hey, if you want $20 or more an hour for your entry level general labor services, just try asking for it;  I am sure this will go over well at your job interview.  Some employers I hear seek out your profile and attitudes on places like facebook.  So, party on, the young and the clueless.  I am sure it will really help your careers. 

    • LC

      The irony here is that this “demand” would severely hurt the poor and low-skilled laborers. If business were required to pay $20 per hour for employees, the number of people they employ would drop drastically and they would only hire those who are highly skilled. It’s sad because those who actually support these demands don’t have the slightest idea of basic economic theory. Unfortunately, that education they went $60,000 in debt for in “Art History” doesn’t have any practical application in the real world.  

      • eljefe

        a foolish conclusion, derived from capitalist (contradictory) rationality!  this is why marx was right, this is why crisis is an inherent reality in capitalist culture.  the increasing demands by the working class for higher wages is a threat to the functionality of the system as a whole.  however, stagnating wages also contributes as a threat to stability as well.  in the end, it doesn’t matter what route is chosen: (1) keeping wages down, and torturing the lives of workers or (2) increasing the minimum wage to $20.  either way, the limits to capital will materialize and become a standard for interpreting reality.

        • Karl

          eljefe, you are the classic example of the well-read imbecile.  Marxism has failed disastrously everywhere it has been tried, yet you are certain it will work.  I’ll bet you were one of those kids who kept sticking forks in electrical outlets.

      • Anonymous

        Poor and low skilled workers would be without jobs if the minimum wage were $20 and hour. Even at the current $8.50 an hour it is becoming more and more beneficial to ship jobs overseas.

        This is so typical of liberal “thinking” today. These doofuses think their demands will create a Utopia… makes you wonder if they’ve ever heard of Animal Farm, 1984 or Brave New World.

        Here is their list of demands. Tell me that any one of them makes good sense:

        Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.Demand four: Free college education.Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.Two instances of trillion dollar spending,,,total debt forgiveness…open borders (apparently this manifesto covers the world)…and last, but not least, a guaranteed living wage regardless of whether of not they want to work. Let’s hear it for the liberals.The women in the video have no idea of what they are signing onto.

  • I think the brunette was actually smart and sensible. She seems like a left of center yet moderate democrat that could end up voting for Mitt Romney some day. 

  • eljefe

    i find it foolish that people have no idea what “liberalism” entails.  only in america does the word “liberalism” pertain to “reform” and “progress.”  in the rest of the world, “liberalism” has retained its true (and original) definition: capitalistic and market-oriented.  however, being that these fools call for “reform” and trite concessions over the elimination of capital, they probably are “liberals” of the traditional sense.

    • IIIper

      Is this your first job out of college, or is this extra credit? How much do they pay you to troll around with your collectivist revolutionary talking points? hardly anonymous…III we are everywhere…tell your boss

  • They what $20/hr now and we pay $8 for a Big Mac then they would want $30/hr. When does the insanity end?

  • Useful idiots.  As Lenin predicted, there will never be a shortage of them.

  • LL

    They’re kids: smirky and unlearned. However, they were both articulate and had tried to apply thought to areas where they lacked experience. If they were given access to an honest and open education that appreciated and understood the power and generosity of traditional American business dynamics they might grow up to be valuable citizens.

    Business is mighty rough and ugly, but state control…oh man.

  • What these kids are succumbing to, not realizing it, is a Marxist mentality: someone else is responsible for paying my bills, my paycheck, my XYZ.  They would be offended to hear this; they think they are more open-minded and smarter than their political opponents (Tea Partiers who can’t make grammatically correct signs, according to them) while falling into a socialist/communist ideological trap.  People who fell for Marxism the first time in Eastern Europe at least can be excused for not knowing better, because there was no historical precedent.  Today, to fall for the same failed ideas again, is pretty pathetic.

  • Nothappy

    If 20 per hour is a better minimum wage, why not 40????

  • observer

    Temp name change:  Chapman Square to Chapman Litter Box. 

  • Guest

    Quit writing about yourself in the third person, Justen.

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