You Have the Right to Remain Silent But I Don’t Recommend It

January 1, 2012

Michael Ventura’s “Letters at 3 a.m.” column for December 30, 2011. He calls it “What’s Your Sign,” but I have chosen for a headline the best of the signs he quotes.




Austin Chronicle – Dec. 30, 2011

“Jesus Occupied Jerusalem”

Those words were lettered in lavenderish purple on brown paper and mounted on an easel at Occupy Austin.

Pundits pundificate (did I just coin that word?) and analysts analyze, but Occupiers speak for themselves with words they write and display wherever they stand, sit, sleep, or march.

Signs can be broken, rained on, confiscated, stolen, defaced, burned, or simply fade away, so here, on the eve this new year, I record for posterity as many as will fit. (Yes, some are on the Internet, but believe me, print lasts longer.) The signs here are mostly from Occupy Austin, with additions from Occupiers in Lubbock; Vancouver, Canada; Ashville, N.C.; Anchorage, Alaska; Boston; and New York. I can’t duplicate their shapes and colors, but I’ll try to reproduce their emphases. The signs aren’t signed because Occupiers speak not for themselves alone but for us all.

“WELCOME to occupy Austin – Ask Anyone how to Get Involved”

“It’s not a recession – It’s a ROBBERY”

“I read the news today – oh boy”

“Stop stealing my and others’ future! — red, white and blue, please make the stealing STOP!”

“I can not afford to buy my own politicians to pass laws for my special interests – the hard working people of America — but I made this sign”

“What is Occupy Wall Street? Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on Sept. 17, 2011, in Liberty Square in New York City. It has spread to over 1,400 cities in the USA and created actions in 1,500+ globally. #OWS is fighting back against corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future. WE ARE THE 99%”

“This is our country – WE WILL OCCUPY IT – These are our streets – WE WILL OCCUPY THEM – We are here. We are growing. – WE ARE THE 99%”


“Do Not Litter”

“Equal Protection – Equal Representation – Corporations are not people”

“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

“Unlimited money corrupts our government!”

“The Bill of Rights – Highest law in the land – Article I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances – basically for our purpose – Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or the right of the people to peaceably assemble”

“Article IV of the Constitution of the United States of America – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED, and no warrants issued, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Basically … The right of the people to be secure in their persons and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED.”

“We All Have Jobs – We’re Here to Save Yours” [That’s from Occupy Lubbock, where I confirm it is the truth.]

“I lost my job – now I have an Occupation” [That’s from New York.]

Excerpts from Occupy Austin’s activities board:

“2011: A Year of Revolution – Teach-in on this year’s uprisings – 10/24 – 5:30p / Yoga – Free Yoga Lessons from Black Swan – 10/24 – 6:00p / General Assembly (GA) – To consense on proposals, discuss issues, and CREATE UNITY – 10/24 – 7p / Nightly March – To outreach to the community – spread awareness of #OWS #OA – 10/24 – 9:30p”

From another Occupy Austin activities board:

“Service Industry March – 3pm @ Republic Park to City Hall / Racism and the criminal justice system – 5:30p teach-in / Jackson Duhon – 6PM / Capitalism 101 Teach-in 5pm / Sat Halloween March   4PM!”

“End corporate welfare”

“We are Too Big to Fail”

“OCCUPY: Overcome Corporate Corruption by Uniting Our People, Yes!”

“Money talks – 99% WALKS”

“Action speaks very loudly”

“2nd time I’ve fought for my country, 1st time I’ve known my enemy”

“’We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’ – Albert Einstein”

“Stop Lobbyists! Occupy K Street!”

“You know things are messed up when librarians start marching!”

“I could lose my job for having a VOICE!”

“I’m 84 and Mad as Hell”

“Feeling marginalized? Come down to our OPEN HOUSE!”

“The Revolution will not be televised, but it will be broadcast on Live-stream”

“We Don’t Need No Stinking Permits (We’ve Got the FIRST AMENDMENT!!!)”

“Make Less Than $250K? Then You Need To Be On This Side!!!!”

“’If the people of this nation understood our banking and monetary system, I believe there would be a REVOLUTION tomorrow morning.’ – Henry Ford”

“Robin Hood Was Right!”

“FUCK ‘TRICKLE DOWN’ They’re just pissing on everybody.”

“Wall Street Short-Sellers Selling America Short!”

“Tear Down This Wall Street!”

“You Can’t Arrest an Idea – We Are the 99%”

“We are the 99% — We will no longer remain silent”

“This is it”

“People over profit”

“I am here because I am scared for my country”

“We are a human alarm system”

“You Have the Right to Remain Silent But I Don’t Recommend It”

“’None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.’ – Goethe”

“THE ONLY WAY to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”

“Warning: Do not confuse the complexity of this movement with chaos”

“This Is So Not Over”

“I Am A Born Again American”

“’First they Ignore you, then they Laugh at you, then they Fight you, then you win.’ – Ghandi”

“Occupy Together”

“I care about you”

The year 2012 is upon us.

Happy Occupy.




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