‘Graying Hippies’ in Hilo Join NY City Allies in Protest of ‘Corporate Greed and Influence’

Jim Albertini
Jim Albertini

A small group of what some bystanders described as “graying hippies” gathered outside the Merrill Lynch building in Hilo, Hawaii, on Monday afternoon to back the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that has been building and spreading to other cities since it started in New York City two weeks ago.

The benign radicals sat listlessly on stools and chairs holding signs reminiscent of Woodstock that read Stop the Wars and Make Love Not War. They even threw in a handful of signs protesting corporate greed and occasionally walked in the road to stop traffic.

Toward the end of the brief protest, a few younger protestors showed up. Around 75 came to the event that was promoted and organized in part by Jim Albertini, a former government protestor who runs a “peace” institute called the Center for Non-violent Education and Action – and a Malu ‘Aina (which means Land of Peace), which is a farm with organic produce.

Albertini has received $231, 788 in state tax dollars to expand his property Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-Violent Education and Action and the Hawaii Island Land Trust, located in the Puna district 10 miles south of Hilo.

The former Pennsylvanian was recognized last year with the 2010 Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award. In its web profile of Albertini, the organization recognizing him notes: “He has been arrested dozens of times for non-violent resistance to war and injustice, including serving more than 20 months in prison for his civil disobedience actions. In 1972 he was arrested with author Jim Douglass for pouring blood on top secret electronic warfare files at the headquarters of the Pacific Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base. In 1984 he attempted to block a nuclear armed warship from entering Hilo Harbor in violation of Hawaii County’s historic nuclear-free zone law.”

While these Hilo protestors are many miles away from the thousands of people camping out in New York City, they have one thing in common – they are displeased with what is happening in the United States of America.

However, their message is mixed, decrying everything from so called corporate greed and social inequality to high unemployment and a weak economy. Some want to end “nukes” and war and others are targeting banks and the wealthy and wanting to end “corporate dominance.”

In Hilo’s protests, there were no arrests. Journalist Nancy Cook Lauer said police showed up and has a report on her news web site – All Hawaii News (http://www.allhawaiinews.com/2011/10/new-hawaii-program-aims-to-stem.html)

But the lack of arrests is in sharp contrast to 700 protestors were arrested in New York on Saturday for blocking for several hours traffic on the Brooklyn bridge. Those arrests seemed to wake a movement in other cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and across the Midwest. The normally sleepy town of Hilo was not spared.

Unlike those in New York, who made home made signs, the protestors here were even laid back with their signmaking. Signs were generally the same size, same font, black letters on white, appearing to be made in the same place, and lacked any spontaneity.
But the NY Times paid attention, mentioning the protest in passing in its article Monday on the growing movement.


The Hilo group chose the Merrill Lynch building because they said it was “bought by Bank of America in 2009 and deeply involved in the financial crisis, bank bail outs, and bonuses.”

They claim to represent the “99% percent in our local community who support for the Occupy Wall Street movement against Corporate greed and influence.”




  1. As one of the greying hippies (except I prefer the label yippie)that was there I wonder if the author of this diatribe was suffering from dimensia. Most of the signs were hand made and I personally brought two hand made ones. There was at least six police officers there at one time in as many vehicles and they started arriving on the scene about 20 minutes after the rally started and left when about 50 of us were pow wowing on the grass just slightly after 6pm. I even talked with a few of the officers that wanted to know what was going on and I was there the whole time from 4pm to 6pm. As for youth there there was many and I would estimate those under 30 may have equal those over 30 and there was even a few under 10 which gives me continued hope that the 99% shall overcome the 1% to save their own lifes, their city, their state and their country.

  2. BigIslandVideoNews.com also has a short video that shows most of the signs were diverse and hand made and that most people were either walking or standing with their signs not sitting and a variety of ages not just the wise anf grey hippies.

  3. I was there. The person who wrote this couldn’t have been there. There were over 100 people, with young people as well as elders. The message of most signs was a criticism of corporate greed. I did not see any “Make Love not War” signs, although war was an issue because of corporate and Wall Street funding of constant war. I would hope that in the future, your reporting would be more accurate, and not attempt to paint a picture that suits your reporter’s preconceived notions.

  4. Hello, Apparently you are the graying hippie because you seem to see everything through rose colored glasses. Were you even there or did you just drive by and make assumptions. As a reporter, you should do your research and if you had you would understand that. Occupy together is based on principles much larger than the ones mentioned in your report. It is about the state of affairs in American caused by corporate takeover causing many grievances. I am enclosing a list compiled by Occupy Wallstreet about the issues that the movement represents. As far as the lack of creative signs, we had less than 8 hours notice that it was happening at all and mostly spread by word of mouth. I think it was an impressive turnout that actually does represent a majority of people living here, under such limited notice. As far as those sitting, I saw three out of the hundred or so doing so. Really, you need to be more observant as a reporter, and actually report the truth! Here is the list that Occupy Wallstreet composed:
    We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

    They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

    They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

    They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

    They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

    They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

    They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

    They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

    They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

    They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

    They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

    They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

    They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

    They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

    They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

    They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

    They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

    They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

    They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

    They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

    They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

    They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

    They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

    They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

    To the people of the world,

    We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

    Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

    To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

    Join us and make your voices heard!

    *These grievances are not all-inclusive.

    • Wow, after reading these demands I’m wondering: is there an “issue” that was left out? Oh, that’s right! It notes at the end that “these grievances are not all-inclusive.” Reminds me of Saul Alinksy’s Rule # 8 – Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose. Just goes to prove that old hippies never die, they just recycle the same old tactics and mantras. I’m sure Bill Ayers is proud!


      Rather than shooting the messenger of this article, who is merely giving his/her perspective on the Wall Street protesters (WSP) and the supporting protest in Hilo, the protesters would do well to look at the points that he/she is making. They have been echoed by the mainstream media in the coverage of the WSP. There are several fundamental problems in the protests themselves, which are causing the protests to be dismissed.

      They include, but are not limited to; No unified message, no clear presentation of ideals and or goals, no image and no mainstream resonation.

      If you’re going to protest, know what you’re protesting about, know the message, present the message and show a little passion for your subject matter. Failure to do so, fairly or not, makes you look lazy and foolish and no one will care about your message when you finally have one.

      The protests have been ongoing for weeks now and until recently, there were no clear goals or position points. There was a loosely strung together bunch of progressive talking points, such as tax the rich or Wall Street fat cats are evil, eschewed by lazy and unmotivated protesters who didn’t do much more than bang drums, eschew progressive talking points and look pretty stupid while doing it. Frankly, the “old” 60s model of protests and sit-ins just does not work these days.

      Now that the “demands” have been published; the protests look even sillier.
      From HABLEDASH.com 10/4/2011
      “Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. 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. 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
      Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending.
      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.
      Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards
      Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. All debt must 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
      These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.”

      Not only are these demands impractical, they violate the Constitution, violate the rule of law and make fundamentally clear that the real goal here is a free ride and the conversion of America to some open borders, Euro-socialist, government controlled monster that will support a cradle to grave society, which will ultimately collapse as Greece, England and now, Italy has done. It certainly won’t create jobs!

      This is not and will never be a message that resonates with mainstream America. While it may be the consummate vision of the progressive utopia, it’s never going to happen. This is not a hostage negotiation, and demands are foolish, especially, unrealistic ones!

      If this is the progressive’s response and counter to the TEA Party, you’re really missing the boat. The success of the TP was in having a uniform and articulate platform which resonated with the mainstream and provided identified problems and solutions. Also the TP was respectful and did not defecate or urinate on the streets, they left the place cleaner then they found it, and they didn’t get arrested for media attention.
      While I applaud the WSPs right to peaceably assemble and have a voice, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to be serious people. So far, I’ve seen no serious element in the WSP effort or members.

  5. The list of grievances catches the classic appeals of the nihilist left who all too often can’t recognize the noses on their own faces. [Never mind spelling prowess… eg., demensia (sic)] Where is Bill Ayers these days anyhow?

    Besides, when did it become okay to use the dementia as a pejorative?

    Seriously, if these folks want to demonstrate legally, hey no problem… just like the tea party. But when they seek confrontation by baiting the police or interfering with public order, that’s a big problem, e.g., the Brooklyn Bridge “takeover” in NYC the other day. (It makes me sad to see the police reading from scripts into bullhorns so the de jure rights of the “demonstrators” aren’t violated in some small way….)

    But I’m saddened by how ready they are to drink the KoolAid of the left as demonstrated by many, if not most of the grievances listed. They data-mine to pull out individual examples to support their claims while consistently ignoring the norm. For example, how many of them know that “big businesses” both in the U.S. and in the EU pay their workers more and provide better benefits than do small businesses? How many of them know that it’s the private sector that creates jobs with staying power and not the government — as if Obama’s failed 2009 stimulus program didn’t put the final nail in that construct.

    With regard to Wall Street greed, there are some good points in the grievances, but in the years leading up to the 2008 crash, Wall Street didn’t create the Fannie-Freddie-Dodd-Frank-Carter-Clinton everyone-should-own-his-own-home 30-year stupidity that built the foundation for the crash.

    When I was on the streets years ago I thought I knew a lot more than I did. Sorry to see that many of those who were there with me never learned another darn thing!

  6. I don’t know why you folks on the left think local people are stupid. Why do you feel you need to lie about what happened? Do you think that by lying and repeating as many times as possible, that people will believe it’s true? Then you underestimate us locals.

    Because of work, I drove by the location twice yesterday afternoon. The first time, shortly after it started. I saw what the reporter wrote. I saw a number of “Senior” hippies, sitting on chairs or stools holding black and white signs which had the same kind of printing. I got to take a good long look because one of your protester friends, Moanikeala Akaka, decided to stroll across Kilauea in front of Tykes and I had to stop my car. So I got to look long and hard at people and the sign. So the “Graying Hippy” tag is appropriate because other than a handful of younger people, the Gray haired folks outnumbered the younger folk about about 5 to 1. I didn’t see any cops stopping Ms. Akaka or another protester who decided to also take a stroll across Kilauea, that I saw in my rear view mirror. I actually thought it was an AARP protest in the beginning, until I read some of the signs. And yes, a few, very few were “homemade” signs. And I didn’t see any cops at all.

    By the way, please explain how if this was a “local” event, it looked like it was 95% white guys. “Locals” were few and far between.

    I had to drive back the other direction about a hour later. There were more young people there. Why didn’t anyone mention the young guy in the plastic army helmet sticking the middle finger at drivers? Why didn’t you leftists mention the other young guy yelling at drivers as they drove by? Why didn’t you propagandists mention how you blocked the driveway to Tykes and the First American Title parking lot? I know, I had to go to Tykes, but had a very difficult time getting in. And I was driving very slowly, so I got to look at everyone. And yes, I didn’t see any cops because I thought that blocking driveways was against the law.

    So was the reporter accurate? As far as I saw when I drove by twice. So why do you Graying Hippies lie? Do you think we locals are too stupid to see through your lies? Do you think we don’t notice the difference in what you say and do? Do you think we don’t understand the meaning of hypocrisy? Do you think you can tell us what to think or believe in? That’s not “Aloha.” That’s not “Pono.” That’s not “local.”

    I want to organize a protest against overbearing, opinionated, leftist zealots who seem to think they know it all and what to shove their lifestyle and beliefs down our throats. Oh I forgot, there’s already an organization up and running that does that, it’s the Tea Party. Where do I sign up?

  7. Why do graying hippies lie? What is their message? The only way to overcome common sense is to obfuscate it with irrelevant, irreverant, or innaccurate or distorted “facts”. It is like 0bama today saying that his advisors were confident that Solyndra was a “Good Bet”. That, my friends is called a lie. It is like many things pushed by the left, no one questions them. The most serious threat to America, Hawaii, and any successful capitalistic society is this reliance on the Environmental Community to make our decisions for us.

    The gentleman above suggests that we all get together to solve the problems of the world, yet doesn’t seem to accept the benefits of the preponderance of his complaint. Take oil, specifically his complaint of foreign oil and our dependance on it. The answer is quite simple, we have more oil than Saudi Arabia, so lets develop it. Pretty simple. Alternative energy is a good idea, but look at the cost. Biofuels were just about to be foisted upon us here in Hawaii at $170 a barrel. Does this make sense?

    Electric Cars… great idea on a golf course, but to go to Kona? Ethanol, good idea? Look at the cost of corn flakes. The problem is, let the market and competition guide us. It’s funny that a tree sacrificed for is lumber and paper products are more energy consumptive than styrofoam, for those worried about Global Warming. It doesn’t seem to matter what the issue, there way is either more expensive, more restrictive (remember the Environmentalist wants you living in highrise caves instead of suburban environments), or outright hazardous in the case of eco-cars, CFL light bulbs.

    No, solution requires people working together to accomplish common goals where all have a benefit in the stake. This is not so with the various “ists” involved… whether social, environmental, followers of Marx, or the Commune.

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