“Death of a Nation”: The Future of Occupy
- by Subversify Staff
- Posted on 16 December, 2011
“Death of a Nation”: The Future of Occupy
by Mitchell Warren
“What is the future of occupy?”
“What will happen with the Occupy protest in 2012?”
“What are the occupy protests about?”
On March 3, 1991, Rodney Glen King was brutally beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) with apparently no provocation. Thanks to fast thinking and filming by a man named George Holliday, the video was broadcast not only to the entire United States but also to news agencies all over the world. The response from the public was vociferous.
The incident, followed by the acquittal of the assaulting LAPD officers, caused a public uproar and started a small war between the black community and Los Angeles police officers, culminating in a series of riots that spread even beyond California. The dissenting voice of the people (and a minority at that) was heard loud and clear, and it wasn’t long before two of the four police officers were jailed for civil rights violations. Justice had been served…all it took was a Mookie-esque explosion of violence to incite change.
An Occupy War in Progress
Now at the dawn of 2012, a year already associated with great devastation, the Occupy Protest movement is reaching its peak. Over the past several months, we have seen multiple occurrences of Rodney King-caliber assaults happening at the hands of police officials even in the United States, a supposedly Democratic nation that rises to the aid of countries run by oppressive, corrupt governments. We have seen peaceful protesters jailed, despite the fact that protesting is a universally agreed upon constitutional right. TruthQuake News has compiled a series of videos documenting the assault of police officials on Occupy protesters, which include the likes of pregnant women, college students, and an 84-year-old woman, Dorli Rainey, with industrial-strength pepper spray.
Protesters are not the only ones being attacked by police officials. The Huffington Post reported that journalists covering the event were also beaten and arrested by police officials, including RT television network reporter Lucy Kafanov, who was attacked for attempting to film the protests. “It does not seem police are making a distinction between press and protesters,” she later commented. DNAInfo editor Julie Shapiro stated that she was “grabbed and shoved across the street” by NYPD officials for “[taking] a picture.” Even right wing media publications who typically vilify the protesters have faced abuse from police officials, as ThinkProgress shares. The Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields faced abuse from the NYPD and then help from an unexpected source: protesters, who offered their assistance.
These are acts of aggression, the likes of which stirred up a minority group 20 years ago to take decisive action, but which today is dividing the masses. As 2012 approaches, public opinion is mixed on the morality and the practicality of Occupy protests.
The Reaction to Occupy Everything
The Wall Street Journal (“Populist Movements Rooted in Same Soil”; The Wall Street Journal By Gerald F. Seib, November 15, 2011) conducted national polls in the months of October and November, and discovered that approval ratings were from 22% to 59%, especially among person ages 50 to 64. The polls also found that strong support came from individuals in an income class of $50,000 to $70,000 a year (middle class Americans). Time Magazine found that 54% of Americans approved of the protests, while 23% had a negative impression. Meanwhile, Quinnipiac University found that two thirds of New York City voters supported the movement and almost three-fourths of these voters understood the demands of the protesters.
Occupiers Speak Out
“Right now many major ‘informative medias’ are continuously trying to slander the movement and provide false knowledge, but through spoken-word and the many live-stream teams around the nation, people will gain the truth and the movement will only grow stronger. As Occupy is a movement of spreading truth, don’t expect it to have a set long-term goal of ‘changing our government,’ but instead to provide the base of knowledge that is needed for others to take that ultimate step.”
-Darren, College of the Atlantic
“There has never been such a unifying spirit and location. People from all different backgrounds are coming together to share their experiences and knowledge. That’s why Occupy is working so successfully outside of the system. People don’t trust the system, but they are starting to trust each other. America was and should be driven For the People, by the People.”
“Put simply, we must become the change we seek by exemplifying viable alternatives to the status quo. This applies to economic, political, theological, military, educational, technological, etc. aspects of the culture we have been born to. In other words, it is up to us to make ourselves happen in accord with our yearning for justice and equality consistent with our individual diversity.”
“Warriors armed with empathy.”
“I have been an active occupier since Day 1 in Liberty Plaza, I see the future of the Occupy Movement as one that sets up autonomous assemblies in communities across the nation. Thousands of solidarity groups have formed spontaneously in small communities worldwide already, they are focusing on local issues and ways to support the broader movement for the 99%. I hope to one day set up community centers for ‘the people’s liberation’ that function as Occupy centers, in a way similar to what the Black Panther Party had organized in ghettos across America.”
Politicians in Washington, the targeted audience for Occupy protesters, have given a largely negative reaction to movement, from Newt Gingrich’s “Take a bath and get a job,” snark to Obama’s shrugging off the idea to investigate corruption in Wall Street by replying, “One of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehman’s and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole sub-prime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal; it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.”
However, the lack of action coming from Washington, indeed the eerie silence of politicians, is very telling. The protesters succinctly replied for the Obama administration with a written message that was handed out to the press.
“Mr. President, over 4,000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st Amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”
Occupy and Class Warfare
Politicians, as individuals, have varied in their reaction. Ron Paul expressed sympathy with the 99%, stating that the 1% has “been ripping us off,” while Republican candidate frontrunner Mitt Romney stated that Occupy is “dangerous…class warfare,” and Vice President Joe Biden said bluntly, “The middle class has been screwed.”
“Class warfare”, a new thought pioneered by arguably the smartest member of the Republican Party. Is Occupy actually a matter of class warfare or is it a feud between the people and the state? Was Romney’s remark a distractionary method or is it a foreboding prophecy of things to come?
Harold Gray, political commentator of the Stranger Advice radio show, states that class warfare is a defensive maneuver by the government. “It’s in the interest of the ruling elite at the head of the system, to keep us divided and fighting amongst each other. The idea of class war or police violence would benefit the State immensely. This is a Cointelpro tactic that is used to create false revolution, the result being in no change and apathy. Now grass root movements that are deemed a threat by government are co-opted and discredited. It’s easier to destroy a movement by becoming it, than to assassinate the leaders.”
The American Occupy movement motto, “We are the 99%” is in reference to the fact that approximately 1% of the population is wealthy, in comparison to the 99% who is paying for the mistakes of a minority class. According to The Wall Street Journal Blog, in order to be counted as the 1%, a household must make over $506,000. This class is a minority indeed compared to both the poor and middle class. Logically speaking, this leaves only corporation heads, politicians, and A-list entertainers, among a few others, as the 1% who control our lives.
This raises the question, is Occupy truly the beginning of class warfare, in that Occupy protesters are primarily angry at the 1%, and are merely asking the government to punish them for their wealthy status (which assumedly results from corruption)? Ironically, many of the 1% celebrities have joined the cause of Occupy and endorsed the protests, including among others Roseanne Barr, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon who actually attended the demonstration), Mark Ruffalo, David Crosby and Graham Nash and Kanye West. Even of the demonized CEOs and very wealthy citizens of the U.S. have joined the protest, including Leah Hunt-Hendrix, who said, “We should acknowledge our privilege and claim the responsibilities that come with it,” and Farhad Ebrahimi who has been participating in the protests wearing a shirt reading, “Tax me. I’m good for it.” Artist and producer Russell Simmons attaches a moral obligation to join the cause saying, “You give what you get. I want to do what I can to relieve suffering and improve the quality of other’s lives.”
This out showing of support, while inspiring to Occupy marchers, does make one question the paradoxical imagery of a wealthy person protesting the actions of him/herself. At what point are the motivations of protesters questioned? This question is not merely in reference to B-list celebrities and journalists who want publicity from the event, but also to all protesters who are asking for a change. Indeed, the question should be, “Are you ready for change?” Are the American people ready for the drastic changes for which Occupy is asking?
What is Occupy About? 10 Occupy Demands
The media has been accused of distorting and obscuring the demands of Occupy protesters in an attempt to demoralize the effort and turn mass public opinion against the protesters. Nevertheless, Occupy protesters make every effort to share their goals, and their “demands” with the mainstream media. They are as follows:
- Wall Street’s practices caused the Great Recession of 2008 (through risky lending practices of mortgage-backed securities) and so guilty parties should be punished.
- Protesters want more jobs and higher-paying jobs.
- Protesters want bank reform legislation.
- Protesters want a reduction of corporation-influences on politics.
- Protesters want an equal distribution of the income.
- Protesters want to stop police brutality.
- Protesters want Congress to draft laws against Congress passing legislation that affects corporations that they themselves invest in.
- Protesters want to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which was designed to control speculation.
- Protesters want to hold Washington accountable for forestalling financial collapse by providing bailouts to banks, corporations and brokerage firms, at the expense of the average working person.
- Protesters want the 1% to bail them out, as they are experiencing wealth (on average, $11.4 million per 1% worker) while the rest of the country faces poverty.
One misconception about the Occupy: America is that protesters are clueless about what they want and who specifically is to blame. The Christian Science Monitorknew who precisely the Occupiers were blaming, and even shared an experience of Occupiers marching up to Jamie Dimon’s house (head of JPMorgan Trust), to demonstrate their demands. However, though specific demands have been drafted by multiple sources, “veteran” Occupiers hesitate to provide specific instructions. Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones interviewed several OWS sources who actually disagreed with the notion of providing specific demands, since this would be counterproductive to the aims of United States reform. The best expressed thought from the “other side” of OWS comes from the The Liberty Square Blueprint(a wiki page edited by some 250 occupiers) which states, “Demands cannot reflect inevitable success. Demands imply condition, and we will never stop.”
Dylan Pugh of the The Pugh Foundation states Occupy has an “inclusive nature, which serves to attract individuals concerned about a myriad of issues, causing Occupy to function as a sometimes unwieldy catchall for national and international disenfranchisement.”
However, rather than see it as problematic, he says this “lighting rod effect” could potentially be the movement’s greatest strength. “The solution is not, as some have suggested, to narrow the movement’s focus. Instead, the focus must go deeper, identifying the commonality between causes and the root issues that give rise to them. In short, the Occupy movement must focus its tremendous collective energy on fixing the systemic corruption which gives rise to the vast majority of inequality.”
As of this writing, there is scheduled to be a “national general assembly” of representatives on July 4, 2012, representing 435 congressional districts, to address solutions to Occupy grievances. Whereas Rodney King once famously pleaded, “Can’t we get along?” Occupy protesters are not interested in controlling the situation, but escalating it into a fervor of justice. They are outspoken, fearless and are demanding solutions to problems only the wealthy can fix.
Occupy, Capitalism and Socialism: The Great Debate
Dylan Pugh further states the problem is with money in politics. “Nearly every issue highlighted by Occupy activists, whether environmental, social, or economic can by systemically traced back to the influence of private money in our political system. By focusing on the most fundamental causes of inequality in our nation, the Occupy movement can transition from an engaging social force to a startlingly powerful platform for meaningful change.”
One issue that seems to be neglected by the mainstream media, and even by Occupy protesters, is the ramifications of these proposed changes, and what it will mean to the “American Way of Life.” The United States was created as the Definitive Capitalist Nation, and this was a point of national pride to the majority, from the days of Revolutionaries to as recently as the Clinton administration. It’s hard to deny that many of what Occupy protesters are asking for is socialistic in nature. It may be necessary, and is necessary from the standpoint of OWS, but it is something that by all definition is “Un-American.”
The main argument that the 1% seem to have with “fixing the system” is that it will require surrendering their money not by choice and not to a charity of their own choosing, but to a populace, a state made by the people. A fix to the system will require great sacrifices, primarily from the wealthy class, and that may be a notion scary enough to cause the 1% to hate the very message of Occupy—which is “Let’s change what has worked for you.”
Expecting a change from a capitalist society to socialist republic is nothing short of miraculous. Socialism is a word that would have been lambasted in the Nixon or Reagan administration, and yet is precisely what OWS encompasses. Socialism by definition is “an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy.” The New United States provided such protests are successful, would have the people own everything—from businesses to politics to perhaps even religion and personal conscience. Concepts of “freedom” would be replaced by concepts of “fairness” and equality. Success stories like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet might not even be possible under such new conditions. Instead of the proverbial American opportunity, we would be discussing salary caps and state-ownership of the people’s assets. Then, inevitably, the people would have to discuss appropriate punishments for capitalist thinkers who refuse to cooperate in a socially-decided economy. What was once yours is now ours, not for the sake of greed or fascism, but for the sake of the national community.
Regardless of what future scenario happens, the United States that has existed for the past 200+ years, indeed, the Great Free World Experiment, will have ceased to exist. Everything red, white and blue (as in private ownership of production, individual profit, accumulation of capital and competitive markets) will become a failure in history, with George W. Bush and Barack Obama (respectively, the zeniths of Republican and Democratic ideologies) taking most of the blame. What few people realize is that when the Occupy Victory finally happens, it will be the day the American Eagle lands.
The Occupy Movement: An Exercise in Marketing
Just as Obama’s successful presidential campaign was perceived a triumph of modern marketing, so too will Occupy forever be remembered as an excellent “viral” campaign, the likes of which spread the world over. Shel Horowitz, author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet, told Subversify that Occupy actually owes many of its methods to earlier protest movements. “Occupy owes much to groups like ActUp in the 1980s, Clamshell Alliance (safe energy) in the 1970s, civil rights organizations in the 1960s, and labor unions in the 1930s.”
Horowitz further explains that the future of Occupy could very well be a long-lasting trend. “What we see in these [movements] is that while the demonstrators themselves may be seen as radical and marginal, their agendas eventually become mainstream—and so do the protestors. I remember when J. Edgar Hoover and other conservatives tried to paint Martin Luther King, Jr. as a communist…and now his birthday is a national holiday and he has a monument on the Washington Mall. In other countries, protesters—think Lech Walensa in Poland or Nelson Mandela in South Africa—sometimes become presidents.”
Many protesters and freedom activists agree that Occupy is a success solely on the basis of its “marketing” power; that is, that it forced the busy American public to stop what it was doing, take notice and acknowledge a problem that required resolution. It’s the sort of thing that has been happening in Africa and the Middle East for quite some time, and perhaps something that just months ago, would never have been predicted in the United States, supposedly a nation of iPod-carrying, corporation-fed, apathetic citizens. However, the reaction from all ages, in the streets and online, has been deafening.
Occupy has definitely made its mark, so much so that it is forcing a mainstream reaction from the powers that be. But what will happen to Occupy protesters in the future?
The Future of the Occupy Movement
“When” is the key issue however, as a victory for the protesters is far on the horizon at this point. Apart from inevitable police brutality and military aggression, what is the long-term future of Occupy? There are five scenarios that could prevail.
- A Civil War
History teaches us that violent suppression of a peaceful voice (which is currently in its infancy) is often the ignition required for a full civil war. Injustice stirs panic and violent retribution in the human species, especially among people who are poor and have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Police have already brutalized American citizens across the United States. The last step to this escalating feud could well be the massacring of unarmed protesters by either the National Guard or local police officials; a modern day retelling of the Kent State shootings. It would serve as a warning from a police state to its citizens, and a rousing call to action by protesters who now feel the issue is a matter of life and death. The civil war would be such an emotional trauma for the nation, sub-issues such as rich and poor, and socialists and capitalists, would be forgotten. The new war would simply be the people vs. the oppressive government, and it could easily culminate in a destruction of assets for the United States, leaving it a third-world nation. No wonder that Michael Moore is currently warning OWS protesters to not engage in violence even if encouraged or provoked, since the government may be “planting” agents to start rioting, so as to justify brute force.
- A Class Cold War
Provided the government resists the urge to exterminate protesters (and thus create dozens of martyrs, which will in turn create millions of soldiers) the next possible scenario is a class war, and possibly even a war of poverty if the unemployment rate continues to fall. Not only will the 99% resent the 1% for hoarding their wealth, but they could begin waging a “cold war” against employed citizens who refuse to put any serious effort into the Occupy protests, and instead choose to provide for their families and serve the state. As much as we would like to believe that this isn’t an “us vs. us” war, many personal accounts (including one by The Observer) relate dangerous encounters already taking place between 99% protesters and 1% wealthy citizens who are merely going about their business and staying wealthy. Despite the overall goodwill that we see in the media shared between protesters and the sympathetic 1% population, it’s not exaggeration to state that there is a “Join us or else!” attitude held by many (if not a majority) of protesters. Is it possible the 99% protesters will grow and turn against their own kind, “union style”, as in pressuring neutral citizens to join the strike and suffer for the good of the union? We’ve seen the precedent before with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Labor Union, and even in a small-scale with the recent NBA and NFL lock-outs. Nevertheless, at the moment, employed and unemployed protesters seem to be in solidarity, united against the unsupportive 1% and the government, as recent surveys show that 70% of OWS protesters are currently employed. The first shots of this cold war are already being fired, as police officers are justifying their assaults on protesters saying it is simply their job; their means of providing for their families. When does resisting the movement become part of the problem?
- A World War III
This article is written from an American perspective, though we are not oblivious to the fact that Occupy-like protests are taking place all over the world and have been for quite some time. Overseas protests began to generate momentum in 2011 and soon involved nations all over the world, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Slovenia and Finland, among many others. A World War III scenario is certainly viable, given the volatility of international relations. But at this moment people, protesters are united against their governments, not against their own people. Though demands are varied among various countries, the demonstrations and movements share this much in common: people are not happy with the way their governments are run. The true demand here is that the current “system”, which is presumably failing because of poor economy, must change. These protests could easily be foreshadowing a multi-national World War III, which is not necessarily nation against nation, but a war of all ethnicities against themselves, against their own political systems. It’s the sort of social self-cannibalism that could easily cause a worldwide catastrophe.
- The Occupy Protests Fail
Another possible scenario is that the Occupy movements will dissipate and questionable governments will continue to retain power and damage the environment, eventually strengthening an invasive, “Big Brother” type society that lords over the weak, carefully controls assets, and treats human beings as dispensable products. According to anti-Occupy officials, protesters should stop creating a ruckus and find more productive methods to express disagreement—by participating (or non-participating) in the established system. Harold Gray states that in order for Occupy to work it must cease being a movement. “It should be a new lifestyle based on breaking their chains and becoming self-sufficient. Assume your power and create the system you want instead of asking for the system to change itself. The best way to defeat it is to withdraw and stop consenting. More focus needs to be put into parallel institutions, mutualism and voluntary exchanges.”
Though this is certainly a rational viewpoint, there could be a great risk in abandoning protests (just as they are starting to force negotiations) and willfully becoming a part of the system. Namely, because cooperation with elected officials may be effectively destroying the middle class and transforming the poor class into an all new class of total poverty. Alex Mendoza of The Socialist Party USA ticket says that apparent offers for new jobs to unemployed individuals are deceptive. As an example he cites the actions of governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry. “[He] has enacted economic policies which bring in a lot of new jobs, but they’re not jobs to write home about. We have good jobs being replaced by minimum wage jobs so businesses get more work for less cost and people aren’t technically unemployed anymore.” Stewart Alexander of the same ticket adds, “Businesses are hiring desperate workers at low wages to sell merchandise…This is often part time work while it lasts.” Supporting the system through governmentally-approved avenues could result in a distraction from true Occupy goals.
- A United World Government
Perhaps a united world government is a figment of the late John Lennon’s imagination, but it’s certainly a comforting one, and the dream of every socialist and capitalist. Instead of a disastrous World War III, an optimist might suggest that worldwide protesting will force governments to redesign their systems and work closely together in a united effort, in order to survive an upcoming global-warming induced deluge (and or the approaching Planet X). Indeed, the human being’s survival is dependent on a near “perfect” society of united earth citizens, no longer characterized by greed or by nationalistic ideologies. A Utopian society of agreement and respectful acquiescing may be the only way to address a protest of a different kind—the Earth’s protest. Perhaps there is no greater protest imaginable than the mass destruction of an earthquake or a tsunami, which many feel, result directly from environmentally destructive practices by energy corporations. It’s the kind of “disagreement” that frail human minds and bodies cannot ignore or mock. In the coming years, it will take one united mind to negotiate with an angry planet.
For all purposes, it will be Utopia or bust.
Mitchell Warren-What is the future of occupy? What will happen with the Occupy protest in 2012? What are the occupy protests about?
Good piece, Mitch – well written and comprehensive.
Speaking as one person who participated in an Occupy protest for a bit, and who’s ‘been-there-and-done-that’, otherwise, my own two-cents is this: First, if Americans want change, they’re going to have to exhibit something more than their forty-year bovine, supine, docile/disdainful approach to the political sphere. Second, that Great Awakening is going to have to take the form of looking out for themselves – because they’re never going to be admitted to the 1% Club, no matter how hard they work.
Those two things are likely never to happen.
I’m voting for ‘bust’.
(If we’re lucky, America will Balkanize, more or less along geographic lines formed nearly three hundred years ago by the four great British migrations and the subsequent Manifest Destiny treks west. If we’re lucky.)
Nice write Mitchell, lots to look at.
Re: “The United States was created as the Definitive Capitalist Nation, and this was a point of national pride to the majority, from the days of Revolutionaries to as recently as the Clinton administration” ..
.. I’d point out ‘from the days of revolutionaries’ may overlook our constitution papered over some pretty serious differences, particularly between the federalists and anti-federalists. Those differences are still with us in mutated form over time, would be my impression. What we see presently in the Federal structures are precisely what the anti-federalists had stood against and why the federalists had to agree to the so-called ‘Bill of Rights’ tacked on after the fact, to get ratification of our founding charter. Judging by what has happened to civil liberties previously protected, particularly the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th & 8th Amendments, points to a ‘color of law’ coup d’état or usurping of those very rights which had been more or less an anti-feudal, radical equivalent of a social justice movement of that time. Here is where (however it might be like singing to the choir) there is quite a bit of common historical ground on left and right in the common citizenry .. but my experience with trying to point this out has been, well, pretty futile. It seems people on the left would sooner herniate their rectums than look at what they might have in common with people on the right who pull out their guns and clean them anytime you mention something they might have in common with people on the left.
Meanwhile with the present moves towards global unity between governments taking on a fascist ‘the lord helps those who help themselves’ (to any resource that makes the privileged richer) flavor that not only is deforesting the planet but also destroying the miniscule amounts of fresh water available to the greater population with industrial abuse, that and weapons proliferation, chances of ‘keeping the horse in the corral’ so to speak [averting chaos] would seem pretty slim.
One ‘possible’ positive game changer I do see is, the color barriers breaking down when poor becomes a common denominator that crosses all previous prejudice.
Well, I wish us all luck, we’ll be needing quite a bit of that rare commodity
From just what I can see at the top of the page, Subversify is supposed to be an Alternative source to the Mainstream Media. “Find out the Truth!” is written in the search bar.
I know that not all of the truth is positive, but I think you have a lot more to find. Transparency is also a key to the movement.
This is also coming from a person who has been on the grounds of Occupy. Except, instead of “been-there-and-done-that” I am still participating. I know that this is only one comment on one news article. Maybe it won’t make a difference. At the very least, I am lending my voice to the movement so that it can be part of a bigger influence.
Where are your sources coming from?
The Demands List- I am glad you took the time to write afterwards that many Occupiers don’t actually have specific demands. But the problem is, that people are going to skim and come across the list (Yes we can finally figure it out!) and think that Occupy is only about these problems. It puts you in a very precarious place between information and misinformation. “Nevertheless, Occupy protesters make every effort to share their goals, and their “demands” with the mainstream media. ”
Occupiers don’t want anything to do with Mainstream Media. Mainstream Media ignored Occupy for almost the first 2 months of the movement. Then they started slandering them. Fox, MSNBC, ABC, many of these news channels have been stating what the Occupiers want. Compare it to anything on the websites or on the signs, and you will find many discrepancies. Fox was recently found to be using footage from Greece to make the Russian protests look bad. We have to ask what are their sources? Can we rely on what they are saying?
The last demand, “Protesters want the 1% to bail them out, as they are experiencing wealth (on average, $11.4 million per 1% worker) while the rest of the country faces poverty” then leads into a piece on how the movement is trying to change America into a “Social Republic”. This worries me greatly. Have you talked to people on the grounds at the Occupy movements? Have you googled pictures of their signs?
While I am not an expert nor a leader in what Occupy has to to say, I would plead that you reconsider this notion. Many of the protestors I have spoken to while visiting myself are simply asking that the Wealthy be taxed their fair share. If you look at the percentage they are being taxed now as opposed to earlier in American history, the figures are astounding. In my opinion, that is not a bail out. A bail out would be if they simply handed over their wealth to the people. Instead, middle class and lower class citizens are saying: We have to pay so why don’t you? So yes, that idea without any background could lead to some sort of “class warfare”.
And with regards to the “Social Republic”: Occupy protestors want capitalism. The reason I say that the taxation request MAY lead to class warfare is because the protestors are not saying, We hate you because you are rich. They are saying, We don’t like the means that some of the 1% have taken to get to or stay at that level. They are saying, why should corporations be able to sway votes, fund political campaigns? Why should the lobbyists of these companies control what happens in our government?
Part of the way America used to work was that if you worked hard, you got what you needed. What you put in- you got out. Now people are working long hours, and for what? They can’t get ahead or stay afloat. The banks have high rate mortgages, they have to pay high taxes- every which way it seems that money is leaving, not coming in. And that is if they can find a job that hasn’t already been outsourced. Students coming out of college have bought into student loans, and now they can’t get out.
Is that now the “American way”? What is “Un-American” about being able to find a job, work hard at it, and succeed?
I have much more to say, and I’m not sure if you will read this or if you will consider this. All I’m saying is that you should get to one of the protests. Talk to the people there. Read many more sources. Many of the sources on the true information behind the Occupy movement cannot be found on News channels or websites. No matter how many days you read a paper or sit in front of a TV.
Maybe that is what Occupy is all about. Get out there and find the rest of the truth, Mitchell. Take your talents to great heights.
Thanks for the reply, Kara.
I added some references to be more specific about where the “demands” were coming from.
It is difficult to summarize what every Occupier wants; as stated in the article, some have specific demands and others do not, I tried to show that. Furthermore, the statement by Dylan Hugh encapsulated the fact that Occupy is a lighting rod catch-all campaign, one that many use for specific purposes, that may not be part of the overall theme.
Subversify runs an Occupy feature almost every week (in fact Will Noble did attend the DC Protest) and most of the articles are not as analytical or as “middle of the road” as my article. I was attempting to analyze the situation from a historical perspective, and I did consider that my socialist statement might turn some people off…but I believe plenty of people I have spoken to are for socialism. The idea that Occupy can be a capitalistic notion is a good one and it did make me think.
Instinctively, I don’t think you can have a thriving capitalist society without the exploitation of the poor. I think there are just too many factors that come into play. But…anything’s possible.
“…because they’re never going to be admitted to the 1% Club, no matter how hard they work.”
Very true. It is an unrealistic notion that you can work hard and hugely profit. Most of the people working really hard are really poor.
Very thought provoking article, Mitch. I think any demands placed on the corporates are unrealistic. They have already squeezed America dry, along with Western Europe, and they’re ready to move on. While they keep the Western Nations busy emptying out the last of their resources to build a war against the Eastern and South American Nations, they will be busy on the other side of the wall, sweet talking their way into finances.
The best chance the Western world has is to reject the current economic system and establish a new one; based on their own appraisals of their natural resources and their value. When the peso crashed in Mexico from 23 to a dollar, to 5,000 per dollar, it rejected the peso and formed the pesote, stabilizing the costs of living and fair trade. Iceland completely rejected the private debt placed on the backs of the tax payers and have told the Bank of London to find their payback from the failed bank share holders. The Western world needs to reject the debt placed on them by private bankers and place it squarely in the laps of the failed financial institutions. Will the Western world do this? Possibly, but not without a great deal of civil conflict. It is after all, this system of American and Euro-dollar that NATO is so urgently defending.
Should we socialize? You painted the extreme end to socialization, but we are currently at the effect of the extreme end of capitalism. A major problem is there is not a true value system in place. The teacher cannot afford the plumber, the plumber cannot afford the doctor, the doctor cannot afford a legal suit for malpractice. All are valued members of the community, and all must scramble to keep their precarious positions in place.
The United States is one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, yet 80% are urbanized. The US is not using its natural resources to the best of its ability, squandering thousands of acres to subsidized single crop farming, miles of woods land for clear cutting and tapping the water supplies down to the aquifers. It poisons its streams, murders its wildlife and continues to be the largest consumer of energy. A certain amount of socialization is in order to balance the destruction left by corporate mishandling, but the task will be on the people. The corporations will not voluntarily clean up their mistakes, nor will they voluntarily relinquish their hold on the natural resources.
It is up to each of us, individually, to make a moral judgment. It’s not about them or us. It’s not about social class or economic class. It’s about finding solutions to relevant issues before nature takes its course and solves all our problems for us.
Good point, Ron. I was going to go down that road, but figured the piece was long enough as is. Thanks for that perspective.
Yes, Karlsie. In the end, it’s whatever works, whatever keeps the earth around another 100 years.
I could never understand exactly what the occupy protesters were after, the ones I talked to in Calgary talked of responsibility, change and business and governmental ability to be dynamic but would argue with me on educational flexibility. One young woman I talked to expressed her frustration with how high her student loans were, which she felt that she was being gouged and punished for wanting to have an education so she could get a job with a higher wage. I asked her why she needed the student loan in the first place, her response, because the career she wanted required certification. I’m not knocking learning but the educational lobbyists who gladhand governments to enforce their products to be the standard in order to attain the higher salaries. Perhaps in the decades to come the Occupy protests will be seen as the beginning of the cold war of classes but until the eyes have turned to the political structure of classrooms it will be a long chilly engagement.
“A United World Government” How unbelievably far have you crammed your head up your colon? The current governments of every nation in the world are co-opted corporate kleptocratic nightmares, and you think smashing them all into a single entity is a panacea? This is so far beyond magical thinking it doesn’t even have a name.
““Occupy owes much to groups like ActUp in the 1980s, Clamshell Alliance (safe energy) in the 1970s, civil rights organizations in the 1960s, and labor unions in the 1930s.” It shares the most basic element with those groups too: a complete and completely predictable failure to solve any real problems in the real world (for example, the “civil rights movement” achieved the glorious victory of exchanging de jure segregation and oppression for de facto segregation and oppression).
“we would be discussing salary caps and state-ownership of the people’s assets. Then, inevitably, the people would have to discuss appropriate punishments for capitalist thinkers who refuse to cooperate in a socially-decided economy. What was once yours is now ours, not for the sake of greed or fascism, but for the sake of the national community.” This Marxist claptrap has always, EVERY SINGLE TIME, devolved into monolithic state capitalism and police states. EVERY SINGLE TIME. If it were to come to pass in the US, the results would be exactly as before, mostly because of those like you and “Occupy”, the finest exemplars of Lenin’s useful idiots.
@ one puzzle piece short: ‘Conspiracy Clown’ has answered your comment brilliantly (you can can copy and paste the url into your browser)
Sorry Mitchell, I just couldn’t help myself 😉
Hey, hey, hey, the link ^ showed up live, the video is a riot and perfect reply to:
““A United World Government” How unbelievably far have you crammed your head up your colon? The current governments of every nation in the world are co-opted corporate kleptocratic nightmares, and you think smashing them all into a single entity is a panacea? This is so far beyond magical thinking it doesn’t even have a name”
PS, reality is a multi-dimensional thing ..
I don’t think one puzzle piece short knows what he wants. In the same breath that he knocks out the Occupy movement, he salivates over “monolithic state capitalism and police states.” Occupy is, without a doubt, a social enterprise. It consists of individual voices banding with other individuals under one common denominator; dissent against the corporations that as the most powerful combined entity in the world, is the one world government.
This social disclaim demands a return to human dignity, but does not demand a single government entity. It does demand that governments put aside self-interest in pursuit of serving its citizens, that it manages its resources wisely and quit using arms and militia to enforce their policies. A transparent government should be a government that does not fear the influence of other countries at its borders nor feel a need to make war against its citizens. It should be one that demonstrates by the general well being of its thriving constituents, that it governs wisely, is thrifty and industrious. If it must hide its poverty, its neglect, its mismanagement, it isn’t a government at all but a group of kids playing monopoly with a non-disposable world.
The #1 goal of the Occupy movement is to get corporate money out of politics. The People want their voice back and want a fair chance for themselves and their descendants. Although I’ve been too ill to attend an Occupy protest, I have kept in contact with Occupy Houston protesters who are actually there visit email and their forum.
It was my intent not only to participate in the protest but also to take video footage of the protests. My heart failure and stomach surgery put an end to that. Still, I continue to do what I can to promote the movement and help make the site moderators aware of trolls. Spamming and disinformation has been heavy on the Internet and forums in addition to the disdain of the network media. Still, those who participate and keep watch know the real reasons for the protest. Rather than reading commentaries on the movement or the Koch influenced Wikipedia, I suggest that you go to the official Occupy sites and see what the participants and organizers are saying.
With OWS I’ve never seen a group of people who so desperately wanted to be slaves in my entire life. Liberty is not dependence, so why demand it? Do you really want to depend on the same government that used “good intentions” to put in place the very structure that spawned billions in bad loans, put the legislation in place that allowed the brokers to conceal the loans? All this while using really cheap interest rate ( again quasi-government controlled) to fuel the fire? Humanity is once again victim of its good intentions and wants to blame the very people it places in positions of power to execute them. Don’t like the real estate crash? Then why did you elect a politician that put the CRA in place? I bet many thought Barney Frank was the greatest guy alive! “He’s putting laws in place to help us!” . Don’t like that your 401k took a 50k nose dive in 2008? Why weren’t you reviewing the portfolio with your broker when those 2006 profits looked so good? Ah – what do you mean I have to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? “But I’m not a broker, their job is to manage that risk right?” Sorry kids, paybacks are a bitch and now a new generation gets to eat some of it. Rely too much on someone else to run your lives and you risk tyranny or calamity (sometimes both). If you care about having a future, about making something of yourself and not being a servant of someone else’s system, then the best use of your time is NOT spent in a protest that demands things of others.
@Neo: Some very good points.
@One Puzzle Piece Short: If you had your head out of your ass, you would have read between the lines and seen that I could potentially agree with you on some points. Socialism is a great ideal, but like capitalism, it could easily devolve into a travesty of justice. Any human government can. A United World Government does seem unlikely. However, I don’t see Occupy as a failure. It is a movement that has forced the government, the 1% and the middle class/poor class to wake up and see the reality of their present and their possibly grim future. It is a warning that will hopefully be heeded.
@Ron: Conspiracy Clown, funny stuff!
Karlsie: I usually retreat to neutrality in cases like this, because the complexity of a governmental change is not always a matter of black and white. I love the Occupy movement, everything I’ve seen first hand, and the people I’ve talked to. But is America (the government and the public) ready for the drastic changes being talked about? I don’t know. And I have yet to read something that can show me, in specifics, how Occupy can still be a pro-capitalist idea. I just stumble at the notion that says you can be capitalist, so as long as the way you make money is OK with the community. But then again, political science has never been my expertise.
@Cal: Wikipedia strikes me as one of the last “free” havens of human society, since it is written and continually updated by a consensus of readers and writers and NOT a “qualified elite” which suggests corporations, magazine-owned editors and publishing house-affiliated pros. If you’re claiming Wiki is tainted because of Koch, what other means is there to get objective information from a third party source? What I do not sense from Occupy is the solidarity of opinion, since many people want many different things. (Some don’t even have specific demands, and would prefer other Occupiers resist stating such) I suppose the general consensus is that corporations should withdraw from politics. I certainly hope the Occupiers can figure out a way to force this action, as I certainly concede that corporations run the show. But I fear what may lie ahead, since I don’t see the rich, or the government cooperating.
@Stacy: You raise some good points, which is why I instinctively feel this is a socialism vs. capitalism issue. It’s hard to imagine a capitalist society in which everyone prospers, every one is free, and there is no criminal behavior.
Free markets aren’t about fairness. We all have a chance of totally screwing up. I just want the freedom to make that decision for myself. Hate the banking system all you like, with all the asswhipes that screwed over people its easy to do. But also acknowledge that other banks didn’t gamble big. The repeal of Glass introduced risk to the market, and everyone seems shocked that the big boys allowed themselves to be blind-sided. But plenty of other banks played it safe and rightfully should have picking the scraps of Goldman.
The problem here was that risk was concealed, not that risk has consequences ( which I see as the primary philisophical problem with the entire OWS crowd ). I don’t think its wrong to advocate the government for transparancy, but the last thing anyone should be advocating from the government is a better life. There are plenty of people who are more than happy to make you their slaves, the sting of the whip will be replaced by red tape and the taxes. We have a few generations of kids graduating from college with over 100k in debt and expecting a job be handed to them. I could go on-and-on about that bubble but I think it put this sense of hopelessness in the minds of many of them. Fuck, welcome to reality. I lived out my post college years scraping out an existance before things came together ( took almost a decade). Kids in the 90s got lucky when the tech market went nuts, there where jobs to be had. But there where also plenty of then working double shifts at restaurant chains. We’ve all had our share of shit jobs.
And you know something, those jobs make a person tougher. We need an injection of toughness, because this global meltdown ain’t done yet and the shit is really going to hit the fan once the reality of the bond market sets in. We are competeing with countries where the avarage student speaks multiple languages and is willing to work a 12 hour day. Its time to get tough, to grab the inner Übermensch and prepare for the REALLY hard times that will be coming, not to look for handouts.
“Its time to get tough, to grab the inner Übermensch and prepare for the REALLY hard times that will be coming, not to look for handouts.”
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
“To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle. “
— Benito Mussolini
“Suffering strengthens a people and puts its stamp of nobility upon them.”
— Adolf Hitler
I don’t suppose I need to connect the dots between the three quotes – one from a commenter; the other two from people who really don’t need any introduction to an educated person.
The conclusion is so obvious I feel like I’m being condescending to everyone when I say this: Unregulated capitalism is the enemy of democracy. The notion of ‘being strong’ is, while not inherently a bad thing, one of the first steps toward fascism when implemented on a national scale.
These are serious flaws in Stacy’s argument – but the idea that the repeal of Glass-Steagall ‘introduced risk to the market’ (as if that’s a good thing) is also seriously flawed.
In a society where there are no regulations on commerce; where corporations have the same rights as people; where they can beg the taxpayers to bail them out when they fail is the same society which Hitler and Mussolini tried to build. We know how that turned out.
A society which will not look out for the least of its citizens isn’t a society – it’s a fascist jungle. Sorry; Stacy – but you can keep that for yourself. I hope you’ll be happy there.
@W.D.- isn’t regulation of anything in opposition of free choice? I don’t mean to be argumentative but it was a thought that crossed my mind while reading the last couple of statements.
“…isn’t regulation of anything in opposition of free choice? I don’t mean to be argumentative but it was a thought that crossed my mind while reading the last couple of statements.”
I’m reminded of a poem by the British poet John Clare; “The Fallen Elm” – in it, he describes the elm tree which shaded his rental home, and the landlord’s decision to cut the tree down, simply because he could.
“No matter – wrong was right and right was wrong/And freedom’s bawl was sanction to the song. Such was thy ruin, music-making elm; the right of freedom was to injure thine: As thou wert served, so would they overwhelm
In freedom’s name the little that is mine.”
Yes; you’re right – regulations remove the ‘freedom’ to do what one wishes. We routinely regulate everything from the ‘right’ to carry a firearm and the ‘right’ to free speech (one is not permitted to purchase a machine-gun off the shelf of a sporting-goods store, neither is that same shop permitted to sell firearms or ammunition to children); the ‘right’ to free-speech does not extend to the shouting of ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre) – in point of fact, ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ are regulated all the time.
The point is this: We deregulated the banking system, and the bankers turned it into what boils down to a casino. Those regulations were in place for a reason – it was because we couldn’t trust bankers to operate in the public interest.
(Anecdote: I used to belong to the Libertarian party. I was a candidate at its 2006 convention. I made a gradual exit from that organization, because it had been co-opted by people who defined ‘liberty’ as a license to exploit, subjugate, and rule by the worst sort of law: The law of absolute monetary power.)
Clare sums it up best as he ends his poem: “And there are knaves that brawl for better laws; And cant of tyranny in stronger power; Who glut their vile unsatiated maws – and freedom’s birthright from the weak devour.”
“Sure, we also have the right to request a change…but seriously, do we really think the people are capable of changing a capitalist country where money drives the system (and always has) into a socialist dream where everyone is protected?”
Mitch, the people who are participating in the “Occupy” protests are after one thing, really – the re-regulation of the banks and the progressive taxation of America’s populace, which would put the burden on those capable of affording it.
I left the protest in Washington because that part of it (the October2011 movement) had sold out to the D.C. police. I still agree with those who – from here in Portland to New York and back – have stayed without compromise.
Does any of this have a chance? Frankly; no – not without a massive popular uprising. Occupy D.C. has called for a million people to take the Capitol Mall, and I may go back. However, absent that popular uprising, you are correct – we’re not likely to change as a country.
But we have to try.
@ W.D. Noble,
“Yes; you’re right – regulations remove the ‘freedom’ to do what one wishes. We routinely regulate everything from the ‘right’ to carry a firearm and the ‘right’ to free speech (one is not permitted to purchase a machine-gun off the shelf of a sporting-goods store, neither is that same shop permitted to sell firearms or ammunition to children); the ‘right’ to free-speech does not extend to the shouting of ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre) – in point of fact, ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ are regulated all the time.”
1. Anything that can be “regulated” or taken from you is not a “right” but a privillage bestowed by power – thus your statement about “rights” being “regulated” is a self-contradiction.
2. You mention that these “rights” are limited, but *why* are they limited in the first place? Firearms are regulated because the state wants to maintain a monopoly on force; speech is regulated because the state doesn’t want certain points of view expressed (although a supposedly “free country” doesn’t want to admit that); “controlled substances” are regulated to prevent normal people from making a livelihood on such things (as that would cut into the profits of pharasutical companies and cartels allied to the state’s “intelligence” and “law” enforcement agencies) and the list goes on!
Regulations don’t exist for the common people’s benefit, but for the benefit of those in power – to rely on regulation to protect you from people in power (such as the banks) is pure, unadulterated lunacy because power *makes* those regulations in the first place!
For the most part I like this piece, but there are a couple things that just bug me about it so I have to point them out…
1. Regarding your take on civil war that may result if protestors resort to violence, it really doesn’t matter – if the state wants to use violence against the protestors, it will do so and put the blame on them (and the public will buy it just like they did back on May 4, 1886 in the Haymarket Square incident): regardless of how peaceful the protests are, any violence the state uses against them will be blamed on the innocent.
2. Regarding the notion of global government – what makes you believe that a global monopoly on force will be any more benevolent than the existing order? Personally, I see such a thing as potentially more oppressive than the present order rather than a boon to anyone outside the ruling classes…
“Anything that can be “regulated” or taken from you is not a “right” but a privillage bestowed by power – thus your statement about “rights” being “regulated” is a self-contradiction.”
It’s late, I’m tired, and I really don’t have time to go into this point by point.
Two words: You’re wrong.
@ W.D. Noble,
No, I just recognize the concept of “rights” for what they are – illusions to convince us that there are things that can’t be taken away from us when the cold, hard truth is that *anything* can be taken from you if you do not have the strength to keep possession of them.
But to recognize this fact one must drop the a priori assumptions about reality that have been hammered into us since civics class – and based on your previous work I’d say that you still hold onto that part of your social conditioning: which effectively puts blinders on you, keeping from seeing the world as it really is (sans “morality” or ideology) – unless you rid yourself of these notions you’ll never see it…
Ahem.. Everything may well be an illusion.
Sorry I don’t have a whole lot to add here. So sick of politics.
Linking me to Hitler using logical fallacies is a good way to get your ass kicked. I’ll come back when I have some free time to apply the boot.
@ Stacy — The linkage wasn’t illogical; in fact, it was rather well-reasoned. The connectivity is obvious. Resistance is futile. Your boot will only engender laughter. These aren’t the ‘droids you’re looking for. Move along…
@Azazel – I hate to play Captain Obvious here, but you’re still wrong, and you’ll be wrong, no matter how much hot-air you expend defending your anarcho-Libertarian future (you and Stacy should get married) — rights, regardless, are and have been regulated. That’s because anarcho-Libertarianism doesn’t work.
Case: In the 1930’s, the government banned the sale of machine guns. It wasn’t to piss-off the National Rifle Association, or to piss on the Second Amendment rights of the private citizen – it was to do what governments do (especially elected ones) – to protect the citizenry and enforce the commonly-held agreement that killing people is wrong.
Case: When Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote his now-famous brief on Schenck v. United States in 1919, he was creating the precedent that the government did, indeed, have the right to abridge or restrict the First Amendment right to free-speech. In his brief, Holmes made the statement that people are not granted the right to shout ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre as a prank. He was right then, and he’s right now.
This is all because we have a tacit social-contract in society to abide by and accept commonly-accepted norms. This means that you don’t get to buy Class III weapons for your beloved notion that the nation will descend into chaos; not without a license and some serious governmental scrutiny.
It means that I don’t get to libel people in articles (yes; research is sometimes a pain, but the alternative is that we wouldn’t know the difference between opinion and fact).
A less-‘free’ society is the smarter choice. It prevents people from shooting each other in the street and masturbating in public, among other less-egregious violations of the aforementioned social-contract.
@ W.D. Noble,
“Case: In the 1930′s, the government banned the sale of machine guns. It wasn’t to piss-off the National Rifle Association, or to piss on the Second Amendment rights of the private citizen – it was to do what governments do (especially elected ones) – to protect the citizenry and enforce the commonly-held agreement that killing people is wrong.”
1. Since when was the state ever concerned about the welfare of the common man? And since when did elections mean anything other than deluding people into believing they have real control over the affairs of state?
2. Many of the weapons the “law” defines as “machine guns” are not actual machine guns – rather they would be classified as assault rifles or submachine guns (the only thing such weapons have in common with actual machine guns is select-fire mode).
3. The reason this ban was instituted at all was because of a little period in time called “Prohibition” (which just happened to be followed by a the depression – during which there was major resentment in the general public against the state…) – the ban of alcohol created a huge “black market” for liquor and beer, which in turn led to wars between the rival racketeers and flooded the streets with weaponry comparable to the military’s. The state, fearing for its own protection racket (yes, the state is just a really big gang) took measures to weaken all other rackets and armed groups by depriving them of arms that would allow them to wage effective guerrilla war on the state.
The state wasn’t protecting the common people (despite its claims), it was protecting *itself* from rival rackets and potential revolutionaries!
“Case: When Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote his now-famous brief on Schenck v. United States in 1919, he was creating the precedent that the government did, indeed, have the right to abridge or restrict the First Amendment right to free-speech. In his brief, Holmes made the statement that people are not granted the right to shout ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre as a prank. He was right then, and he’s right now.”
I’m familiar with the whole “fire in a crowded theater” argument, but just where does the power of the state to “abridge” one’s speech end – keep in mind that speech that is considered “obscene” (which is not clearly defined – you know the whole “I know it when I see it” principle…) or “treasonous” is considered to be punishable by “law” as well: giving any entity power to “regulate” speech just opens the door for that entity to restrict any kind of speech it wants to later (either publicly or covertly).
“This is all because we have a tacit social-contract in society to abide by and accept commonly-accepted norms.”
And this is where you and I part ways – I don’t consider myself bound to *any* social contract that I don’t agree to abide by myself. You see such contracts as needing to be established and enforced from the top-down (from state to individual), I see them as being built and maintained from the bottom-up (between two or more consenting individuals): as far as I’m concerned, any and all forms of “law” are just an attempt to force sovereign individuals to conform to the will of power – nothing more or less.
BTW: I won’t be marrying Stacy – I’m not a one-woman man… (LOL!)
Finally, here’s a point to ponder, from one of my favorite authors:
Sleep well, folks….
I believe as an intelligent species we are potentially quite capable of bringing about a “heaven on earth.” The earth could support us at that, in my opinion.
We have everything we might ever need right here, right now.
But what we do is to rear children into idiots, and then make rules for them to play by. Mindless slaves we are..
We wouldn’t need laws or “rights” if only we used our brains.
I really hope I don’t sound arrogant or self-important, but people are retards, morons, fools. We all know this, right?
[Quote=sh]But what we do is to rear children into idiots, and then make rules for them to play by. Mindless slaves we are..
We wouldn’t need laws or “rights” if only we used our brains.[/quote]
Exactly! If people had a mentallity of themselves being sovereigns (rather than some other power over them), notions such as “law” would have no place in human society – such concepts only have validity at all because “civilized” society intentionally retards the individual’s ability to think for himself and imposes its own mores and values upon them.
Noble, you took a quote from me an applied it out-of-context to fascism. Should I list the logical fallacies you engaged in or are you willing to concede that you are being dishonest? I could easily quote some Mao or Marx and apply it to some of the comments on this page but I don’t because the assertions would be slippery slope fallacies. “Well Reasoned” my ass, it’s a slander. I’m being EXTEMELY nice in the spirit of the holidays, lets try to keep things that way.
I have long slammed libertarianism and objectivism , in great detail, both on my old blog and to a lesser degree here on subversify. It doesn’t mean that I endorse fascism , socialism or communism. I do however think that our current system isn’t that bad as I tries to balance individual freedom with responsibility ( enforced by legislation). The hard part has always been trying to balance rights and responsibilities – but I’ll always be the person who guards against an over-intrusive government. Its bad enough I have to get a pat down at the airport on each road trip, I prefer no more forms of “we are doing this in your own best interest” types of legislation.
I also have serious problems with the way you try linking fascism (which is nationalistic socialism) to the corporatism that exists today. They are in no way related, regardless of how much you think or say they may be. The United States exercises a weak form of corporatism that pales in comparison to countries like Japan where government doesn’t hide its union to corporations.
The risk I mentioned in Glass-Steagall is fact, you can dispute facts all you wish – tell me the sky is pink if you like, I’ll laugh and pat you on the head and give you a lollipop. Risk was introduced and there was, in fact, “good” that came of it. Lending institutions could invest in mixed instruments , taking the concept of a mutual fund (like a high risk small business loan merged with a low risk home loan) and give the bank a greater rate of return and, in some cases, give the depositor a better rate of interest. The problem was that the rating agencies where over-rating the blended instruments , and the institutions responsible for creating the blended instruments where putting riskier and riskier products together without getting caught. When the eventual private audits caught up with the high risk that was being placed on these AAA notes, the house of cards collapsed. Problem? It wasn’t the fact that the instruments existed, it was that there was deception on the originators and irresponsibility on part of the rating agencies to do their due diligence. People should be in jail, and that in my mind is the real problem. Risk , when you know what you are investing in, is not. There should be transparency in the market and there should be rating agencies to make sure everyone is staying honest. On a much larger scale, the narrative in the real estate market was much of the same. and there should be a lot of people nation wide in prison for loaning money that would have never been allowed in prior years ( again with the aid of government encouraging risky loans).
Well, it’s true that they’d find something to bitch about. Or not. Something I’ve learned about Americans – the more educated and more liberal they are, the more restrained. You’ll never find a progressive/liberal militia movement.
I’d posit that we care about the poor to a greater or lesser degree – more so when there’s more money about; less so during times like these.
It certainly would be easier to care for the poor if the powers-that-be hadn’t melted-down the entire financial system – the greater mystery to me is why the mansions of the elite in the Hamptons haven’t been torched to the ground by howling mobs of 99’ers, and the perpetrators of the financial debacle weren’t summarily hanged in iron cages from lampposts at and near the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.
While a guillotine in the public square might make a lot of people feel better, we don’t have that history – we really do put up with a lot of crap from our business and political leaders – restraint, as much as anything, is what’s gotten us here.
Most of us who Stayed Awake in Class connected the dots some time ago – the one thing most of us agree on is this: There is no longer any chance of the current system either creating, or permitting, genuine change. It’s all been bought-and-paid-for; the egregious betrayal of the Rest of Us by the Supreme Court via the Citizens United ruling has seen to it that the purchase of our government will not only continue; it’s been institutionalized into the very fabric of society.
With the Democrats and Republicans nothing more than two sides of the same rotten coin, the only avenue left is revolution. There are two kinds – the peaceful kind, where Power listens to Truth, or the violent kind. As Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Enough people are pissed off that it’s only going to take some already-dismal statistics growing larger (or smaller, depending) to force radical action.
As Chris Hedges said a month ago, “There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.”
In my humble opinion, this article is a well-written and informative while provoking others to weigh in on a legitimate current event. Honestly (and I may get chewed up for admitting this) I had little or no idea what the Occupy Wall Street movement was about until I read this article and the responses that followed. I was aware of it and saw headlines but never really knew what was going on.
I lack the literary prowess, rhetoric, education, and political understanding to offer much in the way of an argument but I do feel like sharing my observations here.
Our society is one that a person must subscribe to in order to enjoy the benefits. We do have the freedom to leave and attempt things on our own, in the wilderness (if anyone can find a place that is not already owned), or we can attempt to subscribe to a way of life in another society. By subscribing to a way of life in this society, we must accept certain controls and rules to maintain a sense of order and glue that bonds the people of our society together. I know some people that will complain about every single law on the books and claim that no human or group of humans should have the right to rule over another human being. However, it is unreasonable for a person like this to want to try and custom fit the environment of a society to fit their every want and need. Hell, there are plenty of things I do in order to fit into this society that I would rather not do but I understand I must make some concessions in order to live here. This doesn’t mean that I expect people to just shut up and take it where the laws and direction of society are concerned but one must be willing to play ball in order to tweak society and make certain things happen.
Many aspects of our legal system are flawed. The constitution has been turned into a set of degenerate semantics by countless revisions and interpretations of the original document, which was intended as a way to guide our collective. Some amendments were needed and have improved our way of life. However, the constant improvisation and accommodations that have been made to create today’s laws are a distorted perversion of what was originally intended. In my opinion, we need to simplify the whole system and get back to basics instead of politicians flexing and distorting laws based on the flavor of the week or some financial agenda. Any person who lives in this country, with at least a high school education, should be able to understand the laws that govern our society without the help of a lawyer. Other people, from other countries or educational levels or with special needs, can rely on a lawyer for clarification. There should not be endless sections of verbiage and interpretations to every law on the books.
Change is obviously needed to help sustain our way of life. We need to fix our money troubles, respect the environment, level the playing field, and acknowledge the grey areas. Instead of spending endless hours debating the various interpretations of our laws, we need to acknowledge the problems and fix them. I feel like the Occupy Wall Street movement is a step in the right direction. Peaceful protest is a good way to start heading in the right direction. It may not be the best-organized step or have a definitive directive, but at least it is a step towards some kind of change instead of complacent bitterness and a demand for radical, overnight change. It took years to create our problems and it will take years to make corrections.
[Quote=W.D. Noble] You’ll never find a progressive/liberal militia movement.[/quote]
You mean like the ELN (heavy Guevarist/Anarcho-syndicalist influence), the PFLP, the RAF (lots of hard-core Marxists in both groups) or the Black Panthers (just to name a few – both past and present)?
There’s plenty of leftist/post-leftist militia movements out there and there are plenty of educated individuals in them as well – you just got to pull your head out of the ground and look for them…
Oh, my my….
The fact that you’ve confused the term ‘liberal/progressive’ with ‘Communist’ and ‘Marxist’ only goes to prove that there’s an ocean of misinformation available to the casual observer.
You’re welcome to your anarcho/Libertarian, ‘sovereign’ world where everyone has absolute rights and there’s no such thing as government. Really. Just let us all know where you intend to start it – and please don’t let it be here in the Northwest (although there are some pretty deluded folks along those lines in Montana of late, or so I’ve read). Meantime, there’s a place on the horn of Africa which has no government at all. Everyone is free to buy as many weapons as they want (they’re dirt-cheap) – no one is there to police the place, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.
(The country is Somalia – and everyone with any resources at all, including two good legs, are leaving as fast as they can.)
[Quote=W.D. Noble]The fact that you’ve confused the term ‘liberal/progressive’ with ‘Communist’ and ‘Marxist’ only goes to prove that there’s an ocean of misinformation available to the casual observer.[/quote]
A lot of agendas that Marxists push would be considered “liberal” in the Western political culture – so quit nitpicking. The point here is that there are leftist/post-leftist guerrilla forces out there: not all militia movements are tied to right-wingers and Libertarians.
And Somalia actually has quite a few governments fighting it out for control of the state entity – what exists there is a state of perpetual civil war between multiple political/religious factions rather than genuine anarchy. But seeing as to how you equate anarchy with chaos it would do little benefit to point out the differences here…
The present system doesn’t need a few changes, it needs to be dismantled – it’s thoroughly corrupted down to the very core of its being and no amount of “reform” is going to change that.
It’s always slightly amazing to me that people always chose to “work within the system” and fix our problems rather that rewrite the script. Rewriting by the way doesn’t necessarily mean violence or Marxism or whatever boogymonster word you want to use…I could just mean a global realization that NONE of the previous systems have worked and we need to dream up something entirely new.
And act to put it in place.
Back to the article….
Mitch, you mentioned five scenarios (civil war; class ‘cold war’; a world war; the failure of the ‘Occupy’ movements, and a united world government).
We could parse these with a pretty fine knife, but the argument really comes back to this: 1% of the population in America owns nearly everything. History has shown that societies which allow such wealth distributions either have to put draconian systems in place to preserve the status-quo, or they make one of two decisions – a peaceful resolution of the problem (unlikely), or a dissolution of that society, replacing it with something else (likely).
What very few people truly understand here in the U.S. is that our original Revolution – one where the leaders voluntarily surrendered their power to an elected government when it was over – hasn’t happened much in history.
We are, to quote the ‘Deteriorata’, “a fluke of the universe.”
While it would seem like preserving it would be a good idea, those of us who Stayed Awake in Class have connected the dots on the problem a long time ago – the people in power are there not because of any illusion of democracy, but because the system has evolved into one where money is the deciding factor – they’re in office because they were funded by the powers that really run the country – the 1% who own everything.
While I’d prefer peaceful to violent change, the conundrum now is this – the people upon whom we depend to invoke change (everything from publicly-funded political campaigns with no lobbyists, corporate-dollars and other influence-peddling) to things like genuine health care and education are the same people who are bought-and-paid for by the entities which profit from having those people in office to keep things just as they are.
The system is broken. It no longer works; there is no effective change possible within it.
We’ve seen a microcosm of several of the popular ‘solutions’ here on the comments page; from the folks who think that if the ‘Occupy’ people just took a bath, they’d get a job; ‘suck it up’, they say – your ‘inner Ubermensch (the ‘splendid, noble, predatory beast’, as Hitler called the New German, will carry the day.)
Yet others advocate a world where there are no laws, no government – anarcho/Libertarianism (a morally and politically bankrupt philosophy which time has also come and gone.)
The voices of sanity are thin on the ground. However, there’s a sixth scenario which really ought to be explored – that of the dissolution of the United States after the failure of its government to resolve the issues in front of us.
America has been in the process of socially and geographically stratifying itself for the past fifty years. This process is complex, but boils down to internal and external migration patterns (from the first waves of immigrants in the 17th and 18th centuries to the internal migrations at various points in our history thereafter). Today, the country is really between six and ten separate ‘social regions’, each with some very distinct values.
We can look at the Balkan countries after the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself, for our archetype here (hence, the term ‘Balkanization’). The causes are too complex for a comment – it’s an article in and of itself – but I’ll posit that this appears to be the most likely scenario – the failure of the U.S. government, probably on a financial level, followed by regions of the country finally declaring independence and solving those problems on a local level, more reflective of regional values.
“There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history….Either you are a rebel or a slave,” said Chris Hedges recently. I stood five feet from the man and heard him say that in the plaza in Washington not long ago. He’s right.
While I wish everyone the best in creating peaceful change, I’m doubful of its success. The system is broken. On the one hand, the elites will do everything they can to continue plundering America. On the other hand are those who connected the dots and figured it out.
What happens next is up to us.
Yes, I realize that about the government. I meant mire of the body that allows the government power-The Individuals. We talk as if we have none and are left with needing to work with what we have. There is choice. We just have to be willing to pay the cost, which is where most brave words unravel.
I don’t think any system would work as long as people are the way they currently are. Fighting over scraps.
Maybe we should look to the peoples of the Amazon rainforest.
They’ve been living in harmony with their environment for thousands of years.
Maybe we should take a look at any other creature living on this planet.
Everyone is doing better than we are. The domesticated man.
@W.D. I happen to agree with you on the “6th choice” we are too big and too varied by region. We did not plan for all oh this at the beginning, we planned for some eastern seaboard states. All of this is a giant universal fluke. The fairly peaceable (if you aren’t a Native American) aquisition of territories and the hugeness of our nation is unprecedented. We may be better of overall splitting regionally. I’ve been thinking it was going to be inevitable since Ann Richards lost to Bush in Texas all those years ago. At this point I cannot see this happening peaceably. But it certainly would be a workable answer and a better one than most.
I think the point that seems to bypass everyone is that this problem may not have a solution at all.
Does anyone really believe that things are going to get better? Seriously?
@sh- I sincerely believe that things can get better.
I also sincerely believe people work against their own self interest for inexplicable reasons.
It’s a conundrum.
[Quote=sh]I think the point that seems to bypass everyone is that this problem may not have a solution at all.
Does anyone really believe that things are going to get better? Seriously?[/quote]
Only the total destruction of the present order will yield so much as the *chance* for the common man to start over again – anything short of that won’t achieve anything…
The truth is that the majority of people don’t even know there is a problem.
These occupy people claim they are the 99%. If that is true then there should be 300 million people on the streets of America, protesting.
The fact of the matter is that most people are just struggling to cope with their circumstances. They can’t afford the luxury of questioning those circumstances.
In this part of the world, everyone is going about their business as usual. They simply don’t know that things could be better, because these current conditions are all they have ever known.
Grainne, I would love to see this happen as a peaceful revolution. As Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I) said so many centuries ago, “I detest wars. They have uncertain outcomes.”
On reflection, Auden, I suppose, was right: “Accurate scholarship can
unearth the whole offence/That has driven a culture mad;/What huge Imago made/A psychopathic god:
I and the public know/What all schoolchildren learn,/Those to whom is evil done/Do evil in return.”
Everything we needed to know about life, we really did (or should) have learned in kindergarten.
Winston Churchill once said that democracy was a poor form of government, but all the others were so much worse; the main complaint of die-hard socialists is that pure socialism was never implemented in the world – and I’m now of the belief that where we came close, we never implemented a pure form of democracy, either.
Regardless, the system is broken. What happens next is not only up to us – it’s the only thing which really matters now.