The world has gone mad, and nobody can agree why. The Occupy Wall Street, or OWS, protests in New York keep growing, but despite massive media coverage, their grievances and demands remain unclear. Their website states vaguely that through nonviolent protest, this “leaderless resistance movement” refuses to tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1% of very rich Americans at the expense of the other 99%.
The two most common problems OWS cites are rising unemployment, and that 1% of Americans control 40% of the nation’s wealth and 50% of its stocks and bonds. These richer-than-rich are inextricably linked to industries like Finance, Big Pharma, and Banking that:
- Donate excessive cash to politicians who “regulate” them
- Block renewable energy and inexpensive, generic drugs (“Pay to Delay”)
- Accept taxpayer bailouts, then award large bonuses to CEOs
- Outsource jobs to off-shore destinations
The general consensus is that our political representatives consciously and deliberately looked the other way. OWS feels the political system exploits them for votes and then refuses to serve their needs. They are determined to make the federal government redress their grievances. This is probably their key difference with the Tea Party, who has arrived at the point of telling the federal government to shove it.
The Tea Party took off in 2009, rallying against government spending. A large percentage – maybe even the majority – of Americans were opposed to bailouts, but their concerns were shoved aside, and $700 billion dollars in taxpayer funds eased the suffering of the “too big to fail” banks that gave us the subprime mortgage crisis. The obscene executive bonuses and healthcare reform legislation that followed only added to the rage, and out of this snowball came Tea. Then Republicans pounced on the movement and co-opted it, bringing its significance to a screeching halt. Progressive blogger David Swanson sees a pattern. He is disgusted with Democratic Party operatives who are attempting to make OWS the “anti-Tea Party”, whose duty it is to elect Democrats.
We should unite under the banner of our common goals. There are extremists in the Tea Party and OWS. It’s easy to be turned off by them, especially since they are quick to begin name-calling and other divisive tactics. It’s important to squash them because if they turn enough people off, nothing will get accomplished.
Whether you think American complacency is responsible for the miserable state of affairs, or Evil Corporations, or an Overreaching Government, almost everyone will agree with one thing: leaving it as-is will only generate more of the same. Let’s achieve these common goals first.
- Investigate/ prosecute white collar criminals who caused the financial crisis
- Campaign finance reform
- End the wars/cut military spending
- End the Federal Reserve!
- Stop the bailouts/corporate welfare
- Free and equal public airtime for all candidates to campaign
- Limit lobbyist influence
- Fair corporate taxation: close loop holes and tax outsourcing
Afterwards, there will be plenty of time to address the other issues. We don’t have to march in lockstep. We just need to surge forward.