OCCUPY WALL STREET
Moralist 99 Column:
MY TWO MESSAGES
I just want to put my ideas out there, say what I have to say, and hope I have an influence for the good. I have to try to save the world, and this seems to be what’s required.
I have taken on the role of Resistance Propagandist, out of concern for humanity and the Earth. I am encouraging grass-roots resistance to the megacorporate agenda, and political action on corporate reform, for stronger regulatory and anti-trust enforcement, as well as equal justice for financial criminals. When the interests of the powerful become antithetical to the interests of nearly everyone else, a democratically-elected government must act in the public interest, to end the abuses, and restore the commonwealth to a healthy condition.
Along with humanitarian objections to injustice, I advocate remembering to be kind, compassionate, and cooperative. That’s my “Two Messages” agenda, and nothing can persuade me from it.
Conflict mode is paradoxical. I get that. One some level, I am advocating opposition, and resistance, which is conflict, in a sense. I believe that citizens should object to perceived injustice, and when powerful interests continue abuses, we should howl, loudly. These fat-cat bullies need to be made to understand, that when the most powerful mega-corporate operators stomp on the rights of a lot of people, and do a lot of damage, out of sheer, rapacious greed, we are going to yell, “Ouch!” and “Stop That!” The epidemic of unethical behavior by giant corporations and financial manipulators is a trend that needs to be addressed, vigorously, before it's too late. We see bad effects, disturbing trends, and prospects for very dark outcomes, if changes are not made in time. Remedial action is necessary.
Establishment politicians in service of the wealthy and business classes often use fear-mongering propaganda, to their discredit. I don’t want to go too deep into that arena. Whatever doomsday scenario there may be, looming, we all have to live with it. I believe everyone needs to take a breath and look at what we need to do, practically, to fix the world’s problems. It requires putting a stop to certain unethical practices and abuses of power by giant corporate/financial interests.
“Name one problem the world faces today, NOT caused by big corporate greed. I can’t think of any. Can you?” How to solve the world’s problems: demand ethical reform in corporate America. Bring to light all the abuses, and voice our objections, and educate the powerful to the nature of their crimes. We have to make them stop. They’ve exceeded the limits. We must make them understand that with great power comes great responsibility (I know, that’s from Spiderman).
Greed drives unethical behavior. It is damaging to everyone but the profiteer. Global warming, and/or detrimental climate changes, for example, are from industrial, chemical pollutants damaging the atmosphere and the biosphere. Letting it happen is more profitable than preventing it.
Monsanto is forcing harmful, genetically-engineered “Franken-foods” on us while fighting labeling, politically, and monopolizing the world’s seed supply, and food supply chain, forcing farmers to stop replanting seeds with GMO patent enforcements, with a private police apparatus. They hide, cover up or refute the studies that show how GMO corn causes tumors in lab rats and has no real nutritional value. Their herbicides and pesticides, and those of Bayer and other big-pharma/chemical giants, are poisoning the bees, and every other living thing out there. There is no glimmer of human consideration, decency or restraint indicated by the corporate decision makers in such actions. Society must step in.
I feel the rich and powerful need to be made aware, and great numbers of citizens need to be made aware, that there is public outrage, necessitating a movement to protect the public interest. Big corporate abuses of the environment, and other damage to the human community out of greed must be stopped by the government, by political means, in the name of public interest. Concomitant with that, it is also necessary to try to influence a more humane and just ethos, not just in corporate board rooms and executive suites, but everywhere.
Corporatist Thinking: “We’re just here to make a profit for the ownership, and we don’t care about anything else.”
Well, you should. Maximizing profit can’t be the ONLY deciding factor. Good profits can still be made under fair and ethical rules of commerce, guided by high ethical standards, and consideration for human communities affected by corporate decisions. Labor practices don’t have to be exploitive and mean-spirited. It’s not a necessary part of doing business. Ethics, gentlemen, ethics!
Big Corporate Operators / Financial Magnates: SIGN the PLEDGE!
"We will make all reasonable effort to avoid doing harm to the human community and the biosphere in the pursuit of profit, or increases thereof. We recognize that the Profit Motive must not be the sole determinant of our actions, and does not excuse inhumane, improper or dishonest behavior. It does not excuse doing harm to those whose loss is our gain. We will not be indifferent to the public interest, nor act to its detriment, to enrich ourselves and our associates by ignoring ethical considerations.
"We will institute higher standards of corporate ethics, and demand all executives follow guidelines to assure that fair and ethical treatment of all human communities associated with our activities, or which are affected by those actions and policies. Callous and negligent profiteering behavior expressed in dealings with persons or communities affected by our actions, shall not be tolerated."
Line up the pens, boys! Sign the pledge. Who goes first? Oh, I know. Monsanto. And Exxon. And Halliburton! The Koch Brothers get a brass and mahogany plaque with the pledge engraved on it...
REV. May 7, 2013
It’s a term that applies, by default, because of what companies like Monsanto and Dow and all the chemical companies producing herbicides, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals. Who sets the standards—and the limits—for their use? Big agribusiness believes in these solutions, because they are part of a profit-generating cycle. The independent farmers we have left depend on them, too. If they sell to big food distribution companies, are they allowed to produce for a mass consumer market, using all those chemicals? Or is it demanded of them, by corporate buyers? How much choice do they, or we, as Americans who need to eat, have about the matter?
We (our aggregate society) are not just poisoning the planet, we’re poisoning ourselves. If the bees all die off from nicotinoid pesticides, there goes the food supply. Pollination will be diminished so greatly that a large die-off of plant species is possible.
Yet the knowledge exists to institute ecological engineering, an alternative to heavy doses of chemicals in the environment. Advances in scientific understanding of ecological systems makes it possible to introduce elements that encourage syntropy and regain balance between plants (including food plants), insects, birds, prey species and predators. Monoculture is such a damaging, death-making system, to begin with. The chemicals make it so much worse. Nature in balance is not such a goofy, wildlife special, sentimental pipe dream. It’s necessary to our survival, especially now. It’s an idea people need to get behind. There are ecological solutions to managing life as an interrelated web of interacting species, without just killing everything off we think we don’t like.
I’ve been thinking of describing Monsanto as the world’s most evil corporation, but I’m not sure that’s true. Hall of Shame, certainly. One of the very worst, for sure. And they can rationalize everything they do by talking about all the benefits and the economic success they bring. It makes perfect sense to them. They seem to have no clue as to how we see them. As the Ole Perfesser sez, “Skullduggery!!!”
I feel grateful that a lot of people are paying attention to the damage they do, and the threat they pose by their attempts to monopolize the world’s food supply. I’m sure some company spokesman would deny that’s what they’re up to, but by all reports, it is what they are actually doing. The trend is pretty clear. The food supply and how it is produced and distributed, and how that affects public health, is going to be one of the most crucial issues we humans face in the next few years.
They are pushing dangerous, insufficiently tested and virtually unregulated genetically-modified organisms into a huge portion of the food supply, because they can. Then they fight the idea that food products carrying GMO alterations at the molecular level ought to be labeled, so people have a choice not to eat such foods, and prefer to avoid them out of health concerns. And yet they seem entirely clueless as to why anyone should object to that.
There is no ethical sensibility at work here, even if they have perfectly reasonable-sounding arguments as to why we should let them get away with it. A death-merchant pesticide company should not be controlling the food supply to a huge portion of the American citizenry, and forcing genetic mutations we don’t think are safe down our throats.
April 19, 2013
99percentforum.org – 2013 Version
This is a very simple web site, so, on appearances, you might not take it seriously. Very little time has been spent on design or bells and whistles. It is a one-person forum. Entirely. There is no budget. There is no money. It is not a business, or even an organization. It’s one writer. Sorry, it’s all I’ve got.
I started it to contribute my commentary after the birth of the Occupy Movement. I supported the protests, because they were saying the things that needed to be said, that America and the world needed to hear, at this point in human history.
America of such great promise has gone astray, and is being held hostage by the new robber barons, the giant corporate entities, a monopolistic network I call MEGACORP. These are the evil rich, not deemed evil because of the simple fact of great wealth, but because of the horrifying lengths these scoundrels and pirates will go to in order to gain even more wealth and power and control of the world’s resources, squeezing the rest of us into pens like cattle, limiting our choices, and consumerizing our cultures.
[ CONSUMERIZING? “We’ll feed you what makes us money to feed you.” Junk food is profitable. Mass-produced packaged foods with less and less nutrition, made at cheaper and cheaper costs, while prices increase; that’s how food is being brought to most American consumers now. We don’t have time for real food, or cooking. Everything’s quick, convenient, and exciting, advertised with glossy photos that don’t really look like the actual food you get at all. The food industry knows nothing about health, and the health industry appears to know nothing about food. No wonder obesity and diabetes are epidemic, as are many nutrition-related illnesses. My point is, the food industry is dominated by the big corporate players, and they don’t care about nutrition at all, they care about money. They don’t care about you. That’s just one example. The relationship that MegaCorp has with employees, with consumers, and with the environment, is purely exploitive. It’s a problem all over. And it’s getting worse.]
Obviously, I tend to dramatize. I have my own, writerly way of wielding words to express my views. I would call the misbehavior of the mega-corporate operatives, “dastardly skullduggery.” That’s a very archaic term, but it has the force of great indignation, on the part of an incensed defender of moral order. Our indignation must be loud and forceful, because it’s all we have. They have the wealth, the economic power, the propaganda campaign budgets, the bought-off senators and congressmen, the bought-off Supreme Court judges, and Fox News.
We have our outrage, and MSNBC and Current TV. There are those who are for the people, for the downtrodden and the ordinary Joe, and the workers and the middle-class merchants and small-business people, and even the local-community-based rich people. And then there are those who are aligned with the ruthless overlords, in the mistaken belief that their own interests and those of the top wheeler dealers are intrinsically allied. They do not see that the line between the haves and the have-nots, the owners and the workers, the conservatives and the liberals, has moved all the way to the 99% point.
The interests of MEGACORP, the monopolist conspiracy, and the Rest of Us (literally 99% of the population) are now that significantly, diametrically-opposed, on a tremendous scale. What’s good for the “broad masses” and what’s good for the rich has been turned into the true political divide.
In the recent election, I went entirely to the Democrats, even though they haven’t taken on the mega-corporate elite as directly and forcefully as many of us believe they should. But the most liberal Democrats, like Elizabeth Warren, and the independent Bernie Sanders, have been saying a lot of the things that need to be said, unapologetically pointing out the hypocrisies of the right-wing agenda.
We need to continue to hammer at corporate misbehavior and all violations of human rights, true democracy and personal liberties. I want to believe we are entering a new age of peace and cooperation among human beings. With the democratization of communications technology and the possibility of instant communication among large numbers of free-thinking people, a humanity-based, worldwide movement to treat every human being with dignity and respect could progress.
But we cannot avoid the conflict scenario that still exists, because it is being imposed on us. Class warfare has always been with us, except in times when the socio-economic system was in balance, and each generation at every economic level had increasing standards of living.
The win-win scenario is possible in most situations, but is not always looked for. Zero-sum-game thinking drives the greed and grab of those with “shiny metal madness,” the neurosis of unquenchable acquisitiveness. Wise businessmen know how to treat their labor force, and their customers, and allow everyone to come out ahead to some fair and reasonable extent. There are a lot of smart businessmen who are not wise, however, and they can sometimes be selfish, greedy, and ruthless, without quite being conscious of it. They can justify everything they do, to themselves, their friends, and their political cronies. But their hearts are in the wrong place.
What to do about an enemy who outweighs you by a million pounds? Who won’t hear you when you try to explain to him that what he’s doing to others is wrong? Who simply imposes his will, because he can?
I don’t have an answer to that. How he can be opposed, effectively, and at the same time, without the use of evil means, ourselves, I am not certain. But messages of ethical values and the rights of humanity are part of the fight, somehow, I’m sure of it. I wish no harm upon anyone, and there are good people among the ultra-wealthy, too. We can’t fight the bad guys in any literal sense. But we can change the culture, both ours, and theirs, with moral courage and determined effort. PEACE /da
Jan. 1, 2013
Real Morality vs. Robber Baron Mentality
I believe in morality. Not the kind espoused by preachy religious zealots, but the kind based on simple human respect, the recognition of the rights of others to be free of abuse and exploitation. Doing the right thing means doing no harm to people. It means behaving in a way that shows reasonable human compassion instead of indifference to the suffering and losses of others. Greed-driven behavior that victimizes, with disregard to the suffering or losses imposed, is immoral.
By this standard, the billionaire class in this country (and internationally, for that matter) is immoral, and in some respects, downright criminal. The one percent have shown not just callous indifference to the suffering of their victims, but are involved in an active conspiracy to take over the economic system and the government of the United States, to diminish its capacity to regulate and limit their power to abuse and exploit. This behavior distinguishes the robber-baron archetype. It’s evil.
The lie-filled political propaganda coming from super-PACs is only the tip of the iceberg. The level of corruption and manipulation they are now bringing to the political process is unprecedented. The super-rich, the giant corporations, big capital, big finance, and the radical right have swindled us out of our diverse, multi-layered economy, and now want to use the power of their wealth in order to institute an oligarchic, anti-democratic system that will allow them to profit at any cost to the rest of us, and trample our rights with impunity. They own a majority on the Supreme Court. They own the national leadership of the Republican Party, and a few of the Democrats as well. Any semblance of Democracy is being lost. Human rights and individual liberties are threatened. The big polluters are even threatening life on this planet, as a whole, for short-term gains. It’s madness.
This is not an argument against capitalism or even the profit motive. Everyone is in business to make money, and it’s a competitive world. But in a country like the United States, where human rights and justice are paramount, there have to be mitigating rules that are part of the decision-making process, in addition to the profit motive. Profit-making alone, with callous indifference, or predatory, intentional abuse and victimization of others, is equivalent to piracy. It is inherently immoral, and often illegal.
That indifference, or intentional abuses of the rights of others, is the difference between legitimate profit-seeking and sheer greed. And greed is the driver in all these political machinations we’ve witnessed in recent years. Wealth and power without conscience cannot be allowed to take over this country. That’s what they’re trying to do. They are trying to reach such a degree of power that they will be able to keep government (on behalf of the rest of us) from limiting their ability to do whatever the hell they want, just out of greed, without having to answer for crimes and abuses.
The head conspirators among the billionaire class, and their radical right-wing minions, are traitors to America. They are immoral. They are the enemy of the rest of us. They’ll do anything to seize power, and they’re doing it right in front of our eyes. Yet somehow, half the country believes their lies and propaganda, and will support the Republican ticket, and rubber-stamp their agenda. They have no idea what they’re really signing up for.
Oct. 31, 2012
The Business Community's Self-Betrayal
I am often surprised that more people are not thoroughly outraged by the immoral and unethical conduct of the giant corporations. I am also surprised that the general demographic known as “the business community” are, generally speaking, loyal to and supportive of an agenda that is, in many ways, antithetical to their own interests. They do not seem to realize that for the most part, the way the largest corporations and the big financiers operate is generally detrimental to most Americans, including anyone associated with businesses smaller than “mega corporate” size.
The politics of deregulation and smaller, less effective government are driven by propaganda generated by the mega-corporate interests, a.k.a. the super-rich 1%. It is fundamentally dishonest. Their willingness to lie and deceive is indicative of a sociopathic mindset. They don’t care, apparently, that the effects of big money being used to corrupt politicians and cripple government, particularly in terms of regulation of business practices, enforcement of anti-trust, and taxation, is destructive to the American way of life, to humanity and life on this planet, on so many levels.
How businessmen at every level, from small, local business owners to the ownership and executives of mid-sized companies, can support such dishonest and destructive behavior by the “giants” is beyond comprehension, because they are not being served well by it at all. The trend toward consolidation and monopolism has driven many smaller and mid-sized companies out of business, to the detriment of communities throughout the country. Unfair competition and dirty dealing has done a lot of that damage. Many companies have simply been bought out, and either closed down, just to eliminate competition, or dismantled and sold off, piece by piece. Even when they have been “absorbed” into a larger conglomerate and retained some semblance of an identity, large numbers of jobs have been eliminated, and ties to local communities of workers, families, vendors and suppliers, have been lost.
Soon, giant corporations are going to own everything; every business, every brand. They will be less and less concerned with local community relations, or the well-being of workers who depend on them for employment. There will be tiny, struggling, local entrepreneurs, exemplified by second-hand furniture stores in run-down neighborhoods, and there will be MEGACORP, the monopoly, running almost everything else from some distant, national headquarters, oblivious to how our lives and our livelihoods are being trampled under the jackboots of a Fascist system.
The old America was built from the ground up, at the local level, and grew into bigger and bigger towns and cities, where an economy could grow and grow. It’s becoming a top-down system, dictated and controlled by the very richest few, and the biggest, most predatory and voracious corporate monopolies. Anti-trust has failed us, and America’s foundations have been torn from under us, as the national giant conglomerates loom over us, uncaring, sucking the life-blood from our veins.
Giant corporations, especially big energy (oil, gas, coal etc.) and irresponsible industrial practices are ruining the planet, poisoning the air and the water, contributing to global warming, which is melting the polar ice caps, changing the temperature, acidity and salinity of the oceans, which affects the global currents that control weather and climate. If that’s not bad enough for us to call a halt to the giant-corporate system, I don’t know what will be. But a host of other problems and threats to our way of life can also be laid at the feet of these monsters, as well.
And when the small and mid-sized companies are all gone, and we have a new feudal system, run by a super-rich few exploiting the rest of us, it will be too late for the “business community” to realize how foolish they’ve been in supporting the political machinations of the 1% giants. It is a betrayal to the history of this great nation, to the American people, and to the future of humanity, all for short-term profit, from pure, mindless, heartless greed.
Somehow, sadly, they can’t see it for monumental fraud it is. Their anti-tax and anti-regulatory sentiments are being exploited, politically, to keep them allied with their own worst enemies.
Sept. 18, 2012
The Clear Political Choice for Voters
Far too few of us are cognizant that the very largest and most powerful corporations are creating a mega-corporate monopoly that has been very bad for the economy. They killed and exported vast numbers of American jobs just to boost short-term profit numbers a fraction, and also bought up and dismantled thousands of smaller companies to eliminate competition.
Fewer, bigger corporations are a disastrous trend, and the more power they have, the less they seem to care about the consequences of their actions and policies on the people of this country. High unemployment gives them more power to under-pay and over-work a smaller workforce, so they're fat & happy when job numbers are terrible. And their ethical standards are extremely low.
They abuse customers with fraud and false advertising; they treat employees worse and worse; they shut down companies they've bought, not because they're losing money, but because profits aren't high enough to satisfy their greed. They can take tax breaks on losses and sell off those businesses, piece by piece, leaving communities devastated in their wake. Do they care? No.
They're building corporate prisons to fill up with inmates they can profit from, and lobbying judges and prosecutors to incarcerate more people. The super-rich, mega-corporate elite is corrupting government and buying elections now. If this stuff doesn't frighten you, it should. It’s a formula for a mega-corporate police state, with freedom for the richest few, and enslavement for the rest of us.
This isn't anti-capitalism or anti-corporatism; it's a protest against real injustice, in defense of the American way of life. And the sad thing is, we could have a healthy business environment in this country, without the heartless, cut-throat, runaway monopolism wrecking a good system. Fewer and fewer, larger and larger, richer and richer giant corporations cannot be allowed to take over and run everything, own every industry, every brand, and every sector of the economy. It’s an evil trend that bodes ill for the entire world.
So, voting against the interests of the super-rich corporate robber barons is a simple thing. Which party do they actually own and run? Which candidate is their puppet who won't fight for us? And which party fights for the workers and the minorities and the rest of us, not-filthy-rich, ordinary Americans? Whose fault is it too many Americans still don’t have jobs? A President who has done all he could, or the opposition party that blocked the jobs bill? How about the big corporations that killed so many jobs and wrecked the economy? And which candidate do THEY support? Which party wants to give them even more power, and give tax cuts to the rich while raising taxes for the rest of us AND gutting Medicare?
Why would anyone vote for candidates who won’t tell you want they plan to do or how they plan to do it, who have no figures that show basic arithmetic skills? Who have no real ideas, just euphemistic misrepresentations of what the other side stands for? Who give us nothing but platitudes, posturing, and blatant lies? Who would vote for a party that intentionally blocked every effort the President has made to get the economy moving, so they could blame HIM for the less-than-stellar recovery so far?
Yet millions of people WILL vote for the phony, lying, brainless bastards, not because it’s logical, well-reasoned, or right, but because so many of them are bigots voting their visceral hatred, and the rest are gullible and ill-informed, and have believed right-wing lies and distortions from the propagandists on Fox News. They are very afraid of Obama, when they should really fear the puppet masters controlling the Republican Party.
Sept. 8, 2012
The Change We Want from the 1%
Who am I to speak for the 99%? The reason I have the gall to write this self-appointed forum column is that I really AM trying to speak to the benefit of all the rest of us, after the richest 1% mega-corporate oligarch conspiracy that threatens us all. Oh, do I sound paranoid? “Son, if you ain’t paranoid, you ain’t paying attention.”
I really do have a universally humane attitude toward other human beings. I wish them all well. I’m pretty tolerant. Of course I don’t approve of everything everyone does, I don’t even like everybody, but I still have a determination to be loyal to the human race. All of us. My thoughts return to peace activism and a world culture of constructive cooperation, even knowing such ideals are impossible to attain.
The people who care about other people, are under duress, suffering at the hands of people who don’t.
I cannot overstate my alarm at the villainy, the cold-hearted ruthlessness, the treachery and of a certain class of pirate who throws money around like bullets and bombs, and make things happen for profit that otherwise destroy the lives of others. They create a victim class. And they are liable.
There is a culpability in their deceit, and their unwillingness to participate fairly in the real free enterprise system. I feel sorry for them, because they don’t realize the damage they’re doing to the world, the Earth, the people, the rest of us. And they don’t care.
I still care about each human being and wish them no personal harm, but there is such a thing as justice, and karma catches up with you. The people responsible for big-corporate abuses have miscalculated. There is still enough alternative media available to whistle-blowers and watchdogs and ordinary citizens who are fed up and vigilant. What they are doing is being made public. And they are being called accountable. They’ve earned the level of criticism and disapprobation coming at them, by their own behavior. Those who have broken anti-trust, FTC, SEC, EPA and labor laws must be prosecuted. They can’t hide behind money forever. Or can they? At the rate they seem to be taking over everything, including the government, now that they can buy elections, who knows.
There will be plenty that they get away with. But the major abuses have to be stopped.
I am angry at the level of callousness that modern corporations and the very rich, very powerful men who run them seem to show at every turn. They are ungenerous to a fault. They pursue profit, oblivious to any obligation to trade in good faith. They disregard the obligations of ordinary citizenship. They abandon common decency in their failure to practice humane restraint. And it’s unacceptable.
I don’t want to fight them. I want them to change.
Sept. 7, 2012
The Truth About Class Warfare
The rich may complain that our criticism of the wealthiest 1% corporate elite is class warfare, that we are being hateful toward our fellow American citizens, perhaps out of envy and spite. The purpose of such claims is to deflect criticism of their bad behavior, and divert attention from the real issues at stake in the current political struggle. The rich are not victims, but oppressors.
The truth is, you can love an unruly teenager, for example, with all your heart. You may say to that child, I love you and care about you and want what’s best for you. I want you to succeed and be happy. But if you behave badly, I won’t withhold criticism of what you’ve done. It’s not out of ill will toward you, but there are complaints about how badly you’ve behaved, and so it’s necessary to give you this feedback, so you can correct the behavior that’s causing anguish and heartache to those around you.
To borrow an unfortunate phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
We who criticize are reminding the wealthiest and most powerful: You are a member of a family, and a community, and a citizen of a good and great nation. There are standards we all must live up to. You cannot do harm to all of us, with impunity, excused solely by the profit motive and your freedom to do what you want. There is a social contract, regardless of your denials of responsibility for unintended results of your actions. There are rules and laws governing the treatment of other human beings. If you cannot see fit to follow the rules, then we must find ways to persuade you, under the law, to protect the public from the abuse of wealth, privilege and power.
If there is class warfare in this country today, it is being waged from the top down. It is a threat to the economy, to the detriment of the middle class and the poor. We’re asking for better behavior. We’re asking for recognition of the social contract, and of your responsibility to the rest of us, to participate in the system and benefit from it fairly, without doing harm to workers, communities, families, and to our system of government, to democracy itself, out of unmitigated greed and callousness.
Despite the expensive propaganda campaigns and self-righteous posing, we see what you are doing, and we are objecting to it. There is anger, but no hate, no malice in that. The longer you wait to heed this call for ethical reform, the louder and more insistent our objections will become.
The rich are spending more on anti-tax propaganda campaigns and buying off politicians and rigging elections than they would if they just paid the taxes in the first place.
Dec. 22, 2012
Partisanship and the Occupy Nation
"The worst thing we could do right now is make Occupy Wall Street into a small 'radicals only' space. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing large membership institutions, including labor unions, national advocacy organizations, community organizations, and faith communities. Radicals never have and never will have sufficient numbers to go it alone. We have to muster the courage and smarts to be able to help forge and maintain alliances that we can influence but cannot fully control. That’s the nature of a broad populist alignment." -- Jonathan Matthew Smucker
I had to share this quote, it's so well-stated. I couldn't agree more. I don't feel that non-partisanship is some inviolable directive from God for Occupy radicals or 99 percenters. It's crucial that we make an alliance with progressives. They are mostly Democrats. Getting the Dems to adopt a more adamant tone about resisting the corporate oligarchists should be one of our goals. We want them to adopt our ideology and our message, and get serious about fighting back.
Not voting against Romney-Ryan would be a form of surrender to the nightmare future of the mega-corporate police state. Of COURSE we're "partisan." The fighters in resistance movements have historically been called "partisans." We choose to fight an evil that is imposing its will. We are the resistance. We have a cause, and an enemy. That IS partisan.
I hope this clarifies why I'm flacking for Obama, in spite of my own complaints about his handling of certain issues. When the lesser of two evils is obviously a better choice, and the greater of the two evils is obviously a hundred times worse, you fight the greater evil any way you can. Refusing to make an alliance with the Democrats may have ideological purity to some people, and it's their right to believe it, say it, espouse it. But at this time in history, it plays into the hands of the enemy to let Republicans win the election.
August 31, 2012
Taking Over the Democrats' Agenda
The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to me for the Occupy movement and a coalition of progressive organizations to try to take over the Democratic Party platform. The old-line Democrats have no real ideas, and they need to get on board with the real opposition to the right-wing, super-wealthy 1% conspiracy to monopolize everything and seize complete control.
Obviously, the Republicans are their bitches. They own Mitt Romney, and the entire Republican leadership. They’ve had far too much influence over the Democrats, too, but the Dems have a much more humanist, pro-democracy, pro-labor ideological base. We could make them understand.
It’s not about letting them co-opt the movement for their own ends, but using our combined strength to make them see that we are the true voice of the people, and our resistance is the only way out of the futuristic, police-state nightmare the 1% has in store for us. We already have enough numbers for a truly massive third party, if we wanted to go that route. It’s far too late for the upcoming elections, of course. But we have to put pressure on the Democrats as soon as possible.
If we just make a lot of noise, and do nothing, politically, what good are we?
I get a lot of Facebook posts and emails from Occupy-friendly progressive organizations. There are quite a few of them, actually. If we could get them all linked up and hammering at the Democrats with one voice, we could actually accomplish something, if it’s only a nudge.
When you’re trying to avoid an on-coming train that could kill you, a nudge can be just enough.
August 3, 2012
A Politically Effective Alliance Needed
I keep getting more and more invested in the idea that we need a new progressive alliance to oppose the tyranny of the 1% oligarchy of wealth and power that has been trying to take over everything.
There is actually an organization called the New Progressive Alliance. It seems to be an active political group, working toward forming a functioning third party that they hope can be effective against the Right, because they believe the Democrats have given up and are too compromised and corrupt to do so. They started with trying to challenge President Obama in the primaries. I don’t think that got very far. They have the right sort of idealism, well-spelled out in their platform. www.newprogs.org
But what I’m talking about is a more general, new progressive alliance (no capitals) that is not an organization in the formal sense, but a network of existing organizations that can communicate with each other, and perhaps begin to coordinate a shared campaign to oppose the Romney-Ryan camp, and the Koch Brothers, and the 1% mega-corporate agenda.
How many activist organizations are there already running that could and should be part of this? How many can we name? Let’s find out about them, how many members or supporters they have, who the leadership is. There are a number of key issues, protest points, and calls for change or resistance that we all share and agree on. Reverse Citizens United, for example. And plenty more.
Occupy Wall Street is the seminal movement, central to the cause. I have no idea of Occupy activists would call themselves “progressives,” but I can certainly see it. As proprietary as they made feel about the movement and the cause, they need to understand that a larger, broader movement has to come out of what they’ve started, for all this moral outrage to have any kind of political effect. Protest is great, it’s needed to awaken the citizenry to the dangers we face, the challenge, and the need for either strong reforms or outright revolution. Protest, expose the abuses, change the public dialogue, and motivate people to join us in a cause worth fighting for. Next step: organize.
We have allies. There are several progressive voices in Congress, especially Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a few others. Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz on MSNBC clearly get it, and are helping get the word out, despite the cluelessness of the majority of mainstream media.
I just think it would be really smart to compile a list of organizations and contacts, and have a lot of cross-talk on issues, plans, proposals, activities. We already share the same outlook on what the most pressing problems are, and our overall ideological framework is very consistent. I’d like to get representatives from all of them, and more, to show up at the Democratic National Convention and make a lot of noise to get the Dems to stand up for major corporate reform.
I can’t see a left-leaning third party ever being anything but a spoiler that hands elections to the Republicans by taking away Democrat votes. But a third-party-sized faction made up of Occupy activists and sympathizers, and other progressives opposed to the Republican-Corporate-Wealth machine, the religious fanatic right-wingers, the tea party dimwits, etc. could potentially become the new voice of the Democrat party, and greatly influence the platform and policy direction under the next Obama administration. If the Koch Brothers can own Romney, why can’t Occupy & the progressive alliance own Obama? It depends on how much political power we could actually demonstrate.
Here’s the beginning of a list of groups, organizations or web sites that should be in solidarity with one another. Most are on FaceBook, under these names.
OCCUPY WALL STREET: OccupyWallSt.org
DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA
ROOTS ACTION TEAM
COUNCIL FOR A LIVABLE WORLD
THE NEW PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE
SLAP BACK THE BULLY
More to come…
I’m an ideologist and propagandist, not a political operative. I don’t know anybody, and don’t have a grass-roots organization. But I can imagine what’s possible. This idea gives me hope.
If we don’t do something soon to solidify what we need to do, politically, that hope may be lost.
August 13, 2012
An Ethical Revolution in the Halls of Power
I am an independent social philosopher and essayist who believes that smart, reasonable people with humane values and a sense of fairness can use constructive cooperation to make our society livable for everyone in it. I have been in solidarity with the Occupy movement from its first weeks. I felt I understood it, saw it coming, wanted to see it happen.
The reason we have used the term, “We are the ninety-nine percent,” is that we share an outrage toward the rapaciousness and lack of ethical restraint of the mega-corporate elite we call “the one percent.” They are the very wealthiest, the most powerful men on the planet. And they play hard ball.
We are raising the alarm to alert the other ninety-nine-percent of us that evil deeds are being done that harm all of us, by super-rich corporate wheeler-dealer fat cats with the mentality of pirates, marauders, gangsters, megalomaniacs, and sociopaths. Greed is God to them. And they don’t care about the rest of us. They are, in fact, conspiring against our interests. A clearly-defined villain in the 1% is a focal point for a call to defend the interests of the other 99%, all victims of a grand swindle.
The main thing the Occupy/99% movement is about is calling attention to a wide range of things the corporate overlords are doing to take over the planet, and feudalize the world’s populace. We want everyone in the country to wake up to what’s being done to us, and by whom. We want an ethical revolution in business and government. We want a democracy responsive to human needs, not one that is co-opted by the ultra-rich for their own uses.
That’s the over-riding issue in our society, the class war. This wealth-and-power grab is unprecedented. We don’t have politicians now willing to stand up to the bastards and save the people from the imposition of a 1% oligarchic police state dressed up like Disneyland. They don’t even seem to understand that it’s happening.
July 17, 2012
I started this web site in October, 2011, because I couldn't find a forum site for the new movement that was operational. I'm just a writer; I still need tech help setting it up as a forum. Right now, 99percentforum.org is just a place to post my essays on the subject. Essays by other Occupy writers are welcome and encouraged, and can easily be sent by email. Any comments or contributions can be sent to email@example.com THANKS