A place for Catholics who don't find their Catholic identity in the standard definitions. "He drew a circle that shut me out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in." Edwin Markham
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Forget The Tea Party, "Occupy Wall Street" Is The Real Deal.
While the USCCB is asking American Catholics to join them in protecting their religious freedom to influence the federal government against gay marriage and mandatory birth control coverage, another movement inspired by Catholic and Christian thinkers like Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, is taking place across the country. This second movement is not a corporate financed diversion, like the Tea Party or the 'culture wars', it's a real deal. "Occupy Wall Street" is getting to the heart of the matter of what really threatens not just western civilization, but all of civilization. It's not gay marriage and it's not birth control. It's corporate oligarchy.
Back this spring when the Arab revolt was in full swing, our mainstream media and politicians of both parties were careful to spin this movement as a cry for democracy. The truth is it was a spontaneous uprising brought on by spiraling food costs and lack of hope for any meaningful employment for Arab youth. It was about the unequal distribution of national resources. It was about Arab leadership transferring national wealth to personal wealth, and with the direct involvement of Western banking and corporate interests. From Mubarak to Assad to Ghadaffi, they all have/had billions and billions of dollars of personal wealth, most of it 'redistributed' to themselves from their people. Here in the US though, our media made this uprising all about a subjugated people rallying for the freedom of democracy. There might be some truth to that meme, but I think Maslow's hierarchy of needs had more to do with it. In Maslow's scheme, actions motivated by food, shelter, and housing come way before actions motivated by thoughts of democracy. I have no doubt this message has not been lost on our American movers and shakers.
Chris Hedges has written a fabulous piece at Truth Dig about our American corporate oligarchy. It's worthy of Thomas Paine. OK it's a little over the top, but it's inspirational never the less. Here's one small quote from it that I think needs more elaboration as to why this is so:
"The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close.
The reason they want that money themselves is because it's the last big pot of money they can access without being forced to produce a tangible commodity. Most of our Western wealth is tied up in paper, not in production of tangible goods. Corporations are sitting on all their money, not investing in consumer goods or services, because there aren't enough consumers to justify expansion. When the consumer classes are shrinking by leaps and bounds, there isn't money to be made in serving their interests.
It should not be the least bit surprising that these interests have turned to Social Security, Medicare, or other services provided by the Government. Especially Social Security, because all of us have a significant portion of the wealth we have generated over our working lives invested in Social Security--- not in real estate, consumer goods, the stock market, or other investments. It makes perfect sense to try to convince the American people we don't want the government protecting (sitting on) those assets. Social Security is a big chunk of the wealth generated in America. It's the last real big chunk of wealth Wall Street can look towards given their own predatory policies have sucked other revenue streams dry. It's much easier to grab that chunk of revenue than actually reinvent your corporation or figure out another way to survive. It would be another huge transfer of wealth, and all of it on paper. No corporation would have to bother with building plants or hiring people. They would only have to spend money convincing Americans they would be a good investment for all that Social Security money. They are already doing that through lobbying and influence pedaling with our politicians---and their funding of the Tea Party and I suspect, some of our Catholic leadership.
I'll go out on a prophetic limb: "Occupy Wall Street" is the first step in completely diverting the 2012 political dialogue to something infinitely more meaningful than our corporate, political, and religious masters want. Real serious questions will be faced. Questions like how much force will the government use against it's own people in order to 'keep order'. Those of us who remember the Viet Nam and Civil Rights protest era know exactly how much force that can be--lethal force. That was well before the Patriot Act, and speaking of that particular act, there is now a bill in front of congress to give Homeland Security virtually blanket authority over all Federal lands in the West with in 100 miles of a national border. Read this article and really contemplate what this could mean, and then ask yourself if plans haven't been made well in advance to deal with a major uprising in the US.
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HR 1505 is quite the bill to allow for a secession of sorts, to allow the oligarchs the free reign to do as they please on so much land under the guise of border security with the lame excuse against all those people coming in with drugs or terrorist. They are playing the fear card over and over again like a broken record, for those old enough to remember what they were. It is the creation of a Frankenstein in my opinion that will only want more land to devour all its resources without regulation or accountability after they decimate the first 100 miles. After that, they'll want legislation for the next 100 miles, and so on and so on. As we know, the tactics of the corporate oligarchy-malarkey mean machine... have been to put people in government to do their law changing to fill their voracious, slothful, greedy bidding in the Supreme Court, Homeland Security, the Congress, the Presidency and who knows where else, for years and years.ReplyDelete
How much force will they use? They have already arrested a few hundred who were peacefully demonstrating and giving their voice against the madness of Wall Street. Some women were penned in a cage and pepper sprayed. Some were pushed down and no doubt were hurt - and these were unarmed US citizens rallying in the good old USA - the supposed "land of the free." I wish that the police would join the people who they are to serve and are paid by the people to protect us.
Also, if there is an uprising of the citizens of the USA along the 100 miles of border, HR1505 would give authority to the oligarchs to use lethal force, simply because the mindset, the purpose, the intent of the Bill is not to protect the people in those borders, it is to enslave those people at the borders to bullies who love to use force. This bill is an absolutists dream and the free-loving and life giving & apple pie nurturing spirits nightmare.ReplyDelete
The G8/G20 has been met by legal protest wherever it has met. The police have used the same sort of tactics to delegitimize peaceful protesters exercising their free speech and assembly rights. (See London, Chicago, Toronto etc.) Similarly the World Trade Organization has been met with protest. (See the Battle in Seattle) What do these have in common?
Whether it is Wall Street, the World Trade Organization or the G8/G20 they all are making super-governmental agreements that have not been approved by the democratic vote of the citizens in the countries affected. They are not open, transparent, legitimate democratic organizations. They work for the corporate oligarchy against the best interests of the common people. I seriously doubt any of their policies would be passed in a plebiscite.
However in the Catholic context we ask what would Jesus do? Kick the moneylenders out of the temple?
How do we as Christians view the obscene discrepancy between rich and poor in a world that should have a relatively flat income distribution? The skills, interests, and opportunities to make income should be distributed among the population much like any other human characteristic. Viewed as a graph it would resemble the classic bell curve with most of the observations near the middle. Instead we have an L-curve with billions of poor existing on a few dollars per day of income and a few rich taking a huge portion of the economic bounty. This is simply not sustainable. No gated community or private security force will be a match for an mob angry about injustice. Either capitalism changes, or the people will change it.
p2p - So true. It is "Live Free Or Die" again. They are asking for a Revolution.ReplyDelete
In addition, Obama owes GW Bush an apology, as far as Dick Cheney is concerned. It truly was not enough that Obama did what even Cheney or Bush did. Cheney wants more from Obama. Obama is going to be out of a job and so are those on the far right, unless Obama changes his tune which is a step dance with these fascists. I hope that the people in this country and other countries unite to stop these evil forces of anti-people war-mongers, defenders of fascist corporate oligarchs and killers of Democracy, free speech and the right to assemble. Here's the link to that story:
I do not expect good or even decent Church leadership in this upheaval of people asking for fair distribution of wealth and proper valuation of work and personal intellectual achievement. I believe that the opposite will be true. Just as we now must travel to Europe, China, or Brazil to get stem cell therapy the church does not have the insight of what is Christ-like action but is again supporting the status quo of their own leaders and their “infallible pronouncements.” No wonder the attendance of RCC Mass now nears 5% of the once Catholic Europe.ReplyDelete
We are back to early twentieth century ideas in many ways. There will be no choice for people but to revolt much in the way the people in the Soviet Union did when all the resources were controlled by so few and when so much of the governmental resources went for war products. In the Soviet Union the soldiers would not fire on their own people. It is worrisome in the US that an 1860's law making it a serious felony for troops to fire on the American public was repealed during the Bush Administration.
Then what will come after such uprisings? It is a dangerous time for all. I fear that the International business plutocracy has forgotten what happened to the French Aristocracy. If the soldiers fire on the American public, we will be in for a very long dangerous struggle. The Church will be on the side of the civil plutocracy. They will give some pretension of supporting the poor but will show true hypocrisy as they again support fascism. Authoritarian thought in the RCC is helpful to the civil plutocracy that is using this type of reasoning to “fight the class struggle.” We can thank the Church for not supporting authoritative and more democratic insights into government and to the sciences. Yes leadership is showing a very dark side of its own lack of humanity. These are not Christian men. dennis
I've maintained for sometime now that humanity is facing a much different sort of choice than it has in the past. It's no longer about spreading ideologies or exploiting others for material survival and then using denial and irrationality to justify treating others like impersonal bumps in one's personal road. The choice now is recognizing the fact we are all connected and we won't survive if we don't start leveling the economic distribution curve.ReplyDelete
Or, doing unto others as we would do for ourselves.
If soldiers should fire on the American public, it won't be like the Middle East. We have more guns in private hands in the US than we have people.
Send them Bishop Morlino.ReplyDelete
Oops, I suggest Morlino be sent to the US Air Force Academy, not to occupy Wall St.ReplyDelete
Given Morlino's blindness in agreeing to sit on the Board of Directors of the School of the America's--or whatever it's now called--he would not be in my top 1000 choices for the Air Force Academy.ReplyDelete
Oops, forgot the snark tags.ReplyDelete