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.