Staying power of the occupy movement

| May 1, 2012 | 6 Replies

Charles P. Pierce, writing at Esquire:

If the Occupy people want to march, I say let them march. If they resist conventional politics, that may be because conventional politics are worth resisting. What I do know is that, if i weren’t for the people in the streets last autumn, the Obama people would be running a very different campaign and Willard Romney wouldn’t look half as ridiculous as he does.

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Category: Protests and Actions

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    I don’t doubt the staying power, but I do doubt that OWS hurts Mitt Romney. A left wing protest movement emerging during a time of Democratic control of most of the government would tend to be and indictment of the Democrats. And it’s not like we don’t have a historical parallel. How did the rise of left-wing activism benefit the Democrats in 1968? It didn’t. It was actually an incredible disaster electorally because it divided the Democratic Party and convinced the young voters that the system wasn’t worth participating in. And sure enough, young voters are turned off in 2012 and probably won’t turn out like they did in 2008. I’m not sure how young voters staying home and progressives being unsatisfied with the Democrats hurts Mitt Romney.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    In spite of the hard push to categorize the OWS and similar occupy movements as leftist/pinko/commie, the protests are super pro democracy. The point behind the Occupy movement is to bring attention to the fact that the entire political process in the USA is corrupted by copious amounts of campaign money. The occupiers are a cross section of middle class America. Many are college students, others are retirees, there are also a lot of war veterans as well as small business owners. Their message is clear, even if ignored by corporate media and politicians: In our current dollar democracy, 99 percent of the people have no voice in the creation of the laws that they are expected to abide by.

    Why this is is because the 99 percent don’t have the admission fee to have access to their representation. Basically our legislative process, from local levels all the way up to the Federal government is up for sale to the highest bidder, and the highest bidders are the corporate funded superpacs, policy institutes and corporate friendly charitable trusts.

    An item of note is, in order to discredit the Occupy movements, right wing activists groups have taken to the Internet in force, armed with staged interviews “Proving” the occupiers are “anty uhmurkin commie pinko hippies”. One truly laughable example features a woman who appears to be in her 60s but otherwise perfectly matches the TEA Party stereotype of a 60s “Flower child” style hippy proclaiming herself a communist. Another series of videos features James O’Keefe, dressed in a three piece suit and toting a briefcase, in a totally staged interview with an actor(oops, I mean occupier) being “secretly” videoed all the while. The O’Keefe video includes the weird synthetic background noise found in many of his videos.

    Yet the Occupiers keep returning, even as state and local lawmakers make not-so subtle laws to outlaw freedom of speech and equal access for all citizens to the legislative process.

    Occupy is the most visible push back to the corporate coup of America, but there are other less visible movements, such as the threat of coordinated boycotts of ALEC member corporations following the Trayvon Martin shooting.

    Of course there are still those who fall in lock-step with the corporatist agenda and may, if they get their way, who, in the future wake up to a reality where President CitiGroup signs a new required consumption mandate sponsored by Senator WalMart and Delaware representatives Apple and ATT requiring every American lease an Iphone with a 50 year service contract.

  3. Adam Herman says:

    It’s interesting because the Tea Party also thinks money is the problem. The money going out. So they got pork banned and are currently dismantling the corporate welfare state, starting with ethanol subsidies, and the Export-Import bank is next in line for elimination.

    The problem with money in campaigns is that you can’t solve that problem without running afoul of the 1st amendment. But since the Constitution already limits the government, that’s where our efforts should be focused. Limit what the government can do for campaign contributors.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Actually, Adam, the TEA party is lead by corporate freeloaders who have convinced a vocal minority that corporations pay too much in taxes, and that the regulation that help small business compete against national and multinational corporations are inherently evil. Basically, the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party is heavily sponsored by the same too big to fail banks, auto, and other industries. BTW, in March the GOP reversed their stance on banning earmarks (a.k.a. “pork”).

    Far from dismantling the corporate welfare state, the TEA part legislators are expanding it. Consider the push for expanding privatization of government services. Instead of money budgeted to a tightly controlled and publicly accountable group of civil servants, the same amount of taxpayer dollars is handed over to a private business, with less oversight and less accountability. I know several examples for my state (Tennessee).

    Several years ago, many states applied for Medicaid waiver programs, where the Medicaid was administered by the states. Tenn-care was Tennessee’s version. Tenn-care privatized Medicaid by contracting a large number of managed care providers across the state. The state staff overseeing the program was around 120 people statewide, because the lawmakers reasoned that the program needed little oversight. From it’s very beginning, Tenn-care had problems with fraudulent activities by the contracting businesses. I am personally aware of a company that raked in tons of money by subcontracting to it’s own subsidiaries and sister businesses without providing any services to the patients. In another case, the CEO of a contracting company embezzled over $500,000 and left the country.

    As far as the problem of money in campaigns goes, however, we had a solution with Glass Steagall until the Bush administration did away with it. The political algebra that equates money to free speech is bullsh*t in the Nth degree. Corporations only spend money when their leadership expects more more in return. When corporations spend millions to put a politician in office, it is with the unspoken understanding that the politician will work in the interest of the corporation, even if doing so betrays the majority of the politicians constituents..

    Take a serious look at some of the ALEC and you will find Businessmen turned politician, many with no legal experience whatsoever, with corporate patrons who have spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to flood the media with support for a candidate to an elected position that pays around $20,000 per year. The politician need not be corrupt, he only needs to be totally brainwashed into believing the financial interests of his corporate sponsors are aligned with the needs of his constituents.

  5. Adam Herman says:

    Problem is, that’s often true. Wouldn’t Michigan politicians be accusing of political malpractice if they didn’t represent GM? Wouldn’t it be foolish for Washington politicians to not do Boeing’s bidding?

    I agree with you on privatization of government services, that tends to just cost more money without any increases in quality. And yes, that’s going on at the state level. But at the federal level, the Tea Party has been reformist and has cut corporate welfare and cut earmarks sharply. And if they win their battle on the Ex-Im Bank, corporate welfare costs will fall sharply. Ex-Im is the largest single corporate welfare program in the federal government.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,

    Guess again,
    At all levels, the TEA party representatives have been obstructionists. Especially at the Federal level, where after swearing an oath to represent their constituency, many signed a pledge to Grover Norquist to not raise taxes, even if the results were harmful to the nation.

    The point I am making is that the businessmen politicians who say the want to run government as a business in the face of over 30 years of data that prove otherwise, still believe in the hypothesis that excepting corporations from laws and regulations will improve the economy.

    They’re are not corrupt in a sense, because they are not doing this for personal gain. They are “user-friendly” and their users are the corrupt board members hiding behind a corporate facade.

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