The Occupy Movement

For those of you who follow me on Facebook and or Twitter, you know I’ve been actively vocal about supporting the OccupyWall Street Protests and have posted support for and helped organize our local solidarity movement Occupy Tulsa.

For those of you concerned that Occupy is a Marxist coup d’ etat against capitalism, let me say this: I cannot speak for the 99% but I can say that I have made some observations.

First: The NYPD and various media groups are exceedingly harsh and sometimes even violent towards what so far has been a very rational protest against corporate power. I notice that today, the 15th of October, marked the globalization of the movement, and people have decided to come together across the globe and Occupy Together.

I notice that what unites the people in the various Occupy movements is a dissatifaction with corporate interests gaining an oligarchical leverage in policy-making political lobbying, and now the Supreme Court decision that says a corporation is a person. It’s a dissatisfation with the idea that you can work two full-time jobs and still be in debt up to your eyeballs with basic necessities of the first world, like vehicular transportation and food/clothing for families. It’s a rage at the idea that corporate power is simply limitless and aloof from accountability to governments, employees, unions, ethics or law.

In my opinion, the Occupy movements are a Civil Rights Renaissance. People are standing up for their liberties against the new self interested oppressors. This time the oppressor is not a white man, nor even a man at all, but a small, albeit determined group of individuals who own companies that are determined to turn citizens into commodities, the republic into a fully established consumer-state. I refuse to accept that this is the only way that things can be, and that’s why I’ve vocally supported Occupy.

“We’ve turned into a nation of consumers, not citizens. We need to make retailers and employers bring back the old social contract where if you work hard and give them full time, they have to treat you with some degree of dignity and pay you enough that you don’t need to worry about your basic needs all the time.” -Bernie Hesse UFCW organizer

My question to opposition leaders and dissenters is this: Doesn’t it bother you that a corporation has the same rights that you, an individual person, with all your thoughts feelings and emotions have? Doesn’t it strike you as questionable at the very least, that simply because an organization has money it can hire corporate lobbysits to secure their interests and foot you with the bill through taxes? Both parties are screwed, they’ve both sold us out, and have profited richly as individuals helping wall street and the Power Elite carry out this inside job.

Someone once asked if Androids dream of electric sheep. My question is: Do corporations dream of sheeple? Does McDonalds feel, can Hyundai dry my tears? Will Apple comfort me in the night, or speak to my insecurities? Does Google feel my pain, relate to my sorrows, or have my best interests in mind? Can a business, built on the idea that increase is necessary ever treat me as more than disposable? Can a corporation secure my rights and protect my liberties? Not without costing their bottom line, in most cases.

Though we live in a time of political and social upheaval, it strikes me as odd that anyone would be opposed to opposing the corporate bailouts. It strikes me as odd that anyone would defend the kleptocratic state of things we’ve inherited because Wall Street and the Corporate oligarchs refuse to back down and stabilize. Once upon a time, steady increases were acceptable, now these same comapnies are bleeding everyone dry, retaining money and pulling it out of circulation, sitting on vast sums of cash.

In a world where there’s no way to vote against corporate interests and for the people, I personally say: Enough.

A lot of speculation has been going on about how Occupy will turn out. The Tea Party began as a voice against the bailouts and ended up being co-opted by the very powers they sought to overthrow. Occupy is not about becoming a leftist Tea Party, it is in fact something altogether different. It’s a Civil Rights Renaissance against the limitations imposed on citizenship by Corporatocracy. Occupy is about revivng democratic principles against the idea that we are all consumers and nothing more.

In a world where my options have been bought out by corporate interests and I’m left with either getting shot in the foot or the hand, I’m exhausted. Enough is enough. I have more than a few choice words I’d like to use, but in the spirit of charity I’ll decline. Nevertheless, Occupy is about overthrowing the current social milieu that declares that a non-entity has the same voice, the same rights, and the same powers as an individual person like you, or me. I got sold out when those few got bailed out. They still enjoy luxury and fortune, while the grandchildren of my friends who have had children will be paying for the mistakes our goverment is making against our wishes today.

The government has rewarded failure with money, while profiting with their corporate cohorts against the people, the government has rewarded predatory lending and other acts of piracy and theft theft with bailouts, they have rewarded gambling, high risk investitures and speculation with praise and assured the common people that everything is just fine. All is not quiet on the Wall Street front, though. When I screw up my small business, the government does not rush to my aide, it does not endeavour to save me from ruin, no matter how self imposed, and yet, because a corporation has lobbied interests, the common taxpayer foots the bill?

All this continues while the unemployed remain unemployed, the poor become poorer, and the corporations have imposed socialism on the rest of America by making sure all our money has gone to assuring they meet their bottom lines. I don’t know what Occupy as a whole wants to do, but I know me, and these are some of the ideas I have seen around the movement that I could get behind:

End The Fed. Jail the Bankers. Illegalize Speculative Markets. Jail Bernanke. End Corporate Personhood. Increase Corporate Accountability. Reinstate the voice of the people.

And that is what Occupy means to me.



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4 responses to “The Occupy Movement”

  1. Richar says :

    I confess, I’m disappointed in your faith in this movement. Big corporations don’t care about your protests as long as you keep buying their stuff.

    • Eli says :

      That’s very true, which is why I’ve switched a few things around, I’m buying local groceries, local clothing, or secondhand, and as far as technology goes, it’s something that if I could get locally produced, i would.

      I don’t think the corporations are scared, but I think policy makers are, and that’s a good place to start. It’s my hope that this movement will make an impact in civil rights against the corporatocracy. If not, I’ll still protest, wrong is wrong.

      In any case, thanks for reading, and disappointment or no, it’s always good to have your input.

      • Richard says :

        The policy-makers aren’t scared because you’re essentially telling them that they should have more power. They like that. And they use that power against the Catholic Church, just as they are using the health care bill and employment discrimination law against it. It doesn’t appear that your movement has a problem with that:

        The problem is simple: people want the benefits of big business (e.g., cheap stuff and easy credit) and big government (e.g., free benefits) without strings attached. Won’t happen. You may be able to shift the power over those strings; i.e., you may convince people to put more of that power in the hands of the government, but the result is the same at the end of the day.

        The only way out is to reject the benefits en masse. I appreciate that you’ve done that, but your movement has shown no interest in doing so. In Minneapolis, they are protesting Wells Fargo, not because they want people to take their deposits from the bank, but because they want Wells Fargo to hire more people – i.e., them. That is, they reaffirm their dependence on the bank. And in their protests, they reaffirm their dependence on the government. Neither the government nor big business are scared. Who is scared? Small businesses (they, not able to afford the sophisticated legal counsel, will bear the brunt of the regulations you impose, just as with Dodd Frank and Health Care Law) and Churches (they will continue to face litigation as a-religious movements like yours convince people that the rights of the “oppressed” take precedent over all other rights, including religious freedom). I hope you all aren’t not successful.

        • Eli says :

          I see what you’re saying, and it is my sincerest hope that something like that can be prevented. This is why I’ve joined the Occupy Movement as a religious person, and there are many other religious persons, Catholics and Muslims as well as Evangelicals participating in the Occupy Movement.

          Occupy Rome was co-opted by a group of anarchists, it was the only city in which this happened. The protests are committed to non-violence and peaceful resistance.Whatever Marxist or atheist flair might be coming out of Rome is not the heart of the movement, or even near it. I heard about this, and I’ve not ignored it, I saw an article about how the movement was co-opted and it’s my belief that though there may be some anarchists and some marxists in the movement, it’s not committed to either of those streams of thought.

          I actually want neither of those solutions, I want smaller government, and smaller businesses. I want corporate power limited and I’d like to see the reduction of federal government as well. Call me an idealist, but that’s my stance.

          Here in Tulsa, we’re having people pull their money out of big banks and put it into credit unions. Our local movement is actually well organized, thoughtful and directed.

          We’ve actually had a very successful integration of faiths in our dialogue here in Tulsa, we’ve had muslims, native americans, mormons, evangelicals, catholics et al come out and show support.

          I know that the movement as a whole needs some continued direction, but here in Tulsa, we’re actually looking towards a long term model, we’re looking at building co-operatives, as well as funding other direct responses to poverty. We’re working to bolster the power of small businesses by limiting corporate power and lobbying. We’re hoping to remove an entire and noticeable percentage of the population from the corporate money machine, and in so doing, maybe find a way forward for future generations.

          Do I embrace this movement? Yes. Do I do it unwatchfully? No.The local movement actually has the support of the native American alliance, as well as the local episcopal churches. The movement may be a-religious, but its populous is pluralistic, democratic and tolerant.

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