Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: An Occupation of Love (Rant) by Alison Ross

Egregious Fact Number One: Our tax dollars were used to bail out Wall Street.

In case you need a reminder: Wall Street banks, et al are private corporations, not public services. In a democracy, taxes are supposed to go toward funding roads, parks, health clinics, schools, social security, etc. etc. etc. - anything that benefits the common good. Despite the lame claims of some vociferous Tea Party morons, the government is not actually "taking" our money - we collectively maintain infrastructure and social services through consensually paying taxes.

If we did not pay taxes, society would collapse. You cannot maintain society through anarchic private entities - that's antithetical. So the fact that our public dollars were used to bail out banks that do not have societal interests as their primary or even secondary or even terciary concern means that our money was stolen from us. The banks use those public dollars to fatten their coffers. Meanwhile, cuts to social services - mental health, education, social security, and on and on and on - pervade. Foreclosures abound...while Wall Streeters acquire three and four homes. It's the very embodiment of plutocratic theft...enrich the elite while bleeding the effete.

Egregious Fact Number Two: The majority of our taxes are used toward malevolent military misadventures, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of these countries have been devastated and now are being rebuilt by corporate war profiteers.

So, our country is in "debt" because our taxes are being misused toward private and profiteering ends. This is also known as Corporate Welfare.This is a fictitious debt crisis which can be easily remedied by taking corporate interests out of public politics, re-funneling taxes towards social services, and taxing the fuck out of the countries like Denmark, for example, there are no multi-millionaires, because they cap salaries through taxes. No one "earns" the kind of wealth we see flaunted with such hedonistic abandon among the affluent.

Random egregious facts: Family income has declined by nearly 7 percent in the last two years, unemployment is between 10-15 percent, and over 46 million Americans live in poverty, the highest rate in 50 years.

Meanwhile, the 1% dwell in their marbleized compounds, piloting their luxury vehicles, and disdaining everyone else in smugly contemptuous fashion.

Occupy Wall Street is a glowing, growing global movement that is stridently anti-corporate in nature and yet propelled by the principles of peace. It is a people-powered movement that is way WAY overdue. It was precipitated by radical college-agers but quickly gained momentum among the mainstream populace - young, middle-aged, and geriatric alike, since so many are so gravely affected by the perverted profit-motives of the corporate titans. The kids who founded the movement sharply saw that the corrosive corporate influence over our ostensibly democratic system is bleeding them of money, of jobs, of hope...theirs is a future mired in misery if they don't act now, and act radically, to demand an overhaul of the system.

Indeed, the OWS movement has already won. It has altered the tenor of economic discourse in favor of the people rather than profits. It has brought the issue of economic justice to the forefront and tattooed it in the minds and hearts of people everywhere - to those both affected by and empathetic to the cause. For the movement has magnetized people from all paths of life - all ethnicities and all income levels. There are even those who are in the upper tiers of income realms who sympathize - because they too, could be affected by corporate corruption, and also because they share the humane ideals of economic equity. Many of them realize that greed is never good and that they could perhaps curtail their own lifestyles so that more could prosper - not egregiously so, but comfortably so.

For we have an inherent right to food, shelter, education...these are our spiritual luxuries, as it were - not entitilements, but things we are born needing because it logically follows that if we have a right to life, then we require these things sustain life.

The OWS encampments all over the country are a mode of protest against corporate dominance - the parks are OUR parks, the streets are OUR streets. They do not belong to private entities to profit from - they belong to US, the vibrant public.

What needs to happen in the movement in order for it to effect real enduring change is for there to be bank sit-ins, and massive boisterous marches to government offices with a list of concrete demands, and all manner of peaceful civil disobedience akin to the civil rights movement...and so on. These are the only things that have ever given rise to revolutionary restructuring of society.

And Bloomberg's backing down when he called for a "clean-up" of Liberty Park, and the fact that so many right-wing authoritarian types are so threatened by the movement as manifest in their vicious slanderings of it, and the police militarization of NYC, and the horrible treatment of the PEACEFUL protestors all over the country, specifically NYC and Oakland (I mean, tear gas, grenades, rubber bullets...really?!) ...all of these things evince that the movement is working, and winning.

Occupy Wall Street has occupied our hearts, and will one day bring about the radical renovation of a crumbling house presided over by sleazy corporate slumlords.

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