18 November 2011

The Message of the Occupy Movement

The rumblings from detractors have been clarifying.  The questionable occupation of bridges around the United States have allowed a chorus of interlocutors to ask: What is the message of the Occupy movement?

On one hand the message is very clear: people should be allowed to pitch tents wherever they damn well please.  It sounds comical or whimsical at first glance but when delved into a bit deeper it seems entirely plausible that these Occupiers have actually struck gold.

The predatory capitalism that has been practiced in the US has erected feudal lords who own massive tracts of land loaded with massive mansions, massive cars, massive airplanes, and massive consumption, while the peasant farmers sow the crops and raise the animals, and impoverished unemployed cower in urban sprawl and disappear in rural anonymity.

While the few prosper, the rest of the population struggles to put food on the table let alone worry over health costs.

In feudal times land owners controlled legislation, manipulated government with cash, and controlled the masses through concentrated and focused propaganda.  Shays' Rebellion was a direct result of the wealthy manipulating the poor.  Shays' Rebellion was a the catalyst for the forming of our Constitution and the reason for Article III, Section 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
And also, Article IV, Section 2:
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
Today the same dichotomy holds sway.  The rich make policy, the poor make pudding, if they can afford the ingredients.

While the dissent of Ed Flynn was treated as confrontational, the Occupy movement should thank the Milwaukee police chief for clarifying an important point and making it even stronger when he said, "this neighborhood has 35% unemployment."   That, Chief, is precisely the root of the problem.

Many of these detractors have also directed protesters to get jobs.  Many of those protesting do have jobs - low wage positions - and yet many others represent the burgeoning group of unemployed.  It's very easy to claim that getting jobs would solve their problems but this just isn't true.  A job only solves one problem and creates many more.

Working for minimum wage in this country means earning $7.25 per hour.  That's $290 per 40 hour week and $15,080 per year if every week is a forty o hour week.  The knuckleheads who think that getting jobs will solve the protesters' problems are deranged and out of touch with the reality of the working poor.  They have become weapons and tools of the feudal lords, robber barons, and millionaire despots.  Getting a job would only solve one problem: where to go and what to do for 8 hours (or however long a shift happens to last).

While the landowners (not individual farmers), and robber barons manipulate investments and legislation, jobs get shipped off to poorer markets with lower wages, unemployment in the US rises, and ownership dwindles.  The infrastructure collapses and the country implodes.

That's precisely the point of the Occupy movement.

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