Saturday, November 12, 2011

Attention to The 99% Must Be Paid

The unifying desire of the world movement known as “Occupy Wall Street “is absolutely clear. They want attention paid to them and their imprecise groping for a more equitable society. With extraordinary simplicity and without an explicit agenda, the 99% have placed their bodies on line before the world as symbols of the overpowering requirement to modify the dictatorship of the financial overlords.

Remarkably, this revolutionary movement originated in the poorest and least democratic societies on earth. One thousand years ago, the Crusaders tried to impose a different view of God and Man on the societies of Islam, but today’s challenge to the dictatorial financial overlords originated in the poverty-ridden squares of Cairo and Tunis. This latest revolt has found a ready market in the streets of the West.

The Western revolt is intentionally peaceful although it threatens the financial base of the 1%. Will the challengers develop ideas and programs without seeking the power to implement them? Will the style and strategy be consistent with its multi-ethnic and multi-religious origins and orientation? Consideration of alternate forms of economic and social orientation is a necessity for promotion of new approaches without the usual fratricidal conflict. Above all: attention must be paid to the breadth of the public protest sweeping the world.

The Occupiers, in Cairo, in New York or wherever have demonstrated remarkable self control. They have brought the protesters together while avoiding the fatal noose of infighting. At the moment the movement’s energy is primarily directed at keeping the forces of fusion alive, to focus on what unifies – that our system of capitalism is out of control and that our political system has broken down. Promoting more financial equality and overcoming the dictatorship of current overlords might include these considerations as part of the new agenda for the serious change demanded in the name of the 99% occupiers.

• Should some bankers be prosecuted for violations of current law?
• Should some bankers be sued to return unjustified unearned bonuses?
• Should there be limitations on outrageous bailout and corporate salaries?
• Should the federal government nationalize the banking businesses, operating as a public utility on a limited profit basis?
• Should government policy promote employment and industrial development as the primary aim of our business system as an alternative to private profit?
• Should new products and production systems be promoted with government risk while preserving the profits for new product development?

The Occupation movement has given us a method to experiment with new forms of economic organization geared to greater efficiency and a fairer division of the gains. It is no accident that this opportunity came at the heart of a world-wide depression. We must use it to improve our economy and make the rewards fairer. But first – attention must be paid. Public frustration at inequality and inefficiency has increased public anger to dangerous levels.


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