Occupy America and Change History

20 Oct

Let Occupy Wall Street become a permanent well of political discontent.

Occupy Wall Street HAS changed political discourse in America. It remains to be seen, however, what fruit will come from this change, if any.

That the OWSers have yet to come up with a set of concrete demands has often been noted. On this I side with those who do not see this as a problem. On the one hand, as many have noted, it’s not as though their central issue—massive income inequality—hasn’t been obvious for years, if not a decade or two, and it’s not as though it is difficult to come up with proposal after proposal that addresses the problem.

Everyone Must Eat

It is more important, at this point, simple to recognize the problem and to see it as deep and fundamental.

America, with all our problems, remains the world’s richest nation. That being the case, it is disgraceful that anyone should lack the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, education, and health care. Everyone, WITHOUT qualification, MUST have access to the means of living a decent life. Just how that is to be done, yes, that is a problem. But let us first state, and accept, the principle:

Everyone, WITHOUT qualification, MUST have access to the means of living a decent life.

It is not the OSW movement’s job to come up with proposals to achieve that end. That is a job for think tanks, Congressional staffers, lobbyists, and universities.

The Well of Our Discontent

Moreover, I rather like the existence of a somewhat amorphous well of ‘WE AREN’T GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE.’ Perhaps that should become a permanent feature of our political ecology.

While Obama is certainly preferable to Bush, and Gore would have been preferable too, the fact is Obama and Bush, in the end, dance to the same corporate masters. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrates have the will to make deep and necessary changes. They’re dedicated to protecting and enriching the 1% by exploiting and impoverishing the 99%.

We need an ongoing well of discontent the open fissures in the system so that it can break-up and reconfigure. I am thus heartened by Lawrence Lessig’s call for Occupiers and Tea Partiers to join forces on campaign finance reform. Removing corporate money from elections won’t eliminate the lobbyists, but it WILL make it more difficult for them to buy politicians and wholesale prices.

That, then, is one specific way an inchoate well of discontent can contribute to the realignment or even break-up of a two party system that is currently leading us a death spiral of war, environmental destruction, climate chaos, and increasing poverty for the 99%.

What is important that we keep the Well alive. Occupy Wall Street can supply and refine the discontent needed to change history. For that is what we must do: Change History.

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One Response to “Occupy America and Change History”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nine Ideas Up for Grabs « Truth and Traditions Party - October 20, 2011

    […] Anger (cf Occupy America and Change History): What’s needed isn’t just big ideas. It’s people fulminating for them – making enough of a […]

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