It was my desire when I first started this blog to keep it non-political. I can not in good conscience do that for the moment. The one thing I will do is to remain non-partisan in the discussion. That said, I think we, the 99%, desperately need to keep the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and all the other so named movements, alive.
I have a fair amount of expertise in the historical economics of America at the beginning of the 20th Century. What I can say is that we are absolutely reliving those days. The dire economic circumstances of large portions of the American landscape in the early 20th century has reappeared. In those days it was union activism that did the most to change the disparities of the day. The powerful of the day, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and their contemporaries, were able to wield large amounts of political power. They were also very well insulated from any legal actions. Their actual participation in actions against strikers that directly resulted in death was never brought before a single court. Although people are not dying directly from industrialists hiring of thugs with guns and clubs, people are dying because industrialists, and other power brokers, have convinced politicians that their actions do not need to be regulated, monitored, or subject to litigation. That last was the result of a Supreme Court decision that barred a class action suit brought by women against Walmart, even though lower courts had held the action to be proper. That single case has given powerful corporations precedent against all class action law suits regardless of how reprehensible their actions. Because of those actions, and others, people are forced to choose between eating and needed medication, between heat and clothing, between education and work.
The Occupy Wall Street movement made the statement that Wall Street had been bailed out with the expectation that the same good turn would be given to the troubled mortgage holder. That has not happened and there is overwhelming evidence that it is not going to happen. The forgiveness Wall Street received was not passed on to the average American. To the contrary, financial interests have redoubled their efforts at foreclosure.
The blame has to be shared. The top 1% are obviously at fault. But in league with them are the 535 members of Congress, the President, his cabinet and advisors. We elect these people to serve as our voice. All have failed us to one extent of another. None is blameless.
The Republican Party has vowed to stop all attempts at regulating Wall Street even though they are fully aware that Americans overwhelmingly are in favor of such regulations. Democrats have failed in regulating Wall Street because they have not presented well focused bills to the Congress while making Americans aware of their specific intentions. They have been gutless.
Democrats boldly took the idea of getting all Americans affordable healthcare. Republicans fought the idea tooth and nail against it saying it was forcing something on the American people they did not want. That of course was a bold-faced lie. If you ask any American if he desires to have health insurance, it is unimaginable to think anyone would answer such a question in the negative. What the Republican membership never asked was what would work for everyone. What the Democratic membership utter failed to do was to explain in incredibly simple terms how affordable insurance would benefit everyone.
The above are but two examples of the failures of our entire political leadership. There are of course numerous more.
The Occupy Wall Street was as far as it went a total success. Most Americans had not thought in terms of being a part of the 99%. The idea of a large economic gulf had not been a part of the public thought process since the early 20th century. Now it is.
It was predictable that powerful political forces would see to it that protestors would be removed from their settlements. What the protestors had failed to was have a “Plan B” at the ready when that time came. History, however, tells them exactly what they need to do to not only continue the process, but to bring it to a successful finish.
In the 1912 Lawrence (MA) Textile Strike the political forces of the day made it nearly impossible for strikers to assemble outside their workplace. The strike leadership came up with an idea that the politically connected had no defense against. The strikers formed a long and continuous chain of people who, during business hours, marched in a two-mile loop that encompassed the business district and industrial districts. The strike leadership recognized that strikers could be arrested for loitering if they stood in one place, thus empowering their adversaries. The strikers were instructed to keep moving, stay off the streets and on the sidewalks. They did this all day, every day, until their demands were met. It became impossible for not only city and state leadership to ignor the strikers’ demands, but President Taft became involved and thus brought a congressional committee into the dispute.
The exact same tact can be used today by each and every “Occupy” movement. They must show a presence in the financial districts and the business districts where they are located. They do not have to set up tents and stay, they need only show up each day and form a continuously moving sea of protestors who walk the sidewalks of their cities. Cities will be unable to claim public safety or public health, as has been done, as a reason to break up the protests. Still, such protests will remain in the face of the public, but more importantly, will have the public looking to the 1% to resolve the issues. Such protests will necessarily cause disruptions in traffic, concern that daily business will be affected, but with no laws being broken, as the original occupy movements actually did, it will force the issue.
I do not know how this message can get to those involved with “Occupy” leadership, but if any of you do know such people, please pass this idea along.