Posted 9 years ago on Dec. 14, 2012, 5:13 p.m. EST by therising
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
UPDATE: Be sure to check out this short article and short video. Both will MAKE YOUR DAY!!! :) http://sue-adams.hubpages.com/hub/iceland-shows-how-to-solve-economic-crisis
A friend of mine is a well-meaning democrat who is fiscally conservative. He says the leaders of our nation need to tell citizens that austerity is coming and we need to lower our expectations. He thinks it's sad and unfair but that we just have to get used to it because "these entitlement programs are just dragging us down and the good jobs aren't coming back." Sound familiar? The narrative occurs at all levels (from the Economist down to USA Today). The 7 corporations that own the mainstream media in the world have drilled this narrative into our heads.
If you're one of those well-meaning folks who are sad about austerity but doesn't see any other choice, well then here is my message to you:
In nations across the world, many corporations and the wealthiest among us pay little or no taxes yet huddle behind the rallying cry of austerity (more than enough money for us but Grandma's got to eat cat food). Example: 5 members of the Walton family have as much wealth as the poorest 40% of American citizens combined -- as much as 120 million people! Walmart made a net profit of $15 billion last year and yet taxpayers give a $1 billion subsidy to Walmart annually (80% of Walmart workers are paid so little that they are on some type of public assistance). Something is seriously unbalanced here. The richest 1% have more than 30% of the wealth (a figure that's climbing). And 90% of that wealth is inherited. So much for pulling ourselves up by those bootstraps.
Most of the people in the country have been distracted from this bigger picture by the back and forth between the two parties. The seven corporations who own all mainstream media make sure of this. The result is that most of the citizens are so immersed in the folly of the duopoly that they haven't noticed much larger problem that BOTH parties have been bought off by corporations.
You and many smart well-meaning people are saying the press and leadership needs to give the bad news to the public that the party is over, the good jobs aren't coming back and austerity is coming. But why are you suggesting people simply accept the bad news? Why do you assume that the "austerity" assault around the world is entirely legitimate and unstoppable? It sounds like you're stuck in the false narrative that "it's sad but there's no other way."
Of course there's another way. If you haven't heard, Starbucks locations across England have been systematically shut down by protests because the corporation pays almost no taxes -- while at the same time basic public services (rape crisis centers and homeless shelters for example) are being shut down around the country. Huge corporate interests skate leaving regular folks with the bill -- and then when it can't be paid, the politicians & press (bought and paid for by corporations) say "gosh it's sad but all we can do is cut." Many citizens unfortunately nod their heads in agreement, not realizing this is a VERY intentional and vicious power and wealth grab that is PREVENTABLE. ...1% of the people can't hoard the wealth and rule over 99% of the population for long. Even some of the wealthiest are surprised this has continued unchecked.
People aren't buying austerity. They're not stupid. They SEE what's happening. They see real wages shrinking and widening income and wealth inequality. They & their family, friends and neighbors are really suffering. Yet corporations and the 1% are thriving. The contrast is glaring and the jig is up. That's why we should push these "8 DEMANDS FOR CONGRESS" soon:
CONGRESS PASS HR 1489 ("RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT"http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1489 ). THIS REINSTATES MANY PROVISIONS OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT that were repealed in the 90's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act . Most economists believe the repeal of this act directly contributed to the severity of the financial crisis of 2007–2011.
USE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND OVERSIGHT TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AGENCIES FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis
CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION which essentially said corporations can spend as much as they want on elections. This law should also restore the "Fairness Doctrine".
CONGRESS PASS a revised version of THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE.
CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION and staff it FULLY at all levels with proven professionals who get the job done protecting the integrity of the marketplace so citizens and investors are both protected.
CONGRESS PASS SPECIFIC AND EFFECTIVE LAWS LIMITING THE INFLUENCE OF LOBBYISTS AND ELIMINATING THE PRACTICE OF LOBBYISTS (including ALEC) WRITING LEGISLATION THAT ENDS UP ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS.
CONGRESS PASSING "Revolving Door" LEGISLATION ELIMINATING THE ABILITY OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS TO GO TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS THAT THEY ONCE REGULATED. So, you don't get to work at the FDA for five years playing softball with Pfizer and then go to work for Pfizer making $195,000 a year.
ELIMINATE "PERSONHOOD" LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS. The film "The Corporation" has a great section on how corporations won "personhood status". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuUzmqBewg . Fast-forward to 2:20. It'll blow your mind.
The list of 8 items above is NOT an end all be all, of course. But those things will get the corporate foot off our neck long enough to allow us the breathing room to go further towards the root of the problem.
Water has been building up behind the dam for a long long time and soon the dam will break. If we are proactive, we can get it to break in a good way that restores our republic, removing the corporatists who have temporarily hijacked our great nation. Is there REALLY not enough to go around?
Practically speaking, what can we do to start the ball rolling with the list of 8 items above? Well - How did Gandhi and fellow protesters beat the British? How did Martin Luther King, Jr. and fellow civil rights advocates get dramatic legislation enacted that positively affected millions of people? Nonviolent direct action brings injustice into the light. Look how they're doing it here juxtaposing the obscene wealth with the cuts right out in the open: http://www.occupywallst.org/article/starbucks-occupied-across-britain/
More and more of this is coming. Last fall was just a warm up. In order to implement the 8 items on the list of goals above, it will take protests of about 800,000 people or more in DC and New York and we will have to gather multiple times -- but the fuel is definitely there for this to happen sometime in the next 18 months.
What would these protesters do? Well, here's just one example for Washington, DC:
First, well in advance of any such large protest, we need to work on getting a larger percentage of Americans to hear the message that our democracy has been hijacked. Here's one small example, a short and approachable video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5kHACjrdEY&feature=youtube_gdata_player .
Next they might read a document like "OUR TURN": http://occupywallst.org/forum/our-turn-a-message-to-all-americans/ . Then they'd see a list of the 8 goals and a game plan to achieve them that might look something like this:
TACTICS FOR "DEMANDS FOR CONGRESS"
We should make the 8 demands above very publicly at a press conference a few days after arriving in DC. (late spring 2014 to allow time for planning, laying groundwork and buildup). When doing so, we should give a clear deadline of 30 days for a firm written commitment with signatures from at least 60% of members of House and 60% of the members of the Senate to pass these bills by the end of the year. If this commitment on the full slate of demands is not met by midnight on the 30th day (which it won't be) we should be prepared to non-violently block access to all or part of the Capitol complex the next morning by traditional proven non-violent tactics. The purpose is to bring the leaders of the House and Senate to the negotiating table.
KEEP IN MIND: There are always entrances because there is always a point where people who work there have to leave the public street and enter secure space. We should focus our non-violent direct action and civil disobedience on those entrances no matter where they move them because these are, by definition, always accessible.
*NOTE 1: Tension can be transformative and good.* The following is from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from the Birmingham Jail":
"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. . . I am not afraid of the word 'tension'. I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. . . The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. . ."
*NOTE 2: Check out these 4 award winning documentaries* -- INSIDE JOB, THE CORPORATION, WHY WE FIGHT & MANUFACTURING CONSENT.
Once we realize we have more in common than we have dividing us, we can make decisions from a position of united strength rather than demands from a position of divided weakness. It's about damn time.
(Please see this link for more on the details of the austerity lie: http://occupywallst.org/forum/austerity-the-1s-global-battle-cry-by-mark-vorpahl/ ) & this link for more on what's really possible: http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-dont-see-the-power-we-have-in-our-hands-to-tran/