Forum Post: Crucial: We must acknowledge the distinction between fundamental prolems and symptomatic problems.
Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 11, 2011, 7:27 p.m. EST by Fredone
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
If I could only say one thing to help this movement, after extensive discussion with others, and research, it is this: (okay the forum won't let me post it in one piece, so see the comments for the part two, use your browser's search function, as if you could adequately address this issue in such arbitrary length limits)
Primary problems are equivalent to ballot box stuffing. We are very careful to try to prevent ballot box stuffing per se, but the 1% acquire excessive influence before and after the ballot. This is about the very process we use of public debate and collaborative thinking and decision making, to produce and enforce -or repeal and eliminate, as you prefer- legislation and so forth.
It perhaps starts with excessive influence on information and debate in the public sphere. The influence the 1% have over the media (since they own and control it) is the equivalent of a few people in your GAs having their own personal PA systems cranked to max volume. Except worse. The wealthy literally speak about a million times louder than any other individuals - in terms of the number of people who hear their messages. When people get home at night and turn on the TV it is the 1%'s voices coming out of the set, every time. Even MSNBC and so forth are heavily biased.
Plus, these few people have a team of wage slaves behind them coming up with research, and speech writers coming up with particularly appealing rhetorical points etc., in other words they have far more resources to throw into the debate than their position as a single human being warrants. Unsurprisingly they have an excessive influence on what people believe, how the conversation is going, and the ideas circulating around.
Then campaign financing, and ensuring that only people who are already financially secure actually do run for office, and control of the media to silence other candidates they do not support. That exerts a lot - disproportionate anyway compared to what they should have - of control over who even gets on the ballots.
Then after elections there is lobbying. bribery legal and illegal, etc, and maybe things we do not even see. And there are other ways that they attach strings to politicians and other people in government to get them to dance to their tune, and also drive people who do not dance for them out of the government or prevent them from entering. Even after legislation occurs they continue to bias things, they can gut funding for branches of the government they do not like for instance, as they have done with the SEC, which is now operating on a relative shoestring.
They can also pay lawyers vast amounts to fight or promote things which affect the government itself, in court, more than we can, such as they did in the citizen united case. They can also just ignore the laws and use lawyers or bribery, or biassed judges (which they previously arranged to have present on the bench in large numbers) to do what they want. There are other such problems which I am omitting for brevity.
Notice that changing the tax code for instance WILL NOT AFFECT any of these fundamental problems.
I'm not using them to explain that things are broken, we all know that already simply because we can plainly see even highly desirable changes are not implemented or even discussed when the 1% objects to them. The proof is in the pudding.
Symptomatic problems are things like the unfairness of the tax code. The criminal unfairness of what's going on with executive compensation even after they drive the economy into the ground. I don't mean to minimize these, but changing such things will have a very tiny affect on any other issue, if any.
Then there are problems which are abuses that result from economic inequality such as lack of health care and decent and secure (over the long term in case you lose your job etc) housing and access to nutritious food. I hesitate to make a second, tertiary category for these things but maybe you could justify doing so. There are also issues like the 1%'s excessive influence on the police, which partly suppresses this type of backup-system democracy we are engaging in, I'm not sure which category that should go in. And OF COURSE these all interact. You might say it is chicken and egg in many cases, like the influence that propaganda has is making it hard for us to implement changes to the ability for the 1% to propagandize.