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Forum Post: How's this for a basis of demands-- Let's restore fairness

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 5, 2011, 4:24 p.m. EST by anonymouse (154)
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I'm a little dismayed by the news of various union types joining the OWS movement. As many others have touched on, I would be wary of such groups hijacking the movement and devolving OWS into a generic "Leftist Tea Party". The left would very much love to have their own Tea Party, but surely OWS aspires to be something greater than an amalgamation of conspiracy-fueled fringe idiocy. Aren't we supposed to be an all-inclusive movement, drawing in even moderates and conservatives?

So, to prevent opportunistic leftist groups from pillaging OWS, we should focus our grievances under a coherent theme. "The 99%" vs the "1%" is an appealing banner, but for a basis of reform it's too generic and too broad, and simply scapegoats a group of people for what's really a systemic and collective failure of American culture. Yes, there's excessive greed at the top 1%, but it's also the lesser greed/ignorance of the rest of us that enables them, along with a skewed system that perpetuates and amplifies unfairness.

That's what this movement is about right? A rally against unfairness?

HERE IS WHAT WE WANT:

We want fairness in the marketplace and fairness in our politics.

HERE IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO:

Focus our demands under the banner of restoring fairness in the private sector and trust in our political institutions. In other words, we should focus on tax code reform and ethics reform and, perhaps peripherally, our foreign trade policies & immigration reform.

(the rest of my post, as it was too long for this forum system, is reproduced here: http://seanny.net/ows.html )

Let me know if I'm understanding the OWS movement correctly. I'm planning on checking out a Chicago rally this Friday.

26 Comments

26 Comments


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[-] 2 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

I generally agree, though I think it should be a bit more clearly defined. Here's what I posted in another thread: My suggestion is that the movement have a laser focus on one and only one issue: Restoring the government to the people. Right now, we don't have a democracy, we have a corporate oligarchy. If this is changed and true democracy restored, all of the policy issues can be settled later, as they should be via the democratic process. Unless and until corporate influence is removed from government, the movement has no chance of changing anything--you are asking the corrupt 1% that is in power to change themselves. That's not going to happen. Forget about all the policy issues (taxation, student loans etc). Returning government to the people is the means by which you accomplish everything else, and it is the ONLY way it will be accomplished. Moreover, picking sides on policies will only alienate people. The 99% are never going to agree on policy. Strength in numbers is the only power the movement has--don't diminish that by creating policy divides. Get corporations out of government, return the power to the people and then move on with democracy to settle everything else.

[-] 1 points by squaresphere (39) 2 years ago

The problem is that "restoring the government to the people" is a common theme among all people who think they know the REAL America. It's the line the Tea Party always uses, "Let's take back America!" Restoring the government to the people has different meanings depending on whom you're talking to.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

Let me clarify, then. I believe that we need to remove corporate influence from Washington. No lobbyist, no big money buying policy. Our representatives are supposed to be representing us, but they don't because the corporations supply the money to get them elected (as well as other favors). This makes them beholden not to the electorate, but to corporate interests. They don't have to worry about not getting reelected because as long as they do the bidding of their corporate sponsors, those same sponsors will ensure that they have enough money to defeat any opponent (and/or they just find both sides so it doesn't matter who wins).

If this influence is removed, then politicians need to effectively represent the will of the electorate or they will not get reelected. That's how the system is supposed to work. Our power lies in the ballot box, but that power has been usurped by allowing corporations undue influence in our government and regulatory bodies.

[-] 1 points by squaresphere (39) 2 years ago

Yeah, that's clearer. But the problem is that it needs to be in a soundbite and retain its clarity if it's going to reach the masses. Even the phrase "We are the 99%" doesn't resonate with everyone unless they've heard the statistics about the distribution of wealth.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

I think that there is pretty strong agreement in the country that the banks have been shown undue favoritism, have absconded with our money, that our politicians no longer listen to us. calls to congress when the bailout was proposed were 9 to 1 against, but that didn't stop them from passing it. I think people know this, and this is why the movement has traction. A simple message of removing corporate influence over Washington will, I think resonate. The level of corruption is so high that it would be easy to supplement that statement with a list of jaw-dropping examples :-)

[-] 1 points by squaresphere (39) 2 years ago

Might be right. I guess I just have a dimmer view of people, that even if they grumble about the banks or the corporations, getting them to take the next step and move their money elsewhere and quit shopping at Wal-Mart is quite a different thing.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

I think it's a matter of hitting the tipping point. It takes a lot to get people to act, and it's frustrating waiting for it but eventually they get fed up enough and they do take action--especially when they know others share their frustration. I am hopeful that this movement is the tipping point but if not, it absolutely is bringing us one step closer to it.

[-] 1 points by ThatSkepticGuy (4) 2 years ago

"Get corporations out of government, return the power to the people and then move on with democracy to settle everything else. "

The only problem, of course, is that the Left Wing ideal of 'democracy" and "the people" invariably revolves around a small, centralized government oligarchy which answers to nobody except itself.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

If corruption is eliminated from the government, then the representatives will be representing the will of the people. If the people make stupid decisions, then the people have to live with them and, hopefully, learn something along the way. This is democracy in all it's messiness.

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

Actually many of the policy directions I laid down are bipartisan (or rather, non-partisan) ideas... you'll find a lot of support for them among non-radical people & policy wonks. But I agree that our political culture needs to be reformed as well if many of them are to be achieved, looking at the sheer dysfunction and gridlock of the legislative branch. -Sean B.

[-] 1 points by distortion (196) 2 years ago

But if your focusing on reform your pretty much trying to put a band aid on a gun shot wound. Instead of trying to fix a broken policies, lets fix how they happened in the first place and prevent more from happening.

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

I am definitely not against the idea of political ethics reform, assuming that's what you're advocating. It's important to have trustworthy leaders, and to prevent special interests from having back-door access to our laws. If OWS wants to be an ethics reform movement, even exclusively, then I am all for it. -Sean B.

[-] 1 points by distortion (196) 2 years ago

thats pretty much what i'm advocating, political ethics reform, by means of campaign reform - sean b.... from san diego...???

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

nope, I'm in Chicago

[-] 1 points by distortion (196) 2 years ago

had this same discussion in another forum with a sean b from san diego

[-] 1 points by distortion (196) 2 years ago

this is exactly my opinion and what i believe the root cause of all our problems

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

I agree. The current system is fubar. That is not to say we need to change the constitution--we just need to strip the corruption out of the system before we can get honest representation.

[-] 1 points by distortion (196) 2 years ago

and that should be our clear goal here imo

[-] 2 points by noahtron (48) from Montreal, QC 2 years ago

makes sense to me. let's flesh it out a little bit. what's "fair"?

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

When I say "fairness", I'm talking about having coherent, uniform rules that are followed, rather than subverted with loopholes and overly specific preferential treatment. We're supposed to have a rule set in place (e.g. the tax code), but it's basically skirted by every entity who has the resources to do so. I'm basically understanding the OWS movement as a revolt against the preferential treatment of the top 1% in our laws. I don't know if that's correct, so I'm sort-of testing the waters here. -Sean B.

[-] 1 points by LibertyFirst (325) 2 years ago

I agree with you, but the reason the laws favor the top 1% is because they control all of the regulatory agencies and most of the politicians. There is a revolving door in Washington where the people whoa re appointed to head the regulatory agencies come from the corporations they are supposed to regulate. To complete the loop, these regulators are offered very nice positions in the corporations the 'regulated' when they leave their government jobs. This insures that any regulations favor the big corporations. It's called 'Regulatory Capture". If you do a bit of research I think you will be amazed to find out who is at the helm of our regulatory agencies and also the cushy jobs past regulators have been offered when the left office. If we want rule of law, we first must eliminate the political and regulatory corruption. Otherwise, we are asking the corrupt to voluntarily change their ways, which they will not do.

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

yeah, I touch on that in the linked article, where I say our politics are doomed to eternal gridlock as long as we find our leaders untrustworthy. Ethics reform is a big deal, and I would be happy as a clam to see it as a centerpiece of the OWS movement. -Sean B.

[-] 0 points by ThatSkepticGuy (4) 2 years ago

So, in other words, you want Big Brother to use force and coercion to decide for everybody what is and isn't "fair" based off of collectivist BS. Whatever.

[-] 1 points by squaresphere (39) 2 years ago

Given the choice between a Big Brother free of corporate influence that we could vote for and a group of monolithic corporations that answer to none of us, I'd gladly choose Big Brother.

"Collectivist BS"... isn't that called "voting"?

[-] 1 points by anonymouse (154) 2 years ago

I don't know what you're advocating exactly as an alternative to pretty reasonable tax code simplification & ethics reform. What is it about the current state of things you find so equitable?

[-] 0 points by agnosticnixie (17) from Laval, QC 2 years ago

What the hell do you mean by opportunistic left, I see a lot of opportunistic liberals, who are as Phil Ochs said "ten degrees to the left when times are good, ten degrees to the right when it's their turn to sacrifice", coming in and acting as though their half of main street owned the movement.

We will, indeed, not be a liberal tea party. Liberals, however, are not left wing.