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Forum Post: What is a revolution?

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 18, 2011, 2:46 p.m. EST by RedJazz43 (2757)
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Many jobs, especially government jobs, require you to sign an oath that you are opposed to the overthrow of the American government by force or violence. What, exactly, constitutes force and violence? I am not speaking here of its more obvious manifestations, but rather looking at it as a continuum and asking where it begins. For example, in the 1950s American Communists were imprisoned essentially for little more than having copies of the Communist Manifesto in their library. They presented considerable and credible evidence that the CP did not advocate the forceable overthrow of the US government, though apparently not credible enough to convince a judge.

It is inconceivable to me to have a genuine revolution unless some sector of those elements in society that have a legal monopoly on violence coming over and actually joining the movement, which is to say police forces (and not just individual police officers) or elements of the military. With that in mind OWSers have frequently raised chants to the police of "Join Us!" Does or does not such a demand, meant seriously, constitute an effort to overthrow the Constitution by force or violence? I want to make it clear that I am for the demand. I just want to know where people think it fits with reference to American jurisprudence.



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[-] 2 points by nucleus (3291) 10 years ago

revolution n. An abrupt change in the form of one's misgovernment.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I know the dictionary definition of revolution or at least I am capable of looking it up. What I am looking for I don't think is in books, not even law books as I am not sure that there is any black letter law on the question, which is not about revolution as such but rather what kind of act might be considered and effort to overthrow the American government by force or violence, and I am not looking for the obvious answers here, the sort of thing that nearly everyone might acknowledge like stock piling weapons or that sort of thing.

OWS is a nonviolent movement, as it should be. But it also claims to be a revolutionary movement and virtually all genuine revolutions, especially under nonviolent leadership, entail sections of those institutions which have a sanctioned monopoly on violence going over to the revolution. That would include the police forces and the military. Clearly should any of those institutions go over to the side of the revolution that would be an act of revolutionary violence. On many occuasions OWSers have chanted to police to "join us!" My question is, does such a chant constitute an effort to overthrow the US government by force or violence?

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago


This forum has a tendenacy to eat my posts before I get them posted. So give me a minute to rewrite the whole thing.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago


In my opinion, YES it can. I made the following points based upon what I believe to be the rule of law. That is summarized in the fact that the rule of law extends all the way through our society. It extends from the very top the very bottom of society, THUS:

  1. The rule of law says that it just as wrong to steal from the man in the gutter as it is to steal from the man sitting in the President's chair in the White House. This is the extension of the rule of law. Anything that advocates a break in that extension is an effort to overthrow the rule of law and thus the US Government (this applies regardless of whether the rule of law originates at the local, state, or federal level etc.) Each level deriving its' authority from the ultimate source - the Consititution. It does not apply to laws which might be established in one person's mind or actions or even a group because they in effect do not derive this right to do so from the Constitution. THUS - you cannot post a sign that says we shoot every man who enters that is under 6 ft tall and take action on that law you made up. Your action reverts to the Consititution and to the laws that apply under that rule of law extension to your individual actions not to something that you made up of your own free will or because you think you have some right or other which in effect you do have but do not have the right to take action based upon.

  2. In the case of bank robbery, this is a call for illegal action, or a breaking of the rule of law. THUS: If you think that you are exempt from that law because you are only diving the get away car, you are not - you are a part of the collective action and are just as guilty as the man entering the bank and committing the theft himself. If the situation goes to the point that everyone is killed inside the bank and you are simply sitting outside in your car, but were a part of the overall plan and will share the responsibilities of the plan.

  3. In the case of the call to "join us". This is exercising freedom of speech on a very slippery slope. You are actually calling for the overthrow of the rule of law by calling for the police to break that chain of law, to go against their sworn duties and to thus overthrow their government regardless of whether force or violence is actually involved (Force and violence are merely "actions" as would be any action even walking across to the other side on the part of a police officer). There is not immunity gained by simply LOOKING innocent - if that worked in society in general, my youngest grandson would not be guilty of any wrongdoing in the past ten years.

  4. The very real break in the rule of law comes at the point when even one officer crosses the line and thus overthrows his or her responsibility to the rule of law. If I was the one calling "join us" and that happened, I would be out of there so fast that my rubber shoes would be leaving sparks. THUS: if two men are having a fight to the death, you are watching and shouting KILL HIM KILL HIM, that might be your right but you will soon find what your responsibilities are too just as the driver of the get-away vehicle would find out. The next degree of this break comes when you slide a weapon across the sidewalk and one man kills the other - now there is no question regarding your involvement in the murder.

  5. So in conclusion, there is somewhat of a grey area between what you ask or demand and when you become responsbility for what happens. Such a chant does not represent an effort to overthrow when no one hears it - once it is heard it does constitue an effort to overthrow because that is exactly what is being called for and then once action happens it is final. Expect to be watched when you are calling out, expect to be arrested when it happens, and expect to be taken out when the rest of the police violate their sworn duty to uphold the rule of law - this will involve some entity other than the local police.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I don't think that the violation of a local law or ordinance would ever involve a Constitutional issue because unlike states and the federal government, local governments are not sovereign, Local police however, do typically swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, I do not think that if uniformed and armed police actually joined the movement it would necessarily constitute a rejection of the rule of law as such, What it would be is rejecting on conception of social organization for another and there is no reason to assume that a genuinely mass based OWS would not develop its own body of laws, It already has to a degree in terms by which the GA functions,

Having thought about this from other postings I think the issue actually turns on whether or not OWS is a revolutionary movement and whether or not it is perceived by the general public and the courts as a revolutionary movement, That in turn depends considerably, but not absolutely, on what on what OWS thinks of itself, The initiators of OWS are strongly influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition, When ever I raise this with a liberal supporter of the movement they tend to view it as slander, but the initiators of the movement are quite open and proud of their influences and they make no bones about it, which would be patently obvious to anyone who bothered to sit through a single GA, Liberal supporters of the movement tend to see references to revolution as hyperbole whereas movement radicals really mean it,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

We have quite a number of bodies recognized by law as capable of law making and self governing bodies. I am a member of one of those bodies and we are recognized and registered with our State as such. It is called a homeowners association and has the right to make laws regarding the area in which we are approved to operate or our area of authority. None of those laws that we make can be contrary to existing laws which authorize our very existence. Thus we retain legal counsel for that advice. In other words we could not pass and expect to enforce a law excluding ownership by someone based on their race. We could not pass and expect to enforce a law that says vehicles used on the campus and then on public streets would have to carry our association issued plates on the rear of the vehicle, etc.

Sure OWS has the right to become recognized in one form or another and to make its own laws. However, organization as a leaderless group of people who choose to make their own laws would have laws that only apply to those who choose that application and could not be enforced other than through self policing which would then make that very law subject to all other laws of the local, county, state or other entity without any provision for the OWS to have any legal basis for doing anything that was not under existing written laws. It would be the equivalent to the garden club passing a law that everyone had to take turns bringing cookies to the regular meetings. This would only apply to members of the club, who could in theory be removed from the club by the club but not within the context of any protection provided by local law enforcement or local judiciary.

The OWS can only be considered a revolutionary movement if in fact it is so recognized by the applicable laws from their nearest jurisdiction all the way to the Supreme Court. Any break in that legal recognization is merely calling yourself a "garden club" and thinking somehow that meant that you could tell everyone in town which flowers to plant in their yards. That would be revolutionary but from what source would they derive any legal meaning and authorization to do so.

They can only police themselves to the extent that it is allowed by their own laws and does not in any way conflict with laws above them or which so authorize them. In other words, they could say that a member who does a certain thing would be locked in their room for a period of five days but that could not be enforced without infringement on the kidnapping laws of the state or federal government and they would then be subject to that law and their law could not even be up for discussion in any court of the land.

Movement radicals have no more right to make laws than I do if I choose to join then and they are in effect a legally recognized entity except with the sphere of such authority as granted by a higher power.

I cannot even open a business in my town of residence without that business being recognized as a legal entity subject to the laws of the city and state authorizing the existence of that business. It costs a few bucks but the alternative is that the business is shut down by the city. Even if made legal by registration, I cannot name the business the Revolutionary Movement Furniture Company and make a law that says I can operate out of the basement of my residence selling items to walk in customers.

You can call it what you want and it can claim what it wants, but the Constitution does not give it the license to do or to not do what it chooses. The Constitution says that I have freedom of religion too but I cannot have 1,000 of my church members over to my house for a singing and preaching service every Sunday or say that I do not have to pay taxes because I am a church. The city says that I cannot be a church in a residential area without a permit or license and that is the end of that Constitutional issue so far as location is concerned.

The Constitution does have very long tentacles but you have to trace those tentacles to their source or to their destination in order to apply that document to a specific issue. The document itself does NOT control the issue, the end of the tentacle does the controlling and must be in conformance with (attached to, if you will) that very source to which it applies - any break or consistency is the very reason that we have court systems and the Supreme Court.

OWS can do what it wants to but the ultimate proof will be made by tracing its authority to do what it does from the organization itself all the way up the tentacle to the very Constitution itself.

OWS evidently made their own law which said that they could camp out anywhere and occupy anything they wanted because they self identified as a Revolutionary Movement. So far, they have somehow, NOT been able to trace that right up the tentacle all the way to the Constitution regardless of how vocal their protests or their complaints to the local authorities. They retain their rights to appeal all the way up the tentacle if they so choose, but until that is done, the law is the law and there is simply no way around that and the mayors and the police have met success in enforcing the rule of law. If that tentacle, in fact, does not reach to the Constitution, then the ultimate decision will be made by the various levels of judicial authority in existence at this time.

In the meantime, I would not advise spitting in any officers' face and then expect not to get my teeth rearranged if I spit on the wrong one.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Since OWS rejects the legitimacy of the corporate state it has no interest in being recognized by it, If you actually read the hard copy (not the postings) on the home page of this web site I think most rational people (including most judges and lawyers) would tend to conclude that OWS is a revolutionary movement, First of all it says it is a revolutionary movement, but of course that is not sufficient, If also says that we have no need of politicians to help us to build a better society, That sure sounds genuinely revolutionary to me, Liberals who claim to be supportive of OWS either ignore these statements, consciously or unconsciously, or view them as hyperbole, I happen to think that the people who wrote them mean what they said, One of the things that OWS very strongly believes is that the state cannot tell it what it can and cannot do and that sure sound revolutionary to me, Anybody who bothered to sit through a single GA would discover that in minutes,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

From my experience with local courts, I think it more than likely that the judges that you make reference to would simply smile under the sleeve of their robe, clear they throats and move on trying to keep from laughing.

There is nothing really revolutionary in saying anything or writing anything. Revolutionary is simply a word used to describe some actions that someone chooses to promote. Just because we say something is "crazy" does not necessarily have anything to do with any mental state. We might even describe an event as crazy or a scientific finding as crazy.

The fact that someone calls itself revolutionary and a movement as revolutionary and may even believe that, simply means to me that they have no understanding of history and past happenings. The Revolutionary War was not revolutionary in the sense that it made even one of the claims that OWS advocates in that way that they advocate it. My brother can come up with more revolutionary ideas in five minutes that OWS ever did and he actually believes everyone of them. We discuss his ideas hour on end and then have more coffee and go to our own homes the best of friends.

In the same tone, the corporate state has no interest in recognizing the OWS as anything other than a bunch of individuals getting together. If you had been meeting in a basement somewhere, no one would have even known, cared, or wanted to know what you were doing down there (except maybe a nosey neighbor) and how revolutionary you thought you were.

As OWS relates to you personally:

  1. You "reject the legitimacy" of God in the form of Jesus.
  2. You declare that you are an athiest, you "say" that you are such.
  3. You say you have "no need of" religion or belief.
  4. You state that the "state" ( in this case God) cannot tell you what you can and cannot do.

This all sounds very revolutionary to me on your part. But do you know what - it has absolutely no bearing in even the very slightest way of whether God does or does not exist or cares or is changed by any statement you make of who you are or what you believe.

And that this statement is true whether in the final truth, God does or does not exist. It simply makes absolutely NO difference in the larger scheme of things other than to you and you alone.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Sounds like you are saying that there is no such thing as a revolution, that it is all subjective perception. Some philosophers might buy that (by no means all) and I think few courts would, What does it mean to "uphold the Constitution" after all? I ran for public office several times and I had to swear that I would "uphold the Constitution" just to run, which made me very uncomfortable. There are a lot of things in the Constitution that I disagree with, A lot, About the only things I do agree with are the Bill of Rights and due process clauses and amendments, In therms of the actual structure of government personally I would much prefer a parliamentary system, a unicameral legislative branch and have the executive chosen by caucus out of the legislative branch, Personally I think that would be much more democratic, I'm not especially interested in discussing it and certainly not interested in arguing about it, I bring it up just to point out just how much of the Constution I disagree with, which is virtually everything excepting the amendments, which are, after all, really after thoughts, So it's hard to say that I uphold the Constitution, but I gritted my teeth and signed the oath so I could run for office,

At my draft physical I was asked to sign a document that said that I didn't belong to any of the organizations on the Atourney General's List of Subversive Organizations, No, in point of fact I really did belong to one of the organizations on the list, It was the IWW, which was the only organization on the list that I could join in good conscience as all the rest were either Stalinist fronts or fascist organizations, So I didn't sign it, It was a very curious document, The block that said you belonged to one of the organizations on the list was blocked out so in fact you actually couldn't say yes that you did belong to one of the organizations, All you could do is say that you didn't belong to one of the organizations or not sign it at all, so I chose the latter,

On seeing this a sergeant came up to me and asked me, "Do you believe in the government of the United States," to which I answered, "I do not understand the question, Do you mean do I believe that the government of the United States exists?" At which point he became furious with me and screamed "Do you believe in the government of the United States?" At which point I said, "Well, whether I do or not that'snot what the question on this paper says, The question on this paper is asking me whether I belong to any of these organizations," At which point he asked me, "Well, do you?" And my answer was, "That is none of your business." At which point he asked me to follow him, I did. He took me into an office, opened a desk drawer, gave me a bus ticket home and I wasn't drafted, They tried to draft me again two years later and again I was rejected, but that's another story,

In terms of faith or a belief system. I'm fine in there here and now and find stories about an after life that no one has ever proved really bizarre, but I do firmly believe in many of the ethical principles of the Bible such as the Golden Rule, which I happen to think really is revolutionary, That is, I really believe that if only 10% of the population really practiced the Golden Rule (I'm not saying I do) most of the institutional structures that we live with would probably collapse,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

Hey RedJazz - one last post before turning in for the night.

In regards to the last paragraph, please note the following:

  1. No one has ever proved that there is an afterlife. I believe that Jesus did but not a fact that I can reproduce under scientific methods.

  2. However, no one has ever proved that the Golden Rule as we know it exists in the Bible yet you make reference to it in reference to the Bible.

There are certain prior beliefs that one must hold to believe or accept the belief that there is an afterlife. If these beliefs are not held, then the after life does seem really bizarre.

If these prior beliefs do not exist, then I would fully agree with you and I also would doubt that that rotting corpse could in any way be any indicator of any type of afterlife other than food for the worms.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 10 years ago

When the power of a few flows to the many, it is always called revolution because the natural flow is always in the opposite direction.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Depends on how successful and how comprehensive it is. For example, the civil rights movement certainly improved race relations, but it didn't really transform social relations more broadly understood. Or the right of labor to organize and negotiate for collective bargaining rights is really more of a stand off between two contending forces than a revolution,

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 10 years ago

Many times the flow is stopped somewhere between justice and injustice. Even when justice is obtained, it tends to flow back into injustice. That is why revolutions must be continually fought.

[-] 1 points by zymergy (236) 10 years ago

With your original question and these 60 comments, could you summarize your debate?

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

If you go to the initial posting on the thread, that is what I am most interested in. That is, what does it mean to be revolutionary? What exactly does it mean to desire to "overthrow the government by force or violence?" This is not at all self evident to me. Many decades ago, when I went for my draft physical, I was asked if I believed in the United States government, a statement that I also do not understand, When I said that and asked if what was meant that I believed it existed I was rejected from military service for my impertinence, But it's still a question for me,

I was intitially concerned with a very practical question for OWS. In the course of demonstrations demonstrators sometimes call on the police to "join us." Supposing the police actually did, armed and in uniform. Would that constitute an act of treason? And whether or not the police actually would join with the demonstrators (not as private citizens but as police, armed and in uniform), does such a call, in and of itself constitute an act of treason? That is my question and as it is a real activity it would seem to me to have practical consequences depending on the answer.

There were some bizarre digressions regarding the existence of a supreme being and other irrelevancies, but that is the essence of the discussion so far as I remember it, though it has been a while since I contributed to this thread,

[-] 1 points by zymergy (236) 10 years ago

Of course you know that you also digressed from my question, but that is something for which we all are susceptible, and often we get more valuable ideas back than we expected when people digress. I tried to read all 60 comments but got impatient. My next thought was that it would be nice if the original author could, after one or two weeks and 30 or more comments, review the collection and summarize it for later auditors. Doing so might minimize the time-consuming rehashing of old but still relevant ideas, question, and concerns, such as yours above.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Basically my question was if the American judicial system would view calls on the part of demonstrators for police to join them would be viewed as treasonous or not. After a lot of back and forth and clarification of exactly what I meant I think the ultimate conclusion was that there was really no telling what the court system would do if such a case came before it,

There was some back and forth about the police acting as police and the police acting as private citizens, but I specified the notion of the police coming to the side of the movement as police, not as private citizens, In such a circumstance it could be imagined that they would protect the occupations from any effort to disrupt them in any way and perhaps even assist the movement in literally occupying Wall Street. That's what I had in mind. Of course you can take it further than that. Ultimately, no matter how nonviolent a revolutionary movement is, if it is really to seize power it will have to rely on those institutions in society that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence and that is the broader issue I was trying to address,

[-] 1 points by zymergy (236) 10 years ago

Thank you.

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 10 years ago

"The revolution is not about changing government, the revolution is about changing the thinking of man." said Che Guevara.

[-] 1 points by rayl (1007) 10 years ago

it does not constitute an effort to overthrow the government. are you assuming that the goal of ows is to overthrow the american government? i've only heard calls for change.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

No, What I am concerned with, or more accurately interested in is whether or not demonstrators shouting "join us" to an agency of the government which has a legal monopoly on violence might be construed by a court of the Court as an act designed to "overthrow the government by force and violence" regardless of what the individual demonstrators by self consconsciously think they are doing or not doing by so acting, I suspect that some might be self consciously revolutionary and some not, but whether or not calling on a section of the state that has a legal monopoly on violence to join the movement is in and of itself an act of violence is a more problematic area both of law and of nonviolent theory,

[-] 1 points by FalseFlag (121) 10 years ago

Consumable wealth for living expenditures must be limited. The richest person can consume only 20 times the poorest. Wealth which is spend for consumption should be redistributed. Bill Gates, Obama can only consume 20X when a janitor consumes 2X, safety net is 1X which is enough for shelter, food, health, education. If you want more than that, want a car, and travelling, you should be working to earn more than 1X, anybody who can work should get at least 2X which can lead to home ownership if spend wisely. Safety net, 1X, should allow people to grow intellectually so they can still give back to society however they like. Everybody owes to society all the time. Personal consumption can not go over 20X, because if you build a mansion, you rule, and we are no longer equal politically. Your wealth and economic power will give you connections and political power. Society invests in social, economic, politic infrastructure, create more social and humane contract for society. Bill Gates can spend 20X a year, and can have as much investment money as possible. Nobody can have a chunk of this world, the world is holly and precious. The most productive, talented and hard worker can earn 20X max, when a burger guy earns 2X, and unfortunate can have safety net of X. People do science and contribute to society based on love for humanity, justice, truth, knowledge. The system is same because Bill Gates can have unlimited resources but can only consume 20X, so his home is maximum 20 times larger than a burger guy's home. We owe our lives to every living creature who existed, suffered through time through existence, we owe ourselves to other human being who creates the gene pool, the society and the possibility of existence of us. We owe our lives to all other people around the world. We can not become kings and queens through corrupt organizations such as states. States are for to level the field, to bring justice and equality. State can not become center of power. It will be corrupted. One simple legislation can bring you this new world which will transform your lives and the world. Economic system will be more productive. What do you say?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I'm not opposed to a maximum income law in practice so long as it is preceeded by a minimum wage law which really ought to be pegged to a living wage, We need a floor before we have a ceiling,

[-] 1 points by FalseFlag (121) 10 years ago

Society finds out how many X we can spend, than determines the value of X. 20X for Steve Jobs, Obama, ...etc, 2X for flipping burgers, X is the safety net enough to have shelter, food, library, health, so these people can still contribute to society by duty, by love. Investment money can be acquired in unlimited amounts through talent but consumption is 20X max. Same system, only difference is a janitor and a CEO can live in the same neighborhood provided that CEO can probably have 10 times bigger house..etc. Nobody can have a chunk of this world, this world is holy and precious. We owe our existence to all other living creatures of past and present at minimum, we owe our existence to all others because of gene pool and society which makes us possible variety possible. Many living things suffered through time and made our existence possible. We can't be selfish. No matter what no one deserves more than anyone unless there is consent for it.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

My tendency would be to put the maximum income more like 3X the minimum or perhaps 5X the minimum, certainly not 20X or the 500X it is now, But the most important this is to establish a floor first, not a ceiling and that floor should be based on what the BLS determines is a living wage and should be pegged to the living wage so that their is no issue of raising a minimum wage from time to time as it would always be pegged to the living wage and would go up automatically, perhaps on a quarterly basis as the living wage went up,

[-] 1 points by FalseFlag (121) 10 years ago

We are on the same page. We are just negotiating. We can negotiate forever, and change how many X all the time that is fine. Society can play with it. My max is 20X, your max is 3X. I understand. I wanted to provide some space for talented people.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I think 3X is plenty of space. Talent really is its own reward and most really talented people do not voluntarily withdraw their talent because of lack of financial remuneration, Van Gough made a total of $75 for his painting in his life time, that was from his brother who felt sorry for him, and he was additionally crippled by mental illness, but none of that stoppe him from painting,

[-] 1 points by FalseFlag (121) 10 years ago

We are on the same page. I don't mind negotiating it for the system all the time as long as we understand the concept and improve the economy.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

None of this is likely to come about through mere legislative action and suggests a total transformation of the nature of social relations,

[-] 1 points by FalseFlag (121) 10 years ago

If can't legislate than revolt. You have constitutional right. This would unite mankind. This is better economics and better society. Everything else is good enough, we only need this X rule. That is revolution whether through legislation or guillotine (I mean jail).

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

But wouldn't that living wage be depressed to about something like $2.50 - $3.50 per hour if you actually implement such a plan. You know that you will have a maximum earnings level which will be lowered drastically to implement this plan and that will automatically alter the living wage for the group as a whole having an altered impact on the minimum wage earners cost of living.

This is due to the natural fact that production will be drastically reduced which will result in less demand for products due to the decrease in the available expendable money supply and the entire process will probably balance out somewhere in the $2.50 bottom to $19.50 top range. This will automatically cut the living wage necessity to about $5,056 per annum.

And ola - welcome to 1965. Well that really wasn't such a bad year for me. Graduated, got my first job and guess what, it was at an annual rate of exactly $5,000. It would be a setback in today' terms but at least it would be $56.00 ahead of the first 1965.

You all do the math - it really is not very far off since I rounded to the nearest dollar. You can deal with the cents part if you want.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

It really doesn't matter what the monetary value of a living wage is, That's just an abstract figure, A living wage is a living wage, It is about a certain standard of living which is considered above poverty in our culture, Of course the numerical figure could vary with inflation and deflation, but the concept of a living wage would remain the same. It has to do with what you can buy with what you make, not what the figure is that you make in raw numbers,

The standards for a living wage are outlined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I don't have the exact standards in front of me but it would mean for a family of four that you could afford a modest home, that you could afford to feed, cloth, house, provide for the health care and education for a family of four, that you could afford a modest but sound used car, probably a barbecue in the backyard but not a built in pool, and a family vacation for a week or so every year involving a modest domestic trip,

Anecdotally that is pretty much what a living wage would buy. Of course people could choose to spend the equivalent income anyway they chose and some people might forgo one thing to be able to spend more money on another, but that is the base line whatever it means in monetary terms anything below that is what the BLS considers the poverty line,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

So what I understand you are promoting is a minimum and a maximum income level. Is that right.

If that even comes close to happening, I am out of here and taking what I can get to Hawaii and buying land and recreational property. Man those people at the top are going to have bunches of money and more time to spend it than one can imagine. They will only work 40 hour weeks now and will have almost unlimited time to spend on vacation and the money to enjoy life. It is really sad that so many now in that class could never fully enjoy their time because they had to work so many hours - but now problem solved. Everyone else will be forced to stay home on their minimum wage but me the top bunch with all that forced time off - it will be heaven on earth.

Take that Bill Gates guy, he will reach that maximum income level in a matter of 5 seconds and then go on vacation for the rest of the year. I can hardly wait. I should be able to get off work about March 17 when I would reach my maximum for the year.

This is the greatest news I have ever received. Up until this time, I have had to work until the end of March just to pay my annual income taxes. I am so excited that I can't contain myself.

I have to be missing something here, what is it????

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I personally am more concerned with a minimum income level, though once that is rationally established a maximum income level would be useful in discouraging huge disparities between rich and poor. Of course we already have a minimum wage law, but it is pegged to a particular dollar figure whose value goes down with inflation, The consequence of that is that new minimum wage laws have to be passed regularly to keep up with inflation and whether that happens or not basically depends on what way the wind was blowing in Congress,

Pegging the minimum wage to a living wage would vitiate the need to bring a new minimum wage bill before Congress every time inflation rendered the old law obsolete, The mimum wage would simply go up automatically to keep pace with whatever the base line for a living wage was, That would be reviewed on a regular basis, as prescribed in the legislation, Rationally I don't think that an adjustment to a base line living wage should occur any less frequently than once a year, Probably the most practical interval of review would be that used by the BLS, which I think is quarterly,

In terms of a maximum income, the major argument that I have seen against it is the supposed necessity of economic incentives, but most of the really talented people I have seen who are making a genuine contribution to our economy or culture are not particularly drivien by economic incentives, It really is true that talent, real talent, really is its own reward, Most of the people who are making a real contribution to the economy or to our culture would probably do exactly what they are doing for no money at all, just for the fun of it,

Such an arrangement of course would unleash immeasurable wealth for the commons,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

Good morning - snow everywhere here today - and do we need it.

Your reasoning seems sound for the minimum income level part of the argument, basing it on a living wage and it sounds great if you are the receipent of the wage adjustments. This very thing is being done within the Social Security Program, is it not. The money received is based on the cost of living, pegged to a given, that being the amount currently received

This system, however, has its faults too. Even in a totally conrolled system such as Social Security where the only variable is the cost of living adjustment, it simply does not work and at some point in time, the system becomes bankrupt, because the other factors that have an impact on that adjustment are not variable in the eyes of the system.

The problem with the system for a minimum living wage that you propose is the very same. Probably a significant number of companies that budget one or two or more years in advance simply would be forced to adust to the frequent minimum living wage adjustments imposed upon them and the only adjustment that could be make in many cases would be the reduction in the actual costs of that adjustment within the resources allocated to salaries. As a businessman, if I didn't have lead time for at least one year on these adjustments, I could not plan ahead, budget or otherwise absorb any such adjustments without either operating on a very conservative approach to the number of employees that I have, holding back huge cash reserves to cover these unknows, or simply waiting until it happens and adjusting the number of employees I hire to meet the funds allocated for those salaries.

I think that the result would be an extreme shrinking of the business sector such as we have in today's economy when the unknowns and the uncontrollables of that business simply say pick one of the three options listed above and hunker down for whatever happens. We see this example being played out in today's economy exactly in the manner which I anticipate it would be played out in your description of the living wage agrument - the variable are different (Obamacare, taxes on the various groups, etc). I would not want to be in any business today that did not have a significant cash reserve on hand to meet the unknowns that have been thrown at us over the last 3.5 years by this administration. Thus you see the results, your large corporations and even small businesses are holding onto their cash reserves, are not hiring, and are oursourcing as much as they can to protect their very lives - NOT - simply to show a greater profit each year.

Now I want to digress into an area that most of the people who post herein will think is absolutely absurd. This will result in all kinds of insults, putdowns, and witch attacks, but here goes.

Everthing that has been or will be posted on this website has already been dealt with and very well documented in a book called the Bible. Whether you accept it valid, fact, fiction, etc really does NOT make any difference. In many ways it is a book of wisdom and teachings and to some is equivalent to Aesops fables. We attack the Bible but we noone has attached Aesop.

Anyhow, to my point, what you are seeing in the the world of business today is exactly described in the story of Joseph and the time that he was in Egypt. All you have to do is read it, understand the variables that that country faced and see what the reaction was.

If you do not want to handle that specific book, look at the fable regarding the ant and the grasshopper - same deal, same action, same result.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Social security is not pegged to a living wage nor are cost of living adjustments automatic, Pegging the minimum wage law to a living wage would vitiate the need to revisit it everytime there is significant inflation and also gets around the role of changing Congresses, some of which are sympathetic to an adequate minimum wage and some of which are not,

I personally don't think any single piece of legislation or for that matter a whole legislative program would be adequate to addressing the crises we face, I think the problem is much more systemic, It's not about corrupt or inept or conservative politicians, It's about a system that actually fosters corruption at its roots, at the level of the Constitution and even below that at the consensual values of our culture, This suggests to me the need for much much more fundamental change than even a whole new Congress, or specific leglislation, or a Constitutional amendment or even a Constitutional convention, And, it seems to me, if you read the very few documents that OWS has actually produced you would have to come to the conclusion that that is what amounts to the official position of OWS too,

That said, I am not opposed to making demands, especially demands that the current system is unlikely to grant as it is exactly such demands that will demonstrate to people how inadequate the current system is to face the present crises,

Many union contracts include automatic cost of living adjustments, Far from making life more complicated for those corporations it actually makes budgetting simpler as it regularizes labor costs which typically are the most volitile and unstable part of a corporate budget, At first many corporations were resistant to cost of living clauses, but eventually they not only learned to live with them but use them to their advantage,

To me what OWS is about is a secular version of first century Christianity, When I describe the social relations in Zuccotti Park to people who are hostile to OWS their general approach is to just get more angry. But I have seen the chronically homeless, people who came to Zuccotti viewing society as a war of each against all, come to Zuccotti and be well integrated into the community, I have seen the same happen with people with mental illness, drug addicts and felons just released from prison, These people were not patronized but treated as equals and while it usually did take some adjustment for them in most instances they were integrated into the community, Of course that didn't happen all the time but we are a new movement and still learning,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

Hey RedJazz Great to hear from you again.

I want to zero right in on your last paragraph. I will fully accept your statement about the "secular version..of Christianity". The basis of everything that I have posted since day one was based on this very concept sans the word "secular". I just lost another 20 minute prep post so I will expand here:

You asked a question regarding the nature of the "join us" call. To a limited extent I posted my reply in a very secular context. Here is what I see as the very basis for the "join us" call.

From Genesis to Revelations, the Bible is very adamant that all creation has the right to "call out". This right is even extended to Satan himself and the Earth itself. I believe that the Constitution represents the supreme Law of Our Land but that it was and continues to be validated by the Bible itself. This very fact is validated in the Preamble to that document. I fully believe that once any part of this validation disappears whether in actuality or in the minds of the people, that document will also lose its' very validity.

Thus the first century Christian or more importantly the beginning of creation itself gave this freedom to all. Satan himself has the freedom to speak to the creator, Satan had the right to speak regarding Adam and Eve, the people had the right to speak for the release of Barabaas, and Satan had the freedom to speak to Jesus in the temptation. Without this greatest of freedoms, evident since the beginning of time, there would be no Consititution or OWS calling out "join us" today. This is a GOD given right and is so recognized.

At the point where this call receives a response it the point where the law breaks down and action from the legal authorities intervenes.

Of course, if the officers want to join OWS own their own time not in an official capacity that would be accepted HOWEVER, to join into the call to actively cry for their fellow officers in uniform to join them, would be subject to interpretation by the very entity that they work for and have sworn to remain a part of. Thus their action may very will be judged based on a very separate criterion from the regular OWS members - whether that judgement be based upon legal premises or moral standards of the police organization of which they are a part.

To summarize, Satan tempted Jesus and called for him to "join us" to eat, to jump from the mountain, to deny. This was the freedom that Satan possessed at God's will. Had Jesus actually "joined us" and taken that temptation, the world would have had no meaning thereafter.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

The fact that OWS is secular is extremely important to me, I happen to be an atheist and also a practicing Quaker, but as the gay poet Walt Whitman (who was also a Quaker) said, "I contradict myself, well then, I contradict myself." So references to the particularly supernatural parts of the Bible tend to leave me cold unless they are in fact metaphors for some historical or prehistoric event or process, in which case I would prefer to have it explained to me directly, For example I've heard that the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son was really about early Jewish opposition to human sacrifice cults,

Regarding the remote possibility of uniformed and armed police going over to OWS, I'm really interested in how the courts might interpret it, It does seem to me that whether or not OWS was viewed as genuinely revolutionary would be a factor and of course the cops would be disciplined and probably fired as any other employer would do for open violation of a direct order, but what other consequences might there be? Might this be pursued further in the courts? During the Viet Nam era a few soldiers acting as military police did go over to the side of the demonstrations in the midst of some demonstrations, The were armed at the time in the sense that they were carrying bayonetted rifles, but they were without bullets. They were eventually caught and court marshalled, but I believe it was on a relatively minor charge, somewhere between AWOL and desertion and I think they did some military prison time and got dishonorable discharges but that the cases were not pursued further at the time either by the military or in civil court,

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

Which hand do you want your number 666 inked into and where do you want your implanted chip??

Actually this probably would solve a lot of our problems, In order to make this work, we would all, in effect have to work for some huge department of the Federal Government, would all be under the same pay scale, would all have the same size cubicle, would also have the same benefits.

BINGO - I think that you have come up with the perfect solution to the entire equalization problem. The only people who would be hurt are the existing Federal workers who would have to downsize their cubicles, and standardize their pay at the same rate as all the newly entering employees, thus losing any seniority etc. But what the hey - they are all a bunch of losers anyhow and now we can all be in that same bunch.

It is a great idea. I want to join the TSA branch cause this means strip searches for everyone so that no one sneaks any of those great government pens out the door after work (anyone who now works for the Federal Government knows what I mean about the government pens, right??)


[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 10 years ago

Just on the basics of your premise, I'd have to say no, it does not constitute an effort to overthrow the US government by force and/or violence.

To assume that it would, assumes that an attempt at violence was on condition of receiving support from a para military group such as the police.

If the police had 'joined' the protests, it would have legitimatized the movement in the eyes of the media, mainstream media, where a large portion of our population gathers it's information and upon which it forms opinions.

If, for example on large police group (force is a harsh word in context of the question) sided with the protesters, then the probability of another large group of police would also, leading to the possibility of two outcomes.

Military intervention with the potential of conflict, or the political leaders coming forward asking for terms for peaceful resolution. You decide which would be more likely.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Yes, to appeal to an institution of society that has a sanctioned monopoly on violence is essentially to ask them to stop using their sanctioned violence to oppose you and to instead use it to support you. Of course it could be argued that the police might choose not to use their sanctioned violence at all against anyone, but then undoubtedly the state would intervene with other institutions of sanctioned violence (elements of the military) and the same scenerio would play out. In the 1960s regular army was used to "protect" the Pentagon and demonstrators appealed to them to join us, at which point the same issue arises. A revolutionary movement may be nonviolent but ultimately if it hopes to capture state power it will have to win over at least some elements of the state that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence at the very least to neutralize them if not to have the use their sanctioned violence on behalf of the movement, As such the original question remains: is or is not the call for police to "join us" an effort to overthrow the constituted government of the United States by force and violence?

The state and police officers themselves call themselves a part of a police force. I'm all for calling people what they call themselves. A lot of people on this list are opposed to the radicals in OWS calling themselves radicals even though that is what they call themselves.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

People for some reason feel the need to repeat a dictionary definition of revolution without actually thinking for themselves or for that matter directly answering the question I pose in the body of my message, which was, when OWSers chant to the police to join us does that or does that not constitute an effort to overthrow the United States government by force and violence?


[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress & the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." ~ Abraham Lincoln ~

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Yes, but some OWSers have a post Constitutional vision and some OWSers have chanted to police "Join Us!" People seem to be avoiding my rather direct question, but given that context, does the act of calling on the police to join us constitute an effort to overthrow the United States government by force or violence or not? It's really a direct question and I would very much appreciate if it were directly engaged, not with similies, or non sequitor quotes from dead people.

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

no it does not .. it only protects citizens from the government. no one is planning to use the police to start violence only to stop it from happening.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Whatever the "plan" is, if there is one, which I doubt, the fact is that as an institution it is the police and the military that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence. Of course, most of the time they do not use it, but their power derives from the fact that the do have a sanctioned monopoly on its use and control of the 99% is based essentially on the thinly veiled threat that they could and would use it should the 1% find it "necessary." If any section of the police or the military literally switched their allegiance from the institutions of the 1% to an institution of the 99% would that not constitute an act of treason on their part and by extention an act of treason on the part of the people who called on them to so act?

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 10 years ago

Good question. Let me answer your question directly the best I can as I see it: An action by people of calling upon a sanctioned monopolistic force, i.e. police and the like, to switch allegiance, and such a sanctioned force actually doing so, would be an act of treason in a sense, but not an act of treason upon the government; in that the institution of the 1% is not necessarily the institution of the government (at least not here in the United States). Rather, in that the government, or let us qualify this as a truly democratic government, should represent the people (i.e. the "99%"), and not only any particular 1% of the people, should a sanctioned force, say the police, suddenly turn around and defend the 99%, they actually would be upholding the government.

In actuality, in supporting the institutions of the 1% and acting against the 99%, as they are currently doing, the police et. al. are in essence committing government treason now!

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

But how would the courts view it? That, it seems to me is the operative and practical question,

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 10 years ago

We would not know until someone brought the argument to court. Unfortunately, courts are in the same situation as the police.

That debuts another issue. A confusion exists about rules, laws, and the rule of law. This issue being brought about by rules and laws not in the interests of the people (the "99%") crafted by deceit and bribe by a treasonous 1%. In essence, we have treasonous laws and rules. Such rules and laws make for the dismantling of our government, it's institutions, and the use of what was our government for ulterior purposes. The situation police and courts find themselves in is being tasked with upholding treasonous law and rule. Protestors, like OWS, find themselves in an even more twisted situation. In upholding government, breaking (treasonous) law and rule becomes very much the point. Upholding government becomes "revolution", and revolution becomes "upholding government". Rebels become "conservatives", and conservatives become "rebels"; all making for a real Orwellian mess.

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

no it would not. this is a free country.. not a dictatorship the police an military are not a 'group ' on thier own. they each took an oath to up hold the constitution not the government there is no 'allegiance'

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I would agree that there is considerably more freedom of action in the United States and other industrialized democracies than there is elsewhere in the world, but it ought to be rather clear that that freedom of action has been eroding in a variety of ways, If anyone really is not convinced of this I think that a day spent at any occupation or GA would convince them otherwise,

And democratic or not the fundamental social role of those institutions in society that have a monopoly on violence is to protect the power and the class rule of the ruling class,

Regarding the fact that those with a sanctioned monopoly on violence take an oath to up hold the constitution, that is exactly my point, Again, when a group which is both consciously nonviolent and self consciously revolutionary calls upon an institution in society that has a sanctioned monopoly on violence to "join us." Are we not, in so doing calling on them to violate there oath, which is to say commit treason, which is to say overthrow the government by force or violence and in so asking them to do that are we not also culpable of treason? I really don't have an answer to that, but I do mean it as a serious question as it concerns events that are actually happening and which are ongoing,

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

no i do not think we are. i think we are enjoining the individuals in the institution to remember they are free citizens and behave accordingly and to remind them that their actions will not be immune to prosecution.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

Perhaps, but to the extent that OWS sees itself as a revolutionary organization, and many OWS activists do so see it, then if the police actually took the advice of those chanting "join us" in uniformed and armed, then, no matter what we may or may not be doing it would seem to me that the the police would then be committing an act of treason, The whole thing turns I think on whether OWS is or is not a genuinely revolutionary movement, I think that most of the liberals who became active in the movement shortly after it began tend to see references to revolution as mere hyperbole whereas when the initiators of the movement talk about revolution they really mean it, The question then becomes how the public and how the courts view the movement,

I've seen many postings on this forum from people who actually have very little real contact with OWS calling on it to divest itself of radical rhetoric, My response has always been that to do so would be disingenuous and dishonest as the initiators of the movement are very influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition a fact that they are quite open about and the liberals who find some affinity with the movement need to get used to that fact,

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

by 'joining' thru agreement of principle can not be construed as anything but the exercise of free will not treason. that would be thought crime and that doesnt exist.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

What would the courts make of it? I think that turns on whether or not the courts viewed OWS as a revolutionary organization and a section of the police joined the movement armed and in uniform. It depends partially, though not entirely, on what OWS thinks of itself, Whenever I point out to liberal supporters of the movement that the initiators of the movement are strongly influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition the liberals tend to view this as slander, but movement radicals are quite open and proud of their politics as anyone who bothered to sit through one GA would instantly see, The liberal tend to see references to revolution as hyperbole whereas the radicals in the movement really mean it, Indeed that is one way to distinguish between liberals and radicals in the movement,

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

if the situation ever got to the point where the citizens are in armed combat with the 1%.. then im sure at least part of the government would be on the side of the 99% and the opposing side would be paid mercenaries. and at such a time ,, the 1% would be the ones commiting treason. We are the people that govern the government after all.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I am not talking about armed struggle. I am talking about the movement remaining absolutely nonviolent in and of itself but calling on those institutions of society that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence to join the movement, a situation that already exists and not something speculative, I am simply taking it one step further and asking what the likely consequences would be should some section of those institutions with a sanctioned monopoly on violence actually heed the call of demonstrators and armed an in uniform join the movement,

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

no i dont think it is wrong or against the law for them to join the movement. they can be in uniform off the clock just as they are on any normal day. no it is not treason

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I am envisioning here a very dynamic situation, which has happened in America at least in individual cases, Of course, out of uniform police are private citizens and I would be surpirized if some of them somewhere were not in the movement, I am talking about a very different but very real possibility (though maybe not a probablility, but then neither was OWS). I am talking about demonstrators calling on poilice to "join us" and right then and there, in uniform and without casting down their arms, one or some police actually do go over to the side of OWS, From the point of view of the courts would that or would that not constitute an act of treason? Of course I know no one can predict what the courts would actually do but I am asking for some hunches an speculation here, Obviously the cop or cops in question would be internally disciplined and perhaps even fired for disobeying an order as would any employer, but would that be the extent of it? How far would it likely go?

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 10 years ago

no it would not be treason. it could maybe be construed as dereliction of duty or not performing the job but that would be job related and not a crime of any sort. if the courts tried to say otherwise.. that might be a good reason to get violent

[-] 1 points by jacksonme (17) 10 years ago

Taxation without representation. mostly the 99% are taxed , but only the 1% are represented by congress and the senate- due to bribery. we won't through tea in Boston harbor, but we might block its port. We expect / demand that the government represent all of , not just the privileged - filthy rich and greedy 1%. -- That problem exists all over the earth not only in the USA. No one wants to overthrow any government- just have its employees, support all of the people.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

What is so ironic is the fact that you and I are supporting those employees to do the very thing that we do not want.

Yet, we cry for more government intervention in our lives, thus more employees who we have to fight against because they do not support all of the people. Herein, I am not limiting the term employees to only those elected to office. I am talking about the secretary in DC who sits at a desk and files her nails while I do the work for her in the room next door. (been there and done that already and it made me sick).

Yet we issue these demands to stop and at the same time we issue our demands for more of the same.

We could not take care of ourselves and our neighbors, we demanded help and more of this and more of that - what did we get FEMA - now we got permanent help whether we need it or not. They are NOT all going to be so accomodating as the secretary and file their nails when there is nothing else for them to do. They are NOT sitting around waiting for the next hurricane - if you think that, think again. It is easy to make these demands - it is going to be quite another story when we get all of them.

[-] 1 points by jacksonme (17) 10 years ago

We should only demand thing's that we know we will never get.
not just one thing- but all kinds of things- there are many groups in the world with different things that they want- join with them and help them demonstrate and demand anything they want. the system becomes overloaded with, demands that it can't possibly- give us- then the people will get whatever it they really want. hopefully a democractic government (which the usa isn't ) http://simurl.com/mavtad

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago


Have you also written your letter to Santa. Kids love this time of year.

The only ones who get hurt are the parents who really can't afford everything that their children would like for Christmas.

SIGNED - A tax paying parent..

[-] 1 points by jacksonme (17) 10 years ago

All my kids want for Christmas- is to live in a free country. where their government is there for all the people- not just those who bribe them.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

And I hope that you realize that they already have that gift of a free country. On that point - you will have to see that they know what they have. If there are problems, that is your responsibility to take care of as the adult.


[-] 0 points by FreeDiscussion1 (109) 10 years ago

Revolution = 360 degrees. Math 101,idiot.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 10 years ago

I do not appreciate insults, I don't think I've done anything to deserve it, at least not on this thread. I would ask, seriously, 360 degrees of what? I may be an idiot, but that is precisely why I don't understand the content of you posting, It is not at all specific. My initial question was much more specific, which was, succinctly put, does calling on the police to join OWS (armed and in uniform) constitute an act of treason or not? I am sympathetic to such calls, I am just interested in how American jurisprudence is likely to respond to them.

[-] 0 points by FreeDiscussion1 (109) 10 years ago

I apologize.