Published February 2012
Fringe Magazine Blog
Occupy Fringe: Occupy or Die!
by Alison Ross
Egregious Fact Number One: Our tax dollars were used to bail out Wall Street.
In case you need a reminder: Wall Street banks and companies are private corporations, not public institutions. In a democracy, taxes are supposed to go toward funding roads, parks, health clinics, schools, social security–anything that benefits the common good. Despite the lame claims of some vociferous Tea Party morons, the government is not actually “taking” our money–we collectively maintain infrastructure and social services through consensually paying taxes. The consensus is implicit in being alive.
If we did not pay taxes, society would collapse. You cannot maintain society through anarchic private entities–that’s antithetical to democracy. So the fact that our public dollars were used to bail out banks that do not have societal interests as their primary or even secondary or even tertiary concern means that our money was stolen from us. The banks use those public dollars to fatten their coffers. Meanwhile, cuts to social services–mental health, education, social security, and on and on and on and on and on–pervade. House foreclosures abound, while Wall Street executives acquire three and four homes. It’s the very embodiment of kleptocracy: enrich the elite while bleeding the effete.
Egregious Fact Number Two: The majority of our taxes are used toward miscreant military misadventures, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of these countries have been virtually decimated and are being rebuilt by corporate war profiteers.
So, our country is in “debt” because our taxes are being (consciously) misused toward private and profiteering ends. This is also known as Corporate Welfare–never mind that social welfare, the correct type of welfare, is roundly and wrongly denigrated.
We are in a fictitious debt crisis, which can be easily remedied by taking corporate interests out of public politics, re-funneling taxes towards social services, and taxing the fuck out of the rich. In countries like Denmark, there are no multi-millionaires, because the government caps salaries through taxes. No one in Denmark “earns” the kind of wealth we see flaunted with such hedonistic abandon among the American affluent.
Random egregious facts: Family income has declined by nearly 7 percent in the last two years, unemployment hovers between 10-15 percent, and over 46 million Americans live in poverty, the highest rate in 50 years.
Meanwhile, the 1% dwell in their marbleized compounds, piloting their luxury vehicles, and disdaining everyone else in smugly contemptuous fashion.
Occupy Wall Street is a glowing, growing global movement that is stridently anti-corporate in nature and yet propelled by the principles of peace. It is a people-powered movement that is way long overdue. The movement was precipitated by radical college-agers but quickly gained momentum among the mainstream populace–young, middle-aged, and geriatric alike, since so many are so gravely affected by the perverted profit-motives of the corporate titans. The kids who founded the movement sharply see that the corrosive corporate influence over our ostensibly democratic system is bleeding them of money, of jobs, of hope…theirs is a future mired in misery if they don’t act now, and act radically, to demand an overhaul of the system.
Indeed, the OWS movement has already won. It has altered the tenor of economic discourse in favor of the people rather than the profits. It has brought the issue of economic justice to the forefront and tattooed it in the minds and hearts of people everywhere – to those both affected by and empathetic to the cause.
For the movement has magnetized people from all paths of life – all ethnicities and all income levels. There are even those in the upper tiers of income realms who sympathize – because they too could be affected by corporate corruption, and also because they share the humane ideals of economic equity. Many of them realize that greed is never good and that they could perhaps curtail their own lifestyles so that more could prosper – not outrageously so, but comfortably so.
For we have an inherent right to food, shelter, education. These are things we are born needing. Not entitlements, but spiritual luxuries, because it logically follows that if we have a right to life, then we require these things to sustain life.
The OWS encampments all over the country are a mode of protest against corporate dominance–the parks are our parks, the streets are our streets. They do not belong to private entities to profit from–they belong to us, the vibrant public. Of course, many of the encampments have been brutally broken up, making a malevolent mockery of the evolving democratic communities therein.
For the OWS movement to affect enduring change, there must be bank sit-ins, massive boisterous marches to government offices with a list of concrete demands, and all manner of brash but peaceful civil disobedience, such as the current foreclosure actions currently taking place in cities like New York and Atlanta. Occupy groups are disrupting foreclosure auctions on city hall steps and enlightening those in attendance about the malicious nature of home evictions. Occupy groups are also occupying the homes of families that face imminent eviction. Indeed, such actions have averted some evictions, as in the highly publicized case of decorated Iraq War veteran Brigitte Walker, whose home was saved from foreclosure by Occupy Atlanta. These are the only kinds of things that have ever given rise to a revolutionary restructuring of society.
OWS has already done so many actions that fly well under the radar of the Mainstream Lamestream Media. Indeed, the MSM is commercially-sponsored and therefore censored to meet the petty, pernicious demands of its corporate overlords. (For a partial list of the numerous OWS actions that have already taken place, visit http://occupywallst.org/article/2011-year-revolt/.)
The fact that so many right-wing authoritarian types are so threatened by the movement as manifest in their vicious slandering of it, and the militarization of police around the country, and the horrific treatment of the peaceful protesters all over the country at the hands of the law (specifically NYC and Oakland – I mean, tear gas, grenades, rubber bullets…really?!) … all of these things evince that the movement is working, and winning. The violence is not emanating from the protesters as some would like you to believe; rather, it is emanating from politicians and corporations who cower at the prospect of a people-powered juggernaut pacifistically crashing their plutocratic party.
Occupy Wall Street has occupied our hearts, and will one day bring about the radical renovation of a crumbling house presided over by sleazy corporate slumlords
Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross dabbles delicately in verse. She also spews incessant invective. You may peruse her precious poesie and rowdy rants online. She was once nominated for Best of the Net, but lost out to savvier scribes. Alison wants to forge a new genre of poetic politics called Zen-Surrealist-Socialism. Won’t you join her cause?