Friday, November 18, 2011

Just Beginning

Yesterday was the Day of Action by the Occupy contingent, which included marches and demonstrations in all sorts of places, including Miami. It was to commemorate the two-month anniversary of the first demonstration. The Rude Pundit notes that it’s just beginning.

We are two months into this and everyone in the media is clamoring for closure. It took years for the civil rights movement to get laws changed. It took years for the anti-Vietnam War movement to get through the thick skulls of the majority of Americans. This is just starting. Welcome to the real occupation…

The march this morning wasn’t going to do anything, despite the hopeful rumors that the stock market opening bell had been delayed (it wasn’t). No, the point was, like the rallies for Obama before them, that there is power in numbers. And that power needs to be exhibited and enacted.

When the Supreme Court, in the Citizens United decision, said that corporations are people with First Amendment rights and affirmed that money is the equivalent of speech, it essentially was saying that some people have more speech than others. The wealthy and the corporations can never be matched in terms of the speech effect of their dollars. But they can be matched and overcome by the sheer volume of people. That’s why we say we are the 99%.

The one thing that strikes me about the Occupy movement is that it is not dedicated to punishing the 1% for having all of their money and privilege. It’s not a demand for them to give it all up and turn it over to the rest of us; it’s about not pulling up the ladder after you’ve made it to the top. Sitting on a hoard of cash doesn’t do anything; the only way a capitalist system works is if the capital is working, and there seems to be plenty of it that is not.

You do not have to be political to get the meaning of what the Occupy gatherings are saying. It’s not as much a political agenda as it is one of assessment: look around and see what has happened not just to you or to people you know but to others who may be your polar opposite in terms of who you vote for, but who struggle with bills or finding a job. The 1% worry about keeping up with the Joneses; the rest of us worry about keeping up with the mortgage.

And it’s not something that requires the use of pepper-spray.

HT to Annie Laurie and digby.