Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Occupy?

Occupy Wall Street started as a response to the economic recession that is believed to have been caused by the abundance of power of major banks and corporations. The movement has spread like a wildfire and now has supporters globally. Unhappy with the status quo, people everywhere are taking to the streets to fight for democracy. Is it really necessary for us to physically protest or can we make the change with our actions?
The main issue is that the people are no longer in charge of democracy. Over the years we have seen oil companies, manufacturers, insurance companies, and giant corporations trample our livelihood. In 2010 the Supreme Court blocked the ban on political spending by corporations in candidate elections. Now, corporations can spend as much money as they want, handpicking lawmakers and telling us who to vote for. The people have have had enough.
Many of the protesters couldn't tell you why they're out there. Some of the more active ones are being hurt by police. I think if the same people who occupy the streets took it upon themselves to make an active effort in making things happen, for example signing the petition for a constitutional amendment reversing the decision made in the Citizens United vs. F.E.C. court case, getting signatures in their community, and writing Congress, then it would make more of an impact than shouting. If the goal is to expose corruption, then support the Federal Reserve Transparency Act to audit the Fed. Democracy is for citizens not corporations. The only way to take back control of democracy is to take back control of democracy.

1 comment:

  1. Practicing Democracy with or without the Government

    A General Assembly, frequent votes, and a positive commitment to consensus building. What kind of democracy is that? Oh, right. Real democracy.

    The Occupy Wall Street movement has admittedly been hard to pin down. I think you're wrong when you say that many of the protesters couldn't tell you why they're there. The problem is that every one of them would give you a different answer. That's also the beauty and the power of it.

    OWS is the ultimate expression of the big tent philosophy. They have actively resisted the exclusion of anyone's ideas or grievances, and instead have focused on inclusion, discussion, and consensus building. While the resulting set of goals is, to say the least, poorly defined, one important result is a movement which has snowballed nationwide and even worldwide.

    The democratic process in this country has frequently been woefully undemocratic. Pundits, spinmeisters, astroturfers, and certain special interests have effectively controlled the debate to the point that the only thing left to the actual populace is to choose between two bad options.

    Will OWS accomplish anything? They already have. They've shown us that participatory democracy happens wherever there are participants intent on acting democratically. What seems like a jumbled mess to some is actually a bubbling democratic stew, a crucible in which a better democracy is being forged, and a classroom in which the participants are learning how to act democratically. Truly democratically.