Tag Archives: Occupy

Demand Democracy, Become your Senator

Look, lets talk about incentives for a second.  Right now the primary incentive of being in Political Office is a lucrative future in the lobbying industry. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs for unemployed ex-politicians other than consulting in some form or another.  Why the hell do you think the people in office would ever, in a million years, pass legislation screwing over the industries offering them a cushy future? Plane rides round the world, a sense of power sitting in well decorated offices drinking with other powerful men, money to keep living a big shot lifestyle – and all for far less work than something tough like actually using their law degrees. Then again, that may just be honest embarrassment; having ignored and twisted laws for their future employers for so long they may be a little ashamed of associating with the real thing on a daily basis.

How many of you have actually ever walked into your boss’s office and told them what a real, goddawful dick they are and how they mistreat people and use them and underpay them? Yeah, not too many I’ll bet. Why not? Because we know it’ll mean no more job, no more pay-check, no more healthcare. But thats what we’re asking our politicians to do, to pass laws that tell their future employers that actually, they think people ARE more important than profits, you know, like actually, not just on the corporate brochure. Sure, a few bold souls may do it. Those with the guts to tough out the real world when their time on the political cloud ends, those who believe their electorate will support them for standing up the man but bringing home less pork, perhaps even those with the kind of money that means they don’t care what some corporation wants… just one problem, thats still not a lot of people. Its not a majority, its certainly not a filibuster breaking majority and trust me, those politicians will find they can stay awake talking for DAYS when its their future millions on the line.

Ok, so lets be clear on this, the current breed of politician is not going to change their behaviour and vote for laws that protect people over corporations because the long term value of all the corporate gigs they can get far outweighs the value of being re-elected for doing what the people want (assuming people even have a choice of a candidate who hasn’t done even worse things). The current payout for being a politician is influence which creates future job opportunities and life-long security. Politicians are not going to change this incentive because it benefits them. So what do we do?

We need to elect people who go into office with a strict promise to get money out of politics, hunt down and eliminate laws that excessively curb freedoms in contradiction to the intents of the Constitution, and get America the hell out of any wars while we rebuild our own country.

Ok, so where do we find these people?

Walk down to your local Occupy site and look around you, or into a room of your friends, or into a mirror. Its time to Occupy Politics, because the current crop of politicians has a strong incentive to maintain the status quo: To allow banks to get too big to fail, To make Americans pay for banks bad bets while the banks rake in record profits, To arrest Americans with vastly excessive violence to discourage future protests, To bypass the constitution whenever its inconvenient, To keep not creating jobs because their corporate masters are pretty happy with record profits and insanely low labour costs. Its time for new politicians, and they are all around you.

Ok, but look, campaigns cost money, we can’t compete with the REAL political parties, can we?

Of course we can’t outspend them so we have to outplay them. The internet has changed how campaigns can be run. Anyone can shoot video, anyone can upload it to YouTube and share it with friends, almost everyone has a Facebook with a huge number of people they never actually talk to but can easily share video and messages with. The campaign can evolve. It hasn’t yet, but the tools are there if we want to use them. There are costs to be sure, to get on ballots, to register your campaign, but everything else is just about getting your message out and having enough people believe you’re electable to pull the lever. These days we all have that kind of reach through tools like Twitter and Facebook.  Will we use them? Or will they remain largely toys?

Your current Representative and Senators went to Washington with a dream, a dream of being really freaking rich for the rest of their lives. Lets send some new Reps and Senators to Washington, ones with a Dream of an America that’s Free, actually follows the Constitution, and doesn’t believe in nation killing tax policies.

Demand Democracy. Become your Senator.

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Socialized Costs, Private Profits

People understand Corporate profits, people understand greed, people even understand that a lot of costs of business (such as pollution) get socialized, and they have been willing to accept these things as long as everyone kept smiling and passing some money around the table periodically. The Occupy movement, I feel, is the response to a breaking of a social contract between capital and labour, the contract that says” “You may never be rich, but work for the system and help make us richer and you’ll be able to save hard and own some nice things and take care of your family”. The contract has been broken because too many people can’t put food on plates. Too many people sit on the couch each day because the job market has gotten so bad that even the act of applying for one has become too soul-crushing. The contract has been broken because we’re talking about how many more Fire Houses and Schools we can cut, not about how the very companies Americans just pulled out of the fires of their own creation can turn around and give back to their Saviours. The contract was broken when the whole damn country were made Shareholders while companies were failing, but never got a dime of profits when the money started flowing again (I know many banks paid it back, thats not the same thing). This country shrieks “Socialism” and waves its arms panicking in the air at the faintest sign of a social and economic safety net for everyday Americans, but funnily enough its the “Capitalists” socializing now not just the larger costs of business (Pollution, wear and tear on infrastructure, incorrect pricing of non renewable resources) but also the RISKS of doing business. When profits are up, they pocket them. When profits are down they scream that they’re too big to fail and if we don’t save them they’ll take us all with them. Welcome to the America that spawned the Occupy movement.

This new America is one of broken social contracts and a rich elite who have grown so greedy, yet so powerful, that they can sit there, straight-faced, and tell us that what America really needs to do if they want everyone employed is write some big fat checks for the corporations in terms of tax breaks and loopholes in inconvenient environmental laws. You don’t make money by giving money away, especially not when you are giving your money away to the very people who claim they will hire you. Being paid in your own dollars is not considered profit by anyone save the most desperate and tricksey of accountants. You don’t create a healthy economy by allowing the so called “job-creators” to take away your schools. You don’t create a healthy economy by allowing people who are pocketing millions to tell you that all they really need is a few more millions and THEN, suddenly, they’ll start creating jobs. Giving the rich more money doesn’t help the economy. They ALREADY have money. Why would they choose to spend the latest million on jobs when they spent the last million on a new house for themselves? What drives an economy is demand. The rich do not, independently, create large demand, there just aren’t enough of them. Demand is created by people wanting to buy things and by having the means to buy things. The economy will not get fixed for anyone until large numbers of regular people (“The masses”, the 99%, whatever…) have $ in their hands to spend and enough confidence that their job will still be their tomorrow to spend that money rather than horde it against bad times.

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