Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Everywhere

When I first read about the Occupy Wall Street protests, my cynical response was "like that'll accomplish anything." Tomorrow, I will be joining in at the Occupy Minneapolis protest.
What changed? Well, momentum for one major thing. Seems like a lot of people were just waiting for a venue to express their anger at our current economic situation. Once the protests achieved that critical level of mass where the media could no longer ignore them, and more people became aware that they weren't alone in their angst, protests began springing up all around the country. Now, every major city has one. And a lot of smaller towns are getting action, too.
The (corporate owned) media has tried to downplay it, and marginalize the crowds as being "hippies and anarchists", but it isn't working. For one simple reason: the public sees the protesters, and they see themselves. Working Americans who've played by the rules but are struggling harder and harder just to survive, barely employed or unemployed, while the wealthiest grow increasingly richer. The general public may be dumb, but they're not stupid; they know that something is going dramatically wrong in this country, and that they're the ones getting screwed.
It was entertaining to watch the 'pundits' in the first week or so of Occupy Wall Street, all agreeing that the protesters had "no clear message or agenda." Which, while partly true, is absolutely irrelevant. Remember back during Stephen Colbert's rally where the crowd was chanting "three word slogan, three word slogan" over and over? That was brilliant satire. The simple fact is that there is no simple slogan or message to address the complex problems facing us. We need a systemic change, and right now those in power are doing all they can to prevent any such change. Just look at the congressional republicans (not that the democrats are a whole lot better) who claim to be about "jobs, jobs, jobs" and address this by attempting to further restrict women's access to abortion. Not quite sure how that agenda is supposed to work, but they seem to believe that it will hurt Obama's chances of re-election so they're pushing it as far as they can.
Ya' wanna boost America's economy? It really wouldn't be that hard to do. Just drop a few trillion dollars on infrastructure repair and upgrade. Doing that would require a lot of workers, who then would have more income, which they would then spend buying things, which would boost that magical 'consumer spending' that business so covets. "But we don't have the money because of the deficit" conservatives will scream. Funny, we had plenty of trillions to spend destroying and rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan (OK, not that Afghanistan had any real infrastructure to destroy, but we're rebuilding one anyway) and besides, as my blog friend badtux the snarky penguin likes to point out, the government owns a printing press. During a recession, putting more money into circulation is a smart move; austerity only prolongs the recession. Oh, and all those workers: They'd be paying taxes on that income, instead of not paying income tax due to a lack of income. I know that this will come as a shock to the tea party folk, but most people don't mind paying taxes if they're earning more money.
Will these protests actually accomplish any change? I have no idea. I do know that it's worth a try. I know that protesting against the Iraq war didn't prevent it. But sitting around, doing nothing, certainly isn't going to effect any change. And this movement seems to be growing and spreading. If enough of us are out there showing our faces and raising our voices, that top 1% just might get nervous enough and realise that there's a limit to how much they can get away with. If they're halfway smart, they'll understand that the time to engage in some wealth redistribution is before the pitchforks and torches enter their gated communities.
So I'll be joining my local Occupy protest. And I hope you will, too. After all, it's not like we have the money to buy our own congressperson. But if there are enough of us out there, we might be able to scare them into action. Besides, anything that upsets Eric Cantor is a thing well worth doing.
Added: My old pal monkeyfister is back in action, and he's on fire about the Occupy protests.
Added 2: Heres some maps for Occupy Everywhere and Occupy Together. Hope there's one near you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy National Vodka Day

Happy National Vodka Day. While I’m more of a beer guy myself, I support this holiday. More - here, here and here. And all my old friends in Arizona can celebrate with local vodka from my friends at