Published online 5 October 2011.
Since it’s a rainy Wednesday, I rather suspect that the traffic going into Los Angeles will be bad because southern Californians don’t drive well in the rain. So I’m going to stay away from Occupy LA for another day and contribute this short rant about mainstream politics.
What’s there not to get?
1) Corporate bigwigs give to politicians.
2) Politicians pass laws favorable to corporate bigwigs.
3) Corporate bigwigs then have more money to give to politicians.
4) Rinse and repeat.
It’s the investment that never goes stale! Electing more and better Democrats is of course going to end the cycle. No, wait…
The good feeling about Democrats nevertheless needs to be explained. Back in the heyday of capitalism (1948-1971), the economic orthodoxy followed the general rule ascribed to the voice of John F. Kennedy: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Economic growth would provide for both corporate profit and general prosperity.
The problem is that such an orthodoxy hasn’t been in force for at least three decades now. As the global growth rate slows to a crawl, corporations find themselves leaning more and more highly upon government economic intervention to maintain high profit rates. Privatizing everything was always intended as a temporary fix for capital, and not as any realization of doctrines of “less government.”
Now we are being told that we have to have ten years of austerity, brought to you by the good graces of the Super Congress, or everything will collapse. Uh-huh. I know! We’ll sweep the White House and Congress next year on this sort of stuff! People will be voting for it in droves, because who doesn’t love 9% unemployment and 20% underemployment? Democracy in action. No, wait…
So in this environment we have Occupy Together. I went to the general assembly on the first day out in Occupy LA, in Saturday. The organizers laid out an elaborate framework for creating consensus process with the large populations of people. So there are no concrete demands yet. It’s not a problem. If you have an issue with it, go to your local encampment, and make some demands to the general assembly, or maybe in committee. You’re likely to get a much better hearing than you’ll get from your Congressmember.
The protests in the streets are, then, the sort of democracy we ought to have in institutionalized form. So what’s next? Let’s institutionalize the operational framework for the encampments. Let’s build upon them until they are the government, and the “government” runs out of money “policing” peaceful protest. Your politicians wanted austerity, right?
I will go back to the encampment tomorrow. What will their biggest need be?