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The Job Creators

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So what's the point of this 'Occupation of Wall Street'? Does the American middle-class honestly believe they are entitled to something which Wall Street fails to deliver? What exactly is the American middle-class entitled to, and how will marching on Wall Street improve their chances of getting it? Can this so-called 'occupation' possibly reduce chronic conditions of income inequality, or does it merely validate the constructs of irrational authority it seeks to 'protest'?

Over time, the upper 1-percent of the human population seems entitled to more and more while the lower 99-percent is entitled to less and less. In fact the 1-percent is steadily shrinking as the 99-percent grows larger. Is this what the American middle-class is protesting?

Welcome to capitalism, America. Does the American middle-class want to get serious about 'occupation'?

Fine. Let's provide every homeless American with a Greyhound bus ticket and a community-sponsored debit card and send them 'East Bound and Down' for a Homeless March on Washington! It would be the realization of Dr. King's 'Poor People's Campaign'. The streets of Washington DC could (and should) become a home for the American homeless -- indefinitely -- to leverage support for a Basic Income Guarantee!

Unfortunately, protest organizers like David Swanson insist this sort of protest is too difficult to organize. Not only that, but unemployment and income inequality are structural features of capitalism, not aberrations that Washington or Wall Street wish to correct.

Moreover, this domain is controlled by Wall Street with daily consent from the American middle-class. So protesters still haven't lodged a valid complaint. The recent demonstrations are not a 'poor people's campaign'. They are a sob-sister story for the American middle-class, and some of us aren't weeping. Social injustice is just fine when it benefits the middle-class. But when it tosses them out on their ear, we're all suddenly expected to sit up and take notice. Yes, of course injustice is a valid complaint when justice is a reasonable expectation. But there is no reason to expect (or demand) justice from a system that is inherently designed to deliver injustice.

So what exactly are these Wall Street 'protesters' trying to accomplish? Do they have a gripe? Yes. Do they have a specific or cohesive goal? No. Are they protesting anything in particular? No. Do they have any economic leverage? No. Are they disrupting small community businesses? Yes. Are they making any impact on the global businesses which they protest? No. In fact, the more global this 'protest' becomes, the more it seems to validate the power and control of Wall Street over local economies.

So what is the point of this demonstration, overall? Is it mostly constructive or destructive? How should the rest of this nation and the world evaluate the behavior of these 'protesters'? Are they trying to facilitate an actual 'movement', or are they just making a lot of noise? Are people bumping into each other in the streets to draw attention to themselves on national television and YouTube, or are they genuinely interested in producing some kind of deep structural change?

The latter involves more than electing a new U.S. President or installing new and improved legislation. It involves adopting a new set of values; a new "American Dream". A coherent strategy might not be a bad idea, either, along with some "cohesive cooperative alliance" between all these disjointed social interests.

After all, creating new jobs is the needed cohesion and the driving catalyst for any sort of 'movement'. Without new job creation, a mere 'protest' suffers from volunteer burn-out and inevitably dies. As Naomi Klein recently lamented, this Wall Street occupation is merely a 'moment' in time. By comparison, a 'movement' is a concept with legs that grows over time. The former is static, while the latter is dynamic.

So let's be honest, America. Our greatest aspiration is to get rich so we can boss everybody else around. This is, after all, the upper limits of the 'American Dream', is it not? Upward mobility is the 'golden ring' that keeps moving further and further out of reach. When times are good, we worship the people and the values of Wall Street. But when those same principles drive us out of house and home, we start grabbing picket signs and 'take it to the streets' in protest of income inequality, racism, climate change, homophobia, and anything else we can think of.

While the social issues seem to keep evolving, our 'protest' remains static in response to the dynamic 'movement' of capitalism. In other words, capitalism is the ongoing movement. The only way to respond to this dynamic movement is with an alternative movement, not with a static 'protest'. We cannot merely 'protest' the injustice of the existing system. Instead, we must argue in favor of something better. More than that, we must actively DO something better every single day to clearly demonstrate that the existing system is inferior. If we can't do that, then the existing system prevails. Period.

The existing system claims that its greatest talent is to create new jobs, which it consistently fails to deliver. So if a counter-project intends to challenge that claim, then it must create MORE new jobs than the existing system. The ultimate challenge for the counter-project of capitalism is to begin now to deliver the economic stability and ecological sustainability that capitalism never has and never will.

All fine and good. But why does it take an extended economic catastrophe to inspire a 'protest', let alone a 'movement'? These problems have persisted for decades, if not centuries. But the only time they receive urgent attention is when they affect the so-called 'middle class'. Shouldn't a 'movement' be the on-going function, rather than the conspicuous exception, of any sort of 'democracy'? Some prominent American citizens have championed this approach, including Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'Revolution' doesn't have to be a war. It can (and should) be the ongoing peaceful evolution of human society.

Instead, we all seem driven by some mysterious force called 'The American Dream'. Much like the so-called 'middle-class' itself, nobody is really sure exactly what 'The American Dream' might be or where it's going. But, by golly, we're gonna get there FIRST, before some other bastard comes along and takes the last pork chop!

Americans just love an economic system based on one vote per dollar, because there is at least a remote chance of getting rich and bossing everybody else around. But when these values begin to infect their political system, those same Americans start assembling in the streets to demand social justice based on one vote per person! We can't have it both ways, America. If we insist upon maintaining an economy based on one vote per dollar, the political system is bound to reflect those values.

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David Kendall lives in WA and is concerned about the future of our world.
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While the social issues seem to keep evolving, our... by David Kendall on Monday, Oct 17, 2011 at 12:10:20 PM
but the protests are not static. The protests are ... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 at 7:35:59 AM
If it is capitalism - that is a dream to far. &nbs... by Larry Kachimba on Monday, Oct 17, 2011 at 2:16:58 PM
"If we insist on maintaining an economy based on o... by David Kendall on Monday, Oct 17, 2011 at 5:23:05 PM
is American's attitudes and their belief systems.M... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:49:25 PM
It doesn't happen very often, but it always does m... by David Kendall on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 at 1:31:16 AM
David - but life does not suck in China.  It ... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 at 4:11:54 AM
Of course, I realize life does not SUCK in China. ... by David Kendall on Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011 at 5:42:46 PM
Suffice to say that I receive negative comments ab... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011 at 6:18:39 PM
  Much in the article is of interest includ... by Larry Kachimba on Monday, Oct 17, 2011 at 11:28:34 PM
Exploitation of people and their environment is no... by David Kendall on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 at 1:07:06 AM
Really interesting article, and a much needed pers... by John Duda on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 at 7:27:24 AM
THANK YOU, so much, John!!! I've been trying to co... by David Kendall on Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011 at 5:31:47 PM
... of the spectrum of emerging institutional chan... by David Kendall on Saturday, Oct 29, 2011 at 11:13:21 PM