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"We're Mad as Hell and We're Not Going to Take it Anymore"

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For some time now there has been a growing, smoldering rage just below the surface of this society. It is a rage that has been fueled by anger, frustration and a feeling of hopelessness of the millions of Americans who have been victimized by the abusive and manipulative tactics practiced by Corporate American and the power brokers of Wall Street. This rage is now boiling over and spreading across this entire nation.

The title of this article comes from the classic movie "Network" released in 1976. It depicts an angry, slightly deranged TV anchor who rants about the hypocrisies of the times and fires his audience up by shouting at them, "I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it and stick your head out, and yell, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

A similar rage in America is evolving into a rapidly growing movement that, seemingly out of the blue, has taken Wall Street by storm. Relatively small demonstrations, launched by organizers of "Occupy Wall Street," began on September 17 and, as they head into a third week, the ranks of protesters are swelling, aided greatly by the New York Transit Workers Union. Other similar demonstrations have taken place in Chicago, San Francisco and other cities.


In the past few years I have asked this question numerous times: "Where is the rage, where is the outrage, when will the people say enough is enough?" Well the answer may finally be here as protests against Corporate America and Wall Street have suddenly erupted with no signs of diminishing. It's been a long time coming but we may finally be witnessing the pent up anger of many Americans turning into strong positive actions.

Why are the people so angry, why would they be mad as hell and take to the streets to protest? Well, it just might be that they have watched as America has been hijacked by corporations and Wall Street who are using their corrupted lackeys in the U.S. Congress, to take control of this nation and pacify the American people; and these people are completely fed up with what is happening in this country and are finally venting their anger.

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Something of great historical importance is happening in America; this may be the beginning of a movement that will shake this nation and its government out of its mental paralysis and lethargy and break the vice grip that corporations have on America. It seems that America has finally reached that tipping point when the patience of the people is ending.

We have a president and a Congress that could have and should have instituted appropriate and effective regulations to prevent any more Wall Street abuses such as those that created the housing crisis and brought on the disastrous recession that seems to have no end. They did no such thing and this president completely failed to show the necessary leadership that was so very necessary. He let very ineffective, watered down legislation be enacted which is yet more proof that his connection to Wall Street is greater than his connection to the American people.

There used to be a mutual respect and a trust between banks and their customers. That relationship has now been destroyed as the banking industry has decided that profits are the only thing that matters, that the old saying that the "Customer is always right" is now obsolete. The big banks in America turned against their customers, the people, and now the people are turning against the banks in massive numbers.

One powerful tool that would be very effective in this fight against rogue corporations involves instituting national boycotts against them, beginning by targeting those who have been identified as the worst offenders. By offenders I mean those corporations who have deliberately outsourced many thousands of American workers' jobs to China and other nations. I'm also talking about those in the financial sector that profited greatly from subprime mortgages and who caused the housing crisis. It' time for payback.

Using boycotts against the worst offenders would not be that difficult; for example, in the case of banks, all it would take is for people to move their savings and checking accounts from an offending bank to a local bank with no connections to a massive banking network. That just might happen real soon as people react to Bank of America's decision to charge customers $5 per month for use of their debit cards.

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To do battle with corporations is like David going up against Goliath; an almost impossible task until we remember that it was David who came out on top. The more I think about peoples' boycotts the more I like the idea. Whether the American people realize it or not, they possess a very powerful weapon. As powerful as corporations may be, they exist only as long as people buy their products and the people have the final choice to buy them or not.

For boycotts to work they cannot be used against corporations across the board; they would have to be used selectively by targeting one or two at a time. Choosing the best targets would not be difficult as the offenders are well known. What about those corporations who market electronic products or appliances and who outsourced the labor to produce them? If any one of them would feel the fury of a peoples' boycott specially targeted against them, given these tough economic times and the stiff competition they face, it wouldn't take long to severely damage their bottom lines.

Once boycotts worked against one or two major corporations, it could scare many of the others into understanding that selling their products in America is a two-way street and that they must change their ways; the lesson is that if you want to sell products to Americans then you better make sure that you employ them.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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