The failing of the political left is a failure to strategize. The political left has faith in the compassion of man and believes that such compassion should guide a civilized people along their path of righteousness. The only “strategy” is therefore, to do good and show goodness that others will emulate and follow. But the forces of darkness are ever at work to pull in the other direction. Continue reading Acting Strategically
The problem presented to us with the Citizens Unite decision is not a problem of constitutionality or the conservative nature of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). As much as we may disagree with recent decisions of the SCOTUS, it is our current two party political system that is to blame. Continue reading Our Problems Are Systemic and Legislative
The WAmend coalition is a group of organizations working in concert to Amend the United States Constitution. Their primary thrust is to CLARIFY two very important issues: The first of these issues is referred to as corporate personshood, the point being that corporations are not people and as such are not entitled to constitutional rights. The other issue is that with regard to political campaigning, money is not synonymous with “free speech”, and therefore campaign spending can be regulated by congress on behalf of the people. One of the members of the WAmend coalition is the national Move to Amend organization who has joined with the national Occupy movement in presenting the following video: Continue reading WAmend, Occupy, and Move to Amend
A Cooperative form of Capitalism in the U.S.A. is Not Just a Pipe Dream
Those of you who know me are already aware that I seldom if ever write for blogs and dislike pontificating in general, so the following statement is rare for me. I am compelled, however, to write an opinion piece at this time to clarify certain values that I hold dear and which I believe are also consistent with not only Occupy Tacoma’s but also Occupy Wall Street and the worldwide Occupy movement. Please consider the following as a proposed item for adoption by Occupy Tacoma.
NOTE: If you hate reading lengthy articles and already “get it” you can skip to the HOW DO WE FIX THIS
portion of the piece.
The Past as Prologue
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the U.S. is in deep trouble economically and politically as a result of many different factors that you, as readers, are already well-aware of. First there was the systematic deregulation of safeguards put in place on banks and Wall Street after the Great Depression . This, of course, resulted in rampant speculation using ever-more sophisticated “tools” to develop “creative” financializing of our entire economy by Wall Street and the banksters. To make matters worse, our elected officials decided to bail out these banks when they failed, thinking that they could regulate them back into sound fiscal health. They did this on the backs of the general taxpayers (us), and by cutting needed social , education and jobs programs. Then, there was the Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens’ United, which ruled that corporate dumping of money into campaigns was free speech and just dandy. Well, folks, we all know this is NOT SUSTAINABLE. When the workers cannot buy the products created by capitalism, capitalism fails, miserably.
We see the current model’s values in practice when we look at war profiteering and empire-promotion, the foreclosure epidemic, massive layoffs and the total disregard for protecting our environment from rape. Just look at the Keystone XL Pipeline, Artic drilling, the proposed Coal Train shipments from Montana’s mountaintop removal massacre, fracking to get at the natural gas and on and on. If maximum profits to the absentee shareholders is God, then who cares about the workers or the communities affected by corporate greed? The result is an absolutely rotten system, denial of the fact of global climate change and an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth in our economy. You, readers, know the problems it has created for the 99%: unemployment, homelessness etc. That is not the point of this article, however. The point is:
How do we fix this and what can Occupy Tacoma do?
(1) We need to start now to take power away from openly traded limited liability corporations by refusing to support them financially. We need to “out” the slimiest of them so that everyone knows what not to buy, even with our little dollars. Although our divestment in these corporations doesn’t matter all that much to the big players, sunlight does, and it puts pressure on our elected officials to distance themselves from these corporations. They don’t want to look dirty to the voters.
(2) We need to promote cooperative businesses as a viable form of capitalism. I am talking about cooperative ventures that have written into their mission statements and articles of incorporation such values as: not being able to sell the business without approval of the shareholders who are the workers themselves and valuing the businesses’ contribution to the community in which they are located over maximizing profits. The current corporate model is mandated to maximize profits above all else, which legitimizes mergers, moving companies overseas etc. This current model is NOT the only way to go.
(3) We need to work in Washington State (this is the Occupy Tacoma part) to encourage Olympia to pass legislation that is friendly to cooperative forms of business, whether for communities setting up their own alternative energy companies or for small start-ups. Cooperative ventures are currently at a disadvantage for obtaining loans and for obtaining energy grants because of beaurocratic requirements and the reluctance of banks to make these loans because of an unfriendly banking environment.
(4) Of course we need to support our local credit unions and…
(5) We need to work to convince our legislators that we need a State Bank, dedicated to keeping the money in state and helping cooperative ventures get started.
Nobody said this was going to be easy, but it is doable, is working very well in Spain with their Mondragon cooperative system which employs thousands and is making a profit in hard times. Cooperative businesses are already starting up in hundreds of communities throughout the U.S., such as in Cleveland, Ohio, California and Oregon. Occupy Tacoma, let’s start here, too!
For an informative read, please check out Marjorie Kelly’s book, Owning our Future, which not only is readable to a lay person like myself, but is also succinctly explains the arcane world of economics.
The Future of Occupy Tacoma Reflections by Vince Hart
Does OCCUPY TACOMA have a future? That depends almost entirely upon the kind of future that is wanted and upon the willingness of those concerned to accept the essential conditions for attaining such a future and constraining themselves to live and function under those conditions.
I express this view of the situation after fifteen months of almost weekly participation in the now tiny General Assembly (GA) at the First United Methodist Church in Tacoma (probably 56 out of about 60 meetings in that period). I was a late-comer to Occupy Tacoma, having observed it from afar from its first emerging in October of 2011. Out of curiosity I sat in on one of the early GA meetings at the church, where I am a retired clergy member (more on that in a moment); it was a meeting that almost filled the sanctuary (about 150 seats) and went on and on and on. I was little interested in such a thing. Only five to six months later did my own personal journey stir my interest enough to get me to “go see what was going on.” I believe it was the evening of Mothers Day 2012. I found probably no more than ten people present in a fairly large meeting space downstairs. In the words of the classic 60s song: “Where have all the people gone?” Continue reading The Future of Occupy Tacoma
Much is made of the need to limit campaign spending for federal and state offices. But what gets lost in all the wail and hue over how the rich are unfairly advantaged in the current system is the more serious destruction of democracy perpetrated by incorporated entities. The fatal blow to our democratic republic occurs when enormous sums of money are gathered to defame and smear any candidate that would stand against corporate oligarchy, plutocracy, or fascism. And this money does not come from direct contributions to candidates, but from corporate structures DESIGNED to insulate the perpetrators/contributors from identification and/or prosecution. As such the supporters of corpotocracy, plutocracy, or fascism can contribute huge amounts for the purpose of negative campaigning efforts and not be the least concerned about personal suits for slander and liable. Nor does the incorporated group need to pay any heed to campaign finance restrictions placed on candidates. Since all of the money is being spent to advertise AGAINST a candidate, then the negative campaign can never said to be “coordinated” with any candidate’s positive campaign funding. Nor is there any money left in the corporate treasury of “Americans for apple pie and Puppy Dogs” to be awarded the libelled plaintiff in a civil suit against the corporate entity. All of the contributed funds will have been spent on the smear campaign. Those who hate representative government love “corporate personhood”. Continue reading Corporate Personhood and Fair Elections
I have been receiving and enjoy the articles posted in this group from Washington DC. The address is: PopularResistance.org . I don’t have to go onto their website, it comes to me weekly, which is terrific. I also want to post about an Occupy Wall Street action that is terrific! Resistance is fertile!
Unfortunately, this video is 1 hour and 43 minutes in length and discusses topics which are not well understood by normal people. And IMHO the topic is not well understood by the people engaging in the debate either. There are, however, some high points that are quite informative. One such instance occurs at 6:33 into the debate where the chairman of the Dallas Fed states the policy of the Fed as being to create economic growth without creating inflation. That same person then goes on to explain that the side of the debate seeking a break up of the big banks is not talking about taking a meat cleaver to the banks or setting some arbitrary capitalization above which the large banks would be broken up as AT&T was busted up in the past. The Dallas Fed chairman is arguing for a return to a version of Glass Steagall in which only the depository institutions have any form of government protections. The team on the side of breaking up the big banks is saying that such a regulatory policy would force the large banks (which are actually not in the banking business, but are instead into speculation on real estate and in the brokerage and insurance businesses) to be much more risk averse. Such a functional “break up the big banks” is, of course, not a meat clever arbitrary capitalization approach.
The opposing team at 34 minutes points out that the debate was supposed to be about busting the big banks as in AT&T (the arbitrary meat clever approach) and that the team for “break up the big banks” is changing the topic. Then begins their defence of big banks based on the need for these banks to be competitive in world trade and world finance. From that point on the debate is simply two versions of how to best insure the continued prosperity of the 1%.
Neither side bothers to raise the question as to WHY it is good for Americans if the US banks finance factories in China or anywhere else. It is fine well and good to say that the banks must be large in order to compete with other large foreign banks. But how do the profits of these large banks serve rank and file Americans? That is not discussed or even broached.
The other slight of hand occurs as the Dallas Fed Chair keeps yapping about how the “taxpayers” are harmed by the bailouts. The reality is that the $600B tarp has been repaid. The 10 TRILLION in loan grantees and monetary assets furnished by the FED to stabilize AIG and others came from the Money Fairy and is NOT a debt of the American taxpayers or anyone else. The fat cats that should be in jail or living pretty low on the hog are still the proud owners of 3 mansions, two yachts, and at least one Leer Jet. But that money DID NOT COME FROM AND IS NOT OWED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE (TAXPAYERS). Some of us would really like to ask the Fed how much MONTHLY INTEREST and DEBT SERVICE is being paid by WALL STREET on the 10 TRILLION supposedly LOANED to the Financial Weenies to bail them out. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM????
According to the rules of the debating contest the side against breaking up the banks won the debate. See the results at 1 hr and 41 minutes. The “against breaking up the big banks team” won the debate, but the majority of the audience still favors breaking up the big banks. Perhaps there is yet hope for rationality.
October 22nd, 2013 | Category: | Comments are closed
General Assembly was (and still is) a major part of the “Occupy” movement. And the promise of that idea was that it would grant equal opportunity and status to all persons in regard to the direction of government. Mostly it was aimed at the overthrow of government of by and for the 1%. In the opinion of this author, the idea morphed into a government of, by, and for the rule makers and governors of the general assembly process. Many people seeking to “do good” in the name of the 99% took control of the general assemblies and thus destroyed the egalitarian nature of the promise.
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