Wed, Aug

Democracy Is Coming to the USA

RANDOM LENGTHS - (“It's coming from the sorrow in the street/the holy places where the races meet/from the homicidal bitchin'/ that goes down in every kitchen/to determine who will serve and who will eat/From the wells of disappointment/where the women kneel to pray/for the grace of God in the desert here/and the desert far away: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.”--From "Democracy" by Leonard Cohen 1992)

This prophetic song by Cohen starts: “It's coming through a hole in the air”––like the Internet, like a text on the cell phone and a twitter, that can't be censored or ignored. The Occupy Wall Street uprising, as reported on Russian television, has hit 100 cities in the good ol' USA. You get better coverage of this apocryphal protest movement on Al Jazeera English, but you wouldn't particularly know it by watching Fox News.

Search the mainstream broadcast stations, you'll only find brief reports. The corporate media is missing the point. But this is the response to the Tea Party that we've all been waiting for– democracy that can't be controlled by money or corporations or gerrymandered or stolen by voting machines.

This is not one of those right-wing Astroturf yellow ribbon campaigns, but a rising up from the guts of America that has finally gotten the message that they are the 99 percent who are left out of the money machine, but they––meaning we––are the ones who are asked to pay!

The protesters, are mostly, but not exclusively young, and are the generation who was brought up during the time of privatization, from our prisons to our schools and now the U.S. Post Office.

The zeal for privatizing public assets, making the public pay fees for the formerly free or cheap services that gives access to all in a equitable manner, has been a target for those whose fundamental belief is that capitalism has to be unregulated to unleash the energy of the free market system and wouldn't these same “free marketeers” just love to get their hands on the $86 billion enterprise of the USPS?

This same zeal is behind the move to privatize Social Security and Medicare into the private sector. Both of these popular public programs emanated from the philosophy of the New Deal, have had a huge affect on the lives of millions of Americans saving many from destitution and poverty.

One need only to go back and review the documentaries on the Great Depression that have aired recently on PBS, another one of the public assets some would privatize, to understand the necessity for federal bank regulations, the stimulus effect of federal infrastructure spending and the value of free public education.

Left to their own devices, the far right of this country would wind back the clock of progressive reforms to where America was 100 years ago, with no worker rights, no Social Security, no taxes on the rich.

This was an America that was run by the wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy and back then, just like now, it took a political uprising to take back our country from the railroad barons, the steel and oil companies, the banking trusts and all their cronies that corrupted and co-opted our republic.

Half a century later, it was my generation that made the mistake of simply marching for civil rights and demonstrating to end the Vietnam War never dreaming that the plutocracy of old could ever return to its position of almost total control.

We changed the culture but not the power structure that controls the economy, even though we have long understood the warning from President Dwight Eisenhower about the Military Industrial complex. As we are now still enmeshed in not one but three wars, two in the Middle East and the other a universal war on drugs that seems to never end, with military bases and secret prisons in countries many have never heard of. The price seems endless for our expansion of empire.

Finally when the costs of sustaining this empire spirals onto the backs of the working class and the children of once middle class families, they will start to ask–just who are we working for? This then raises the conflict between the one percent who own 80 percent of the wealth and everyone else who doesn't. And yes, this is “class warfare.”

And you don't know what's happening, Mr. Jones, because nobody in the corporate media who wants to keep their job will explain this to you.

To put this more explicitly, I will end with a quote from Noam Chomsky:

"Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street financial institutions generally ― has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power.

“That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called ‘a precariat,’ seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity, not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.

"The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course."

(James Preston Allen is the Publisher of Random Lengths News. More of Allen and other views and news at  randomlengthsnews.com where this column was first posted) –cw

Tags: Occupy Wall Street, James Preston Allen, protesters, privatization, New Deal, Social Security, Democracy

Vol 9 Issue 81
Pub: Oct 11, 2011