Occupy Wall Street: What do the protesters want?
Faux News commentators have been justly criticized for their attempts to ridicule, demean and belittle the “Occupy” movement by questioning not only the movements objectives but the intelligence of its participants. What they want in a nutshell is what was demanded by the populist Senator Fred Harris in his Campaign for president over 40 years ago:
“A fair distribution of wealth and income and power ought to be an explicit goal of government.”
Even at the foundation of the Country both Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson, presciently warned that without economic democracy there could be no political democracy.
Fundamentally, what the Occupy Wall Street movement demands is a return to the traditional basis of social and political organization. One that asks the question:
Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that it’s citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?
In other words Economic Democracy to accompany Political Democracy.
To me Economic Democracy and Economic Populism are more or less synonymous. True, any search of the internet can turn up examples of attempts to describe Economic Democracy in more or less technical terms. A similar search on Economic Populism will turn up a host of examples of movements that cover the political spectrum.
For my purposes here, lets just say, that Economic Populism is the political manifestation of Economic Democracy. Simply put Economic Democracy implies the belief that, no society, if it hopes to survive, can surrender to an individual, institution or groups of individuals or institutions unbridled and uncontrolled dominance over its economic and political well-being, no matter how apparently beneficial it appears at the time.
The protestors on Wall Street and throughout the country are clearly announcing their refusal to submit themselves and their families’ lives and well-being to the almost exclusive control of a small group of financial manipulators who have discovered the modern path to condemning the 99% to indentured servitude.
Now what about the politics implied in Economic Populism that the current protests manifest?
A good politics sweeps along with it a number interests and ideologies. A poor politics leaves those interests exposed, subject to attack and misuse as wedge issues.
Good politics, even before one gets down to the technical specifics of voters, public opinions and election districts, begins with the strength of the message in its briefest and most concise form. It concentrates with laser like intensity on focusing the public on the true dangers to its fundamental freedom and security posed by those whose sociopathic acquisitive obsessions allow them to ignore the real source of their wealth, the rest of us.
Economic Democracy not only is the right thing, it is good politics.
May the protests grow.
For more regarding Economic Democracy, Economic Populism and Fred Harris see my previous Diaries in Daily Kos and my blog Trenz Pruca’s Journal.
Quotations to ponder or ponderous quotations.
Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
The preceding post was previously published in Daily Kos.