Now in over 1500 cities worldwide, the Occupy Wall Street protest movement is looking more and more like it will have staying power on a massive scale. The movement is still trying to refine its demands and specific grievances. Its main focus is economic injustice, but some groups within the movement have a much broader lists of complaints. One thing that is for certain, this is not simply a group of hippies—as Fox New coverage would have you believe. This is a highly diverse group that is expressing the spirit of democracy. This thrust is felt by people on both sides of the isle. This is not about left or right…it is about being American, in an America that is fair and just.
Capitalism can mean dramatically different things to different people. To a Wall Street executive it means being able to accumulate unimaginable wealth. To big business it is a competitive game that must be won at all costs, even at the expense of the public interest. To a small businessman with a great idea, it means being able to turn his passion into an occupation, and enjoy the freedom of self-employment. To many, it is a system that has increased the standards of living for millions. To its victims, capitalism is a monster whose greed leaves many behind, and even commits great crimes against helpless citizens. Which view is correct? All of them.
If by capitalism we mean creating markets that meet the needs of the public, allowing the best ideas and products to succeed through demand, then this is a highly democratic system that should be encouraged. If capitalism means “greed is good,” and we should look out for our own self-interest at all costs than this is a very anti-social, destructive philosophy that must be tempered.
“The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue , relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest regardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others…The corporation is a pathological institution, a dangerous possessor of the great power it wields over people and societies” (Joel Balkan, The Corporation, p. 1-2). The corporation could be seen as manifesting the characteristics of a sociopath. When real people act like this, their rights are taken away and they are locked up. In this sense, corporations are given great freedoms than individual citizens.
Here’s an unfortunate Labor Day message. A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies found that CEOs who laid off the most workers made the most money over the past couple if years. No wonder the recession continues. View the report here: http://bit.ly/9PqMzv Take Action: Stop Executive Excess. Tell your friends that you won’t […]
For over 40 years, MIT linguists professor and activist, Noam Chomsky, has been a powerful voice of dissent in the United States and around the world. The New York Times has called him, “perhaps the most important intellectual alive.” He has published over one-hundred books, is the most quoted living scholar. His most recent book, […]
What does is mean to “hold BP accountable”? We have heard this phrase over an over during the past month, as the Federal government responds to the Gulf crisis. We heard figures like $20 billion “slush fund for claims.” We even heard BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, get grilled before a congressional committee hearing. But is this accountability? As I listened to the hearing on C-SPAN, my sense was that this was a slap on the wrist. Mr. Hayward took his punishment (6 hours of lecturing), and had about five responses ready; and he found a way to use these responses in just about every question. We need more from congress.
I just finished watching an excellent documentary called, “The End of Poverty?” The film explores how international poverty has been perpetuated by corrupt capitalism, through multinational corporations and the U.S. government.
One thing that seems certain. It is not Obama’s Katrina, Iraq War, Mission Accomplished, My Pet Goat, or Enron. It is BP’s oil spill. But in the minds of Americans, it could quickly become Obama’s “poorly managed spill” if the current effort does not make progress soon.