Friday, October 14, 2011

my Occupy Wall Street Manifesto - first draft

Many of my more conservative friends do not understand why a whole bunch of hippies are occupying financial districts of major cities all across this country. Our message is accused of being far to muddled and omnidirectional, it is however just very broad and intentionally ambiguous. It is pointed at the Federal government, at corporations, and very heavily on taxes, specifically income tax. All of this seems to come to the question: who exactly is running this country?

In our capitalistic country most decisions are based, and almost every policy decision is based, on money. How can I make more? How can I save more? How can I spend less? Although people say money doesn’t buy happiness, it does buy more toys, more security, more privileges, housing, food, and basic necessities. This leads to a very selfish economy, where most people are only looking after their own bank statement and don’t care who they have to step on to make an extra buck. The entities with the most at stake, and the most power, in this layout are the pillars of a capitalistic society, the for-profit corporations. Everything that such a corporation does is for the sole purpose of returning on shareholders investments. If laying off thousands and replacing their jobs with foreign workers or robotics increases profit margins, the dollar wins. If operating without regard to pollution or environmental toxins reduces costs, bow to the dollar. If paying off congressmen to vote favorably on legislature is cheaper than the effects of regulations, think of the investors. When lawmakers are constantly courted by lobbyists and often bend to their persuasiveness and bribes, the line is no longer between right and wrong but between increasing and decreasing profits. With a lobbyist to congressman ratio of well over 100:1 and the seemingly endless resources of the major corporations, the question arises: who exactly is running this country?

The very foundation of this nation, The US Constitution, gives light as to what the purpose of our government was:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Step one in the preamble: “establish Justice.” The first point of our government, aside from replacing the failed Articles of Confederation, is fairness. This is where the argument for and against income tax reform often comes into play. When you have excess, isn’t it fair to pay in excess. Or conversely should the rate be linear with every paying the same percentage of income, even with no regard for cost of living and regular expenses. The corporate lobbyists help sway many policymakers toward the side that establishes justice only as long as it means whatever is best for the stockholder.

Next step: “insure domestic Tranquility.” To insure a life without stress, a life of peace. This seems to be the case for only a small group of people. Only the wealthiest seem to be living free of stress, while the remainder of us slave away to increase the digits in their offshore savings accounts. We’re struggling from job to job unsure when the blade will fall on the narrow tethers between our jobs and us workers.

Next: “provide for the common defence.” This mostly came from the Articles of Confederation being unable to allow the Federal government from building a standing army. In a post-imperialistic world, we ought only to have a military for the pure defense of this nation, not as an international police force. The common adage goes, “The best defense is a strong offense,” which this works only if you want to be bully. We do not want the world to see us as a bully, then our only allies are friends out of fear. We want to correct the adage to say, “The best defense is a strong defense.”

Next job of our government: “promote the general Welfare.” Keyword here is “general.” Not “promote the Welfare of the wealthiest Americans.” Not “promote the Welfare of the job creators.” The U.S. Federal Government is tasked with promoting the well being of all Americans. Wealthy and poor. Warrior and pacifist. North and South. Urban and Rural. Liberal and Conservative. Republican and Democrat. With the current corporate sponsorship our government has become promoters of the shareholders welfare.

The final responsibility of our government: “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Freedom is the basis of our nation. Freedom is what made the US so much different from every other country at its inception. Freedom is the reason we declared our independence from Great Britain. Freedom that we will fight to maintain. Freedom that is one of our inalienable right as human beings. To protect these freedoms is the reason we establish governments,

...deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

When a government is more preoccupied with the well being of the wealthy and the job creators than the well being general population, than justice for all, than domestic tranquility, than securing liberty; then that government has become destructive to our unalienable rights. According to our Founding Fathers, it is our right to change our government. Similar to their struggle that started to combat oppressive taxation from a government too far removed. To change the government to end control by the greedy. To change the government to better represent the people and not only represent the wealthiest 1%. To change the government to represent the 99%.

We represent the 99%.

We are the 99%.

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