Several media articles & news shows have been looking at the #Occupy movements, pondering their activities, and saying "they have no coherent demands." Sometimes it's with an undertone of, "and that means they're just a bunch of brainless hippies;" sometimes it's with a curious, "and they say they don't need them! My, how fascinating all this new-fangled activism can get!"
They're wrong. The movement *has* a core message. It has an easily-understood set of core issues to discuss, and a nice simple, easy-to-understand core demand:
Fix the Economy
What's so hard about that? Rolls off the tongue, even. Suitable for tweeting or sending a txt message to your congresscritter.
Should that be best done by creating jobs, ameliorating student loan debt, re-regulating bank transactions, taxing corporations differently (i.e. more), providing medical coverage to prevent bankruptcies & lost work time, re-writing the entire tax code, abolishing or transforming the Federal Reserve Bank, defunding prisons (and subsequently, freeing everyone who's not actually a danger to anyone else), improving public education, providing public transportation, investing in small-scale green energy production to cut reliance on fossil fuels, ending the costly wars? Several of those? All in combination? Some other things?
WE DON'T KNOW, AND WE HIRED POLITICIANS TO FIGURE THAT OUT FOR US. That's their job--sorting out which of the dozens (hundreds) of issues facing the country right now are most crucial to our safety, welfare, and future existence, and allocating funds and other resources accordingly.
In case they forgot: it's not their job to "make laws" or "please their voters." It's their job to understand the issues and make appropriate decisions based on that understanding. We didn't hire them to bring us happy thoughts -- we pay Disney and Paramount for that. We hired them to make us safe and prosperous. And they failed at it.
So we're trying to do *their* jobs, on top of the jobs we already have or are desperately seeking. On top of childcare or coping with disabilities or fighting racism for the ability to live in peace. On top of trying to figure out who actually owns our mortgages now. On top of PTSD from fighting in aforementioned costly wars. On top of paying interest on a student loan that will, according to current numbers, just accrue until death. On top of working with constant sexual harassment because the other choices is not working at all. On top of trying to figure out which of the bastards running for office this season will add the least damage to the harms we're already suffering, because we're not allowed to say, "don't put ANYONE in that spot; none of these people are qualified to make decisions on my behalf."
So forgive us, reporters, if we don't have any sharp soundbitey answers to "what do you want;" we thought (apparently, we overestimated your intellectual skills) that you could figure out that what we need is an overhaul of the entire U.S. financial system, and that that's so frickin' huge that each of us just bypassed it to mention whichever issue we thought had the best chance of triggering a cascade that would allow multiple solutions to fall into place together.
We thought you knew--because we damn well knew, and it's not our jobs to "be informed about the issues"--that the core issue here is so overwhelmingly huge that it can't be discussed, except in abstract and aggregate. Let the politicians and CEOs know that they can just start fixing whichever piece of it catches their fancy. When enough of it's fixed, we set down our signs and go back to being comfortable with our families and jobs.
That comfort? Isn't going to happen while 1 in 5 of our children is living in poverty, and 1 out of 10 adults doesn't have a job. Won't happen while someone's declaring "medical bankruptcy" every three minutes. Or every 30 seconds, depending on whose numbers you believe. Won't happen while teenagers are dropping out of high school because they figure college isn't worth trying for because they can't afford a 25-year-debt. Won't happen while women expect to be paid 80% what men are paid for the same work. Won't happen while Black men fear being shot for gate-jumping at a bus station.
"Fix the economy" includes "fix all the problems tangled with money and who controls it to maintain power in this society."
The details? We'll get back to you on that. Or you could, y'know, look over the data yourselves and come up with solutions.
Unless, of course, you're comfortable with your pensions, your mortgages, your children's future education opportunities, the treatment of soldiers both overseas & after return, your commute conditions, the price you pay for medical care, and the distribution of wealth and power in your communities. If you're good with all that, feel free to keep waving a microphone around and waiting for someone to provide you easy answers.
If not... you're probably one of the 99%. Join us. Grab a sign for a while and let people know these are your issues, too.
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