#OWS and Forging Common Cause with Tea People and Libertarians
“We are the 99%; we are legion, they are few.”
Yet in this country, not enough people have awakened to that fact, nor have enough who are now being shaken bit by bit from their slumber been able to name our common enemy, even though they sense that something’s really wrong in America. Nor have nearly enough gotten wise enough to set aside the long operative system of labels and wedge issues in order to unite in resistance to overthrow those few who have used their concentrated wealth and power to harm us, even kill us, both here and around the globe.
I think that for the purposes of this discussion we might all agree that there are now three main groups that have spontaneously arisen to fight the PTB from outside the current system: OWS protesters, the original Tea Party protesters who haven’t been co-opted by the Republican party, and what this Libertarian writer calls Blue Republicans, or Indies or Democrats who are registering as Republicans in order to vote for Ron Paul in caucuses and primaries, whether or not to necessarily vote for him as President. They at least want to ensure that his key issues increasingly become part of a new political discourse; this group may include Libertarians for whom the electoral process seems increasingly irrelevant.
They are largely non-partisan groups allied by anger at what they see as odious control by a government they no longer believes serves them, even though their objections can travel in what can seem to be vastly different directions, especially concerning the size, scope or desired function of the federal government. All three groups are filled with vibrant activists, although only the Koch-brand Tea People have been given a voice in the political discussion due to a fawning and bought media, who have arguably created some monsters from whom even Republican Party insiders have tried to back away recently. They appear to have lost control.
There have been plenty of heated discussions on these boards for many months over the political leanings of the millions of protestors in the OWS nascent second American revolutionary movement. The mainstream media and talking heads like to equate it to ‘a liberal Tea Party’; some Republicans have branded it ‘an arm of the Democratic Party; some Tea sites at which I read have labeled it ‘a Socialist or Marxist movement, not that they seem to be able to define those terms, or how they apply. There have been those on this site who’ve claimed that it’s a progressive, lefty movement, and shut up about anything else. TILT.
My perception is that it’s clearly not, nor should it be, especially given that the results of a Jan. 2012 Gallup poll found only 6% of those queried called themselves ‘very liberal,’ and 15% ‘liberal’, which category I’d assume are Obama’s base, and may never be able to accept how diametrically opposite his governance has been compared to their original dreams about him. There are also increasing numbers of LOTE (lesser of two evils) arguments presented to us by those who fear Candidate X might accomplish Yand Z .
At the other end of the continuum, 10% identify as very conservative, and I’d think they are the activists; 30% say they’re conservative.
A fun and rather baffling and counter-intuitive fact is that Pew Research poll recently discovered that ‘progressive’ is the most positively viewed label in the country; go figure. American thinking remains to be a bit incoherent, as the term ‘socialism’ polled lowest.
So, even a glance at those percentages make you see that the activists of all three groups will need to come together to massively increase the uprising Occupy movement by finding and making common cause on two or three major issues, and not a few say that they already have. The author of Washingtonsblog.com has been making the case since October, and highlights a few conservative groups who are supporters; he updates his lists here and there.
Please allow me to digress here, and explain part of my incentive to write this dairy:
The Ron Paul Wars threads here recently have sincerely baffled me for one main reason: the inability of so many to grasp the simple fact that it is an extremely rational position to: a) be very glad that a few of Paul’s long-held positions are being heard so loudly in the present political discussions, and b) that being glad of that fact, or supporting those few positions doesn’t imply that voting for him would naturally follow.
Those holding that rather moderate opinion are often attacked by those on either extreme side of the RP Wars, and it seems just plain emotionally driven and illogical, especially given the grave threat to our democracy we’re all facing.
But no matter how hard they tried, neither Matt Stoller nor Glenn Greenwald have been able to cause that position to receive a fair hearing, so I’ll predict that my efforts will also fail. Stoller also went the extra unappreciated mile to ask that Democrats take a hard look in the mirror, and see what the Party has become, and for long has been, especially in relation to the massive power of the Federal Reserve and war funding, which issue IS important to this diary. You may want to read it if you haven’t already.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled program:
What common causes then can the spontaneous activists rally around? To begin with, they all are incensed by federal government over-reach and ballooning police state control of citizens who fight back with Constitutionally protected acts and deeds, yet are increasingly determined by our government to be ‘enemies of the State’. They also seem incensed that the NDAA allows that any US citizens deemed by those in power to be such enemies of the State, can now be legally, if insanely unconstitutionally, jailed without charges, disappeared or convicted in secret court proceedings or military tribunals.
Secondly, all three groups are railing against crony capitalism, or monopoly capitalism, as the original Tea People call it. All are sincerely furious that the government has now enshrined the concept of lemon socialism: Banks and too-big-to-fail multinationals reap the profits of their speculation, while American taxpayers fund their losses, whether through direct Congressionally approved bailouts, schemes transferring investment banking losses to FDIC-backed commercial divisions, or by massive and hidden discount loans and guarantees that provide banks with liquidity, but create nothing for working Americans…except more irrational national debt.
All three groups understand that our federal government serves Wall Street; the Tea People and Blue Republicans/Libertarians see that although the government bailouts ostensibly stabilized the Big Banks, they are not lending to small banks, which fund small businesses, thus causing boatloads of small businesses to close, and preventing potentially innovative start-ups to…not start up.
This brewing awareness allows the groups who see government as the culprit to join with those who see Wall Street casino gambling and unprosecuted fraud as the problem to conclude that: the confluence of mega-corporations, multinationals and the big banks and the government that allows those entities to write all the laws which maximize their profits and concentrate their power at the expense of ordinary Americans, is the common enemy we must challenge and neutralize.
Here’s Tea Party founder Karl Denninger on RT from Oct. 14, 2011:
There is certainly a growing awareness of, and objection to the Federal Reserve as a central enabler of the massive shifts of wealth transfer to the upper wealth percentiles. That topic had for so long been seen as a Libertarian fringe issue, but it has now been forced into the awareness of more citizens attempting to figure out how and why the 2008 meltdown was handled, and why the 99% are left holding the bill for it. Here is a page of Fed information for you to read, or you can dig further. But clearly the Fed has run amok with power, and spectacularly failed to live up to one of its two mandates, that of ‘keeping unemployment rates low’. More damningly, Bloomberg News’ FOIA partially-granted request for Federal Reserve documents led to the discovery that they had loaned and provided guarantees totaling $7.7 trillion dollars to banks and multinationals. That’s not chump change, and it’s a complicated subject that I’ll let Nomi Prins explain in the video below.
In attempting to form alliances among these groups, it might be well for the democracy movement as a whole to consider a few things ahead of time:
One concerns the perception that Occupy is an arm of the Democratic Party; I’ve been slow to realize how pervasive that might actually be, but my friend Alternate ID may have finally gotten the fact through to me. He’s convinced me that needs to be stopped with the biggest voices calling through the biggest megaphones over the land, as did BAR’s Glen Ford did so well recently. It must be emphasized by all Occupy sites and protests constantly that both legacy parties are both captive to, and providing the means…for the kleptocratic oligarchy to flourish, and are hijacking our labor and increased output to cynically line their own pockets, and they create nothing, but have financialized the nation’s economy in almost every sector.
Secondly, even though polls show that increasing numbers of Americans feel that tax rates are unfair, and especially that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share, and seem to focus on asking questions about the rich/poor divide, pundits and journalists frame the protesters as ‘hating the rich’ or ‘focused on income disparity’. But that misses the issue; Americans don’t hate the wealthy; many of them want to be wealthy, but more are waking up to the fact that the system is rigged against that ever happening, and indeed rigged against them even having modestly secure financial futures. Again, counter-intuitively, a majority of us still believe that hard work will bring us wealth, but statistics show that social mobility depends on the economic conditions you were born to , rather than American being the Land of Opportunity for most of us.
The way I see it, Occupy is a fair v. unfair movement as it concerns economic justice, and a movement to restore our Constitutional democracy that’s been stolen and sullied, and been declared irrelevant by those who rule us…but hopefully won’t for much longer.
My head at this point is full of the voices here and around the web who have screeched that they’d never ally with ‘those racists’, or ‘those @&**^s who want to make abortion illegal’, whatever. I will put it to you that if you’re unwilling to set aside those labels and divisive issues for now in order that we make common cause to topple the Oligarchy, you really just aren’t serious about the movement.
(cross-posted at www.kgblogz.com)
(Here is the Facebook page for ‘Libertarians for Occupy Wall Street’; I didn’t know where to put it, but found it interesting.) ;o)