Wednesday, 19 October 2011

How we can capitalize on the momentum gained from the Wall Street occupation

The Wall Street occupations have gained a lot of attention. Yet I've been hearing that the protesters have no clear plan of action other than drawing attention to the immense gulf between the few who are filthy rich and the many who are poor or middle class in the U.S..

I've heard too that the protesters should consider lobbying for legislative action or forming a political party. The actor Alec Baldwin visited Zuccoti Park in New York City, the site of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). He suggested that "OWS needs to coalesce around some legislative policy" Alec Baldwin and OWS.

There's a problem with a legislative policy as I see it. First, it requires that the protesters agree upon a strategy of reform. There are many opinions on what should be done. Alec Baldwin himself acknowledged this when he asked "But what can each entity agree on?" The corruption is so widespread and deep-rooted that it's hard to determine what the best approach is. Besides, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to petition the Government for a redress of their grievances. This right extends to Corporate lobbyists.

Nevertheless, a citizen's lobby made up of thousands of people in the "99%" category should be at least as effective in advocating for our interests as the corporate lobbyists are in advocating for their employers' and clients' interests. A citizen's lobby requires active involvement by U.S. citizens is something we're not used to seeing in this country. The Wall Street occupations offer hope that the "slumbering giant", otherwise known as the American masses, is finally beginning to awaken from its political stupor.

But if we're going to become more assertive politically, why should we settle for lobbying Congress in the near-clandestine manner of corporate lobbyists? Why shouldn't we confront our Government directly, by organizing strikes? Why shouldn't we confront the corporate greed-mongers directly, by organizing boycotts? These measures would be the most effective because they'd be the most convincing demonstration of "people power". They'd take full advantage of our strength in numbers. They'd convincingly demonstrate our spiritual force, which would more than rival the military force used by the U.S. as a way to resolve conflicts. Anything less has the potential of devolving into political gamesmanship, which would be contrary to our interests as this country's true owners.

No comments: