50 Million Will March

Occupy Movement Count

I believe that the first big winner of the 2012 campaign is the Occupy Wall Street movement, whether or not it participates in electoral politics.

Before next April 30 there will be more simultaneous marches around the world that could inspire up to 50 million men and women supporting a more just economy.

In only 30 days, Occupy Wall Street has reshaped our national political narrative and brought back to center stage the great American question: Are we a nation of the people and for the people, or a nation where the few and the factions with the money can dominate the politics and finances of the nation?

Today there is another great bailout being negotiated in Europe. Protests continue to gain powerful support. There is a firestorm of outrage from consumers against new bank fees, a firestorm of demand from workers to create new jobs, and a firestorm of outrage against corruption in business and politics.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is the authentic heir to John Hancock and Sam Adams, and to historic movements from suffragettes championing the rights of women to Solidarity and Lech Walesa, who supports Occupy Wall Street, championing the rights of workers.

The aspiration to lift the 99 percent inspires men and women throughout America and across nations, oceans and continents. A cold, hard winter will bring a springtime of action that will mobilize tens of millions of people for the most historically profound movement of our times.

This movement originated entirely from outside the power structures of politics, finance and media. While there are areas of overlap with populist liberals on some issues and populist Ron Paul supporters on others, this is a protest movement in the tradition of movements that have changed American and world history.

Let’s end the great slander used by desperate opponents of Occupy Wall Street:

When Steve Jobs made great products that consumers loved and became a billionaire; when Warren Buffett makes investment decisions and those who invest in him do well along with him; when credit unions offer low-fee debit cards and fair interest loans; and when venture capitalists take high risks to finance clean-tech business, nobody protests against them.

The protesters do not protest great wealth earned through honest work. They protest against those who cheat in a system they rig; those who deform our democracy with the corruptions they buy; those who beg for taxpayer bailouts when they fail while they utter words of contempt toward those who endure the suffering their failures create.

When mega-banks crash the world economy and collapse their own stocks, when American taxpayers must pay to rescue them while their 401(k) shareholders suffer huge losses, when they pay failed executives vast fortunes to reward their failure, and when they commit fraud against their customers, this is not capitalism, but crime for profit, in some cases, and compensation for incompetence in others. This is what protesters protest.

The frenzy against the Occupy Wall Street movement from the partisan Republican right and certain Tea Party voices occurs because the protesters are calling their bluff and forcing them to defend not capitalism, but corruptions that are widely despised, which are neither patriotic nor capitalist.

Brent BudowskyDo Tea Party Republicans want to oppose jobs for police, firefighters and teachers and oppose protecting military families from financial abuse, which Elizabeth Warren champions? Do they want to support massive compensation for those bank executives who mismanaged their business, bank fees that create national outrage, dishonest tactics against honorable homeowners and unequal pay for women?

America has entered a new political era of protest and patriotism in a great and powerful tradition. When winter turns to spring, those who seek to champion the 99 percent are poised to mobilize for the largest protests in the history of America, and the world.

Brent Budowsky
The Hill 

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at <i>brentbbi@webtv.net</i>.

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Comments

  1. Ray Bishop says

    Ryder sometimes makes some good points but the problem is not the government it is the influence the power structure has on the government and the control it exerts for its own benefit.
    Don’t get me wrong – I am only dealing with your issue of lawsuits.
    Consider that most politicians are also attorneys. When you speak of the destruction of manufacturing in America take a look at the justice and court system also controlled by the attorneys and corporations. This is not the only cause of the problem but who do you think benefits from the litigation on public bodies or businesses? Again it is big business in the form of attorneys, insurance companies, doctors. Awards to a family of a person who died in an injury of millions of dollars do nothing to help the person who was killed. Maybe a reasonable amount but things are just out of whack and why should the rest of us pay for benefits that primarily benefit attorneys?

    • Ryder says

      The legal system is a shambles… no doubt… but the really scary laws re: business are labor, wage, workplace, and product liability law. Tort reform is necessary.

      But we agree… most do I think, that lawyers and what they have done as law makers, have been horrible.

      I think that you go to far to say that it is not the government…

      The Judicial system has failed us. The Supreme Court has the responsibility to beat down government’s propensity to take ever more power, but it has failed. There is no possible way that free people are not free to trade freely in contract between each other in something as simply as work and compensation.

      “I will did this ditch for you for two chickens” is free market. But government says “no, you may not do that. You must pay at least two dozen eggs.”

      Minimum wage laws are completely abhorrent to freedom, as just one example.

      But let’s not forget that we sit on the juries that award insane sums in the courts… where we do have power as jurors, we have often abused it… giving MASSIVE prizes for the lawyers to continually grab for…. which empowers and encourages them.

      But it is the anti-corporate message that causes, at least in part, the huge awards.

      It’s a nasty cycle. We hear stories of undue corporate influence in politics, side with the poor women who had complications from, supposedly, breast implants… and then award a bazillion dollars to these women in order to stick it to the evil corporations.

      THe money then goes to the lawyers that then try to keep the ball rolling, and chase after the next ambulance. Some then go on to political office…. where corporations then try to get them to write laws to protect them from insane juries… or skirt responsibility safely because the risk is so high, that they dare NOT attempt to buy influence with lawmakers.

      If the jury awards were far less… then corporations could not justify spending a lot of $$$ on political influence.

      We’re doing it to ourselves.

  2. Ryder says

    The problem with the 99% is that they aren’t. They resemble the coalescing of a mob before violence breaks out… they say they are against wall street, then ignore the wall street big shots on their way to protest fox news.

    Where do the ignorant and angry children of society go to have a tantrum…? OWS is the answer.

    This “grass roots” movement was actually started by the anti-consumerist “Adbusters Media Foundation” of Canada (founded in 1989) in July 2011, and registered the domain name “occupywallstreet.org” that same month, several weeks before the start of OWS.

    yeah… grassroots.

    And as there is no coherent message… the influx of people are as different as they can be… so finding a common thread is difficult, but they all want radical “change”.

    Adbusters originally wanted the event to be about ending the influence of money on politics. But they don’t have control of the message anymore. The unions, notorious for using money to control politics at local, state, and federal levels…. are well represented at OWS. There are other contradictions. The Anarchists at OWS want government to fall away and for us to enter a stateless society, while standing right next to them are the statists that want government to collect more power, enough to provide for the needs of everyone in a socialist utopia. Opposite ends of the spectrum.

    Like children holding their breath to protest their parents… the OWS protesters are refusing to move until their conflicting demands are met.

    Were it not for the simple fact that capitalism is the best means yet discovered to improve the condition of humanity… they might be on to something.

    The Tea Party doesn’t want money influencing government either… but they have a different approach. If government is stripped down and has very little power and leaves the people to provide for themselves, then corruption has very little it can gain… it would be like robbing a bank with no money in the vault.

    It is only because of the statists that have supported the growth of government to extreme levels of power and influence, that corruption and influence OVER government has meaning.

    A government with no power is a useless tool. There is no reason to try to “buy” it.

    On the other hand, governments with the power to save an industry that should die, or kill an industry that is healthy… or deliver trillions of dollars to healthcare companies… etc. etc. suddenly, the attractiveness of buying influence in government becomes apparent, making corruption inevitable.

    In the end, the OWS protesters are at odds with themselves… wanting a government that is ripe for corruption, yet hating the fact that is has become so.

    Children, make up your minds.

    • joy says

      REALLY?????? Talk about someone who doesn’ t have a clue. I think fear is your hidden agenda for writting your letter. People are tired of working hard and watching their retirements fall year after year and the hedge fund fools rake in all the cash. People are tired of all of their jobs going over seas. People are tired of their tax money going to politicians that are not doing anything, just saying no. People are just plain tired, they want to work, jobs, jobs, jobs!!!!! Sure maybe it takes someone to organize a movement that resonates to the bone and you finely have something to join that might just wake up this system we live with. People!!! not Corprut Corporation Power! You say the unions control politics… well when the Unions had control, the people were making good wages, receiving good benifits…. When corporations took over with their “right to work”BS, where did the livable wages go? Oh thats right!!! to China. You are afraid Ryder and you should be! I for one am loving watching the PEOPLE wake up! Sure things seem fuzzy when you first awaken, but I think things are getting clearer all the time.

      • Ryder says

        All you are doing is confirming everything I said about OWS… generic discontent… followed by an incoherent tantrum, full of contradictions.

        Try this one out for size, and see if you can spot the contradiction:

        “Corporations control the government, so we need government regulation to protect us from corporations.”

        This is the overall vector of OWS in a nutshell (again, acknowledging that there are far far too many opposing views at OWS to truly pin it down) … and is a concept so obviously intellectually bankrupt, that any serious political thinker will instantly recognize and reject any proposition formed as such.

        What you, and everyone else must do, is learn to tell the difference between CRONYISM and CAPITALISM.

        I’d bet that almost nobody at OWS has a conscious understanding of the two.

        Minus the ability to make key distinctions, intellect does not exist.

        If you can show that nations that STRAY from capitalism result in greater wealth for the people, then you might have a point. If you can’t, then you don’t have a point. It is as simple as that. Show me the non capitalist societies that have a large and affluent middle class, my friend.

        People want to work. Government basically prevents it…

        I know. I send work overseas as part of my job… not because it is what I want, but it is because government compels it at every turn. The risks to hire people in the United States are SO EXTREMELY HIGH that the risks are no longer worth it unless you can’t do it any other way.

        If you were someone that was in a position to hire people (which you obviously are not), you would know what I am talking about. I’ll be more interested in your views AFTER you become a businessman, and attempt to hire people.

      • gregory says

        Terrific post Joy. Wonder which of the Wall St Gamblers Corp’s Ol Ryder works for? They speculate in an NON-REGULATED unbridled situation now thanks to de-regulation while pissing away “Honest” ard working citizens retirement funds that have been “HONESTLY” earned and saved.

        • Ryder says

          Not even close, my friend. That you didn’t even come close should tell you something about the fantasy that you have in your head about these manners.
          My work is manufacturing… high tech engineering, to be more precise. The brains are here, the work is done overseas, because they do it BETTER, and CHEAPER, and there is vastly less risk to our venture… here in the US, manufacturing is wrought with peril… OSHA laws, CAL-OSHA laws, environmentalist lawsuits, union agitation, harassment / discrimination and all manner of lawsuits (real or concocted). Zoning laws, building codes, all of the above carrying huge fees if you step on a mine in the minefield… where laws are sometimes conflicting or even dangerous to follow. An employee does something stupid they shouldn’t, and get’s hurt? The company goes down in flames.

          Add to this all of the wage laws, family leave act and the government compelling companies to track wages, collect taxes, obtain and verify identification and worker status… all without compensation for doing so. We’d have to have a massive HR department just to keep track of and follow the ever-changing regulations regarding employment for a huge manufacturing force.

          Businesses have been warning the people AND the government for DECADES that the path we are on will lead to business going ELSEWHERE. Now that day is here, because you, and many people just like you ignored the honest warnings.

          Foreign workers… good people… that need work as much or MORE than Americans, are stepping up to the plate to do good work. Their lives are enriched.

          Meanwhile, progressives have been sure to keep an “open border” with Mexico… guaranteeing a massive flood of illegals entering the western states and taking jobs from not only lower income Americans, but those with advanced degrees as well. Blacks wanting to climb out of poverty now have to compete with Mexicans that will work for less.

          Good job, progressives.

          Not only that, the illegals take HIGH paying and HIGH skill jobs away. How? Consider California’s agriculture industry… the food basket of the west… much of it picked just like the days of slavery… by back breaking labor in the fields. This cheap illegal labor, thanks to the open border policies of progressives, have prevented California from modernizing harvesting. France and Australia, that don’t happen to border on Mexico, have put engineers, machinists, software engineers, fabricators, equipment operators, etc. etc. to work for many years perfecting grape harvesting equipment for their large wine industries for just one example. The best machines are made in France and Australia, not the the USA, because the illegals have kept agriculture operating in a backward/primitive way here.

          The damage that progressives have done to labor and the labor markets in the US is incalculable… and tragic.

          Again, good job guys… way to go.

      • in_awe says

        In the past two years we have seen where the Obama administration has given grants or loan guarantees totaling multiple billions of dollars to corporations that took the money and spent it creating production facilities and jobs overseas. The latest one is Fisker Motors which received $1.2B for production of their electric car. Fisker said there is no facility in the US that could build their car so they outsourced it to Finland. So, now you can buy an $80,000 “green car” built with US taxpayer money paying Finnish workers and foreign maritime workers. Or the solar panel manufacturer getting a DOE grant that took the money, closed its US plant and opened a new one in China. Check out the payments to foreign solar power companies that received billions to built solar power plants in the US that will employ something like 40 people. Look at GE – Obama’s favorite green company – moving its production offshore – yet, Immelt keeps getting tapped as Obama’s go-to guy in industry to find ways to reduce unemployment.. Guess someone should have been more explicit – our tax dollars should go to reduce American unemployment not Chinese or Spanish or Mexican unemployment.

        So, you think we should keep Giving Obama and Biden the ability to shovel our money to their campaign fund bundlers so they can either rip-off the taxpayers or ship jobs overseas? Weren’t these the guys that were above all that crony capitalism? Guess who has gotten more campaign money from Wall Street than any other politician in US history…corruption isn’t only a corporate failing. The federal government specializes in it now – and is refusing to even release info under FOIA requests or have DOE executives testify under oath. The mob wears little Hope and Change buttons these days.

  3. in_awe says

    “The Occupy Wall Street movement is the authentic heir to John Hancock​ and Sam Adams, and to historic movements from suffragettes championing the rights of women to Solidarity and Lech Walesa​, who supports Occupy Wall Street, championing the rights of workers.”

    Once again Brent is misrepresenting history. His comment is ridiculous on its face. Hancock, Adams, suffragettes and Walesa were all protesting big, controlling, redistributive, oppressive, freedom limiting, unresponsive BIG GOVERNMENT.

    You can’t somehow morph protests by people demanding more free stuff given to them by government after forcibly taking private property from others as being ANYTHING like the honorable protests of the champions of more individual freedom and relief from the burden of government. Good Lord!

  4. in_awe says

    “The Occupy Wall Street movement is the authentic heir to John Hancock​ and Sam Adams, and to historic movements from suffragettes championing the rights of women to Solidarity and Lech Walesa​, who supports Occupy Wall Street, championing the rights of workers.”

    <Authentic heir – Seriously? Brent, I think you confuse protesting big, oppressive, confiscatory, re-distributive government by those you mentioned with protesting and attacking free enterprise.

    Not an easy mistake to make, but I can see your enthusiasm for marches and protests and riots has gotten the better of you.

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