We Are the People of the Year

occupy la

Occupy LA march on LA's Financial District, Downtown LA, Thursday, October 6, 2011 (Photo: Michael Dussault)

What Has Occupy Accomplished ?– Civil Disobedience

When FOX Noise got the word, they predictably hit the rhetorical roof. How dare they compare those filthy hippies in the Occupy encampment at Zuccotti Park to the good people of the Arab Spring who are fighting for the rights that have been denied them for too long! Uber-dunce Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts of FOX and Friends, giddily noted that Time Magazine had in the past awarded the “Man of the Year” title to the likes of Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

It went right over the head of this jackass that the title “person of the year” is not necessarily a judgement of someone’s “niceness”, but rather that person’s capacity as a newsmaker. That’s why the Ayatolla Khomeini was named Time’s 1979 Man of the Year – and not the cast of One Day at a Time. What an idiot.

We are the people of the year.

You don’t have to be at Occupy down in Zuccotti Park. You don’t have to be on the streets at Occupy Oakland or Los Angeles, California or Madison, Wisconsin or Austin, Texas or South Bend, Indiana. You won’t have to be out in Ulme Park in Poughkeepsie, New York, this afternoon at 4 p.m. to be a part of this movement.

That’s why the worldwide Occupy movement is so frightening, not only to the corporate media, but to our “rulers” as well. Jello Biafra is the former lead singer of the legendary political punk band The Dead Kennedys. He is today a lecturer who has released a number of spoken-word CDs on his Alternative Tentacles record label.

Ten years ago, in a statement that is truly stunning in hindsight, he advised us, “Don’t criticize the media, become the media!” A decade ago his words left some of us scratching our clueless heads. Today we know what he was talking about. We are the media. The revolution is being televised!

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

The order is rapidly fading. We are no longer reliant on the three-network-Monte game for our news and information. It’s no longer just the cable news channels that corner the market of ideas. The old media is now almost irrelevant. You and I are now the nightly news. You and I are now Huntley and Brinkley. You and I are now the managing editors of this broadcast. ABC, NBC and CBS no longer hold all the cards. Although I do miss the Ed Sullivan Show – I gotta tell ya.

With our laptops and our iPhones we are grabbing this country by the lapels and shaking it back into consciousness. Fifty years ago all we had to rely on were a handful of antique mimeograph machines. This is something else entirely. This is an information revolution. Will the plutocracy try to shut us down? Maybe. They’ll never know what hit them if they do though.

Yesterday Mitch McConnell was threatening – once again – to shut the government down. That’s nothing! We can shut this entire country down if we want to. I know we can do it, too. They may have the money; we’ve got the numbers. Power to the people, ya dig? This is for keeps, baby!

We are the media. We are their worst nightmare come-to-life a thousandfold. We are tens-of-millions of Hunter Thompsons risen from the dead. Wow! Just picture that! That’s what I call a Ralph Steadman sketch waiting to happen! Ralph???

I’ve had enough of reading things
By NEU-rotic, PSY-chotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is some truth!
Just gimme some truth!

-John Lennon

jello biafra

Jello Biafra

Get the message out. You don’t need to be a rock star or a journalist or a reporter or a poet laureate. You don’t need to be a bestselling author or a Nobel Prize-winning scientist or an Oscar-winning actor. You don’t need to be Michael Moore or Noam Chomskey or Keith Olbermann (although it helps). You don’t need to own a computer. You don’t even need access to one. Spread the message the old fashioned way: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. I had one published just last week. And if all of the above fail, go to your nearest mountaintop and shout the truth from there!

“How long? NOT LONG!”
-Martin Luther King

These are the salad days of a movement that is going to turn America – and the planet earth – around. How long it will take is anybody’s guess; but I cannot help but be inspired by the good Doctor King’s words. I’m also reminded of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis when he said that America will either have one of two things: extreme income inequality or democracy. It cannot – it will not – have both. Yeah. We’re gonna have democracy alright. You can take that to the bank. On second thought, stuff it under the mattress. It’s probably safer there.

You want all the proof you need that we are now living in a plutocratic dictatorship? Here it is:

Just suppose for a minute that I was the supervisor of a small village somewhere in upstate New York. I once ran for supervisor of Goshen, so we’ll make that our hypothetical location. Now imagine that at a Town Hall meeting one night, I cheerfully announced to the hardworking citizens of that lovely little burg that I had “misplaced” a $100,000 in taxpayer money. What do you think would happen to me? They would drag me out of the place in handcuffs. They would then hang me from the nearest tree. Come to think about it, that’s probably what would have happened eventually. I’m awfully glad I lost that election. Honestly.

tom deganNow picture this if you will: Just a few days ago, former New Jersey Governor and billionaire John Corzine admitted to a panel of lawmakers that the investment firm that he headed “misplaced” over a billion dollars in investors’ money. Now just what the hell do you think happened to him? He was allowed to walk out of the place, free as a freakin’ bird. Does it puzzle you just a tad that no one from Goldman Sachs is not at this moment rotting in federal prison – or has even been brought up on charges??? We’re living under a plutocratic dictatorship. Open your eyes. Take action NOW.

Wasn’t deregulation a really neat idea? And they say they can’t understand our rage? HELLO???

The Democrats in general – and President Obama in particular – would be foolish to try and capitalize on this rage. If they had bothered to remember a long time ago that they are (or were) the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and had had the guts to stand up to the right-wing extremism of the last three decades, we probably wouldn’t be brow-deep in the economic quagmire we find ourselves in today. That worthless party is within five years of finding themselves where the Republicans are today; beyond redemption. If they know what’s good for them they’ll clean up their act – pretty damned quick. They have got to stop nominating these pathetic, right-wing Blue Dogs. Otherwise, within the next five years a new party will emerge from the wreckage of their incompetence and indifference.

This week the spokespersons for the plutocracy have been predicting the end of the movement which is now engulfing the world. The joke’s on them. I really hate to be quoting the Carpenters here but Frank Zappa doesn’t have anything apropos for this particular moment: “We’ve only just begun”.

Everybody sing! “SHARING HORIZONS THAT ARE NEW TO US!” I’m sorry. I’ll stop.

See you at the occupation, kiddies!

Tom Degan
Utterly Defeated candidate for Supervisor of Goshen, New York
The Rant 

Photo: Michael Dussault

Published by the LA Progressive on December 16, 2011
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About Tom Degan

Tom Degan is a fifty-four-year old video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America's national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher. He was born in Goshen, NY in 1958 and, after living all over the United States and Canada, moved back there in 1992. He is a high school dropout who in 1977 received an equivalency diploma (HEY, IT'S LEGAL!) He attended SUNY in Middletown, NY and in 1986 studied journalism at the New School in New York City. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has worked as a truck driver, a radio DJ, and a metal worker... OK, he didn't ACTUALLY receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he DID get some kind of ribbon of sorts when he was in the Cub Scouts. He is the inventor of Cheez Whiz and lives off the royalties on the sales of that fine product. He loves children and little baby duckies. FULL DISCLOSURE: He didn't really invent Cheez Whiz. His address is: 2590 Rte 17M (PO BOX 611) Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 294-5714

Comments

  1. Joe Weinstein says:

    Again, Ryder is half right. No, ‘the government’ shouldn’t control too much. But the real problem is NOT government per se. The problem IS dangeous CONCENTRATION OF POWER in an oligarchy or tyranny – whether political or economic or a mix.

    Ryder and the rest of us speak of abstractions such as ‘the’ government’, but it’s important to recall reality: this country has many governments, at different levels and in many jurisdictions, most with several and not always colluding branches. And we have other institutional power centers, notably big corporations. But power is actually used not by any of these institutions per se but by people. What counts and is dangerous is today’s concentration of decision power in a small oligarchy – in fact a combo of political and economic oligarchies that corrupt and support each other through both legal and economic means.

    While I agree that some progressives are thoughtless statists, methinks Ryder protests too much about ‘regulations’ and ‘government’. The very existence of continuing and reliable markets (among other things) altogether requires a guarantee that sufficient and fair rules – regulations, laws – will be promulgated and enforced. Actual governments and regulations aren’t always well run or well conceived, but the overall concepts are necessary.

  2. Oh, and lest I become accused of not knowing what “deregulation” means… as opposed to government failure VIA regulation, I share with you the reason…

    Rule 15c3-3 — Customer Protection–Reserves and Custody of Securities is the regulation that ALLOWED the “missing funds” to go “missing”.

    It specifically says that customer collateral can be promised to yet another party… and that in the case of bankruptcy of the firm, those that offered up the original collateral are not protected.

    This is otherwise known as Regulation T.

    Again, this was FULLY REGULATED AND SPECIFICALLY ALLOWED.

    Now… on to the meat of what Tom has written….

  3. A true rant.

    A hypothetical supervisor gets taken drug out to the streets and hung… as the basis for a complaint against the head of an investment firm for not being arrested on the spot, is a kind of bizarre fantasy world…

    … I would think that instead of hypothetical speculation, Tom could cite the rule of law that would allow for his arrest, as opposed to the unbridled passions of vigilantism.

    When people like Tom make appeals to lawlessness, he degrades society.

    Now, this is not to say that what Corzine and his associates did was right or wrong, it’s just that Tom is going about it in the wrong way.

    He blames “deregulation”… but fails to tell you what that means, when it happened, and what was deregulated. It’s just a buzz word to him.

    He doesn’t know, and you don’t either.

    Corzine, democrat politician and former CEO of Goldman-Sachs and MF Global, ran a firm that took money out of escrow accounts and essentially “bet” it in European investments.

    It’s not that a billion “went missing”, it is that the US Government, specifically the Commodity Futures Trading Commission simply failed to do their job.

    No “deregulation”… just government incompetence, who’s basic job is to prevent the exact thing that happened.

    But Tom doesn’t want you to think that Government failed… again.

    So… this begs the question. If this rant is all about the growth of a directionless movement of seething anger by a bunch of people that have no idea about the things they are supposedly pissed at, why are they not calling for the reform of GOVERNMENT?

    No, Government is safe with this crowd.

    The occupy crowd stands up to say that corporations are in control of Government, therefore we need Government regulations to control corporations.

    The failure in this logic is astounding.

    The Government is owned by US. It is OUR government. WE are responsible for it…

    SO before you grab torches and pitchforks to attack anyone in a business suit, I suggest you think about your responsibility for a moment, and clean up your own house… clean up YOUR government.

    And before you go handing even MORE power to government, reflect for a moment on just how incompetent it is.

    These are the simple facts:

    1 – People with power and influence ALWAYS influence government, of any kind, anywhere. Socialist governments, democracies, dictatorships, republics, monarchies, all of them.

    2 – What the government controls is therefore now in control of the influential.

    These two unbreakable rules are all you need.

    The ONLY solution is to make sure government does not control very much. Handing control of things to government is IDENTICAL to handing control over to the influential.

    So before you decide it would be a good idea for government to control carbon emissions… control healthcare… control schools…. control retirement… control banking…

    Need I go on?

    Now you know why our founders erected a government of limited, express powers… leaving all other powers to the states and seating it firmly with “the people”.

    The problem is that here, at LAP, everyone wants to have government control everything I’ve listed and much much more, which is just a call to hand over everything to the powerful and influential via the reins of government.

    Tom said as much when he blamed “deregulation” on our woes.

    He want’s things “regulated”, by laws written by the rich and powerful.

    Tom, Tom, Tom….

    sigh.

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