There has been some speculation about how Occupy Wall Street will fare this winter. This was a valid concern up until this week: Winters in New York can be harsh, but that doesn’t matter anymore. OWS has moved far beyond just the physical location of lower Manhattan. It is now a movement. The acknowledgement that corporate power controls the puppet strings of what we used to call a government is just as strong in Billings, Montana as it is in Zuccotti Park.
Thanks to the efforts of tens of thousands of Americans, demonstrating in literally hundreds of cities around our great country, we can now take examples from other locations such as Oakland or Denver, where corporate-sponsored politicians are pushing the police to overreach in their effort to stifle public displays of opposition to corporate power. These demonstrations—and the uncalled for officially violent suppression of peaceful Constitutional assembly—are keeping the issues squarely in the public mind.
What are those issues? If we had to distill one unifying theme from Occupy, I would have to say that the system of redistributing our nation’s bountiful wealth to the already wealthy in the misguided hope that their largesse would trickle down to the rest of us, has finally been shown to be a sham: the “job creators” don’t actually create jobs.
If having billions of dollars in cash on hand were sufficient for companies to create jobs, they would be doing it right now. But they’re not. So it makes little sense to keep shoveling money into their coffers. Corporations are sitting on record amounts of unused cash, waiting for the demand for their products to rebound—which it won’t because Congress keeps insisting that we transfer more and more of our income to those that already have too much.
The very idea that all wealth flows from capital is a fraud. An unused bar of gold sitting on top of a mountain is actually worthless. It has no intrinsic value—value flows from the labor that can turn it into something useful for people (be that a wedding ring or gold foil for use on satellites). But for some reason, our government continues to write and enforce economic codes of conduct (i.e. regulations) that give preference to ownership of gold, without regard to how it is employed.
Ownership alone is not sufficient to create income: Human activity in the form of labor is the basis of value. And big-L Labor has had enough of this, yes I will say it, exploitation by those that have amassed mountains of the increasingly useless gold.
Unfortunately for the political- and ruling-classes, cold weather will not make this go away. The focus has shifted away from a small park in Manhattan and landed squarely on every working class kitchen table. We know we’ve been given a raw deal, and we’re not going to cooperate in preserving the status quo corporate control of our government, which has property been identified as the root of the problem.