Okay, now, I really am not a fan of corporations or big banks or Wall Street, and yay for those protesters and all. But I guess I have to ask, what are the goals? I mean, the Cairo protest had a goal of ending the Mubarak regime. Prison hunger strikes are usually for something like “better living conditions.” Even most marches and rallies are for something specific, like “end police brutality,” or “equal rights for all” or “stop the Columbus Day Parade”or “don’t go to war in Iraq” or “no human being is illegal.”
But it seems like the Occupy Wall Street protests are against: corporate executive greed, high unemployment, bailouts of big corporations, and debt. I mean, will the protests end when Wall St. execs all announce they’ll earn a maximum of 100 times what their company’s lowest-paid worker makes? When unemployment gets back down to 6%? When the government renounces capitalism? What are the benchmarks? Is it just to bring attention to corporate malfeasance and sleaze? If so, is there anyone who really doesn’t know about that, and are they planning on being there forever?
The “We are the 99%" Tumblr has people holding up signs saying things like, “I am tempted by credit card offers every day,” or “my degree is/will be worthless,” or “I was forced to pay $10,000 in back taxes,” or “I have a job at a store that I can’t afford to shop in.” There are also plenty of people holding signs about not having a job, student loan debt, credit card debt, under/unemployment, medical bills, etc.. But do you really think Wall Street are the people to protest? As if they’re going to change anything? It’s not like the insurance companies or the big banks are suddenly going to get all benevolent and charitable.
It seems to me that the people you want to influence are the politicians, who can do the kind of regulation that’s necessary. Corporations aren’t going to give up their perks unless they’re forced to, and protesters do not have that kind of force. Laws do, though. Make a law saying that a bank that falsely forecloses on a home has to immediately pay triple the home’s cost in damages to the person falsely foreclosed on. Increase the minimum wage to $17/hour. Extend food stamp qualification periods. Increase taxes on the 1% and use the money to create more jobs, a la the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hell, put caps on executive corporate earnings and bonuses, if that’s possible.
But all those things are stuff the government would do if it could, and exactly the opposite of what corporations would ever do without being forced to. No matter how many protesters are sitting on Wall Street, Wal-Mart and any other corporation are not going to magnanimously decide to raise the minimum wage they pay to $15/hour.
Of course, I applaud the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. And to be honest, I haven’t done that much research about it; just kinda what’s on the ‘net and Tumblr and random news. But it seems to me that the people that should be targeted are the GOP politicians and the Tea Partiers that want to give corporations even more leeway and less regulation, while reducing the size and strength of the government that could actually do something to address all the kinds of wrongs that are enumerated on the Wearethe99% blog. Get full-on unabashedly left-wing radical progressive politicians in both chambers and in the White House. Or hell, just get less obstructive Republicans, and let the liberalest of liberal Dems have their way. But (and I’m talking to you, Wearethe99% blog), how about some proposed solutions and goals, rather than just whining about how much it sucks?