Coyotes are solitary critters and can’t stand against a foe that is bigger than they are. Wolves are pack animals that can and do defeat even grizzly bears. The monied interests that have captured our congress is at least a grizzly bear.
Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest documents that vast numbers of committed activists are working on many many progressive causes all around the world. Hawken thinks there are more activists working on more causes than at any previous time in history.
This is very good news. And Occupy Wall Street is better news.
And yet … and yet it is not enough. Many progressive issues, perhaps most of them, require a reasonable legal framework, thoughtful government policy making, and funding. The government of, by, and for the 1% simply isn’t going to do any of what is required. We have a toxic complex of corporations, reactionary super-rich individuals, the defense establishment, and a government bought and paid for by this big money … a Gargantuan Beast intent on devouring the 99%.
Pick a progressive cause, any progressive cause… or, better, pick your personal favorite. Call this the “Favorite Cause”.
What will it take to achieve a reasonable legal framework for the Favorite Cause? A legal framework designed for the common good rather than for how much money the mega-corporations can siphon out of the public purse.
What will it take to achieve an effective regulatory system for the Favorite Cause? A regulatory system to actually punish wrong-doing rather than shielding the mega-corporations from accountability? A regulatory system that does not merely fine a corporation one dollar for every ten that it steals.
What will it take to achieve proper funding for the Favorite Cause? A level of funding that actually achieves results and thereby saves society money in the long run?
Given that the government doesn’t care about the common good for the 99%, at this time, the only possible way to get progressive action on the Favorite Cause is to force the government to do the right thing via massive public demands.
This is true for every progressive cause … the only thing that can force progressive government action is massive public demand.
This means that, at best, we will manage to get progressive government action on one cause at a time … and probably not more than one per year because you can not generate mass public demands on several different things at once.
This means that the Gargantuan Beast is free to plunder, pillage, and rape in all the areas that are not in the forefront of the public’s attention. And this is exactly what is going on now.
Again, think of the progressive causes that matter to you. All of them are currently under attack by “our” government. Everywhere you look progressives are fighting rearguard, defensive battles and with rare exceptions are losing ground.
Congress has long been bought by big money. Congressmen spend most of their time raising money for the next election. Even if they had some small desire to work for the common good, fundraising pre-empts all their time and energy. Congress is so deeply entwined with big money, so insulated in their little bubble of riches, that they are now almost entirely tone-deaf to the concerns of their constituents. Their arguments begin to sound ridiculous even to their long time supporters.
President Obama, more than any candidate in history, relied on money from the 99%. Unfortunately, he also got massive amounts of money from the financial / banking industry. His actions in putting the architects of the financial meltdown in charge of recovery efforts show just how much he too is owned by the big money.
The judiciary, until recently, seemed relatively immune to the evil effects of big money. But now we know that Supreme Court Justice Powell wrote the memo that became the bible for the corporate takeover of government. Now we know that Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas regularly attend strategy sessions with the Koch brothers. Now we know that the mega-corporations are spending huge amounts on state judicial elections. Somehow I rather doubt that all this is inspired by a desire to be good citizens.
‘Our” government is now owned by the 1% and works for that 1%. “Our” government no longer seeks the common good for the 99%. Therefore the Favorite Cause and every other progressive cause are under serious attack.
We also need to understand the Gargantuan Beast’s strategic plan for destroying progressive legislation. There are three broad stages:
- Have your congressional stooges defeat the legislation. This works except when the public becomes aroused on some specific issue such as health care.
- If it seems likely that some reform legislation will be passed, put legions of lawyers to work with the congressional staffers to make the legislation as complex as possible. Given experienced Harvard lawyers working with mostly young, mostly inexperienced congressional staff, this tactic results in massively complex bills that no one understands. For example, Obama’s health care bill ran to more than 1000 pages.
- Litigate the new legislation to death. Because step two managed to insert confusing and frequently contradictory elements into the bill, there is generally lots of room for litigation. The extended litigation keeps portions of the reform from being implemented and simultaneously tends to convince the public that the new bill is bad law. This sets the stage for the corporate stooges in congress to quietly begin nibbling away at the reforms.
So what must we do?
Nothing else is going to work until we get a government that at least tries to do the right thing. And that isn’t going to happen until we break the unholy connections among the corporate – defense – government complex. We must slay the Gargantuan Beast.
How do we do that?
The first step is to recognize that the Gargantuan Beast, the corporate – defense – government complex, prevents action on all of the important progressive causes.
If we are to succeed in terms of your personal favorite causes we must first deal with the Gargantuan Beast, the corporate – defense – government complex. This applies to every last one of the causes and movements that Hawken lists in Blessed Unrest. None of us can succeed until we slay the Gargantuan Beast.
Today we have perhaps a thousand different activist groups. It is as if a thousand coyotes were opposed to a very large grizzly bear. Coyotes are solitary animals and no coyote is even close to a match for a grizzly bear. The grizzly bear is not even inconvenienced by the hostility of 1000 coyotes. Similarly, the Gargantuan Beast can simply ignore most of the activists most of the time – your Favorite Cause is a playground for plunder most of the time.
Suppose we could replace the 1000 coyotes with only ten wolves. Wolves form a pack and packs cooperate and are tactically very smart. A wolf pack can drive a grizzly bear off of a fresh kill. Similarly, the Gargantuan Beast fears an aroused, united citizenry. The politics of division and the culture wars are mostly about keeping the citizenry divided and only secondarily about winning elections. The Gargantuan Beast doesn’t care whether their elected stooges call themselves Republicans or Democrats or Socialists.
Activist groups need to stop being coyotes and become a wolf pack. Nothing less will suffice to slay the Gargantuan Beast.
If we recognize the Gargantuan Beast and act together, we will be unstoppable.
If the millions of activists in our thousands of causes band together, no one and nothing can stand before us.
If we decide to speak with one voice, the Gargantuan Beast can be defeated.
Where do we begin?
Your favorite cause should and will continue. We can not simply stop our work for abused children, the rainforests, traumatized combat veterans, and all the other progressive causes.
What we can do is tithe.
We could tithe our energy, our time, and our money to support the One Movement, One Voice needed to slay the Gargantuan Beast. That voice probably should be the Occupy Wall Street movement.
What do we demand?
The particulars of remaking our government will be a subject of debate (and properly so). The following is my personal list of non-negotiable demands:
Corporations are not people and have no free speech rights.
Working in government must be a long-term bar to working in a related defense or corporate setting (including as a lobbyist). Similarly, working in defense or a corporation should be a bar to working in any government position remotely concerned with funding or regulating those industries.
Yhere must be an absolute bar from any corporation providing anything of value to any government officials. No gifts, no campaign contributions, no free vacations, nothing.
Corporations must be barred from spending money in any attempt to influence either elections or public policy. Elections and public policy must be the province of citizens, not corporations.
Let us begin.
Talk to your Favorite Cause about tithing their energy, time, and money to Occupy Wall Street. If we can get a small fraction of our progressive activist groups to tithe to the Occupy Wall Street movement, we will have the biggest baddest people’s movement in history. The Gargantuan Beast won’t know what hit him.
Slay the Gargantuan Beast and recapture government of, by, and for the 99%.
We shall overcome. It won’t be easy and it may not be soon because the Gargantuan Beast doesn’t fight fair.
Let us begin with all deliberate haste. Our children and grandchildren and our planet require nothing less of us. Let us begin… today, right now.
Contact me: I love to hear from readers. Email me at cyberneticapress at gmail dot com. Thanks, Barry Clemson