A Comment on Occupy Wall Street's First Statement
By Dave Lindorff
While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.
How can we ignore that this country is currently involved in at least six wars abroad, spends over $1 trillion a year on war and preparation for war, has military bases and outposts in 1000 spots outside the US, and is killing hundreds of thousands of people annually? How can we ignore that the culture of war has lead to the militarization of our nation's police, led to the common, yet once illegal sight, of armed soldiers patrolling our cities' streets, and led to the creation of a "North American Command" that actively contemplates military actions against US citizens within the nation's borders?
The statement also, incredibly, fails to even mention the term “climate change,” a disastrous process threatening life on the planet, which is the direct fault of capitalism, with its rapacious demand for ever more “growth” through the creation of artificial needs and consumer “demand,” and with its corrupt manipulation of the political and regulatory system to prevent any serious efforts to slow or put an end to the suicidal production of greenhouse gasses.
Also unfortunate is the failure to condemn corporate profiteering off of a penal system that now incarcerates more people--all poor and mostly non-white males--than any other nation in the world, and that kills many of them, most recently the probably innocent Troy Davis, effectively establishing a new kind of slavery, complete with lynching.
The just-released statement by the heroic activists on Wall Street is a good start, and obviously working on the basis of a democratic policy of consensus it is hard to get these things right the first time, but these are shortcomings that must be addressed by Occupy Wall Street sooner or later if it is to seriously challenge corporate power and become a mass movement for radical change in America.
Maybe at the Occupy Washington action?
DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run, reader-supported alternative online newspaper now beginning its second year of daily publication. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net