An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Occupy’

The Future of “Occupy”

Well, it has been almost a year.  After laying low for the winter, the Occupy movement is back.  The protests have been going on anew for some time.  For those outside of this, with a modicum of political savvy, watching this happen, there have been a number of questions on their mind.

The first is – what happens now?  They’ve been out protesting.  This has made a lot of waves.  The financial industry still doesn’t take them seriously.  Believe it or not, there is an actually good reason, but we’ll get to that in a few.  These protests are well and good, but even those like this columnist, who is as far left as it gets are wondering – where does it go?

The reason that the big political movements of the 60’s and 70’s went nowhere is because it never got beyond people protesting and people talking.  People were in the street, and a lot of social upheaval was happening.  But the question came up there as well – what happens now?  Unfortunately for them, nothing did.  There was a chance for real major change across America.  The movement had a lot of people with a lot of ideas.  They just didn’t go with it.  My British Literature professor said that his generation screwed this one.  I have to agree with that.

So, one movement went nowhere, because they didn’t mobilize beyond being in the streets and making noise.  It is a year in to the Occupy movement, and there are still protests.  There is another one planned for July 22nd at Prospect Park.  These movements still get people’s attention, but that’s it.  This is why Wall Street doesn’t see them as a threat.  They get people’s attention while they happen.  The police brutally assault them because the cops are owned by the corporate masters who own this country.  That gets media coverage.  But once all is said and done, we are still there, still asking that same question.

What happens now?

The next thing is that we are wondering what can be done.  Wondering what will happen is one thing, but another important question is – what does this organization have the ability to do?  To answer both, the same thing needs to happen.

This group needs to mobilize.  The benefit of Occupy is that they are a group with a national presence.  What started as a bunch of people on Wall Street has now become a national force.  This helps answer the second question.  When you have something that is cross-country, you know that you have a lot going for you.  That is no small feat.  Some could argue that they actually have a global presence, since Occupy protests have been scheduled all over the globe.  They even go by that name.  But that may be being a little hopeful.  However, one cannot argue that they have a national presence.

To answer the first question, the first part is that they need to mobilize.  But to do what?  Another good question.  If you ask me, what they need to do is to mobilize and instead of focusing on getting politicians into office, which is a waste of time since all the politicians in the Congress are bought and paid for by Wall Street, they need to focus on something smaller.

They need to start a grass-roots movement.  They need to mobilize the public at large.  Get a public campaign going.  Get out to meet people.  Instead of having these giant rallies, have community events.  Reassure the public of who you are and what you are trying to do.  Answer any questions or critical thoughts that they might have.

One of the biggest problems, that I have seen, is that the public at large doesn’t know how to feel about these people.  On the one hand, they represent a point of view a LOT of people have.  They are tired of being treated like Wall Street’s dog.  They are tired of being the ones who pay for Corporate America’s mistakes.  They don’t want to have to live life constantly worrying about their medical bills, their mortgages, their college loans.  This is a group who represents a huge part of the population.  But the population at large doesn’t know that.  They aren’t aware.  They feel that these are just people screaming.

Occupy has to mobilize public support, and through that, they can put real pressure onto political America.  If they have enough of the public in their corner, and can make the politicians understand that if they don’t play ball, they don’t get elected, there is a chance for some real change for the better.

But if they don’t do something soon, they are just going to either fade away, or get consumed by the corporate structure of America, the same way that the Tea Party did.  Once upon a time, they did have a lot of pretty good ideas.  Now, they are the butt of a bad joke which starts with – An Alaskan, a Minnesotan and a Texan walk into a bar.

But that’s just my point of view.

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America’s Government is Old

People can argue until they are blue in the face about it being a left thing or a right thing, but the fact is that it is not.  What is wrong this this country can be seen in what is happening in Congress right now.  It has been going on since the beginning of the Internet, and it can be seen in perfect clarity at this very moment.  So, what’s wrong with this country – the government is old.

Nowhere is this problem more visible than with the battle for SOPA and PIPA.  It is all over the internet today.  Google and Wikipedia are blacking out their pages to protest it.  If they were smart, Facebook and Twitter would have joined the fight.  If you want people to fight against these two acts, deny people their Facebook.  It would be a fury of anger at the government.  But alas, it is still a good fight that has been done on the behalf of this battle that all of the internet is firmly on one side.

But it is a sign too about how this government is.  It is very, very old.  What’s more is that the age is starting to show, and it is getting to be a real problem for the people in this country who are becoming more politically aware.

Over the last ten years, technology has changed everything.  As more and more people are becoming connected online, the cultural values and the like that have dominated society are eroding away.  Culture is becoming one online.  The online communities are growing every day.  Technology has linked our world together the way nothing ever has before.  It is an amazing time to be alive.

The problem is that while the technology is becoming a river of discovery and growth, the government of this country is behind.  This government is living in the 20th Century.  There is proof like no other when you look at how things are being handled right now.

At the end of the 90’s, things were great for this country.  Our economy was on top of the world, and there were no signs that things were going to go wrong.  Not on the surface, anyway.  Our government, especially the Republican side of the fence, keeps wanting to go back to that.  They don’t seem to realize that we can never go back to that.

The reasons are simple – everything has changed since 1999.  The world is a 100% different place than it was at the end of the century.  The Internet has changed business in this world forever.  Technology has changed the way people live their lives.  The economy dramatically failing has changed the opportunities this country has.  And most of all, the demographics have drastically changed.

Other nations have figured this out, and have taken steps to change with the times.  Europe has invested in infrastructure.  While many nations are in bad shape, many others are holding strong.  They have an up-to-date transit system, universal health care, a national wireless service.  They aren’t investing the way America is in war and bad business practices, along with deregulation.  They are embracing the future of technology.  Some nations quicker than others, but America is going next to nowhere in a big hurry.

Asia is really coming into its own too.  Japan is looking to be coming out of the economic slump that it has been in for the last twenty years.  China is rapidly expanding their economic power.  South Korea has the largest wireless network on the face of the planet, universal health care, and they are doing very well.

Even our friends close to home are doing pretty good.  Canada is holding strong.  They have some problems, but they are holding out.  Meanwhile, America is falling into a grave of economic failure.  This country is headed in the wrong direction again, and fast.

We haven’t learned that the way we are doing business isn’t working.  The reason we haven’t learned that, in my opinion, is because our nation’s congress is too old.  We have an old guard, and they want to do things the way that they have always been done.  But as we have seen, that system is no longer palatable.  The times have changed, and we have to change with them.  But the old guard is looking to keep things the way they always were.

And the old guard doesn’t stop at the government.  The people who run the corporations aren’t figuring it out either.  SOPA and PIPA are the result of the media industry not wanting things to change.  Never mind that what they call “piracy” has changed the shape of business forever.  Napster opened the flood-gates of a new way of doing business, and it has changed the face of business not just in America, but across the globe.

That’s the really ugly part of SOPA and PIPA.  They wouldn’t just hurt business here in America, but across the globe.  It would effectively kill the internet.  It would destroy the livelihoods of thousands, maybe millions of people.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, all of those sites would be gone in a day.  Because these acts aren’t targeted, like the DMCA was.  These are a nuclear weapon, because the media industry has realized that this isn’t going to be stopped.  The technology is going to grow and change things even more.

There is hope, though.  There are signs that the old guard is being fought against.  The Occupy movement has shown that the young guard is growing, and they are tired of things staying the way they are.  They know what I know – that things can be better, if we change the way we do things.

For 50 years, deregulation and “free market” has been the mantra.  We’re now seeing that that isn’t going to work anymore.  America isn’t the massive growing market.  We have stopped our growth spurt.  Now things have to change.  And the youth are getting active.  However, more needs to happen.  We have to elect younger leaders with an eye for changing things.  These old men and women who run Congress are driving us into the ground.

So, what’s your next move?

Peace out,

Lefty

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