Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Waiting for the explosion

I've previously talked about the concentration of wealth -- about how 60% of Americans are dirt-poor, lack access to the fundamental capital to make anything of themselves due to everything being hogged by the top 5% and especially the top 1%, and how this is not a tenable situation in a democracy. I view OWS (and to a lesser extent the teabaggers) as a symptom. People are seeing that things are getting worse for most people while certain people (the 1% in particular) thrive, and they don’t know what to do about it, so first thing they start doing is complain about it — the OWS protests. The oligarchs are betting that putting down the OWS protests with force will make everything okay for them, but the problem with that notion is that OWS is a symptom, not a cause. Suppressing OWS won't relieve that pressure building up underneath, it will simply deny it an outlet -- and it will keep building until either there is an explosion and Very Bad Things happen, or the oligarchs are forced to impose a police state so blatant and obtrusive that the notion of America as a free country would be ludicrous to even the ill-informed.

OR the oligarchs could come to their senses and realize that their current route is to either the guillotine or irrelevance. The guillotine if the explosion happens, and irrelevance if they impose a police state. Because the end game of police states is always the secret policemen taking over — see, e.g., Vladimir Putin in Russia, and the imprisonment or exile of many of the Russian oligarchs who crossed swords with him. The only solution that would allow our oligarchs to preserve their own importance is to return back to the New Deal regime of regulation and taxation that served the nation so well in the period 1945-1981, but that would require our oligarchs to be smart, and due to inbreeding (less than 10% of our oligarchs got there because of merit, the rest got there because of winning the lucky sperm contest and being born rich or going to the right school with the right people and getting a "Gentleman's C" like Dubya), they’re not all that smart anymore…

Americans have figured out the game is rigged, and they want it fixed. They want the America of their parents and grandparents, when hard work and education provided you with a living. If something isn’t done to take us back to when that was so, all hell will break loose, with uncertain results. Well, let me rephrase that. The results will be *disaster*. Because I can't think of any violent revolution, anywhere, that has ever ended up well. They always ended up with thugs of the worst kind in charge. Maybe mailing Marie Antoinette Action Figures to the CEO's of the Fortune 500 and to every Senator and Representative would make that clearer (note that the outcome of the French Revolution was *disaster* for France -- virtually every French male between ages 18 and 35 ended up *DEAD*), but frankly I doubt that our feudal overlords are smart enough to "get it". More likely they'd just arrest you for terrorist threats or some shit like that...

- Badtux the Waiting-for-the-explosion Penguin


  1. IMHO

    The way the game is rigged now I do not think the current process can turn things around. It still may be possible but not in time.

    Do enough have the other side in them to come out in the numbers needed and probably have the holy shit clubbed and gassed out of them and worse for some I'm sure. Not yet. After the election maybe when the rest of the pie starts to be divvied up to the 1%'rs and more rights are taken away.,

    I don't have the answers but I do know that if just a few ideas from libruls and progressive bloggers who I read were implemented that would be a giant step forward.

    Of course that will never be allowed to happen.

  2. The problem with the way the game is rigged now is that the security state is near the end of exhausting its financial capability. That is, when the Maréchaussée are not paid, they go over to the other side. During last night's action against #OWS Oakland, not a single officer of the Oakland Police Department was on site -- because their overtime budget was exhausted by the *last* time they raided OWS Oakland, so they relied on surrounding city's police departments under "mutual aid" to do the dirty work, and they certainly weren't going to go out there for free.

    #OWS isn't really a revolutionary force, they're more of a conservatory force -- they want us to go back to a better time(the very definition of conservatism). So suppressing OccupyWallStreet is quite doable, because conservatives (real conservatives) aren't bomb-throwing radicals out to destroy America, all they want is to go back to when things were improving for most Americans rather than getting worse. The problem, though, is that things *are* getting worse for a majority of Americans -- the 60% who have nothing, whose homes are underwater if they own homes and whose net worth is minimal if they don't, who can't get a loan to start a business because the banks aren't lending, who can't send their kids to college because the only financial aid available is loans at usurious rates, who graduate from college with a degree that's supposed to guarantee a job if you work hard and they're still working in the same Pizza Barn they were working in as a college student five years later...

    If conservative solutions (going back to what worked in the period 1945 - 1981) are suppressed by the oligarchs, what that means is that other, more radical, more violent, less palatable solutions will take their place. And we all know the end result of that... invariably, it is utter national disaster and even worse conditions for the citizenry. The oligarchs may get their heads stretched (rope and oak trees are cheap), but plenty of ordinary people would end up dead too, and the end result is likely to be a dictatorship run by some really vicious people.

    So we'll see. But I'm not hopeful for the future....

    - Badtux the Bummed Penguin

  3. "So we'll see. But I'm not hopeful for the future"

    Nor I Penguin and at this stage of the game I never expected to see what's happening now nor have the attitude about things that I do as well.

  4. I am much more hopeful than either one of you guys. I think that this Occupy Wall Street movement has already been a small success in that the conversation has changed. If it does nothing more than get people off of their butts and into the voting booth, it can turn into a big success.

    We don't need a violent revolution. We need to vote for politicians who have our best interests at heart. The number one thing people can do to make our country better is to get out and vote and to stop voting for (to borrow your term, tux) lizard people.

    I mean, really. We have a democracy already set up. We just have to use it.

  5. Lynne, I wish I had your faith in the electoral system, but I lost what little I had after seeing how Obushama turned out. Elections mean we get to pick one from Column A or one from Column B on a menu whose choices have been printed by the 1%. I'll vote in 2012 -- as an expat, I only get to pick for federal offices in the general election, and not even that if the San Francisco elections office doesn't get the ballot to us. (We wound up doing early voting in person in S.F. in 2010 because we were in town to see some rock 'n' roll.) But I'm voting Green, or for the Loony Party, or anything other than the R-and-Duopoly.

    I despair of Americanos ever getting riled up enough to riot. USAcanos are just not politically minded, as a whole. F'rinstance, we've talked to a bunch of 'em on this trip. Some pleasant and chatty, some with inexplicable sticks up their asses. We can't get a political word out of anyone.

    When Americans meet abroad, the conversation always turns to "Where are you from?" I throw in my joke line about how we're political refugees living in Canada. That was always good for a laugh from Australians -- they harbour a lot of real refugees -- and Europeans also think it funny. No American individual or family has bitten on that line, or when we drop a reference to "the Vatican of the 1%" when I talk about how we're ending our trip in Zurich. In case you're wondering, my wife and I are not tendentious Leftist rantboors. We talk about food, wine, good restaurants to go to, all sorts of stuff, with politics and economics thrown in.

    Europeans engage in political conversation. We've had some great chats with Italians, Brits, even a Persian guy outside a hotel in Zurich who was picking up cigarette butts. (He was a groundskeeper.) But Americans either know nothing or want to say nothing. They will freeze and starve to death before they riot, IMO>

  6. There are many, many steps between peaceful protest and violent revolution. What gives me hope is the growing size of the movement, and those who identify with them. Mr. Rich Sleaze isn't going to enjoy his day if some large percentage of his work force is randomly sabotaging him. It's not hard for employees to 'accidentally' cost their employer tens of thousands of dollars with a mistake. When it's possible to do it with some hope of anonymity, and it becomes a hobby, running a business while screwing your employees will become impossible.

    Copy this effect all across society, and no rich bastard could ever get his clothes cleaned, his meals made, construction or maintenance or any other kind of service without a million chances of sabotage, ranging from spit in his coffee, to lawsuits for things done in his name, to IEDs on his lawn.

    And people are learning about voting, more and more. While that still has an effect, things have a chance of turning away from disaster.

  7. Bukko, the behavior of Americans reminds me of the behavior of people who live in repressive police states, who are afraid to discuss anything political because whoever they're talking to might be an informant. Except in America it's not fear of the knock on the door at night, it's fear of the pink slip at work the next day if your politics aren't exactly right. It's a police state controlled by food and housing, in the end, where if you express the "wrong" politics you lose access to food and housing.

    "(Americans) will freeze and starve to death before they riot, IMO"

    It's getting there... and I'm *not* sure it's going to express itself as riots. There's a number of different ways this can work out, and only one of them involves riots. There were no riots in Germany in 1933...

    -- Badtux the Bummer Penguin

  8. It's all become so complex that nothing is black and white, it's all shades of gray and chaos.

    Hey, us poor peons can do okay for ourselves, at least I do, and without any government help.

  9. I had something to say about OWS on my blog today, and yesterday.

  10. Bukko is right. More people need to start voting outside the TwoPartySystem. It was 3rd/4th party influences that brought about changes that include allowing women to vote, as well as banning and re-legalizing booze.

    As long as we keep trying the same ol' same ol', then we'll just get the same ol' same ol'...

    ...either that, or the Sons of Liberty start roaming the streets at night again. At this point, I'm ok with either/or/both.

  11. The problem is in a two party system, such as the one we have, third parties aren't realistic. Any time you vote for a third party candidate, you are essentially voting for whomever of the two parties eventually wins the election. Voting for a third party can be helpful but not when it results in someone even more opposed to your goals winning the election. Every person who voted for Nader in 2000 had a part in the election of George Bush and thus a part in all of the horrible things he did. Granted in a less close election or even if Gore had one, it might have sent a message and brought the Dems more to the left.

    What we need is a different system. There are lots of other countries who have electoral systems that make multiple parties more realistic. One system I like is a run off election. If three people are running, each voter votes for a first *and* second choice. When they tally up the votes, anyone who gets more than 50% of the first choice votes wins but if no one gets 50%, they throw out the third place candidate and take all of their votes and count the second candidate on those ballets. It eliminates the punishment for voting for third party candidates much of the time.

    Seriously, in the same way that not voting is a vote for whomever wins, voting for a third party candidate is also a vote for whomever wins, albeit one with a message. There are situations where it makes sense but close national elections are not it. Unless you really don't see *any* difference between the parties of course. In that case, vote your heart and send your message.


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