Humble though its beginnings, the so-called Occupy Wall Street protest movement launched recently in Liberty Park in Lower Manhattan could have profound national and international political and economic implications. Finally, the Libertarian Left has the right target for its concerns, and it is neither the White House nor the Congress, for the U.S. Government is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street and Corporate America.
Seduced by the success of the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War political movements of the late 60s and early 70s, who focused their attention on Washington, left-leaning political activists have tried unsuccessfully to replicate this approach for the past three decades. Antiwar, environmental, climate change, working class, antipoverty, and health care activists have all failed to gain traction by concentrating their efforts on Washington. What seems to have eluded them is the fact during the Reagan years Wall Street and Corporate America gained hammerlike control over our government, and they have remained in charge ever since. In 1981, when President Reagan fired 13,000 striking air traffic controllers, he dealt organized labor virtually a knockout blow. Previously organized labor had provided a political counterbalance to the influence of Corporate America.
Since taking charge of our government in the 1980s, conservative business leaders, Democratic and Republican alike, have cleverly blamed all of our economic problems on the federal government, the same government which they control. The effect of this sham has been to deflect public attention away from the fact that while we pretend to be a democracy, the vast majority of Americans are virtually powerless.
The global war on terror, the suppression of civil liberties, corporate greed, pandering to the rich and powerful, global warming, full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, and a culture of deceit can all be traced to Wall Street and Corporate America. The outsourcing of millions of American jobs, massive military spending, skyrocketing health care costs, financial bailouts, and multi-trillion dollar budget deficits have all been influenced by decisions made on Wall Street, the epicenter of evil in the world.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters have it right on the money. They have targeted the belly of the beast and the message is loud and clear, “The emperor has no clothes.”
It was this type of targeted attack on the moral authority of communism which brought down six communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the Soviet Union two years later. Global capitalism is one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated on humankind. It has no moral authority whatsoever.
The protestors in Zuccotti Park get it! And notwithstanding the efforts of the mainstream media to suppress the Occupy Wall Street story, the rest of the world may soon get it too. Contrary to popular belief, New York City is not the greatest city in the world. It is the Great Satan, home to Wall Street. That’s the real message from Liberty Park.
Thomas H. Naylor
September 29, 2011
Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author ofAffluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning. www.vermontrepublic.org.
This entry is filed under Essays.