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This Is What America Looks Like

Thursday, 17 November 2011 03:21 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
This Is What America Looks Like

Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park in New York, November 15, 2011. After being evicted by the police Tuesday morning, several hundred Occupy Wall Street demonstrators returned to the park the same night, but a judge’s ruling now bans tents, tarps and staying overnight. (Photo: Marcus Yam / The New York Times)

Let's get a few things straight right from the jump.

First of all, despite all the gleeful obituaries that have been appearing across the scabrous landscape of the "mainstream" news media, the Occupy movement is not, in fact, over. Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have sent in cops like thieves in the night to dispossess peaceful protesters and destroy books in New York City, but there are hundreds of Occupy camps still standing from one side of this nation to the other. As for the seedcorn New York protest, well...if you're one who opposes what they've been doing, you can cross your fingers and toes to your heart's delight in the hope that matters are settled in the Big Apple, but you best be prepared for disappointment, because those people have set their caps to accomplish what they endeavored to do back in September, and they are far, far more organized and determined than people like you seem capable of apprehending.

A setback like this only adds fuel to the fire. We're talking about people who are so committed to the ideals of the Occupy movement that they abandoned the soft conveniences of modern existence - walls, a roof, a bed, plumbing, locks on the doors and the soothing babble of cable TV - to sleep in a park surrounded by strangers for almost two months. Raise your hand if you've ever gone camping for two full months, anywhere. It has been hot, it has been cold, it has rained, it has snowed, and, oh yeah, there was the ever-present threat of catching a billy club over the head or a face full of NYPD mace for their trouble. You think they're going away after enduring all that?

Ha.

Second, I'm going to slap the next person who comes out with the pat line, "They don't have a message! They need a message! They're nothing without a message!" Um, cluebag, they are the message. The Occupy movement has created modern-day Hoovervilles from sea to shining sea to point out the simple fact that things have gone badly wrong in these United States, that the American Dream of even minimal upward mobility and the promise of a better future for our children were sold for pennies on the dollar to the bastards and whores who have perverted this democracy past the point of recognition. It's a fantastic bit of irony, a towering example of cognitive dissonance, that the same people who attack the Occupy movement are also the ones packing guns to Tea Party protests because they think the country is headed in the wrong direction. What in the name of Jesus H. Christ do they think the right direction is? 99% of us are getting screwed, and the Occupy movement has been the most eloquent firebreak against that heedless, moneygrubbing trend.

I'll make it simple: Wall Street has occupied American politics and stolen America's bright future in an orgy of graft and theft, so America has occupied Wall Street - along with every Main Street in every city and town you can think of - in order to try and set things right. Got it? It is pretty simple, folks. Two plus two does, in fact, equal four. The only reasons people refuse to see this thing, simply, for what it is come down to willful stupidity, stubborn partisanship, money, or a combination of the three.

Third, anyone who claims that the Occupy movement has not accomplished anything can kiss my whole entire ass. The upward mobility of our hard-earned money into the coffers of the rich and powerful has been going on since the disaster known as the "Reagan Revolution." The politicians bought by the cash-fat elite have appointed judges to every level of the state and federal judicial systems, and the serial corporate-favoring rulings handed down by these robed criminals have given this grand theft the imprimatur of legality, but it ain't legal, and it ain't right. One look at the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision, and the after-affects of same, can tell you that. Hell, Mitt Romney actually got up with his bare face hanging out the other day to make the very modern American argument that corporations are, in fact, people...non-existent multi-billionaire people protected from even the most minimal legal oversight or scrutiny, to be sure, but people all the same.

Take back the media by making a tax-deductible donation to Truthout this week. Click here to support news free of corporate influence.

Is that the country you want to live in? I don't, and neither do the Occupy protesters, and what they have accomplished over these last two months is to finally, finally, finally draw major national attention to the deranged way we go about things here in America. In the immortal words of a fantastic Occupy protest sign, "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one." For the first time in modern memory, people in America, along with their elected representatives and the "mainstream" media that covers it all, have had their noses rubbed in the awful yawning gap between the Haves and the Have Nots, and the manner in which this doomed system of thievery-as-governance actually operates. Those who try to tell you the Occupy movement has no message are the very people who see the message with perfect clarity, and it scares the tar out of them, so they have made a point of saying black is white in order to muddy the waters. Don't believe it. In your gut, you know better.

No one, but no one, has explained it all better than Chris Hedges:

The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. They rewrote tax laws so the nation's most profitable corporations, including Bank of America, could avoid paying any federal taxes. They engaged in massive fraud and deception that wiped out an estimated $40 trillion in global wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the financial collapse.

The big banks and corporations are parasites. They greedily devour the entrails of the nation in a quest for profit, thrusting us all into serfdom and polluting and poisoning the ecosystem that sustains the human species. They have gobbled up more than a trillion dollars from the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve and created tiny enclaves of wealth and privilege where corporate managers replicate the decadence of the Forbidden City and Versailles. Those outside the gates, however, struggle to find work and watch helplessly as food and commodity prices rocket upward...And no one in the Congress, the Obama White House, the courts or the press, all beholden to corporate money, will step in to stop or denounce the assault on families. Our ruling elite, including Barack Obama, are courtiers, shameless hedonists of power, who kneel before Wall Street and daily sell us out. The top corporate plutocrats are pulling down $900,000 an hour while one in four children depends on food stamps to eat.

Finally, any and all who say the Occupy movement is meaningless in comparison to the civil rights struggle or the fight against the war in Vietnam are, quite simply, flat wrong. Worse than that, you know you're wrong. This is not to discredit or discount those great, noble and entirely just efforts in any way, shape or form. But to claim the Occupy movement is beneath those efforts not only misses the point by miles, but viciously undercuts the very fabric of those efforts. This fight is about race, and class, and justice, and what happens to a nation when it becomes addicted to war and the profits earned for a few by the delivery of death. The Occupy movement is the culmination of every great struggle, in this century and the last, against a powerful few who would have us return to the days of aristocracy and penury. Like Rosa Parks, the Occupy movement sat down where it supposedly didn't belong and said, "I'm not moving," until what is wrong is set right once and for all.

Just so we're clear.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

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This Is What America Looks Like

Thursday, 17 November 2011 03:21 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
This Is What America Looks Like

Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park in New York, November 15, 2011. After being evicted by the police Tuesday morning, several hundred Occupy Wall Street demonstrators returned to the park the same night, but a judge’s ruling now bans tents, tarps and staying overnight. (Photo: Marcus Yam / The New York Times)

Let's get a few things straight right from the jump.

First of all, despite all the gleeful obituaries that have been appearing across the scabrous landscape of the "mainstream" news media, the Occupy movement is not, in fact, over. Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have sent in cops like thieves in the night to dispossess peaceful protesters and destroy books in New York City, but there are hundreds of Occupy camps still standing from one side of this nation to the other. As for the seedcorn New York protest, well...if you're one who opposes what they've been doing, you can cross your fingers and toes to your heart's delight in the hope that matters are settled in the Big Apple, but you best be prepared for disappointment, because those people have set their caps to accomplish what they endeavored to do back in September, and they are far, far more organized and determined than people like you seem capable of apprehending.

A setback like this only adds fuel to the fire. We're talking about people who are so committed to the ideals of the Occupy movement that they abandoned the soft conveniences of modern existence - walls, a roof, a bed, plumbing, locks on the doors and the soothing babble of cable TV - to sleep in a park surrounded by strangers for almost two months. Raise your hand if you've ever gone camping for two full months, anywhere. It has been hot, it has been cold, it has rained, it has snowed, and, oh yeah, there was the ever-present threat of catching a billy club over the head or a face full of NYPD mace for their trouble. You think they're going away after enduring all that?

Ha.

Second, I'm going to slap the next person who comes out with the pat line, "They don't have a message! They need a message! They're nothing without a message!" Um, cluebag, they are the message. The Occupy movement has created modern-day Hoovervilles from sea to shining sea to point out the simple fact that things have gone badly wrong in these United States, that the American Dream of even minimal upward mobility and the promise of a better future for our children were sold for pennies on the dollar to the bastards and whores who have perverted this democracy past the point of recognition. It's a fantastic bit of irony, a towering example of cognitive dissonance, that the same people who attack the Occupy movement are also the ones packing guns to Tea Party protests because they think the country is headed in the wrong direction. What in the name of Jesus H. Christ do they think the right direction is? 99% of us are getting screwed, and the Occupy movement has been the most eloquent firebreak against that heedless, moneygrubbing trend.

I'll make it simple: Wall Street has occupied American politics and stolen America's bright future in an orgy of graft and theft, so America has occupied Wall Street - along with every Main Street in every city and town you can think of - in order to try and set things right. Got it? It is pretty simple, folks. Two plus two does, in fact, equal four. The only reasons people refuse to see this thing, simply, for what it is come down to willful stupidity, stubborn partisanship, money, or a combination of the three.

Third, anyone who claims that the Occupy movement has not accomplished anything can kiss my whole entire ass. The upward mobility of our hard-earned money into the coffers of the rich and powerful has been going on since the disaster known as the "Reagan Revolution." The politicians bought by the cash-fat elite have appointed judges to every level of the state and federal judicial systems, and the serial corporate-favoring rulings handed down by these robed criminals have given this grand theft the imprimatur of legality, but it ain't legal, and it ain't right. One look at the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision, and the after-affects of same, can tell you that. Hell, Mitt Romney actually got up with his bare face hanging out the other day to make the very modern American argument that corporations are, in fact, people...non-existent multi-billionaire people protected from even the most minimal legal oversight or scrutiny, to be sure, but people all the same.

Take back the media by making a tax-deductible donation to Truthout this week. Click here to support news free of corporate influence.

Is that the country you want to live in? I don't, and neither do the Occupy protesters, and what they have accomplished over these last two months is to finally, finally, finally draw major national attention to the deranged way we go about things here in America. In the immortal words of a fantastic Occupy protest sign, "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one." For the first time in modern memory, people in America, along with their elected representatives and the "mainstream" media that covers it all, have had their noses rubbed in the awful yawning gap between the Haves and the Have Nots, and the manner in which this doomed system of thievery-as-governance actually operates. Those who try to tell you the Occupy movement has no message are the very people who see the message with perfect clarity, and it scares the tar out of them, so they have made a point of saying black is white in order to muddy the waters. Don't believe it. In your gut, you know better.

No one, but no one, has explained it all better than Chris Hedges:

The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. They rewrote tax laws so the nation's most profitable corporations, including Bank of America, could avoid paying any federal taxes. They engaged in massive fraud and deception that wiped out an estimated $40 trillion in global wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the financial collapse.

The big banks and corporations are parasites. They greedily devour the entrails of the nation in a quest for profit, thrusting us all into serfdom and polluting and poisoning the ecosystem that sustains the human species. They have gobbled up more than a trillion dollars from the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve and created tiny enclaves of wealth and privilege where corporate managers replicate the decadence of the Forbidden City and Versailles. Those outside the gates, however, struggle to find work and watch helplessly as food and commodity prices rocket upward...And no one in the Congress, the Obama White House, the courts or the press, all beholden to corporate money, will step in to stop or denounce the assault on families. Our ruling elite, including Barack Obama, are courtiers, shameless hedonists of power, who kneel before Wall Street and daily sell us out. The top corporate plutocrats are pulling down $900,000 an hour while one in four children depends on food stamps to eat.

Finally, any and all who say the Occupy movement is meaningless in comparison to the civil rights struggle or the fight against the war in Vietnam are, quite simply, flat wrong. Worse than that, you know you're wrong. This is not to discredit or discount those great, noble and entirely just efforts in any way, shape or form. But to claim the Occupy movement is beneath those efforts not only misses the point by miles, but viciously undercuts the very fabric of those efforts. This fight is about race, and class, and justice, and what happens to a nation when it becomes addicted to war and the profits earned for a few by the delivery of death. The Occupy movement is the culmination of every great struggle, in this century and the last, against a powerful few who would have us return to the days of aristocracy and penury. Like Rosa Parks, the Occupy movement sat down where it supposedly didn't belong and said, "I'm not moving," until what is wrong is set right once and for all.

Just so we're clear.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Related Stories

This Is What Resistance Looks Like
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Op-Ed | name.
This Is What Revolution Looks Like
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed

Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus