Yep, It’s a Mess: 15 Problems with Dec99

confusionThe posers and kids running the Occupy movement have now responded to their MSM critics by promulgating a 20-point (well, 21-point, actually) Declaration.

With all due gratitude for the obvious and important success of these fine people at raising the vital issues onto the radar, this Declaration is a snarl of confusion, middle-class timidity, and unimaginative dead-ends, not a clarion call to major social change. To my eye, it reveals more about the awful weight of political disunity and discombobulation since the 1960s than it does about new roads to progress.

The problems, in order of occurrence:

Preamble:  Discusses structure of U.S. Government and democracy, but fails to mention the radical anti-democracy that is the Senate.

Preamble: Calls for election of a General Assembly to “set forth” a Petition of Grievances, then proceeds to set forth that very document prior to the election of the General Assembly!

Article 1: Includes unions on same footing as corporations, in a document that makes zero mention of either the right to organize unions or labor law reforms.

Article 5: Speaks of tax reform, but remains silent on the question of the mortgage interest deduction.

Article 6: For unspecified reasons, includes “means test” and “opt out” in proposed national, not-for-profit medical insurance, thus ensuring continued game-playing and obstructionism on the topic.

Article 7: Creates arbitrary (and unlikely to be used) power for the EPA and perpetuates the lie that “carbon neutral sources of power” can be found and dropped into the existing order at its present scale and in its present form, while making no mention of any specific programs of conservation or ecological reconstruction.

Article 8: Whole article reads like it was written by a bunch of seventh graders. Shows zero comprehension of the actual possibilities of and problems with government finance, and almost certainly conflicts with the later-stated goal of full-employment.

Article 9: Reproduces the notion that “job training” leads to job creation; socializes the (supposed) cost of “job training” for private sector jobs. Diverts attention from public enterprise/actual methods of job creation. Excuses private sector from scrutiny as an inherently defective engine of job-creation.

Article 10: Seems to (but actually does not) call for debt relief for college students, but makes no mention of credit-card debtors or poverty.  Displays zero awareness that college remains a profoundly class-stratified phenomenon.

Article 13: Reproduces the notion that the form of schooling leads to job creation; keeps education tied to “jobs” rather than democracy; misses the fact that private sector teaching pay is worse than public sector teaching pay; makes no mention of the overall education budget, despite huge, long-standing public preference for expansion thereof. Treats loss of jobs to technology as inevitable. Again excuses private sector from scrutiny as an inherently defective source of job creation.

Article 15: Promotes China-bashing and economic warfare, rather than creation of a sustainable, publicly-managed domestic economy.

Article 16: Promotes weak, old rules, rather than calling for creation of publicly-owned banks and insurers.

Article 17: Praises “President Clinton,” an arch-enemy of economic democracy!  Also appears to promise retention of the mortgage interest deduction.

Article 18: Appears to promise retention of the mortgage interest deduction.

Resolution (Article 21?): Permits the existing political duopoly to absorb and manipulate all the work of the Occupy movement.  Preserves Cold War double-talk by using “corrupt corporatocracy,” rather than “capitalism.” Threatens formation of a new political party, rather than the calling of a Second Constitutional Convention. How does forming a new party within the present money-and-corporation owned system do anything but eat itself alive?

Overall:  This document reeks of middle-class bias.  This document makes zero specific environmental proposals, and does not mention our crisis of sustainability/capitalism.  This document is anti-union.

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8 years ago

Yeah, big-time stuff.
The crises of our world are far too great and on-rushing to permit the kind of condescending, nostalgic empty-headed cheering of nostrums and pabulum from the folkish, anti-union, pro-babble ascetic “neither left nor right” side of the vacuum.
Call it like it is, my man – that’s what our minds are for. How can there can be even the slightest mention of the environment?

Michael Dawson
8 years ago

Also, no mention of race. No mention of prison-industrial complex.

8 years ago

Actually, there was a ground-shaking Article about the environment – empowering the EPA, of all entities, to lock up and slay the bad corporations, an imbecilic proposition – as if the junior corporate interns at the rubber-stamp arm are going to get badges and wireless transmitters and be the Green Police and take down the Corporations, yeah!
The 60’s left foundered on these kinds of idiotic, puerile, Dylan-worshipping fabrications about social reality and power relations, and lost the cultural and economic wars to the corporate hegemon.

Michael Dawson
8 years ago

Yeah, the combination of naivete and abstractness there is pretty stunning. Can you imagine the EPA going around zapping entire conglomerates? “Bang, you’re dead, GE!”

I’m sure the Democratic Party will hop right on that, once it gets its chance to respond to the Occupy Grievance Petition.

Meanwhile, not a word about transportation, energy use, economic waste, agribusiness, etc.

Michael Dawson
8 years ago

Another unmentioned topic: the length of the work week.

Luis Cayetano
8 years ago

Man, fuck this. What the US needs is a rock solid COMMUNIST party who are dedicated to the mass line method of leadership. Now I know, Michael, that you don’t like vanguardism, but if the Left is going to avoid sinking deeper and deeper into a quagmire of dead-ends and perpetual drift, it’s going to have to go back to the very basics of political economy and to have a mode of organisation that doesn’t hanker to middle-class whimpiness but rather to SMASHING capitalism (in the long run, while winning battles in the short). That necessarily involves the most conscious… Read more »

Mark Lovas
8 years ago

Thanks Michael. I hadn’t read this thing carefully. What you are saying seems exactly right. I guess I let down my critical standards because I was simply so happy to see someone complaining in public. I shall have to read what you’ve written carefully. (I haven’t finished reading what you’ve written.) So, thanks again. (In my own defense: I currently have no private space but live with my elderly parents in an environment of non-stop noise. It’s not the white noise of a coffee shop where individual sounds cancel out. Rather, every individual sound is heard with painful clarity and… Read more »

Mark Lovas
8 years ago

I now realize that I hadn’t even seen the thing you are responding to, so I’m doubly in your debt…..

Uncle Yarra
Uncle Yarra
8 years ago

+1 for all of the above.
Violence would strengthen their unity.


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