Occupy? My ass.

I really want to be wrong with where I’m going with this entry.  However, I fear that I am more correct than even I realize.

Let me start by saying I in principal agree with most of the points that seem to be proffered by many of those protesting in our nation’s cities.  I’m heartened to see many of the younger generation finally starting to “get it”: that corporations have too much power, and that the cornerstone of our Republic has been so compromised that change is needed.

That change needed to happen before September 11, 2001.  It just can’t happen now.

This war you are fighting was lost a century ago when corporations were declared “persons” not by an act of Congress, nor by Presidential decree, but by a series of court decisions and even more centuries of legal precedent.  Our entire society has been based upon this bit of legal wrangling.  It’s not just as simple as declaring it “not to be true.”  Corporations exist for a reason, and many corporations use their legal “personhood” to do much public good.

Case in point.  Occupy Portland began their march today in the shadow of MercyCorps “corporate headquarters”, on the site of the old Skidmore Fountain Market.  As I look at the live feed of the video, I wonder how many people.. many of whom are literally LEANING on this very building, are aware of how much “corporate personhood” allows MercyCorps to do what they do.   I don’t even understand many of the legal implications, let alone understand what I do know well enough to explain them to someone else.

Do you really want this corporation to cease to exist?

The American Red Cross provides much in humanitarian aid to not only those affected by large-scale natural disasters, but small personal ones as well.  The blood services they provide alone have saved countless lives.  I have my disagreements with how the Red Cross is often run, but that does not stop me from acknowledging the greater good they do to society as a whole.

Do you really want this corporation to cease to exist?

For good or bad, much public infrastructure depends on the legal infrastructure of the corporation.  There isn’t a communications technology invented in the past 200 years that could have existed WITHOUT the corporation.  The Pony Express (the United States Postal Service is, in actuality, a corporation owned by the US Government), the telegraph and the railroads that it was built along side of, the telephone (and the telegraph network it supplanted), cellular telephones (which by their very nature requires a very tightly integrated network that would be financially impossible to build by a private individual on the scale required for blanket coverage [Side note that ties this together: Did you know that Sprint was, at one point, part of the Southern Pacific Railroad?]), and the Internet (which requires some of the same infrastructure as much of the above).  All of these very “democratizing” forms of communication REQUIRE a corporation to make happen.

Do you really think the government (who is likely the only entity who could effectively manage and control all these resources effectively) would do any better?

Banks exist for a reason.  We can argue that reason until we’re blue in the face, but the reality is we could no more switch off the Federal Reserve System tomorrow if we wanted to.  Even if we decided, as a nation, that the short term economic destruction was worth it.. it just couldn’t happen.  Small-scale reforms?  Maybe.  But even then, any significant changes to our financial system would likely have huge repercussions that nobody would understand.  Nobody. Anybody who says otherwise is either lying, mentally deranged, or just simply an idiot.

We can all shift our money to Credit Unions.  There are implications to that.  Also, as auxiliary members of the Federal Reserve System, you  aren’t really changing much.  The money you deposit into a credit union will often find it’s way right back into Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, or any one of the Big Banks We All Hate.  As an example, did you know that if your credit union is a member of the CU Service Center network, when you deposit at a CU Service Center the transaction is actually “cleared” via accounts held at Citibank?  (CLUE: Why do you think VCOM machines at Seven-11 are both Citibank ATMs and CU Service Center locations?)

There’s no wonder that conspiracy theories abound in this environment.  Everybody has blood on their hands.

Everybody.

Which is why nothing will change.  Here’s a fact that many of you who are protesting don’t understand.  That 99% vs. 1% dichotomy you keep parroting?  It isn’t that simple.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% for our paychecks.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% to keep our money, our streets, and our homes safe through insurance and bank accounts.  Most of us in that 99% depend on that 1% for what little heath care one can get without the aforementioned job and/or insurance.

At the end of the day, most of that 99% lives in relative comfort.  Most of us live in peace.  Some of us are old, frail, and/or sick and would quite literally die if society were to collapse tomorrow.  A few of us fear for the Republic if things continue the way they are.

But if there’s one thing I’m sure of, if tomorrow the corporation ceased to exist, I’d be dead within a week.

 

Is that what you really want?

5 thoughts on “Occupy? My ass.

  1. I believe they are less against corporations in general and more against specific persons and corporations that insist on skirting or disobeying the law, or even changing the law to their advantage and thereby the disadvantage of the 99%. Every well run small business, once large enough to be potentially sued, will get converted to a (limited liability) corporation. That’s just the first step. I know several people that run, work for, or otherwise belong to such corporations, but who are also part of the 99%. The problem isn’t the small corporations, or even the right-minded large ones. It’s the corruption in the ones that are above the law and too big to repeatedly fail.

    • While I understand that is the (now stated publicly) goal of the group, I see a lot of the protesting being directed at the concept of the corporation as a whole.

      Much like my issues with Anonymous. When you are using a brunt force instrument to effect change, you often strike a pretty large blow, and you don’t always have control where that blow lands. The Mob of Angry Villagers is precisely that kind of brute force.

      One must pay attention to the force as a whole, not the desires of the leaders. I just want to be sure that those who are quick to blame “Corporate America” for our woes are aware that there is a baby to be thrown out with that bathwater.

  2. Excellent post. A few days ago, an associate of mine made a facebook page entitled Occupy MY ASS:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-MY-ASS/231314473592905

    Its purpose is to question this movement’s leaders as to how exactly they plan to accomplish that which they are alluding to. I believe that going in the direction it is currently going, this movement will only result in the further oppression of those who are seeking relief from oppression. Worse yet, possibly all of us could suffer!

    • A few things have changed since I posted this. For one, both the group in New York City and the splinter group here in Portland have presented a list of “demands.” There has been some organization to the protests, and a unified message is starting to become clear. There is a danger any time the Mob of Angry Villagers is used to affect change.

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