Why I am a Liberal

January 6, 2012

By 

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~ Greek proverb

I saw this posted on a reader’s page (thanks, Rita!) and I realized it perfectly summed up why I am a Liberal.  Conservatives like to paint liberals as lazy, greedy people intent on taking away their freedoms and money.  That’s bullshit.  That’s not what being a Liberal is about.  Being a Liberal is about making sure everyone gets a fair shake.  Being a Liberal is about sharing with everybody our good fortune or relying on others when our fortunes are bad.  Being Liberal is about pulling together, not just when a disaster strikes a community but when it strikes the individual in their everyday life.

I support unemployment insurance and food stamps, even though I don’t use them myself.  As an adult, I never have and would rather walk into traffic than do so.  That doesn’t mean I would refuse the option to others or begrudge the taxes that pay for it.  How dare I condemn others to starvation or homelessness because it benefits me, personally?  What kind of monster thinks that way?

But being a Liberal is about more than shared risk, something conservatives only understand when the risk belongs to someone else.  Being a Liberal is also about equality, a truly foreign concept for social conservatives.

 

I don’t condemn racism because I’m a minority.  I may be a Hispanic Jew but I’m so generically white I could tell you I’m Italian, Irish or Swedish and you’d never think to question it.  I don’t condemn it because I’ve never uttered a racial slur.  I have and still do.  I have my own prejudices[i], everyone does.  The difference for me?  I don’t allow them to dictate my actions.  I acknowledge them and deal with it.  They’ll probably never go away but that doesn’t mean I have to give in to them.  I dream of a world where people are equal because they know better than to discriminate on something as silly as color.

I don’t support religious freedom because I’m religious.  I’m an atheist; I think they’re all silly.  But just as I wouldn’t force someone to adhere to my beliefs (or lack thereof), so, too, would I keep someone from promoting their particular religion over everyone else’s against their will.

I don’t support gay rights because I’m gay.  I support them because I have friends who are and children who may one day grow up to be.  As I recently told a reader, I fight for a world where my children can be who they are without being condemned by those who have no right to do so.

Do you plant the tree for yourself or for others?

Me?  I plant the tree whose shade I know I shall never sit in.

I believe we all can and that’s why I believe that America can be great once more.

That’s why I am a Liberal.


[i] I hate Canadians. No, I don’t.

Time to Stop Being Cynical About Corporate Money in Politics and Start Being Angry

by: Bill McKibben, TomDispatch | Op-Ed

(Photo: nathanrandall; Edited: JR / TO)

My resolution for 2012 is to be naïve – dangerously naïve.

I’m aware that the usual recipe for political effectiveness is just the opposite: to be cynical, calculating, an insider. But if you think, as I do, that we need deep change in this country, then cynicism is a sucker’s bet.

Try as hard as you can, you’re never going to be as cynical as the corporations and the harem of politicians they pay for.  It’s like trying to outchant a Buddhist monastery.

Here’s my case in point, one of a thousand stories people working for social change could tell: All last fall, most of the environmental movement, including 350.org, the group I helped found, waged a fight against the planned Keystone XL pipeline that would bring some of the dirtiest energy on the planet from Canada through the U.S. to the Gulf Coast. We waged our struggle against building it out in the open, presenting scientific argument, holding demonstrations, and attending hearings.  We sent 1,253 people to jail in the largest civil disobedience action in a generation.  Meanwhile, more than half a million Americans offered public comments against the pipeline, the most on any energy project in the nation’s history.

And what do you know? We won a small victory in November, when President Obama agreed that, before he could give the project a thumbs-up or -down, it needed another year of careful review.  (The previous version of that review, as overseen by the State Department, had been little short of a crony capitalist farce.)  Given that James Hansen, the government’s premier climate scientist, had said that tapping Canada’s tar sands for that pipeline would, in the end, essentially mean “game over for the climate,” that seemed an eminently reasonable course to follow, even if it was also eminently political.

A few weeks later, however, Congress decided it wanted to take up the question. In the process, the issue went from out in the open to behind closed doors in money-filled rooms.  Within days, and after only a couple of hours of hearings that barely mentioned the key scientific questions or the dangers involved, the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to force a quicker review of the pipeline.  Later, the House attached its demand to the must-pass payroll tax cut.

That was an obvious pre-election year attempt to put the president on the spot. Environmentalists are at least hopeful that the White House will now reject the permit.  After all, its communications director said that the rider, by hurrying the decision, “virtually guarantees that the pipeline will not be approved.”

As important as the vote total in the House, however, was another number: within minutes of the vote, Oil Change International had calculated that the 234 Congressional representatives who voted aye had received $42 million in campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry; the 193 nays, $8 million.

Buying Congress

I know that cynics — call them realists, if you prefer — will be completely unsurprised by that. Which is precisely the problem.

We’ve reached the point where we’re unfazed by things that should shake us to the core. So, just for a moment, be naïve and consider what really happened in that vote: the people’s representatives who happen to have taken the bulk of the money from those energy companies promptly voted on behalf of their interests.

They weren’t weighing science or the national interest; they weren’t balancing present benefits against future costs.  Instead of doing the work of legislators, that is, they were acting like employees. Forget the idea that they’re public servants; the truth is that, in every way that matters, they work for Exxon and its kin. They should, by rights, wear logos on their lapels like NASCAR drivers.

If you find this too harsh, think about how obligated you feel when someone gives you something. Did you get a Christmas present last month from someone you hadn’t remembered to buy one for? Are you going to send them an extra-special one next year?

And that’s for a pair of socks. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who insisted that the Keystone approval decision be speeded up, has gotten $1,111,080 from the fossil-fuel industry during his tenure. His Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell, who shepherded the bill through his chamber, has raked in$1,277,208 in the course of his tenure in Washington.

If someone had helped your career to the tune of a million dollars, wouldn’t you feel in their debt? I would. I get somewhat less than that from my employer, Middlebury College, and yet I bleed Panther blue.  Don’t ask me to compare my school with, say, Dartmouth unless you want a biased answer, because that’s what you’ll get.  Which is fine — I am an employee.

But you’d be a fool to let me referee the homecoming football game. In fact, in any other walk of life we wouldn’t think twice before concluding that paying off the referees is wrong. If the Patriots make the Super Bowl, everyone in America would be outraged to see owner Robert Kraft trot out to midfield before the game and hand a $1,000 bill to each of the linesmen and field judges.

If he did it secretly, the newspaper reporter who uncovered the scandal would win a Pulitzer. But a political reporter who bothered to point out Boehner’s and McConnell’s payoffs would be upbraided by her editor for simpleminded journalism.  That’s how the game is played and we’ve all bought into it, even if only to sputter in hopeless outrage.

Far from showing any shame, the big players boast about it: theU.S. Chamber of Commerce, front outfit for a consortium of corporations, has bragged on its website about outspending everyone in Washington, which is easy to do when Chevron, Goldman Sachs, and News Corp are writing you seven-figure checks. This really matters.  The Chamber of Commerce spent more money on the 2010 elections than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined, and 94% of those dollars went to climate-change deniers.  That helps explain why the House voted last year to say that global warming isn’t real.

It also explains why “our” representatives vote, year in and year out, for billions of dollars worth of subsidies for fossil-fuel companies. If there was ever an industry that didn’t need subsidies, it would be this one: they make more money each year than any enterprise in the history of money. Not only that, but we’ve known how to burn coal for 300 years and oil for 200.

Those subsidies are simply payoffs. Companies give small gifts to legislators, and in return get large ones back, and we’re the ones who are actually paying.

Whose Money?  Whose Washington?

I don’t want to be hopelessly naïve. I want to be hopefully naïve. It would be relatively easy to change this: you could provide public financing for campaigns instead of letting corporations pay. It’s the equivalent of having the National Football League hire referees instead of asking the teams to provide them.

Public financing of campaigns would cost a little money, but endlessly less than paying for the presents these guys give their masters. And it would let you watch what was happening in Washington without feeling as disgusted.  Even legislators, once they got the hang of it, might enjoy neither raising money nor having to pretend it doesn’t affect them.

To make this happen, however, we may have to change the Constitution, as we’ve done 27 times before. This time, we’d need to specify that corporations aren’t people, that money isn’t speech, and that it doesn’t abridge the First Amendment to tell people they can’t spend whatever they want getting elected. Winning a change like that would require hard political organizing, since big banks and big oil companies and big drug-makers will surely rally to protect their privilege.

Still, there’s a chance.  The Occupy movement opened the door to this sort of change by reminding us all that the system is rigged, that its outcomes are unfair, that there’s reason to think people from across the political spectrum are tired of what we’ve got, and that getting angry and acting on that anger in the political arena is what being a citizen is all about.

It’s fertile ground for action.  After all, Congress’s approval rating is now at 9%, which is another way of saying that everyone who’s not a lobbyist hates them and what they’re doing. The big boys are, of course, counting on us simmering down; they’re counting on us being cynical, on figuring there’s no hope or benefit in fighting city hall. But if we’re naïve enough to demand a country more like the one we were promised in high school civics class, then we have a shot.

A good time to take an initial stand comes later this month, when rallies outside every federal courthouse will mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision. That’s the one where the Supreme Court ruled that corporations had the right to spend whatever they wanted on campaigns.

To me, that decision was, in essence, corporate America saying, “We’re not going to bother pretending any more. This country belongs to us.”

We need to say, loud and clear: “Sorry. Time to give it back.”

The Winter of our Occupation

And now it is winter. Wall Street rejoices, hoping that the change of seasons will mean a change in our spirit, our commitment to stop them.

They couldn’t be more wrong. Have they not heard of Washington and the troops at Valley Forge? The Great Flint Sit-Down Strike in the winter of 1936-37? The Michigan Wolverines crushing Ohio State in the 1950 Blizzard Bowl? When it comes to winter, it is the time historically when the people persevere and the forces of evil make their retreat!

We are not even 12 weeks old, yet Occupy Wall Street has grown so fast, so big, none of us can keep up with the hundreds of towns who have joined the movement, or the thousands of actions — some of them just simple ones in neighborhoods, schools and organizations — that have happened. The national conversation has been irreversibly changed. Now everyone is talking about how the 1% are getting away with all the money while the 99% struggle to make ends meet. People are no longer paralyzed by despair or apathy. Most know that now is the time to reclaim our country from the bankers, the lobbyists — and their gofers: the members of the United States Congress and the 50 state legislatures.

And they’re crazy if they think that a little climate chaos (otherwise known as winter in the 21st century) that they’ve helped to bring about is going to stop us.

I would like to propose to my Occupying sisters and brothers that there are many ways to keep Occupy Wall Street going through the winter months. There is perhaps no better time to move the movement indoors for a few months — and watch it grow even bigger! (For those who have the stamina to maintain the outdoor occupations, by all means, keep it up — and the rest of us will do our best to help you and keep you warm!)

The winter gives us an amazing opportunity to expand our actions against the captains of capitalism who have occupied our homes with their fraudulent mortgage system which has tossed millions of families out onto the curb; a cruel health care system that has told 50 million Americans “if you can’t afford a doctor, go F yourself”; a student loan system that sends 22-year-olds into an immediate “debtors’ prison” of working lousy jobs for which they didn’t go to school but now have to take because they’re in hock for tens of thousands of dollars for the next two decades; and a jobs market that keeps 25 million Americans un- or under-employed — and much of the rest of the workers forced to accept wage cuts, health care reductions and zero job security.

But we in the Occupy Movement reject this version of the “American Dream.” Instead, I suggest we shift our focus for this winter to the following actions:

OCCUPY THE WINTER
A proposal to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street from Michael Moore

1. Occupy Our Homes. Sorry, banks, a roof over one’s head is a human right, and you will no longer occupy our homes through foreclosure and eviction because well, you see, they are our homes, not yours. You may hold the mortgage; you don’t hold the right to throw us or our neighbors out into the cold. With almost one in three home mortgages currently in foreclosure, nearing foreclosure or “underwater,” the Occupy Movement must form local “Occupy Strike Forces” to create human shields when the banks come to throw people out of their homes. If the foreclosure has already happened, then we must help families move back into their foreclosed homes — literally (see this clip from my last film to watch how a home re-occupation is accomplished). Beginning today, Take Back the Land, plus many other citizens’ organizations nationwide, are kicking off Occupy Our Homes. Numerous actions throughout the day today have already resulted in many families physically taking back their homes. This will continue every day until the banks are forced to stop their fraudulent practices, until homeowners are allowed to change their mortgage so that it reflects the true value of their homes, and until those who can no longer afford a mortgage are allowed to stay in their homes and pay rent. I beseech the news media to cover these actions — they are happening everywhere. Evictions, though rarely covered (you need a Kardashian in your home as you’re being evicted to qualify for news coverage) are not a new story (see this scene I filmed in 1988). Also, please remember the words of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Toledo (in ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’): Do not leave your homes if the bank forecloses on you! Let them take you to court and then YOU ask the judge to make them produce a copy of your mortgage. They can’t. It was chopped up a hundred different ways, bundled with a hundred other mortgages, and sold off to the Chinese. If they can’t produce the mortgage, they can’t evict you.

2. Occupy Your College. In nearly every other democracy on the planet, students go to college for free or almost free. Why do those countries do that? Because they know that for their society to advance, they must have an educated population. Without that, productivity, innovation and an informed electorate is stunted and everyone suffers as a result. Here’s how we do it in the U.S.A.: make education one of our lowest priorities, graduate students who know little about the world or their own government or the economy, and then force them into crushing debt before they even have their first job. That way has really worked well for us, hasn’t it? It’s made us the world leader in … in … well, ok, we’re like 27th or 34th in everything now (except war). This has to end. Students should spend this winter doing what they are already doing on dozens of campuses — holding sit-ins, occupying the student loan office, nonviolently disrupting the university regents meetings, and pitching their tents on the administration’s lawn. Young people — we, the ’60s generation, promised to create a better world for you. We got halfway there — now you have to complete the job. Do not stop until these wars are ended, the Pentagon budget is cut in half, and the rich are forced to pay their taxes. And demand that that money go to your education. We’ll be there with you on all of this! And when we get this fixed and you graduate, instead of being $40,000 in debt, go see the friggin’ world, or tinker around in your garage a la the two Steves, or start a band. Enjoy life, discover, explore, experiment, find your way. Anything but the assistant manager at Taco Bell.

3. Occupy Your Job. Let’s spend the winter organizing workplaces into unions. OR, if you already have a union, demand that your leaders get off their ass and get aggressive like our grandparents did. For chrissakes, surely you know we would not have a middle class if it weren’t for the strikes of the 1930s-1950s?! In three weeks we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the workers in my hometown of Flint, Michigan taking over and occupying the General Motors factories for 44 days in the dead of winter. Their actions ignited a labor movement that lifted tens of millions out of poverty and into the middle class. It’s time to do it again. (According to the Census Bureau and the New York Times, 100 million Americans either live in or near poverty. Disgraceful. Greed has destroyed the core fabric of our communities. Enough!) Here are two good unions to get your fellow workers to sign up and join: UE andSEIU. The CWA are also good. Here’s how to get a quick primer in organizing your place of employment (don’t forget to be careful while you do this!). If your company is threatening to close down and move the jobs elsewhere, then it’s time to occupy the workplace (again, you can get a lesson in how to successfully occupy your factory from my movie).

4. Occupy Your Bank. This is an easy one. Just leave them. Move your checking and your credit card to anonprofit credit union. It’s safe and the decisions made there aren’t based on greed. And if a bank tries to evict your neighbor, Occupy the local branch with 20 other people and call the press. Post it on the internet.

5. Occupy the Insurance Man. It’s time to not only stand up for the 50 million without health insurance but to also issue a single, simple demand: The elimination of for-profit, privately-controlled health insurance companies. It is nothing short of barbaric to allow businesses to make a profit off people when they get sick. We don’t allow anyone to make a profit when we need the fire department or the police. Until recently we would never allow a company to make a profit by operating in a public school. The same should be true for when you need to see a doctor or stay in the hospital. So I say it’s long overdue for us to go and Occupy Humana, United Health, Cigna and even the supposed “nonprofit” Blue Crosses. An action on their lawns, in their lobbies, or at the for-profit hospitals — this is what is needed.

So — there are my ideas for the five places we can Occupy this winter. Help the foreclosed-upon to Occupy their homes. Occupy your college campus, especially the student loan office and the regents meetings. Occupy your job by getting everyone to sign a union card — or by refusing to let the CEO ship your job overseas. Occupy your Chase or Citi or Bank of America branch by closing your account and moving it to a credit union. And Occupy the insurance company offices, the pharmaceutical companies’ headquarters and the for-profit hospitals until the White House and Congress pass the true single-payer universal health care bill they failed to pass in 2010.

My friends, the rich are running scared right now. You need no further proof of this than to read this story from last week. The Republicans’ top strategist met privately with them and told them that they had better change their tune or they were going to be crushed by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They didn’t have to change their greedy actions, he assured them — just the way they talk and PR the situation. He told them never to use the word “capitalism” — it has now been made a dirty word by the Occupy movement, he said. Only say “economic freedom” from now on, he cautioned. And don’t criticize the movement — because the majority of Americans either agree with it or are feeling the same way. Just tell the Occupiers and the distressed Americans: “I get it.” Seriously.

Yes, in just 12 short weeks we have killed their most sacred word — Capitalism — and we have them on the run, on the defensive. They should be. Millions are coming after them and our only goal is to remove them from power and replace them with a fair system that is controlled by the 99%. The 1% have been able to get both political parties to do their bidding. Why should only 1% of the population get to have two parties — and the rest of us have none? That, too, is going to change. In my next letter, I will suggest what we can do to Occupy the Electoral Process. But first we must start with those who pull the strings of the puppets in the Congress. That’s why it’s called Occupy Wall Street. Always better to deal with man in charge, don’t you think?

Let’s Occupy the Winter! An #OWS Winter will certainly lead to a very hopeful American Spring.

– Michael Moore (posted today @ michaelmoore.com)

The Enemy

Corporations were once considered a gift from the public to groups of people intended to achieve a specific goal toward serving the public trust (like building a bridge or a railroad), they were limited in scope by the purposes stated in their charter. They weren’t allowed to own any property, they certainly couldn’t own another corporation, and their shareholders were liable for the actions of the corporation.

After the Civil War corporations began to propagate exponentially, and so did corporate lawyers. The 14th Amendment was passed to protect the rights of freed slaves and read:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The corporate lawyers were very clever, and for years many corporations were looking for ways to remove some of the constraints which had been historically placed on corporations, and gain more power to operate in the manner in which they saw fit. So, the corporate lawyers decided to start arguing that corporations are in fact “persons.” And between 1890 and 1910 there were 307 14th Amendment cases brought before the Court… 288 of them by corporations and only 19 by the people the 14th Amendment was written to protect.

In the Civil War 600,000 people died in order to get rights for people, and over the next 30 years judges, with the stroke of a pen, began applying those rights to capital and property, while stripping them from people. By shortly after the turn of the century corporations were large groups of people, operating as legal person’s, alleviated of individual liability, allowed to buy and sell property, borrow money, sue in court and be sued (collectively), and carry on a business.

But what kind of person’s are they? They were designed as special kinds of people, with a singular motive… Increasing profits for the shareholders. They are singular entities with no moral conscience, designed by law to be only concerned for the interests of their shareholders. They are not like the rest of the citizen’s of our society.

“They have no soul to save and no body to incarcerate.” – Baron Thurlow

The real problem with corporations is the profit motivation. However, because of a series of legal decisions, it is what they are legally bound to do. They are required by law to place the financial interests of their stockholders above all else, even the public good.

Corporations owe no loyalty to anyone other than themselves and serve no other purpose than to grow and become profitable. A corporation tends to be more profitable to the extent that it can make other people pay the bills for it’s impact on society. Economists have a term for this called “Externalities.”

“An externality is the effect of a transaction between two individuals, on a third party who had not consented to, nor had any role in, the carrying out of that transaction.” – Milton Friedman

At some point, in order to effectively reduce operating costs the corporation decides it has to let someone else pay for things necessary to make itself profitable. Things like building the highways and railroads to bring it’s goods to market, the military protection of the oil wells in the Middle East, the schools to educate it’s workers, the police and fire protection of it’s factories, etc.

And therein lies the rub. Corporations have moved into every aspect of our government. They used their money to push their agenda’s through BOTH parties. Unfortunately, the only thing that political parties are concerned with is money and power. Money and power help them win elections and control the message. Both parties and the politicians they support are to blame for the rise of the corporation. Both parties and the professional politicians that are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations that fund their election campaigns have allowed the externalization of everything.

The “free trade” agreements of the 1990’s were the beginning of the end. Somehow the corporations convinced their employees in Congress and the White House that opening up our borders to free and open commerce was the way to ensure American dominance in the World markets. They even convinced them that it was a good idea to pay corporations to build factories in other countries and even move the entirety of their workforce overseas.

This was the beginning of the end of the Middle Class worker. The corporate employees in Congress began the process of stripping unions and workers of their rights, because, after all, it was the Unions’ fault that the corporations decimated America’s manufacturing base! The pampered factory worker’s had simply become too expensive and lived too lavishly. The corporations with the full complicity of Congress externalized their workforces, and it continues today.

The ultimate coup came in 2008, when the largest financial institutions in the World held our economy hostage on the brink of total collapse. They convinced their employees in Congress to bail them out because of massive losses caused by incredibly cavalier risk-taking. We all know what happened. They’ve now figured-out how to externalize their bad behavior to the tune of nearly a $Trillion bailout (not to mention the $3 Trillion secretly funneled to them later by the Fed in the way of 0% interest “loans”).

This “Grand Experiment in Democracy” that is our government became the greatest system in the history of the world because it was based on a mutable system of checks and balances. The past 30 years has seen a government that has become a for profit business, doing the bidding of their corporate masters by removing as many of the checks and balances on the corporate world as possible in the name of “small government.”

Our real enemy in this battle is the political class and the parties that support them. In order to clean-up Washington and get back to the business of governance, neigh, the ART of governance, we need to get the money out of politics. There are literally hundreds of different goals within the Occupy movement and the new revolution. But no matter what the stated goal: the Environment,. Pollution, Taxation, Hunger, Homelessness, Income inequality, the abuses of Wall St. and Student Loans, or the socialization of losses while capitalizing gains, we need to be able to find common ground and take actionable steps…

Simply put, there is no single easy fix for our broken government. However, the ONE thing that has become glaringly apparent we need to do is “get the money out!” It will be no easy task, but the first step is to repeal Corporate Personhood by calling an Article V Convention. Through and Article V Convention we can create and ratify a Constitutional Amendment that reads:

“Whereas Corporations of any type are not people, and therefore in their entity are not real citizens and therefore have no right to vote in local, state, or federal elections, they will not participate in the finance of election campaigns of any sort directly or indirectly, and candidates of any sort of public office may not accept more than $100 from individual private citizens, none of which shall be of foreign states or individuals in any single campaign. Participation in the Public Funding of Presidential Elections shall henceforth be compulsory.”

Getting corporate money out of politics is only the first step. Once we get the money out, we can get the professional politicians out. Once we get the professional politicians out then we can make the changes that are necessary to restore the simple greatness of the American government. Once we make the “American Dream” possible again for all American’s, then and only then can we begin to re-institute the rights and protections that have been usurped over the past 30 years.

Corporations are not the enemy. Capitalism is not the enemy. The political parties and the professional politicians that they support are the real enemy. Our founding father’s are turning-over in their graves! They would have never imagined how bad we would let it become. Our forefather’s considered politics a part of daily life. They felt that public service was every citizens duty. The concept of the “career politician” would have been completely alien to them. I think they would be deeply saddened by our divisive and vitriolic politics and the apathy it has bred in the electorate. George Washington wouldn’t even recognize our “representative democracy,” because it is no longer. We have slipped into a state of corporate fascism. We’ve got to take the power back! It starts with our elections.

Transmogrification

Recent events considered, it appears that the time is now. It is time for this movement to become what it was meant to be. Let go of any pre-conceived notions of what the “Occupy” movement is. Even if you are currently or have been on the ground with the movement, camping out, occupying physical space in the public commons. They can arrest us, beat us, tear gas and pepper spray us. They can tear down our tents and physically remove us from public space, but they simply cannot evict an idea whose time has COME!

The Occupy movement has awakened the sleeping giant! As soon as we realize that we truly are legion, as soon as we let go of the attachments that tie the movement to a fixed space and therefore to a certain level of commitment, the World will see just how large the movement will grow! When all of the people who have wanted to participate but haven’t felt that they could participate are mobilized by the expansion of the scope of the movement, we will be everywhere and nowhere all at once.

Think of the vast network of supporters. Sadly the overwhelming majority of support has been wasted. What if instead of being asked to eat, sleep and protest out of a tent in winter for 24/7, all that is asked from everyone is a few hours a day, or every other day, or once a week even. How many more people will be able find the time for that? Millions? Certainly hundreds of thousands… There are more of us than there could ever be of them.

The most amazing opportunity is being created by the timing of these evictions! Think about it for a second… This is an election year! In 2012 there will be literally thousands of opportunities to occupy campaign events, town halls, and book signings of every candidate for elective office throughout the country! I suggest we move-in en masse, occupy space, and “MIC CHECK!” each and every one of them! When it’s over, we go home.

We become like water. We tag our targets, spread the word via social media, and act in concert as flash mobs of political protest! If they do not know where we will be, they cannot be there before us with guns, tear gas and riot gear. If they do not know what we are going to do, they cannot stand against us. Our greatest strength is simply that we exist!

More opportunities for real community activism will avail themselves to the movement as well. Recently I was lucky enough to bear  witness to the impact potential of this type of activism when the Occupy movement took part in their local community’s “Anti-Foreclosure Team” action, in which they occupied an illegal foreclosure in the area and “MIC CHECK’d” the auctioneers and bank representatives as they tried to conduct their “business.”

Opportunities like this and more are out there and will only serve to spread the movement’s vision and perceived presence. We can literally appear to be everywhere that the banksters, crooks, liars and enablers are trying to support the status quo! We need to push the paradigm shift!

Remember how the Tea Party hijacked the Health Care Reform debate? By shutting down the democratic process and controlling the conversation at “Town Hall” meetings around the country during the mid-term election season. In this manner, Occupy will be the Tea Party to an exponential degree!

Imagine an ever changing, ever mutating crowd. Imagine it not being tied to a single location, but shifting here and there as opportunities arise. Imagine protestors who spend only a few number of hours protesting – on foot and in different locations. Imagine protestors going home to sleep in a safe place and to eat and rest and work. Imagine them coming back to the protest refreshed and ready for more.

The enforcers of the “authorities” won’t have those same opportunities for rest and sleep – simply because to continue to meet us with force they will have to spend far more hours on duty than we will. Why? There are more of us than there ever could be of them.

At some point, it will dawn on the movement as a whole that denying the “authorities” a solid target will defeat those “authorities” far more quickly than what’s happening now. Think about that for a moment. If there are no tents, they can’t tear them down. If the protest is not tied to a fixed space, it cannot be denied to us.

Oh, yes, the “authorities” will continue to be wild to arrest us – and will, if they can grab hold of us – but we will exhaust them in the end – because there are more of us than there ever could be of them.

We are  like water. They can push us away for a moment but we will flow back into the space they leave behind when they turn away. Never forget that there are more of us than there ever could be of them!

OCCUPY EVERYWHERE! OCCUPY EVERYTHING! OCCUPY NOTHING!

I.M. Folks

The 28th Amendment

Our vision for America? Fiscally sound, socially balanced, and politically stable…

We have a long way to go until we get there. The processes of our government have become so broken, so bent in one direction that there are almost too many solutions that need to be implemented. It can be a bit overwhelming for even the most well-intentioned activists and reformers.

While we fully intend on talking about all of the solutions and ideas for solutions that we have developed throughout the coming months on this blog (in fact, that is the purpose of this blog), we feel at this time we need to have razor-sharp focus on one issue. In order to jump start this revolution, we have to concentrate all of our resources into one single attack – making sure we take corporate money out of politics. The only way to do that is to bypass the corporate owned Congress and the Supreme Court – and pass a Constitutional Amendment. We must pass an amendment saying that corporations are not people and they do not have the right to spend money to buy our politicians.

This is why we have joined forces with WolfPAC. The objective of Wolf PAC will be to raise money and raise an army for the sole purpose of passing this amendment. We need a Constitutional Revolution to get unlimited corporate money out of politics. Proposing an amendment through Congress is hopeless. But luckily there is another way. We can do this purely at the state level. The states can call for a Constitutional Convention and they can ratify an amendment that comes out of one. And there is nothing our corrupt federal government can do about it.

As our mission must be clear and concise with razor-sharp focus, so must our amendment. This is the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

“Corporations are not people. They have none of the Constitutional Rights of human beings. Corporations are not allowed to give money to any politician, directly or indirectly. No politician can raise over $100 from any person or entity. All elections must be publicly financed.”

What most people don’t even realize is that there is already a publicly financed election system in place. Only at this time it is an option that candidates can choose to participate in (although most, especially members of the GOP and Democratic Party, decline). Remember John McCain dared Barack Obama to take public funding in the 2008 campaign? Anyway, the proposed amendment would make publicly funded elections compulsory.

To address issues and inspire and facilitate discussion, feel free to comment about anything on this blog or even email us at imfolks115@gmail.com to get a conversation going. To join the WolfPAC and help us with our goal of getting this amendment on the ballot in all 50 states, click on this link. If you would just like to donate to the WolfPAC, click on this link.

I.M. Folks