Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Occupy Wall Street/Tea Party:Two sides of the same coin?

Occupy Wall Street hasn't been in the news lately, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. The meeting of the ultra rich and powerful in Davos Switzerland last week brought it to the top of mind again. I am convinced Occupy Wall Street was motivated by the same underlying substrate that motivated it's nemesis the Tea Party. Hear me out on this.

The Tea Party set it's sights squarely on government, specifically the unconstitutional overreach of the Federal government. Occupy Wall Street rallied against the 1% - the rich few they believe controls the world just to hold the rest of us down. I'm increasingly convinced they are one in the same, since nothing else explains how the events of the past 60 or 70 years could have played out as they did.

[ To be perfectly clear being rich is not a crime, when talking about the 1% we're really talking about 1/100th of 1%. Essentially the super rich that play with 100 of millions like it was Monopoly money. ]

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) are the sons and daughters of the middle class facing dimming prospects for a future as bright as the one their parents had. The Tea Party is made up of mostly their middle class parents who are watching the country they knew (and loved) morph into something unrecognizable. Both of these movements are purely reactionary. There is a deep sense in the western world that there is an unrecoverable erosion taking place. Both sides see remedies in polar opposite extremes based on where they are in life. The mostly young of the OWS tend toward the utopian idealism of a more communist system, while the older more seasoned in the Tea Party see the solution in going back toward the original intent of America's constitutional framers. Both cant be right...

Some say that the Soviet Union was the inevitable result of communism, a system that lasted barely 70 years. It was clearly a failed system that caused untold suffering and doomed many generations to a dreary life even to this day. Others will say that the U.S. is the inevitable result of a capitalist free market system. Exploitative and unfair. Of this I'm not so sure. There is a perversion of the system that is denuding the middle class and weakening the core of the most successful social and economic system the world has ever known. The answer can be found by determining who is benefiting the most from the turmoil. Is it the 1%? Clearly it is.

I've written before on these pages as to why I believe the middle class in America is slowly being destroyed. By the 1960's and 70's the middle class had become too powerful a force. It was a collective force, powerful indeed, but with no head thus easier to defeat. Rallied by radical journalism in the 1960's it brought it's power to bear on the war machine and forced Washington to abandon the South Vietnamese. Whether this was right or not, or spurred by socialist/communist elements I'm not speculating, I'm just saying the power of the vast middle was evident in these events.

This had to be stopped. There has been, in my mind, a concerted multi-decade domestic and international effort to squelch the middle class dominating all the Western nations.

Who has benefited the most from moving a vast portion of American manufacturing to Asia? Who has benefited the most from NAFTA and free trade in general? Who has benefited the most from the Fed's quantitative easing program? Certainly not the middle class. Could it be the 1%? Of course it is. Arguments can be made that capital will always chase the cheapest labor and that free trade is ultimately good for consumers and cheap interest rates and easy money helps build equity. True, but it doesn't erase the fact that the American middle class is shrinking and these costs are outweighing the benefits across the board for the 99%.

The corporatization of the major media and the stranglehold the corporate political parties have on the levers of government ensure that the cronies in the 1% class (regardless of nationality) get what they need. With the Roman paradigm of Bread and Circuses alive and well in America and the West the 1% have little fear from the what's left of the middle class. Liberal platitudes and outright lies serve to ingratiate big government solutions to the destruction of the American dream among a large portion of the population who can't pull themselves away from American Idol, Facebook or their smart phones long enough to realize the pot is boiling. The conservatives unfortunately can't speak with enough articulation to wrestle themselves out of a wet paper bag. What difference, in the end they are as beholden to the 1% as the other guys.

There is an element lurking around the Internet known as reactionaries that have taken to calling this cabal the "Cathedral". The Cathedral is essentially untouchable. If any politician or any other entity steps out of line they are soon scandalized or marginalized, discredited or ruined. That said it's no surprise there is no fealty to any political party or their ideologies among the reactionaries. It goes without saying there is certainly no trust for the mainstream media. While I tend to agree with this assessment in truth the reactionary movement is tiny and toothless.

So in reality the Tea Party and the OWS movements are battling the same enemy. Ultimately they have demonstrated they both are toothless as well. The OWS has some allies in government carrying their rally cry of income disparity, but the movement itself is seen as a disorganized and smelly public spectacle. The Tea Party having had some success early on challenging some squishy Republicans have also been targeted and marginalized by the power of the Cathedral.

You begin to wonder where this will all end. The U.S. government can't continue to print money forever and there has to come a time when the destruction of the middle class starts to affect the hangers on of the 1%. What then?



TJW said...

I heard this interesting tidbit on the news a few days ago. A Chinese manufacturer was setting up shop in the U.S. due to the the increasing Chinese labor costs and higher U.S. worker productivity. Capital chasing the "cheap" labor? or is that simply the most "cost effective?"