The following was a back-and-forth between myself and my very good friend, Dave McKelvey, over the course of 24 hours, on Facebook.
This is not from “mainstream media pundits” – this is one of many actual people out there, uncut and flat-out. I await any video of a 99%er who actually has something smart to say about any of this shit; no conspiracy theories or whining, just real good stuff about the specific problems and how to fix them. These people have actually made me *more* bourgeois and believe that proles exist for a reason…
THE NO.1 IDIOT OF THE OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTS
Oh…damn you, exploiting my love of Tech…
90% of this monologue comes from his Poverty of Philosophy track, which you introduced me to, and made me fall in love with the guy. And I agree with almost all of what he’s saying here and said on that track. His questions and knowledge kick ass. Always.
But where are the answers? I want solutions! His problems are the same as my problems – we need some fucking answers. Pointing out issues and questioning things and getting people to actually read a God damned book is totally cool, and I love how he does it. But the time for that was ten years ago, when he laid down this same stuff in his first album. He predicted all this, and now that it’s here, it’s like…carino: we’re done kicking each other out of the little boat; now what, brother? Because we can’t just go up to the luxury liner and start chopping off heads – that shit doesn’t work!
I want answers. I think I am entitled to solutions. We all are. Somebody, please…give them to me…something rational and logical and logistically-feasible…anything, at this point, even resembling a plan that might work…I’ll take it and love it.
I do wish I had the solutions, but unfortunately I can’t stand politics enough to learn the details. I see big picture problems, and usually can’t fathom their existence in the first place… but the answer is usually money, or controlling people, land, and dangerous ideas. I can say “let’s take lobbying out of politics” but I don’t really understand the scope of what that entails. I could reclaim that we end wars, war on drugs, reliance on fossil fuel, regulate banks, blah blah…but I can’t fill in the details and neither can many of us. I’m all for something radically different, something that isn’t just a new version of the same system. Iceland’s example of revolution is surely inspiring, and I can only hope for something similar here. Surely the Occupy movement isn’t perfect, and like any movement it will attract degenerate followers that ruin the image for everyone else. Instead of looking for flaws to downplay the whole thing like the conservative media, why not celebrate the fact that thousands of ordinary people around the world are taking to the streets to echo belief in a future better than this. Isn’t that admirable in itself?
I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I think if it was ordinary people wanting a better future and bringing positivity to it, instead of just anger and frustration and blame – then I’d be more inclined to celebrate it. You know what I wonder? How do all those countries that were so desperate for freedom, in the Middle East and Northern Africa, that they set themselves on fire, feel about our version of “revolution”?
There’s many issues I have, not with the issues of the movement, but with the movement itself. The lack of cohesion is one thing, but the amount of spoiled babies I see is another. A lot of them are just haters, whining that other people have more than them, and they want it. If you watch that Ice-T interview on Chappelle’s “Playa Haters Ball” he explains it – “Why you have that, and I only have this?”
I remember you and I once had the discussion about global wealth, were one of us had read that if you just have a bank account – even with $20 in it – you’re more wealthy than majority of the planet’s population. How are those people looking at us? To refer to another Immortal Technique track, Mumia talked about how “What passes for middle class in America would pass as upper class in most of the rest of the world.” It’s true! Around a third of our nation makes less than $35,000 a year, which isn’t great, but…what do they want? Do they want more, or just want the top to have less? Because, here’s the thing:
The amount of people in the USA that make over $10,000,000 a year: 13,000 (.004% of the USA)
The amount of people that make less than $35,000 a year: 112,000,000 (around 1/3 of the USA)
So redistribution isn’t going to be what they think. Even if they seized $100billion a year from the richest .13% (and I’m not saying they even make that much, each year), and gave it to “The 99%” (around 317million people), it would mean a whopping increase of $315 a year!!! So, is that what will make these people happy? I’ll take it a step further – what if we only give to people making less than $50,000 a year – that’s about half the population? Then they each get $625 more a year. You see how the money stuff all starts to fall apart? This whole idea of redistributing the wealth is great in a small third world country where there are people making $50,000,000 a year and people making $500 a year; you redistribute that top 1% and you triple the lower class’ income. It doesn’t work that way in America. It’s the same reason why Iceland could do what it did; we can’t do that. Can you imagine a live internet chat like what they did, to re-write their constitution? Iceland has 320,000 people; the USA has 320,000,000.
In terms of ending lobbying…that’s a hard thing to do. Because you can’t eliminate the ability of people or groups to access and lobby the government. That’s a Constitutional right (pesky First Amendment). I think campaign finance reform is a great idea, but I don’t know who would pass this idea into law. It would be like you going to your boss and asking him to pay you less money. The legislators simply have no reason – nor do any of us – to do something like that. Here’s what it all gets messed up: the bulk of money that politicians spend on campaigns goes to TV advertising. Now, isn’t it interesting that these same pricey airwaves were once given away, by a corrupt legislature, over half a century ago? Lobbying has existed for a long time, but what I want to point out is the irony here, more than anything. What these people gave away “for free” is now costing them a boatload of money to use to campaign. You want politicians to stop looking for money – get TV to give them free airtime!
But, none of it is so simple that we can just snap our fingers and fix it. We can’t storm the legislature and kick them all out and re-elect everyone. We’re dealing with a massive machine, at this stage, and the answers are going to have to come from really smart people who can make it work for everyone. Do I want a less-corrupt government? Sure. Do I recognize that ours is way less corrupt than others – than most? Yes, as well. Do I think we should tax the rich more than the poor? For sure. Do I know we already do? Oh yeah. 40% of the government’s budget comes from the richest 1% – the bottom 35% contribute almost nothing, and most of what they do contribute, they see back through government services (all the free paved roads you could possibly want…well…maybe not in PA…lol).
So, I, too, don’t know what the answer is. But I see both the big picture and all the little parts, and a crowd acting like a rabble saying, “We want more money!” reminds me of that episode of South Park where Canada goes on strike. Money from where? How much do they want? And, for what? Why do they deserve more money? To raise each American up above $50,000 a year would cost over $3trillion. The entire GDP of the USA is $14trillion, of which those people making below $50,000 are currently taking $5.6trillion. So, that means more than half the USA’s GDP just going to maintain an overindulgent poverty line at $50,000 per capita a year? That’s…insane! It can’t be done like that.
I’d love a solution – it would make me so happy. But I’d also love if people looked at history and saw reality – saw that the modern world is so much better than it was even 50 years ago, let alone 500 years ago. Humans are limited by mortality and therefore limited in scope. The modern culture is a “now” culture – we want to click a hyperlink and solve all our problems in an instant, and that’s just not how the real world works. We need to get back in-touch with reality. I’m in touch with reality just with my grasp of history, economics, knowing statistics about money, and seeing the world as well as my nation. If only I could give that gift to every person on the planet: that might make it a better place. And that’s the difference between me and the Occupiers. I want to give, freely; they’re looking to take, just like those they protest against. Which should be more celebrated?
If I can prompt you to write like that, then mission accomplished. I found that much more interesting than my recollection of your blog essay on the same topic.
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Interesting points, some I’d never thought of before. Great post.
we should have a conversation about this sometime without me having to type. i think you’re missing some major points of #occupy here… not for lack of a good attitude.