Occupy! comes to Sinfest!

One of the most inspirational cartoons I’ve run across in a long time. (Click to enbiggen.)

Thank you so much, Mr. Ishida!

(MILD SPOILERS) There are some back-stories you may not know about — Blondie is fighting the Patriarchy from within (ala The Matrix), the little devil (in the last frame) is Lucifer’s outcast son, the woman with the megaphone has been made aware (by Blondie) that the Patriarchy is everywhere, and the Devil *is* the Patriarchy.

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“You don’t have to outrun the lion. All you have to do is outrun your opponent.”

Click to enbiggen. Thank to Daily Kos for the tip.

Until progressives (particularly of the Occupy species) realize this, they might as well get up on big hamster wheels, and run and run and run without getting anywhere.

Get out the vote, folks. Examine the candidates, and if you don’t like what you see, run yourself.

Rorschach vs. Marv

Frank Miller, the comic artist well-known as the creator of the Sin City series, 300, and highly significant reboots of the Batman and Daredevil, recently wrote a bitterly disappointing scree plastering terms such as “louts”, “thieves”, and “rapists” to the Occupy movement.

” ‘Occupy’ is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the ‘movement’ – HAH! Some ‘movement’, except if the word ‘bowel’ is attached  is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.”

I’ve very much enjoyed his work in the past, but I was saddened by his blind fear of one of the most significant social movements in the last 50 years.

How refreshing it was to see someone of Alan Moore’s stature who has stood up and rebutted Miller’s grotesque distortions:

“Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.”

(T minus 1)

“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”

These words of Franklin Roosevelt are from his 1937 inaugural address. At the time our country was struggling to recover from the worst world-wide economic depression in history, and it was Roosevelt’s firm economic hand that was slowly guiding us to a recovery:

It has often been said that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved capitalism from itself. What that means is that FDR took office at the lowest depths of the Great Depression, when it was clear that rampant uncontrolled capitalism had not only failed to benefit the more than one-third of Americans were ill-housed, ill-clothed, and ill-fed, but had also collapsed on itself due to the uncontrolled excesses that unregulated free markets had created. But rather than scrapping the system, FDR went about fixing it by establishing the regulations that capitalism needs to function effectively, the policies needed to give people confidence in the system, and the programs needed to ensure that a larger and larger proportion of Americans would benefit from the system.

I have been a free-market advocate for a good deal of my adult life, but the last few years have demonstrated to me an important aspect of capitalism that is currently missing from our world:

Transparency and accountability are essential to a healthy capitalism.

And right now, they’re missing.

The “problems” that corporate business has with government regulation are self-generated. If businesses ran openly, with complete transparency and personal accountability in place, most government-mandated regulation would be unnecessary.

However, as the financial industry illustrated quite clearly in 1929 and in 2008, regulation is necessary because that industry failed to regulate itself and failed to act in a moral manner. Further, the banks in particular refused to see what their less scrupulous financial competitors were doing, and did it themselves.

And guess what, folks? This is exactly what the Occupy movement is demanding! Not “gimme money!”, or “eat the rich!”, or “burn it down!” All that Occupy wants is for there to be a level playing ground for getting ahead in this world. As the 1970′s PSA used to say about blacks, “All they want is the best job they’re qualified for, the best house they can afford, and the best education they can swing for their kids.”

“Youse don wanna be steppin’ on youse own crank, youse know?”

My favorite response to the question “Why don’t cops break up Tea Party rallies?”

“It’s not about violence or guns. Those are distractions. OWS trying to be nonviolent isn’t because violence is “bad” or “wrong;” it’s because violence is a distraction. The reason guns are OK at a tea party rally is that it isn’t a protest; it’s a ratified, funded, and supported affirmation of those who already have political power. The rich aren’t going to disrupt you kissing their asses.”

Thank you so much, Mr. Burke, for placing that crystalline-clear thought into the ether.

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

English Prime Minister George Grenville and his Stamp Act of 1765, which was designed to suppress protest in the American colonies and generate revenue for the Crown.

~~~

Senator Joseph McCarthy taking advantage of the Red Scare, and only self-destructing when he tried to take on the U.S. Army in front of television cameras.

~~~

Alabama governor George Wallace and his efforts to enforce the Jim Crow “separate but equal” fiction: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

~~~

Chicago’s mayor Richard Daley Sr., who sadistically wielded his city’s police force to try to stop anti-war protests in 1968. Daley is often (mistakenly) identified as the last big city political machine boss.

~~~

Ohio governor Jim Rhodes, who the day before state National Guardsmen cut down four protesting students, described them as “the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”

~~~

…and now, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has lied, destroyed, and twisted the legal system to accomplish what his political overlords want:

We should give thanks to all these little two-bit politicians. They’re the reason informed protest works. Every time.

“What can *I* do?” Here are handfuls of ideas.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s a list of things that you as a private citizen (or a group of private citizens) can do to make a change:

Write and call your Congresscritters and urge them to:

  1. Remove Congress’ exemption to insider stock trading rules
  2. Keep the Dodd-Frank banking regulations in place
  3. Demand that public financial institutions keep their records transparent as required by law
  4. Demand that we cease supporting the kleptocracy that is Afghanistan
  5. Forge a redefinition of proper election campaign funding rules
  6. Not allow the rich to get richer at the expense of the 99%
  7. Remind them that their phoney-baloney jobs depend upon your vote and the votes of others

Visit and/or write your local legislators and your school board and urge them to:

  1. Allow Occupy movements to peacefully and legally continue their protests
  2. Support urban homesteading and homeschooling efforts
  3. Remember that their phoney-baloney jobs depend upon your vote and the votes of others

Write what you have to say in a letter to your local newspaper, to the New York Times, and to online news sources.

Take those credit card offers you get in the mail (you know, the ones that offer you 0% interest for 6 months, and then jack up those rates to levels that would make Shylock pale), put all of the offer letter’s contents into the return envelope along with a message like “Save your jobs — unionize!”, and mail it back to them.

Write to your bank manager (and higher on their heirarchy) and demand that they quit tacking on hidden fees, like the $1.50/call that Bank of America adds for talking to a warm body more than once a month, or the $5/transaction fee that BoA charges for unemployed workers to access their unemployment moneys.

Organize your neighbors and go clean up that nearby vacant lot that’s full of garbage.

Start a community vegetable garden.

Above all, gather your friends and neighbors and remind them of Benjamin Franklin’s adage: “We must all hang TOGETHER, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”

Here’s where the Occupy movement needs to go

Occupy is running out of running room.

20111113-224352.jpgThere is an increasing amount of blow-back coming from the communities where the Occupy movement has manifested itself. The Portland, Atlanta, and (increasingly) Wall Street movements are meeting increasing resistance from the 1% and its paramilitary arm, the police. And particularly in the north, winter is oncoming; that will be a much deadlier foe than either rubber bullets or tear gas.

Here’s a good example of where Occupy must move if it is to remain a viable force for social change.

Tawanna Rorey and her husband, a Georgia police officer, are about to lose their house in a foreclosure. Occupy Atlanta came to their community and is camping out in their yard, determined to prevent the family’s eviction. This comes with the applause of the Roreys and many of their neighbors.

This is where Occupy needs to go.

The point of the physical occupations has been made. It is now time for highly focused, highly specific, tightly coordinated deeds. The power of the Internet is ideally suited for this approach (flash mobs have proven this), and working through electronic communication accomplishes two important goals:

  • It keeps participants out of the harm’s way that many Occupy-ers are beginning to face, from man and nature.
  • It keeps Occupy focused upon what is truly important about it — affecting social change through mass efforts.

 

Sunday Fun Quiz!

Mainstream media’s not paying much attention to the Occupy movement, because:

  1. It’s not considered newsworthy.
  2. It’s boring.
  3. It doesn’t titillate reich-wing sensitivities because the protestors are correct.
  4. The media doesn’t give a shit because it doesn’t generate revenue for them.
  5. The Occupy movement is the most significant widespread social movement in 40 years, and that can’t be summarized by a talking head in 15 seconds.

It must be naptime for the newsboys in Vancouver.

For those of you still wondering about OCCUPY…

…here are two sets of statistics from FRED that might clarify the picture:

Civilian unemployment in the U.S. (shaded areas are recessions)

Corporate profits after taxes

NOW do you understand what OCCUPY is all about?

(BTW, FRED data is available through an add-on to Excel. It’s fun to play with, and it’s a little frightening to behold the results.)

“We fight, because we believe.”

The Spouse is so smart. She finds cool things for me to post and grouse about.

From U.S. Representative Peter King, the gentleman who spent some time earlier this year channeling Joe McCarthy with his Islamophobic witchhunts and repeated accusations of class warfare on the part of the middle class, referring to the Occupy movement:

“[W]e have to be careful not to allow this to get any legitimacy…I’m taking this seriously in that I’m old enough to remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy…We can’t allow that to happen.”

That statement, bundled with King’s retelling of rumors (“I don’t have facts to back this up, but…”), prompted this gem:

So per Representative King, the people have no business taking action that might shape national policy.

That sounds rather oligarchical.

Doesn’t it?