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'Capitalism or Common Sense?' An Occupy Wall Street Class War Camp pamphlet

'Capitalism or Common Sense?' An Occupy Wall Street Class War Camp pamphlet

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Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is happy to make available a new pamphlet produced by radical Occupy activist in United States, in the interests of the advancing continuing discussion in the movement. http://links.org.au
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is happy to make available a new pamphlet produced by radical Occupy activist in United States, in the interests of the advancing continuing discussion in the movement. http://links.org.au

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Published by: Terry Townsend, Editor on Apr 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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AnOccupy Wall Street
Class War Camp
Or Common Sense?
… visit directory.occupy.netto find out how
on Twitter
Email may1socialistunity@gmail.com
by Pham Binh
1 2
Occupy!Who would’ve imagined the word “occupy” would inspire millions to takedirect action and stand up for the 99% here in America after brutaloccupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?Now there’s Occupy Pakistan and even Occupy Nigeria.Occupy is more than a movement, less than a revolution, and long overdue.Occupy isn’t about ideology, it’s about the 99%, hence why pacifists andinsurrectionists, anti-capitalist anarchists/socialists and pro-capitalistlibertarians, liberal Democrats and Ron Paul Republicans, vegans andomnivores have come together despite our differences.Just as Jesus took direct action2,000 years ago by chasingmerchants and money-lenders outof a Jerusalem temple, so todaywe’re chasing “too big to fail”bankers and corporate lobbyistsout of government. They’ve madegovernment “a den of thieves” (asJesus put it) and it’s time to cleanhouse.
Figuring Out the Problem
Occupy’s mobilization of people across the political spectrum doesn’t meanthat our differences will go away or that they don’t matter. The medicines wechoose depend on our ills.The libertarians and Ron Paul supporters believe that governmentinterference with the free market is the main cause of the problems facing the99% today. “Too much socialism and not enough capitalism,” they say. Theirsolutions: end the Federal Reserve, bring back the gold standard (meaningevery dollar in circulation should have an equivalent gold bar sitting in FortKnox), and shrink government (no bailouts, minimize regulations, cut socialprograms).Let’s imagine what America would be like if we took their medicine:
1.) Ending the Federal Reserve
would end the government’s ability to setinterest rates. This would empower the huge banks like Citigroup and Bankof America to charge whatever they can get away with since they are thebiggest players in the capital markets.Ending the Fed would also put Congress in charge of monetary policy. If youthink Congress is a circus now, just wait until clowns like Michelle Bachmannhave a say over the money supply.
2.) Returning to the gold standard
by making sure that each dollar incirculation has an equivalent piece of gold in a government vault would donothing to help the 99%. The reason the cost of living keeps going up isn’tbecause there is no gold backing the dollar, it’s because the raises the 99%get (if we get raises!) are less than the price increases of rent, gas, food, andhealth care. If inflation was happening, the price of everything would be goingup, but the price of labor (wages, salaries) has stagnated and housing priceshave collapsed dramatically, so inflation can’t be the problem.Capitalism’s biggest fans have no clue how the system really works. That’sno coincidence.
3.) Shrinking/minimizing government
is a mixed bag. When the federalgovernment and local law enforcement disregard the Constitution and openlytarget Muslims because of their religion, shutting down Big Brother should beon everyone’s priority list.And yes, the government has no business bailing out bankers who makehuge bets and lose. When WallStreet wins, they keep their profits;when they lose, they hand theirlosses to us by using their control ofgovernment to pour trillions of ourtaxpayer dollars into their bankrupt,insolvent institutions.Heads they win, tails we lose.When we’re down on our luck, outof a job, or need a helping handpoliticians tell us “tough luck, there’sno money! Stop asking for ahandout!” Our social safety netcatches fat cats but not veteranswho today make up 1/6 of ourhomeless population.We’ve got to end the system ofsocialism for the 1% and capitalismfor the 99% where profits areprivatized and losses are socialized.
“I am opposing a social order inwhich it is possible for one manwho does absolutely nothing that isuseful to amass a fortune ofhundreds of millions of dollars,while millions of men and womenwho work all the days of their livessecure barely enough for awretched existence.” – Eugene V. Debs3 4
That said, minimizing or eliminatingregulations is a truly terrible idea, onpar with giving George W. Bush athird term or hiring Casey Anthony tobabysit your kid. President Clintonrepealed many laws that regulatedbanking and finance. After that, thesize of banks dramatically increasedas investment banks gobbled upcommercial banks, creating theproblem of “too big to fail.”Too big to fail is too big to exist.Without regulations, oversight, andgovernment-enforced transparency,consumers, smaller businesses, andworkers are at the mercy of creditcard companies, banksters, andmultinational corporations.Don’t forget, there was a time inAmerican history without the FederalReserve, when the dollar was backedby gold, and there were few lawsgoverning the economy, protectingworkers’ rights, or safeguarding the environment. It was a time of tenements,child labor, sweatshops, deadly workplace accidents, brutal exploitation, andenvironmental destruction, when the war between labor and capital waslethal for the 99% because the 1% hired armies to drown union organizingdrives in blood.Who in their right mind would want to go back to that?Cutting government spending by closing schools, shrinking agencies like theEnvironmental Protection Agency, privatizing Social Security, and firingteachers, cops, firefighters, and postal workers is the worst thing that couldhappen to the 99%. Greece did exactly that after the bottom fell out of theireconomy in 2008, and their economy has shrunk every year since: -3.3%growth in 2009, -3.4% in 2010, and -6.8% in 2011.Greece’s shrinking economy is making their debt problem worse with eachpassing year. The deeper in debt they go, the more cuts Europe’s banksdemand in exchange for bailouts, the more cuts there are, the more theireconomy shrinks, the deeper in debt they go. It’s a vicious cycle.
Capitalism Is the Problem
Greece is stark example of what capitalism has in store for us in the not-too-distant future. Under capitalism, it is rational for banks to avoid losing moneyon loans to governments like Greece because profits are priority #1. If thoseprofits come at the expense of Greece’s pensions for the elderly, theirminimum wage, or other things that serve the 99%, so be it.What’s rational for capitalism isn’t rational for us. The more you think aboutcapitalism the less sense it makes.Take health care. Medical bills are the #1 reason for personal bankruptcy inAmerica. We are #1 in the world when it comes to health care costs but #37when it comes to delivering quality care according to the World HealthOrganization. Our for-profit health care system is all buck and no bang,although the CEOs of health carecompanies are among the bestpaid of any industry’s.So insurance companies nickeland dime their customers out ofbenefits, drug makers spendbillions to prevent cheapergenerics from getting onto themarket, and the 99% either getlucky to find a job with benefits orthey end up waiting for hours inemergency rooms after it’s too late to be cured. Or both.Health care should not depend on where or whether you work or how muchyou’ve got in your bank account.The result of a for-profit health care system is this: the people who have theleast and need care the most are the least likely to get it, while the peoplewho have the most and need the care the least receive the best care andenjoy the longest, healthiest lives.The 99% live longer, healthier, and for less when we remove profit from thehealth care system. We get more bang for the buck once the system isn’tdedicated to making a buck.
The Common Sense Solution
The encampments we created showed on a small scale what a society notgeared around making profits for the 1% could be like. Did we charge peoplefor the food we served? Did we charge rent for tents? Did we make peoplepay for gloves, coats, and first aid? No! Everyone was fed, housed, andgiven clothes despite our limited means.

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