Folks in the media and elsewhere complain that OWS has no agenda, has no demands, has no solutions, but I think this is willfully naive and ingenuous. This is not like the 60s, where there were clear cut problems like discrimination and the Vietnam war. This is a failed system, a failed regime, that people are tired of being oppressed by, and if that sounds like pinko commie liberal rhetoric, so be it. There is so much wrong that we hardly know where to begin. Here's the list that I see, in no particular order:
- Enormous wealth disparities between upper management and workers
- Enormous wage disparities between people who actully produce goods and people who just move money around.
- The concentration of liquid capital in the hands of too few people
- Unconscionable tax inequity between the ultra wealthy and the rest of us
- Lack of investment in the infrastructure by the people who make the most use of it, i.e., corporations (see tax inequiety, above)
- Politicians who are unresponsive to constituents who cannot pay to have them re-elected, i.e., corruption
- Raging injustice, as exemplified by Troy Davis, who is only one among hundreds, if not thousands
- A gutting of our educational system by running schools and universities as though they were for-profit corporations or factories and learning was a "product"
- The elevation of profit over the well-being of workers and the nation itself (or the world in general; globalization hasn't treated foreign workers kindly either)
- The glorification of individualism to the point of psychosis (this covers everything from thinking the anonymity of the internet and the right to free speech give you the right to be an uncivil and hateful asshole to the inability to empathize with the plight of people who are not having the same luck in life that you are.) I blame some of this on the gutting of our educational system, where we used to learn to get along with each other.
And that's just my short list. These are systemic problems, social, political, and economic. How do you sum that up in a sign, or make into a list of demands, especially when the people to whom you would present that demand clearly do not give a good goddamn and haven't for the last 30 years? The only documents that would cover these issues were written in 1787 and 1789. They're called the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. Maybe it's time for new ones.