OWS at a Disadvantage

October 19th, 2011

Some people are criticizing the Occupy Wall Street crowd for hating corporations, but using corporate goods–using video cameras made by Sony, cell phones by Samsung, clothes by The Gap, bags from Eddie Bauer–even razors, hair dye, posterboard, markers, etc.–all made by the corporations they are protesting.

The criticisms are, of course, idiotic. What do they expect, for people go go naked, unwashed, and carrying nothing? Virtually everything you get nowadays is made by corporations. It would be like criticizing workers going on strike for wearing clothes and eating food they bought with wages made by working at the company they were on strike from.

Worse, if the protesters did go for the non-corporate solutions–hemp clothes, papyrus banners, etc., they’d be ridiculed even more. In short, it’s a cheap, ill-considered, snarky jab.

A real problem with the OWS protests seems to be the nature of the political support behind it. When the Tea Party had far less groundswell (especially protests not paid for or otherwise supported by billionaires), they wielded incredible political influence. This was because the conservative establishment immediately picked up on the influence they represented and made the most of it. Fox put their full weight behind them, and the conservative political force responded strongly to it, took full advantage of a popular protest.

In the case of OWS, there is no “liberal media” (outside of a few MSNBC shows) to rally behind it (while Fox has spent all their time vilifying and/or mocking it), and Democrats seem to be unsure of what to do. Obama even seems to be ignoring them for the most part–all in character, of course. As a result, we see this huge movement which seems to be running in place, getting nothing at all accomplished.

Someone please tell me I’m wrong on this.

  1. Troy
    October 19th, 2011 at 11:19 | #1

    The only threat the left has left is not voting for the lesser evil.

    Kinda cutting our own throat to prove the point, but what are ya gonna do.

    If the right wants to run this country completely into the ground, it may be time to let them.

    We’ll pick up the pieces like we did in 1933-36.

    But to get there from here is going to be brutal.

    I do think my take on things is slowly beginning to be understood, that wealth disparity is just an immense and ongoing problem here.

    The right’s “job creators” bullshit isn’t going to cut any ice this decade, things are way too far gone for that.

    Oddly, Japan still is bringing in more trade surplus than it knows what to do with:



    This implies to me that the yen might be getting stronger still this decade.

    Much of the US’s trade deficit with China is trade with Japan through its manufacturing base in China.

  2. Roger
    October 19th, 2011 at 12:52 | #2

    Well, one complaint I’ve heard loud and often from Tea Party people is that they resent the Republican Party establishment trying to subvert their movement into something to collect votes and money over – without actually changing the way things are done in Washington. I guess at least we don’t have that complaint yet about OWS. But yes, it feels like running in place. I’m reminded of the 2002-2003 anti-Iraq War protests that went roundly ignored/mocked. I’m glad to see the OWS movement – but I must admit I’m still not optimistic about how the power structure will respond.

  3. Troy
    October 19th, 2011 at 13:15 | #3

    To fix things is going to require ~$600B in gov’t spending cuts and ~$600B in tax raises, plus more as social security bonds start needing to be redeemed.

    We’re also going to need to close the $500B/yr trade deficit by half or more, which will involve the dollar falling against other currencies (and oil prices going up, probably doubling).

    We also need to actually reform health care, to cut the per-capita cost down from $8000 per person to $4000 or less.

    All of these changes are politically impossible.

    We’re simply screwed.

  4. Troy
    October 20th, 2011 at 04:51 | #4

    Another thing, the core imbalance of the economy isn’t “corporations” per se.

    Sure, Coca Cola and Apple make very high margins, but these are products of choice.

    Where capitalism goes evil is rent-seeking in necessities like housing, medical care, finance, and energy.

    Corporations play some part of the maldistribution of wealth, with the rich getting the bulk of corporate dividends — the top 1% owns 40% of the equities here — and also the trade deficit and labor arbitrage that all consumer companies support and profit from.

    But consumer goods are not the dominate thing in our economy — per capita health care is $8000 per year, and we pay more than that per-capita on ground rents (land value) too. Plus the average household pumps 1000 gallons a year.

    Compared to that, consumer baubles like iPods are not significant.

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