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Sunday, 15 April 2012


The symbol of the 99 percent?
Hello good readers,

Today I'd like to talk about something that's been on my mind lately, and since it's been meandering a lot lately maybe I need to bring it back into focus.

I've really been trying to wrap my head around what the Occupy movement is trying to do.  I mean I understand that they are upset, and staging a protest to let the world know it.  Apparently this is done by drum circles, wearing Guy Fawkes masks, chanting about the 99 percent and engaging in civil disobedience.

A big fan of the pope.
I take small issue with the use of the Guy Fawkes mask.  Guy was not a symbol of freedom from tyranny.  He was not a left wing rabble rouser.  He didn't want anarchy, which I perceive many who use his image believe.  Although, he tried to blow up the British Parliament buildings and remove King James I from the throne, this was not done for the 'people'.  His end goal was to restore  a Catholic Monarch to the throne. 

So his end game was to remove one repressive regime, and restore it with another one who arguably would be more of a puppet to the desires of the Catholic church.  (Who at the time had a pretty bad track record of being nice to the people.)

So when they invoke his image, they are invoking one of a person who was willing to kill to bring oppression upon the people...  But I digress.  I understand the perception of what they think he symbolises, I just find it ironic.

I digress about that, because this diatribe is not about Guy, it is about the #Occupy movement, and what it means.  So the argument goes, at least as I understand it, that 1% of the population control the majority of wealth, and consequentially power in a Capitalistic society, while the other 99% has very little.  This is deemed unfair, expedited by the fact that the 1% doesn't seem to pay their fair share of the taxes.  Of course this has manifested in the things like government bailouts, and the rich using their power to get richer, while the have nots get nothing.
I actually have always thought this meme was dumb, but
who am I to argue with the Internet.  I just never understood
why cats can't spell and have bad grammar.
At least that's how I've been able to understand the argument, but I'm not going to lie, this is a perception given to me by the media.  I am aware that the media has been known to be scummy, and not report the truth, but whatever will sell newspapers.  Well, really though, who reads newspapers anymore?  Some cliches are just over the hill.  I've also heard people interviewed that think the issue is the system of Capitalism.  They think moving to a Communist state would be the best way to live.  When questioned about the USSR or China, they say well, not that type of Communism, they fell to greed and became corrupt, what I mean is REAL communism. 

Ummm, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure all real communism is pretty doomed to fail because humans are naturally greedy.  It doesn't work in large scale economies, but works well in smaller situations.  For instance a household where all incomes are put into family bank account which is used to pay the bills, buy the necessities, save for the future, and even buy some luxuries works great.  However, when we try and run a country this way, there are too many different ideals on what the resources should be spent on, so a decision maker has to decide what is the best interests of the people.  So this is can be installed as a dictator or a democracy.  Well, we all know power corrupts, so a dictator will eventually use the resources for their own wants and needs.  I'm not sure if a true democracy would work or not.  It seems to me generally the masses would vote for their own needs as opposed to the good of all, so everyone would have mansions and Ferraris, with no food.

As this picture is already captioned, this seems useless.
Capitalism is defined thus:  "An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market."  More or less it equals this...  Greed drives society.  The pursuit of 'stuff' makes you want to succeed.  So you work to make money to get stuff, and that's how stuff gets made and done.  The more stuff you have the better you are, and the more stuff you want, the more stuff you are willing to do for it.  Take away the desire for stuff, and Capitalism fails.   (This is kind of an important fact.)  The thing I love about Capitalism is this.  The desire for stuff forces people to build better stuff in the hopes that people will buy their stuff.  It drives innovation, and ensures that technology moves forward.
What the protesters don't seem to realise is the solution is very easy.  Just like in a democracy, everyone gets a vote in Capitalism, however, instead of everyone person getting a vote to elect a single person to do whatever, in Capitalism, we vote with our dollars.  The more dollars we have, the more votes we get.  As a result, what ever stuff is making money, the people who produce the stuff will make more of it.  This is the reason that every new kids movie is in 3D, and that everything else is a copy of Twilight, Harry Potter, and the Hunger Games.
Yes, apparently teenage girls are clearly the demographic
Hollywood believes has the most money.
Just because the 1% has the majority of the money, we forget that they have the least amount of people.  The 1% still only has the need of 1% of the population.  It is the 99% that purchases most of the goods in this world.  They are the ones who allow the banks to charge outrageous fees for the privilege of holding their money.  They are the ones who allow the oil companies to raise the cost of gas to non-justifiable fees simply because a bird farted in Texas.  They are the ones who control what stuff is produced, and ensure that stuff is profitable by buying it.  It really is the best example of how true democracy works.  You can't abstain from voting, unless you are willing to go without stuff.  (More on that in another blog). 

So I guess my point is this.  If the 99% really wants to make an impact, sitting around parks, holding up signs, playing music and smoking weed is doing absolutely nothing except making those who are non-radicals, and the 1% do nothing but laugh at you and dismiss you as dirty hippies.  Dirty hippies who want to reinstate the government with Catholic figureheads apparently!  No, instead of fighting Capitalism, make it work for you.  Bring the corporations who you believe treat the people unfairly to their knees.  Stop voting for them and encouraging them with your dollars, and organise protest that they'll have to pay attention to...  Protest against their bottom line.

Oops!  Sorry, our bad.
For example.  Do you guys remember British Petroleum?  The company which spilled tonnes of oil into the Gulf Coast creating an ecological disaster?  I haven't heard a lot about them on the news lately.  I guess I've been distracted about Kim Kardashinans latest marriage exploits.  Anyhow, BP is one of those companies which I feel probably is as good as any to target.  On the scale of evil companies, they are pretty high on the list.  (Citibank, we'll get to you later.)  If the 99% were to absolutely boycott all BP products, all gas stations who used it, all products that employed it, and companies who advocate it.  Boycott absolutely without question, they would be forced to lower their prices, or risk going out of business. When they lower their prices though, still don't let up.  We are not looking for a short term gain, we are looking to send a message to corporations who say 'F*** you, and f*** what you stand for'.  If the 99% could organise and do that, it would actually make an impact!  It might make others who you feel have done you wrong take notice at the power of the 99%.  And if the happy by-product is I get lower gas prices, well then so  be it. (Damn I am tired of expensive gas).

I could go on, and maybe I will, but frankly, this has gone on too long as it is.  I probably lost most of my readers up around the cat picture, so I will stop for now.  Just also to let you know, I really do believe Capitalism works, and I believe that hard work can pay off in both personal satisfaction and stuff.  I also hate when people say something is too hard, when they really mean I am too lazy to put in the effort to do it.  I love my country, and I love my world, and I know that I have the right to try and change if I want to. 

If more people looked at the 100% of the world than the 1% of their small piece of life, I really think that we could do something a little more effective.

Thanks for reading.