So last week, we established that we’re angry. Well, 99 percent of us are, anyway. Angry at Wall Street, angry at Capitol Hill (redundancy mine) and I’d like to say we’re not going to take it anymore, but clearly we’re face down over the financial barrel and can’t do much but yell. But, at least we’re finally yelling.
Until the police show up and pepper-spray us in the face, that is.
I got angrier just typing that.
Although the collective anger boiling over at the Occupy protests has pushed its way into corporate media coverage, it’s frequently footnoted with criticism and outright sneering that the protesters don’t have a clear message. Excuse me? They most certainly do have a message: “We’re angry!” That’s a message, you dolts!
The occupiers are like a guy rushed into the emergency room, clutching his chest in agony. His message is crystal clear: “I’m hurting!” It’s up to the doctor to figure out why he has chest pain, be it heart attack, stomach ulcers or that ax protruding from his sternum. I rather doubt the doc would sniff, “Come back when you know what the problem is, pal.” Unless, of course, the doctor’s paycheck is signed by Rupert Murdoch.
So yes, we’re angry, and hurting; but, sadly, no one’s going to rush in to triage and treat our pain. The police won’t help, even though we’re being robbed. The government can’t help, because it’s a useless puppet dangling on Wall Street’s strings. And the corporations — help? Hey, did you just see that pig fly by?
We’re on our own, baby. We’re like that hiker who cut off his own arm to survive when he got pinned by boulders. Ain’t nobody comin’ to the rescue. We must save ourselves. But how. It’s not as straightforward as sawing an arm off. I’ll tell you what the answer isn’t: politicians. Get it through your thick skulls: Politicans don’t care about The American People, for which they gush support while adjusting their lapel flag pins with one hand and stroking their political base with the other.
Politicians don’t care about us. They care about clinging to their cushy jobs, which requires campaign donations from the 1 percent. Following the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations are people, too, and therefore entitled to make unlimited campaign donations, the Wall Street bull icon has mutated into a campaign cash cow. That won’t go unnoticed by any politician worth his weight in double-talk.
People, we’re at war. We don’t realize it because we don’t see bombs or tanks. But we have casualties: unemployment claims. We have flag-draped coffins: foreclosed homes. And we have soldiers: those of us lucky enough to still have jobs, trudging onward, dodging our incoming bills. Trouble is, we don’t have a general, let alone marching orders. We must pull together and develop a battle plan.
First, let’s analyze the enemy’s strategies: It’s all about profit. While corporations outsource our jobs to India and China where they can exploit an abundance of cheap labor, our complicit government looks the other way. Candidate Obama said he’d close tax loopholes for companies that outsource their workforce. President Obama didn’t follow through. “Jobs bill,” my sad, tired, overworked, underpaid butt. The only jobs bill that matters is the one that ends tax breaks for companies that outsource their workforce. When Chinese and Indian workers cost more than American, that’s when we’ll have more jobs in the U.S.
The only way you and I can make a dent on outsourcing is, whenever possible, to boycott foreign-made products. I know it’s tough. The computer I’m typing on right now was probably made in China. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just do whatever you can to redirect your money toward American-made products. Let’s practice this Christmas. Do your shopping at local businesses, particularly those that make their own items. Or make them yourself. And after Christmas … keep doing it.
Another strategy to defeat the enemy is to apply a tourniquet to our financial bleeding in the form of bank fees and interest. Don’t charge what you can’t afford, and pay off your credit cards. Credit cards are quicksand. The harder you struggle, the deeper you sink. Your only chance is if someone throws you a rope — which gave me an idea.
What if we formed debt co-ops. Say, 12 friends struggling with credit card debt band together — a troop, if you will. Each month, you pool your money and pay off one person’s credit card, which is then cut up and cancelled, thereby cutting supplies to the enemy. Imagine credit cards as enemy soldiers, and you’re a troop of snipers, picking them off, one at a time.
Sure, it’s an outside-the-box idea, but at least it’s an idea. And outside the box is where we must start brainstorming, because the inside is full of politicians and corporations. At the very least, a debt co-op is a better idea than letting big-bank vampires suck your financial blood every month. Most of all, it’s an idea that neither benefits Wall Street nor relies on the government to solve our problems — the two key components to winning the One Percent War.
Our best weapon is our money. Get it out of that big bank and transfer it into a small local bank or credit union that supports your own community. Buy American-made. Spend your money at local businesses. Take back your money and you take back your power. Keep your money on Main Street, not Wall Street.
All right, soldiers — forward, march!