It's the 1% Doctrine, Stupid

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CommonDreams.org

It's the 1% Doctrine, Stupid

The Failure of the “I Got Mine – and Yours, Too” Theory of Governance, And What’s Next?

As week seven of Occupy Wall Street dawns, much of the media and the establishment continue to act as if everything about the protests were an ineffable mystery.

Well, it’s really not that mysterious. To paraphrase James Carville yet again, it’s the 1% Doctrine, Stupid.

When 75% of the people support raising taxes on the rich, but their elected “representatives” won’t represent them, what else can people do, but take their grievances to the streets?  And this is no isolated case: on issue after issue, elected "representatives" are ignoring the people’s wishes, choosing to represent the ultra-rich and corporations instead.

When government gives banks and Wall Street some $12.8 trillion  of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money in direct funds, guarantees and near zero interest loans, and the fat cats turn around and spend it on bonuses and high-risk investments rather than fixing the real economy for the 99% who have been affected, don’t ask why people are angry.  Especially when not a single bankster or speculator has been busted for a plethora of real crimes, while people lose their homes to improperly documented foreclosures.

When the one-percenters and their bought-and-paid-for government pass a faux financial reform bill that doesn't actually change the way things are done in the Banks’ boardrooms or on Wall Street and people take to the streets, how can that be a mystery?

And yes, that means you, too, Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Party.  Your abject collusion with the one-percenters, while spouting populist rhetoric every four years, is in some ways more worthy of disdain than the Republicans’ outright embrace of the 1% Doctrine.

When the Supreme Court is dominated by corporatists and makes corporate- friendly rulings like Citizens’ United, assuring that government can be bought by the highest bidder, it should come as no great mystery when people take to the streets.

When the press becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate America, replacing truth, facts, and accuracy with “balance” and leaving reality on the cutting room floor, don’t act mystified when the people stop swallowing corporate propaganda, and seek truth on their own.

And when, since Reagan, one-percenters have been taking all of the wealth gained from increased productivity and stuffing it into their own pockets, while stiffing workers, it should come as no great mystery when the people catch on and take to the streets. 

Without a sense that government can do anything to right these gross crimes against the citizenry – indeed, when government is saddled with policies, laws, budgets and elected corporate lackeys guaranteeing it can’t address them – where else could the people turn but to the streets?

And to those who knock government as intrinsically incompetent and inept, remember, it has been made so by design since the 80’s.  For more than three decades prior to that, we had sustained and widely shared prosperity thanks to regulations and programs passed in the New Deal.  For five decades prior, we paid higher taxes and got great value for it.  Since Reagan, we’ve been cutting taxes and all we’re getting are wars, debt, inequality and plutocratic pork.

But what do they want, the establishment whines.

The mainstream media, politicians and assorted other pundits are perplexed because the Occupy Movement has not issued a series of demands in bulletized, media-friendly sound bites.

But if you want to understand what’s going on, Mr. Jones, simply look at what they do, and how they operate.

Within the various Occupy camps, they have set up a society that emphasizes inclusion, not exclusion.  They pursue the positive and affirmative issues that unite us, rather than the fear and hate-based issues that divide us.  They advocate a society in which corporations serve the interests of the people, rather than people serving and being subservient to the interests of corporations.

They are rejecting the politics of us vs. them, and embracing the politics of creating a greater us. They are advocating an economic system that respects environmental realities as well as meeting the rights and welfare of the people. 

The Occupy movement recognizes that a society, economy or country is neither great nor successful simply because it amasses the most wealth conceivable.  No matter how high the GDP, a system that serves the interests of a scarce few at the expense of the many is a failure. A society that exploits unborn generations and the natural world on behalf of the 1%, is profoundly immoral.

Here’s the deal: for thirty years, under the 1% Doctrine, fat-cats and plutocrats have systematically destroyed peoples' faith in government so they could take over. They’ve succeeded. The result? The US economy now has the same level of income inequality as such third world countries as Uganda and Cameroon, and persistent real unemployment hovering above 20%, and we are stealing any hope of a sustainable future from our children in order to give fat cats yet another bloated bonus. 

We – the people, the 99% -- are sick to death, literally, of the failed policies of the 1% Doctrine. 

The future – if we are to have one worth living – belongs to us.  Step aside, one percenters.  The tide of history is rolling in.

John Atcheson

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and Book One of a Trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on Climateprogess.org.

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