In October of 2003 Steve Jobs first learned that he had pancreatic cancer. His doctors and family members urged, even pleaded with him to have surgery, but he opted instead to try alternative and natural remedies. It was a decision he would later regret. America is faced with a similar dilemma.
Recently, an article by Llewellyn Rockwell, a former Ron Paul chief of staff, antagonized the federal government elite as the “1 percent” that’s wronged the other 99% of Americans. Rockwell eschews the “impoverishing…taxes, regimentation” of the state while encouraging the Occupy movement to leave the other 1 percent alone—CEOs and bankers— as they are “Some of the smartest, most innovative people in the country.”
Rockwell’s writing has some truth to it. The federal government is certainly complicit in the oppression of the 99%. And the people are rightly upset. Congressional approval is now in the single digits, which is the lowest in recorded history for CBS/New York Times pollsters. The Federal Reserve’s first audit showed trillions in secret bailouts to the same Wall Street banks foreclosing on our homes and laying off thousands, as well as trillions in bailouts to banks outside of the United States. And if that wasn’t enough, it appears that the Fed is letting Bank of America dump $74 trillion in derivatives into taxpayer-insured FDIC accounts. President Obama’s support for Occupy Wall Street seems hollow when such rampant greed and corruption is allowed to continue under the nose of our supposed regulators.
But antagonizing the state as the sole culprit for our grievances is disingenuous. The state enables the unrestrained greed of corporate and financial titans to push millions into poverty worldwide. Toothless agencies, staffed with former executives of the companies they’re supposed to be regulating, were complicit in the BP oil disaster by letting the companies write their own rules. Corporations are now breaking apart pieces of the Earth’s mantle to draw natural gas, free to pollute water supplies without fear of government regulation. President Obama’s re-election team just hired a senior adviser who formerly lobbied for TransCanada—the same company pushing the White House to approve their Keystone XL oil pipeline that would pillage the land for oil destined for other countries. Even Sen. Dick Durbin admits that banks "frankly own the place." Our government has become a subsidiary of industry.
The truth in Rockwell’s piece lies in his description of the corporate 1 percent that he praises as “smart and innovative.” Indeed, these men are smart, but their intelligence should be seen as cold and calculating, not praised. Corporations don’t care about helping America succeed. Corporations as they exist now exist solely for profit, not public good. If the government stands in the way of their profit potential, they can legally purchase new politicians through unlimited, undisclosed campaign donations. If the salaries of their employees or even the planet stand in the way, they’ll eliminate them to appease an economic system that values unsustainable growth over all else. This system of collusion and oppression is why Americans of all colors and backgrounds are occupying.
In a recent segment on Democracy Now!, Glenn Greenwald noted that mere legislative demands from Occupiers would be insufficient to address the grievances of the 99 percent taking the world by storm. If Congress is so rife with corruption that they’ll even vote down creating 300,000 jobs for teachers and first responders to protect millionaires from even a .05% tax increase, then the system is beyond saving through conventional means. The real battle must be waged nonviolently in the streets, even in the face of excessive oppression by an emerging police state.
The cancer eating America alive right now is a corporatocracy where cozy relationships between the power elite dictate policy for the 99%. Americans must surgically remove the corporate cancer from government through direct action and the voting booth, and cultivate new leaders from within the movement. When the people lead, our leaders will have no choice but to follow.