You say you want a revolution? Run for office … Zuccotti Park is not Tahrir Square, because the United States is not Egypt. In case this is not obvious to those camping out near Wall Street and in various other cities around the country, consider the following: In about 13 months, all 435 members of the House of Representatives must stand for election. In addition, 33 Senate seats and residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be up for grabs. And this is just at the federal level. So if the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd wants to peacefully overthrow the government, there is no need to gather in a public square. The demonstrators can work for a candidate or run themselves – CNN
Dominant Social Theme: All can be solved by government – just vote!
Free-Market Analysis: So the protestors ought to run for office? This article was written by Paul Sracic, chairman of the department of political science at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Scracic believes the Occupy Wall Streeters should work within the system if they want change.
This shows the meme of democratic change is still one that the powers-that-be will pursue in their quest to delegitimize the current spate of social unrest. We are not sure of how Scracic justifies what's going on in the US, but apparently he believes that it can all be reversed simply by the ballot box. This is at best optimistic and at worse a simple falsehood.
Protesters, he writes, want inclusion and consensus, "but they have it; it's called democracy." The protestors, he continues, have dismissed this option because, according to the demonstrators, "no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power." Here's some more:
So are we to conclude that since corporations control American politics, the best thing for us to do is to sit outside in a park and issue manifestos? Writing in the pages of CNN.com, Douglas Rushkoff chastises those of us who don't understand the point of all this, explaining that Occupy Wall Street is "the product of the decentralized networked-era culture, it is less about victory than sustainability. It is not about one-pointedness, but inclusion and groping toward consensus."
Well, in the U.S., groups made up of disparate individuals "network" themselves together to make collective decisions all the time. We call it democracy. As for "victory" being exchanged for "sustainability," how is it that these are interchangeable nouns? Political processes tend to be ongoing and aimed at "sustainability." Congress does not just take a vote and then dissolve. "Victory," as Rushkoff terms it, is just a way of saying that we have reached a decision. It is probably not our first, and let's hope, not our last.
And though it is not always pretty, President Barack Obama, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Harry Reid spend most of their time "groping toward consensus." They must do so, however, in the real world, where people disagree. Occupations and rallies are fun. Electoral politics is hard. The rules are complex, and so are the voters. A gathering in the street has a lot in common with a party. Running for office and working for a candidate is like a 9 to 5 job.
What Scracic calls "hard" is in fact not a feasible suggestion. There are only two political parties that matter in the US and they basically yield the same results every four years – which is more authoritarianism, more laws and less income for the individual taxpayer.
Scracic doesn't mention the laws that have been passed at a state and federal level that make it very difficult to start a new party in the US. He doesn't mention the electronic ballot boxes that have been distributed throughout the US within a security environment that is subject to tampering. Many electronic machines don't even include a paper trail!
Neither does he mention that the US legislators at all levels are subject to intimidation and blackmail by an increasingly intrusive intelligence community that uses the threat of wiretaps and other strategies to ensure that the political process pretty much stays stuck in the current stance and reform goes nowhere.
The US like the rest of the Western world is evidently and obviously run by central banking families that have unlimited amounts of money at their disposal via their access to paper currency and fiat money. These families and their enablers are apparently determined to move the globe toward one-world government. To try to pass off the current US system with its inequities as one that can be changed by "voting" is almost insulting.
The US began as something of an agrarian republic. But the Civl War crushed this particular element of US exceptionalism and the more pernicious elements of Leviathan have been expanding ever since. A central bank, graduated income tax, the militaryindustrial complex and a torrent of laws and regulations have turned a republic into an authoritarian quagmire with endless wars abroad and spymasters at home working for the all-invasive Homeland Security agency.
This endless evolution is supposed to be overturned at the ballot box? Many people still cannot conceive of what has gone wrong with their lives and finances. Public education, another gift of the powers-that-be, has drained people of critical thinking or the ability to understand their lives within the larger context of what we call directed history. Voting – as it occurs within the current system – is supposed to change this? Really?
A caveat: In this article, we have offered a negative assessment of voting in the US (and the West generally) but we should add that we hope this perspective is overblown and that at least some change CAN happen via the ballot box, especially if such motivated individuals as Congressman Ron Paul and Nelson Hultberg have their way. (See his article, this issue).
Edited on date of publication.
It's increasingly been our assessment that the system will not change until it literally self destructs and people have the opportunity to rebuild it. Over a century's worth of modifications to the US system have been made to ensure that "democracy" will never usher in real change. it will take a mighty push to overcome such determined dysfunction. Good luck to those who are trying.