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From Occupy Wall Street to Plunder Wall Street
What happened to Occupy Wall Street? It lacked staying power.
Occupy Wall Street is not much in the news any more. It had ambitious ideas but little focus on issues or organizational structure. It had "decentralized" leadership which means no leadership at all. The politicians were tolerant of its activities for a time but then reality set in and there was a crackdown. It was hard to sustain the fervor and expectations of the early days. Grim reality usually wins.
The Tea Party, on the other hand, did go on to acquire structure when it was coopted by the Republican Party. Political ambition then took over. The Tea Party had its glorious moment at the polls in the election of 2010 when the Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives. Then it started attacking other Republicans, prompting a reaction.
Hurray for both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party even though one movement is associated with the political left and the other with the political right. They were both spontaneous movements focused on defeating the plutocracy. To date, that has not happened. Maybe Gold Party can now give it a shot.
Gold Party seeks to temper idealism with realism. It will combine the vision of a better society with cash rewards for the people who contribute to its success. Once political power is achieved, Gold Party will convert its point system into money for its contributing members. Where will this money come from? Through taxation upon wealth and incomes, government may take much of it from the hedge funds, money managers and investors commonly called "Wall Street". (See about the proposed wealth transfer.)
Rebellious colonists waged war against Great Britain to gain their independence. The Continental Congress issued script to finance the war. After the war, this script became worthless. “Not worth a Continental” was how it was often described.
The Continental currency was paid to soldiers in the Revolutionary war. Most eventually fell into the hands of speculators. The British produced counterfeits to disrupt the war effort. By 1780, a Continental was one fortieth of its original value.
When Alexander Hamilton became Secretary of the Treasury in the Washington administration, he proposed that the U.S. government assume the states’ wartime debt. Those who currently held the debt could expect the new government to stand behind this obligation. Hamilton’s policy ensured that this government would have a constituency that would support it.
The federal assumption of debt was controversial. Madison and Jefferson thought the government should be obligated to its original holders, the soldiers, as well as to the speculators in current possession. The need to raise revenue to pay interest in the debt led to excise taxes on whiskey and to the Whiskey Rebellion in rural Pennsylvania. Federal troops led by George Washington quelled the rebellion.
Even so, the United States of America thrived. Persons holding debt from the Revolutionary war had an interest in making it a success. That meant that a network of creditors supported the new government. Personal interest guaranteed political stability.
So it is with this idea of Gold Party. Those who take part in its activities are like the soldiers who enlisted in the Continental army to fight the British in the Revolutionary war. Those struggling soldiers expected to be paid. They were paid in a worthless currency, the Continental dollar, which was later redeemed by the U.S. Government. The currency through this government then had lasting value.
That is how the U.S. government became established as a political force. It is also the way that Gold Party can become broadly established as a force in contemporary politics. It is a way that the gains of the idealistic persons who were involved in the Tea Party and in Occupy Wall Street can become permanent.
People need incentives to do political work for the long haul; and this involves a certain element of selfishness. Therefore, sentimental ideas of decentralized leadership and decision-making by consensus will not work. Gold Party gives power to the mass of party members who have worked to create it. Yes, there is a time for spontaneous demonstration, but we also need an organization, free of money's controlling influence, that stiffens its resolve and focuses political energy upon the reforms of government and society that are so sorely needed.
Scenes from Occupy Wall Street in Minneapolis, October 7 & 8, 2011
(in Plaza next to Hennepin Government Center)
preparing the message (day 1) .............................. friends talk (day 1)
a personal statement (day 1) .......................... former union leader and friend (day 1)
keeping busy with a march (day 1) ................................... welcoming table (day 2)
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