What Are The Occupiers Demanding? October 12, 2011

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is being criticized by the establishment for not having any specific demands.  For this reason and others, the occupiers have been labeled as anarchist.  The media and the existing power structure want to hear exactly what these protesters want, rather than hearing about all the inequities and complaints.  Most Americans take these inequities for granted – they are the elephant in the room.

I maintain that it is best for the protesters not to make specific demands.  Any specific demand will be attacked and shot down by “the other 1%.”  If our system worked as it is supposed to, our political leaders, Members of Congress and Senators, would be the ones to propose specific measures to address the very clear grievances that are now being heard across the country.  Unfortunately, many legislators have gotten used to having legislation drafted by paid lobbyists who also contributed to their campaigns.  They may not even consider developing solutions to these grievances their problem – it’s just not what they do.  Fundamentally, this is what is wrong and what is at the root of many of the occupiers’ protests, perhaps not directly, but definitely a root cause.

As an engineer, I know that you have to dig deeper and deeper to find the root cause of the problem before you start fixing it, or you may be fixing the wrong problem.  You don’t fix a sticking door that has a sagging frame by filing the part that sticks.  The frame will continue to sag and the sticking will come back.  The relevance to the Occupiers’ demand problem is that the sagging frame here is the abdication of our legislative process to monied interests.  This is the root cause problem to be fixed.  Just think about it!

But our bought legislature (and other politicians) is not the only problem.  We have allowed the problem to fester for so long that it has infected our Supreme Court.  The equivalence purported by this august group between corporations and individuals has given corporations power over people by virtue of their wealth.  I have no creative solutions to this problem except to talk about it as much as I can and to let everyone know how silly it is.

So what I like to see is a group of legislators who will coalesce around the concept of full public funding of elections.  I don’t expect this to occur just yet.  Legislators and other politicians will need to feel much more threatened than they are today to go this way.  One possible route is that the wealthy themselves will see that their existence is threatened if power is not shared, and they will demand this exact reform from the legislators who are in their pockets.

No matter what, the protesters are right to openly advertise their issue.  Our legislators are the ones who need to propose specific solutions.  This is their real job.

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