The sexual harassment scandal surrounding Republican presidential candidate and Christian supremacist Herman Cain is entertaining in that he’s an asshole getting fucked by his own dick; literally. But it got me thinking about what he said about the OccupyWallStreet movement that’s currently capturing headlines and imaginations around the world, before his own issues got everyone’s attention:
“‘When a reporter asked me the other day: Well, what do you think about those demonstrations up on Wall Street? I said, first of all, Wall Street didn’t write these failed economic policies, the White House did.’ He added, ‘Why don’t you move the demonstrations to the White House?'”
In a way – a very weird way – the free market fundamentalist actually made a good point, albeit one that he didn’t intend to make. The sexual harasser was trying to distract from the failed policies of deregulation put in place by past administrations – Democrat and Republican – that he wants to continue if elected by shifting blame from the system on the current administration he wants to dethrone … and on the people currently protesting the same financial backers he wants to serve.
But why don’t the people move their protests to the White House? And Congress? And The Supreme Court? One reason was offered up by one of OWS’s bigger and high-profile supporter Michael Moore. As a liberal, Moore had this to say about why OWS is about Wall Street and capitalism, and not the government itself:
“‘The reason we’re not occupying Washington . . . right now is the congressmen or senators are the employees of Wall Street,’ Moore said. ‘We’re kind of tired of dealing with the middleman or the servant.'”
The question that OWS particpants should be considering is whether they’re for abolishing capitalism or regulating it. Aside from radical elements – like the anarchists smashing it up – OWS is essentially a reformist movement seeking a fair and more equitable capitalism. Which is fine, but if that’s the case then what’s the point of “occupying Wall Street?” Capitalists do what they do for the same reason drug dealers sell drugs – to make money. Nothing is going to stop them, unless they’re stopped. Which happens to be the job of government – a concept embraced by liberals.
Liberals embraced another concept – Barack Obama, including but not limited to people like Moore, whose idea of criticizing the current president is to appeal to his good nature and be understanding, as this letter he wrote two years ago demonstrates:
“All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam “might” be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish — the full terror of which we scarcely know.
When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn’t even function as a nation and never, ever has.”
Cain’s assertion that these protests are organized by the White House – echoed by his current assertion that the harassment charges are orchestrated by the Democrats – is as absurd as any other right-wing conspiracy, but I suspect that many behind OWS want to avoid direct confrontation with the White House because many of them voted for Obama, and still believe in him. Moore is one such person; the OWS forum shows that some will support him as well, leaving one to wonder how many more OWS supporters would re-elect Obama – especially after he “embraced” the movement and is “responsive” to their actions for the purpose of co-opting the movement in order to be re-elected in 2012.
Whichever way the movement goes – abolition or regulation – it must remain independent of the electoral process and political parties in order to succeed. When the Democrats try to co-opt the movement – and they will – it will be a test of its strength that will indicate whether the 99 percent will prevail over the corporatocracy that we live under.