Open Letter to OWS

Lets just get this out there First: I am a privileged Baby boomer. College was relatively cheap. I missed Vietnam. I got a State job that is fulfilling.  A pension.  Expensive, but still good healthcare.  And I even get collective bargaining when its convenient for the politicians.  Despite that,  I AM grateful.  And honestly, I feel guilty.

   Why?  Because I know that the generation out in the street right now don’t have it as good as I did AND they are doing way more to effect change than I ever did at any Anti-nuke rally in the 80s.  

   I feel guilty because I had an easy job market in the mid 80s.  They face “the new normal” – which might be 7-8% unemployment whenever we get back down to that level (and yes, Higher for minorities).  To them, my defined benefit pension is like the phone land lines I own … a dinosaur.  In short, these young people face an economic disaster that only avoids revolution because of our tattered remnant of a social safety net.  They dont deserve this and I feel guilty that I have done nothing to help them.

    So yes, with my guilt in tow, I accompanied my Gen X friend today to deliver the soup he made to the Trenton Occupy.  Not much of a help, but a start.  I spoke to a 20 something there who said our government is irrelevant. He said the only worthwhile effort is to continue the protest and hope for change outside of government.

      Is he right? After all, did government cause Bank of America to retract its new $5 transaction fee? The most arrogant, aggressive bank of all, BOA, backed down. Holy shit. Did Obama finally wake up and bring such change? The audacity of Hope? Nope.   In the face of a OWS movement to move our bank accounts to smaller banks, BOA backed down.  

    But, I still doubt that OWS on its own will bring on the big reforms outside of the machinery of the existing political system. Yes that system is corrupted by money. Yes it works in the interests of its corporate masters. But the fact of the matter is… it collects the taxes and controls billions in resources. Its has an army, a police force, a court system and a bureaucracy that still can (if allowed to) enforce laws for the greater good.

     In short, if government suddenly dissolved leaving OWS in its place… OWS would quickly have to rebuild something like what already exists to stave off a collapse of society. Yes they would build it with representatives who actually represent the people. And, OWS already has a government… its called the General Assembly.

    So OWS is going to have to face it. Government isnt irrelevant.  Their disgust with the corrupted system is right, but their conclusion that the system is useless is wrong.   Its the people running the system that are the problem.

   What I am suggesting is that OWS needs to contemplate a new phase. An occupation of the electoral system.  Occupy the Voting Booth. Occupy the Parties.  Take the apparatus of Government back for the people.  Start with the party Committees, the local government, the school boards, the planning boards.  Occupy THAT.  they wont know what hit them.  

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