Demand: ConfiscationOctober 31st, 2011

All this what-do-they-want gas issuing from the embedded mass media is meant to distract from the Occupy movement’s clear mandate: take from the rich. The stewardship of the owners has been a demonstrable failure for everyone but them, so let’s put an end to it. So compelling is the logic behind this demand that the media can’t bring themselves to articulate it.

 There may be some disagreement among protesters over how much to take and what to do with the proceeds, but all agree that the time has come to separate rich people from their assets.  Most seem to follow Robin Hood: take from the rich to give to the poor. Some would rather put the money into public works. Others would like to distribute the proceeds to stressed homeowners. Many would settle for universal Medicare, and a few want to take from the rich simply to decrease their influence over public policy.  Any way you parse it, the message is confiscation.

Rich people and their minions seem to be the only force in opposition to the huge majority on this issue, and it’s a rich irony that as they consolidate their holdings and their political power in fewer and fewer hands, they make themselves that much more vulnerable and confront an ever less resistable tide. They seem oblivious to the hazard they’ve created for themselves. You may have noticed, if you watch interviews with movie stars, sports figures, and other multimillionaire celebrities, that they’re never asked what they do with all the money they make or whether they really think they deserve it. That sort of discussion might veer toward the problem rich people would rather not face, much less talk about: the huge number of ordinary people with no prospect of material comfort and little assurance of economic security. If these masses ever turned their dissatisfaction on those who control all the capital, it would be a sad day for the rich.

It’s common knowledge that most of us have food to eat and a roof over our heads only so long as we agree to the demands of our “creditors.” Creditors. we understand, are people who have more money than they need, so much that they can transfer their surpluses to those of us who don’t have enough, with the expectation of getting their money back, plus some extra as payment for sharing their excess The greater the need for money, workers know, the more the creditors charge you for it. The needy end up paying extra for what they need, and the creditors end up with all that extra, along with the surplus they started with. It’s not difficult to imagine the feelings this sort of arrangement elicits in the participants. Combine a high level of discontent with the inevitable demographic consequences of this scheme–the larger and more desperate the population of debtors, the smaller and less secure must be the class of creditors–and critical mass could come any day.

Nobody is surprised that the media are allied with the rich in this clash of classes. Like all our social institutions–including government at every level–the mass media are controlled and largely owned by the rich, and the “values” they promote are altogether commercial. The inexpressible worry of rich people is that the rest of us will grasp that our numbers–growing by the hour, as security gives way to servitude in household after household–give us strength. The mass media have been delegated to keep that knowledge from us. It’s not working.

In spite of the stream of disinformation, Workers are beginning to understand that only a tiny fraction of rich people’s surplus money is put out to improve the lot of humanity, and nearly all is distributed for the purpose of increasing the creditors’ holdings. Ordinary people are not persuaded that this sort of commerce is good for them, and they’re beginning to recognize the deficiencies in the system. So far, their obligations to creditors have kept them from doing anything to change it, but the appeal of the Occupy movement tells us that there is consensus on one point: for the good of humanity, rich people must be divested of their wealth.