All Roads Lead to Wall Street

What is this? It’s the new poster for the day of action on the OWS anniversary, September 17, 2012. It’s a call for a convergence on Wall Street, still the epicenter of the financial, political and environmental crisis, where still no one has gone to jail. They gave up even trying to bring charges againstĀ Goldman Sachs, the vampire squid, the bank so evil it gave capitalists pause. No charges. It’s a restatement of the fundamental reasons that the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” made so many people reply “Hell, yeah.”

It’s more than that. It’s the emergence of three clear priorities within the Occupy movement. They represent our impossible demands. OWS demands an end to corruption in politics. Of course, that would mean overturning the jaw-dropping Supreme Court fix known as Citizens United; it would mean abolishing the endlessly corrupt interface between corporations and legislators; it would mean regulating advertising and reinventing government by the people. So in the present system, to even make this demand is impossible.

We demand debt abolition. Debt is the engine of financial capitalism from the payday loan, the high interest store card and the pawn shop that prey on the low- or unwaged, via the exploding disaster of mortgages and student loans, to the debt vultures who generate spectacular profit on debt. It is unthinkable to abolish debt in the present system, just as it was once unthinkable to abolish slavery. At the same time, it is increasingly clear that the current rate of exploitation cannot be sustained.

Nowhere is that more self-evident than in the crisis of life, the environmental crisis. When you watch little kids play onĀ the beach on a cloudy day in broad-brimmed hats, as in now standard practice in Australia to protect from the UV radiation, you know this has gone too far already. Our bodies feel out of sorts with the weather and strange new patterns. Crops dies in the fields for want of rain in one part of the world, while floods devastate elsewhere.

For thirty or more years, the forces we call “Wall Street” have devastated the social, cultural and biological worlds with their theory of rational actors. In short, all actions are economic at heart and are calculated by each person for their maximum economic benefit. It is this theory of the rational that Occupy challenges as being patently false. It is irrational to sell politics to the most corrupt. It is irrational to have debt collectors pursuing one in seven Americans. It is suicidally irrational to treat the biological resources available to us as infinite.

“Free yourself” means you have the freedom to think for yourself and to do otherwise. S17 is just a day. If you can’t be there or want to start now or want to do something different, that’s all great. These are just some of the threads that comprise the movement. Free your mind, the rest will follow.

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