(Originally posted in mid-2011, shortly after the Occupy Wall Street protests had begun, this post’s original appearance had garnered over 20,000 views and almost 1000 Shares. Subsequent events have made the article even more pertinent than it was when it was first written.)
The Corporate Citizen is in the dock. He (and let’s be honest, the Corporate Citizen is implacably masculine) has a fire under his ass right now that no amount of bribery, mockery, or denial can extinguish. He may have bought the Supreme Court, Congress, the cops and maybe even the president, but he’s in trouble. The crows have come to roost, and this time we’re not going to just go away.
This protest isn’t about overthrowing the economy or killing the Corporate Citizen. It’s about HOLDING THE CORPORATE CITIZEN ACCOUNTABLE. Just as a private citizen must be responsible for his or her actions, so the invented legal entities that reflect corporations must be held responsible for their own.
Supposedly, they ARE accountable. This, however, is not the case. The current economic crisis, for starters, was not caused by natural or random events. It has been caused – and continues to be exacerbated – by deliberate corporate malfeasance: epidemic outsourcing, continual pollution, political bribery, criminal negligence, tax evasion, theft, even mass murder. Deep pockets and legal arcana keep the Corporate Citizen immune to most of his actions.
This. Must. End.
That’s what this movement is furious about. Not about market-based capitalism, but about deliberate exploitation far beyond point of harm.
When a private citizen endangers or damages his society, he is held accountable. Society’s citizens and agents call him to account for his actions, demands and end to them, judges restitution, and often delivers punishment.
That’s what’s happening here now.
The Corporate Citizen is a criminal. And We The People are holding him to account.
Unlike the so-called “tea party,” this movement is not being underwritten by corporations and fueled by racist Fear Of a Black President. This, simply put, is righteous fury – fury in the classical Greek sense of punishment for one’s misdeeds.
The Corporate Citizen has been running amuck, and continues to do so. For the last few years (the last few DECADES, to be honest, but it’s all finally catching up with the white middle class), the effects of this rampage have been catastrophic. My partner and I are business owners ourselves, and what has been done – by Exxon, BP, Goldman-Saches, Enron, Blackwater, Halliburton, GE, News Corporation, Monsanto, Blue Cross, etc. etc. etc. – is NOT ”business as usual.” It is deliberate rape, pillaging and scorched earth in the name of profit for a handful of people.
These Corporate Citizens, and many others, are damaging our personal environment, poisoning our physical environment, dismantling our social environment, and purchasing our political environment. This is causing untold amounts of disasters for the world at large. For the sake of a few executive bonuses and some fat stockholder checks, these Corporate Citizens are committing vast global crimes. They are dumping toxins. They are buying police forces. They are holding the truth hostage in exchange for trivia. They are allowing contractors to rape and murder human beings, then using legal loopholes to escape punishment. They embezzle government funds, undercut public knowledge, and dodge the taxes that help pay for the infrastructures that support them.
Individuals are not allowed to do such things. Corporations should not be allowed to do them either.
An individual who dumps poison into a lake is jailed; an individual who commits murder is imprisoned; an individual who steals, defrauds or otherwise takes someone else’s property against her will receives a criminal sentence. Corporations do these things EVERY SINGLE DAY and yet remain untouched.
This movement isn’t about overthrowing one’s ability to buy food at the corner store. It’s about holding Corporate Citizens to the same standards as we ourselves are held – by strength of outrage and force of law.
Some critics – many of whom support “citizen revolts” that upend queer rights or question Obama’s citizenship – dismiss the Occupation because it supposedly lacks a “list of workable demands”… as if Occupy Wall Street was a hostage situation, not a rightful protest. First off, this circism denies the legitimacy of the FIRST Official Statement approved by the movement – its Declaration of Independence, if you will.
Secondly, it ignores the fact that the media-darling “tea party” has made no such unified statement in three years of existence, beyond a pathological hatred for the President, “liberal agendas,” and a “Big Government” they fully supported when the GOP was in charge.
Most of all, it declares contempt for a movement that’s actually on their side because LESS THAN A WEEK INTO THE UPHEAVAL, no list of “ransom demands” has yet been issued. No doubt, an actionable process is already in motion. Before change can occur, however, the wronged party must make itself heard. That’s what’s going on right now. You can’t issue reforms until after you’ve being recognized.
And really, folks – if the current lack of a An Occupy Wall Street Bill of Rights is what’s bothering you about this movement, please go pick up a few history books that weren’t published by News Corporation and approved by the Texas Board of Education. If and when you do, you’ll see that the first American Revolution (the one we know by that name), and the second (aka, the Civil War), and the third (aka, the Civil Rights Era) all began the same way: with no more “structure” than a bunch of people who were fed the fuck up with “business as usual,” and who were determined, despite all opposition, to change it.
Copyright (c) 2011 Satyros Phil Brucato. Rights of circulation with attribution are expressly given by the author. Rights of reproduction for profit, with or without attribution, are expressly DENIED to outside parties, with the exception of fund-raising agents for the Occupy Wall Street movement.