With the exception of a tendency toward reformism, I support the general idea of Occupy movements; that is, I don’t oppose it, but many potential participants would like to see a better, more cogent analysis of class from the movement. The analysis of the 99% of society vs 1% of the top owners and controllers of wealth and resources is a start, but it begins with a flaw: much, much more than the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the U.S. are a part of “the problem.” (Corporatism cannot be fixed by reforms, as capitalism itself is the problem, and is the perpetual crisis, but that is a subject for another post.) To begin with, if I remember correctly about 90% of the wealth in the U.S. belongs to about the top 5% of the population.
In addition to this issue, when you say “We Are the 99%” you are including the following groups and individuals. But, do we really want to be aligned with:
- Cops who have killed people? Done terrible things to people on a daily basis, because it’s part of State policing? Police departments are composed of people who have systematically assaulted, intimidated, harassed, stolen from, framed, sexually assaulted and committed any other number of degrading, traumatic and immoral things to us. They’ve squashed our freedom of speech, preyed upon people of color and poor people, and protected each other against accountability for their actions. According to the Occupy analysis, they are the 99% and therefore “one of us.”
- White supremacists? White nationalists, racist civil-libertarians, members of the Ku Klux Klan, racists who are not part of a group, Minutemen border patrollers and other nativists, citizen groups that seek to oppress groups because of racist viewpoints, anti-immigrant groups, well-connected bloggers who call for violence against Muslims and other people they oppose. There are Holocaust deniers and historical revisionists like Mark Weber and followers of David Irving. They are all part of this 99% category.
- Religious groups and their members which advance an agenda of oppression? Groups like the Family Research Council, Abiding Truth Ministries. There’s “gay conversion therapists,” the Heritage Foundation, the 700 Club, and plenty more anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and otherwise xenophobic religious groups, members and followers falling into the 99%.
- Individuals who promote hate? I doubt Glenn Beck falls into the top 1% of all wealth-owners in the U.S. There’s Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, Mat Staver, Harry Jackson, Jerry Boykin. Are these our allies?
Here I have provided just a handful of examples of groups and individuals who Occupiers may want to reconsider being aligned with. There’s plenty more, and I’d like to hear your examples, as well as rebuttals and ideas about the 99% class analysis. Please leave your comment below.