What Will Occupy Wall Street Actually Accomplish?

As the Occupy Movement enters its second month and the weather starts to get colder, analysts and pundits are struggling to figure out what they actually hope to accomplish with their 24/7 protest camps. Michael Kinsley has attempted to trivialize the movement’s ultimate goals down to a short list of four tax proposals. Tax Proposals?! Has he even been paying attention?! Chris Satullo from WHYY (an NPR affiliate in Philadelphia) seems to believe that the movement is all about Healthcare and jobs, which only further demonstrates how media pundits on the Left and the Right simply have no clue what all this is about!

My Microeconomics students have also had questions as to where this might be going. As an Adjunct Professor at a Community College, the majority of my students have a lot in common with the protestors. They’re young, they’re either unemployed or underemployed, and they have no idea whether they’ll be able to apply anything they’re learning in my class in a real job, or will they be flipping burgers and wondering whether they’ll ever be able to pay back their Student Loans.

Unclear Goals

Candice, a student in my Microeconomics class, confessed to me that after spending a lot of time online at various “Occupy” websites and newsfeeds that she’s more confused about the Movement’s goals than ever.

I understand they feel like we are in an economic spiral downward and that there is corruption going on with Wall Street banks and the government but is there any clear motive stated? I found that they are upset because some of the biggest companies are paying a low share of national income…But I can’t find any clear goals or is this just to bring awareness and hope for a change?

In my response to Candice, I assured her that there is more than just “hope for change”, but I really believe that real change is ultimately on its way. However, unlike other movements of the past, this group’s goals appear to be growing more organically as the answer to the core causes of this crisis become more clear.

Two Goals

I see the Occupy Movement moving towards two ultimate goals, and it pleases me that despite the efforts of the media and the political elite to try to steer the protestors in a particular direction to their own ends, it is pretty clear to me that this is the direction the movement is heading. It basically comes down to two goals: 1) Amend the Constitution and 2) Change the Monetary System.

What’s interesting about these two goals is that the resistance to these two ideas is starting to fall apart, which will leave a vacuum for these ultimate goals to form. In other words, it’s already clear that the government cannot function due to corporate corruption and the more that the government attempts to “rescue” its corporate masters, the more it will be unable to function as a legitimate political state. There is no doubt that the American Empire is in decline and when it falls, there needs to be a new mechanism that will prevent its Citizens from falling into chaos.

Goal #1: A Constitutional Convention

This change to the Constitution will end Corporate “personhood” and remove the notion that “money” is the same as “speech” in this country. Other Amendments may be term limits on those serving in Congress, a Balanced Budget Amendment, or Abolishing the Income Tax, but the one that has the best chance of “sticking” is the first one. We cannot count on Congress to propose these Amendments because it would cut off the “gravy train” of their campaign finance, so Occupy Movement will instead hold a Constitutional Convention under the terms of Article V of the Constitution.

Ironically, the Convention is already scheduled for July through October of 2012. Although at this point they are keeping the agenda and the goals of the Convention out of the press. At the moment, they’re saying that it’ll be a Convention to bring together representatives from all of the Occupy Movements from around the Country for “solidarity”, but those of us who have been following the movement can see where this is going. A lot is going to happen between now and next July that I’m sure will solidify this ultimate agenda. It’s ironic that Philadelphia has been chosen as the location for this Convention – after all, isn’t it here where it all started?

Goal #2: Changing the Monetary System

While many in the movement will disagree that this is an ultimate goal, it’s certainly heading in that direction, and it’s a good thing. The insistence by so many well-meaning people that ending fiat money is just a Libertarian pipe-dream only hammers home how indoctrinated the people are that the current system must be the best when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

One of the primary causes – and likely THE cause of the income disparity in this country and the rest of the world is the role that Central Banks have to print endless amounts of currency out of whole cloth. This practice erodes the wealth of the poor and working classes while at the same time enriches those who have direct access to wealth and power.

For those discouraged Libertarians out there who are frustrated that the #OWS people are calling you “Ron Paul Ideologues”, don’t worry, many of them are already starting to come around and given time I’m sure they’ll start seeing things differently.

We’re already starting to see “cashless” monetary systems starting to spring up in social media networks while people like Ron Paul and his supporters are calling for abolishing the Fed. Just understand that this is a tough pill for ordinary people to swallow as they have been indoctrinated to believe that the Fed actually “controls” inflation and “ensures” full employment through its ability to print money, but all one has to do is look at the state of the poor and underemployed around the world to see that this notion is clearly false.

Some have suggested that we go to a currency pegged on Gold and other precious metals, while others have suggested that it would be better that currency should take on a more “organic” form through a system of barter and trade via social media. The “Gold Standard” is a political hot button, and the barter “bank” system I’ve seen looks a bit too anarchistic for most people’s tastes, so I’m not sure which system would work. The one thing I am sure of is that the current system is going to eventually implode, and there had better be something there to take its place when it does.

More Than Just Hope

For those protestors who are willing to brave the New York winter (some of whom don’t have a choice), boiling down their goals to a short list of tax proposals that have a snowball’s chance of ever passing in Congress trivializes and insults their resolve to see real change happen in this country. What we all seem to know intuitively is that the current regime is weaker than it has ever been in its history, and if we do not wish for our cities to descend into anarchy when the current regime collapses, we need something in its place to take over as the new legitimate power.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you decide to bury your head in the sand and insist that the government will work itself out, then what you’re choosing is a world of violence and anarchy, which may lead to the rise of a military dictatorship as we have seen too many times in our history. I’d like to believe that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Your other option is to can give your support to the People of this Country to introduce a new paradigm on how things can be done. If there are enough of us out there who believe that this can be done peacefully and organically – without populist leaders and doom prophets – then there’s a chance we can at least minimize the chaos that is sure to come when the American Empire ultimately falls under its own weight.

We cannot go back to the way things were – we can just move forward.


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