Notebook – 14 October 2011: An excerpt from my #occupyboston #ows “Demands” post…

Because Christine Scott Cheng asked me, here’s a one paragraph preview of another post in progress:

Essentially, our national debate is on whether or not America is a society defined by its democratic features or by its free market. Throughout our entire history, beginning with Adams and Jefferson’s bitter rivalry, the tension between these two poles has defined our political life. It does so today. As I walk the dog in the rain this morning, I’m minded of the protesters 15 miles away living in tents in a public space to highlight their belief (which I share) that our democracy has been undermined by free market forces. The Tea Party on the right (the original Tea Party, not the Tea Party Express and other organizations running under the Tea Party moniker, all of which are sponsored by wealthy individuals intent on undoing existing – and poorly enforced – government regulation and lowering their tax liability) shares the feeling that Washington does not represent their views or interests, but blame the government. The Occupy protesters feel that Washington doesn’t represent their views and interests, but feel that democracy has been undermined by the wealth generated by that free market and often enough, by fraud, corruption and maintaining the ignorance of the electorate and the US consumer base. In ways large and small, our free market society regards our demos only as a commodity whose labor is demanded and possessing a small (and dwindling) resource of wealth to mine. The logic of business demands it, and the dynamics of business competition exacerbates the imbalance.


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