Occupy wall St….and then what?

I wish all these energetic, persistent, and idealistic young people had converged on Wall St. in 2008 when George Bush bailed out the banks, or in early 2009 when President Obama, as his first act in office signed an order to close Guantanamo, only to be stymied by Republicans and fake Democrats in Congress, or when the President tried to give us a decent and fair health care system, only to have it corrupted and twisted by those same legislators, but they didn’t, they are there now.

So now what? Some of the demonstrators want to bring it all down. They want an end to Capitalism, our system of government, our political leadership globally, all of it. But what comes after that? Nobody seems to have a plan. Nobody seems to have considered the consequences of “success”. Do we really want a descent into Anarchy followed by generations of struggle to try to build a society? Or do we want to take back control of the government we have?

Occupy Tucson articulated two goals after their first meeting: “1) stripping corporations of their undeserved status as “persons” and 2) making it unlawful for corporations to contribute to political campaigns.”

Compared to the laundry list of complaints and demands publicized recently by the New York demonstrators, this is concise, well thought out, and actually an achievable goal. Accomplishing these two things will take care of most every other complaint the demonstrators have.

So how do we do it? Most “occupiers” will hate this, but we do it at the ballot box. To overturn Citizens United, we need one of two things, a dramatically changed Supreme Court, or a Constitutional Amendment. Both require working very very hard to put Progressive people in Congress and the Senate. There is a movement to investigate Clarence Thomas for corruption. This will go nowhere unless we put people in Congress to make it happen. Likewise any constitutional amendment won’t happen without both a Progressive Congress and a majority of Progressives in State Legislatures ready to confirm it.

Stay on the street, continue to occupy, become the headline, but then translate all that energy and power to occupying Congress through the ballot box. Do not abdicate the most powerful tool you have. Please. The world is watching and counting on you.

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