Occupy Wall Street Is What Happens When Liberal Arts Majors Don't Have Jobs to Keep Them Busy
pic credit: Carwil via Flickr (love the guy texting on the side)
If you've noticed, I haven't touched the Occupy Wall Street protests not because I'm part of the media conspiracy of silence or because I'm siding with the bankers on this one but because I do not feel it is a genuine movement. I feel (and this - as with everything else I spout off about on a regular basis - is simply my opinion, take it or leave it) that what you have here are a bunch of Facebook generation liberal arts majors feeling left out of the global movement to overthrow our malevolent leaders and desperate for something to believe in. Something to twitpic. Something to fight against. Something to prove that they were more than just a bunch of spoiled rotten brats with few real skills and even fewer opportunities to improve the world they inherited from their parents.
Where were these people three years ago when we were marching against the Federal Reserve?
Now that this "group" has issued an official statement, I believe my opinion has been proven correct (shock that).
Here are just a few of the complaints written in their manifesto:
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
Hold it right there. Let's start with "stripping employees of the right to negotiate..." Most employees in America have the right to negotiate through at-will employment, which means if you don't like your job, how you are treated and/or how much you make, you can walk away and find another job. Truckloads of money, great benefits and four weeks of vacation each year are not a right, and it helps to put things in perspective. First world problems, people, just because you aren't making $75,000 a year fresh out of school does not an abused employee make. Get over it, you have to earn the perks in the real world, I'm sorry your philosophy teachers did not tell you this in college.
Second, the third point about consistently outsourcing labor is a direct result of the first. In some trades, unions are necessary but in most, unionizing only serves to "level the playing field," punishing hard workers and rewarding lazy ones. When this system is unevenly applied across the board, companies seek to cut costs by - duh! - outsourcing. So really, this is your fault. Way to go, kids, I bet "Patrick" in India thanks you for his call center gig.
The one that really irked me was "They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right." This is a joke, right? First of all, for the cost of a decent laptop and an Internet connection (or even for free using a library card), any human being in America is welcome to all the education in the world by doing their own educating. This is how your very own Jr Deputy Accountant learned all about endogenous firm entry and sticky prices and money multipliers (Lord knows public school wasn't going to do it). The Internet is a beautiful thing, and all of the world's collective knowledge resides inside of it, free to anyone who wants it, at any hour of the day. With it, I discovered Galbraith, von Mises, Friedman... and guess what? All it cost me at most was a few bucks to pick up some of their work used on Amazon. Amazing!
If you sign yourself into debt at 18, that is your fault, your responsibility and your will. Higher education is, in fact, not a right, in the sense that these kids think it is.
True story, my grandfather was a brilliant man who spent his entire life working in a factory. It wasn't that he wasn't smart enough to get a degree but that he just didn't have the opportunity to do so. Fresh out of school, he joined the Marines to fight in World War II, but the war ended and he got married, had a mess of kids and lived a reasonably comfortable middle class life. He provided for five children and a wife, owned a comfy but modest suburban home and died at the ripe old age of 82. THAT is living.
Did my dear old grandpa ever bitch that he got an unfair hand and no handouts? Yeah right. And he was a democrat.
Now, do I agree with the fundamental idea of a revolt against our keepers? Totally. Is the current system absolute corrupt bullshit? Completely.
If you still don't get my point, let's look at a few photos from the protest.
pic credit: Mat McDermott via Flickr
Bottled water? A talisman of capitalist piggery! And is that a McDonald's cup I see? Way to stick it to the man by putting money in his pocket!
pic credit: David Shankbone via Flickr
What do we have here? Sony Vaio laptops, cell phones and a big ass container of Deli Cat, which is the most corporate, industrialized garbage you could possibly feed your cat (JDA's cats eat only Wellness and raw food like bacon and chicken livers). Oh, and of course a cup of McDonald's coffee - yum!
pic credit: David Shankbone via Flickr
Skippy peanut butter and Nutri-grain bars? Fuck, talk about corporatism.
The AP sees right through it, writing:
The dozens of people in tie-dyed T-shirts and star-spangled underwear have been camped out in a granite plaza in lower Manhattan for more than a week — and show no signs of going away.
They sleep on air mattresses, use Mac laptops and play drums. They go to the bathroom at the local McDonald’s. A few times a day, they march down to Wall Street, yelling, “This is what democracy looks like!”
It all has the feel of a classic street protest with one exception: It’s unclear exactly what the demonstrators want.
Well I sure hope they figure out what it is they are out there fighting for (or is it against?) while using their bank debit cards to buy cups of McDonald's coffee and pounding away on their MacBooks. This anti-bank capitalist pig will be happily sitting this one out from the comfort of her Secret Lair, also pounding away on her MacBook, sipping free trade Nicaraguan coffee made with good old DC water.
Someone call me when we're ready to have a real uprising, otherwise I'll be over here camped out in front of my big screen TV.