Where occupy should go next
Mao Zedong was a major grade-A monster, but one thing he knew was guerrilla warfare. He *won*, in case you don’t recall. So here’s one of his dictums: “When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws.”
In other words, when faced with a stronger enemy, *LEAVE*. Let the coppers stand around a deserted square wondering what to do. Then when the police go home — which they will — *show up somewhere else*, doing something unexpected. The point of the guerilla is to confuse and bewilder and exhaust the opponent by never presenting a fixed target for the opponent to concentrate upon, *not* to hold ground against an opponent armed with superior weapons — and the 1% can afford to buy a *lot* of weapons (and the police forces to wield them), given that they own more assets than the bottom 90% *combined*. We have the Internet now. We have dark forums where flash crowds can be near-instantly marshaled to show up at random points. We can have the 1% exhausting their limited manpower resources scrambling frantically all over the place trying to suppress flash mobs and deal with instant protests outside of banks, political offices, and Wall Street establishments. The G is about *movement*, and in that respect Occupy’s camps were the wrong idea entirely.
Okay, so that’s tactics. The other thing Mao focused on was the strategic long view. What is the objective? Mao’s objective was to overthrow the Nationalist government and install a Communist dictatorship with him as its head. But what are the objectives of the Occupy movement?
One thing I’ll point out is that the American people are basically conservative. They aren’t going to embrace a Communis revolution anytime soon. Note that I say “basically conservative” in the old sense of the word, not in the “rabid right wing radicals” sense of the word. True conservatives don’t want wholesale change, what they want are changes around the edges to make the system work better. So what are some conservative goals?
- Prosecute the Wall Street fraudsters who caused the real estate bubble and collapse. They stole us blind — their fraud of selling bundled liar loans as “AAA investment grade securities as safe as U.S. Treasuries” cost me 1/3rd of my retirement savings, for example. They need to be perp-walked and jailed and their ill-gotten gains removed.
- Tax the rich. If these frauds had been taxed at Eisenhower levels they wouldn’t have perpetrated these frauds because it wouldn’t have been worth their while, since the money they obtained via fraud would have mostly gone into the U.S. Treasury.
- Break up the too big to fail banks and restore banking competition. If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big to exist.
- Regulate. Regulate the banks. Banks should exist to be banks, and should be prohibited from gambling on Wall Street with their customers’ funds. Regulate Wall Street. We need full market transparency (meaning, none of these weird derivatives that hide the core product beneath layers of obfuscation), we need to regulate credit rating agencies to eliminate their incentives to provide fraudulent ratings, and we need a zero tolerance for any misrepresentation, as well as transaction taxes to slow down trading and provide an incentive for long-term investment rather than the rigged casino game that is the current situation on Wall Street.
In short: Go back to the New Deal policies that led to this nation’s period of greatest economic growth in the period 1945-1980. All this risky experimentation that the right wing keeps urging on us? Radical nonsense. Communism, anarchism, anarcho-socialism, or things of that notion? Radical nonsense. Americans are conservative, and the notion of going back to a Golden Age of finance and taxes rather than forward to some new untried system is one that would appeal to way more Americans than you’d think.
I don’t think you’ll find many of the bottom 99% who would argue with the above, other than perhaps the crazed Republican core, who repeat the 1%’s cant as if it were holy scripture because they worship the wealthy as their gods. But there’s not much that can be done about religious zealots of that sort other than interfere with their ability to make new converts to their religion. But if you start with conservative goals — jail the thieves, regulate, tax, break up the too-big-to-fail banks — the zealots will look like exactly what they are: crazed zealots in thrall to their high priests of the 1%, to be ignored by all sensible people.
This post appeared courtesy of Badtux the Snarky Penguin.