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Ted Barnes

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The Anti-Corporation Movement Around the World.

In America, we are starting to see a large citizen push-back to the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world. On a larger scale, these types of protests and movements are popping up all over the free world. We see similar movements in Australia, Greece, and all over Europe for that matter. A recent call to arms released by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement said this:

"We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent."

Simple and profound, this statement documents the beginning of what can be described as a revolution. Class-warfare is brewing. This movement is catching steam quickly.

Questions to guide the debate:
1 - Is this the beginning to true social reform?
2 - What can this type of protest and movement achieve?
3 - Is "class-warfare" a reality or fabricated?
4 - Is this an anti-capitalism movement?
5 - What are the consequences of challenging establishments like Wall Street?

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    Oct 4 2011: 1) I hope so, but as far as I can tell, the majority of people view themselves as living in a socialist society. In america, that's still something which is being opposed. How can a social movement occur when people are opposed to socialist values?

    2) What CAN it achieve? Unlimited potential. Perhaps a better question, is what WILL it achieve? To that question, I believe it depends on how long the "depression" or "financial crisis" lasts for. As people return to work, they're likely to forget (or flat out ignore) any protests against the corporation that employs them.

    3) I only ever hear the term "class-warfare" used in american news/politics. I do not see any war, so I assume it is something fabricated. There is a "division by class", but I don't believe it can be stated as being the same as "class-warfare".

    4) Yes. As far as I can tell, socialism and capitalism are hold opposing policies. In capitalism, there is the "trickle down" effect, while in socialism it's a "trickle up" effect. Socialism works from the ground up, by helping the people. Capitalism works from the top down, by helping the businesses.

    5) Same answer as question two. The possible consequences are unlimited. What I believe will happen, is it'll turn into the typical "them vs me" mentality between protesters and police, and turn into nothing more then another mini riot. As a child, games usually have evolving rules, as the children try to make rules to suit themselves. My view as a child, as to allow my opponent do make all the rules that they wanted, because I would win anyways. That I would win the game, even with all the roadblocks that they put up. I hold the same view for protests. That it's possible to win, using the rules that are being placed upon you. Every time a protest turns violent, I stop paying attention to the message. If you need violence and gimmicks to get your message across, then the message isn't a solid one.
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      Oct 5 2011: Hi Mike thanks for responding!

      1 - Well, I don't think most Americans view themselves as living in a socialist society. I think most of them see the benefits of certain social programs however such as the police department, the fire department, and so on. I guess my question to you is do you think this is the beginning of a socialist movement?

      2 - See I don't know if it has unlimited potential or not. It seems kind of clustered and overbearing. Usually protests accomplish the specific issues that are being protested. Here, we see multiple huge issues being attacked at once and I just wonder how far it can actually go.

      3 - I think class-warfare is a decent name for it. Think about it. This movement starting, is it not a movement against the wealthiest class in the world being greedy and corrupting the government? Part of the beauty of the middle-class was that it allowed people to be comfortable and feel like they had earned a nice piece of the pie. Now with record poverty, people feel the pie has been eaten up by a few people in the rich class. This isn't the first time we have seen class warfare in history (aristocratic societies saw lots of this). The purposeful oppression of the rich class is another aspect to the class-warfare and perhaps a much deeper one.

      4 Capitalism purports that businesses are the people. Your answer to number 4 is oversimplified and maxim-ish. I'm not sure if it's a direct protest to capitalism as much as a protest to the corporate corruption of democracy.

      5 - I like the analogy but the logic is flawed. "If you need violence and gimmicks to get your message across, then the message isn't a solid one"..well, history says otherwise. Revolutions were generally not peaceful protests that followed the rules. I do agree, however, that this movement should stay above a them vs me mentality and get a clearer focus. The possible consequences are unlimited, you are right about that.
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        Oct 5 2011: 1) I meant people around the world viewed themselves as being socialists. I've asked the question before, but perhaps you'll have more information. Besides america, which other countries view themselves as being a democratic capitalism?

        2) I meant unlimited in the sense that there are so many variables and so many possible outcomes, that no one can predict with 100% accuracy what the outcome will be. We'll only know afterwards, when we look back upon what happened, and what occurred afterwards. I admit that I'm quite skeptical, so my personal view is that very little change will come about because of the protests.

        3) I like your explanation of the middle class being merged with the lower class. It's just that these protests don't feel like they are getting to the true root of the problem. I still feel that the mentality of capitalism is a larger factor in what's going on.

        4) I'm sorry but I'm not a political student, so you'll have to explain to me what you mean by "maxim-ish".

        5) You're right that a civil war or revolution is the ultimate form of a protest, but at this point I don't believe the protests have enough people. It sounds nice when people say "we are the 99%", but the 99% isn't showing up. The people who are showing up, are likely the same people who protest about everything else. How many people are showing up, that have never protested before?
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          Oct 5 2011: 1 - Iceland for one. The truth is, America was an experiment from the moment it was conceived. The father of American economics (Adam Smith) warned us about corporations that could potentially become tyrants if not kept in check. The foundation is based on greed and trade of self interests. For centuries, this system worked very well and helped America become one of the most prosperous nations on Earth. I am afraid though, that Adam Smith's dystopian vision of the tyrannical corporations controlling policies and determining moral values has come to fruition.

          2 - Nobody can predict the outcome of anything like this. Skepticism is noble, but I happen to believe these protests are the beginning of something much larger.

          3 - I can get behind that. You have to start small though and work your way up. In the last week there's been movements born from these protests like "Get Money Out" which has, as of right now, 105,000 supporters. This movement proposes an amendment to the constitution to separate money and special interests from politicians and policies. These types of specific movements are going to be the children and grandchildren of the "Occupy" movement.

          4 - Maxim - a short, pithy statement that serves as a motto or generalization of an idea.

          5 - "The people who are showing up, are likely the same people who protest about everything else. " is incorrect. Actually, we see all walks of life in this movement. Even Nobel Prize winners and Harvard educated economists. There are a lot of people showing up that have never protested before.
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        Oct 5 2011: 1) Iceland? But the elected party is named the "Social Democratic Alliance". For a long time now, I've viewed capitalism as a starting pointing, or a rung in the ladder as a country develops. One that then transitions into socialism as the wealth of the country increases, and the living conditions of the majority begin to find balance. The only reason that I can find as to why there has been no transition, is that capitalism is beneficial to the people who are promoting it. Namely the politicians, and the corporations who fund them. Of course I've never lived in america, so perhaps there is something that I'm missing. To me, it all just appears backwards.

        2) I would disagree that the protests are the beginning. They are certainly an important step though. I do have hope that it catches on, as it feels as if we are at a tipping point, where future power will either be held by the majority, or by a minority. Frankly I like democracy, and I'm not in favor of having it challenge just because the corporations have grown larger then governments.

        4) Ah, in that case I tend to use a lot of maxims. I like to start with a clean and simplified slate, and then add upon it. Rather then start with the complex and attempting to unravel it.

        5) I was thinking about this point today. I came to realize that I'm rather biased against protests due to the ones I viewed as a child. One of my fathers coworkers was killed by protesters. They used the same backwards logic as the ones who believe that animals are better off dead, then in captivity. Sabotaging logging equipment was common, but the protesters always gave warning to the company. At some point they chose not to, believing that loggers wouldn't log, if they were afraid of their safety. As a result a logger was killed when the chain of his saw impacted the metal spike embedded in a tree. There was also the result of my life long distrust of "protests". I'm fine with "movements", but dislike "protests".

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