Occupy the 1%!

  25. 99% versus the 1% is not a left issue

-- June 9 2012 --

99% against the 1% is not a left issue. 

Power is the prime issue and not inequality of wealth. Power is that some people can do what they like to do without considering what happens to other people. An egoistic, selfish and despicable attitude. Because power and money are interrelated I propose to replace the pivotal role of money in decisions by the idea that all people have the same status. 

It is a question of cause and effect. Why have people more money? Because they have more power. Of course you cannot completely separate the two items but power is the central point, having more money is the consequence of having power. Because power is a vague idea and very difficult to attack, we should concentrate in actions on the money aspect. Not because it creates inequality but because it gives power that is abused in the first place to secure a better living for power-bearers than for people without power. By replacing the inequality aspect by the idea that all people have the same status, the struggle is elevated to a higher plane that exceeds the left-right contradiction.

When all people have the same status the nearly ten million kids that die each year before they are five years old have also a right to live. That is not about inequality, that is about having a decent human life. All people have the right on decent food, education, housing, medical care, in general on a decent life. That is now not the case, first the extravagant life of the powerful is secured then the left-overs are for the people without power. Many 99% do not have a decent life. They work hard in an often bad environment and are just able to survive. That is not about inequality, that is about human dignity.  

The 99% can undermine power by putting pressure on the principal reason why the 1% have power, to have an extravagant and privileged life. Leftists look at the consequences of power, the inequality without challenging the power aspect. Occupy should consider why some people want to have much more money to have a different life than common citizens, to have a life that is only expressed in money-terms. It is the idea that when you have power you have right on more, you are better than the 99, you have a higher status.
We must not ask for a few dollars more but impose that all people have the same status by preventing that the 1% can live their extravagant life with all their surplus dollars. Then there are enough dollars for all people to have a decent life.

 Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)

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