The Watering Hole, November 29 – The Next Step

I think we have had the possibility of living in democracies. What does it mean? It means places where the privileged are not the one to make the decisions, but that the underprivileged are going to rise to a status where they are normal human beings and human citizens with their freedoms and their rights. Stéphane Hessel

I am following the actions of the world wide Occupy Movement as much as I can. Their activism is a necessary and valuable contribution to spotlight  the inequality that is rampant in most industrialized countries. An inequality which is, by all standards, a huge threat for Democracy itself.

Increasingly there are voices that want to take things one step further. How to introduce the ideas and actions of a movement into the political process in order to bring about the necessary legislation to reinstitute the rule by the people as opposed to the rule of a chosen few?

Well, if you want to go places, you have to define the place to go. The Occupy movement is a rather amorphous entity. Students are protesting fees, OWS is protesting the power of Wall Street and the lack of regulation, OccupyParadeplatz in Zurich is voicing a general discomfort with things as they are, but can’t bring themselves to go for any kind of specific political demands.

So what exactly needs to be done? Can we change the legislation through existing political channels? Who could we support? How do we avoid being sucked into the machinery of a totally corrupted political class? Do we have to run for office ourselves? What would our platform be? What’s the starting point?

Stéphane Hessel  in the interview quoted above has called for the youth to voice their outrage. They are doing it. But he calls for political action, too. How can we help ?

Tell me in the comments section.

This is our open thread, let us know your thoughts on this and don’t hesitate to comment, if you have other things on your mind.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pity the poor rich man,
The well-paid pundits say,
The masses so despise him,
It takes his joy away.

For he worked hard, and labored long,
And wealth is his reward;
His birthright gift of silver spoon,
Inheriting his hoard.

The rich all have their troubles,
Requiring plots and schemes,
To mass e’en greater fortunes,
Beyond their wildest dreams.

Yes, pity the poor wealthy,
And let them eat their cake,
For you are blessed, to be their guest,
Oh, sorry, my mistake.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD AND FREE POETRY CONTEST. SUBMIT YOUR ENTRIES BELOW. (All entries remain the property of the poet. First Prize is publication on this website. The number of First Prizes is limited to the total submissions received. Only First Prizes will be awarded. All forms of Poetry are eligible. There is no limit to the number of First Prizes per ISP address. Prose entries will be posted and read, but will not be considered a submission for the purposes of this contest.)

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 16, 2011: Death & Taxes

‘Tis said there are only two things that are unescapable: Death and Taxes.

The Ruling Class, should it have its way, would escape at least the latter. Abolish the “Death Tax!” They cry from their paid mouthpieces. “Death should not be a taxable event!”

But…why not? Why should someone who’s dead care? He’s been relieved of this veil of tears. During his lifetime, he either inherited, or amassed a great fortune. That’s great!

But he hoarded it, dying with millions, even billions, stashed away. He chose not to distribute his hoard while he was alive. Why should he, now that he’s dead, get to pass it all, tax-free, to folks he kept it from while he was alive?

The only way to prevent family dynasties from rising up and controlling everything, is to reinstate the Estate Tax. If our political leaders lack the will to do that, and do it now, then it is already too late.

When too much wealth is concentrated in too few hands, redistribution of wealth is inevitable.


Here’s what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry about

via Business Insider

1. Unemployment is at the highest level since the Great Depression (with the exception of a brief blip in the early 1980s).

2. At the same time, corporate profits are at an all-time high, both in absolute dollars and as a share of the economy.

3. Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. In other words, corporate profits are at an all-time high, in part, because corporations are paying less of their revenue to employees than they ever have. There are lots of reasons for this, many of which are not the fault of the corporations. (It’s a global economy now, and 2-3 billion new low-cost employees in China, India, et al, have recently entered the global workforce. This is putting pressure on wages the world over.)

4. Income and wealth inequality in the US economy is near an all-time high: The owners of the country’s assets (capital) are winning, everyone else (labor) is losing.

The United States is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world.  We can’t continue this way, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters are marching GLOBALLY to bring attention to the problems we’re facing because of the greed of the top 2% and the policies that enable them.