An edited transcription of Sunday’s General Assembly can be accessed at our wikispace (link provided below).
Standing at Dewey Square I was struck by the skeptical anti occupy sentiments expressed by some passersby. Here is a message and a challenge to all (for now) employed wage earners who fail to understand that Occupy Boston is not about left and right; it’s about top and bottom.
American Workers Got What They Deserved by Ray Buursma
Ray Buursma is a Laketown Township resident. Contact him through The Sentinel at email@example.com.
By RAY BUURSMA
Posted Mar 23, 2011 @ 04:40 AM
Holland, MI —
Are you an American employee? If so, today’s column will likely offend you. If you’d rather not be offended, read no further. If you continue and then complain, I’m sorry, but that simply proves you’re, well, stupid. But then again, stupidity plays a large role in today’s topic.
Still reading? OK. You’ve had fair warning.
So you’re an American employee. Maybe you make car parts. Maybe you’re an engineer or designer. Maybe you’re an accountant, store clerk or tradesman. Whatever you do, you’re probably stupid or lazy. Yes, I wrote it, and I mean it. You are either stupid or lazy. Maybe both.
Now, I’m not referring to your work ethic or job performance. No, most of you are competent and devoted to your profession or vocation. I’m addressing the way you view economics and employment. I’m challenging your gumption to advocate for yourself and your fellow Americans. Here’s what I mean.
Remember the Reagan standard? Are you better off today than you were a decade ago? Two decades? Three? Unless you make more than $380,000 a year, the answer is no. In fact, your standard of living over the last quarter century has actually decreased while millionaires have added 30 percent to their net wealth. Why? Two reasons.
First, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs went overseas while the politicians you elected did nothing to stop them. Yet you continue to elect leaders who offer nothing but tax cuts, as if that would stem the flow of disappearing jobs.
Did you demand your leaders address America’s trade imbalance or continuous outsourcing of jobs? Did you demand your leaders require foreign countries to buy a dollar’s worth of American goods for every dollar of goods they sell here?
No and no. You didn’t bother. You simply crossed your fingers and prayed, “I hope my job’s not next.” You made concessions to your employer and hoped that would stem the exodus of jobs, or at least yours. How’d that work for you?
Second, you bought into the myth that unions are the cause of America’s demise. You didn’t bother to learn America became a world power when union membership was at its peak.
You didn’t bother to learn America became the envy of the world while 1 of every 3 Americans was a union member.
So, how are things going for you? How do your benefits compare to a quarter century ago? Are you paying a higher or lower percentage of your income for health insurance? Does your company offer a pension plan, or do you now fund your own 401(k)?
Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not a union worker, so this doesn’t affect me.”
Stop being stupid. Union benefits provide a standard other companies have to match, or at least come close to. When those benefits are cut, yours are, too. Or do you think you operate in your own little employment vacuum?
To make matters worse, you’re again being played for a chump. The same puppets who did nothing while your standard of living decreased are now using the oldest gimmick in the book — jealousy — to continue their assault on American workers. Rather than protect Americans’ jobs, they deflect your attention through jealousy.
“Cut the pay of government workers,” they cry. “Increase their health premiums. Decrease their pensions. Break their unions. After all, you’ve suffered so they should suffer too.” And in your misery, you buy their argument while more jobs head oversees. Pretty stupid, eh?
If their antics weren’t so pathetic, if the consequences weren’t so dire, if they didn’t prey on your stupidity, and if you didn’t buy into their convoluted reasoning, this whole situation would be laughable. But of course it’s not.
I warned you I’d likely offend you, and I suspect I did. But once you overcome your anger, consider my analysis. Then, either wise up and do something about it, or resign yourself to a lower standard of living for the next decade.
Copyright 2011 The Holland Sentinel. Some rights reserved
I couldn’t agree more with Buursma, which is why I couldn’t agree less with the recent decisions to fractionalize the movement with anti-Columbus Day, pro-Tarek Muhammad, etc etc messages. What started out as a broad-based, populist, financially relevant movement is being dominated (at least publicly) by marginal, exclusive, fringe issues. If this continues, it’s not going to be 99% vs. 1% (like it began) but rather 3% vs. 7% vs. 15% vs. 25% vs. 49% vs. 1%.
tl;dr: If we want people to understand that “Occupy Boston is not about left and right; it’s about top and bottom,” then let’s focus on top vs. bottom.
I agree with Jose. To paraphrase Alan Grayson who appeared on Bill Maher the other night, I hope that OB can return focus to the facts that:
1. Wall Street wrecked the economy and not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying 20 percent of our national net worth accululated over the course of two centuries.
2. Wall Street has iron control over the economic policies of this country and that one party is a wholly-owned subsidary of Wall Street and the other party caters to them as well.
Jose is entirely correct.
You want to talk privilege? Privilege is when millions of Americans are going without jobs, health care, and food, and you think that it’s ok to dilute the core message with a Memoradum of Solidarity With Indigenous Peoples. That’s privilege.
So true!! I came by yesterday and read a sign “If you are not here because of your job you don’t belong here” or something like that. I am not occupying but I am with you. We need you to speak for the 99%. Please stay focused!
And thank you for a very clever solution to people’s mike issue. Great thinking! I think it would work even better if you enlarged the font just a bit.
And thank you to everybody who is occupying. Without you it couldn’t happen.
Ray Buursma makes the right points! Although, stupid and lazy should be replaced with ‘in denial’ and ‘petrified’… but the point sounds better with his choice words.
I also believe making the statement of solidarity with indigenous people is the right thing to do, an they did it without the ptolemic use of terms like “genocide”. This land is sacred, and will exist whether or not the US flag flies. Calling for unity of all people and respecting history (on this holiday) is top-notch thinking.
We have begun to frame our platform, and we’ve done it with true democracy! Long-live Occupy Boston until Our country (unequivocally) is a better place!
do you think southpark will do an Occupyxxxx episode?
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