December 08, 2011

American inequalities abound

Other than the obvious, if not to OWS, inequalities of black-white wages and employment, there's others that may pass below their radar screen.

For example, OWSers wanting an $18-20/hour minimum wage must be oblivious to a whole range of inequalities between rural/small town areas and urban/suburban/exurban ones.

Those include:
1. Income levels;
2. Job opportunity levels;
3. Entertainment levels;
4. And, somewhat related to all of those, perhaps, in our 21st century, is "connectedness" levels, i.e., broadband Internet.

That's probably why, with few exceptions, we didn't hear about things like Occupy Sioux Falls. Again, not snarky, but just saying "welcome to the world," kids of helicopter parents, to the degree that you, including the 20-percent plus with grad degrees, probably don't totally fit the profile of either inner-city minorities or rural red staters.

Here's a different one, even as conservatives try to privatize Social Security and liberals say it's fine. Why are SS benefits based on your 35 best years of income? Yes, it's halfway to being "socialistic," but far from all the way. Considering many of the people with lower earnings fall into the less well-off demographics just mentioned, can't we tweak this? Especially as growing income inequality is only going to make this worse in the future.

That's not to say that OWS concerns over job prospects or student loan repayments aren't real and aren't significant. It's just to put them into perspective.

But, just like there's no Occupy Sioux Falls, folks from Adbusters and Anonymous probably have done very little on-the-ground traveling in flyover territory.

OK, I stand corrected on the existence of Occupy Sioux Falls, on a technicality, per links from Sheldon's comment. Ten people in attendance at the latest meeting? I don't stand corrected on the spirit of what I said.

As for "cynical," I stand by my stance that it's skeptical first, and while I may be getting cynical as well as skeptical, I'm not alone.

Beyond that, my point isn't only to be skeptical about OWS. It's to get OWS to broaden itself, to wonder why it doesn't have more support in rural areas, to wonder why it doesn't have more support from minorities, especially blacks. And, given other posts, I'd like OWS to be realistic at times, too.

The "other inequalities" were listed precisely to show that there are other perspectives that don't feel they align with OWS.

A movement that continues to be seen as being to a fair degree the project of white privilege that's hit a road bump needs to do more on the marketing. I'm not perfect on recognizing non-white (outside of minority Ivy Leaguers and their legacies) lack of privilege, but I try.

This relates also to my post earlier this week about "flippers" being a major cause of the mortgage bubble. It's like the, say, 2-20 percent, which has in the past largely aligned itself with either Republicanism or the most neoliberal thoughts within the Democratic party, is having the shoe pinch. And, to some degree, thinks its pain is unique.

Related to that is the Occupy movement's failure to get longshoremen on board with blocking the port of Oakland.
“Support is one thing, organization from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another,” Robert McEllrath wrote in a Dec. 6 letter to ILWU locals.
I'm not a fan of all unions, and I know that AFL-CIO unions have long been "co-opted" in various ways, ever since the 1950s and establishing foreign unions under CIA control. But, per the story, the ILWU isn't a union like that. And, among their issues is one that goes back to trucking deregulation under Carter. (Yes, not Reagan.)

Anyway, I'm not in the 2-20 percent, and probably never will be, this side of me and six lottery numbers coming into harmony.

That said, Sheldon, we'll see in the spring. Maybe Kalle Lasn will see his shadow Feb. 2, maybe he won't. But, is it really THAT "cynical" to say, in essense, "I agree with your issues, but, at the same time, wake up and smell the decades-old coffee?"

1 comment:

Sheldon said...

Really, the cynical attitude towards the occupy movement is getting really pathetic! Like Frances Fix Piven said on Henwood's show, "What movement have you started lately?"
While I share some of your criticism or Ad busters, this is a broader movement that is bigger than what you criticize in its founding in Zuccoti Park, or Adbusters, and is open to people bringing those particular inequalites into it. Again, what do you propose to turn this country's politics leftward?