It’s time to Occupy Congress!

What is happening in Washington, DC these days could lead not to anarchy but to monarchy, says political philosophy professor Michael Lynch in a New York Times op-ed piece today.

“Should shutdowns, debt-ceiling fights and the radical political legislative gridlock they represent really become a fixture of American political life, it will be more tempting, more reasonable, to think that someone should  “step in” to make the decisions,” Lynch says. “The chorus calling for action — for the president, for example, to go around the Congress — will only increase. If you are on the left, and Obama is still in power, you may even tell yourself that is a good thing. But it is a bad precedent, the type of precedent that causes democracies to erode.”

To me it seems clear that the someone who should be stepping in here is WE THE PEOPLE!!!

Judging by the Republicans’ abysmal and rapidly sliding approval rates, the obstructionists in Congress no longer represent the will of the people.  It’s up to us to show them the door and get on with all the much more important issues that face us.

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Where is Occupy when you need it?  Why haven’t any progressive groups been calling for a march on Washington to demonstrate on behalf of what we believe and what we want to see our elected representatives doing for us?

It seems like social media has frozen us in the sidelines as spectators rather than actors in this political tragi-farce that is unfolding day by depressing day.

Expressing one’s outrage to one’s circle of Facebook friends is like looking at one’s own reflection in a hall of mirrors.

Let’s get out of the funhouse and go march on the State House!

And not a tame weekend march, either.  Let’s march on a weekday, calling a general strike of work and school and civil business as usual until the Congress gets its act together and unclamps its stranglehold on Federal business as usual.

If there was ever a time when the President needed us to turn out and support him it is now.  Not just in donations, not just in approving tweets, but in the flesh.

Let’s Occupy Congress and stay there until the job is done.  Who’s in?

What do Derrick Jensen and George Washington Have in Common?

Derrick Jensen was speaking to the Occupy Oakland and San Francisco folks today, and I had hoped to catch the livestream, but ended up missing it.  I did find, however, a video from about a month ago, when Jensen spoke to Occupy DC via Skype.

True to form, Jensen told the crowd that when people ask him whether he’s calling for the overthrow of the U.S. Government, ie, real revolution, he answers that “this question comes far too late.

“For the government was long since overthrown.  And those who overthrew it are known as Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum, Halliburton, Monsanto, ADM, WalMart, Massey, Goldman Sachs, Citibank.

“They are the real governors, and the United States Government is a wholly owned subsidiary brought to you by McDonalds, Pfizer and Lockheed Martin.

“So then you can ask, am I advocating the overthrow of the corporations?  Am I advocating the overthrow of the corporate state?

“To which I will say hell yes!”

For someone like me who came of age in the 1970s and 80s, it’s very hard to imagine a world without corporations.  How would we get our stuff?  What would I type on if there was no Apple?  How would we communicate without Google, Facebook or WordPress, not to mention Twitter?

And of course, how would any of these products see the light of day without the industrial supply lines that go from oil extraction to factory production to tanker ships to retail store?

Well, somehow for the vast majority of human history, your ancestors and mine managed to live and procreate and die just fine without any corporate help or interference.

I’m no Luddite: I love my computer, car, cell phone and dishwasher just as much as the next American.

But somewhere along the way to the bank, we ceded far too much power to these corporations. Derrick Jensen has it right when he says that “a government worth a good goddamn” should answer to human beings, not corporations.

And not just to human beings, but to all of the beings on our planet who are fading away day by day–at the rate of 200 extinctions a day, as Jensen never tires of reminding us.

Will we join the polar bears and the wolves and the rhinos in fading away quietly into the night when our time comes, as it surely will if we do nothing to stop the steamroll of oil-driven climate change?

Or will we stand up now and demand that our government obey its mandate to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, recognizing that what is good for the people is what is good for the earth as an ecological system?

Jensen closed his talk in DC on a positive and galvanizing note:

“When the government becomes destructive of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.  It is long past time we made full use of our rights.”

Just like our colonial-era forebears, we have the right to throw off the yoke of oppressive government to found a better system.

The Occupy movements are the advance guard of what needs to be a massive campaign of civil disobedience and relentless pressure on the government to listen to us, the people–not them, the corporations.

We celebrate those rabble-rousers, Washington and Jefferson, as national heroes.  Let’s get behind today’s rabble-rousers and turn the corner into a new era.  It can’t happen too soon.

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