In support of Occupy ... Some thoughts on Corporations

We need to understand some things about corporations and put away some common misconceptions.

First and foremost, corporations are essentially amoral. The only imperative the that corporations follow is one that is common to all living things and that is the imperative to to survive and prosper.  They do whatever it takes to achieve these ends (survivability and prosperity).

It makes no sense to think of corporations (as many do) as being inherently good or evil.  This is why corporations require governance; something the even the government has had to acknowledge (ever heard of Sarbanes - Oxley?).

In some ways, corporations remind us of children. They have little knowledge of right and wrong, they are focused on immediate gratification (in the case of corporations this is increased profits) and they do not always behave appropriately in the pursuit of their gratification (this explains the behavior of the banks for example).

Another thing we have to realize is that they act in an environment that mandates continuous growth.  This sets up a system with no negative feedback and as such guarantees that things will run out of control.  It is like an ungoverned engine that continues to infinitely accelerate until it blows itself up.  Unfortunately, it is all to often that we the 99% are the ones who suffer negative effects of this.  How many of us have been laid off due to an acquisition? a bankruptcy? a retrenchment (downsizing)?

So how do we change this?  We need to realize that collectively we have allowed this situation to occur and that we now have a collective responsibility to provide guidance and control. We need to define what appropriate behavior is and make sure that the necessary mechanisms are in place to ensure that when corporations indulge in inappropriate behavior that their behavior is corrected (much like we would a child) and conversely, when a corporations engage in appropriate behavior they are rewarded.

So how do we define appropriate and inappropriate behavior?  When measuring behavior, one must have a criteria to gauge it against.  There are many criteria that could be used but I would suggest that we adopt criteria based upon the public good (I will define "public good" in a later post).  Behavior that adds to the public good is appropriate, behavior that detracts from the public good is in appropriate.

Ok what kinds of mechanisms do we put in place?  They should be one's that have a significant impact on the corporations.  All too often, things like fines and increased regulations simply become a cost of doing business and therefore are ineffective when it comes to modifying behavior.  What is needed are mechanism that affect the primary imperative that corporations recognize; survival and prosperity.

Some example mechanisms might be:
  • revocation of corporate charters
  • access to markets
  • mandatory independent oversight
  • <add your own here>
These should not be taken as a definitive list.  This list may be a suitable starting point and should be added and subtracted to as a result of ongoing future discussions.

We need to understand that we are advocating fundamental changes and that this will take time.  Time to determine what changes are necessary and how we will go about implementing them

In the meantime:

Viva the Occupation


In support of Occupy ... Our General Strike

Well Oakland did it, they've called for a general strike.

I can't say that I'm surprised by this.  Cessation of economic activity is an obvious way for us to strike back at the government and the corporations.

Now we are being accused of being a front for the unions and we now have an opportunity to show the accusers just how wrong they are.


We need to do this strike in an occupist fashion.  It needs to be national in scope.  All of the occupy communities (2,212 the last time I checked) need to participate.

So what do I mean by participate? In a traditional genral strike, one withholds one's labor.  The occupists' general strike is the withholding of all economic participation! Don't spend or accept any money at all on November 2!!

Take the day off work unpaid; you will deny the government their tax revenue.

Don't buy anything at all (no beer, no potato chips, nothing); you will deny the corporations their revenues.

Wait a minute, what about the small business? Won't this hurt them more than the big corporations?

Well, they are part of the 99 also. I invite them to join the strike. Close their business for a day, give their employees an unpaid day off. Do their part to deny the government and their big corporate vendors their revenue.

In the meantime:



"In support of Occupy ..." - Why this title

When I first came across the Occupy Together map it had only 200+ entries on it. What struck me was most of them in the US.

Corruption of politics and government is not just a US problem. It is a problem that is endemic world wide (just ask the residents of Bhopal, India).  We need to recognize this and reach out to those like minded individuals not just here in the states but everywhere.  We need to share resources, ideas with everyone around the world who is committed to ending the corruption of our politics and government by the corporations.

With that in mind I decided to start every blog post with the phrase "In support of Occupy ..." so that in a small way I could send the message that I support members of the occupy movement wherever you are.

Now, as of this posting, if you go to the map you will see:

  • There are 1280 occupy groups (and growing)
  • A significant number of them are from oversees.
I welcome all of these new members but especially our new members from outside the US. If there is anything I can do to help and support you, please post a comment here and I will get back to you.

There are a number of resources that can help with communications and sources of advice.  Some of them that I find useful are:
One bite at a time!


In support of Occupy ... One message, One Voice

One of the questions I hear being asked over and over again is, "what are they all about"? We need to have one message and we need to voice it with one voice.

All of my life I have watched the corporations accumulate more and more wealth.  This translates into more and more power, power in the economic arena, power in the political arena and power in the governmental arena.  This results in them having a corrosive influence in all three arenas.

All of my life I have watched those around me acknowledge the wrongness of this situation and wring their hands at their inability to do anything about. We live in a time of momentous change.  We no longer have to be a silent majority, we can speak out, we can act and we should. Provided we have the right message conveyed in the right way 

To me the message is simple.

We will no longer tolerate the corruption of our politics and government by the corporations.

Let me reiterate and emphasize this:


Now is that all we have to say? Of course not.  We need talking points and a program (more on that in later posts) but the discussion should always lead back to "we will no longer ...".

Well there it is, a simple message rendered with one voice.

What do you think?

In support of Occupy ...

I have been privileged to see the birth of two social movements in my time.  In the early 70's I was fortunate enough to march in anti-war protests.

In the last 20 days I have been avidly watching what I hope is the birth of a new social movement: OccupyWallStreet.

At first, I was concerned that the movement would not gain traction and would fizzle out.  Instead the movement has grown (as one can see by this map) and hopefully will continue to grow.  The challenge for me has been what can I do to help?

Like most of my generation, I have responsibilities and commitments.  I cannot simply drop everything to hang out in Liberty Park (although I do hope to make a short visit in the near future).  So what can I do?

Then it hit me, I have things to say, valid things to say, things that are just as valid as anybody else.  Things that may be useful, a dialog to offer.  I have experiences to share.

So I've made up my mind to speak out, to use this forum to share my thoughts and my experience. Instead of spending my evenings reading or playing games or watching movies and documentaries I will spend them on this, but I can't do it on my own.

The effort that I make will be determined in part by the response I get.  I need the help of my readers.  If I've got it right, tell me so.  If I have it wrong, tell me that also.  If what I say is good, tell me how to make it better.

Our country is broke, lets start a constructive dialog as to how we can fix it.  Invite your friends and acquaintances to participate.  Together we can fix what's broke and go on to do great things.