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Occupy the Pasture!

One Demand Doesn’t Come Close to Covering It

by JIM GOODMAN

Political decisions are made to increase economic growth.

Economic growth is measured by corporate profit.

Corporate profit decides who wins elections.

So, how is this in the interest of the “common good”, how is this Democracy? Well, it’s not, it’s plutocracy, it’s democracy taken over by money, blessed by the U.S. Supreme Court and their Citizens United decision.

What does Democracy look like?

Democracy was the signing of the Magna Carta in England in 1215, proclaiming an end to the arbitrary will of the Monarch.

Democracy was the Boston Tea Party; farmers, tradesmen, peasants saying no the the British government, no we will not pay a tea tax to enrich your chosen corporation.

Democracy was the French revolution; peasants rising up against a ruling class that was totally out of touch with the poor that they oppressed.

Democracy was the Progressive movement of the early1900s: womens suffrage, income tax, the Grange.

Democracy was the civil rights movement of the 1960′s that said we were ”all” equal.

Democracy was the anti-war movement of the 1960s and ’70s that ended the war in Vietnam .

Democracy is the Arab Spring; people demanding their rights: decades of dictatorship must end.

Democracy is the Stand with Wisconsin movement, — labor unions, teachers, nurses, farmers, firefighters, police and the faith community united to reject assaults on public workers because an assault on one is an assault on us all.

Democracy is protest, started and carried out by the people, opposed by the government and the rich.

And today, Democracy is the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS).

Author Michael Moore noted, corporate America is so fearful of this movement, so scared:  what are they going to do? it’s spreading around the world.

Like all populist movements that demand social justice, OWS was ignored by the mainstream media and marginalized by Right-wing conservatives. But as Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Pundit Bill Kristol called the protests “un-American” and “fundamentally undemocratic” and Newt Gingrich suggested the protesters “take a bath and get a job”. Two well educated men, who obviously have little knowledge of how their free society came to be.

Gingrich feels assured of the votes of the 1%. But does he have a lock on the votes of the heartland? Well, this isn’t Kansas anymore, and despite the Conservative Right having managed to frighten people into consistently voting against their own best interests— times they are a- changin.

Perhaps the most often criticized aspect of the OWS movement is that they have yet to articulate specific demands. I’m OK with that, in fact it would be ridiculous to make a specific demand or demands because the whole system needs changing, the system is not working and no one single fix will make it work.

The Occupy movement is not dying, much as those who really started it ( the big banks, the Wall St. speculators and the politicians beholden to the financial industry) wish it would. Occupy will continue in New York, in Oakland and Toronto. It will continue to “play in Peoria”.

We have talked about an “occupy the pasture” movement. So, if we have an open winter, the cows will be out there, in solidarity, joining the protest. After all, industrialized agriculture is certainly one of the problems we need to fix.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wisconsin.