By Seth Richardson
“This thing has to escalate so people see the violence and who is protecting the interests of corporations, said Dwayne Hudson, an Occupy Wall Street protester in Denver, according to the Associated Press story in Friday’s Denver Post.
“It has to be nonviolent, or else it will just end. We won’t get support. That doesn’t mean you can agitate people. But you can’t also be breaking windows and burning,” said OWS protester Bob Norkus in Boston in the same story.
One is a Marxist agitator and one is a useful idiot. I leave it to you to decide which is which, but here’s a little background from Marx himself:
“The abolition of bourgeois [known today as "corporate"] individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at… you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend… The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, … all capital from the bourgeoisie …. Of course… this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois [today, "corporate"] production.” Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Protest is an old and honorable right under our system of government. Those who protest “corporate greed” have a right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for redress of grievances. And there are many legitimate grievances that need to be redressed, but they are by and large grievances against the government itself, and specific bad actors in the private sector, not against capitalism generally.
Hudson says that people need to see “who is protecting the interests of corporations,” which is a valid enough demand, but one that doesn’t require violence. It’s society that is protecting the interests of corporations because society, as a whole, and I mean globally, recognizes that corporations are the business form that’s predominately used to create wealth and jobs in a capitalist, free market system. And “corporations” are not, as OWS protesters suggest, some sort of alien being that has infested the planet, they are, in fact, groups of ordinary people banding together in what socialists should laud as a highly democratic form of communal participation.
Corporations are legal entities comprised of shareholders who have voluntarily given “according to their ability” to a collective that is, by law, democratically operated by the shareholders. Corporate law requires that all corporations hold annual meetings at which shareholders may speak and express themselves, and at which they may vote, in person or by proxy, for the Board of Directors who guide the policies of the organization and hire and fire those responsible for the day-to-day operations of creating wealth for the collective.
It’s about as close to Marx’s ideal of the workers “owning the means of production” as you can get, since the shareholders own the corporation and all its assets, collectively.
That some corporations are wildly successful, generating massive wealth and profits for those who own it is a function of capitalism and good business. That successful corporate CEOs make huge salaries is an exercise in highly-socialistic democracy. That shareholders allow such salaries is nothing more than a collective decision to recognize that the purpose of a corporation is not “social justice” it’s to provide to each shareholder in direct proportion to his investment in the company. A successful corporation is not taking anything from anyone that they are not willing to give in return for value exchanged. This includes investors, customers and workers. This is unlike government, particularly socialist government, which inevitably takes from the productive class and gives to the dependent class against the will of those who are being stripped of the fruits of their individual labor.
Both Norkus and Hudson fail to understand that the Marxist dialectical claim that for the wealthy bourgeoisie (corporations and presumably CEOs) to be wealthy, that wealth must be extracted first from the working-class proletarian, and that this is inherently unfair, is utterly false and deceptive. This is what’s known as a “zero-sum fallacy” that claims that there is a limited pool of wealth available, and that the enhancement of one person’s wealth must diminish the wealth of another.
The truth is that wealth, in a capitalist system, is essentially unlimited, and however much wealth one person (like Warren Buffet or George Soros) may have does not negatively affect the ability of anyone else to create wealth of their own, they are in fact limited in their ability to improve their economic and social status only by their own personal limitations and incapacities. And the presence of large corporations, who are enormous consumers of adjunct, support and manufacturing services, actually substantially enhances the opportunity for any individual with a good idea who is willing to work hard to find venture capital investment and create even more wealth.
This is proven by the fact that in the United States, while the rich are indeed getting richer, so are the poor. According to the Macinac Center for Public Policy, citing the Wall Street Journal, “IRS tax return data shows that individuals in the bottom one-fifth back in 1996 experienced income growth of 91 percent by 2005. In contrast, individuals in the highest one-fifth saw their incomes increase just 10 percent over the same period. Incomes of households in the top 5 percent and 1 percent actually declined, by 7 percent and 24 percent, respectively.”
So it’s not that the poor are actually getting poorer, they aren’t. It’s just that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor, and Marxists don’t like this because they think it’s unfair that the rich aren’t being taxed “according to their ability” to absorb the demands for dependent-class support and equality of outcomes that Marxists insist is “fair.” This Marxist canard ignores the fact that it is the rich who provide the companies and the jobs that the poor use to improve their economic status, and that without those corporations, the poor would have no opportunity to share the American dream or prosper.
So when Norkus and Hudson rail against “corporate greed” they are in fact railing against their own inadequacies, incompetence and fears, not any inherent flaw in capitalism. Pogo’s famous declaration “we have met the enemy, and he is us” has never been truer than when applied to the ignorance of OWS protesters, who largely have the leisure to sit in a park somewhere and complain because Mommy and Daddy went about the business of creating wealth for their scion so that they could attend Marxist propaganda-dominated universities and take time off from their studies to protest that which they only dimly understand in an unfocused and ill-defined manner that insults even Karl Marx and the Communists, who at least were open about their intentions and clear in their message.
And they are all useful idiots that the true hard-line Marxists are using as dupes and shills to advance the plan of violent revolutionary overthrow of the United States and capitalism worldwide that has been the agenda of Marxists all along, as Marx himself said.
Fortunately, most hard-working Americans know that capitalism is not to blame for our economic crisis, government overreach and corruption are, and that Marxism and socialism are not viable alternative sociopolitical systems that can, or should replace free-market capitalism. This is why mainstream America is increasingly marginalizing and ignoring the OWS protests and is beginning to insist that if we are going to tolerate the OWS protests, which we certainly should, we should only do so as long as the useful idiots of OWS behave themselves, obey the law, and don’t constitute a public nuisance.
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