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Wednesday 19 October 2011

The System is the Problem

The Occupy Wall Street movement has caught on and appears to be spreading across the globe. The reason we know it's really catching on is because we have our very own Occupy NL protest happening in downtown St. John's. It may be a small group but the fact that people care enough to protest over anything is some kind of miracle. I've mentioned our troubling slide toward apathy before so I won't beleaguer the point here. At the same time there's a guy named Matt Howse staging a solo protest against the decision to keep the House of Assembly closed until the Spring. I'm not sure if they realize it but the two groups are protesting the very same thing: The System.

Sure it sounds easy to say blame it on "the man" or "fight the power" or some other empty catchphrase but they do have some component of truth in them. When a system grows to a certain size part of that system's function becomes to maintain itself and that usually means maintaining the status quo, no matter how messed up it is. It can defy logic and still be perfectly acceptable to those who exist and operate within the system. Governments of all levels and their agencies are usually the worst offenders and the most resistant to change.

On the global scale we can look to the current economic crisis that we are trying to fight our way out of. It was essentially the result of nonsensical policies of the US Government because the banking system held so much sway in the system that they set the rules. And those rules were basically that there should be no rules. As such major corporations sold things they never really owned and others purchased insurance against the security of those items, banks began predatory lending practices because they didn't care if people could pay, and the US Government and its regulators let it all happen. Not unlike ENRON, the system of buying and selling things that only exist in theory is like playing Russian Roulette, you win big until you loose big, and while we lost big the system protected those responsible because thats what the system does.

Now back to NL. Those who protest in the Occupy Movement may not be able to tell you what they are protesting beyond corporate greed, but they are actually protesting government policies and a system that allows huge corporations to exploit the working class. Oh and Matt House is protesting bad Government policy that allows one person to determine when public debate will take place in the peoples House of Assembly. Those in power do not want to change the system because it may put their jobs at risk and unfortunately they do not see the greater good as the ultimate goal.

How about we elect some folks who care less about maintaining the system and their jobs and more about changing the things that need to be changed to improve the system, even to gut the system if necessary. Tabula Rasa.    

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