What's Occupy Got To Be Mad About?
George Martinez, censored by TimeWarner
We'll be talking about Brooklyn in a moment, but first I want to take a look at a story from last year in the Daily Telegraph by Daniel Hannan, a Conservative Member of the European Parliament. It was a memo to the Occupy movement about what "we evil capitalists really think." He lists 10 because he claims right-wingers like himself are badly misunderstood. And some of what he's talking about can be valuable for progressive congressional candidates here in America who need to pick up votes from people who have been brainwashed by Fox and Hate Talk Radio. Especially his schpiel-- points number 1 and 2-- on the bankster bailouts-- whether the mother-of-all Bush bailouts or this past weekend's Spanish bailout.
1. Free-marketeers resent the bank bailouts. This might seem obvious: we are, after all, opposed to state subsidies and nationalisations. Yet it often surprises commentators, who mistake our support for open competition and free trade for a belief in plutocracy. There is a world of difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes, the two positions happen to coincide; often they don’t.
2. What has happened since 2008 is not capitalism. In a capitalist system, bad banks would have been allowed to fail, their profitable operations bought by more efficient competitors. Shareholders, bondholders and some depositors would have lost money, but taxpayers would not have contributed a penny.
We'll let his utter cluelessness on the Laffer Curve slip by, as well as his delusions of a flat tax without loopholes. He called himself a right-winger so... well, you can't expect a lot. But he does claim that "those of us who believe in small government are not motivated by the desire to make the rich richer. We’re really not... [and] we are not against equality... Our objection is not that egalitarianism is undesirable in itself, but that the policies required to enforce it involve a disproportionate loss of liberty and prosperity." Ah, now we're getting to what makes rightists reprehensible and why their ideals always lead them to taking anti-democracy stands. And don't worry that I've left off the other half of his points. They're all basically rubbish that you've heard before. Instead, I want to move to a reason Occupy movement people-- and those they represent-- do hate the Establishment... and Hannan misses that point, the it isn't rightists that are held in such contempt, but the Establishment, the voice, and muscle, of conservatism-- regardless of the partisan divide-- who are the enemies of progress for ordinary working families. And that's where Brooklyn comes in. I've mentioned George Martinez before, the Occupy activist who decided to take on the grotesquely corrupt Brooklyn Democratic Machine and their dueling congressional candidates, incumbent Nydia Velázquez and Erik Dilan. George is running a people-powered congressional race, a veritable "grassroots experiment of participatory democracy." and isn't engaging in the classic money-grubbing politics that has ceded our whole system over to the corporations and to hereditary billionaires. But local TV station NY1 just banned him from participating in the district's debate-- for exactly that reason: he hasn't raised enough money. He raised enough signatures to put him on the ballot... isn't that enough? Not TimeWarner, apparently.
“Our longstanding policy at NY1 when we’ve held debates is to give seats to candidates who we consider to be viable…who are on the ballot…[and] getting donations from voters in the district and spending the money on basic campaign expenses,” said Bob Hardt, Political Director at NY1, which is owned by Time Warner Cable company.
While Mr. Martinez has indeed been approved by the Board of Elections, and submitted all required Federal Elections Committee (FEC) paperwork, he was not required until recently to submit an FEC financial disclosure form because his campaign had succeeded in getting nearly 3,000 signatures and his place on the ballot without spending the minimum disclosure amount of $5,000. To us, this represents a victory for people-powered, grassroots politics, not a lack of “viability”!
Over the course of the day yesterday, hundreds of people spoke out in support of Mr. Martinez and against the censorship that NY1 would impose by barring a candidate from a debate because of the amount of money his campaign has/hasn’t raised. The group had planned a rally and press conference at NY1’s Chelsea Market studio this afternoon, with allies from OWS.
Where does that rate for Occupy on the reasons-to-be-pissed-off meter? If you'd like to help George raise the small amounts of money he does need, you can do it here on our ActBlue page.