University of Massachusetts at Amherst emeritus economics professor Richard Wolff speaks about some of the roots of, and solutions to, the economic inequality thatâ€™s finally being acknowledged
It’s clearly a very, very popular movement right from the beginning, thereby giving the lie to those had felt, and thought and said that there’s no left wing base in the United States, that that was all blown away.
http://rdwolff.com/content/how-occupy-economy-according-richard-wolff (audio recording with accompanying pdf transcript)
It seems to me there are two ways of looking at this. One is to say, as many in the world were saying after the 9/11 attacks : “We’re all Americans now” (before the U.S. began it’s unilaterlaism and followed the whims of “The War President”) . In much the same way, one could say “We’re all left-wingers now”, which is to say that we all see the conditions now (or hopefully, sooner rather than later, will soon see the conditions for what they are, and recognize that the time has come to jettison our previous “trust in the process” and begin to wrest the control back from the entrenched economic elites who have hijacked our media (including the right wing media, who blindly adopt the assumptions about what is status quo, and what is not to be questioned without raising the red flag (or in this case, the red white and blue flag).
Another way to look at this is that this economic situation is not a problem to be solved by the “left wing base”, but by a recognition that the “left wing” has itself been co-opted. The democratic processes have coalesced around the larger forces of the economy that have already been, and are continuing to be, rigged to serve the interests of those who continue to see no end to the share of the nation’s wealth that they “deserve” as its guarantors.
A true left wing continues to question that status quo. It never lets up. When the left wing “lets up”, we get the kind of 30 year process for which we’re now beginning to see the dire consequences.
I’ve only read the first few lines of the transcript, but felt compelled to write these comments as they came to mind as a result of the “left wing base” observation of Wolff. The observation of some that there is no left wing base may have been effectively true, and it is only now that this base is beginning to realize that its dormancy has rendered it useless as a check against the forces of powerful to cut the support from underneath it. And the effects of this economic recession/depression have awakened many, and converted others who are now forced to ask “what the hell is going on and how did this happen?”
For me, these recognitions concerning the “rigging of the economy” by the 1% are a key element of my theology. The “principalities and powers” of which Paul writes , and which I identify as social, political, and economic forces, are tipping their hand. Their identity as “principalities and powers” have broken through our “trust in the system” and beliefs that “capitalism is the finest system in the world” to lay bare the facts of how money corrupts, and it corrupts the most trusted systems more severely because it works in the dark, and disguises itself as an “angel of light” (just as the most vocifourous defenders of the status quo insist that they have “the best , purest notions of America, and reach for their most unadultrated forms of “American excaptionalism” to show how much they love our country. But as MLK said, “there is no great disappointment where there is no great love”. When people become shrill in their condemnations of dissent to the point of questioning the patriotism of dissenters, which is obviously a key theme of the very consitution to which they appeal, then we are seeing the signs that the principalities are sensing “they’re onto us”.
And it is in the Hebrew prophets, and also in Jesus, that we can see the clear warnings of the eventual fall of the powerful who detach themselves from participation in the greater good. How this has become so “masked” in our reading of the Bible and the gospels is yet another successful mechanism of the principlaities and powers that manipulate us through media and educational institutions.