Friday, October 28, 2011

Freedom Riding Again

Ernest “Rip” Patton joined the Occupy Nashville protesters in Legislative Plaza last week and suddenly the memories flooded back.

“It just brought back that 1960, 1961 feeling again,” said Patton, 71. “It’s like people are waking up.”

Here is a fascinating interview with some men who make history:

We're proud that our home area, Nashville, Tennessee, was very important in the Civil Rights movement, and that passion for equality is continuing.

Capitol Idea

A widely-distributed email suggested this week that we could essentially solve the deficit problem instantly if Congress were treated like the rest of us. Here's some of the suggestions:

1. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system.

2. Congress can purchase their own supplemental retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

3. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

4. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

Most of us realize that what was designed to be a democracy has morphed into a huge hierarchy, especially in the last three decades. The higher people channel power and resources to themselves while lower people hold them up by sending their own resources to the top.

We can predict from what we know of hierarchies that many members of Congress would be shocked if they were to be held to the same standards as the people who work hard to pay their salaries and benefits.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Could Be the One!

The Occupy movement is positioned to bring together all of the efforts since 1776 to create a country that reflects its forebearer's dreams. Here's why:

1. Smaller equality movements (women, gays, etc.) are in mature stages. We've removed barriers to diverse groups working together, and have the successes that now free us to work together.

2. The 1% at the top is showing their cluelessness to wide audiences. Since they are acting typical of people on the top of a hierarchy, we can use our experience to topple economic inequality. 99% is a huge lower group.

3. We control information, as the internet flows freely through most of the 99%. Information is no longer filtered through the top.

4. Economic inequality has statistics that are easier to grasp than previous social inequality movements. Everybody can understand what it means when the top 1% possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90%. The 400 wealthy Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans. In the Bush expansion from 2002 to 2007, 65% of economic gains went to the richest 1%.

5. We can use the common language of hierarchies and we can predict how the top will act.

Exciting times ahead.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wall Street is Vulnerable

Paul Krugman's recent article, "Overblown criticism of protestors is telling," is a fabulous description of typical behavior of those who are on top. Any nudge from below, no matter how small, feels like a steamroller - a heavy-handed threat to one's position. Krugman notes that "the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical response from Wall Street."

We are glad to see that Wall Street and supporters of this world-wide economic hierarchy are responding in this predictable way. We know they will be vulnerable when we use what we know about hierarchies to set them up to act out to an even wider audience.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Many Good Men Needed

Many women in our generation - products of the 1970's women movement - have worked diligently to make opportunities to the younger generations of women and it's paid off. Over and over, we kept asking, "where are the men that need to be doing the same thing for boys?"

A recent article, "Why men are in trouble," points out that even though men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, women are catching them and will soon be passing them if trends continue. The article reports that sixty percent of college students are women. The article answers that younger men are spending an average of five hours a day playing video games, there is a maturity deficit characterized by a prolonged adolescence that refuses to grow up and to take responsibility in relationships, there is an obsession with sex and treating women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. We've heard many women voice similar observations, and it's nice to see such discussions in an article.

The roles of men and women have shifted substantially in the last few decades. Women have done more to define these new roles and men will have to work to catch up if they want meaningful relationships and to become equals in our new culture with a weakening gender hierarchy, and stop being clueless at the top. We look forward to more articles like this one that urges men to teach the younger males coming up behind them.