There, now you've been introduced. Perhaps you can even become friends. I really don't think at heart there is much differentiation until you get to the wide disparity of superficial issues that dominate politics these days. And frankly, if we distill the root of the problems down to the basic core, I'm guessing we can find a simple and direct message AND purpose for the OccupyWallStreeters.
The OccupyWallStreeters are largely considered to be a left-wing movement. Whether that perception is true or not, what is true is that it more or less mirrors the leftern (sic) portion (1/2) of the United States, in that it is a big disorganized umbrella. For supposed communitarians, you certainly are a rather disorganized bunch. All of which somehow manages to be ironic yet appropriate.
The Tea Party is mostly considered to be a right-wing populist movement. And for the most part, at the grass roots level, the people who are actually joining the rally, I believe it to be...at least in their hearts. They have real concerns. However, there are definite levers of power and investment behind the Tea Party, which gives it direction, force, and voice at the highest levels of corporately controlled media.
That dichotomy is where the opportunity lies, for the OccupyWallStreeters to expand their umbrella so that it officially is not a left-right issue, but a human one, an American one. It also will allow Occupy Wall Street to find a purpose, a clearly defined goal to push for. This is necessary, because as long as there are a million different directions certainly a few will turn off some other segment of the population.
Here is what they should do:
- Distill the issue down into one of people vs corporations. Sure, corporations are businesses and businesses employ people, but it is the shear size and power of the few that is distorting both democracy and capitalism. This is how you'll achieve a critical mass, left and right, black and white, old and young, the 99%.
- Reach out to the Tea Party. You're both people, there is common ground. And you're not always going to agree on everything so let those minor details work out democratically after...
- Push for the transparency of campaign donations at the very minimum, with stiff penalties for undisclosed donations. At the very least, we'll know who is bought and paid for and by whom.
- Push for the breaking up of monopolies. This can be achieved through executive order. Those that exist in a variety of industries stifle innovation, fix prices, alter public policy, and wield too much weight over market rates for both goods and labor. And in fact, more smaller companies employ more people than few larger ones. I don't give a damn about "efficiency." I do care about opportunity, fairness, and true competition, aka a healthy capitalist society. With emphasis on the "society."
- Push for the end of corporate personhood under the eyes of the law. If corporations are people, then they should be locked up because they behave like sociopaths. For a detailed history on the rise of corporate personhood, I'd like to point you to Unequal Protection. Also, my personal favorite sign from OccupyDallas: "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."
Oh and lastly, by reaching out to the Tea Party with this simple, basic premise of human rights versus corporate rights, you are pitting them against themselves. Which side will they take? Theoretically, they should join forces. However, if they don't then you are effectively discrediting their entire movement as one of a corporate pawn. This is a win-win situation for you.
Whether you disagree on healthcare or education or which color tie to wear, it does not matter. Those things will work themselves out once you gut the root of the problem, which is the long, slow (but accelerating) descent from a rambunctious cauldron of democracy, innovation, capitalism, and opportunity, one where our stability and place in the world derived precisely from that messiness, into one of Mussolini-style fascism, that is corporatism = government. He thought it would be more efficient that way. He was right.