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Commentary Detail

Occupy Movement is About Accountability
Commentary by: Tim Kaminski
Aired November 16, 2011

There's been a lot of talk lately about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Some have criticized Occupy St. Louis for a lack of focus and a failure to clearly articulate its goals. Mr. Schlafly wondered why protestors had “Go Cardinals” signs in Kiener Plaza. He asked, "Why would they protest corporate greed and support overpaid ballplayers?" More importantly, protesters have vocally opposed the misuse of taxpayers’ money to subsidize stadiums for the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. This is what the Occupy Movement is about: accountability. St. Louis taxpayers had no voice in these decisions.

Occupy Wall Street is about the wealthy elite 1% being subsidized with taxpayers money without the consent of the governed. That's why it isn't an "occupy government" movement. Our elected officials are slaves of finance industry lobbyists, corporate interests and the military-industrial complex. These special interests own them. The 99% of us workers, farmers, consumers, unemployed and students don't have that clout.

We've been told that we should vote. Nothing changes but the faces and names of our "elected officials". We can agree to disagree, but we can't change a system which is rightfully called, "the best democracy money can buy". There is nothing democratic about funding private interests with taxpayers' money without their consent.

Another criticism from Mr. Schlafly was, "why not an occupy Detroit movement?" As a matter of fact, I've heard more than a few speeches about the injustice of the auto industry bailout at Occupy St. Louis from trade unionists and students. Fenton is an excellent example of how workers, taxpayers and communities are devastated by undemocratic decisions by the elected officials. We had two Chrysler plants in Fenton, which produced minivans and pickup trucks. After US taxpayers' money was used to subsidize them, Chrysler closed both plants and transferred the minivan to Canada, which has government subsidized health insurance for their citizens. The pickup trucks went to Mexico!

Occupy protesters chose to target the financial sector rather than manufacturing because it is the bottom line. Follow the which begets money....lack of productivity, that is the problem. As a retired UAW member I have a lot more criticism of the auto bailout, but productivity is better than idle, unproductive capital. GM was bailed out too - at least — auto jobs are supposed to be added in Wentzville next year. Or so we are told.

Often we're reminded that "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Just as with the Roman Empire, the US is over extended. There are almost 1000 US military bases around the world. President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us "Beware of the military-industrial complex". Rome became bankrupt attempting to police the world. How much is the deficit? Greedy arms manufacturers and bank officials will be the death of this nation if we don't do something about it. The soldiers of Occupy Wall Street have put their whole selves into this fight. It's your fight too. Instead of looking down on them, we should be helping them.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Tim Kaminski

Tim Kaminski


Tim Kaminski was an active member of the UAW, served 2 years as Committeeperson UAW Local 110, and retired from Chrysler in 2007 after 30 years. He ran for 7th ward Alderman in St. Louis City in 2009 on the Green Party Ticket. He lives in St. Louis, MO

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