There is a lot of disinformation going on in the media today but none more egregious than that surrounding the OccupyWallStreet movement. For a body that quickly jumped on the Tea Party protests, and accepted them as organic in nature, this makes little sense. What are they missing in this grassroots movement that they quickly didn’t quickly comprehend from the Tea Party movement?

I find it very disturbing that the news media is having difficulty with this. This is an industry filled with highly skilled people trained to conduct investigative research and journalism. How come these people cannot spend a day talking to the masses and aggregate a series of issues which resonate with the people at the protest? Why focus on the fringe instead of focusing on the majority? Is it because the news media is incompetent at doing such basic research, or is it because their corporate masters and rich benefactors have no desire to have the issues presented in a meaningful way? Is it more beneficial for these mega corporations to downplay or outright dismiss this movement, so it does not gain traction with the people? That will be answered later, but understanding the movement may be the place to start.

What is this movement about? Why have all of these people taken to the streets in numbers that make the Tea Party protests seem miniscule? Why is this movement spreading beyond Wall Street and to cities all over the country? These are the questions the news media is failing to ask and unable to figure out for themselves. Just from the limited information available through social media I’ve managed to come to several conclusions about the movement and what it stands for or what can be construed as a list of demands the media has been so hungry to hear.

First, the most common issue I am hearing is a demand for social justice. This is a fuzzy term for most but makes perfect sense in our current cultural context. Social justice is the belief that citizens are created equal and should have fair and equal access to all institutions which establish or frame our society. This philosophy also believes in the universality of human rights and the recognition of the people’s needs over that of the enterprise or state. Conservatives have long railed against social justice as they have been programmed to interpret this as redistribution of property and income. While there is some truth to this position they tend to ignore the current economic system which does just that; redistributes property and income from the middle and lower classes and funnels it to the upper class and already monied. Social justice is for defining a playing field where regulations protect the masses and give equal access to those institutions which provide opportunity for achieving high levels of economic success. The current system is set up so only those who already have access to wealth will be able to accrue further wealth. The only hope for the non-privileged set is to stumble upon wealth through an act of God, like winning the lottery or through fame by becoming a reality television star. This isn’t social justice, this cruel and unusual punishment!

The social justice this movement has identified is the stuff that everyone supposedly would agree is a human need. An individual in a YouTube video called it “the Jesus” stuff; feeding the poor, healing the sick, educating the masses, and the ability for the people to be governed by their peers. In the context of today’s society that would mean providing a living minimum wage, providing universal health care, providing quality education, and a restructuring of our government to be representative of the people and for the people. This is not a massive redistribution of wealth or property, this is establishing the basic services meeting human needs and rights as provided by almost every other westernized nation on the planet.

The second issue I hear most often is a call for fiscal responsibility and equality within the economic system. This is the same issue the Tea Party originally began to coalesce around back in 2009. There is an almost universal belief in American culture that government spending has exceeded responsible levels and much of that spending has gone to institutions that aid the already rich and privileged. Responsibility, in this context, focuses on establishing an economic climate which is more transparent and protective of those in society that do not have the means to lose a huge sum of money in an economic downturn.

The return to fiscal responsibility begins with a reinstatement of the Glass Steagall Act of 1933, repealed in 1999 by Republicans during the Clinton administration. The protections afforded by Glass Steagall contributed to the prevention of the economic failures experienced after its repeal. From the depression through to the repeal of Glass Steagall the United States did not experience the types of economic turmoil associated with the past decade. The unification of banking interests, which was prevented by Glass Steagall, allowed access to fiscal resources, in the shape of mortgages and retirement vehicles, which should have remained protected, to be gambled in the markets. These resources were used with questionable investment strategies to reap hundreds of billions of dollars in profits for those in on the scheme, and then, when the house of cards collapsed, complete losses for millions of unsuspecting Americans. Gone was the value in retirement savings and home equity, affecting almost every citizen of the country. To add insult to injury was the fact that the government gave almost a trillion dollars of tax payer money to Wall Street to reward them for their monumental screw up.

What got people up in arms in 2009 was the fact that the funds were given at all. What has the OccupyWallStreet people up in arms is that the funds were given to Wall Street with no oversight or transparency. That money was given without any strings attached and, instead of being used to kick start the economy, was instead reinvested to garner more wealth for those who cashed in on the crash of the economy. The rich got richer on the backs of the same people who lost everything. This boils down to another demand for justice, but not of the social variety. Protesters have pointed out that billions of dollars was stolen from unsuspecting investors, the public coffers were also raided, and not a single criminal charge has been leveled against those responsible for this meltdown. The people are demanding to see where their money is being spent and by whom. They are calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve to find out just how badly the American people have been shafted.

The third issue that comes up with regularity is the belief in individual rights over corporate rights. The constitution was drafted by living, breathing individuals. Corporations were not on the radar when James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights, based on the ideas and writings of John Locke, the father of Liberalism. The idea of a non-living, non-self-aware entity being granted the rights afforded that of a living person would certainly cause both thinkers to go on at lengths about men, property and fruits of one’s labor. Contemplating that corporations, those socialistic collectives used to make money, should pay less tax than the average citizen would send either man into a fit of rebellious outrage. In the context of their day, the idea of a corporation having rights beyond that of an individual is just, well, un-American.

It is this belief that has led the OccupyWallStreet set to point to draconian laws, like Citizens United, as being counter to the continued growth of individuals in the United States. As long as corporations continue to hold greater power than the individual, and have the ability to negatively affect our democratic processes, the system is set up for abuses which force the citizenry into indentured servitude to those same corporations. The repeal of Citizens United, and a re-examination of the tax code to eliminate all loop holes that give corporations greater benefits than those afforded to the poorest in this country is a foundation for positive change.

The fourth point is one that the Tea Party folk were also in favor of at the beginning of their protests. Constitutional compliance come front and center to the OccupyWallStreet cause. One person, one vote, and one democracy. When lobbyists can grease the gears of power in Washington with vast sums of money from corporations and special interests, buying favor to pass legislation favorable to their specific cause rather than the general good, our democracy becomes undemocratic, nay, an illiberal democracy. When corporations assume control of our democratic processes they control our government, without oversight or protections afforded individuals under the constitution. Elimination of special interests from the democratic process must take place if we are to save our system of government and our country.

Another point to be made on the OccupyWallStreet movement and the treatment in the media is on the rhetoric being fired back and forth. The Tea Party is being hoisted up on a pedestal as an example of a grass roots movement who had a message and carried it through, unlike these bongo playing hippies. I would like to remind the mass media, and you readers, that the Tea Party was, and on the grass roots level, still is fractured in their beliefs and message. Only that segment of the Tea Party which was co-opted by special interest money from the likes of Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works, both off shoots of Citizens for a Sound Economy funded by big industry players, have found a common message, one borne in the minds of the staff of a well-funded conservative think tank. The real Tea Partiers, unaffiliated with the Glenn Becks or Sarah Palins or Michelle Bachmanns, believe the same core principals the Occupy Wall Street people are preaching. In fact, if you look closely, you will see the Gadsden flag represented in the mix at these protests, because this is not an ideological protest, this is a humanist protest.

Finally, I’ve heard that these people are “engaged in class warfare,” but this makes little sense. How does a group with no weapons (special interest money, bought-politicians, corporate controlled media, etc.) initiate a war against those who have those WMDs in spades? The idea is preposterous and is the mass media deflecting the true intentions of their corporate masters. The mass media has not spent a day talking to the masses and aggregate a series of issues which resonate with the people at the protest because that would expose that these people are informed and understand what is happening to them. The media instead focuses on the fringe, attempting to discredit the cause and dissuade anyone else from joining the ranks. It is not because the news media is lazy at doing such basic research, but it is because their corporate masters and rich benefactors have no desire to have the issues presented in a meaningful way. Is it more beneficial for these mega corporations to downplay or outright dismiss this movement, so it does not gain traction with the people and threaten their grip on power and their ability to steal billions from the country on a monthly basis. These people, young and old, have the audacity to challenge the current economic and political systems and these corporations will do everything in their power to shut them down for the good of their bank accounts and to the detriment of ours. We can only hope that the 99% can continue to put up a good fight and win this battle.