Protest big bad businesses
Former president and 1919 Boston police
strike breaker Calvin Coolidge once said, "The business of America is business."
This oft-quoted adage is still relevant
today as American corporations extend their bounds overseas in the pursuit
of cheap labor in
the name of free trade.
Americans who have received enough of the
American dream to keep them from questioning the policies of big business
tolerate this form of corporate imperialism.
American workers who see their jobs sent over to foreign markets struggle
on to make
ends meet for their families with the
belief that this is the land of milk and honey.
But every once in a while something magnificent
happens in the complex world of American economics, something so grave
outrageous that it triggers a destabilization
of the American worker's resolve toward corporate America.
The most recent of these attitude-changing
occurrences was the collapse of Enron, the largest bankruptcy in American
After Enron fell, as you may recall, many
investors withdrew from Wall Street because they lost faith in the system.
supposed to be an example of the glories
and triumphs of corporate America, but instead — as the public later found
out — it was
merely a display of genius in illegal
accounting and deception. Only those in the know were able to bail out
Meanwhile, the average Enron workers were
screwed as they watched their retirement savings disappear faster than
a tear could
roll down the cheek of Linda Lay on prime-time
television. Local workers are still smarting from the layoffs caused by
collapse that went underreported in the
local press until it finally happened in the bitter end.
This is why so many ex-Enron employees
are furious, as the local pendulum has swung back over to anti-corporate
unseen in Houston for a very long time.
The moment is right for protesting big
business in all its cruel forms. The people will gather next to the Enron
"Crooked E" Building
at Antioch Park, 1400 Smith St. at Clay
Street in downtown Houston, to proclaim, "People are more important than
The Big Bad Business Day event is sponsored
by the Houston Global Awareness Collective. Speakers will include UH's
Buzzanco, former member of the Texas Legislature
Sissy Farenthold, UT journalism professor Robert Jensen and a handful of
others, as well as participants with the
courage and eloquence to step up to the bullhorn and voice their concern
of the corporate
agenda to ruin American society through
the endless quest for money.
Enron is just one example of the growing
problem of corporations. The dominant class is enjoying unprecedented wealth
not been seen since before the great stock
market crash in 1929.
The wealthiest 5 percent of the population
rules the American people by daily increasing margins — the latest figures
segment controls 60 percent of wealth,
according to Washington, D.C., nonprofit group Citizen Works, which was
founded by Ralph
Nader. The top 1 percent controls 38.1
percent of the money.
The average Ken Lay sort, the greedy executive
and administrative decision-maker usually holding the title of chief executive
makes 531 times more than the entry-level
This trend doesn't smell like democracy
to me. But for the average American worker, putting a name to it is senseless.
Overwhelming attitudes of hopelessness,
laziness and apathy have lead most to remove themselves from participating
system that governs them and a majority
of eligible voters not to vote (especially in local elections that affect
them most visibly). This
is a clear indication of dissatisfaction
with the political and economic system that has swallowed them.
I theorize this is mainly because high
school students don't learn the true history of their country, but rather
which brand name is
most desirable by their peers. We have
become a branded people, obsessed with name-brand goods that are produced
in sweatshop labor conditions and are
manufactured for planned obsolescence.
This is why the life of most new electric
household appliances has dropped, contrary to technological advances that
Come out to yell about all of this and
more on Friday. I'll see you in the park at 5 p.m. sharp.