The Occupy Wall Street movement (or Occupy, or OWS, depending on points of view on what the movement is attempting to accomplish) appears to be here for the long haul, and to have a chance of bringing about significant economic, political and social changes. The inclusiveness of the movement allows for participation of libertarians, joining the Occupiers where there is common ground. We at the Libertarian Party of San Francisco believe there is an additional reason for libertarian involvement in the movement – to offer solutions other than that of bigger and more intrusive government.
Although Occupiers are not in complete agreement as to their demands (or whether to have any demands at all), their overall message calls for jobs, educational opportunities, debt relief, reduction in the influence of corporations, and a more equitable distribution of wealth. It would be difficult to argue against the desirability of any of these objectives! The tools of implementation, however, do leave room for argument. For example, instead of demanding that the government wield hefty minimum wages, libertarians might suggest removal of the infinite number of regulations that keep small business from thriving, competing, and hiring at higher wages.
In summary, we offer the following list indicating what in the Occupy movement we support and what we oppose.
1. Engaging in peaceful freedom of assembly in public spaces. Open, inclusive dialogue, and non-hierarchical decision making.
2. Demanding an end to corporate welfare, corporate bailouts, and the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington DC.
3. Calling for abolition of the Federal Reserve Bank .
4. Shrinking the military-industrial complex’s spending on endless wars.
1. Destruction of private property. Deliberate interference with commuters or blocking traffic
2. Calling for tax increases (government forcibly taking and redistributing the people’s money). Forcing non-government institutions to forgive loans to private individuals.
3. Encouraging class warfare against the wealthy (many legitimately earned their money through hard work).
4. Focusing on solutions that will result in a bigger, more intrusive government.