If you take all of the greedy rich, all of the corporate persons, and throw in all elected government for good measure, you'll still have less than 10% of the US. So, the rest of us outnumber them basically ten to one, which means that just by numbers we have the ability to overwhelm them many times over. This is a massive inequality in power. But despite the fact that we dwarf their numbers, a small minority controls our government, and makes it work to their benefit - at our expense - and does so with our "consent".
This is inequality that should work to our benefit, but it doesn't. Why? Because the 1% are organized into structures that magnify their power, and they work and do their best to make sure we can't organize in a similar fashion.
And they will NEVER acknowledge that by virtue of our numbers we should call the shots.
They believe they know what's best and should be allowed to govern us unwashed masses, but it's a very self serving philosophy, since they understand that were we to govern ourselves, they wouldn't get the considerations they now enjoy.
Their biggest accomplishment has been to convince us that this state of affairs is as it should be, because we're not capable of deciding what's best for us and our country, and thus, must defer to them. Nonetheless, we should rightfully govern ourselves. I believe our government was set up to protect the masses from the wealthy minority, and not vice versa, but due to the sense of entitlement of the greedy and wealthy it's been turned backwards in that respect.
There’s no way with our current system that we can prevail against corporations or huge fortunes. Greed will consume everything and will certainly show no regard for our right to pursue happiness since it would mean they have less. Our interests can receive no consideration with the gravity of the black hole of greed pulling against them.
There are really only two options and both require that we act collectively. We elect a government to represent our interests (which requires that we understand what those interests are and how they differ from those of the tiny greedy minority) and act in a general way to see that our will be done. Or, we organize among ourselves in numbers that can bring leverage to bear on a given situation.
We’ve tried both of those methods and both have been overcome by greed and wealth. As a result, in the richest and most powerful nation in the world, the majority of us are left out, as if we’re not the real source of all the wealth. And we’ll continue to be until we assert our position of power as the real creators of wealth over the mere accumulators of the wealth we generate.
In our modern nation, it’s set up so that to reach enough people to be elected into government you need money - and a lot of it in most cases. That’s a built in lever that wealth can use to corrupt and control our government. Wealth and capital don’t share any of the interests of working people. No wealthy person can relate to or represent the interests of working people. For the time being this condition rules out government, for whatever good it does do, as a true weight in favor of the people against the interests of wealth and profit.
The only option left to us is to organize collectively. But it needs to be done in new ways, not in the old ways of, for instance, the unions we were allowed to have. And not necessarily just in the work context.
More universal movements along the lines of OWS can apply leverage in social and political situations as we saw. (And the “1%” definitely fears collective action!) OWS threatened to cut through the illusions of difference constructed to keep us fussing among ourselves instead of focusing on the folks with the whips. The more people realize we’re all in a big boat getting screwed together, and see who’s doing the screwing, the more likely they are to consider resistance. I think a good rule of thumb is, if the powers that be crack down on it, that means we need MORE OF THAT.
Still, our biggest leverage is our labor, because that is how the wealth is actually created. Walmart wouldn't have shit if their workers didn't work. They know it. Neither would GE, or Koch Industries or McDonalds. Many jobs have been moved away from our country to begin with, simply to cut the amount paid for labor - and to the detriment of our nation. Despite this deliberate devaluation of and damage to our workforce, corporations are allowed to sell their more cheaply foreign produced products here just the same (and at the same higher price)without any penalty. Still, wealth and capital (and the government they own) work to curtail labor organization. Capital holds power over labor and dictates the terms. That is ass backwards and it’s enforced with coercion. What’s more, the unions have ceased to be effective representation, and, I believe, at least in their current form, may as well be discarded.
Workers’ collectives at all levels of labor might be more of a way to go, organized also into a collective of collectives. We need the ability to stage national strikes and boycotts that people participate in because they understand they've got a stake. Eventually these collectives could spawn domestic manufacturing cooperatives and “buy local” efforts could reduce the profitability of off shoring production. Key labor forces, such as transportation, (I’m amazed how much airline pilots have been kicked around for the last 30 years without shutting it all down!) maintenance, and service workers need to assert their leverage and withhold their labor to get a better deal. Until we build - or take back – some degree of worker power, the scales will never tilt in our favor, or even balance, and we'll continue to suffer despite our overwhelming advantage in numbers.