By definition, capitalism is: An economic system based on private ownership of the means of production (industry, banks, technology), where through the process of market competition, production occurs for private profit — if something cannot be sold for a profit it is not produced.
In practice, private ownership has evolved into giant corporations, which monopolize production, markets, and government via campaign contributions, corporate lobbying (often legalized bribery) and promising politicians a cozy retirement from politics: “working” for corporations as consultants, lobbyists, etc.
There are certain policies that raise profits for corporations in general, including: destroying labor rights and attacking unions (since lower wages equals higher profits), slashing social spending (since corporations paying taxes cuts into their profits), cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (since corporations help pay for these too, lowering their profits), privatization, lowering corporate taxes, lowering taxes for the wealthy, etc.
These anti-worker, pro-profit policies strongly unite corporations, giving them a powerful organizational tool: corporations (and the wealthy who own them) pool their resources to pursue these policies through buying politicians, think tanks, news media, university donations, etc.
This fact is recognized by all corporations and their political lackeys; at bottom these common interests are what distinguishes the 1% from the 99%.
We must put forth demands that distinguish us from the 1%, not only because we don’t want our movement taken over by the 1%, but because we need a strong and united movement too. Key demands that strongly unite the entire working class will draw in the labor movement, retirees, the unemployed, the homeless, and the general community of the 99%.
Such demands are obvious, since they effect the vast majority of working people: Good Jobs Now, No Cuts to Social Services, Save Social Security and Medicare, Health care for All, Save Public Education, End the Wars. Pay for these policies by TAXING THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS.
Putting forward a few demands that all working people can unite behind will give the movement a united, strong message, while allowing other demands of working people to find a safe place to express themselves.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org)