Letter to the 99%, Inclusive
From, Dori Smith, Talk Nation Radio
What is going on within the big tent of OccupyWallStreet is transforming us as individuals and as a nation. The calls of the 99% mean a lot to me personally, and I feel compelled to say how much. I want to join this human chain of loving beneath the big tent of the majority. I am the 99% (London (NY Police, discussion about protests lasting 24 hours in Washington Sq. Park)..more below, OWS videos..
Storrs, CT — How ironic that U.S. police in major cities have decided to focus on Occupy Wall Street’s tents. In fact, the 99% could well have the biggest tent of any mass movement in U.S. history. And it’s growing in quantum leaps and bounds. Yet, police chiefs in cities like Trenton, N.J., and Hartford, Connecticut, have been fixated on the use of tents by protesters in Turning Point Park near the train station and beautiful Bushnell Park, Hartford.
“You must take down your tents and leave by dawn!” Hartford police insisted, adding; “you cannot use tents, just sleeping bags”. Do they want these courageous democracy squatters to catch colds? It’s autumn! Meanwhile, as police issued demands, local TV channels began their news coverage with the following phrase: “Hartford is still occupied”. Perfectly extraordinary, and in Manhattan people have been inspired to support the protesters at Wall Street in any way they can. They are sending in everything from soup to socks.
So let’s be realistic. You can’t ask America’s 99% who are camped out overnight through cold and rain to give up the tents that are keeping them warm at night. That would be a health risk. (See Hartford Allows Protesters to Raise Tents CTNEWSJUNKIE.COM. In fact, let’s start collecting all of the unused tents in our attics and basements and find a way to offer them to the occupiers. Any tents not taken on a given day can be passed along to the homeless who are camped out in other locations all over America. And let’s keep both populations strong because America needs them: The most poor, and tired, and the most articulate, and energetic, are now of profound importance. They are calling world attention to the crux of a problem that has crippled America for decades. They call attention to the needs of the majority, which must be a priority in any true democracy.
The crowds occupying liberated sites at Wall Street in New York City or in Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, New Haven, and countless other places, are beneath a virtual tent in my mind. The Occupy Wall Street movement and the October 2011 organizers have set up the tent poles, supporters like me online have provided the ropes, and America is pulling this tent up ever higher as more and more people understand what is being created on their behalf, and start to support it. If you want to know what kind of people are huddling close within this virtual tent just look at the videos:
Occupy Michigan, Nurses here, Patch Adams at Freedom Plaza, Dr. Cornel West and 16 Others Arrested Protesting Corporate Power video, He carried a sign that said, “Poverty is the Greatest Violence of All.” He was arrested because holding political signs on the Supreme Court steps is illegal. Occupysesamestreet scolds Ruppert Murdoch International Day of Action against The Banks! Dr. Margaret Flowers Confronts The Real Death Panels, posted 10/13/2011, by Sam Husseini, Wall St. Comes to DC Healthcare Conference, Flowers takes on JPMorgan, Citigroup and Citi-InvestmentResearch, who have come to Washington, DC to discuss how investors can profit in the health care system at ‘Wall Street Comes to Washington DC conference’. See her on Bill Moyer’s Journal here, #ows #occupyDC (twitter world of #OccupyTogether) I AM NOT MOVING film, Originally Uploaded by CoreyOgilvie on Oct 10, 2011, (Flashmob Congress, October 2011..unfurling banner, ‘At least six demonstrators were arrested inside the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC on Tuesday. The protesters surged in and chanted slogans for about 15 minutes before officers intervened.” Photos: Defending OWS, provided to us via Facebook by Ann Wright. OWS, How to solve the economic crisis, cut the war machine “Wall Street and the military have been aligned for years”… Mother Jones: Exclusive video, arrests at Wall Street video here. People singing This Land is Your Land..”I am Troy Davis” activists at MLK Jr Memorial in DC, CITIBANK arrests, 20 people trying to withdraw money from accounts at ATM. Note for radio stations, one use of profanity end, about 2:10) TheStruggle at OccupyWallStreet, video, We Are the 99% Faceoff at 55 Wall St., and Reader Supported News video. There are many more such videos and we will update this list. Feel free to send us your links to videos at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks. UPDATE arrived: Video, via Kevin Zeese, violence continues, more here, Talk Nation Radio response: Beating drums, playing the horns, are not violence, where is the crime officer? RT video, Europe, occupy movement, From Dwayne Henry, 24, videographer, photographer. Pogo, Principle, Occupytogether.org, News, News live stream, Video of General Assembly, Bloomberg Backs Down, Brookfield Properties backs down roars.. Homeless Sleeping in Tents, via Occupy Colorado Springs
CORPORATE MEDIA CAN’T DEFINE THE 99%
Yes, there is a certain amount of anger. Still, an utterly new kind of peace and warmth is being created by the ever widening crowd as together they demonstrate increasing unity of message. There is unity in democratic process; its very existence is a unifying force; disagreement does not preclude the unity because it is a process. So long as there are always openings for discussions, this is a movement that holds promise in the larger effort to make America’s political system more just. The Tribune media’s or other conglomerations of corporations do not provide their message. Listen more carefully and you too will find a way to truly hear what is being said from beneath this big tent operation. As winter approaches though we have to huddle together more closely in our common cause of caring about one another, and taking care of our democracy as a united force. We can stay warm by singing or calling out at general assemblies. And within this unique model, we can work to keep on sharing actions and ideals as we issue regular calls to those of us who may not be able to sleep outside regularly.
Not everyone will have been with this amazing group of people from the beginning, but the beauty of recognizing the differences between the 99% and 1% in America today, is that it is impossible to mistake who we mean by that. In that sense the virtual tent has room for an infinite number of people including bloggers, factory workers, veterans, bus drivers, writers, singers and dancers, environmentalists, educators, nurses and doctors. The 99% are occupying the streets, and the Internet, as together they spark change in newsrooms and editorial boards and at schools and universities as well as in government offices and union halls. They are the topic of conversation at the U.S. Postal Service office, as well as in the mall, and at the PTA meeting. In short, what is going on within the big tent is transforming us.
The Joining in Process
The calls of the 99% mean a lot to me personally, and I feel compelled to say how much I want to join this human chain of loving beneath the big tent of the majority. My own sense of myself tells me that I can hope to offer the occasional idea. Health issues may limit my travels, but I can share my thoughts online and in my radio show airing weekly on Pacifica affiliate stations and LPFM and Netcasting as well as community and public radio. I loved this from Chris Hedges Oct. 17, 2011, A Movement Too Big to Fail Truthdig
DANCE, AND SPIN THE SPIN, EXPOSE THE ONE PERCENT
In the meantime, help people who are losing jobs and protesting the high cost of MidEast war just as you would help victims of a hurricane or flood. It is the right path for Americans to be on to strengthen their own economy.
Ideas Welcome — or so we heard from a newly elected Barack Obama. Have we not all had good ideas since he asked us for them? Has he been listening? As just a few ideas I’ve had, what if we all agreed to offer a 99 cent donation to build an anti foreclosure fund? In all U.S. states the money could be used to help people stave off foreclosure, or even buy back homes that will otherwise be sold to real estate speculators and investment groups on Wall Street. We can ask Governors like Malloy in Hartford, CT to fund students and those losing their homes directly, and not seek to get major corporations to “invest” in universities here. We know where that ends. Higher tuition! Just build the funds directly with the help of the people. So, what if we signed a petition to donate 99 cents to sponsor a people’s jobs program? Each state could set up their own that would make sense under the specific conditions they face. What if we all sent a letter via U.S. Mail service on the same day with a message to Postmaster General across the back of the envelope…we could say, ‘we are the 99% and we want to keep our post offices”! Countless hope filled what ifs come to mind. (Update, 10-17-11, Written prior to my knowing that donations were already arriving for OWS… now researching meaning anew..)
My husband Joseph noticed that worker run collectives could spring up even as businesses close their doors. Friendly’s Restaurants closing its doors? U.S. Gap stores closing? We can occupy them too! Set up a used clothing and home goods sales spot in your community, occupy a tag sale site of your own.
To say this is the most hope filled action I’ve witnessed in my lifetime would be a wild understatement. I’ve never wanted to ‘join anything’ before. The ad hoc spokespersons for the 99% have been a breath of fresh air for me, and a great example for all of us. They have been humble and unassuming about who they are and what it means to claim to be part of the 99%. Their moveable feast of ideas has come across as kind, loving, and deeply personal. They have expressed countless reasons for sacrificing their own comfort in an effort to refocus American debate and affix the target of concern on the real criminals. Who these criminals are is being systematically pointed out by protesters in the streets. Some of the more high profile protesters with recognizable names, like author/activist David Swanson, see October2011.org, Global Exchange/Code Pink organizer, Medea Benjamin, and VotersForPeace activist, Kevin Zeese, are reminding us about the connections between war, loss of rights at home, and runaway corporate power.
Dr. Margaret Flower’s, a pediatrician and Health Care for All activist, has zeroed in on another aspect of the core problem. Wall Street speculators are pushing up the cost of health care as they strip out profits from anyone who invests in it. If anyone in the media is still confused they can turn to these brilliant scholars as a resource for free.
Even as the corporate media has fixated on the so-called lack of “demands” the Occupy Wall Street movement has been systematically re-framing the American debate about what’s wrong with our economy. (See the Center for Media and Democracy, Free Press, Free Speech Radio News, and many more independent media sites here and here, to learn more.)
There are new kinds of conversations springing up in communities and even in the halls of Congress and the White House, where the voices of the original Wall Street occupiers still resonate. The new conversations include suggestions about ways to actually help the people who have been abused by Wall Street and U.S. corporations. Investigations have been opened into the banks that so cruelly foreclosed on Americans despite a lack of paperwork or accurate accounting. Charges are being brought where investment groups have illegally sold stocks using insider information. Challenges are being made to the health care for profit system, and Dr. Margaret Flowers occupied the microphone at a conference on health care investing with the staff of JPMorgan, Citigroup and Citi-Investment Research, in Washington, DC. A pediatrician who advocates for Health Care for All, Dr. Flowers interrupted their discussion on ways to profit from the health care system to tell them; ‘Wall Street has no place in health care. You are the criminals. You are the ones who are responsible for the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands by turning health care into a profit center rather than a system that provides for basic human needs.’ (see video below)
The protesters in tents or sleeping bags, the ones who have been hand cuffed and pepper sprayed, have been successful at turning global attention away from faux news, the ‘he said she said rhetoric factory’ that has been passing for a news media. They have shined a gigantic light on injustice and political corruption that is robbing the majority of Americans of their civil and human rights. We may have no future without the Occupy Wall Streeters and their growing support network! So let’s by all means allow them to have tents, and stay warm and healthy in whatever city they show up in.
Let there be Tents…in the parks, streets, at Wall Street and on Main Street, and Within Us
I would also like to lay claim to a virtual square in America. I’d like to envision a new place for me to stand on too. One refreshing spot for my own two feet to gather strength from the rest of the 99% who are here with me beneath the virtual big tent. To those of you who inspired me to say all of this, and who originally set up this moveable feast, I want to tell you how astonishing you are, how brave and how important in historical terms. Those of you who helped to spark this movement know who you are, and you knew all along that the problems America faces wouldn’t be summed up in sound bites or bumper stickers or tee shirts!
In the big tent of the 99% we can form a virtual human chain that is inclusive rather than exclusive. It is not a fence to keep others out, but a symbolic space where we claim ownership of the real estate and wealth and rights to have a say now about what to do with the national treasure that is within us, and within the U.S. The wealthy 1% thought may have believed that they robbed us of ourselves, that they stripped us down to nothing-hood. They didn’t! We never surrendered our country to them. They just thought we did. Thus, in order to essentially Occupy Myself and my square, even more effectively, I’ve decided to liberate my voice including my anger. At the same time, I’ll strive to be less judgmental of those who stand with me to say, “We Are the 99%” too. We do not have to share identical belief systems to embrace one another. Even to those who may have vehemently disagreed with me on the details of a foreign policy issue or human rights crisis, I say thank you for supporting this tremendous effort to take on this brutal system that oppresses us all.
We shouldn’t surrender our voices simply because the media and politicians have divided us at election time. Instead we can own up to less than perfect life stories, our failures and our successes, and recognize that the workers in malls, factories, schools, hospitals, and at loading docks, are with us! As are many in the media to include the photographers and news editors who have managed to strategically place photographs of Anonymous on page 1 of new sites online, even Rupport Murdoch’s News Corp publications. Ha!
This call you sparked at Wall Street’s Liberty Park, this virtual tent you helped set up, has already meant that media outlets have given more coverage to poverty in America and the world over the past month than they did over the past ten years. This call that is carried forth in the general assemblies you hold, and via the World Wide Web, and it has led to a bigger debate on whether or not to forgive student loan interest charges, or even sweep away student loan debt altogether to save a generation! Individuals with leadership skills have now been merging their voices with yours, and they are able to amplify yours nationally and internationally to the point that on this the 15th day of October, there are protests and occupations of stock markets, banks, and corporations in key cities around the globe. The chants are similar. “Banks got bailed out. We got sold out”. Though at some point we may have to acknowledge that others have different chants… it will be a cacophony of protest to the forces that are a threat to the majority’s rights to simply own property, have a secure bank account, enjoy home ownership, live without repression from government or police. Essentially, we share mutual outrage. In a technologically advanced age, far beyond the dark ages, we are living in feudal times again. A small fraction of society has been able to siphon off and pocket our money and our resources without restraint. A kind of lawlessness has set in as greedy corporations steal from all possible outlets.
Those of you who are in this greedy 1% and those of you who serve it by working on Wall Street or at the global banks, etc. may see yourselves very differently than the majority of people in America and the world see you. You are of course trying to buy the media, and dominate us, implying in your self-descriptions to the press that you are the ones keeping the world together. We see you as the ones who are cutting it up and digesting it, we see you as the ones who are using divisive tactics in an effort to try to dominate all conversations about the world’s wealth.
Writing for the New York Times, October 14, 2011, Nelson D. Schwartz and Eric Dash claimed that in “private conversations” those of you who define yourselves as “Wall Street bankers” have dismissed the protesters you see before you as “unsophisticated”. — “Who do you think pays the taxes?” a money manager asked the Times rhetorically. He dared to claim that, “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.” (Yikes!)
How pathetic that this individual believes financial services are being done well in America. I can’t speak for the Occupy Wall Streeters at large, however, I personally find that statement sad and utterly without merit. The 99% must pay the taxes while wealthy banks hire experts to find loopholes to get out of paying them. Banks and financial firms you see as successful may actually pay far less than those in the crowd at Wall Street’s door. Finally, you outsourced jobs in record numbers for decades before they showed up, and long before the OccupyWallStreet effort began. You are merely trying to blame your victims, the 99% who have been subsidizing your lifestyle. In so doing you reveal the extent of your vulnerability. (Poster shared on FB by Kirk Jackson, see also here for full scale.)
I can personally add however that in spite of any personal outrage I feel when such anti democratic and unfair comments are made, I can still be tolerant of you even if you are part of the intolerant 1%. You fear losing the vast wealth you stole from us. But you never stole us as people, and that’s what you instinctively see. You realize on an emotional level that we are in fact stronger and freer than you are. So if you choose to give up your isolation and take an interest in the humanity that is crying out against you in Freedom Park, Freedom Square, Freedom Plaza, and at liberated sites everywhere, I’ll listen and try to be welcoming. You too have a right to participate in a democracy, and share in the longer view of America and the world. You will be welcome if you chose to stand with those who agree that the majority, not the minority, should hold the wealth of a nation. In truth, fabulous wealth is not revealed on our faces. Neither is poverty, or even “sophistication”. Our differences are non-existent when we are on the street together. Historically those who try to defend corruption, the right to steal from society, tend to wind up alone. Society crushes such people eventually.
In many instances you may deserve prison. You may have represented death through the wars you have provoked in the interest of expanding your wealth and power. You have made the lives of millions of people excruciatingly painful by imposing an ever-growing poverty on them. Workers in major department stores, or service workers, are not being paid enough to live in America, but only enough to get by on a meager life. Those of you who hire, and fire, must know what you are doing to them.
On Wall Street you are able to use super computers to pillage from societies all over the globe in ever more expert ways. But even that does not make you more sophisticated than the Wall Street protesters. You may use algorithms to zero in on our IRA’s and savings accounts whenever we gain a dollar, you may be successful at stealing our money through stock manipulations, insider trades, and short selling tactics. Still, those tactics make you more like bank robbers than bank professionals. Nobody is trying to break in and steal your savings. Yet, you are working systematically day and night to steal ours.
$$$ You have robbed our retirement funds and pushed up the price of life saving drugs. You have isolated a whole nation from its elected representatives through the hiring of lobbyists who intentionally corrupt the democratic processes in congress and at the White House.
In media, you have sought to dominate the entire global press, elevating the pipsqueaks among us to the rank of pundit in chief. Now it is all coming undone, and the problem is the greed and hateful comments you seem to relish.
You are symbolically represented by Donald Trump, who joyfully fires people on TV in an effort to show how easy it is to dispense with anyone standing in the way of corporate success and “annual growth”. Finally, the standard corporate realm that has enriched you for generations was not enough. About forty years ago you began to force managed care systems on America, and began to reap big profits from our health care system. Your actions have pushed up our health care and food costs, as your Health care sector IPO offerings provide wealth for you, and devastating loss for those of us who must struggle to be able to afford even minimal healthcare.
Your constant hoarding of cash has artificially maintained the illusion that America can sustain an increasingly expensive lifestyle. (See WSJ, “A recent J.P. Morgan analysis of public companies that disclose their foreign cash holdings found that they held on to half of the cash they amassed overseas. Eleven companies, including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc., held foreign cash balances of $10 billion or more”.) In fact, a majority can no longer afford basic food, shelter and clothing costs. Still let me invite you to merge your interests with ours, with the 99%, just in the event you still have goals that have something to do with the reconstruction of American democracy. After all the courts you seek to buy influence over, and the prisons you have in many cases privatized, may wind up being just as unjust for you as they are for us under the right circumstances. When you give the “gift” of economic dictatorship, you reap the consequences of living in a corrupt system right along with us, as do your kids. (Homeless sleeping in tents, AP and video of police cutting up their tents here.)
(Click for message in photo from the 99%!) While you may be criminals in some ways, we are looking for justice for ourselves, and therefore for you. Should you not support us, your future is only meaningful to us in the sense that we get our justice now and that you eventually recognize that we deserve it. We live intertwined lives though. When you pollute, we suffer. When we protest, you are inconvenienced, or in some cases provoked into change. And while you are more comfortable most of the time, everyone opting in to the virtual big tent of Occupy Wall Street (Occupy Everywhere) can see that the best way forward is to pull together as a society to try to make a difference. This is the only sane response to an insane condition that has been imposed on us.
Overall those of us embracing the 99%, admitting we are in it, will find we have far more in common than not. Together, we must demand democracy before we lose the ability to obtain it altogether. In refusing to accept the notion that we are there already, we are taking a gigantic leap forward from where we were before. We want you to abandon the idea that your stealing property and resources from foreign societies, and your “claims” this is to enhance U.S. interests. We saw through that years ago, but government officials have thus far refused to restrain you at our insistence. Restrain yourselves before its too late for all of us.
None of us should be fooled now into thinking that different individual priorities mean insurmountable differences. We’ve moved far past that in a post Occupy Wall Street universe. We are not like Chevron Corporation. We don’t have to run a fraudulent “We Agree” campaign on Public Broadcasting Network to try to convince News Hour viewers of our good intentions. We know you poisoned people on various continents, including the Ecuadorean Rain Forest. Still, our good intentions are obvious. We don’t need to agree on all points. In fact, some of us will cry out against the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine. Others will cry out on behalf of all of the world’s children from Somalia to Sudan, and from California, to Mississippi and Mexico. Some will claim to love coffee. Others tea. But as the 99% we have admitted that we are victims who are committed to no longer getting ripped off, falsely arrested, wrongfully imprisoned, fired without cause, misdiagnosed or made jobless hungry and homeless. We won’t live without complaint anymore, suffering on the other end of your greed tactics. Frankly, those of you in multinational world, the land of the 1%, have already stolen far too much of our precious time. You have unfairly occupied our lives by acting in ways designed to deny us access to the simple treasure that is our country, our forests, rivers and streams.
We have lost careers and educational opportunities. Some of us have lost the family farm. Others have lost much more in that we had to stand by and watch helplessly as family members, friends, and neighbors, suffered needlessly due to lack of proper health care. Some of our loved ones have died for lack of a good physician. (For Karin, and Dad). Therefore we cry out louder and louder each day that we will no longer stand by and watch with a feeling of pain and helplessness as those of you in multinational corporations, banks, even universities, who are part of or serving the 1%, spread chemical poison onto the fields we once so carefully tended. Those fields where our ancestors toiled in more honest forms of trade have been severely damaged by you, thus you have forfeited the right to even use them for now. We reclaim these lands and natural seeds as part of the national wealth, as the nation’s food crops. By overcoming your greed we can still have a positive impact on the environment you have been so careless about.
We have had our dreams interrupted. Now we are awake. We have had to watch as many of our leaders from the 1960s to 2012 were assassinated. We’ve suffered your rudeness and insults as ironically you spend billions on media and the Internet trying to get our attention. (Free Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Facebook!)
The ads that are purchased by those of you in the 1% are emotionally provocative, you can use babies, puppies or kittens, to grab our heart strings. Yet, we don’t need a new car every four years, just as we do not have to accept your artificially hiked up gas prices. Let the oil companies that have raked in huge profits pay a higher tax per gallon, NOT US. You have already snatched billions unfairly from us as you pushed up costs during summer vacations, and at times when demand fell or reserves rose. You have raised the price of gas even while cutting back our wages. Your corporate friends in the news spends more time selling products than reporting on the condition of America’s people. And through all of this we have only seemed to enjoy overwhelming access to media. The reality is that the 1% are working to dominate our access to the Internet. We may be online with millions but continue to live in forced isolation because your corporate run press ignores us.
Each year our elected representatives have pandered more to the wealthy and corporate 1%. Yet, today, because of Occupy Wall Street and all of the global occupation movements, we are learning to act together in standing up to you, the 1%. We will increasingly think in unison, and Occupy Ourselves, as we commit to our roles as members of the 99%, helping each other, demanding democracy. Get use to it. We will be reaching out to one another more and more each year, and we will reject your divisive tactics, until by 2024 we will have restored our voice at least, as we continue down the road toward restoring our democratic rights.
I want to include a message from a friend regarding Occupy Wall Street because while I do not agree necessarily that the left is victim to any readily identifiable “failures” as such, I do think its time for protesters to allow themselves to be publicly loved, and appreciated, by all, from Al Sharpton to Rep. John Lewis and others. That’s not to say anything about who to allow to speak, but more of a thought on allowing anyone who wants to promote, support, and defend, the rights of protesters to remain where they are safely, engage in peaceful protest and even civil disobedience where necessary, without fearing risk of physical or mental harm by police and other security personnel both public and private. Where people agree to that, and wish to say ‘I am the 99%” it seems to me anyway that it is beneficial to embrace all. Change is difficult, but if protesters remain true to their own voices without being deterred by anyone, their message will continue to get through. Sharpton, for instance, tends to be someone that the media has a short attention span for… there seems no way for him to dominate the OWS discussion from here. Lewis has worked out any process that may have left people feeling a sense of wanting to protect OWS from being politicized. His own statements made a lot of sense in that respect. But Lewis, a few others in Congress, may also pick up from where the group left off in making statements and demands about such matters as student loan debt, home foreclosures, homelessness, bank fraud and criminality on Wall Street in general.
No matter what happens tomorrow. Occupy Wall Street and its many affinity groups, has changed media. Network news editors saw that the arguments being made are immediately supported by the general public. And at NPR (not that I’m trying to go overboard in support for them but..) they’ve just reported on the problem of Wall Street speculators who bid up the price of commodities like corn. They are not seeking to purchase corn, but trade in it, thereby making it more expensive for anyone turning it into food. That is a good example of what is wrong on Wall Street and how it directly impacts societies all over the globe.
There are of course understandable concerns. But even where some may be trying to use the OccupyWallStreeters for their own agendas and purposes, the movement has to move beyond fear and worry about those who glom on or try to take over. It’s going to be OK, or not, (at different moments) depending on some of the very same forces who are opposed to this movement from within the fascistic power centers of Wall Street, the banking world, and certain realms of government. It is the People at large who need to care, and they will. They do care, and they see your presence as welcome, overdue, and necessary to their various challenges including job loss, cut backs in health care and retirement benefits, etc. AND they are all the 99%, we all are, all but the spiritually meager 1%…unless they convert, and join the 99% too.
Open Comment, October 2011, “How to prioritize our demands in the pursuit of “economic justice,” the agreed-on theme of the Occupy Hartford movement. “Here in an off-the-cuff format are some ideas for constructive engagement in the new OWS movement. Thanks to the social media – which I firmly boycott because of privacy concerns – the Occupy Wall Street movement is replicating rapidly under the heading Occupy Together. Santa Rosa is in. Lots of discussion about “demands” and “goals”. A recent NationofChange list fails to offer more than the most generic goal of empowerment. How? In what form? How deeply? I think lists of complaints – no matter how legitimate – are not useful unless accompanied by plausible alternatives. In fact, I think this is a huge failure of the Left; the endless litany of crimes and misdemeanors by those in power reinforces our sense of powerlessness. Today we should be demanding a public works program to put people back to work. That’s a goal that will appeal broadly to all those people desperate to regain some source of income, and to those who have seen family and friends suffering from unemployment. We should be demanding reparations from the banks and investment firms that got us into this mess with their exploitative financial manipulations. We should put our legislators on the spot with demands for specific local public works projects, federally funded because only the feds can create the funding. We should create a steady stream of media-oriented events to put forward these ideas. (In this regard I think the OWS folks are smart to act out in ways that the media can’t ignore, and they have to embed their messages within the theater.) We need people to run for local school boards and counter the erosion of critical thinking by supporting teachers who share this objective. We need to create and energetically support local institutions that exhibit the best of our principles: honesty, inclusiveness, sharing and caring”. (Anon)