“I own a small business, I regularly work 80 hour weeks, I am a college graduate who paid off every loan, I pay my taxes even though I hate how most of that money is used, and I believe in economic justice. I am the 99%”
A MESSAGE TO THE “Occupy Wall Street” ORGANIZERS & PARTICIPANTS (prt 1):
The “99%” encompasses a wide range of people with varying incomes, social backgrounds, lifestyle choices and political beliefs. The organizers and participants of the Occupy Movement need to represent this fact. You can properly represent the 99% by focusing on our common goal and promoting it until people stop asking the same tired question: “But what are you protesting?”
The answer is this: ECONOMIC INJUSTICE.
Point blank. We, the 99%, are victims of economic injustice. That is the common thread that ties us all together and that is what we are fighting against. Now is the time to get your talking points straight and determine who the spokespeople or leaders will be. Please do this before a political party or a fringe faction within the movement hijacks it with their specialized (and sometimes ridiculous) demands. Appearance and presentation is becoming increasingly important for this movement and, although your ultra-democratic process is admirable, there is no time to re-invent the wheel. Yes, we all have personal gripes and we all want our voices to be heard, but we can’t let that noise muddle the overall message. People who should be supporting this movement are needlessly feeling alienated and they’re remaining dismissive because of crossed-wires. It’s time to put our differences to the side and unite on the despair that connects us all.
Detractors of this movement need to understand that this is not a socialist or anti-capitalist movement. In fact, it’s a fight AGAINST corporate socialism. We, the 99%, are not asking to get something for nothing. We have been exploited by a system that is rewarding the looters rather than punishing them. We have been left with economic collapse, unemployment, and ever-increasing debt while the top 1% get tax breaks, receive government bail outs and cut themselves exorbitant bonuses. There has been zero retribution for that. We demand that action be taken by our elected leaders. Failure for them to respond or act in an effective and timely manner will result in this nation’s complete destabilization. I won’t bother explaining how much shit will hit the fan once that happens, but if you think things are messy now…
Are there anarchists, marxists, hippies, and college drop-outs at these rallies? Yes. There are also doctors, firemen, grad students, veterans, software engineers, priests, and teachers. We, the 99%, come from all walks of life, we are all victims of economic injustice ,and we aim to change that. Focusing on the common goal will make it easier for us to address and tackle most of the other issues people have long been upset about. This list of 6 concise demands posted by B. Dolan inspired me to get more involved with Occupy Wall Street after I had already felt like I was at my wit’s end:
Knowmore.org is a consumer-activist website I created with B. Dolan back in 2005. It urges people to stay informed about the companies they support through the products they purchase. Which brings me to my next point:
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. We, the 99%, must acknowledge and accept that many of us have supported this broken system for decades while ignoring where it was all headed. Pledges are big these days, aren’t they? What if we all pledge to stop feeding money into unethical corporations? If nothing else, you can easily take part in some direct action by closing your accounts at whatever major bank you’re currently using. Move your money over to a local bank or credit union; they’re easier to deal with and they are typically connected to the community they operate within. Support your local economy. These are just a couple suggestions off the top of my head, but there are many ways to “vote with your dollar.” While demanding that changes be made in the government and on Wall Street, it will mean all that much more when we go the extra mile and demand these changes of ourselves.
I know there are a lot of miserable and angry people out there. Some rightfully so, others because they have a false sense of entitlement. However, the general discontent and frustration we all feel is rooted in an injustice that is very real and it needs to be addressed. I am proud of the people who are taking to the streets, exercising their rights and committing themselves to a cause that they believe in. The media went from ignoring you to lying about you, and now they’re forced to report your story on a daily basis. Thank you for remaining civil and peaceful in the face of intimidation, violence and arrests.
There is much more to discuss, so I intend on writing a follow-up article, but I’m going to end this piece with a nice little stroll through Occupy Boston. Here is what it looked like 8 hours after the mass arrests on October 11, 2011:
GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR LOCAL “OCCUPY” PROTEST.