A Message to “OCCUPY” Organizers & Participants

“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%”


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:


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24 thoughts on “A Message to “OCCUPY” Organizers & Participants

  1. My thoughts on the ‘Occupy’ movement were made by what I’ve been seeing with my own eyes in our own city, Sage. The protests seem cluttered with too many generalized, political talking point. I agree with the need for a common goal. Unfortunately, the common goal of protesters in Providence seems to be that the rallies are the cool spot to be at so lets go and be angry at banks without being informed why we are supposed be mad.

    • There are a lot of reasons to be angry at banks. Why are you suggesting that the people in Providence are just mad for no reason? It’s a good fight to fight regardless if people are “cool”, uncool, or facing a total meltdown. It’s best to get things done before we reach the meltdown phase.

  2. 100% right on, but I’m not optimistic that the “movement” will listen. Government bailouts are not a part of capitalism, any small business owner knows that. The 1% are the ones that are too big to fail.

  3. Man, today must be the day everyone issued their demands. Matt Taibbi just threw his out there. Here in Los Angeles, we’re still hashing ours out. Given the regionalized and atomized nature of this nascent movement thus far, it will all be variations on a theme, I’m guessing

    I hear you on the need to get everyone on the same page. Whenever I go to GA here in LA, I only hope we can get through it without someone wrenching at the process like it was a rag doll and bringing any sort of progress to a grinding halt. But it’s important to realize that in Spain, the gatherings of the acampadas are still leaderless. Anonymous, as best as we all know, is leaderless. The entire backbone of the web was made largely on open source servers – once again, a leaderless process. So it’s only a matter of applying it to our politics. The wheel’s already been invented; we just need to adapt it for our own ends. And we DO have to be patient with it.

    Moreover, people keep forgetting that #occupy is a community, and like any community, it’s an entity in and of itself. Lots of people getting involved with it have most likely never taken part in something like this in their entire lives, so you can’t expect them to see instantly why *your* demands are any better than theirs or the guy’s next to them. That’s what building consensus is about – allowing them to feel they’re represented in what you’ve proposed, and convincing them if they can’t otherwise see it.

    Finally, mutual respect. If the doctor can’t respect the anarchist, and vice versa, we’ve lost the plot. I love the fact that we’re all rubbing elbows, most of us for the first time, and thing great things can come of it, but only if we’re OPEN to it. Are you, Sage?

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  5. Dopn’t forget that many of us ‘anarchists’ are doctors, lawyers etc. For me this is about taking on the global capitalist elite 1%. Not because I am an anarchist but because I understand economics and have a grasp of history.

    People not profit.

  6. I’m not sure I agree there’s a need to recognise leaders for the whole OWS. People in the movement hold various opinions and trying to choose representatives might turn into a sad affair – and one that the media would love to focus on instead of paying attention to the actual news.
    In my opinion the best thing would be to focus on a few causes that are universally accepted, similarly to the UK Uncut movement.

  7. Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe I’m the 1%, but I doubt it. I work hard. I make responsible decisions. I get paid well for the work I do. I purchase the things I want that I can afford. If I can not afford it, I save. If I must finance something, I shop for the best rates and make wise decisions. I just don’t see the injustice, economic or otherwise, in that.The people have the power. When the “99%” change their consumer habits and accept responsibility for themselves, there will be change. As long as they are feeding the sharks, the sharks will keep swimming around. Stop blaming everyone and everything else and accept responsibility for something.

  8. I wanna impress Jody Foster! Great post. One thing sage, why take cancerous toxic Federal Reserve Notes from a big bank to a small bank when we can start using our own currencies? That’s the revolution.

    Brent Davey

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  10. Hey Rob, I guess you’re one of the lucky ones. It sounds like you feel that all of us who feel like there is too much injustice are a bunch of lazy slackers and leeches. I’m 53 years old, and have worked non-stop since I was 18. I worked many years without missing a single day for sickness or personal reasons. I was lucky enough to work union for my first 10 years, and had health care till my kids were 10 and 8. I have since been self employed, and have barely made ends meet. No health care, no college fund, no boats or toys. I hope you have your good job for many years to come, but keep in mind that as soon as your company figures out a way to do your job cheaper, they will. A corporation is simply stockholders that insist on the maximum return on their investment possible. That means if they can make a penny more profit at the expense of you, they will. Hopefully more of the people that are lucky enough to have it pretty good will realize it could be you next, even though you are hard working and responsible.

  11. Yo Sage! It’s us over at occupy Providence. I’d be the shit if you could bring Strange Famous over to the camp anytime for an impromptu hip hop artist. We could really use your vibes sometime man.

  12. I am glad you came. I am a capitalist and a musician that supports the occupations. I think it is important for people with dissenting points of view (especially from the occupiers)to participate in the movement. Open source is a beautiful thing.

  13. we all demand that things change for our own reasons but its an umbrella statement thats true for everyone that will get our goals accomplished faster and with the least amount of backlash. we dont want civil war we just want our collective voice heard and acknowledged. the united states corporation and world banks do not care about our personal demands because they are making money on us every moment of everyday regaurdless the only way to be heard by them is to be clear and professional and to give them no other option eccept to change.

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  15. Thanks for your support a am part of occupy Portland lived in the camp from day one and we may have been evicted but the movement moves forward. i would always have liked to say to you that you have been a inspiration to me but at this time it seems we have been a inspiration to you. _aspen_ occupy Portland, occupy the world!!!

  16. This was right on! I had gone to the Ga’s 5 times and was disillusioned with the state of affairs in these meetings; More bureaucracy’s and red tape in a matter of days then the American government has had in it’s 200 years. Many of the people I spoke to were unaware of the policies they were there to change- This is the face of the movement many people at home or seeing. People need to see people they can relate to. This movement became about something much larger than corporate socialism the minute people began getting arrested for exercising there constitutional rights. That’s why I was there Sunday.

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