“In America today, 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. That’s not because 150 million Americans are pathetically lazy or even unlucky. In fact, Americans have been working harder than ever — productivity has risen in the last several decades. Big business profits and CEO bonuses have also gone up. Worker salaries, however, have declined.” ~ Sally Cohen
If you still believe the Occupy Wall Street movement is naught but a bunch of “dirty hippies” who are trying to create a Marxist state there are only two suggestions I have for you;
One, come with me downtown so you can see the truth for yourself and/or,
Second, turn off FOXNews, change your radio station away from Limbaugh and Hannity and think for yourself.
Those most active in the Occupation are not your enemy for they are doing nothing more than expressing your oft-stated dissatisfaction with the way things have become over the past few years. This isn’t about taxes. This isn’t about liberal vs conservative. This isn’t about national defense. It’s not about capitalism. But it is about abuses of the system by those who have been able to purchase the government and use it for their own personal gain with the resulting loss of our Democracy to a “Corporatocracy”
(Note: Readers of my old column, “News That Matters“, are no strangers to these stories as I’ve been writing about them for a decade.)
Building on my October 12th article on this subject, “Setting the Record Straight“, and to answer the two most frequently asked questions I get I’ll say this: the movement does not need a leader and it has no set of actual demands aside from a repair of the system which has allowed so many people to struggle in their day-to-day lives just to make ends meet. You take one step forward and the next thing you know your bank is charging you a fee to walk in the door or your health insurance premiums rise to a point where you either eat or not, keep the lights on or not, enroll your child in dance classes or not. And just wait until your heating bills come in this winter… Is this how to live the American dream?
The Occupy movement is about regaining the American Dream for the rest of us. It’s as simple as that.
There’s no hidden agenda. There’s no socialism (though it wouldn’t hurt). There’s no dismantling of the government of the United States. None of that. Just a simple readjustment in the rules and there are few thinking people out there who could disagree.
Those who are camping out in cities and towns across the United States and around the world are the vanguard of a greater voice, yours. But they cannot stay out there and they cannot make progress unless you join them and take action. I know, I know, you’re too busy. Bullshit. Make the time! This is all about you and your economic survival and if that’s not important I don’t know what is.
While I understand it’s difficult-to-impossible for most of us to sleep in Zucotti Park there are a few simple things you can do to help make the changes we seek and to be active participants in the Occupation:
1) Visit an encampment or attend an event. If you work in New York city it’s easy, just head downtown. If you work in Fishkill or thereabouts stop in at the Occupy Poughkeepsie encampment in Hulme Park at 72 Market Street. Any day, any time, any weekend day, make a visit to learn and show your support. If you live near where there is an Occupation encampment anywhere in the nation, go and go frequently. Just spend an hour and lend your physical body to the effort.
Of course, donations are essential but they don’t have to be in cash. Warm clothing, an old sleeping bag or even a bag of apples or pretzels or a couple of pizzas will be much appreciated.
The next major event in the NY metro area is Occupy Central Park on November 11, 2011 and I’ll bring you more details as they develop but there are marches and demonstrations each and every day in a city near you: Participate in one even if you just stand on the street and watch the parade go by. Be there.
2) Put a sign or sticker on your car that announces you are part of the 99%. There are places you can buy one but, like I did, just run one off on your printer and tape it to the inside of your rear window facing out. Mine simply says, 99%
Let people know they are not alone and when you spot one on another car you’ll begin to see the breadth of this silent majority. If you own a brick and mortar store, put a sign in the window. Wear a button or lapel pin. Do something people can see.
3) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. It does not have to be in support of the Occupation per se, but it should tackle something germane.
For example, your bank’s increasing fees or the money corporations have used to buy our Democracy. What happened to fixing Wall Street? Where are the jobs we’ve been promised? The inexorable rise in college tuition costs (and anyone out there with a soon-to-be-college aged child is shaking in their boots as that day comes closer!). The abuse of the mortgage/foreclosure system. Anything that has been on your mind that speaks to the concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer people and your loss of control over your spending choices and the damned near impossible task of making ends meet. Letters are short, usually around 250 words and with most newspapers you can cut and paste and post online.
4) Quit your corporate bank. I did, and it was great. After battling with Bank of America for years over their fee structure (See: The $38 Billion Fee) I quit those thieving bastards and took my business to the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union and I could not be happier. I had no idea how nice it could be and you should experience the same. Whether it be a credit union or a non-corporate local bank, you’ll be happy you made the move. And, if you do this before November 5th, you’ll be participating in a mass movement that’s happening right now, this very minute. See this link for help.
5) Spread the word! Learn what the Occupation is about but not from the talking heads and pompous asses who are paid to tell you what to think, but for yourself. Visit the website. Talk to those who have actually been to Zucotti Park or other encampments around the nation. Ask me!
Whatever or however, once you feel confident in your level of knowledge talk to someone who is not on our side and convince them of the importance of no longer being a Tory apologist for a failed political system but of joining the first genuine economic revolution to come along in more than 200 years.
You know you want to. And while I hate to sound like a Nike commercial, Just do it.
Here are some links to get you going:
Watch the Occupation Live!
Occupy Wall Street
11 Things You Can Do to Help the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Movement
The Occupation on Facebook
“Maybe it’s hard to see your best interests reflected in a sometimes rag-tag, inarticulate, imperfect group of protesters. But make no mistake about it: While horrendous inequality is not an American tradition, protest is.And if you’re part of the 99% of underpaid or unemployed Americans crushed in the current economy, the Occupy Wall Street protests are your best chance at fixing the broken economy that is breaking your back.” ~ Sally Cohen