10/04/2011

Declaration by Occupy Wall Street


This is an important word from a voice that The Guardian suggests might become a potent force, "... OWS has an advantage that even the most successful political campaigns lack: it isn't even trying to get someone elected. Like Nike, like Coke, like America itself, OWS has the potential to become the most powerful thing an idea can be: background noise."

The first official statement of demands from Occupy Wall Street:

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

11 comments:

  1. I have been working with the Occupy Wall Street folks, and the occupation is truly inspirational. Today (Wed. Oct. 5th) there is a mass Community/Labor march and rally beginning at 4:30 pm. I have been organizing to get as many people from Greenpoint and Williamsburg involved as possible. I’ll report back on the results of the rally tomorrow.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kurt Hill,

    You're in Greenpoint-Williamsburg? So am I; Engert Ave right on the BQE.

    I won't be able to make the big rally today. But, I plan to stop by tomorrow, Thursday. Maybe I'll see you there.

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  3. Excellent, Kurt, to have someone on the ground, as it were. I look forward to your report, and the folks have my prayers.

    I think what speaks to me is that there's no single issue. Everyone there is different, and there are probably as many reasons for the occupation as there are people. It's just folk exercising their right to assemble in public and make it known that all is not well and "Here we are, together!".

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  4. Interesting analysis of this movement on the CNN website by a media theorist named Douglas Rushkoff -- Think Occupy Wall St. is a phase? You don't get it. It's well worth reading in full. He begins:

    "Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters' demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn't be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence."

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  5. From 15,000 to 30,000 protesters descended upon Lower Manhattan yesterday in the largest Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstration yet. There were quite sizable contingents from the CWA, TWU, DC37 and 1199. Thousands of students from Columbia, New School, NYU and other colleges swarmed into Foley Square in lower Manhattan, having staged walkouts of classes to join the gathering.

    When one considers that this mass demonstration was built in a matter of no
    more than 48 hours and was essentially a local demonstration it is quite a remarkable achievement!

    A friend of mine remarked “There was is a certain ‘Woodstock’ character to this event. I came last Thursday with my guitar to introduce the new song I'd written, and ended up jamming for quite a while with a banjo player from West Virginia and his
    wife.”

    But while it was an element of a “flashback” to the Sixties for some of us, the issues were quite different now. Mostly people focused their anger on Wall Street greed; they raised many issues including the demand for decent jobs; debt relief from huge student loans; help for folks with underwater mortgages. Above all, they wanted the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. “The banks got bailed out—we got sold out!” was probably the most chanted slogan of the march.

    A couple of dozen protesters were arrested following minor altercations with the kops—a really small number given the size of the day’s action.

    My parish priest, Fr. John Merz from Ascension Greenpoint, is working to put out a call to various clergy to meet in from of St. Paul's Chapel at 6:30 pm today and then walk over to the General Assembly. Fr. John had it put up on the Diocesan website (LI) and trying to get it on NY diocese website. It’s 6.30 in front of St. Paul's Chapel...Call for Clergy Solidarity.

    And around the country, occupations against Wall Street greed are growing!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  6. Guess who pays more tax to pay for social security and other US government services .... these protesters or 'Wall St'??? Easy to protest, harder to contribute in real ways to pay for services people need...

    Andcan anyone name even one Wall st bank that has not paid back government financial help in full? They have all paid back financial aid..... but I guess 'the left' doesn't worry about facts when there is populism to be played with.....

    Anybody protesting against those irresponsible people who took mortgages which they could not afford, sometimes telling lies about their income, and on which they have reneged? No...they have votes, so no criticism of them from the left.

    Any protest against GM being 'bailed out' by the US govt? No....the UAW wouldn't like that.........

    Go for it, regulate Wall St to death..... Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai are poised to become the centre of global finance..... demonise 'Wall St' for a mortgage crisis made in Washington (who created the subprime loose rules?) .... the US lost its place as no.1 manufacturer in the world...... it can also lose its no.1 spot in finance....... then the protesters can fill the tax gap lost with their populism....right? In the real world, someone has to earn money to pay for stuff...including government spending..... the US should regulate properly (unlike the president who presided over the introduction of subprime)... but it must make sure it is competitive......populism pays for zero

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  7. Nice screed from Randian laissez-faire capitalism, there.

    Idiotic, unimaginative, fearful . . . but impressively sustained.

    Beyond the fact that there is nothing Christian or even decently moral about unregulated capitalism, there's the fact that it is like its supporters - it feeds itself until it dies from its own excess. It is a mindless, aimless beast.

    Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore . . . such excellent examples of quality of life.

    God save us from these gutless fools who believe wealth is anything other than what you decide is worthwhile.

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  8. Well according to the WaPo and Time today, the general public much prefers Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party by a wide margin, and just as crucially, the populist positions of OWS are also popular:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum/2011/10/13/gIQAULRHhL_blog.html

    And who can blame them? Who would you really rather spend time with? A lot of bitter misanthropic farts with guns always ready? Or a lot of dirty but friendly kids with high naive ideals and very legitimate gripes willing to take on the banks and the cops and have fun while doing it?

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  9. ...and let's not forget that some - if not many - are being paid to be there and protest. Lots of money being shelled out for this. Not quite like the pure, colonial "down with tyrants" shouts of the past when you get a paystub for the effort.

    ...ever wonder whose buying this crowd's time?

    ...and the garbage being thrown at police, and the utter filth in the park camp and on the streets don't seem quite as pure as Thomas Paine or Molly Pitcher either.

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  10. in 1989, some stuff happened in history..... because people in East Germany realised life was better in West Germany...... maybe the US needs to be impoverished by outdated leftist economic dogmas before some people realise that there is only money for schools and hospitals if some people make a profit and pay a lot of tax..... protest all you want....what the US needs is more people to make more profits and pay more tax....if you want more nurses and teachers.........

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  11. "..and let's not forget that some - if not many - are being paid to be there and protest. Lots of money being shelled out for this. Not quite like the pure, colonial "down with tyrants" shouts of the past when you get a paystub for the effort."

    Yes, the Koch brothers really did write big checks to subsidize the Tea Party.

    ReplyDelete

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