By: Trevor – Austin
On Thursday, October 6th, 2011, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement will come to Austin, Texas. Inspired by courageous peoples in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere, thousands have taken to the streets unafraid of tear gas and undaunted by media blackouts. As we prepare to take our place alongside them in their struggles, is there any doubt as to why we are called to do so? Has there ever been a more powerful, poignant, and pivotal historic moment than now?
As the philosopher Cornell West said from the streets of New York, this movement is a democratic awakening, a realization that a tiny minority of the American population controls the vast majority of the wealth, a realization that the middle class is evaporating while quality of life diminishes, a realization that political and economic forces are gathering to ensure that these trends only become increasingly severe.
Over the past decades, political decadence has led to greater and greater economic disparity brought about, for example, by:
(1) The increasing privatization of the health care system facilitated by the unchecked greed of pharmaceutical corporations and insurance companies such that human welfare has become an industry,
(2) The mutation of education from a fundamental right of citizens into a for-profit business at all levels,
(3) Tax breaks for the richest Americans along with loopholes to insure that they will retain an unjust portion of their wealth,
(4) The christening of corporations as “persons” exempt from paying their fair share to promote a common infrastructure,
(5) Revolving door policies that allow those who once lobbied for corporate interests to swiftly move into positions of industry regulation,
(6) White collar criminals escaping responsibility for their avarice or never being brought to trial,
(7) Recent legislation that allows for unlimited corporate funding of public elections,
(8) The removal of workers’ rights to organize (as exemplified by the public employees of Wisconsin),
(9) The erasure of environmental regulations that protect common health in the name of increasing corporate profits,
(10) The erosion of the rights of women, persons of color and sexual difference to have financial equality and job security,
(11) And waves of elected officials who will stop at nothing to ensure that corporate lobbyists have their voices heard in Washington before those of the starving and unemployed!
These same politicians believe that the situation is “Every man for himself!” and that no one is beholden to anyone else’s welfare, yet they laughably profess to be persons of religious values. These same politicians would forcibly demand that you bring another hungry, naked mouth into the world and yet refuse to help you feed it. These same politicians do not bat an eye at the thought of spending trillions of dollars on brutal colonial wars and occupations, nor balk at the allowing predatory lenders from the banking industry to send us all into economic turmoil, yet they have the audacity to blame someone else for what they have done. But no more!
We are tired of them taking for their own what should be held in common. We are tired of the lie of equal economic opportunity. We are tired of medical debt and health care debt and the reckless arrogance that would have us default on our debt. We are tired of tax breaks for millionaires and corporate loopholes while people go hungry in the streets. We are tired of our rights to organize and be paid equally and have our jobs protected being eroded. We are tired of those who would claim we are not the keepers of our brothers and sisters. We are tired of endless corporate lobbying and the greedy vile oligarchy it has spawned!
We are the poor.
We are the powerful.
We are the 99%, the multitude by whom this country is shared in common.
And we are here to take it back!
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