Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 27, 2011, 3:26 p.m. EST by TC7
from Nashua, NH
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
This movement has grown from and remained a grass roots movement without any defined leadership. The entire process is an experiment in direct democracy where everyone’s vote counts exactly the same and where each decision is voted upon by the general assembly of people whose decision is carried out based on majority rule. It is a leaderless movement that allows the common man, and woman, to be involved and have their voice heard. Not every opinion is the same and the goals of every person is not identical but everyone comes together on the basis that they want to effect change in the system. Economic equality is the main goal but no official mission has been identified and put forth by the movement due to a desire not to alienate anyone or focus to greatly on one issue. But what I’m trying to say is that this movement is the seed of change. Unemployment stands at an astounding 9%, almost 1 in 10 are without jobs. More and more jobs are being shipped overseas and more people are working at jobs where they are enormously overqualified. In order to compete for a job in today’s economy you must have an education of the upmost quality which causes problems in its own right. With tuition costs on the rise across the nation, students like ourselves are being burdened with almost insurmountable costs. This leads to greater debt and with fewer jobs, more people have no way of paying off their debts. In turn this leads to defaulting on loans, in some cases housing loans where people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. In addition to bad mortgages provided by banks, this has, in part, caused the housing crisis and an increase in foreclosures. Big banks have gambled with our livelihoods and come up empty. The federal government then bailed them out while we got sold out and stuck with the insurmountable debt. Furthermore, corporations in line with Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee can dump great amounts of money onto politicians in order to get the things they want. This lobbying ability can be easily seen with the designation of pizza as a fruit by Congress and tuition hikes in the 17.9% increase in tuition at Roger Williams since the beginning of the 2007 academic year. Who wants their president or congressman to be bought by JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, or BP? Does anyone want Congress to continue passing favorable legislation based on the millions of dollars that these gigantic corporations can put into politician’s pockets? A recent study has shown that a mere 147 international companies, effectively less than 1%, are able to control approximately 40% of the world’s total wealth. In a world where the government is becoming a larger and larger influence in our everyday lives these companies are having a larger role as well. Money is power. In 2008, 94% of Senate elections were won by the person who spent the most money while election results in the House of Representatives stands similar at 93%. This is concrete evidence that those who have the most money win the seat. Due to the Citizens United case, corporations can dump massive sums of money into the coffers of candidates that will do what they ask. This leads to issues of corruption and essentially the buying of legislative votes. The people now have less and less say in their own government. The Occupy movement is demanding more equality and justice. In response to this, thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest. Occupations like Wall Street, Boston, Oakland just to name a few U.S. sites have changed the landscape of their cities as well as the dialogue on financial distribution. On November 17th, tens of thousands took to the street in NYC in a strong showing of solidarity to protest unfair treatment, restriction of First Amendment rights and economic equality. Marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, closing down access to the NYSE and filling Foley Square they have grown with support from Unions, blue collar workers, students and individuals from all walks of life. In response to the protestors exercising their First Amendment rights the authorities have ordered the removal of protestors from their encampments. Despite the right to occupy public space there have been over 4,000 arrests of peaceful protestors. In response, the police have been over aggressive in their use of force against non-violent demonstrators. One of the most disgusting uses of force was the pepper spraying of students at the University of California Davis. While students sat on the ground, linked arm in arm a cop theatrically displayed his bottle of pepper spray and walked up and down the line three times spraying the students point blank in the face. As a result some were arrested and a few were hospitalized to deal with the spray. Other incidences, like the attack of UC Berkley students who had gathered and attempted to gain access to their tents, where forcibly attacked by cops with Billy clubs. The cups attacked by jabbing the students in the stomach, ribs and even the spine when they turned away in defense. Other incidences include the shooting of a war veteran with a rubber bullet which landed him in the hospital in critical condition for several days, the pepper spraying of an 84 year old woman as well as a pregnant woman. Other instances include the punching of a female demonstrator by a cop, and the use of tear gas against the protestors in Oakland. In the land of the free, non-violent protestors on public property are being harassed, beaten and arrested by state entities. The First Amendment protects our rights as citizens to free speech and a redress of grievances but no one has stepped in to secure those. When a NY judge ruled that protestors could return permanently to their encampment in Zuccotti Park, Mayor Bloomberg, the twelfth richest person in the U.S. ordered the cops to keep them out several more hours while he found another judge who would overrule the first. The government must realize our rights and step into to see that they are protected. We as a country outwardly project that we are friends of democracy and will agree to help those who seek to instill democracy in their own countries. Here at home, people are using their democratic rights to call for reform and are being silenced. The media is not covering the movement, and to the extent that they are, are only reporting their side of it. Force is being used against non-violent demonstrators. At one point there was even a no fly zone over NYC because the NYPD wanted to restrict any media from covering it. This is not the Middle East, this is America. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his Mountain Top speech: All we say to America is, "Be true to what you said on paper." If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. The richest 1% are using their money and power in a state of plutocracy to get and keep what they want. They want us to remain ignorant while they grow richer and richer at our expense. If the future continues this way the gap between the 1% and everyone else will only continue to grow. We have the right to protest and speak out against injustices yet most of us remain in our own little world where we are safe and don’t have to deal with the reality of the world. Many students take the stance that we are in college, we don’t have to worry about the outside world, it doesn’t matter to us. In fact, it affects you more than you know and soon enough within four years we will all be dealing with the real world. It’s up to us to make the change we want and create the society that we will be entering into in just a few short years. It is up to us to occupy our futures, step up and act today in order to ensure a better tomorrow.