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We are the 99 percent

Articles tagged ows

#S17: Our One Demand Is To End Capitalism

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 16, 2013, 9:59 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: capitalism, #S17, ows, TPP

On September 17, 2013, the second anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Movement, tens of thousands will come together across the country and the world to honor the most important and influential social movement in generations. As we exchange stories about the past and ideas for the future, we will be opposing a number of the 1%’s toxic attempts to siphon even more of our money and power away from us. The Trans Pacific Partnership “free trade” agreement, the undue influence of money in politics, and the lack of accountability in the global financial sector will be just a few of our targets. But, as we attack these symptoms it is necessary that we remember the disease: capitalism.

Pyramid of the capitalist system

Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.

Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed and enacted by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt, Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can't let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.

Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can't adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you'd think we'd have to work less and less.

The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life - a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.

The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.

As we come together on #S17 it is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.

Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. On September 17th, and every day - take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.


#owswalk: Sunday September 15th | Occupy Anniversary Participatory Walking Tour

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 12, 2013, 7:53 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: history, ows, walking tour

Occupy Anniversary Participatory Walking Tour and Cartography Party

The official history of the United States is a history of purposely, systematically erasing social justice movements from our collective memory, or editing them beyond recognition. Forgotten are the labor struggles that won us Social Security and the weekend; the breadth of the civil rights movement — from bus windows smashed on Freedom Rides to Black Panthers murdered by police in their sleep — is reduced to a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a corner of the nation’s capital. The intended consequence is that ordinary people won’t remember that, by organizing, they can build power for themselves and change the world. This erasure often works.

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” said Milan Kundera.

On September 17 last year, the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, New York Times financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin claimed of the movement, “It will be an asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.” Could this be true of a phenomenon that turned so many young people into activists for the first time, and that so many elders described as the thing they’d been waiting for their whole lives? The real question is: Will we allow it to be?

As the second anniversary approaches, a group of people who have been organizing and documenting the movement for the past two years are experimenting with ways of making sure our history keeps being told, and keeps spurring our struggles on in the future.

To that end, there will be a Participatory Walking Tour and Cartography Party in Lower Manhattan on Sunday, September 15. We’ll be retracing our steps through Liberty Square and Wall Street. There is no pre-arranged script; those who attend will tell their own stories and share each other’s memories. Afterward, we’ll celebrate our past and prepare for our future. RSVP here.

At 4 p.m. on September 15, we’ll meet between Bowling Green and the Charging Bull, the site of the movement’s first planning meeting and the initial congregating point of its first day. From there, we’ll go on a participatory walking tour to sites like Trinity Church, Liberty Square, Chase Manhattan Plaza and Wall Street itself. Follow the walking tour on the hashtag #owswalk.

Then, at 7 p.m., we’ll gather at the meeting space on the fourth floor of 16 Beaver St., where some of the most important Occupy organizing meetings took place. There will be an interactive cartography exercise, a display of artifacts collected by the Archives Working Group, projected video footage from the Media Working Group, copies of some of the new books about the movement and more. Oral histories will be collected. There will be food and drinks on hand, though we invite you to bring some to share.

Occupy is not the first movement to rise up against injustice and greed. It won’t be the last. But the better we remember this and other movements, the better prepared we’ll be to fight and win in those to come.



Something Truly Brand New

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 4, 2013, 8:31 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: #S17, ows, March on Washington, Bayard Rustin

About #S17.

There are politicians that come from all sides to lend their support, in the hopes that occupy will give a shout out in the future and endorse them. We struggle with how to approach this, usually absurd, situation.

We want something new and they want to work from within.

Fifty years ago, at the original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the event's lead organizer, the incomparable Bayard Rustin, insisted passionately (and successfully) that no politicians or political appointees be allowed to speak.

Bayard Rustin was not an anarchist. (In fact, for whatever it's worth, the event was largely funded by the UAW, one of the most hierarchical organizations on the Left, and one of the most wedded-at-the-hips to the Dems to boot.)

Which begs the question: why would Rustin have done such a thing? And what were the consequences of his having done so?

We are now in a world in which the proportion of African American men in the United States, with some sort of criminal record, approaches 80%. We are now in a world in which corporations have lobbied for laws that are tantamount to hunting our children.

We need new solutions and we need them now.

We are finished with politics as usual. It is time for something truly brand new.