Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Statement of Democratic Values

The Wall Street occupation is entering its third week. What began as a loosely organized, scattered, and lowly attended protest, has swelled into a movement decrying the corporate hijacking of this country's democratic traditions and underpinnings. Days ago, organized labor was represented by airline pilots from United Airlines, but Thursday's addition of major unions in and around New York City, added breadth and solidarity to a growing and unyielding cause. Also yesterday, student groups also showed their support of Occupy Wall Street by joining the occupiers and current residents of southern Manhattan's Liberty Square and Zuccotti Park with a march on City Hall.  As the field grows larger, and as the corporate media are forced to stop ignoring its growing strength, many new and previously unaware observers question the group's motives.

Late last week, an ad hoc people's congress formed a General Assembly and released their first official statement of who they are, why they're there, and exactly what their concerns are. Here's their statement in its entirety.
This was unanimously voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street last night, around 8pm, Sept 29. It is our first official document for release. We have three more underway, that will likely be released in the upcoming days: 1) A declaration of demands. 2) Principles of Solidarity 3) Documentation on how to form your own Direct Democracy Occupation Group. This is a living document. you can receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing c2anycgaATgmailDOTcom  
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.
 

(End of Statement)

Today, Thursday, these same grievances will be the reason thousands of us will begin occupying Washington D.C. to help plant the grassroots of a new democracy; one that allows all Americans -- the remaining 99% -- to participate. If you're in the area, please come join us at Freedom Plaza. Go to Stop the Machine! to find out more.   

20 comments:

Anna Van Z said...

Outstanding. This pretty much says it all. This is the moment to stand up, to act.

Many of us who desperately wish we could be there in DC today but can't be, will be there in mind and spirit, and will contribute what we can behind the scenes. And we all can contact our legislative tools and start demanding - in no uncertain terms - they work on behalf of the public they were hired to represent for a change.

This is it, folks. Speak out now, or live by the dictates and whims of the conglomerates ever after.

Dion said...

Be careful out there, boys and girls. It was surreal to see vid of NYC police wildly swinging their batons at protesters, all the while the marchers moved forward armed only with cell phone cameras and assorted tech gadgets as the cops kept swinging. Surreal.

Darlene said...

I wish I were able to add my aged body to the protestors to let the media know that it isn't just kids having a lark.

People of all ages, colors, and backgrounds are mad as hell.

I think the biggest motivator for the march is the economy and joblessness. Everything else, while important, fades behind those factors.

Jayne Martin said...

I look at the video of the police beating the demonstrators and I'm reminded of Kent State and the other shocking abuses of police power during that time. My admiration for those who march and speak for those of us who can't be there is boundless. My prayers for their safety.

The Heathen Republican said...

Jefferson, after the things you've said about the illegitimacy of the Tea Party, you really should show some consistency. What makes the Wall Street occupation any more legitimate?

Illegal foreclosures? Poisoned food supply? Unsafe working conditions? Profiting from torture? Are these the people you want to be aligned with?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anna, this is the moment to stand up. If not now, when? Thanks for pointing that out.

Dion, so far so good at the occupation in D.C., and I anticipate it will remain this way for awhile -- at least until the newness wears off and they feel we've worn-out our welcome.

Darlene, thanks for writing! believe me, I know you'd be marching shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone if you could. You're with us in spirit. Don't forget that!

Jayne, if possible, please show your solidarity with a local or nearby occupation if you can. If not, please stay with us in spirit. The good vibs are contagious! We feel 'em!

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Heathen Republican, your accusation that I find an illegitimacy with the Tea Party, stems from that movement's misunderstanding, and misrepresentation, of the true culprits of our economic malaise and turmoil. As I mentioned in a
previous post
, "[t]heir ignorance only lends less credence to what could otherwise be a legitimate movement." Truth is not beholden to half-baked ideas and rhetoric, which is the forte of tea-baggers and their supporters.

The Right, overall, believes the problem stems from "big government"...period. Occupy Wall Street and all its spin-offs, and Stop the Machine!, place the blame where it belongs -- big money (i.e., multinational corporations, international banking, etc.; you get the picture) usurping democracy and inextricably influencing our elected representatives. That's the distinction that separates the two movements.

It's really quite a simple idea to grasp if you're willing to look beyond your preconceived notions, and I have faith you will...one of these days.

The Heathen Republican said...

Jefferson, here's my suggestion: accept both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as popular movements against authority, and an acceptable application of our freedoms. It's wonderful that we have the freedom to speak, assemble, and dissent.

What you've done so far is declare the Tea Party illegitimate because you disagree with the message, and declare the Occupiers legitimate because you agree with the message.

Ignore the message for a moment and recognize that both movements are legitimate. Then debate the messages, the credibility of the people, and the financial backers.

Dave Dubya said...

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.

This is the essence of our message. The people of the world understand and are with us. It's about time for Americans to unite against the power that wages war on democracy, freedom and justice.

We see the Tea Cult has already denounced the pro-democracy demonstrators. No surprise.

The Tea Cult is fundamentally about their selfish demand for more money for themselves.

The OWS movement is about more democracy for we the people.

Big difference, I'd say.

Twilight said...

More power to y'all. I'm with you in spirit.

This has to be a beginning of a turning of the tide. It will take time, just as the tide's turning is gradual, but once started nothing can turn it back.

Stay safe.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Heathen, I do accept both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as "popular" movements against authority, and I accept that both have every constitutional right to express their discontent and dissatisfaction as they desire. This is undeniable.

One of the definitions of "illegitimate", from Merriam-Webster, is "not rightly deduced or inferred". It is my contention that the Tea Party, as I fully explained in my post from last October, lacks legitimacy because of its false premise of entertaining itself as the "second" Tea Party. If that were the case - if the Tea Party movement was truly created in the image of the original of 1773 - the movement would have to, by conclusion, be resisting corporate monopolistic domination -- just as Occupy Wall Street, and its various spinoffs, is doing.

So, as you can see, my use of the term illegitimacy has nothing to do with me disagreeing with, or agreeing with, the message. But, I do reject their conclusion due to false premises.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Dave, you concluded with...

"Big difference, I'd say."

It's a huge difference, I'd say...

Tonight the honeymoon ends. Permits expire and things should start getting that "occupation" feel.

The Heathen Republican said...

Excellent! I don't want to turn this into a lengthy argument, but if you're defining legitimacy based on the similarity of the copy to the original...

Occupy Wall Street considers itself an occupying force. Is this an America-in-Iraq kind of occupation or an Israel-in-Palestine occupation? Knowing some of your politics, I assume you think of America and Israel as the aggressive party in those scenarios, so does that make the OWS people the aggressors?

If so, you should denounce them the way you've denounced the U.S. for it's Iraq occupation.

If not, you should denounce OWS as illegitimate since they're not a true occupyng force. That is your criteria, isn't it?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Twilight, when the spirit is willing, great and good things are sure to happen! Thanks for all of your support! Your writing has always been an inspiration to me.

It has been an interesting and enlivening few days for me. The positive energy was evident the whole time. The two groups occupying D.C. are definitely in solidarity. That I can tell you with certainty.

Thanks again!

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Heathen, you asked...

"I assume you think of America and Israel as the aggressive party in those scenarios, so does that make the OWS people the aggressors?"

Aggressors? You have the audacity to compare protesters, exercising their constitutional rights, to military adventurisms? Please stop the leading questions. You're not arguing in good faith.

"Is this an America-in-Iraq kind of occupation or an Israel-in-Palestine occupation?"

I personally prefer, and again I refer to Merrian-Webster, the first definition of occupation as "an activity in which one engages", which due to economic circumstances beyond their control, many find as an alternative avocation. But if you prefer "the act or process of taking possession of a place or area", that's fine with me. I've been an occupant of many public and private buildings, elevators included. Does this also mean I was an "occupying force" -- an "aggressor"?

So, as I understand it, your argument (as you envision how I should view it) now takes the following form:

1. The United States military occupation of sovereign nations is illegitimate, and...

2. Protesters occupy public lands (as a constitutional right to assemble), so therefore...

3. Protesters are illegitimate

No, your argument is fallacious. This is so typical of you, Heathen - getting lost in the semantics, and ignoring the message. As already mentioned, my denunciation of the tea-baggers legitimacy is not due to their message; it's due to the incorrect premise of their understanding of the message. Their premise fails, therefore so does their conclusion.

The Heathen Republican said...

"Aggressors? You have the audacity to compare protesters, exercising their constitutional rights, to military adventurisms?"

Not at all. As I said in my second comment here: "It's wonderful that we have the freedom to speak, assemble, and dissent." Apparently you don't see the obvious allusion in the name "Occupy Wall Street."

"I personally prefer, and again I refer to Merrian-Webster, the first definition of occupation as 'an activity in which one engages'..."

This dictionary definition refers to a job or profession. Do you sincerely believe the name "Occupy Wall Street" is intended to evoke images of a job or profession? I'm losing respect for you.

"But if you prefer 'the act or process of taking possession of a place or area', that's fine with me. I've been an occupant of many public and private buildings, elevators included."

Much better; now you're looking at the correct definition. I suppose your elevator remark is intended to deflect the connotations of a military occupation. That's fine, I won't make you pull your head out of the sand.

This isn't nearly as complicated as you're trying to make it. The Occupy Wall Street movement is intentionally evoking war-like imagery as they call for a true "revolution." If you believe in what they stand for, you should have no problem endorsing it. Yet you hedge and pull out your dictionary defensively. Why is that?

"So, as I understand it, your argument (as you envision how I should view it) now takes the following form..."

I won't quote you further since you didn't understand my simple argument. Let me try again.

You said the Tea Party was illegitimate because: "...of its false premise of entertaining itself as the 'second' Tea Party."

So your definition of illegitimate is that the current iteration is a false replica of the original. Fine. I accept your definition.

Applying your definition to Occupy Wall Street, I asked you to compare it to other occupations: Iraq and Israel (while I don't think either are occupations, I know that the left does).

1) If you think Occupy Wall Street is unlike those other occupations, you should be denouncing OWS as false and illegitimate, just as you do the Tea Party.

2) If you think Occupy Wall Street is like those other occupations, you should denounce it just as you've denounced the "occupation" of Iraq.

Saying that my argument is fallacious, and that it's common tactic of mine is irrelevant (as well as false). I'm simply asking you to apply your own logic to your own argument. Unless you'd like to admit that you apply your logic inconsistently, which is also an option.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Heathen, not allowing sleeping dogs to lie, you continue your expansion of the ludicrous by stating...

"This dictionary definition refers to a job or profession."

Guess you totally glossed over my subtle humor about avocations. That's too bad.

"Apparently you don't see the obvious allusion in the name 'Occupy Wall Street.'"

Apparently, I don't. I usually don't ascribe to military euphemisms when they're not applicable. Apparently, you do. It must be your "intelligence" training.

Speaking of...assume it's been a slow start of the workweek for you in Tel Aviv? ;-)

"I suppose your elevator remark is intended to deflect the connotations of a military occupation."

No defection intended. Just wanted you to be aware of the many uses of the word "occupation". It's not always used in a militaristic manner.

"If you believe in what they stand for, you should have no problem endorsing it. Yet you hedge and pull out your dictionary defensively. Why is that?"

Me? Hedge? Not me. I never tap dance. I'm pretty straightforward. You obviously don't know me very well.

Concerning the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, I wholeheartedly endorse their statement.

As far as pulling out my dictionary, I do that for your convenience. It seems you have a problem, at times, with word meanings.

"If you think Occupy Wall Street is unlike those other occupations [Iraq], you should be denouncing OWS as false and illegitimate, just as you do the Tea Party."

I fail to see your logic. Please...enlighten me. (It certainly must be the cultural differences between an American, me, and an Israeli, you. ;-) Is it possible that the Hebrew translation for the English "occupy" has only a singular, thus militaristic, meaning?

Admit it, Heathen, I caught you at your own game, and you lost. You committed a deductive logic fallacy and now you're squirming to attempt to turn the tables on me.

Nice try.

The Heathen Republican said...

No, you haven't caught me at anything, but by all means pat yourself on the back for winning the argument. I've been clear, so going any further will just be repetitive.

I'm not sure why you think calling me an Israeli and winking is funny, but there are many things about you that I don't understand.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Heathen, the feeling is mutual.

Ellis D., Esq. said...

King Bloomberg is attempting to quash the OWS protest by throwing the protesters out of Zuccotti Park under the guise of a park clean up. The protesters will not be allowed back in the park unless they do not lie down and bring no tarps or sleeping bags. So the protesters must stand 24/7 without any protection against the elements. This is set for 7 a.m. tomorrow. Fuck occupying Wall Street. The time has come to BURN DOWN Wall Street !! Anyone have a match ??