It is almost like I have spent considerable time working on and studying this issue. This short piece is from 2011.
235 years and 4 months ago, the country we live in and now know as the United States of America was “born” with our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Our history is not pristine, many of our forefathers engaged in activities that are unthinkable in the modern era, such as slavery and the treatment of Indigenous People’s of this land. Things we do today would seem unthinkable to them: the openness of our bodies and sex, genetically engineered foods, and mass consumption are examples. Some things, though remain unchanged. Throughout history-not just our 235 year history as this country, but as far back as history has been recorded, it has been known that the oppressed will rise up against their oppressors. This happened in ancient Egypt to stop the Pharohs, it happened in France, it happened here in 1776, it happened when the market crashed in 1928 and the dust bowl formed in the MidWest, and it is happening now, in the world all around us.
The name of the oppressor may change and the name of the oppressed, but always in each of these situations, and many more throughout time, but oppression remains what it is and the result is inevitable. The people rising across the country and around the globe these last several weeks have joined like others before them to tell their oppressors that no more will they be held down. There are as many variants in this cry as there are professions and personalities.
In the modern era, the oppressors are not directly politicians, the oppressors are not corporations-a corporation after all, is not a person, so it cannot be guilty of oppression. So in a time when people all over the world are feeling oppressed in such a variety of reasons-who is the oppressor? I believe in order to truly define the goals of the movement unfolding around us this is a question that must be answered. The first step though is to clearly define the multiple complaints of the people who are taking signs and voices to the internet and the street.
So what are the people saying?
- The People say that we are tired of corporations modifying the food supply in the name of profit.
- The People say that we are tired of the government rewarding banks that have failed the American people.
- The People say that a corporation is not a person.
- The People say end the Federal Reserve Bank
- The People say to eliminate or at least restructure the IRS and our tax system as a whole.
- The People say that the a nation’s laws are sovereign and not to be trifled with in the name of profit.
- The People say that corporations should not receive tax breaks to send jobs overseas.
- The People say that schools and education need to come before prisons.
- The People say that corporate control of the food supply is linked to starvation.
- The People say the corporations, via lobbying power, trade organizations and the ability to control both the government and the media have taken control of our government away from the people.
- The People say that an education required for living wage should not cause a lifetime of endebtedness.
- The People say that the military should be used for protection of and assistance to the People-not to protect the economic resources of a corporation.
- The People say that we stand together in the name of a government of the people, for the people and by the people-and that the corporations have taken the will of the people from us.
We the people are saying that in a time of economic turmoil, when all of the wealth is concentrated in a tiny percentage of the population, when that same tiny portion of the population controls the information, the government, the courts, and the banks that the freedoms so many have fought for through history are again lost or at the very least imperiled.
Still though, who are we trying to reach? I think at the moment, we are trying to reach each other. We are trying to let each other know that none of us stands alone. We are trying to show that the 99% of us that split up less than 67% of all the wealth and more clearly the 90% of us who control less than 10% of the overall resources available. We want the farmers to know that we want them to keep their farms, their heirloom crops, their family traditions and way of life. We want educators to know that we respect them, that we recognize the need to support their efforts at educating the future generations. We want the military to know that we support them-that it is our support of them that inspires us to want them to return home. We want law enforcement to know that we understand that they to stuggle with paying their student loans, their mortgages, and their medical bills at times and that they, too, are part of the 99% we speak for. We want those who work in retail, in hospitality, in any service industry that they are the 99%. Any citizen anywhere who has watched their traditions, their way of life, their ability to live without debt, there freedoms eroded, or their military misused in the name of corporate interests-you are the 99%. Right now, I think the message is join us-United We Stand against those who oppress us.
There need not be a list of demands; there is only one demand. We, the people demand freedom from our oppressors-whether they be in the government or in the corporations. What this looks like will vary from place to place, the goals of the People and how we overcome our current situation remains to be seen. The mass media has repeatedly said that the anti corporate movement of the last 12 or 15 years is not defined-it is more fair to say that it defies definition beyond stating we demand an end to oppression. If you feel oppressed or disenfranchised then join us show the 1% what it looks like when we quit serving them. I think it looks like democracy.