Desperation, yes. But quiet no longer. While the power may not yet (or may never) be switching from the 1% to the 99%, the Occupy movement is perhaps America’s greatest achievement in the 21st century.
For decades academics and intellectuals of all fields have written and talked about the negatives regarding the growing gap between the rich and the poor. There have been millions of complaints and phone calls made. Lawsuits. Award-winning books. Attempts to form groups. In the end, all have been thwarted down by the money-holders. Political campaigns are and continue to be bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies that continue to be bought and paid for by entire governments that continue to be bought and paid for, inversely, by Big Pharma. Corporations easily overpower the government. And this means the idea that America is run by elected officials is but a mask. America is really run by corporations, and corporations have profits not people as their primary concern. So, get this: An entire country is run and its values are shaped but something not human. All the writing and all the complaints in the world didn’t make much of a difference. All the phone calls only served to create more quiet desperation. When attempts to fight corruption and a broken system are constantly and easily defeated, eventually there is a breaking of will. Now, thanks to the power that social media has to help like-minded individuals from all over the world organize and collaborate, the one downtrodden was able to realize there are millions just like him or her. One has become millions. And this is exactly the kind of beautiful revolution and evolution that America needs in order to progress themselves and therefore the world at large.
It’s well-known that the Occupy movement is against corporate greed. But sometimes it’s tough to understand what this means. Pictures of Bernie Madoff come to mind for some. But imagine this – despite the millions of dollars he ripped from people, despite the lives he shattered – he is but a tiny microcosm for what is not just tolerated but encouraged within the system.
The U.S. median wage is the lowest since 1999 (this accounts for the vast majority of Americans) yet the amount of millionaires rose by 20% in one year.
Think about the ramifications of this. The middle class is increasingly struggling and being pushed closer to what is considered “poor” while a few people not only own most of the economy’s money but also are often excluded from having to pay taxes because of an absurd and ineffective system called “trickle down economics.” Essentially, this means that if the rich are supported and, as Warren Buffett said, “coddled,” then they (the rich) will create good, well-paying jobs for everyone else. Not quite. This is where greed comes in.
The official Occupy Wall Street website says this in their “Why” statement:
The people coming to Wall Street on September 17 come for a variety of reasons, but what unites them all is the opposition to the principle that has come to dominate not only our economic lives but our entire lives: profit over and above all else.
Profit Above Environment. As our planet approaches 7 billion people, the earth is increasing being exploited to the point of disrepair. This means food, water and air quality are all declining. This means species are going extinct. A people out of touch with their land are bound to die. Actually, a people destroying their land are suicidal. Look at densely populated areas around the world – many are dirt poor but keep producing more kids and these kids become even poorer and a vast majority end up on drugs or digging through radioactive garbage heaps just to find scraps of food. Continuing to populate the planet is not just a strain on technology to find answers, it’s murderous. Resources are finite, and when this fact is trumped by the all-mighty dollar the world is bound to become chaos. It is.
Profit Above Human and Civil Rights. Worker unions around the world are being crushed. In a perfect world with perfect employers we wouldn’t need unions. But employers aren’t content with running a good business. They want more – because we live in a society where success has become totally defined by the things we own. 24-hour advertisements emblazon every open space and influence our children from the time they come out of the womb. It’s no wonder we abide not by humanity but by things. It’s no wonder that people literally sell their organs for an Ipad or buy houses larger than they can afford. Killing unions means employers are cutting retirement plans, health insurance policies and pay for middle class workers all while they are pulling in record-breaking profits. Employers have become so distant from the workers they employ that they no longer see them as human. This is serious stuff – stuff that has much in common with the Holocaust and the brutal killings of the Khmer Rouge regime and with the mindless killings of Vietnam. When few people with all the power begin to see everyone as below them – to the point of not being human – the world is bound to become chaos. It is. Socially, rich church leaders are paying millions in campaigns against sex education, family planning and rights for the LGBT community. They literally have the power of profit to purchase politicians who represent their interests, not the American people’s interest. Not only is this embarrassing abroad, but it’s also dangerous – especially in the face of a growing world population, especially as America continues to wave the banner of “greatest country in the world.”
These are but a few examples of what the Occupy movement stands for. There is much negative talk against the movement, but this talk is primarily coming from paid critics who have either been brainwashed by the dollar or indoctrinated by the growth of media that lacks integrity.
A few sentences later in Walden, Thoreau states:
A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
There is still despair, but it is no longer unconscious and it is no longer quiet and it is no longer kowtowing to the games and amusements of a crippled mankind. And for this, the Occupy movement makes me truly proud to be an American.
At this point, nearly each city and state has their own Occupy-affiliated movement. The movement has truly become global. Use Google or Twitter to find out more. The following links are but a few of thousands that will be helpful:
@OccupyWallSt on Twitter