If you don’t know what the Occupy movement wants, it’s not your fault. The media belongs to the 1%, and they are not inclined to inform you or show you positive images of what’s happening. It’s simply not in their best interest.
What we want could be stated as simply: Peace. Justice. & Equality. Want some specific steps?
1. Restore taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
2. End the wars and bring our troops home.
3. Repeal Citizens United and approve a constitutional amendment against corporate personhood.
4. Restore Glass-Steagal and strongly regulate and break up the big banks.
5. Get money out of politics by banning private funding of elections by corporations.
6. Protect labor unions and American workers.
7. Rebuild America’s infrastructure.
8. Invest in education.
9. Defend Social Security.
10. Stop spending cuts and start investing in America.
11. Create jobs.
12. Invest in alternative energy sources so we are no longer held hostage by oil.
13. Pass Medicare for all.
Back Story Section: If you don’t know what “Citizens United” is (and people who are not following politics may not know), here it is in a nutshell: a supreme court case recently decided by a 5-4 decision (all 5 extreme corporatists were appointed by republican presidents). This decision allowed unlimited, secret “donations” to politicians and causes, which opened the floodgates in an already corrupt system that is truly “pay to play”. If dollars are “speech” then whoever has the most dollars has the loudest voice. Your voice and mine are not heard. In addition, foreign interests now easily influence our politics, often through the misnamed “U.S. Chamber of Commerce”, which aggressively works through offices all over the world and can now legally accept unlimited funds to “influence” (aka purchase) our politicians. Senator Bernie Saunders (a rare politician who works for the PEOPLE) explains why Citizens United has killed democracy.
Glass-Steagal (again, for non-political junkies) was a law put in place in 1933 after the depression that protected citizens by strictly regulating what banks could do with our money. It separated commercial banks that focus on consumers from investment banks, which deal with risky speculative trading and mergers. Hearings had shown that the banks crashed the economy. House Banking Committee Chairman Louis McFadden (D-NY) said of the Great Depression,
“It was no accident. It was a carefully contrived occurrence…The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so they might emerge as rulers of us all”.
The banks hit back against regulation beginning with Reagan, and eventually in 1999, Rep. Phil Gramm’s “Bank Modernization Act” was signed into law by Clinton. This bill gutted Glass-Steagal. (banks paid Gramm 4.6 million for this favor). As if this weren’t bad enough, once Bush took office, Gramm added the “Commodity Futures Modernization Act” to the omnibus appropriations bill which allowed risky derivatives trading and exempted energy trading from ANY regulations. (This bill was championed by Enron, among other corporations.) The combination of Gramm’s bills essentially destroyed all protections and is the reason why the theft of our wealth, homes and livelihoods was now legal. This allowed banks to gamble once again with our money, crashing the economy and once again, transferring the wealth of our nation into the pockets of a few at the top.
Yet, we don’t want to demonize these few at the top, no matter how their behavior has harmed the rest of us. People who are grasping, greedy and selfish are in pain. some say these people are sociopaths, others insist they are true psychopaths, but whichever it may be, I believe that such people remain loveless and lonely, even while surrounded with sycophants and yes-men. They may not be aware of this on a conscious level, but the intense disconnect that comes from such selfishness is painful. The disconnection with others, the disconnection with our planet, creates an emptiness that they continue to try to fill with money, power and possessions.
But what is money? An artificial representation of wealth. What is wealth? True wealth is love, connection, heart, community, creativity, kindness, belonging. True wealth is a healthy planet, a strong ecosystem, cherished wildlife, clean oceans. True wealth is life in harmony with the planet, the other species that share it with us, and with each other.
What we want is a society that works for ALL. A system where every being has value. This is the time to create that society, and these small steps listed above are just that, very small steps. From these steps will come other, bigger steps – ideas we may not even have yet, having been so conditioned by the current culture in which we live. What we truly want is too vast and beautiful for words – it’s a vision of a world that CAN be.
Imagine right now, what a healthy, fair, life-affirming society would be like. Can you see it? Look at how the weakest and sick among us are cared for, how we nurture our one Earth. Visualize an educated population, a society of creative ideas, see the art and hear the music, see how children and companion animals are treated. Imagine it, and hold these images. This is what we want.