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Occupy Which Street?

Posted on : 01-11-2011 | By : ryan | In : Journal

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From the first mentions of it on Reddit, I have been following Occupy Wall Street and since that time have taken part in an occupation within my hometown. Included in that participation is the creation of a website to facilitate the local Occupy Wall Street voice.

For those that might ask what it was about Occupy Wall Street that gained my attention, let me echo the sentiments of the gentleman that kickstarted our local occupation since I feel he and I have had a very congruent stance on the movement (hopefully beyond the writing of this article).

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.

Basically OWS is against corporations donating huge sums of campaign money to the officials that will regulate them. This is a conflict of interest. We are also against the bailouts of big banks and failing corporations. After they were given our tax dollars, they spent it on huge bonuses, conferences at expensive resorts, and unreasonable severance packages. After that, banks like Wells Fargo, participated in illegal foreclosure tactics. Wells Fargo was fined $85,000,000.00 for their illegal practices. Take the for-profit company, WellCare, that is under investigation of illegally taking 400-600 million dollars from programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Or you can look at the corporations like GE, Bank of America, and ExxonMobil that paid NO TAXES in 2009 and 2010. They even received refunds ranging from $156,000,000 to over 3 billion dollars. All this while receiving trillions in bailouts and cutting up to 20% of their workforce. Can’t forget that the top 20% of earners received almost 50% of all income generated in the US while the bottom 20% received a mere 3%.

We are backed by military, veterans, old and young alike. We come from all different backgrounds, races, creeds, and religions.

I am a gainfully employed late 20’s Union member. You might ask why I would be concerned with this movement if I have a job. Let me first take another step to confuse you. I am also registered as a Republican. Don’t let that speak too much to you though, please.

So the question is, why have I bought in? Most importantly, if a big bank is considered “Too big to fail”, my friends, that is a monopoly. Maybe not in the purest sense, but it has the same volatile nature of a true monopoly. That has got to go. One of the greatest yields of OWS already has been the increased participation in local credit unions and a change in the national news media dialogue from being about debt ceilings and congressional stalemates to the viability of our financial system and the credibility of the big banks.

As the father of a four year old, I’m not going to sit idly by while the culture changes from a nation “By the people and for the people” to a nation that facilitates banks that refer to our nation, the UK, and Canada as plutocracies. It may resemble a plutocracy to you, Citigroup, but it will not remain as such, especially once you abuse that resemblance. In 15 years, my son will be of voting age, and I expect his voice to be heard as clearly as any other voter.

This plutocratic highlighter is starting to mark up our nation, especially through the coopting of the Tea Party from what it once orginally was. Your average citizen of the United States, regardless of party or ideology, should be alarmed. This has to stop.

It is at this point that my angle changes, however. Occupy Wall Street has taken it upon themselves to be certain not to be coopted by any organization or party. I think that is wise. The trouble is like that of any organic growth. I’ve taken a few double takes on OWS lately, wondering what exactly it is that this movement is growing to be.

While listening to Dave Ramsey fielding calls from OWS members for their rebuttals to his article on the movement, and watching Stephen Colbert interview two delegates sent by consensus, I hear more talk about the environment, wealth redistribution, and gripes about unemployment than anything of significant relevance to the financial corruption of our representatives and our financial institutions.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC – Occupy Wall Street Co-Optportunity – Stephen On Location
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive


So I have a question. Is the original intent, to Occupy Wall Street, a throwback to a month ago? What’s going on here? Are we occupying unemployment now? That’s a symptom, fellas. You don’t ask for some Sudafed when your nation has come down with a potentially terminal illness. “But my nose is running.” Strike at the heart of it. In your personal life, perhaps unemployment is the crux of all of your hardships. But on a national level, that unemployment is a symptom among many that is caused by lobbying, integration of our nation and gambling, a debt addicted culture, I could go on and on. All of it comes back to monetary influence on legislation.

And in reference to the environment, yes we do have a multitude of problems. Yes, infinite growth economics is a huge part of it and a cultural change needs to take place there. Once again we can track that problem back to corporations and banks. Strike at the heart of it.

In closing, this message is intended for the 99%. Remember that you are the 99% in voice and power. You’ve come to claim that voice for all time, not this year’s wages. A result of that may be that over time, wealth in this nation or hopefully the world will stop pooling up at the top, but don’t expect the government to do that for you. You’ve come to claim the voice that will do that of your own volition. Start emphasizing. And make that emphasis about voice, about power, about the promise of this nation. The media intends to polarize OWS, especially as though they desire handouts. Be mindful of what you say, what signs you hold up, and stop giving them fodder. The thing I fear more than OWS fading is OWS proving the media right.

A last note for the unfamliar: Here is Occupy Wall Street’s chief site. If you want to know about it, always start here.