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My Take on Occupy Wall Street
Reject Bribery and Corruption!
What Was Occupy Wall Street About?
First, let's get it straight what it's not about. While there is no unified consensus, because democracies are messy, especially in the early stages, most people do not want communism or socialism or an end to capitalism; most do not want to dismantle society or strip the rich of their wealth; most do not want to tear down the government.
What do I want, as a person who is part of the 99%? That's easy. I want systemic change.
Before I start talking about what systemic change is, I'd like to address why I think systemic change is necessary. First, the current situation is unsustainable. Whenever too much wealth or power is concentrated in too few hands, the system becomes unstable. One has only to look at nature: if big cats overpopulate an area, there will not be enough food to sustain them, and the excess population will die, and others will fall sick, and the entire population may, in fact, die off, because too few individuals survive to provide enough genetic diversity. (Remember, these are the animals at the top of the food chain!) In the same way, when most of the resources of the planet are dedicated to sustaining just a few people, there is no way that that can continue without upheaval.
My goal as an occupier remains to address the systemic change necessary before upheaval becomes inevitable.
What Systemic Changes are Necessary?
There are multiple systemic changes that must be made to bring humanity back on a sustainable course. In fact, that is why many people complain about the Occupy protesters: because the systemic changes are far-reaching and do not seem unified. However, the systemic changes are all intertwined and so cannot be distilled down to a single issue.
Some of the issues that are involved in the systemic changes necessary are:
- Birth control available to all women, to reduce overpopulation. In the United States, this has been somewhat achieved thanks to free coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act.
- More environmentally sustainable practices, to husband and maintain the planet's natural resources for our and future generations. Again, in the United States, headway is being made since 2011—every three weeks, we install as much solar as we installed in all of 2008.
- Increasing the biodiversity and health of the planet
- A push for more green technology and conservation, to ensure that the planet's energy resources are sufficient for all
- Better education, so that the people are not swayed by fear, anger, or desire, but can think critically and analyze facts to come to a reasonable conclusion
- A better education system, so that students do not have to mortgage their future in order to gain the skills necessary to work. President Obama has recently proposed free community college to those willing to work for it, a huge step in the right direction.
- An end to influence-peddling in government
- Accountability from politicians for their campaign promises
- Accountability from financial institutions for their investments
- A repeal of Graham-Leach-Billey and a full reinstatement of Glass-Steagall
- A limit to campaign contributions and an end to Super-PACs, as well as all dark money in campaigns
- Separate news programs from corporate ownership and return news to the function of a public service
More on the Occupy Movement
Why No Specific Demands or Specific Targets?
Having specific demands or specific targets is counterproductive, as these demands and targets then can easily get distorted. The Occupiers' goal was simple: to raise awareness of the unsustainability of the current situation. As people become aware of the problems, then they begin to educate themselves, and by and by form their own opinions of what is important to them. The more effort people put into educating themselves on the problems, the more involved those people will become. In addition, the people in our society who are the wrongdoers know who they are, and just as a good parent will put pressure on an unruly teenager to behave, so tens of thousands of people exerting continuous pressure on those people who are twisting the rules of society to suit themselves will eventually encourage those individuals to behave better.
In addition, Occupiers do not wish to lump all individuals together. Occupiers are not targeting the wealthy, since many of the wealthy are part of the 99%. Occupiers are not anti-business; I am a small business owner. Occupiers want to encourage everyone to act honestly and ethically.
And, as stated earlier, the Occupy movement was still in its earliest stages when it was disrupted. Early stages of any movement are messy, so there has not yet been a general consensus as many people are still educating themselves. Change takes time and is a difficult process, so the Occupiers believe they are in the movement for the long term.
Finally, all these issues are interconnected. By not concentrating on only one issue, Occupiers were able to draw in people, who then discovered other issues which were related, and on which they could cooperate.
I speak for no-one but myself. I have not been to Wall Street, only to my own local Occupy movement. This is just one person's opinion. I have no authority in the Occupy movement. I'm just one of the 99%.
Why I Support the Occupy Movement
I am not a hippie, nor a student. I am a hard-working middle-class female who owns three small businesses, and I have a graduate degree (yes, I have two of those so-called "worthless" degrees that I found a way to turn into a full-time career for twenty-five years).
Sure, I got here by hard work. In college I took eight classes a semester and worked four part-time jobs. I also got here thanks to caring, highly educated and involved parents, dedicated teachers in my public schools, scholarships, government assistance in the form of tuition assistance and government (so-called) "make-work" programs, which allowed me as a teenager to gain credible work experience in order to get my first job, as well as SBA help through SCORE in starting my businesses. Without all that, it's doubtful I would have graduated from high school.
And without customers who can afford my services, my business will die and I will be out on the streets. For my business to survive, I need everyone else to have good jobs, with leisure time available, not wage slaves living on the bare minimum and terrified that they won't have a job tomorrow. So yes, I'm out there with the students, with the unemployed, and with the homeless, fighting for them to have better lives, so that I can have the chance for a better life, too. I think wealth disparity has severe negative consequences, and has gotten out of hand, and I am the 99%.