(Originally published at the Daily Censored for Project Censored).
This weekend, the Occupy Wall Street movement entered its third week of non-violent public assembly and peaceful protest. However, once again, the New York Police Department has proven peaceful protests against the “Masters of Universe” must be met with violence.
Unlike the astro-turf Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street movement is truly a grassroots movement. Before the movement had even defined it goals, let alone made declarations of purpose and demands, people began to occupy a park, just two blocks away from Wall Street, in protest. A few protesters turned into a hundred protesters, then hundreds and now thousands of people are camping out near Wall Street. Both the young and old came with sleeping bags and handmade signs calling for an end to corporate control of governments and a host of over outrages.
While at first the message coming from the Occupy Wall Street protest seemed unfocused, disorganized and undisciplined, over the last two weeks the movement had formed a “Direct Democracy Occupation Group”. In other words, the movement created their own ad hoc people’s congress which formed a General Assembly.
“This was unanimously voted on by all members of Occupy Wall Street last night, around 8pm, Sept 29. It is our first official document for release. We have three more underway, that will likely be released in the upcoming days: 1) A declaration of demands. 2) Principles of Solidarity 3) Documentation on how to form your own Direct Democracy Occupation Group. This is a living document. you can receive an official press copy of the latest version by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
(End of post).
On Saturday, 2011, protestors were forced off the legal protest route and corralled onto the Brooklyn Bridge, were some 700 Occupy Wall Street protestors were arrested. The Huffington Post showed a video of hundreds of protesters shouting at the police, “Let Us Go” and “Shame, Shame, Shame” as they were being corralled and arrested. Thus, the NYPD violated hundreds of Americans their Constitutional right of free speech.
Examples of police brutality, excessive force, and violations of Constitutional rights is simply a manifestation of a right-wing corporate takeover of America, which is exactly what the Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting. The militarization of the U.S. government in order to protect the Wall Street gangsters over main street Americans is being highlighted this weekend on the streets of New York.
Salman Rushdie has been adding his thoughts on the protests at the official Occupy Wall Street Twitter account #occupywallstreet. Rushdie posts in three quick tweets, “The thieves are in their palaces, counting their loot. But now the people are hammering at the palace gates.” “The world’s economy has been wrecked by these rapacious traders. Yet it is the protesters who are jailed.” And, “Deregulation turned world economy into the Wild West. Now entire countries (Iceland, Greece) are ending up in Boot Hill.”
Rushdie has his finger on the pulse of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Deregulation of Americas banking industry and Wall Street trading has turned the world’s economy into the Wild West. Unfortunately for America, Obama welcomed the thieves into the White House. Thus, Obama proved, yet again, the Democrats are no different than the Republicans when it comes to who’s really running the Wild West show.
While at first the Occupy Wall Street movement seemed to lack focus and appeared undisciplined, the fact is, after two weeks, their movement have shown incredible disciple. Take the fact that after numerous examples of the police openly assaulting protesters and arresting well over a 1000 activists, the Occupy Wall Street protesters have remained nonviolent.
In addition, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to several other cities, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta. At first, the symbol of Wall Street was so powerful it is enough to draw a wide range of grievances. People from all over American came to Wall Street to simply form a coalition of main street Americans.
One other recent Tweet on #occupywallstreet that caught my eye was by LOLGOP, Pete Nicely. Nicely does a nice job of synthesizing the movement down to a Tweet: “Take everything the Tea Party said & reverse it. Better regulation & health care and fairer taxes!”
I think that pretty much sums up the movement.