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Thank-you for all the prayers for my recovery. I’m regaining strength and am eager to set off for Occupy Wall Street in New York at the end of next week. I’m excited and hopeful about the “great awakening” from confusion and paralysis that seems to be taking place all over the world.
News commentators who criticize us because we have signs at our demonstrations about so many issues miss the whole point—we are making the connection between issues. We are seeing that the underlying cause of many social, economic, and environmental problems is that huge corporations dominate our culture, government, and global institutions. For this reason, if we follow the money, we can see that our tax dollars are being spent in the wrong way.
We bail out the banks and give them tax breaks and they sit on trillions of dollars, while jobs, schools, health care, infrastructure, and social safety nets are cut. We subsidize big oil companies, pay high prices at the pump, and suffer the environmental consequences, while their profits rise and they fund lobbyists and think tanks that refute the reality of fossil fuel induced climate change. We subsidize research and development of new drugs and medical technologies, while pharmaceutical and health insurance companies charge high prices and refuse medical care. We subsidize agricultural giants, which support legislation that continues to marginalize small and organic farmers. We pay for more prisons and detention centers while private prison corporations lobby for tough on crime and anti-immigrant legislation. We fund huge defense contractors and private security firms, and allow them to lobby Congress to purchase hi-tech weapons and wage war, while their stock prices rise and their CEOs make a killing.
What’s not to understand, especially with people “occupying” Wall Street? To me, the message is clear. And to me, in our diversity is our strength. As long as we maintain nonviolent tactics, make decisions through participatory democracy, and refuse to be co-opted, our movement will continue to evolve in the direction of creative social change.
More of us are seeing that society’s wealth should be shared among all the people, not hoarded by the elite few. That’s why the call “we are the 99%” has struck such a powerful nerve. Policy decisions should be made not by corporations, but by the people. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about. If corporations dominate the political process, it’s not democracy but corporate rule.
This is not hard to grasp. All you have to do is follow the money.
One of my favorite signs from last week's Occupy Nevada County demonstration is this: "Who represents you? You do." People are awakening not just to the extremity of our situation as a species and to the economic underpinnings of our interrelated global problems, but to the power we have when we take responsibility, represent ourselves, speak out, join in solidarity with each other, and work together for the common good. Now that's democracy.