The General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street & YES! Magazine – 2011-10-17 00:18:49
Statement of Solidarity, Occupy Wall Street, Zucotti Park
The General Assembly, at Occupy Wall Street
WALL STREET, NY (October 16, 2011) — 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. â€¨â€¨They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. â€¨â€¨
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. â€¨â€¨They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.â€¨â€¨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. â€¨â€¨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. â€¨â€¨They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. â€¨â€¨
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. â€¨â€¨They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. â€¨â€¨They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them. â€¨â€¨
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 or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial 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. â€¨â€¨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. â€¨â€¨
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. â€¨â€¨
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!
10 Ways to Support the Occupy Movement
Sarah van Gelder / YES! Magazine
(October 16, 2011) — The #OccupyWallStreet movement continues to spread with more than 1,500 sites. More and more people are speaking up for a society that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent. There are many things you can do to be part of this growing movement — and only some of them involve sleeping outside.
Here are 10 recommendations from the YES! Magazine staff for ways to build the power and momentum of this movement. Only two of them involve sleeping outside:
1. Show up at the occupied space near you.
Use this link to find the Facebook page of an occupation near you. If you can, bring a tent or tarp and sleeping bag, and stay. Or just come for a few hours. Talk to people, participate in a General Assembly, hold a sign, help serve food. Learn about the new world being created in the occupied spaces.
2. Start your own occupation.
Use this Meetup site. Or call together friends, members of your faith group, school, or community group. Reach out to people from parts of your community you don’t normally work with. Unexpected alliances keep the movement from getting labeled as partisan or representing only some people.
3. Support those who are occupying.
Most sites need food, warm clothes, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags, communications gear, and money. Many need people to do loads of laundry, to help with medical care, to provide legal support, to serve food, and to spread the word. Some people call in pizza orders from nearby vendors. Support the folks at Liberty Square in New York here, or check in with your local occupiers to see what they need.
4. Speak out. Get into the debates and the teach-ins.
Many occupation sites have workshops and discussions on critical issues of our time. Get into the discussion. Bring your expertise and reading materials to share. YES! Magazine is offering free copies of the current New Livelihood issue to occupied sites (request them by emailing JobsIssue@yesmagazine.org).
Bring the discussions to other groups you are part of. Listen to perspectives you haven’t heard before. This process represents a critical, but under-reported side of the movement: People are shifting from being passive, frustrated observers of politics to active, powerful players. Instead of waiting for our leaders to do the right thing, people from all walks of life are becoming leaders. It makes us unstoppable.
5. Share your story.
Post how you’re part of the 99 percent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or in print. Through this movement, people are discovering others who are also losing jobs and homes, who are overwhelmed by debt or working a dead-end job. Through this sharing, humiliation turns into compassion and self-respect. And it builds understanding of the sources and the impacts of our crisis: A Wall Street system that funnels wealth to the top 1 percent is leaving the rest of us behind. Community plus insight makes us powerful.
6. Be the media.
Show up with your video recorder, camera phone, or laptop and share the stories of the occupation. You can download a selection of posters donated by graphic designers and spread them around. Highlight the human dimension of the protests. It is harder for critics to disparage a movement when people see the faces of those involved.
7. Name the meaning of this moment.
What will make the world better for the 99 percent? How has the power of the 1 percent gotten in the way of your hopes and dreams? Make a sign, write a blog, update your Facebook page, or speak out on the issue that means the most to you. Include the phrase, “I am the 99 percent.”
8. Insist that public officials treat the occupations with respect.
The eviction of the Liberty Square occupation on Wall Street was averted by massive public resistance from those in the square and from others. Other occupations also need support. The 99 percent don’t have the money, political access, and media empires of the 1 percent; the occupations are one of the few ways we are building power. Ask your local officials to respect people’s right to assembly.
9. Study and teach nonviolent techniques.
There are many examples of outside provocateurs who spark violent incidents that can discredit nonviolent movements such as this. The corporate media is hungry for violent images. (There’s already been an example of an admitted provocateur from the right-wing “American Spectator” who provoked pepper spraying at the National Air & Space Museum). Learn how to lovingly and firmly interrupt and contain violence, and teach what you know. Here are some resources.
10. Be resilient.
This movement is here for the long term. Some efforts may fade because of cold weather or harsh police responses. Others may self-destruct through faulty process or violent outbreaks. The movement may be idealistic, but it won’t be ideal. Don’t get disillusioned; the demand for a society that serves the 99 percent won’t go away. The movement may morph, but it has become unstoppable. Help it evolve.
The genie is out of the bottle. People will no longer accept the systematic transfer of wealth and power from we the people to the 1 percent. In this remarkable, leaderless movement, each one of the 99 percent who gets involved helps shape history.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.