Occupy Wall Street? I will not. However, I am there in spirit. I believe in the cause, the many grounds protesters have posited. Countless Grievances, One Thread Howard Zinn stated this shared truth ever so succinctly years earlier, ”It is not only Iraq that is occupied. America is too.” Wall Street, Schools, Classrooms, Hospitals, and Banks, these “Occupations” have gone on for far too long. People in Zuccotti Park and at the Chase Manhattan Plaza understand as most Americans do. The myriad movement reflects the ninety-niners thirst for dignity. The cravings are deep.
I am one with the unemployed, the scholars, skilled, and service workers who only seek a job. Independent Laborers and Union folks, your pain is mine. Private Industry and public institutions converted to corporate holdings have hurt me as they have you. I too, have countless tales to tell. Consultants, your woes are mine. Gone are the days of companies being loyal to the workforce. Pensions went with the wind.
401ks have replaced these for some. More are less fortunate. The statistics are startling. What has occurred in the last year is more astounding. States Cut Public Pension Benefits In Massive Funding Shortfall. Personal dollar deficits, I have known more than a few, as have those who physically Occupy Wall Street.
In spirit, I am you “Occupiers” of Wall Street. Homeowners, Renters, and those who have lost a place to live, let alone the will to live, I relate. After a score and eleven years, I purchased my first home. I did so during the boom. The cost was great, the interest high. I thought I could make do. Times changed and so too did my circumstances. Nonetheless, I soon discovered the Banks did not care. Even employees of financial institutions chose not to lend a friendly ear.
I hear you “Occupiers.” In many ways, on countless occasions, since Middle School, I have stood against the absurdity of Capitalism out of control. The Military Industrial Complex is as the Privatization craze. Each permeates and punishes society. The powerful have used our nations as their playgrounds. We see it in policies and practices. Political realities only further the reason for your, my, our rants and rage.
Indeed, Corporate and Civic Complexes have brought about fear and loathing. Conjoined, these have left our nation’s people poorer. Over and over again, Americans have done as President Eisenhower warned us against. We did not “peer into society’s future” when we acted on greed and immediate gain. When we allowed the affluent and those of authority to divest and divert funds necessary for the common good, we — you and I, and our government – did not “avoid the impulse to live only for today.” We plundered “for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”
Contrary to Eisenhower’s cautions, Americans “mortgage[d] the material assets of our grandchildren.” We did more than risk the loss of our “political and spiritual heritage.” We successfully vanquished what was ours, a “democracy” thought strong enough “to survive for all generations to come.” Our country has “become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
The gloom and sense of doom felt by the masses who speak out is one I share, only the words differ. We did not “avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate.” That is why I ask for a reality once yearned for. May we be “a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
Rather than “occupy” might we integrate ideas on an American Avenue, two or three; perhaps more. Let us “Tear Down Wall Streets.” We need not infiltrate, invade, or emulate the ways of Wall Street. There has been too much of this. Internationally, monetary and military Industrial complexes “Occupy.” We do not liberate, as is evidenced by Iraq. Nor will we bring freedom to Afghanistan or Wall Street. We occupy.
United States citizens speak of the German occupation of France, or of Europe. After World War II we spoke of Soviet-occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and eastern Europe. It was the Nazis, and the Soviets, who occupied countries. The United States liberates all others from occupation. Indeed, today we are the occupiers. The number of small, medium and large oversea military installations combined, as documented in the Department of Defense Base Structure Report (BSR) 2003 Report, totals at least 702. Bases, buildings owned and leased, as stated a decade ago . . .“Ongoing additions to the base structure, including in- transfers, are often not officially recorded until well after the decision.”
Indeed, in recent years alone, the number of occupations has grown substantially. Some may say, we have been occupiers since settlers first colonized this land. Tim Wise spoke of this “truth” only days ago. Wise injects linguistics into the debate. Language, the use and abuse, or might I say manipulation of a message, looms large in our lives. I think of DoubleSpeak
“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. ~ George Orwell. [Author of 1984]
Might we reflect on the words, the wisdom, and our adopted ways? “Occupy” Wall Street. Instead, may we “Tear Down Wall Streets.” These exist everywhere in our country and outside our borders. It is mused worldwide we live within an oligarchy. Government Establishments and Corporate Enterprises, each and either, have been “Occupied” or “Liberated” [you choose] by an ideology that insists control must be granted to the few, the proud, the elite.
The notion of all, equality, and as a collective, is void. Equality has been marked “canceled” on bills of fare. Fairness is far from our reality, for worldwide, the rich rule.
We see this in our schools. Privatization has long been in progress. In 1995, the title appeared prominently, Public Schools: Make Them Private. Domination, the deed done, began decades ago in health care. “Markets” are closed. Economic and war policies are not “democratic.” The question is, has democracy ever been in action. Certainly, Main Street attempted to bring social equality about. However, classlessness has long been a cause never fully realized.
Thus, “Occupy” Wall Street, I rather not, thank you. Oh, I intend to travel to the location, from New York to New Jersey. I will stand on the streets and express my serious disco9ntnt. From Connecticut to California, I will walk, fly, drive . . . I will strive to speak in support of our shared contentions. North or South, I will be there. Midwestern missions will be, is as mine.
Indeed, I even now sit and take vigil. I “Tear Down Wall Streets.” Still, I desire to do other than was done to me. I will not “occupy.” “occupations” are all that I disdain. I would not wish to repeat the rape that is America’s history. Violent destructive doings, be these in words, or in deed, are not me!
Thus, I invite you to do other than inhabit an institution or an ideology that had destroyed democracy. “Democratization” might be nice; however, that word too has come to mean an occupation. Integrate, perhaps? Yet, to assimilate by force, or with the use of forceful language, is but an invasion. “Decolonize” what was captured, possibly? Yet, I ask, can we grant independence to what never was truly ours . . . Wall Street, Schools, Medical Services, Banks?
I will “Tear Down Wall Streets” regardless of the configuration. Please join me; expand horizons so that all might see a glorious vision. . Together, we can and will reach beyond the sky.
References and Resources . . .
- If Banks Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Banks:, By Paul Krugman. The New York Times. October 10, 2011
- Countless Grievances, One Thread: We’re Angry, By Marc Lacy. The New York Times. October 17, 2011
- It is not only Iraq that is occupied. America is too. By Howard Zinn. The Guardian. Thursday, August 5, 2005
- Occupy Wall Street and the Promise of Dignity, By Charlotte Hill and Robert Fuller . The Huffington Post. October 19, 2011
- History of 401(k) Plans: An Update. Employee Benefit Research Institute. September 2007
- The Coverage o Employer Provided Pensions: Partial and Uncertain. By Sandy Mackenzie and Ke Bin Wu. AARP. 2008
- Germany’s Occupation of France, Frederic Spotts selects essential books about France under Nazi Occupation. The Wall Street Journal. May 9, 2009
- 1956: Soviet troops overrun Hungary. British Broadcasting Company.
- Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State
- The Soviet Union and Europe After World War II. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- 20 Examples Of Corporate Doublespeak You Need To Know During Earnings Season. By Vincent Fernando, CFA. The Business Insider. October 18, 2010
- Pitts: Words on words: How do you say ‘hypocrisy’ in Romney-speak? By Leonard Pitts. Miami Herald.September 6, 2008
- Health plans extend their market dominance, By Emily Berry. American Medical Association. March 8, 2010
- Competition in health insurance. A comprehensive study of U.S. markets. 2007 update. American Medical Association .
- Public Schools: Make Them Private. By Milton Friedman. CATO Institute. June 23, 1995