We, the majority, must now stand up and occupy

I have been speaking recently about the importance, nay, the necessity, of standing up and fighting (non-violently, of course) against injustice in the world. And, recently, a group has been doing exactly that. They call themselves Occupy Wall Street. So, today, I’m going to talk about the necessity of occupation.

In their first press release, on 13 July 2011, protestors stated “Our nation, our species and our world are in crisis. The U.S. has an important role to play in the solution, but we can no longer afford to let corporate greed and corrupt politics set the policies of our nation. We, the people of the United States of America, considering the crisis at hand, now reassert our sovereign control of our land.”

This is exactly what they have done. Occupy Wall Street, and its myriad offshoots (Demonstrations are reportedly taking place in 147 cities, and OccupyTogether.org states that these are in 47 states), have, for some for almost three weeks now, peacefully occupied public property—in spite of vehement police backlash.

People complain they don’t understand the demands of the protest. The truth is, this is because the demands vary; they are simply the desires of the people, of the majority. This is democracy at its finest, and the majority says, in the words of Adbusters, “It’s time for democracy notcorporatocracy, we’re doomed without it.” This majority is united in its disdain for egregious government corruption, for the iron fist of Machiavellian corporations blatantly controlling politics in this nation, for the richest 1% of Americans—our real, totalitarian political leaders and rulers.

The thing is, this is a new kind of protest. It’s a paradigm shift; it’s a true watershed.

Notice I said the Necessity of Occupation. The “necessity.” Not the “option”; not the “decision”; not the “luxury,” The “necessity.” These individuals are fighting for their rights; they are fighting to survive. They realize that there is no such thing as a “right.” Those in power want us to think otherwise, yet we don’t have “rights”; we have “privileges.” As George Carlin wryly quipped, “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take ‘em away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of temporary privileges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list gets shorter, and shorter, and shorter.”

Critics claim that the Occupy Wall Street movement is just a bunch of “hippies,” who need to go “find a job.” However, this itself is one of the problems. Many of the movement’s constituents have college degrees and years of experience, yet cannot find work. WeAreThe99Percent.tumblr.com has plethoric of such stories, unified in their claims of “We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.” In what has become an eminent, scenic photo, a protester’s sign reads “Lost my job, found an occupation.”

In the words of the mighty Noam Chomsky, “At this stage of history either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others, or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control.” The “general population,” the 99%, is taking control of its destiny. And, according to Ezra Klein’s recent Washington Post article, “The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests are escalating.”

So, the question is, where will we occupy next? We’re already occupying New York, Los Angeles, Chicago; an occupation has even been going strong for a week right here in Lexington, where hundreds of protesters have come to speak out against injustice, lest they go unheard.

When will we stop? When we occupy the world.

Why is it that the world belongs to 1% of the population? As WeAreThe99Percent.tumblr.com states, “They are the 1 percent. They are the banks, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry. They are the important ones. They need help and get bailed out and are praised as job creators. We need help and get nothing and are called entitled. We live in a society made for them, not for us. It’s their world, not ours. If we’re lucky, they’ll let us work in it so long as we don’t question the extent of their charity. We are the 99 percent. We are everyone else. And we will no longer be silent. It’s time the 1 percent got to know us a little better.”

The world is ours for the taking; we are the people; we are the majority; we are the 99%.

Stand up and occupy.