Occupy movement identifies corruption

You have been victimized by corporations. You have been taken advantage of. Someway, somehow, a part of your life has been negatively impacted by the growing thievery of multinational corporations. Are you burdened by student debt or outrageous credit card fees? Have you been denied basic healthcare or the right to vote? Have banks illegally foreclosed on your house? Unemployed or underemployed? Sickened by polluted food, air or water? Millions, if not billions, of people have been. And the people represented by these classifications and conditions are no longer being silent.

People are taking to the streets. People are voicing their disgust at being under the boot of the corporate state. These human beings have been marginalized for decades, if not centuries. The majority of the American and global population, collectively being called the 99 percent, is angry.

Have you seen the thousands of normal folk taking to the streets? Have you seen the multi-gender, multi-racial, multi-generational, and multi-grievance plethora of people paving the streets with their presence? Hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands are on street corners and in public parks across the country as you read this.

These multitudes are pleading, screaming and protesting passionately in hundreds of major cities across the globe. New York City was where it started.  And now it has spread. Cities joining the uprising include New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, London, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Cairo, Sydney and, for two weeks now, Lexington.

It is a people — based movement. It is a growing movement calling for more than reform. We are calling for the restructuring of the system that has creatively been enslaving the 99percent for way, way too long. An occupation was called for; an occupation of Wall Street.

The symbolism of this location that just spun through your mind is valid. And yet it is more than symbolism. Wall Street, and the encompassing financial institutions that the term implies, should be held responsible.

Over $40 trillion dollars of wealth was stolen from the global economy in the financial crisis of 2008. Did you get to dip your hand in the jar? Were you, the working parent, the studying student or the compassionate nurse the ones who benefited from this pillage?

To the contrary, you may have been like my family. My mother’s previously stable, self-owned and local business was almost crushed. And yet we continue on. The inequality grows. The poor languish. Meanwhile, the rich squirm in splendor.

Watch the Academy Award winning documentary “Inside Job” if you’d like more specifics on the 2008 crisis. The point still stands that the 99 percent of us, who daily do more than financial speculation and corporate schmoozing, were looted.

The 99 percent were plundered, ransacked, robbed. What other verbs or examples do you need in order to connect the ongoing multi-national corporate coup to your personal situation?

The corruption has been laid bare. Politicians are bought and sold by the same mega-interests, regardless of what color or jersey they wear.

During the first week of the Occupy Lexington movement, I protested and slept on the sidewalk out in front of Chase Bank on Main Street. On that corner I now write this column. But for this last week, I traveled to Washington D.C. and New York City. I witnessed thousands expressing themselves. I yelled, but I also listened. I listened to so many stories. I heard stories of healthcare-less, and now dead, children. I heard stories of mentally fragmented veterans. I heard stories of students permanently in debt; students like me, just wanting to get an education. I heard stories of pension-less elders. I heard stories of 21st century wage slavery. These stories show that the minimum wage is in no way a living wage.

I grieved, cheered and listened to stories from fellow humans who have been both physically and metaphorically beaten down. The stories could continue.  But elaborating on the experiences will be saved for another column.

For now, all I plead for is your participation. You — your mind, hands, legs — are needed. The people’s uprising needs you. Take a part in creating your future. Stop letting yourself be controlled.

Once we separate ourselves from the commoditized image the corporate state sees us as, the capacity for human potential we each have can be unleashed.

Look us up online if you wish. Then come join us. We’ll be here.