While the focus of this blog is generally narrowed to environmental and outdoors concerns, there are times when events and causes transcend any attempt to separate out one issue from its greater context. In that spirit, I heartily endorse this statement from the protestors at OccupyDC.
The bold emphasis was added by me.
The Declaration of the Occupation of Washington, D.C.
Consented to in committee November 15th, 2011
We have been captives of corrupt economic and political systems for far too long. The concentration of wealth and the purchase of political power stifle the voices of the increasingly disenfranchised 99%. Corporate dominance subverts democracy, intentionally sows division, destroys the environment, obstructs the just and equitable pursuit of happiness, and violates the rights and dignity of all life.
Occupy D.C. is an open community of diverse individuals, founded on equality for the common good. We are peaceably assembled at McPherson Square, practicing direct democracy on the doorstep of K Street, the center of destructive corporate and governmental relationships. We insist that our political and economic systems serve the people’s interests. Now is the time to advance and complete the struggles of those who came before us.
We are assembled because…
It is absurd that The 1% has taken 40% of the nation’s wealth through exploiting labor, outsourcing jobs, and manipulating the tax code to their benefit through special capital tax rates and loopholes. The system is rigged in their favor, yet they cry foul when anyone even dares to question their relentless class warfare.
Candidates in our electoral system require huge sums of money to be competitive. These contributions from multi-national corporations and wealthy individuals destroy responsive representative governance. A system of backroom deals, kickbacks, bribes, and dirty politics overrides the will of the people. The rotation of decision-makers between the public and private sectors cultivates a network of public officials, lobbyists, and executives whose aligned interests do not serve the American people.
The entrenched 2-party system overlooks public interests by pursuing narrow political goals. This climate encourages candidates to polarize voters for individual power and personal gain. Citizens’ meaningful input has been compromised by gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, and unresponsive politicians. Residents of Washington DC continue to lack autonomy and legislative representation.
Those with power have divided us from working in solidarity by perpetuating historical prejudices and discrimination based on color of skin, perceived race, immigrant or indigenous status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability, among other things.
Corporations broke the financial system by gambling with our savings, property, and economy. They needed the public to bail them out of their failures yet deny any responsibility and continue to fight oversight. They loot from those whose labor creates society’s prosperity, while the government allows them to privatize profits and socialize risk.
Corporate interests threaten life on Earth by extracting and burning fossil fuels and resisting the necessary transition to renewable energy. Their drilling, mining, clear-cutting, overfishing, and factory farming destroys the land, jeopardizes our food and water, and poisons the soil with near impunity. They privilege polluters over people by subsidizing fossil fuels, blocking investments in clean energy and efficient transportation, and hiding environmental destruction from public oversight.
Private corporations, with the government’s support, use common resources and infrastructure for short-term personal profit, while stifling efforts to invest in public goods.
The U.S. government engages in drawn-out, costly conflicts abroad. These operations are often pursued to control resources, needlessly overthrow foreign governments, and install friendly regimes. These wars destroy the lives of American soldiers and innocent civilians and are a blank check to divert money from domestic priorities.
Government authorities cultivate a culture of fear to invade our privacy, limit assembly, restrict speech, and deny due process. They have failed in their duty to protect our rights. Exacerbated by profiteering interests, the criminal justice system has unfairly targeted underprivileged communities and outspoken groups for prosecution rather than protection.
Corporatized culture warps our perception of reality. It cheapens and mocks the beauty of human thought and experience, while promoting excessive materialism as the path to happiness. The corporate news media furthers the interests of the very wealthy, distorts and disregards the truth, and confines our imagination of what is possible for ourselves and society.
Leaders are trading our access to basic needs in exchange for handouts to the ultra-wealthy. Our rights to healthcare, education, food, water, and housing are sacrificed to profit-driven market forces. They are attacking unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, creating an uncertain future for us all.*
A better world is possible. To all people,
We, the Washington D.C. General Assembly occupying K Street in McPherson Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble and reclaim the commons. Re-conceive ways to build a democratic, just, and sustainable world.
To all who value democracy, we encourage you to collaborate, and share available resources. We stand with you in solidarity.
*These grievances are not all inclusive.