YES, YES, YES!!
Great article by Darren Fleet.
From my perspective, and to add a quick tangent:
We are a fucked up, ignorant, repressed people. Our archaic patriarchal pseudo-morality has been unimaginably detrimental to women and children.
The conditioning of our collective social consciousness by our monotheistic dip-shittery has retarded human development, repressed our society and disempowered billions of people throughout history.
That conditioning has led to the destruction of the natural commons and untold physical, mental and emotional suffering for all varieties of the “other.”
Righting individual sufferings, although a noble fixation of today’s American Liberal, is like addressing the symptoms of diseases in the human condition without addressing the holistic health of the patient and its environment.
For example, alleviating poverty, although important and necessary, is a transactional exercise, albeit one of immense scale. But it is an exercise without end. There will always be another inequity around the corner until and unless we stop the blithering subversion of human morality and the compulsion to impose unrealistic controls on our very basic natures.
Humans can attain nobleness, order and balance in the world we inhabit, but only after we cure the endemic cultural schizophrenia monotheisms and religions impose on us - how we view our bodies, how we structure our laws, how we perceive the universe - to name just a few of the offending impositions.
I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested… As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, ‘I need to get in. My daughter’s there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, ‘Move on, lady.’ And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head,” says Smith. “I walk over, and I say, ‘Look, cuff her if she’s done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, ‘Lady, do you want to get arrested?’ And I said, ‘Do you see my hat? I’m here as a legal observer.’ He said, ‘You want to get arrested?’ And he pushed me up against the wall.
—Retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, working as a legal observer after the raids on Zucotti Park this Tuesday, via Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism (via seriouslyamerica)
I love this country, what its supposed to stand for, and what its stated values were intended to achieve.
I’m currently one of the lucky ones. I’m surviving.. not at the top of the 99% and not yet at the bottom.
I’ve survived the death of nearly all of my family: my parents and many loved ones. I’ve survived abuse, torture, medical trauma, addiction, poverty, homelessness and the streets… all by 25.
I started working at 10 years old. I was the sole consistent provider for my family by 13. My mother was a prostitute who drank herself to death. My father was incredibly abusive, bi-polar and chronically ill. He died of complications from the mixture of being HIV positive, having heart trouble, strokes, diabetes, and cancer. He was hospitalized for large portions of the last five years of his life. If it wasn’t for the VA, we would have sunk in the first three months. As it happened, we still sank. I cared for my parents as they died. Their choices throughout our life together led to our poverty. Even when homeless, I never stopped working.
I’ve had medical insurance for 3 of my 35 years. My body had endured 11 major surgeries by the time I was twenty years old and I had 2 more procedures by 27.
None of these were covered by insurance.
I’ve had operations to fix my legs, my chest, my jaw, my arms and my abdomen. This saddled me with over $250,000 in medical bills, which I’ve worked hard to pay off. There were those who showed me some kindness in discounting my medical procedures and they worked hard to save my legs. They were one my many saving graces.
In my late teens, early twenties, I gambled to survive. I had two jobs but that wasn’t enough. My mother was ill, and I was so indebted I would never have made it. I won. I was good. This kept me afloat for years and gave me just enough to keep the collectors at bay. Eventually, as it always does, the tide turned the other way and I lost what little I had. Add on a gambling addiction to the mix of failures and suffering: optional and in-optional. My choices led to my next round of poverty.
But, without any friends, family or support, on my own, I eventually found pro-bono therapy, crawled out of the streets, made a life for myself. I self educated, never able to afford school, yet I’ve still never stopped learning.
Since recovering from this series of personal tragedies, I’ve earned progressively better paying jobs, started a family, even started my own fledgling business.
I’ve become an activist and tried to help others the way I wish I’d been helped. I work to heal the injustices I see in the world around me.
No one should ever question my tenacity, my resiliency, my effort, my cleverness, my drive. I survive, I fight on. I will never stop fighting. Ever. Still, I have little to show for my effort. Just my resume of obstacles overcome, not a life lived well.
I had always thought that once I crawled out of the hole I found myself in, I would be able to achieve whatever I earned. But in the recent years I’ve watched my hope and my belief in America nearly vanish. Only a shadow of a flicker of a candle flame remains. Why? Because, no matter what anyone hears, the American Dream is largely a lie: an highly successful marketing scheme to maintain working class buy-in to a failed, rigged, perverted and sclerotic economic system which has been created and administered by massive corporate oligarchies. Even after all I’ve survived, the facts about our country lead me to worry that my family’s future prospects are startlingly bad.
The status quo is terrible and its getting worse. I see it in my working life everyday.
From a personal current inventory, I have to be blunt: I’m still way behind the arc of achieving safety - with no savings and no retirement - I’m practically uninsurable because of high health premiums and I make too much for public assistance of any kind.
I have little confidence that my family can reasonably survive (let alone thrive) in the NEW America that’s been forged over the last 30 years of neo-conservative and corporatist oligarchical rule.
John F. Kennedy once called the banking intelligentsia “the Gnomes of Zurich.” How truly he spoke. He should have looked much closer to home, as we must now.
In an era where millions are crying out for lasting sustainable solutions to socio-economic and geo-political challenges, corporate finance focuses on transactional velocity and margin skimming instead of providing services to the real economy - the 99%.
In my case corporate finance won’t touch my business because its considered too controversial (I am a sustainable business consultant, am creating a government transparency initiative, and I promote the socio-economic rights of the 99% - which are of course, horribly outlandish goals.)
In trying to do some good, working to create some healing in our world, I’ve become somehow controversial.
I’m providing solutions. But apparently, improving the status quo isn’t for the arbiters of modern finance, because it would affect their dividends. The system is broken: hard work, good ideas, tenacity and patience go unrewarded - care, compassion and the desire to improve the world are mocked.
Even though I have debt and am virtually uninsurable - I will continue to survive. But will/can my child? At this rate we have little hope of paying for his advanced education, his quality health care (regardless of the impending ‘Health-Reform’) or setting him up for a significantly better quality of life than I had (which isn’t saying much.)
In a society plagued by sickness, organized and sanctioned corruption, horrible income inequality, environmental deterioration, bigotry, top-down class warfare, know-nothing-ism and media douche-baggery how are we to survive with matters as they are? Any of us? Especially when we know that survival is not enough. Indentured servitude isn’t enough. Life needs meaning. And the very prospect of meaning has been plasticized, digitized and stripped away.
I’m not the worst off of the 99%, but I’m still one of them.
The fighter in me says that we must stop this madness. We MUST FIGHT for what this country is meant to be and for ourselves. But do we have the resolve to stand up and fight for principals in the face of all we’ve been conditioned and trained to believe?
I am one of the 99% and I have just begun my campaign. I began it when I saw the world for what it is. I began when I crawled out of the gutter and healed my living. I began when I held my child for the first time and realized the awesome commitment I was making to improve the world for him and his peers. I will never stop till I die. And then hopefully, my will shall continue on.
"I dislike death, but there are things that I dislike more than death. Therefore there are occasions when I will not avoid danger." - Mencius
"Looting with guns or looting with money, it makes no difference to a people." - Un-sourced
Obligatory reference: “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” - V from V for Vendetta
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread around the world in recent days. It has led to clashes with police in Melbourne, violence in Rome and massive protests. Protests in the U.S. have even shown hints of conflict in recent days.
China is watching developments…
(Source: The Huffington Post)
I graduated with a Masters degree from one of the best architecture schools in the world, filled with visionaries with the knowledge, skills and passion to build the kind of world we all dream of, except nobody in this economic system has any incentive to hire them to do anything remotely like that. At our graduation, one professor remarked that we’d be spending the rest of our lives building strip malls. Then the economy collapsed and I did what I was told… putting on a suit and tie every morning and making job searching a full time job. Six months and one interview later, I had produced nothing of value to anyone and was still living off mom and her soul killing job. I was then 35 years old and had a world of work experience. I knew the only thing to do was walk away from the game.
I vowed I would do what I love even if it meant starving and doing it for free, so I did just that for three years. I’ve since worked on some of the most innovative treehouses in the world, I’ve designed and built in Haiti (You want to see the real results of our wonderful foreign and economic policies?) I’ve built community gardens, geodesic structures, and I’m engineering water catchment systems, hanging gardens and solar updraft power plants so that we can get free of this system as a whole culture.
For the first time in my life I’m using my real gifts even though it’s meant living in vans and tents and on couches often after 14 hour build days. I’m 3 months behind on rent now, and thank god I have my health and youth. And for those of you with student loans, they HAVE to offer this to you if you ask, but they WON’T tell you if you don’t: call your loan officers and ask about Income Based Repayment.
Oh… and I’ve also been learning about alternative economic systems. Have a read of Thomas Greco, especially “Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender.” Get behind alternative currencies like Ripple and use them, have a look at Vertecology.com’s response to Tomas Greco’s “End of Money” for an exploration of how to build a just, sustainable and abundant economy. Have a look at City Repair as a successful model for taking back our cities. Get involved, read, build, plant and walk away from their dirty money. Forget the Republibots and the Decepticrats, that game is bought and paid for. We won’t be free until we’re doing food forestry in the cities and legal tender laws have been abolished.
I’m not armed, but I am dangerous. Watch out.
I am the 99%. Occupywallst.org
It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.
I live in New Zealand
I can afford my own apartment and car on a teacher’s wage.
I broke my ankle in August and the state insurance paid for everything, including covering my wages while I was off work.
I know how LUCKY I am and how quickly this could change.
I STAND WITH THE 99%
I am 23 years old. I started working at a grocery store at 17 and had an apartment and car by 18. Everyone said I had a “good career” and I was set in the meat dept. Little did they know I struggled to pay bills, my hours were constantly cut and within 4 years I was only averaging about $230/week. In 2010 I was fired for making a mistake on my time sheet. I was accused of stealing a half hour of company time ($5.48). Since June, 2010, I have moved 5 times, including out of state and back, looking for work. I now live with my mother, who has been unemployed for over 2 years due to layoffs. She depends on her boyfriend to pay the rent and support their 4 kids. He only makes $12/hour as a shift supervisor. I work under the table for $100/week and am on food stamps, which I give to my mom. She is at risk of being evicted for keeping me here being that I’m not on the lease. Her family could be put on the streets for giving me a roof. I realize now that I have to go back to school. I can’t afford it and I will have to apply for student loans. This scares be because the average college student is AT LEAST $20,000 in debt and end up paying it back the rest of their lives. But still, I am cornered by struggle and I have to try…Our parents wanted us to have a better life, but things have never been worse.
I share the pain of every single one of you, and in the struggles we live, we are united.
My family, my friends, this nation, this world.
My name is Jon Carmona,
and WE ARE THE 99%
America, we can hear you. We are with you. We are the 99%.
<3 from Australia.