We Occupy because of what we know
[center]Rise Up! We Are The 99%!!
[size=9]with permission © Charles Bivona[/center][/size][/float]
- We know that U.S. society has become fundamentally unequal. We know, though we may not all know the exact numbers, that the top 1 percent of income recipients receives almost 25 percent of all income in the society (including capital gains), and the top 10 percent receives almost 50 percent.
- We know, though we might not be able to quote the figures precisely, that between 1950 and 1970, for every additional dollar made by those in the bottom 90 percent of income earners, those in the top one hundredth of one percent received $162 dollars. But that was back when things were more equal! Between 1990 and 2002 for every added dollar made by those in the bottom 90 percent of the population, those in the top one hundredth of one percent made an additional $18,000.
- We know about the Forbes 400. That in the United States 400 individuals (a number far less than those here today) own as much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population, some 150 million people.
- We know that when it comes to financial wealth (which excludes houses) the top 1 percent of the population in the United States owns four times as much wealth as the bottom 80 percent of the population.
- We know, though we may not know the precise details, that according to an audit by the U.S. General Accounting Office, the Federal Reserve Board provided more than $16 trillion in financial assistance in the latest financial crisis to the largest corporations in the United States and the world. The rich were bailed out while the majority of the population was made to pay the cost! And we are still paying!
- We know that there is over 9 percent official unemployment in the United States, while the real number of people who want full time employment and don’t have it is around twice that.
- We know that official unemployment for adolescents is 25 percent, for blacks, 16 percent, for Latinas and Latinos 11 percent. And if you double these numbers you are closer to reality.
- We know that poverty is growing and being “feminized.” We know that many people in this country are unfairly branded as “illegal immigrants.”
- We know, though we may not realize its full extent, that there are 2.4 billion people globally, who according to the International Labor Organization, are unemployed, underemployed, economically inactive, or engaged in subsistence labor. That 39 percent of the world’s workers live on less than $2 a day.
- We know that multinational corporations exploit the differences in wages between countries taking advantage of the enormous global reserve army of the unemployed, to generate humongous profits, and to hold down wages worldwide.
- We know that there is no real economic recovery; that we are in a period of economic stagnation, where only the rich are prospering. That economic growth in the United States has been slowing down in each successive decade since the 1960s and is now virtually stagnant. That the rich are getting bigger slices of a non-growing pie while the slices for almost everyone else are less.
- We know that the planet is being destroyed. That the future of all species and of humanity itself is being cut off. That, as James Hansen, the world’s leading climatologist puts it, this is “our last chance to save humanity.” And that none of the governments in the rich economies are doing anything at all about it! That oil companies and coal companies are more important to those in power than the planet itself.
- We know that the United States and its allies have been engaged recently in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. That an intervention is being planned for Iran, and possibly Venezuela. That U.S. military bases dot the entire globe and are increasing in numbers. We know that the United States spends around a half a billion dollars officially on the military each year, and in reality a trillion dollars a year.
- We know that we live in a plutocracy rather than a democracy. Where money outvotes public opinion at every point in the political process.
- We know that unions are on the defensive in this country. That they have been smashed by unfair legislation. That they are struggling to find a way to fight back.
- We know that our elementary and secondary education system in the United States is being privatized and destroyed.
- We know that we have by far the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
- We know that all of this is related to the system of economic power, to a society that believes in the Wall Street principle, “greed is good,” the signature of capitalism.
- We know that we are the necessary, last defense of humanity. That we are the world’s 99%. That we will not “thin out” when the weather gets bad. That we are not a mob. That we are the earth, we are democracy, we are the future. The world has been occupied too long by a tiny minority. It is time for the people to reoccupy it. To take it back.
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