ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's the 1% Doctrine, Stupid

The Failure of the “I Got Mine – and Yours, Too” Theory of Governance, And What’s Next?

By John Atcheson
October 31, 2011

As week seven of Occupy Wall Street dawns, much of the media and the establishment continue to act as if everything about the protests were an ineffable mystery.

Well, it’s really not that mysterious. To paraphrase James Carville yet again, it’s the 1% Doctrine, Stupid.

When 75% of the people support raising taxes on the rich, but their elected “representatives” won’t represent them, what else can people do, but take their grievances to the streets?

And this is no isolated case: on issue after issue, elected
"representatives" are ignoring the people’s wishes, choosing
to represent the ultra-rich and corporations instead.

When government gives banks and Wall Street some $12.8 trillion
of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money in direct funds, guarantees
and near zero interest loans, and the fat cats turn around and
spend it on bonuses and high-risk investments rather than fixing
the real economy for the 99% who have been affected, don’t ask
why people are angry.

Especially when not a single bankster or speculator has been busted for a plethora of real crimes, while people lose their homes to improperly documented foreclosures.

When the one-percenters and their bought-and-paid-for government pass a faux financial reform bill that doesn't actually change the way things are done in the Banks’ boardrooms or on Wall Street and people take to the streets, how can that be a mystery?

And yes, that means you, too, Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Party.

Your abject collusion with the one-percenters, while spouting populist rhetoric every four years, is in some ways more worthy of disdain than the Republicans’ outright embrace of the 1% Doctrine.

When the Supreme Court is dominated by corporatists and makes
corporate-friendly rulings like Citizens’ United, assuring that
government can be bought by the highest bidder, it should come
as no great mystery when people take to the streets.

When the press becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate
America, replacing truth, facts, and accuracy with “balance” and
leaving reality on the cutting room floor, don’t act mystified when
the people stop swallowing corporate propaganda, and seek truth
on their own.

And when, since Reagan, one-percenters have been taking all of
the wealth gained from increased productivity and stuffing it into
their own pockets, while stiffing workers, it should come as no
great mystery when the people catch on and take to the streets.

Without a sense that government can do anything to right these
gross crimes against the citizenry – indeed, when government is
saddled with policies, laws, budgets and elected corporate lackeys
guaranteeing it can’t address them – where else could the people
turn but to the streets?

And to those who knock government as intrinsically incompetent
and inept, remember, it has been made so by design since the 80’s.

For more than three decades prior to that, we had sustained and widely shared prosperity thanks to regulations and programs passed in the New Deal. For five decades prior, we paid higher taxes and got great value for it.

Since Reagan, we’ve been cutting taxes and all we’re getting are wars, debt, inequality and plutocratic pork.

But what do they want, the establishment whines.

The mainstream media, politicians and assorted other pundits are perplexed because the Occupy Movement has not issued a series of demands in bulletized, media-friendly sound bites.

But if you want to understand what’s going on, Mr. Jones, simply
look at what they do, and how they operate.

Within the various Occupy camps, they have set up a society that emphasizes inclusion, not exclusion.

They pursue the positive and affirmative issues that unite us, rather than the fear and hate-based issues that divide us.

They advocate a society in which corporations serve the interests of the people, rather than people serving and being subservient to the interests of corporations.

They are rejecting the politics of us vs. them, and embracing the politics of creating a greater us.

They are advocating an economic system that respects
environmental realities as well as meeting the rights
and welfare of the people.

The Occupy movement recognizes that a society, economy or country is neither great nor successful simply because it amasses the most wealth conceivable.

No matter how high the GDP, a system that serves the interests of
a scarce few at the expense of the many is a failure.

A society that exploits unborn generations and the natural world on behalf of the 1%, is profoundly immoral.

Here’s the deal: for thirty years, under the 1% Doctrine, fat-cats
and plutocrats have systematically destroyed peoples' faith in
government so they could take over.

They’ve succeeded. The result?

The US economy now has the same level of income inequality as such third world countries as Uganda and Cameroon, and persistent real unemployment hovering above 20%, and we are stealing any hope of a sustainable future from our children in order to give fat cats yet another bloated bonus.

We – the people, the 99% -- are sick to death, literally, of the failed policies of the 1% Doctrine.

The future – if we are to have one worth living – belongs to us.

Step aside, one percenters. The tide of history is rolling in.

John Atcheson's writing has appeared in the New York Times, the
Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News,
the Memphis Commercial Appeal, as well as in several journals.

Friday, October 28, 2011

“I Risked My Life To Come Home To This?”

Veterans Respond To Attack That Critically Injured Former Marine

By Ryan Harvey
Even If Your Voice Shakes
Friday, October 28, 2011

Scott Olsen served two tours in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps before coming home to a country lacking in jobs but thriving with high-level corruption.

He “thought the banks pretty much run free and unregulated and are never held accountable for their actions,” his roommate and fellow veteran Keith Shannon told reporters.

Olsen was shot in the head Tuesday night with a tear-gas canister fired by Oakland police, fracturing his skull and causing his brain to swell.

He had been marching with 2,000 others from Occupy Oakland after a brutal attack that morning ended with 100 arrests.

A participant of the Oakland protests who asked to remain anonymous told me over the phone Wednesday night that the march “was unbelievably peaceful” and that the attack “was totally unprovoked.”

“The police just let loose with teargas and flash bombs,” he said. “When [Olsen] was hit, the police were aiming their weapons directly at the crowd.”

Olsen’s friend and fellow veteran Aaron Hinde was at the Occupy San Francisco General Assembly when he heard that a veteran had been critically injured in Oakland.

When he realized it could be Olsen, whom he described as “one of the nicest and warmest people I’ve met in a while,” he and organizers from the Civilian-Soldier Alliance began calling local hospitals until they found Olsen at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Hinde, 29, served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division in 2003, told me that two off-duty EMTs who had been participating in the protests were said to have dropped Olsen off at the hospital.

“Now we are just waiting to hear from the neurosurgeon on if he’s going to need surgery or not,” Hinde said. “On top of that we are just waiting to see what kind of damage there is when he wakes up.”

Graphic footage of Olsen’s injuries spread quickly around the Internet; the second high-profile story of veteran participation in the “Occupy Movement”.

Last week, a video of a fellow former Marine chastising a line of cops in New York for beating unarmed, peaceful people went viral.

The image of the 24 year-old with his camouflage jacket being carried bleeding through the streets by frightened strangers may well be one that is remembered for decades as a snapshot of this moment in time.

Unfortunately, Olsen is not the first Iraq veteran to sustain potentially life-threatening injuries from a police attack while peacefully demonstrating.

In 2008, former Sergeant Nick Morgan was crushed by a police horse in New York as veterans and allies protested the Iraq-war and the treatment of veterans outside of the presidential debates.

Morgan, who served in Iraq from 2004-2005 with the 1st Cavalry Division, was peacefully demonstrating outside of Hofstra University when Nassau County police attacked the crowd with horses and batons.

As he was pulled to the ground, a police horse’s hind legs came down on Morgan’s face, crushing his cheekbone and orbital, breaking his nose, and giving him a concussion.

Police pushed those trying to protect him away and dragged him unconscious across a large intersection where he was arrested.

A week after the attack, Morgan underwent surgery to keep his eye from sliding into his sinus cavity and to hold the shattered bones in his face together.

Absorbable plates were inserted under his right eye to reconstruct his shattered lower orbit and a titanium plate remains screwed across his cheekbone.

For over a year his vision was impeded until a second surgery removed the scar tissue that was causing the complications.

Similar to the police attack on Morgan, when a crowd rushed to aid Olsen after he was knocked to the ground on Tuesday, a police officer lobbed a Concussion grenade into the crowd to disperse them, possibly furthering Olsen’s injuries.

Morgan and Olsen are both members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, whose members have been participating in occupations around the country.

Morgan says that many veterans have been and will continue to participate in this movement because “we have offered to put our lives on the line for this country just to come home and see that our rights are being blatantly disrespected.”

Indeed, there is a special sense of betrayal that veterans experiences when they realize that the political system they risked their life defending is prepared and willing to attack them for voicing opposition to its policies.

“I have lost all trust in the ‘dignity and integrity’ of the government and their police forces,” Morgan continues.

“I don’t feel safe in the presence of politicians or cops, I feel the opposite.”

In a press release sent out Wednesday, Iraq Veterans Against the War condemned the attack on Olsen and the Occupy Oakland march:

“It’s ironic that days after Obama’s announcement of the end of the Iraq War, Scott faced a veritable war zone in the streets of Oakland last night.”

The organization has also established a fund for Olsen’s recovery.

It’s not going to be an easy thing to deal with,” Morgan says of Olsen’s recovery. “The mental ramifications of this are difficult to deal with, I can attest to that.”

Morgan filed a lawsuit against the Nassua county police in 2009 for violations of his 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments rights, as well as a litany of New York State and civil rights, and he is currently awaiting a January conference to set a trial date.

The Nassau County Police Department has refused to settle out of court.

“We need to hit them on as many fronts as we can, including in the courts,” he says of both his lawsuit and the current wave of “occupy” protests.

“The only way these people will listen is when you start breaking down their modes of power.”

Hinde says that it should not be surprising to see more and more veterans and service-members getting active in this movement.

“As veterans and active-duty service-members we are very aware of the national and world politics at play,” he told me.

“We are aware of what’s going on, we are on the streets with the occupy movement, and we are the 99 percent.”

Wednesday night, as 3,000 people marched back to Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland to tear down the fence and reoccupy it, a moment of silence was held in Chicago for Olsen and others injured by police violence, a solidarity march to be held in Tahrir Square in Cairo was announced via Twitter, and in New York, three marches snaked through downtown Manhattan chanting “New York is Oakland, Oakland is New York!”

Later, the Occupy Oakland general assembly voted 1607 to 46, with 77 abstentions, to call for a general strike of workers and students next Wednesday, November 2nd.

Cities around the world are planning solidarity events as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Military joins Occupy Wall Street

Military joins Occupy Wall Street

Marine and Iraq War vet Scott Olsen shot in the head by a police
tear gas canister. Sgt. Shamar Thomas confronting NYPD.

Marines and other former vets join the Occupy Wall Street movement. RT reports on what this could mean for the revolution.

October 27, 2011

America’s Autumn – faces covered up, protesters fled from tear
gas shot into the crowd by police. At least 97 arrests took place
in Oakland, California on Tuesday night.

A 24-year-old Marine and Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen shot in the head by a police tear gas canister was unable to even say his name.

A March of Solidarity with the Oakland protesters in New York leads to 10 arrests. Protesters slammed into the ground, and netted by police.

Earlier, another marine, Sgt. Shamar Thomas, confronted police
treatment of protesters – this can be seen in a video now gone
viral on the web.

“The fact that more and more military personnel are joining us
shows that they recognize that this is American movement.

It’s not about hippies and the negative stereotypes,” said Occupy Wall Street security volunteer Paul Isaac.

30 year old Gary Briggs has served in the National Guard for the last two years. He has come to spend his short vacation at Occupy Wall Street in New York.

“You got some marines here, National Guard, Navy Seals – the more the better,” said Briggs.

The guardsman expressed outrage at the fact that marines are getting attacked at home.

“The cop that did it should be fired and hung up by his balls,” he said.

Others at Occupy Wall Street believe it won’t be long, however,
until the police join the crowds instead of restricting them.

“We are going to see a lot of the police officers protesting because they’re going to work 20 years and they’re going to see that their pension is zero,” said Occupy Wall Street security colunteer Paul Isaac.

But even if this doesn’t happen – the movement won't be scared
away any time soon with marines and other military vets pledging
to have the protesters' back.

“Everybody has banded together, and the rope that’s being
created here – no sword will cut,” said protester Will Birnie.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mic Check

Mic Check

Can You Hear Us, America?

By Randall Amster
New. Clear. Vision.
October 26, 2011

We find these views to be mutually relevant…

that all people, by virtue of their basic humanity, deserve
the opportunity to live, work, and associate according to
the dictates of their own consciences and capacities;

that the exercise of such freedoms is only tenable in conjunction
with the ability of all people to do so, in the recognition that no
one is free unless everyone is free;

that people situated in place know best how to manage the conditions of their lives, and that the political autonomy and economic self-sufficiency of local communities are the primary means of ensuring the freedom of the individuals in their midst;

that individuals and communities do not exist in isolation, but
are interlinked through a global network of communications and
cultural exchange that enables the realization of a shared future
and a common interest in effectively preserving the continued
existence of humankind;

that the integrity of the whole is based on the vitality of its parts, and that the stability and productivity of social relationships is contingent upon and reflective of our collective human interactions with the balance of life around us, upon which we depend for survival;

that the fruits of the earth belong to humankind collectively, and especially to the future generations from whom we merely borrow their blessings;

that no one ought to be bound into the indentured servitude of
indebtedness, which coerces people to become complicit with
an alienating economy and structures of their own oppression;

that education must be free, open to all, and not merely confined
to classrooms and institutions;

that intergenerational justice works in both directions, with
young and old alike being equivalent teachers and learners,
bringing together the lessons of the past, the challenges of
the present, and opportunities for the future into an evolving
tapestry of mutual engagement;

that none should be compelled to labor for another except by the inherent desires of conscience and the reciprocal benefits of being served by others through the experience of community;

that collective decisions shall only be taken with the direct
participation and informed consent of all those potentially
affected by them;

that people, left to their own devices, are capable of self-organizing, self-regulating, and developing mutually beneficial structures of governance and the distribution of resources;

that we live in a world of abundance rather than scarcity, with
the problems of inequality being ones of maldistribution and
disenfranchisement rather than of quantitative lack;

that the shared spaces of society, including the material bases of existence, cannot be owned or controlled by private interests but must remain the collective responsibility of humankind entire;

that we already possess all of the tools and technologies necessary
to create a just world, and that we require only the will to reorient
the purposes to which we deploy them in order to realize it;

that what we do matters, that there is meaning to our existence,
that we honor ourselves and each other through service and
compassion, and that our lives are bound together in a seamless
web of destiny;

that our rights and freedoms are equally balanced by our responsibilities and mutual obligations;

that we seek both independence and interdependence as
the necessary conditions of social existence;

that there can be no peace without justice, no future without the past, no individuality without community, no opportunity without education, no liberty without equality, and no politics without participation;

that we strive to always create more than we destroy, to produce
more than we consume, to give more than we take, to laugh more
than we cry, to uplift more than we denigrate, to construct more
than we critique, to share more than we acquire, and to love more
than we hate;

that we seek a better world not merely for ourselves, our
communities, and our allies, but for all of humankind,
including those who have exercised their power unjustly
and unwisely;

that we acknowledge the urgency of the moment while affirming our willingness and desire to remain engaged in long-term, perhaps even unending, struggles for human dignity and environmental sustainability;

that this task cannot be passed on to others, that we are the ones it has fallen upon, that it is our generational calling, that we have the power to alter the arc of society, and that we are the ones we have been waiting for to bring peace and prosperity to the world;

that the pursuit of material wealth represents a moral and spiritual void, and that the use of manipulation and force to maintain wealth disparity is a self-defeating enterprise based on the failure to recognize the binding principle of interconnectedness in every aspect of existence;

that we can, must, and will succeed in working collaboratively to turn crises into opportunities and to move from the brink of annihilation toward a world of appreciation;

that life is meant to be lived, that we are the creators of culture and not merely its consumers, that our actions and processes are ends in themselves, and that what we do at every moment is the revolution;

that the future depends upon us to occupy place and liberate space on its behalf, and our own;

that we have nothing to lose but our chains, and literally everything to gain;

that the person standing next to you is part of you, an extension of you, a reflection of you, an ally, a colleague, a relative, and a friend;

that the earth beneath our feet creates and sustains us, and that we must do the same for it in return;

that there is one unified race, the human race, and that our inherent diversity provides the strength that will see us through the changes and challenges at hand;

that there are no nations or borders, only peoples and places;

that we need everyone’s open hearts, willing hands, strong backs, and keen minds to avert calamity and ensure posterity;

that the sound of a child’s laugh casts out the monotonous drone of commercialism, that the wonder in a child’s eyes invokes beauty against blight, and that the hope in a child’s heart is more powerful than the downward spiral of despair;

that you are important, that your dreams are real, that your needs will be met, that your burdens are shared, that your wellbeing is paramount, and that you are loved.

Affirmed by deeds, to be enacted voluntarily by the people individually and in concert as a living declaration.

Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is the Graduate Chair of Humanities
at Prescott College. He serves as Executive Director of the Peace
& Justice Studies Association and as Contributing Editor for New
Clear Vision.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: My One Demand

Occupy Wall Street: My One Demand

By Jinger Dixon
Information Clearing House
Friday, October 21, 2011

I was recently asked what I thought the “one demand” should be for the OWS protest. That’s a tough question.

I’ve seen many lists of the things people are suggesting. Most seem well intended.

However, no one demand alone even begins to scratch the surface
of what‘s wrong here.

In fact, in a way, it points out how far we really are, from seeing where we really are.

To sum it all up in one demand seemed impossible, so I decided to try.

After much thought, I constructed the following analogy to describe my take on this whole One Demand issue.

Take a map and draw a circle, then say, everyone outside the circle is to have their labor and resources exploited for the benefit of those inside the circle.

If you live outside the circle you say, “this system is completely fucked up.”

If you live inside the circle you say, “this is capitalism and it’s the best system on earth you should try it it’s awesome.

Sure, people outside are suffering, but who gives a fuck about them?”

Now as the circle shrinks, as it is designed to do, concentrating accumulated wealth, people begin finding themselves suddenly outside of the circle.

They jump up and down and cry foul, but the ones still in the circle say, “tough shit, you were too slow, shoulda run faster to stay inside the circle“.

But then, they soon realize that they too are too slow to keep up with the rapidly shrinking circle, and quickly they find themselves left out, so they cry foul.

“The system is broken!!!” they decry! But is it? Isn’t this the way
the system has always functioned?

Why is it now broken just because they, we, no longer reside within the bounds of its benefits?

We stand outside the ever shrinking circle, yelling fixes, throwing band-aids, making demands that the ever shrinking circle expand!

At least big enough to include us so that we can go back to not
giving a fuck about the people outside, but alas, it will not.

The circle does not expand, it does not know how.

It only knows how to contract, concentrate, condense, like a dark
star collapsing in on itself.

There is no “demand” that will drag the borders of the circle back around us.

And even if you could, would you? Would you go back to fucking the rest of the world to have your cable TV and your steel belted radials?

I hope not. I hope the world is ready to say no more. No more.

Therefore, since it is my sincere belief that the circle is/was and always will be fucked up, I say, surround them and demand that they collapse in on themselves and disappear into their own black hole.

That is my One Demand.

Jinger Dixon, global trends analyst and contributor at Trends Research Reloaded -

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Movement Too Big to Fail

A Movement Too Big to Fail

By Chris Hedges
October 18, 2011

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn.

The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for
the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to
this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant.

Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking.

So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi.

So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the
press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into
the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for
profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed
when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms,
early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the
New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to
expel them in order to “clean” the premises.

These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street.

It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be
plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will
wrest power from corporate hands.

This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart.

But the liberal class has no credibility left.

It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars. The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along.

Groups such as MoveOn and organized labor will find themselves without a constituency unless they at least pay lip service to the protests.

The Teamsters’ arrival Friday morning to help defend the park signaled an infusion of this new radicalism into moribund unions rather than a co-opting of the protest movement by the traditional liberal establishment. The union bosses, in short, had no choice.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new.

It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power.

It holds fast to moral imperatives regardless of the cost.

It confronts authority out of a sense of responsibility.

It is not interested in formal positions of power.

It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote.

It has no resources. It can’t carry suitcases of money to congressional offices or run millions of dollars of advertisements.

All it can do is ask us to use our bodies and voices, often at personal risk, to fight back. It has no other way of defying the corporate state.

This rebellion creates a real community instead of a managed or
virtual one. It affirms our dignity. It permits us to become free
and independent human beings.

Martin Luther King was repeatedly betrayed by liberal supporters, especially when he began to challenge economic forms of discrimination, which demanded that liberals, rather than simply white Southern racists, begin to make sacrifices.

King too was a radical. He would not compromise on nonviolence, racism or justice.

He understood that movements—such as the Liberty Party, which
fought slavery, the suffragists, who fought for women’s rights, the
labor movement and the civil rights movement—have always been
the true correctives in American democracy.

None of those movements achieved formal political power. But by holding fast to moral imperatives they made the powerful fear them.

King knew that racial equality was impossible without economic justice and an end to militarism. And he had no intention of ceding to the demands of the liberal establishment that called on him to be calm and patience.

“For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing
institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change
there,” King said shortly before he was assassinated.

“Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values.”

King was killed in 1968 when he was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers. By then he had begun to say that his dream, the one that the corporate state has frozen into a few safe clich├ęs from his 1963 speech in Washington, had turned into a nightmare.

King called at the end of his life for massive federal funds to rebuild inner cities, what he called “a radical redistribution of economic and political power,” a complete restructuring of “the architecture of American society.”

He grasped that the inequities of capitalism had become the instrument by which the poor would always remain poor.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” King said, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

On the eve of King’s murder he was preparing to organize a poor people’s march on Washington, D.C., designed to cause “major, massive dislocations,” a nonviolent demand by the poor, including the white underclass, for a system of economic equality.

It would be 43 years before his vision was realized by an eclectic group of protesters who gathered before the gates of Wall Street.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nation’s children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized.

There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy
combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help
its own citizens who live below the poverty line?

What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters?

What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates?

What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it
loots its treasury on behalf of speculators?

What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens?

What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

“America,” Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.”

“The black vote mean [nothing],” the rapper Nas intones. “Who you gunna elect/ Satan or Satan? In the hood nothing is changing,/ We aint got no choices.”

Or listen to hip-hop artist Talib Kweli:

“Back in the ’60s, there was a big push for black … politicians, and now we have more than we ever had before, but our communities are so much worse. A lot of people died for us to vote, I’m aware of that history, but these politicians are not in touch with people at all. Politics is not the truth to me, it’s an illusion.”

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as
a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact.
It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible.

This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New
Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that
he saved capitalism.

Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is King, especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class.

It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order to loot and
pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the
liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite.

And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets.

Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate
pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give
legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater.

But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded.

The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power.

And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the
ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only
masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose
in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded
by both the corporate state and radical dissidents.

The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it. An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power.

It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and
the middle class will find expression now in these protests that
lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities
of a liberal democracy.

By emasculating the liberal class, which once ensured that restive citizens could institute moderate reforms, the corporate state has created a closed system defined by polarization, gridlock and political charades.

It has removed the veneer of virtue and goodness that the liberal class offered to the power elite.

Liberal institutions, including the church, the press, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts and labor unions, set the parameters for limited self-criticism in a functioning democracy as well as small, incremental reforms.

The liberal class is permitted to decry the worst excesses of power and champion basic human rights while at the same time endowing systems of power with a morality and virtue it does not possess.

Liberals posit themselves as the conscience of the nation. They
permit us, through their appeal to public virtues and the public
good, to see ourselves and our state as fundamentally good.

But the liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian
promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by
condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of
creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have
prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the
power elite.

The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street.

Liberals lack the vision and fortitude to challenge dominant free market ideologies.

They have no ideological alternatives even as the Democratic Party openly betrays every principle the liberal class claims to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy to a demand for quality and affordable public education to a return of civil liberties to a demand for jobs and welfare of the working class.

The corporate state forced the liberal class to join in the nation’s death march that began with the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Liberals such as Bill Clinton, for corporate money, accelerated the dismantling of our manufacturing base, the gutting of our regulatory agencies, the destruction of our social service programs and the empowerment of speculators who have trashed our economy.

The liberal class, stripped of power, could only retreat into its atrophied institutions, where it busied itself with the boutique activism of political correctness and embraced positions it had previously condemned.

Russell Jacoby writes: “The left once dismissed the market as exploitative; it now honors the market as rational and humane.

The left once disdained mass culture as exploitative; now it celebrates it as rebellious.

The left once honored independent intellectuals as courageous; now
it sneers at them as elitist.

The left once rejected pluralism as superficial; now it worships it as

We are witnessing not simply a defeat of the left, but its conversion and perhaps inversion.”

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism comes with the return of the language of class conflict and rebellion, language that has been purged from the lexicon of the liberal class, language that defines this new movement.

This does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to learn again to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed.

We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money.

They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women.

They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered
capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and
greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for
the corporate state. It is part of the same nightmare experienced
in postindustrial mill towns of New England and the abandoned steel
mills of Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans,
living in terror and mourning their dead, endure daily.

What took place early Friday morning in Zuccotti Park was the first
salvo in a long struggle for justice. It signaled a step backward by
the corporate state in the face of popular pressure.

And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage.

It is they, and they alone, who hold out the possibility of salvation. And if we join them we might have a chance.

Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Why We Must Fight

By Chris Hedges
October 14, 2011

I fight for my children. It is not about me. It is about them.

The deep despair I feel over our collective inability to acknowledge, much less confront, the catastrophic dislocations ahead of us is offset by a fierce desire as a father to make sure I have summoned all my energy and resilience to defy the corporate systems of death that are exploiting human beings and the natural world until their exhaustion or collapse.

At least, I hope, my children will look back and see that their father did not remain passive as the ecosystem was destroyed in the name of profit, and the world was reconfigured by corporations into a terrifying neofeudalism, a kind of totalitarian capitalism.

At least they will see, I hope, pictures of their father being hauled
off to jail in defiance.

I resist not out of hate but out of love, a love for all the things
the deformed culture of corporate profit finds meaningless and
sentimental – children, lakes, mountains, trees and the song of
a wood thrush deep in the forest.

The consequences of severe climate change are unavoidable.

The freak weather patterns, the wild fires and tornadoes sweeping
across Midwestern states, along with the droughts and severe
flooding in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia, along with
the soaring temperatures across the Earth, are upon us.

And this is only the start.

But what is most frightening is that the rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, have been met with collective denial and self-delusion.

Global temperatures have already gone up one degree and begun
the rapid melting of the Arctic. Every rise of one degree Celsius
means a ten percent reduction in grain yields. If we stopped all
carbon emissions today temperatures would continue to rise by
at least a degree, perhaps more.

A sudden epiphany would not save us from drastic climate change, large scale human migrations, rising sea levels, famine and endemic food shortages. Welcome to our brave new world.

The only viable option to save the human species from self-
immolation – ending our dependence on fossil fuels – is ignored
by the industrialized world’s power brokers, who have shredded
the tepid climate agreement made at Kyoto.

The last thin hope for reform and reversal will come through
sustained acts of civil disobedience and open defiance of the
formal systems of power.

It means getting arrested. This is the conclusion drawn by many of
our most prescient and important voices, including Wendell Berry
and Bill McKibben.

Working within the system to reform it has failed. Working outside the system to defy it may also fail. Let’s be honest about this.

The corporate structures of power are indifferent to the needs, rights or desires of the ordinary citizen – not to mention the planet – and have hijacked all systems of power from mass communications to electoral politics to the courts.

It is understandable that a realist would despair.

And if I was to retreat into self-absorption I would find a small plot of land where I would never have to hear another leaf blower, and find what comfort I could in my family, my books and the whispers and beauty of the natural world.

But to give up is not morally permissible.

It is to condemn, as Sitting Bull reminded us, the born and the unborn, as well as the flora and fauna, which Sitting Bull also considered sacred, to misery and death.

We have no right to do that. We must stand and fight for life.

We must fight for those who come after us, for those who at this
moment are too small, too weak and too disempowered to fight,
for the born and the unborn, for those who, like my son, have not
yet lost the capacity for wonder and awe before the natural world.

We owe our children that.

The hardest moral stance and the greatest act of courage will be
to see clearly, like Sitting Bull, the darkness and the power of the
forces of death arrayed against us and yet find the fortitude to resist.

Sitting Bull’s greatest fear at the end of his life was that he had not fought hard enough for his people and that they might revile him.

Resistance preserves our personal dignity as autonomous human
beings. It means we have not allowed ourselves to be classified
as objects.

It is a way to defy our obscurity. Life is short. We all die. Nearly all battles for justice will long outlive us. I find my solace in faith.

It is not the faith of any orthodox creed or religion but the faith that we are called to do the good, or at least the good in so far as we can best determine it, and then to let it go.

We do not know where this good goes or if it goes anywhere. The Buddhists call this good karma.

But faith means that acts of resistance – for true spirituality is always about resistance – are never meaningless, although all tangible signs may point toward failure and defeat.

This faith gives me great comfort.

It is the faith that Cyrano de Bergerac expressed as he lashed out in his final battle, a battle he knew he could not win. Mortally wounded and facing Death, he suddenly rises. “Not here! Not lying down!”

His friends spring forward to help him. “Let no one help me,” he
tells them as he props himself against a tree.

“Only the tree … Let the old fellow come now! He shall find me on
my feet, sword in hand.”

“What’s that you say?” Cyrano calls out to the darkness.

“Hopeless? Why, very well! But a man does not fight merely to win! No! No, better to know one fights in vain! … You there, who are you? A hundred against one.

I know them now, my ancient enemies: Falsehood! There! There! Prejudice, Compromise, Cowardice!”

He swings with his sword. “What’s that? No! Surrender? No! Never, never! Ah, you too, Vanity! I knew you would overthrow me in the end. No! I fight on! I fight on! I fight on!”

He stops, breathless and dying.

“Yes, all my laurels you have riven away And all my roses; yet in spite of you, there is one crown I bear away with me, and tonight, when I enter before God, my salute shall sweep all the stars away from the blue threshold!

One thing without stain, unspotted from the world, in spite of doom. Mine own!”

He springs forward, his sword aloft.

“And that is … ”

The sword falls from his hands. He totters and falls into the arms of Roxane and his friends.

“That is … my panache.”

Chris Hedges is married to Canadian actress Eunice Wong They live with their children in Princeton, New Jersey. Hedges’ latest book is a collection of his essays called The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Broken Kingdom

A Bedtime Story for the 99 Percent

By Teach The Children
Occupy Wall
October 12, 2011

Teach the Children. Spread this story. Let them not make the
same mistakes.

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom named Delusia that was
very broken.

The King seemed to have no control at all, and the court jesters
had taken over.

These jesters spent all their time fighting over who was more
right and the Kingdom became neglected.

The powerful nobleman of the Kingdom took advantage of this
to expand their power and wealth.

They paid the jesters lots of money to change the laws of the
land to benefit them and their friends.

Even the jesters who meant well took the money because they needed it to stay in power.

The noblemen bought up all the shops of the local merchants and expanded the size of their shops so that they could make the rules.

Then the noblemen made the merchants fire half of the people
who worked for them and make the rest do all the extra work.

Then the nobleman started to hire people from other kingdoms
to work for even less money.

This put many people in the kingdom out of work.

The ones that still had jobs had to do whatever they were told because they needed to work.

Then the nobleman worked to make the houses cost more money. The people could not afford to buy them anymore.

But the nobleman pretended to be good and lent the people money
to buy houses.

After many of the people owed them money, they made the houses worth less money than ever before.

Now the people were in trouble. They had to work even harder to keep their houses, but many lost their houses.

During the reign of the previous King, two wars had broken out
and were still going on. They were very expensive.

At the same time, the nobleman convinced the jesters to change
the kingdom taxes so that the money the nobleman made from
the pieces of the shops they owned would pay much less taxes
then the taxes people paid from working in them.

This helped the nobleman expand their fortunes and have even
more control of the jesters.

The nobleman bought up all the town criers and threatened the
jesters that they would tell bad stories about them if they did
not do what they wanted, so the jesters did.

All of this strained the resources of Delusia. The people were very upset. Everything cost so much money and they had so little.

All the towns in the kingdom were getting less money from the King, so they had to raise their own taxes and fire people who used to work for the towns.

More people were out of work and there were very few jobs to go around.

The nobleman took advantage of this and started to convince the people to work for free.

They called them volunteers and had the nobleman’s shops start
to say people had to work as a volunteer first before they could
be hired to make money, so even less paying jobs were available.

The people were angry, so the nobleman took advantage. They convinced the people that the problem was taxes from Delusia.

They convinced the people to keep the king and the jesters from raising any taxes.

The nobleman promised they would make more jobs, but only if
they could keep paying less taxes.

They never did create jobs.

They blamed this on the people because the people were not buying anything from the shops.

The nobleman said they could not make more jobs, unless the people bought more from their shops. The people could not buy things because the nobleman had all the money.

Then the nobleman became even greedier.

They moved the managers of the shops to other kingdoms so their shops did not have to pay the taxes of Delusia.

This put more strain on Delusia and it had to borrow money from other kingdoms to pay its bills.

This created much fighting between the King and the jesters which made the people angry.

They blamed it on the King because they could not see how the nobleman had fooled them all to get rich.

Delusia seemed doomed, but then something happened.

A few good nobleman showed how they were paying less taxes
then the people who worked for them.

Slowly the people pushed the King and the jesters to change some rules, so that the Kingdom could be saved.

First, they needed to make it less expensive for the King and the jesters to be elected, so that they do not need to take money from the noblemen and in return owe the noblemen favors.

Then they changed Delusia’s taxes, so that the noblemen paid
their fair share.

The noblemen realized that the only way they could pay less taxes was to hire more people in their shops and make new things.

This created jobs. Those jobs made more money for Delusia.

As Delusia took in more money, it was able to spend more to fix
roads and bridges, and to give the towns to hire teachers, police
and firefighters which created more jobs.

As more people went to work, they spent more money at the shops.

This gave the merchants more money to spend on supplies.

This created even more jobs.

The people were happy and they all lived happily ever after.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Losing Hope in Obama

And the Prospect of a Humane World

By Caroline Arnold
October 10, 2011

Cleaning up my desk this week I found an Obama ‘08 HOPE button.

After a moment’s reflection, I threw it in the trash.

Not because Obama lied or betrayed those of us who hope for a more humane world, although he did both.

I recognize that lies and misrepresentations are basic tools of information management in our socially-structured, media-mediated world.

We all use them to manage information in pursuit of our interests, and I see no moral utility in categorically condemning lying, disinformation or persuasion.

Advertising – commercial lying -- is an accepted, if not altogether honorable, industry in our society. And the effectiveness of our news media and entertainment depend on tweaking what information is used and how it is presented.

However, the political sphere, where scarce resources are allocated, risky and expensive actions like wars or nuclear power plants are undertaken, and where the public good is defined, is another matter.

If the use of tools of information management is concealed, if the interests they serve remain undisclosed, or if their use can be bought with money, democracy will be compromised and individual freedom and integrity as well as social cohesion will be threatened.

When we lie to one another we betray basic social bonds that make
it possible to live together and fairly share risks, resources and rewards.

Obama also betrayed us, albeit with our consent.

He – and we – believed he could successfully lead changes
we envisioned by managing the machinery of politics and
the engines of economics.

We – and he – imagined that we are one nation, with common
values, goals and purposes.

We fancied we had honest media, a shared morality, democratic processes, and an engaged, well-informed and discerning electorate.

Oblivious of the pervasiveness and inertia of the scripts of war, evil, racism, religion and vengeance, and the myths of markets and motivations that dominate our language, discourse, news media and entertainment, we expected Obama to just push buttons, pull levers, sweep out trivia, clarify issues and generally crown our good with brotherhood ... undimmed by human tears ... in the land of the free and the home of the brave ...patriot dreams that see beyond the years...

Crown our good with brotherhood?

We’ve witnessed our neighbors cheering that an uninsured man deserves to die, asserting that teachers are only in it for the money, that God hates fags, that the poor are lazy, and that justice demands the death penalty but forbids abortion in all circumstances.

.... undimmed by human tears?

We keep our poor, homeless, hungry, jobless neighbors and
uninsured sick largely invisible and humiliate them to make
sure they are ashamed of their tears and get little comfort
from the community. of the free?

Our Constitutional rights and civil liberties have been cancelled or abridged with targeted assassinations, with torture, no-fly lists, secret surveillance of our communications, and now, corporate- designed state legislation to limit collective bargaining, suppress voting and gerrymander legislative districts.

...and the home of the brave?

We’re so brave that on 9/11/11 three people with dusky skins
were taken off a plane, jailed and strip-searched by men armed
with machine guns. We’re so brave we used a drone to murder
Anwar al-Awlaki, a disaffected American citizen who had no
discernible influence in the Arab world, was not charged with
any crime, but who spoke insurrection in fluent idiomatic English.

We’re so brave we cut taxes for the rich and services to the poor.

"...patriot dreams that see beyond the years..."Our politicians’ patriot dreams are of staying in office through the exploitation of resource-rich, poverty-ridden, over-populated areas of the world.

Our corporations dream patriotically of endless growth, with future
profits from fossil fuels, cheap labor in developing countries, and
off-shore tax havens.

All our patriot dreams ignore the reality that when resources are plentiful we can have luxuries like "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We forget that when populations are low we can afford peace,
cooperation, equality, empathy, mutual respect and trust, and
fail to notice that when too many people are competing for scarce
resources – water, food, farmland, fisheries, forests, fossil fuels
– we have competition, violence and wars.

But the present challenge is not social, political disintegration,
nor even endless, costly wars.

It is our unsustainable mining of fossil carbon while trying for continuing economic growth for the wealthy and unchecked population growth for homo sapiens.

We are already beyond repairing the systems that control the temperature of our planet, and are inexorably headed toward disintegration.

I threw away the Obama button because I’ve lost hope.

It’s too late: our present structures, beliefs and habits are driving
us toward extinction.

Our information structures and media based on lies and misrepresentations have left us cynical, mistrustful and divided.

Our beliefs in various magics – markets, powerful leaders, high-tech wizardry – have made us arrogant, and our assumptions of moral, rational and logical superiority have powered our imperialistic wars and meddling in the affairs of other peoples.

Our habits of blaming or devaluing others allow us to scorn and punish those we deem worthless and deny them life, liberty and justice, education, healthy environment, equality of opportunity.

When I wrote about these issues six years ago ("Failed Democracy's Challenges Continue" July 31, 2005 ) I concluded that although I doubted humans were clever enough to manage our own cleverness, I still hoped that ordinary people might rise up courageously and make a difference.

Today I have a slim hope that the #occupy movement, or local
efforts at sustainable communities might enable us to manage
our future.

But I'm not wearing any buttons.

Caroline Arnold retired after 12 years on the Washington staff of
US Senator John Glenn and she also served three terms on the Kent
(OH) Board of Education.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Best Among Us

The Best Among Us

By Chris Hedges
October 06, 2011

There are no excuses left.

Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the
financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand
on the wrong side of history.

Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil
disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street
and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the
human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil.

Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy.

Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means
nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor
and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger,
where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the
only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer
exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity
to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to
be complicit in this radical evil.

To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the
mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak,
the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet.

To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher.

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are
determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you.
They are terrified this will spread.

They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets.

They have their metal barricades set up on every single street
leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins
in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from
you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in
four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat.

Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves.

They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more.

They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves.

Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in
the street.

Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear.

Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs.

Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters.

Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed.

Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close.

Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies.

Who the hell cares?

If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs
are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant
behind those metal barricades.

They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children’s children.

They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with
the rest of us.

So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation.

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope.

They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith.

They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible.

They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by
pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too
long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the
office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone
cares, if they will win.

But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth.

This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent
in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has
reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for National
Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning
News and The New York Times.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We Are The 99 Per Cent

We Are The 99 Per Cent

Occupy Wall Street is a peaceful stand against the big American
rip-off. Support it and regain your dignity.

By Mark Ruffalo
October 03, 2011

I have spent the last two days at the Occupy Wall Street gathering.

It was a beautiful display of peaceful action: so much kindness and gentleness in the camp, so much belief in our world and democracy.

And so many different kinds of people all looking for a chance at
the dream that America had promised them.

When people critique this movement and say spurious things about
the protesters' clothes or their jobs or the general way they look,
they are showing how shallow we have become as a nation.

They forget that these people have taken time out of their lives to stand up for values that are purely American and in the interest of our democracy.

They forget that these people are encamped in an urban park, where they are not allowed to have tents or other normal camping gear.

They are living far outside their comfort zone to protect and celebrate liberty, equality and the rule of law.

It is a thing of beauty to see so many people in love with the ideal of democracy, so alive with its promise, so committed to its continuity in the face of crony capitalism and corporate rule.

That should be celebrated. It should be respected and admired.

Their message is very clear and simple: get money out of the
political process; strive for equality in taxation and equal rights
for all regardless of race, gender, social status, sexual preference
or age.

We must stop poisoning our food, air and water for corporate greed.

The people on Wall Street and in the banking industrial complex that
destroyed our economy must be investigated and brought to justice
under the law for what they have done by stealing people's homes
and savings.

Jobs can and must be created. Family farms must be saved. The oil and gas industry must be divested of its political power and cheap, reliable alternative energy must be made available.

This movement transcends political affiliations. America has been debased and degraded by greed.

This has touched 99% of America's population.

The other 1% is doing just fine – with more than a third of the
wealth of this nation.

We all know people who have been hurt by the big rip-off. We all know people who have lost their jobs or their homes.

We all know people who have had to go and fight wars that seem
to have no objective and no end – leaving families for years on
end without fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

The 99% of us have paid a dear price so that 1% could become
the wealthiest people in the world.

We all pay insanely high energy prices while we see energy
companies making record profits, year after year.

We live with great injustices in the land of justice. We live
with great lawlessness in the land of the law.

It's time to check ourselves, to see if we still have that small
part that believes in the values that America promises.

Do we still have a shred of our decency intact in the face of debasement?

If you do, then now is the time to give that forgotten part a voice.

That is what this movement is ultimately about: giving voice to decency and fairness.

I invite anyone and all to participate in this people's movement to regain your dignity and what you have worked for in this capitalist society.

Each of us is of great value to the whole. Do not forget your greatness.

Even when the world around you is telling you you are nothing.
You have a voice.

You want a better life for your children and the people you love.

You live in a democracy.

You belong, and you deserve a world that is fair and equal.

You have a right to take your place and be heard.

Show up at an Occupy Wall Street gathering in any major city
in the US.

Hit your social media outlets. Tweet it. Facebook it. Talk it up.

It's easy to do nothing, but your heart breaks a little more every
time you do.

Mark Ruffalo is an actor, director, film producer and screenwriter.
He received an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his
role in The Kids Are All Right 2010.