Does anyone pay attention to what is being said when this ‘1%’ thing is thrown around?
Here’s a direct quote from the OccupyWallSt.org About page and must therefore be the definitive statement of the movement’s intentions:
‘The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.’
If you replace ‘richest 1% of people’ with different words like ‘Muslims’ or ‘Jews’ or ‘Whites’ or ‘Blacks’ or ‘Poor People,’ wouldn’t you have a serious problem?
Why is it that Occupy Wall Street can define a 1% minority out of a population and engage in open hostility and bigotry toward them? Bigotry against a part of a population is bigotry no matter what the rationale for it happens to be. Occupy Wall Street is not talking about corrupt rich people. It is not talking about criminals. It is talking about ALL rich people. It is equating wealth with villainy.
It should be obvious that not all of the richest people are in fact helping to write unfair rules. Michael Moore is rich. Is he writing some of the unfair rules?
Why is Occupy Wall Street unable to confine its hostility to actual policy?
In Germany, during the buildup of Nazism, people grew increasingly angry toward the wealthy and then turned that anger toward Jewish people. Angry crowds, encouraged to chant mantras and direct hostility toward groups that they define as evil become extremely dangerous when exposed to a charismatic leader who is willing to exploit them.
I do not oppose constructive change of policy to make the economic situation more fair and to prevent the corporate control of government. But I do oppose the fundamental and defining aspect of Occupy Wall Street which is to associate a particular group of people with a generic and unspecified evil.
Former Rage Against the Machine member, Tom Morello, who has been playing for and talking to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Los Angeles, speaks with reporters about what is going on with this explosive movement.
And here is a repost of my film, ‘One Day Occupy L.A.,’ which features an incredible live soundtrack of Morello playing for the protest in Los Angeles just this week.
I believe that the eventual success of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is spreading to many cities across the United States, depends upon its ability to change law. Ultimately, the movement must lead toward an amendment to the Constitution that bans corporate mixture with and influence over the state. It will resemble the separation of church and state, but it will be somewhat more precisely worded.
I went down to the demonstration to make a film. I liked the people there. They were very focused and happy. They were talking, explaining, arguing, educating, dancing, singing, playing, making signs, painting, photographing. Some of them made speeches at the microphone. Some read poems. There were lots of cameras.
The music and words in this film are by Tom Morello (http://nightwatchmanmusic.com), former Rage Against the Machine guitarist. He sings his own ‘Maximum Firepower’ and Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land.’
The mood at City Hall was high energy and cheerful. The underlying anger and frustration of the movement seemed to be moving through a positive channel. It was exciting but also comfortable there because of the people and their open attitudes.
The Los Angeles police headquarters is directly across the street from the protest grounds. That’s where I began shooting my film – right into the windows of police headquarters. Several squad cars drove up First Street, but there was not a single cop anywhere near the protest area. The crowd is organized and respectful, but also very serious about its messages which are various and multifaceted.
The city has taken a protective stance over its protesters. I’m very proud of Los Angeles for this.
Occupy Los Angeles is one of the spreading protests coming out of the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. Hopefully, the incredible momentum of the movement will continue and be heard very clearly across the country and the world.
The simple messages that I get from the protests are that government cannot function while it is under the control and influence of corporations. The economy cannot function properly while corporations and their extremely wealthy owners are allowed to operate without oversight and control. The country cannot pave its roads or build its schools or house its people while corporations and the wealthy play with money that is nearly tax-free, removing it entirely from the real world economy. The country cannot function as a democracy while its politicians and Supreme Court justices are working for corporations. The country cannot be free while racism and bigotry are increasingly seen as legitimate reactions to change. The country cannot be secure while corporations are given the power to run wars and people’s basic privacy rights are removed.
That’s what I see in the Occupy movement.
If every city in the U.S. could have as fine an Occupy movement as Los Angeles, they would be very lucky indeed.