The following is the first of a new seven-part series featuring statements from occupiers, organizers and supporters of the 99% Movement. The statements are excerpted from my new book, The Economic Elite Vs. The People: 99% Movement Call to Action. In this installment, we feature comments from Tom Morello, Nomi Prins, Shepard Fairey, Miles Mogulescu, Margaret Flowers, Danny Goldberg, Stephen Marshall, Glen Ford and Lee Camp.
"For too long, political leaders (elected and appointed) have enabled the planet's largest banks to unleash seismic risk and levy immense economic pain on the world economy, through rapacious and reckless practices. Central bank entities and governments have subsidized their losses and coddled their CEOs, at the expense of the financial well being of the 99%. In necessary and impassioned retaliation, Occupy Wall Street has coalesced across towns, cities, and countries. It represents people of every race, age, and disposition as the only meaningful opposition to a winner-take-all financial system that extracted untold wealth from the global population to puff up the personal portfolios of elite executives with impunity. And until a more equitable society and system prevail, the Occupy movement is not going anywhere." - Nomi Prins, author of It Takes a Pillage
"For decades there has been a relentless class war fought by the ruling class, their lobbyists and their governmental puppets against the poor, workers and middle class. With the advent of Occupy Wall Street, we, the 99%, have at last identified the villains, irrevocably changed public discourse on the subject of wealth distribution, fired up a new generation of young history makers, and have begun to FIGHT BACK." - Tom Morello
"Unless America ends the system of legal bribery by which political office is auctioned to the highest bidder, the nation will never be able to solve its pressing problems whether economic inequality, global climate change, too big to fail banks, a failing educational system, or any other major problem. The growing economic gap between the 1% and the 99% is the result of 30 years of government policies bought and paid for by the 1%. We need a Constitutional Amendment that money isn't speech and that corporations aren't persons for purposes of funding political campaigns, whether directly or through fake 'uncoordinated' Super Pacs. Ending political corruption and restoring democracy is not ideological and should be a shared goal across the political spectrum from right, center and left." - Miles Mogulescu, attorney, activist, Huffington Post Contributor
"I have been angered for years by the corruption of our democracy by the influence of those with disproportionate wealth and power. I have felt frustrated that too few people seemed interested in the reasons why politicians don't design policy to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people, but create policies to benefit special interests as a return for campaign contributions. Democracy is supposed to be about a level playing field, but until the 99% movement came along, there was no compelling, easily relatable narrative to shift the conversation to the issues of glaring inequality. I made some images in the past that addressed topics the 99% movement is concerned with, but I felt I was pissing into the wind at times. However, with the energy and power in numbers of the 99%, I feel energized to make art that supports the movement and its efforts to refocus the conversation in the media and general public discourse. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in any way to building the 99% movement... you are what democracy looks like!" - Shepard Fairey, Obey
"The 99% movement has added a much needed third dimension to the long-running argument about wealth disparity, government policy, and human society by touching and joining the spirits and emotions of millions of people who previously felt isolated and alone. For the last few decades, progressives had fought a losing battle against a well organized and well funded oligarchy in part because they couldn't get out of the limited bubble of political and policy connoisseurs. By design, vision and a fortunate alignment of forces, the movement has created an emotional and symbolic language that reaches far beyond that bubble and has changed the playing field of political and policy discourse in the United States and around the world. There is much work to be done, and the forces of greed are not to be taken lightly. But after years of declining prospects the 99% movement is cause for a rational and cosmic hope that justice can at long last be ascendant. In other words-the 99% movement rocks!" - Danny Goldberg, author of Bumping Into Geniuses and How The Left Lost Teen Spirit
"We live in a time where many people feel organized protest is merely a symbolic act in the face of a violent and immoveable system. Or, more cynically, that acts of civil disobedience are tolerated by the economic and political elites because they serve as channels for the anger of the masses. In Occupy Wall Street, we saw the crystallization of highly effective social organizing and brilliant memetic engineering. This was a sit-in that mobilized global revolt toward the unfairness of our modern capitalist system, granting the 99% of our world a new political platform and a powerful shared identity. It is the closest thing to a viable revolutionary movement that I have seen in the developed world in my lifetime. Now it lies with the rest of us to determine where it goes from here." - Stephen Marshall, RevolutionTheory.com
"The 99% movement captures the essence of this revolution. We are people united against the corporatocracy and we have the knowledge and strength to change the power structure in this country. The traditional tools of democracy, such as electing people or trying to pass legislation, do not work because the system is broken. While candidates hold their political theater, the real conversation will be held by the Occupy Movement. We are the ones who can ignore it and create a different world, one that is peaceful, just and sustainable. We can do this together by acting with intention to weaken the pillars that hold the current system up and by developing alternative democratized systems, economic, educational, energy, health care and more, outside of the corporate system. We must join together now in our communities to do this work for the future of our species." - Margaret Flowers, organizer of Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza
"As the thousands who have occupied, marched, and protested already know, this is a thought revolution. We're tired of profitable pollution over people, greed over good, wars for wealth over the welfare of average citizens. This is a mental revolution, and it won't be dissuaded by police barricades, driving rain, ankle sprains, or pepper spray. Pepper spraying us is like throwing water on gremlins, the more you do it, the more of us fucking show up. This movement is not a right and left issue. It is a right and wrong issue. This is a thought revolution, and it would like to apologize for shitting all over your apathy. Now pick a side." - Lee Camp, Moment of Clarity
"People's movements, like the weather, seem unpredictable. But at some point the objective conditions for rebellion meet the subjective yearnings of dedicated human beings - and a storm occurs. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is that storm. This book is an indispensable part of the historical record of an epic awakening, and an important indicator of precisely when the rule of finance capital went into terminal decline - because the people demanded a new and better world." - Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Read the full book introduction here.
Follow David DeGraw on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidVdegraw