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Joel Whitney: #OccupyWallStreet’s Declaration

September 30, 2011

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OccupyWallStreet tells us what they stand for.

By **Joel Whitney**

joel_whitney.jpg#OccupyWallStreet issued their “Declaration for the Occupation of New York City,” a much-anticipated clarification of their principles and gripes.

It was written by the General Assembly, the central group organizing the thirteen-day-old sleep-in protests. The complete text, which was printed on their website, runs as follows:

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

________________________________________________________________________

Joel Whitney is an editor of Guernica. Read his interview with Zoya Phan here, and with U.S. poet laureate W.S. Merwin here. Joel’s writing and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, World Policy Journal, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Paris Review, The Nation, Agni, New York magazine—and on NPR. He lives in Brooklyn. He’s on Twitter.

  Joel Whitney: NYPD Blues: Why thuggishness helps the protestors. More
 
  Rebecca Bates: Mr. McKibben Goes to Washington: The Final Anti-Tar Sands Pipeline Rally: These days it seems you can’t be a real environmentalist without a rap sheet… but to what avail? More
     
  Guernica Contributor Nathan Schneider on Democracy Now! About #OccupyWallStreet: A response to the #OccupyWallStreet campaig, now on Day 10. More
 
  Bill McKibben: Arrested at the White House: Acting as a Living Tribute to Martin Luther King: Making clear that civil disobedience is not just history in America is vital, even if that means standing in front of the White House in handcuffs. More

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