The American Spring: Steps OWS must take to further the movement
With the reoccupation of Occupy Wall Street in Union Square, occupiers are reenergizing with the six-month anniversary of the protests that began on Sept. 17. While physical occupations offer a space for the disenfranchised 99 percent to gather and mobilize, the stakes have become too high to not advance the movement immediately.
Police force is continuing. Wall Street is still as destructive as ever and corporate gluttony remains an infiltrating poison in not only American lives, but in lives all over the world. Six months into the possible revolutionary force, Occupiers must think of the next step and the step that proceeds to progress the movement into even more of a vehicle for transformation.
Inclusion of everyone in the 99 percent
While the focus of OWS has been corporate greed and income inequality, occupiers must begin to include other 99 percenters in the equation. Racial minorities, women, the LGBT community, the homeless and the disabled make up the majority of the 99 percent and have a history of being disenfranchised by the 1 percent’s corporate agenda. With the inclusion of racial issues, women’s reproductive rights and income inequality, gay rights, homelessness and disability issues, the movement will only gain more momentum.
Because capitalism has not only created most of these problems, but has swept them under the American political radar, occupiers must bring them to the forefront, along with economic inequality, to show the full scope of how our financial system has completely abandoned and abused a vast majority of the American people. With the inclusion of these other 99 percenters, more people are likely to come out in support of OWS and join the fight for a better world.
Capitalism thrives off of exploited populations, not just the working class. The systematic oppression of these minority groups has gone on to subject 99 percent of the United States to financial disarray, extreme poverty and invasive and discriminatory governmental practices. There is a reason why black households earn less than any other race. American politicians have campaigned to put governmental control on women’s bodies and the marriage rights of the LGBT community. Just as OWS has brought to light the rampant corruption of Wall Street, it must also publicize how capitalism is imposing upon the rights of every part of the 99 percent.
Find the source and an alternative
In order to create large-scale change, OWS has to pinpoint the root of each issue – whether it is economic inequality, marriage inequality, income inequality or job inequality. The movement must become strictly anti-capitalist and publicize the problems created by the strictly for-profit system. Why is it that more than four million people in the United States are surviving on about $60 a month? Why is it that we have more available foreclosed homes than we have homeless people? Our capitalist system survives to make a profit, not to provide for human need.
Especially with the 2012 presidential elections in the near future, we need to see that the capitalist system has provided us with a failed and corrupt two-party electoral system – vote for millionaire A or millionaire B. Vote for an open capitalist or an open capitalist veiled in so-called “liberalism.” The treatment of American workers as commodities has opened the flood gates for exploitation of every kind. An alternative has never been presented as capitalists have created the illusion that this isn’t a system we chose; it is put in place as just the natural progression of economics.
Capitalism is often advertised as a system that fosters economic growth – economic growth for whom? As the tag line of OWS has presented, capitalism is extreme economic growth for the one percent and economic decay for the rest. While capitalists control the means of production, workers are forced to survive off of the scraps those at the top so graciously leave for the rest. This is why Wall Street bonuses swelled to more than $121,150 last year while extreme poverty has more than doubled in the last 16 years, according to the National Poverty Center.
Mobilize for change
As occupations across the country and the world reorganize against capitalism and the one percent, action is needed on a widespread scale. OWS has promoted port shut downs, strikes, boycotts, petitions and even coordinated occupiers to run for office. We need even more action now. As the messages of inequality across the board have become more visible because of OWS, action must continue to follow.
Even though naysayers and skeptics may say the Occupy Movement has yet to create change, we must recognize how deep-rooted this economic system is. It has infiltrated our politics, food industry, job market, media system, education, environment, culture and many other aspects of life. Capitalism has come to deteriorate the American people so much so that it will take massive mobilization through protest, the replacement of political figures, a shift in consciousness and values and the uprising of the working class to crumble this failed money-hungry system. It couldn’t be done in the past six months alone and perhaps not even in the next six months. But the movement cannot fizzle out. The most strenuous part of Occupy still lies ahead.
In the past six months, we’ve brought to light the disgusting, misogynistic, racist and gluttonous ways of the capitalist one percent. But that is only part of the process for change. The next six months must focus on uniting the 99 percent against the imperialist rulers of the United States.
So, welcome to the American Spring. We are the 99 percent and too big to fail.