Solidarity to those working in restaurants, Amazon-fulfilment centers, retail departments and Black Friday binge fests. May those at the top profit no longer. May we learn once again to be human together. May a new Jubilee come, from the people. We are thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving.
Without capitalism, there could be no undue influence of money in politics. Without capitalism, trade would be truly free. Without capitalism, the financial sector would be an embarrassing relic of the past, a warning to future generations. Without capitalism, there can be no neoliberalism.
Anticapitalism is the true big tent. Whether or not you think the reforms proposed and enacted by various Occupy-related groups (like StrikeDebt, Occupy Sandy and the Occupy Card) will fix the systemic problems of capitalism, they are campaigns worth supporting. They provide temporary relief to people who need the most and allow us to experiment with alternatives. This is a good thing. But we can't let a good treatment distract us from a cure. Without addressing the underlying cause of capitalism, these problems will only get worse.
Globalization will continue to send jobs overseas. Technology will continue to automate human labor and obsolete the professions of millions of workers who will have no choice but to adapt. But for those who can't adapt to the new economy, the sentence under capitalism is death. This is because capitalism denies the necessities for human survival (like food, housing, and health care) to those unable to sell themselves to corporations. Even in times of plenty when you'd think we'd have to work less and less.
The end of capitalism means the beginning of your new life - a life where your home cannot be taken from you by force to maintain the bottom-line of a multi-billion dollar company that pays less in taxes than you; a life where you own your future; a life where politics represents you. The end of capitalism means the life you’ve always wanted but never thought you could have. The end of capitalism means freedom.
The 1% owned the mainstream American political system long before the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United. The 1% oppressed the global 99% long before “free trade” agreements became the norm. The 1% used the financial sector to swindle the people long before Dodd-Frank was repealed, long before the Federal Reserve.
It is important that as we oppose the institutions that capitalism has created to oppress us, that we oppose capitalism as well. If we allow ourselves to be held hostage by the symptoms of our disease we will never find our way to the cure. The cure, as we knew and demonstrated two years ago, is revolution.
Two years after Occupy Wall Street was founded we are still here, and so are our problems. Take the street, take your jobs, take back your money, take back your power. Organize.
A full year after Hurricane Sandy battered the eastern seaboard, we can begin to glean valuable insight into the community-led relief network that sprung up in response, also known as the Occupy Sandy network. In late October 2012, as the “Superstorm” was approaching, Occupy Wall Street participants focused social media and interpersonal networks in preparation. By the following morning, the group had already begun to use social media and network-based communications to amplify the relief efforts in some of the the hardest-hit communities across New York City and New Jersey.
In the days and weeks that followed, Occupy Sandy helped create and connect a complex, nimble, and oftentimes haphazard relief network. Donation centers, mutual aid hubs, open-source needs assessments, and volunteer assignment systems sprung to life, seemingly overnight. Drawing on the strengths of network-based organizing, these efforts were often more effective than the work of traditional, top-down aid organizations like the Red Cross.
One of the tens of thousands of people who came together to make this network thrive was Sofía Gallisá Muriente, who spent the last year organizing in Rockaway Beach. Listen to her share her experiences from the effort and her thoughts about the future promise and latent perils that the Occupy Sandy network now faces.
Organizing during disasters is becoming an increasingly important role of the social justice movement, particularly as climate change threatens to wreck havoc upon nations and people who are the least responsible for the pollution and exploitation of the earth. Today, tens of thousands of residents of the Philippines are organizing to survive amidst the devastation wrought by the most recent typhoon. So-called elected leaders refuse to address this crisis, evidenced by the utter failure of last week’s climate summit in Warsaw. Since politicians and the powerful continue to work for the fossil fuel industry, we must work for the people -- both to slow climate change by forcing an end to consumption and fossil fuel burning, and to organize survival networks that protect ourselves and our fellow humans against the climate genocide.
As this talk demonstrates, this work has already started. Now, we must amplify it.
The Walton Family is collectively worth over $150 billion USD. Most of us struggle just to keep $150 dollars in our bank account, so it's hard to comprehend how much money that really is! Yet all of that $150 billion is divided amongst just 16 people. What if we distributed that money to the 2,000,000 global employees of Walmart? Is that too radical? If you don't think those people have earned the money, we could nationalize it instead. The Walmart fortune could be divided amongst the twenty seven countries in which they do business, granting each a settlement of $5.5 billion.
Look at the population of ten areas where you can find Walmart stores:
We are talking about redistributing $150 billion from 16 people to a pool of 2.3 billion people. We're serious. The democratic systems we put in place to protect us from people like the Walton Family have failed. It's time to try radical alternatives. We literally believe that the time has come to take from the rich and give to the poor.
Imagine what we could do if the United States had an immediate windfall of $5.5 Billion. Here are some examples:
Recover the $5 Billion Cut in Funding from the Food Stamps Program
Or we could...
Quadruple spending for the Small Business Administration From $1.4 Billion to $5.6 Billion
One of the biggest problems in the United States is the support needed for people to start new businesses. Instead of loans, why don’t we just give people money to establish new businesses? The secret to building our communities is not sending in a company from outside, but to invest in the people living there, their skills, their talents. And an added bonus? Generational family groups can stay together and give each other the support that is needed, instead of being separated by economics.
Or we could...
Quadruple the Spending for Americorps and other programs that work in our communities from $1.1 Billion to $5.6 Billion
We would finally have the resources to properly take care of our grandparents and treasured elders. We would finally have the resources to support the Americorps volunteer program, and thus, our communities.
Or we could...
Nationalize the Company
Walmart workers are mobilizing to take action on Black Friday in your area and they need you to support them directly, in the streets.
Can you join them and attend a direct action training? Companies throughout the world have followed Walmart’s example, creating low-pay, low-security jobs. We have all seen our friends, family and neighbors struggle as they are forced to take jobs they know can’t cover their bills. We’re all paying the price for the Walmart economy.
But there is hope for change. All around the country, Walmart workers are standing up. They have gone on strike in Dallas, Cincinatti, and Southern California to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence them by firing and disciplining those who stand up for their coworkers’ rights. They’re tired of looking their children in the eyes and having to explain why there’s no food in the cabinets while they work for one of the most profitable companies in the world.
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, they’ll be holding protests to call on Walmart pay a real wage of $25,000/yr for fulltime work and to end the retaliation against those who speak out.
Workers in YOUR CITY are planning to act. Making Change at Walmart is holding a quick course in how you can support them and mobilize for action. Can you attend a protest training this week to learn how you can get more involved?
If you’re interested in supporting Walmart workers as they let companies know that Walmart-style jobs aren’t good enough for our country, RSVP and get more information.