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Demands and Grievances: Limit Corporate Power, Equal Rights for All
The Occupy movement does not have a succinct list of demands and grievances, but their critique of the political and economic systems focuses on the inequities and corruption spawned by the very richest and most powerful, what the movement calls "the 1 percent".
Different statements have been released by the more than 1,500 solidarity groups and occupations throughout the world. One working group in New York City is proposing a National General Assembly to begin July 4, 2012 in Philadelphia, reminiscent of the congress that led to the Declaration of Independence.
Tentative demands to be discussed include severely limiting money and gifts to politicians from individuals and corporations, abrogating the Ciizens United verdict that allowed unlimited corporate spending on elections, and reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act's regulation of financial institutions, among many others.
The complete list can be found at: http://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/
In a more immediate call, the Move Your Money Project and Bank Transfer Day, both in solidarity with the Occupy movement, have called for people to remove their money from large corporate banks by Nov. 5, moving their money to local banks and credit unions.
Excerpts from two occupations' statements of grievances and demands follow:
*** Declaration of the Occupation of New York City ***
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 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 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 determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial 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.
*** Occupy Las Vegas: What we Want ***
An end to corporate money's influence in politics.
Truly effective campaign finance reform.
Legal accountability for public officials and corporate executives. If found guilty of committing crimes while in office, we demand that they are made to pay for those crimes in full, like anyone else.
For our justice system to treat everyone equally regardless of origins or social class, at all levels and at every stage, from investigations to trials and sentencing.
An end to the continual attacks on our social safety net and on the rights of workers to organize themselves and, if need be, to strike.
Secure and sustainable investments and improvements in our social infrastructure, like schools and libraries, and to create an America where everyone may actually live in a decent and dignified manner.
The full texts of these documents can be found online. For the full Declaration of the Occupation of New York City: www.nycga.net/resources/declaration/. For the full Occupy Las Vegas statement: occupylasvegas.org/announcements/mission-statement-final-version . Search resources on hundreds of occupations worldwide at: www.occupytogether.org/directory/ .
(Yael Chanoff) SFBG