by Jessica Williamson
Sedona, AZ (December 1, 2011) – You might have heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement. You might also know that the movement has spread across the country and the world. Residents in the Verde Valley have supported Occupy Wall Street by organizing protests in Sedona and Cottonwood. Many people are not sure what the movement is about or what those of us involved in the movement want. Two members of Occupy Sedona put together the following information that explains why we became involved.
1. Corporate money flowing into politics is destroying our democracy. Because corporate money can now flow so freely to candidates, the amount of money needed to run for office is exorbitant. Candidates need millions – now billions – of dollars to compete. They can only get that amount of money from corporations, and the result is that they are “owned” by the corporations who got them into office, not by the people who they are supposed to represent. Corporations and government become indistinguishable and democracy threatens to become plutocracy.
2. Corporations do not act in the public interest. Corporations exist to make money for their owners and stockholders. They should not be expected to act in the public interest. Government is supposed to act in the public interest to balance the corporations’ goals with our values as an American people. When corporate monies control the government, that balance is lost.
3. The huge amount of corporate money in campaigns has distorted our democracy. Because candidates rely on corporate money, corporations “own” them and they don’t represent the people who elected them. We want our votes to count.
4. The actions of Wall Street and the financial industry seriously damaged our economy and the economy of the world. The American people bailed them out, yet they continue to collect huge salaries and huge bonuses while the American people suffer high unemployment, stagnant wages, foreclosure, and uncertainty about the future.
5. No one in Wall Street or the financial industry has been held accountable. They successfully lobbied to prevent regulation that would keep them from doing it again. We want them held accountable.
6. The middle class is being eliminated. The top 1% of Americans control an ever bigger share of America’s wealth while the rest of us see our wealth stagnating or declining.
7. The movement includes people of all ages, from all occupations, and from across the whole political spectrum. The goal is to correct a corrupt and unresponsive political process, not to further the goals of any one political party. We want to put the “We” back in We the People.
8. Government regulations protect America from exploitation by corporations. Effective regulations ensure balance in a civil society. Regulations are not responsible for the unemployment in this country. Only 1,119 layoffs during the first half of this year were attributed to regulations; 144,746 were due to poor consumer demand.*
9. Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance must be preserved. The middle class, the poor, and the vulnerable should not be the only ones to sacrifice in this economy.
10. The tax burden should be fair. The people who have the most – millionaires and billionaires – should pay their fair share to support a society that reflects American values. Tax loopholes must be closed.
11. Corporate tax loopholes must also be closed. Those loopholes allow multinational oil companies to post billions of dollars in profits yet pay no taxes while outsourcing jobs.
*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupy Sedona rallies every Wednesday at the corner of 89A and Coffee Pot Road starting at 3:00. Occupy Cottonwood rallies every Thursday at the corner of 89A and 260 starting at 3:00.
Join the discussion. Visit Occupy Sedona on facebook or join the rallies. Direct comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.