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Occupy / 99% Movement

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Mirza Abu Bakr Baig

on 15 May 2013

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Transcript of Occupy / 99% Movement

OCCUPY / The 99% Movement Politics Seminar-Presentation What is the Occupy / 99% Movement? The Occupy movement first began when a group of demonstrators gathered in New York's financial district on September 17 to protest against the unjust distribution of wealth in the country and the excessive influence of major corporations. Occupiers aim to fight back against the system that has allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Occupiers no longer want the wealthiest to hold all the power, which allows them write the rules governing an unbalanced and inequitable global economy Despite the police crackdown and mass arrests, the Occupy movement, which grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has now spread to many major US cities as well as to Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and other countries. How did the Occupy Movement start? The Occupy Movement, originally initiated by a call from Adbusters to "Occupy Wall Street," was inspired by several international protests, most notably, the Arab Spring protests. Thousands answered the call and arrived in Zuccotti Park, at the heart of New York City's financial district, to protest the damaging influence of corporations on politics as well as social and economic inequality. Hundreds stayed every night for two months and created an encampment in the park, a model that was adopted by people all over the country as the movement spread to well over 500 cities. What issues are being addressed by the Occupy Movement? Corporate power and influence, unequal distribution of wealth (Main Issue)
Issues of social and political justice
Environmental degradation The Corporatocracy: Corporate Power and Influence Billions of dollars are donated to political campaigns by corporations, Super PACs, and lobbyists every election cycle, buying time and influence.
Financial speculators have wasted the jobs economy, leaving graduates unemployed and in hock for decades to come.
The profiteering of private hospitals, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies is a threat to the human rights, and economic stability, for both individuals and the country as a whole.
Banks are far too powerful and were bailed out after the financial crisis at the expense of the 99% The Structure and Functioning of Corporations The corporation is designed to make money without regard to human life, the social good, or the impact of the corporation's activities on the environment. Corporation bylaws impose a legal duty on corporate executives to make the largest profits possible for shareholders...And yet, under the American legal system, corporations have the same legal rights as individuals. They make contributions to candidates. They fund 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals to write corporate-friendly legislation and defang regulatory agencies.
- Extract from page 146 of 'Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle' by Chris Hedges Environmental Degradation Occupy protesters have specified the prevention of environmental catastrophe as one of the key objectives of the movement, since it is among the single greatest challenges facing the world today. Problems include:
Climate change (global warming, change in sea levels, greenhouse gas emissions, etc)
Species endangerment and extinction
Exploitation of natural resources, energy efficiency
Land and habitat destruction
Pollution, toxins, and waste, etc The Occupy Movement is of critical importance to the social and political prosperity of the global citizen through its pursuit of equality and justice. The Occupy Movement and the Media Mainstream media coverage of the Occupy Movement has been biased and highly critical against the protests. On the other hand, grassroots movements and independent or private news organizations have been highly supportive of it. Government/Corporate Intolerance and Crackdown Against Protests There was a highly sophisticated and coordinated crackdown, orchestrated by the government, against protestors across the United States. This crackdown was conducted by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police squads. These crackdowns came in the form of violent arrests, group disruptions, tear gas, canister missiles, and other forms of repression. There were many injuries and arrests. Policies were introduced to prevent or repress further protests in many cities. The Iron Law of Oligarchy Robert Michaels' Iron Law of Oligarchy argues that every large organization, regardless of content or structure, tends to concentrate power in the fashion of an oligarchy. Inverted Totalitarianism Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin to describe what he believes to be the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin believes that the United States is increasingly turning into an illiberal democracy, and he uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to illustrate the similarities and differences between the United States governmental system and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union. The Importance and Necessity of the Occupy Movement The Occupy Movement is the single most important development in popular protests for a higher civil and political standard since the Civil Rights Movement. Due to government crackdowns and aggression, the protests have lost momentum, but are still threatening to resurface at any moment. The movement has already brought about many successes:
Produced a change in the social and political discourse
Brought popular attention to an age old problem that was augmented by additional greed and corruption
Helping to put an end to illegal foreclosures
Rolled back greedy bank practices
Forced many corporations to abandon ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), which drafts legislation beneficial to corporations
Encouraging the transfer of money from big banks to local credit unions
There is the potential for many more successes to come “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”

- Augustine of Hippo Presentation-Seminar Questions 3. What will the consequences be if the Occupy Movement ultimately fails or becomes irrelevant? 4. What standard would have to be met for such a movement to be considered 'successful'? Characteristics of the movement:
Occupation
Non violent protest
Civil disobedience
Picketing
Demonstrations
Internet activism
General strikes
Direct action 5. Which of the two is more imminent: environmental destruction or nuclear fallout? 1. Which recent events/developments around the world helped to inspire the Occupy Movement? 2. Many people fear that modern day 'democracies', such as the United States, are starting to become more Orwellian in nature. Is such a fear justified? Related Book List By Chris Hedges:
- 'Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle'
- 'Death of the Liberal Class'
- 'Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt'

By Noam Chomsky:
- Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
- Profit over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order
- Occupy
- Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and New Challenges to the United States Empire

By Howard Zinn:
A Power Government Cannot Suppress
A People's History of the United State

Also:
1984 by George Orwell
Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins
Full transcript