Full speed ahead for occupation of Freedom Square
Glenwood Springs, CO, Colorado
Not long after our own Hal Sundin asked whether we aren’t ripe for a U.S. version of Tahrir Square, a movement to start exactly that was announced.
On June 6, a coalition of mostly progressive organizations and prominent individuals announced their plan to begin a people’s occupation of Freedom Square in Washington, D.C., to begin on Oct. 6 and continue “until we’re satisfied.”
The stated purpose is “to wrest our government from the control of transnational corporations that pollute our environment, profit from the death and destruction of war, and create poverty all over the world on behalf of a small number of elites … “
The organizers state that participants need only agree that nonviolent resistance is an appropriate reaction to a government “that routinely ignores the will of its people.”
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And polls have shown that most Americans want the wars ended, corporations and the very rich taxed to pay their fair share, our rights expanded rather than curtailed, and our money invested in green energy, jobs and education, not an out-of-control military.
Their website is http://www.october2011.org. The site lists organizations and people who have already signed on. These include many of the best-known environmental, social justice, labor and peace activists in the nation. So there is no doubt this is going to take place.
Some of the founders have issued a sort of opening declaration. It states, in part: “Concentrated corporate capital and influence has changed the United States into a faux democracy, where Americans only get to choose from two corporate-approved candidates, funded by millions in corporate donations.”
The declaration goes on to state that “corporatism” is behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and certainly the oil giants can fairly be accused of this. It also blames corporate control and influence for blocking Medicare for all, preventing effective regulation of the finance industry, and causing the foreclosure crisis.
Most telling, in my opinion, is the declaration’s charge that corporate influence is what impedes creation of a more sustainable energy economy and blocks effective action to decrease the known causes of climate chaos. And this while the Arctic icecap and watershed glaciers melt and tornadoes rampage.
The declaration further notes that Oct. 6 is the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion, and the beginning of the new federal budget year: “an austerity budget for everything except for war and the corporate security state.”
Thus it is that on this date they are calling for “sustained and nonviolent mass resistance in Washington, D.C. The action, “Stop the Machine! Create a New World,” portends an American Tahrir Square at Freedom Plaza between the White House and Congress.
I’m sure this movement will continue to spread on Facebook and Twitter, which is where I first heard of it. But I fear that the government will take overbearing and unconstitutional action to undermine, if not completely stop it. After all, our government has been deeply involved in unconstitutional spying on Americans for years now, as well as other unconstitutional dirty tricks against its own citizens.
Then it cannot be doubted that lots of big bucks will be put up by the likes of the Koch brothers and other corporate bigwigs to smear and demean the whole movement with all sorts of lies and innuendos.
The scene may get really ugly. But what other choice is there?
There is a movement to amend the Constitution, Move to Amend.org, aiming at overturning the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. That was last year’s terrible Supreme Court ruling that gave corporations the right to make unlimited political donations on the basis that they have the same free speech rights as real people. The amendment would limit free speech and other constitutional rights to individual people.
If it were possible to believe we could get the Constitution amended any time soon, we might hope to end corporate control of our government with strict campaign finance reform. But amending the Constitution is a lengthy process and can easily be thwarted by corporate-controlled legislatures.
So, much as I am leery of mass actions, which can always turn into something completely unintended by the organizers, at present I say to all those going to Freedom Plaza: God bless and protect you next October.
“What Do We Really Want?” appears on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Mary Boland is a retired teacher and journalist, a proud grandmother, and a longtime resident of Carbondale. Follow her on twitter@grannyboland.
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