A few weeks ago, I met with a group of Occupy Dallas protesters about how we can attempt to crystallize a message that can’t be boiled down to a soundbite. With a seemingly infinite number of symptoms and evidences of the problems with our system, how do you tell a naysayer or a fence-sitter why you’re protesting?
So we decided to arm ourselves with facts. They won’t explain the whole movement in a sentence or two, but they can each—on their own—represent a part of the problem. So here are some facts, as discussed by some of the wonderful, beautiful, passionate people of Occupy Dallas.
This Movement Is Bigger Than a Sound Bite
The Power and the Wealth has been concentrated in such a way that 1% of the population has taken all hopes of the American Dream away from the other 99%.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed pharmaceutical companies to further maximize their profits by preventing the approval and release of cheaper, generic drugs.
There is no profit in the cure of diseases, only in their treatments. Government (FDA) and Corporations (pharmaceutical/insurance) control the way we heal ourselves
ANECDOTE: When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, everyone expected it to make him a rich man. When asked who owned the patent for the vaccine, he responded “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
One reason we don’t have universal health care is because it would take away a lot of the profit from pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Their Big Money influences too many politicians for any solid bill to be passed.
ANECDOTE: A recent TV commercial shows people from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida good-naturedly arguing about which state is more attractive to tourists. It seems like a bold effort for 4 states to promote each other for the greater good. Until you realize that the commercial is really for British Petroleum (BP), whose oil spill wrecked the eco-system of all 4 states.
Chevron (which has bought out many of its competitors) owns the patent on an electric car battery that can run for over 100 miles on a single charge. They will not allow the battery to be used in any EVs (electric vehicles).
Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission was a case brought before the US Supreme Court that found that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited (and unreported) amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections. It popularized the term “Corporations are People”. Citizens United is a conservative advocacy group that campaigns against Democratic candidates.
Karl Rove, who was a senior adviser to George W. Bush, has a political action committee (PAC) called American Crossroads, which has pledged to raise $240mm to support whichever candidate wins the Republican nomination in 2012.
The billionaire Koch (pronounced “coke”) Brothers have pledged to raise $200 million to support whichever candidate wins the Republican nomination in 2012.
Barack Obama, whose largest contributor is Goldman Sachs, has appointed several former GS executives to positions within his administration. He has repeatedly looked to investment banks for economic guidance and leadership.
Both Republicans and Democrats play one-upmanship with how much they spend on their election and re-election campaigns, and members of Congress frequently spend at least a year or more of their term campaigning for re-election.
Dozens of corporations (including Coca-Cola, Citibank, AmEx, Bank of America, Wal-Mart and Disney) have taken out life insurance policies on many of its workers (called “Dead Peasants Insurance”) which name the company as the sole beneficiary. When the workers die, their families receive no benefits from the policies.
The 1% have enjoyed around 30 years of amassing and hoarding their wealth and political power, but the 99% are finally awake. We know they have overplayed their hand, and we must call them to task, undo the damage they have done and restore the voice of the American People to our political and economic process.
The 1% have consolidated the wealth into as few hands as possible, and they have manipulated the system to the point where it is completely broken for those outside their limited sphere.
Lobbyists engage in bribery, paying off politicians on behalf of special interest groups. Who is lobbying for OUR interests?
The “Bush Tax Cuts” were supposed to be temporary tax cuts that would expire in 2010. They favored the rich, with the thought being that the additional wealth would “trickle down” to the middle and lower classes. They were extended by Congress and are now schedule to expire just after the 2012 election. If they expire or are repealed, the top income tax bracket would go from 35% to 39.6%.