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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Occupy Manifesto



By The People and For the People



Part 1: The Problem

Part 2: What We Demand



The Problem: Corporate greed gone unchecked. It threatens capitalism by giving large corporations unfair advantages.  It threatens capitalism by oppressing the lower class with slavery in the form of debt and insufficient wages. It has threatened American democracy for years from the shocking power of lobbyists. It has now put democracy on the verge of destruction because of the January 21, 2010 Supreme Court's ruling giving corporations the same constitutional rights as human beings.

      The slogan "I am the 99 Percent" is in reference to the fact that 1% of the population makes more money than the combined other 99% in America. The richest 400 Americans, as enumerated in Forbes magazine, own more wealth than half of the country's population. This means that the top .0000035 percent makes more than the bottom 50% of our population combined. According to the Gini index - a rating of national inequality, our country's inequality ranks somewhere between Haiti (less equal wealth distribution) and Cambodia (more equal wealth distribution). Why should we care? Because this inequality is the root of our country's financial dire straits.

     This isn't about politics. This isn't about left or right. Liberal or conservative. Republican or Democrat.  This is an issue of economic injustice. Both sides of the political spectrum have tremendous concerns about the way money is being handled. It's time to stand up now and force change.

     This isn't just an American problem. If this were merely about the income disparity in America, this would not be a worldwide movement. There would not have been demonstrations on October 15th 2011 in Rome, London, Toronto, Paris, Madrid, Taiwan, Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo among other cities. Income disparity and unchecked corporate greed threatens this experiment we call democracy all across the world.

Our Demand:  Ending extreme wealth disparity. How?

1) Forced corporate restraint. Government regulation sounds like an encroachment on freedom for you and me. But it is not. It is the creation of freedom for you and me. It is the restraint on corporations who are, by their very essence, incapable of pursing any goal except those that benefit the shareholders. Deregulation was responsible for allowing predatory lending, causing a massive increase in bankruptcy and soaring bank profits. When Sears makes more money from interest rates on their Sear's cards than they do in actual merchandise sales you know there is a problem. Deregulation was partly responsible for the rapid spike in oil prices because of the deregulation of futures trading from the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000" now known as the "Enron Loophole". Deregulation, in the form of The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 removed requirements for banks to maintain enough equity to cover their risky investments. We've had enough of unchecked greed. Government intervention is needed to reverse all of the destructive regulation. It is also needed to break up media conglomerates, to prevent news reporting from being controlled by single corporations and their advertising sponsors.


3) Tax fairly. The top 1% of income earners pays a smaller percentage of their incomes to taxes than the 9% just below them. End this now. Starting with taxing capital gains at the same rate as income.  Close tax loopholes. Get rid of all tax shelters, starting with Delaware, one of the largest tax shelters in all the world.

4) Institute fair usury laws in all 50 states making outrageously high interest rates no longer legal.

5) A Constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision to give corporations the same First Amendment rights as people. If we don't reverse this decision our democracy is doomed. It is currently for sale to the highest bidder. It has turned our republic into an oligarchy, one step closer to a monarchy.

6) Discourage companies from sending jobs overseas by implementing a tax on that practice. Pass reform forcing the Chinese government's currency manipulation.

7) A living wage for all.  In 2004, when the statistic was last researched, there were only 4 counties in America in which a person working for minimum wage could afford a one-bedroom apartment. Until we have achieved a minimum legal standard we will fight this problem by strengthening unions and putting pressure on specific institutions and corporations to do the right thing, like the Harvard University protesters did in October of 2011.



This document is by The People and for The People.  If you want to make a contribution, suggestion, correction or comment please email occupymanifesto@gmail.com


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