Eye-Witness History of Occupy Wall Street Movement Now Available   (February 29, 2012)

A fascinating account of the 99%/Occupy Wall Street movement by one of the original organizers is now available.

I have been a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement even before it acquired that name. Back in June 2011, David DeGraw and other organizers first issued a call to action: occupy a site near Wall Street on Flag Day, June 14, 2011. Here are my entries in support:
The Necessity of Resisting Financial Tyranny (June 11, 2011)
Our Participation Fuels Financial Tyranny (June 13, 2011)

That first occupation effort fizzled, but as other organizers and organizations joined the movement, the next occupation exploded onto the world stage in September 2011. In October, I wrote a brief commentary entitled Semi-Random Notes on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement (October 20, 2011)

David has just issued a book of the original essays that helped launch the 99% movement and a recap of the OWS movement's evolution and history: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America. The book is exclusively available by donating $20 to AmpedStatus.org via Amazon (click on the image to access the Amazon link) or PayPal.

In my June 2011 essays, I suggested those of us who were not physically present for the occupation could actively resist financial tyranny by removing our own money from Too Big To Fail banks and Wall Street corporations. Now there is another action you can take from the privacy and safety of your own home: donate $20 to AmpedStatus.org and help support David's multi-year effort to end the predatory, democracy-destroying reign of Wall Street's financial Elites.

Many applaud the effort, few support it with actual cash or action. Here is how David summarized this reality:

I have had many encouraging conversations with very wealthy individuals and people who run large organizations that say that they want to support the movement and help it grow. Many people well within the economic top 1% fully understand that our political process is overrun with corruption and that we are on a critically unsustainable path. They view the 99% Movement and Occupy as our last best chance to turn things around. There are many people within the 1% who do not want to be associated with the "organized criminal class," which technically only makes up 0.1% of the population, at most. I have a great deal of respect for these compassionate and conscious one percenters.

However, as of this writing, financial and resource support has been minimal. Every day I speak with organizers and occupiers throughout the country who have played a very significant role in building this movement and they can no longer afford to keep fighting fulltime. Just like everyone else, they have bills to pay and families to feed. Other than financially, the past five months have taken a serious physical toll on many of us. Many people have lost considerable weight, have had a nasty cold and cough, and have been getting four hours of sleep on a good night. This struggle is one that is shared by thousands of people who battle every single day. Something that people who are not on the frontlines donít seem to understand is that we are currently fighting an all-out nonviolent war. This movement is a relentless battle that demands 24/7 commitment.

Since this movement has taken off, many organizations that cover our actions and operate on the periphery of the movement are now receiving large donations and funding, partly as a result of our efforts. They also deserve to be rewarded for their vital work. However, the people putting their bodies on the line daily and doing all the heavy lifting need to have their basic needs met as well. It's incredibly disheartening to see career "activists," that have failed for years to do what we have done, fundraise off our backs, while the real fighters and change-makers go hungry.

Clearly, after the last five months of intense battle, I'm growing increasingly weary and frustrated by this lack of respect. We need to do a better job of raising funds ourselves. I admire and respect people who try to make the world a better place for a living, but your words of support mean little without substantive actions behind them. This is a nonviolent war, not yet another swanky gabfest conference filled with well-paid suits righteously yapping about someday creating the structural change that anyone with half a political clue knows we urgently need now. Enough with your comfortable talks, it's time for ACTION! So stop hoarding funds and resources while the real fighters are out on the frontlines.

Not everybody in America is hurting equally from the financialization of our democracy and economy. As these charts from master chartist Doug Short show, the incomes of the elderly (65 and up) continued rising while every other age group's income tanked:

The top 5% and top 20% have seen their incomes decline along with everyone else, but their incomes rose at much faster rates than the bottom 80% during the financialization boom: Yes, the top quintile's income declined a bit, but $169,000 a year isn't too shabby....

The incomes of the top 20% who generally benefitted from financialization blew past the lower 80% when financialization took hold in the early 1990s:

The incomes of everyone 54 and under has plummeted from the peak in 2000, and the bottom 80% saw little boost from the financialization of the economy since 1990. Obviously, it's the young and middle-aged workers who are taking the biggest hit; add in high unemployment rates for those entering the workforce and it's clear the younger workers are suffering the most.

If you're one of those who support the movement to limit the power and predation of the banks/Wall Street Elites, and you're doing OK financially, please consider stepping up to the plate and donating $20 for a copy of this engaging account of the single most important social movement of the decade.

"And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" Thomas Jefferson (www.monticello.org)

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