A Letter to Everyone
Dear Friends, Family, Associates, Acquaintances and Contacts,
First let me say that I feel compelled to send this to my entire contacts list in every email account that I maintain. Some of you may be receiving this information for the second or third time; for that and any other inconvenience I apologize. But I beseech every patriotic American of every stripe to read this in its entirety, and then to decide what it means to you and where you're going to stand.
The current flowering of democratic actions by people all over the U.S. seeks nothing less than to unite the 99% of the country that is subjugated to the will of the 1% who control virtually all of the power and influence in the United States and to institute radical alteration of this government which has become destructive of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The 1% control our major political parties and the electoral process itself, thereby rendering our government to what is effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate greed. They export our jobs and the very means of production to cheap labor markets, depriving us of our livelihoods, and then demand tax breaks for doing it; and get them! They encourage questionable mortgages that are then fed into a foreclosure mill, depriving us of our homes. They concoct toxic investment instruments, wrap them in tin foil, have them declared gold by another corrupt industry, and nearly collapse our economy when their fraud comes unraveled, reigning economic hardship on the entire country and indeed, the world. Then they want their subsidiary to cover their losses with our money; and they get it! They take our money and continue to pay not only exorbitant salaries, but bonuses! You participate in creating the most catastrophic financial disaster since The Great Depression and you get a bonus! They say, "But we had to, these people had existing contracts we had to honor." But when they're dismantling our state and local governments, they feel no such compunction to honor existing labor contracts. They hold our energy supply captive by the ruinous petroleum and nuclear industries, furthering the pollution of our environment and providing Big Oil with historically high profits, quarter after quarter; on top of which they want their subsidiary to supplement their take with our money; and they get it! And now the nuclear energy industry wants their subsidiary to use our money to finance and insure more nuclear power plants, because no conventional source (or even consortium) of finance or insurance will touch such a risky venture; the liabilities are just too high; and in spite of the clear examples of the dangers that these plants present, demonstrated by the disasters at the Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island plants. Both of these relatively harmless classes of natural minerals have been transformed not only into energy, but into a threat to us all. The environmental damage from our use of petroleum products can eventually be reversed, but the radiation unnaturally released into our environment from weapons testing, nuclear power plant accidents and leaks, nuclear waste and depleted uranium munitions (nuclear waste writ large) will plague all life forms on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years. The depleted uranium (DU) munitions are being used in the illegal wars they engineer and seem hell-bent on perpetuating for the foreseeable future in any place they want to plunder. The environmental damage wrought in distant lands (especially the nano-sized radioactive particles created by the use of DU weapons) is now free in the environment and can migrate anywhere in the world.
Let me be clear here: we are not anti-business or anti-capitalism. And we do in fact reach out to those in the 1% who might be awakened by the righteousness of our movement and join us in forging a new world; it is in everyone's best interest. The great majority of entrepreneurs, sole proprietors and small-to-medium sized business, regardless of their legal form, provide most of the jobs in our country and practice true capitalism, being more than willing to pit themselves against the competition for a fair share of the marketplace. But the giant "multi-national" corporations seek to stifle competition, and it is the core element of competition that keeps prices as low as possible, quality as high as possible and encourages businesses to fulfill the needs of the consumer in the true capitalist model. These Godzilla-like corporations built on the backs of American workers and with American dollars now deny the people in the country that nurtured their success: jobs for their livelihood, their tax dollars for the common good, the fundamental control of their own government and any allegiance what-so-ever. They are driven only by insatiable lust for ever greater profits with no concern at all for the American people or the environment in which we all live. They have been allowed to metastasize into traitorous monsters; for all business must be subject to some government regulation for the protection of the common good; to insure that our economy is sound, that our products are safe, that our workplaces are safe, and that the environment we all share is not damaged.
As for the "All War, All the Time" channel our government is glued to, not only are deadly radioactive particles strewn into the environment with DU weapons (cancer rates in Fallujah now exceed those in the areas around Chernobyl following the nuclear disaster there), but the pervasive and growing militarism has levied an undesirable and unsustainable burden on our economy, our military personnel and the peoples in the theaters of war. We are unlawfully occupying two foreign nations, conducting military operations in at least three others and maintain at least 800 military installations all over the world. We are killing unarmed men, women and children in all of the current theaters of operations almost daily. We have devastated the infrastructure of two nations and continue to deploy our troops to these theaters of horror over and over and over; and only stop when they are killed, maimed physically and/or mentally to the point that no longer serve any useful purpose to the military, or until they kill themselves. And the only ones who gain from all of this are corrupt politicians, military leaders, and the corporate bloodsuckers who supply the weapons, materials, services and mercenaries for war.
As many of you already know, the American people occupying Wall Street are half-way through their fourth week. This grassroots movement has inspired kindred actions in hundreds of towns and cities all over the United States (over 900 was the last tally I heard), as well as connected actions in other countries. I have just returned from several days at the October2011 occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.
The People in Our Freedom Plaza by Coleen Rowley
The October2011 movement (STOP THE MACHINE! CREATE A NEW WORLD!) represents a very similar effort by a large coalition of previously existing grassroots organizations, including the Veterans for Peace with which I am associated. Planning for our October2011 movement (to occupy Washington D.C.) began several months ago, prior to the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. There is also an Occupy Wall Street inspired group of citizens (Occupy D.C.) in McPherson Square co- occupying the capital with us. The demographic in our group is a little older, and we're more organized because of our history and experience at political demonstrations and civil resistance, but October2011 stands in solidarity with all occupy actions around the country and all over the world.
October2011 began on October 6, the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. We did have a permit from the D.C. Park Police, but that expired Sunday night. The People refused to leave and continued to occupy Freedom Plaza; in fact they held a dance. As David Swanson reports below, the Park Police have now proposed to extend our permit for four months. We've agreed, but we've not said we would leave at the end of that period; because we won't. We are there to stay. Freedom Plaza now belongs to the people!
All of these actions by citizen activists are true grassroots efforts, not beholding to the Koch brothers or any other financial interest. All costs to date have been funded by the donations of ordinary people to these existing organizations or to these specific efforts, and by donations of time, talent, services and materials from individuals, sole proprietors and small businesses that support our efforts.
As David indicates below, October2011 has offered to serve as the nexus for the rapidly growing people's movement. Businesses there are donating food and water; cab drivers have offered citizen activists free rides to Freedom Plaza. But everyone's help is needed. If you can travel to and donate some time at encampments in Washington, you will be provided for and trained and informed and inspired. If not, seek out and join or initiate an occupy action near you. And everyone who wants a better world can contribute what little money they can at http://october2011.org to help sustain this movement . We do not seek, nor will we accept contributions from large business or financial institutions. We are, and will remain, beholding only to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the American people.
Well, what began as a brief introduction to David Swanson's update from Our Freedom Plaza has kinda gotten out of hand. Those of you who know me well will certainly not be surprised. Please continue reading the brief (really) excerpt from the October2011.org website and David's update which follows.
Peace and justice for all,