November 18, 2011

We are here to denounce the control of our government by the 1%

We are Occupy Memphis. We stand with the Occupy Wall Street Movement and all other nonviolent democratic uprisings around the world.

We are here to denounce the control of our government by the 1%. We the People have a right to govern ourselves; that right has been usurped by corporations, big banks, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the wealthiest 1% of our population. These elites put profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality.

They say we have a budget crisis, but what we have is a priority crisis. They say we have a fiscal deficit, but what we have is a deficit of democracy. They have taken our silence for consent, but no more.

We are seniors, teachers, small business owners, clergy, and union members. We are clerks, firefighters, nurses, police, and immigrants. We are service workers, veterans, entrepreneurs, students, the unemployed, and recipients of Social Security benefits.

We are mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. We are those who do all the work and keep this society running. We are you and you are one of us. We are the 99%. We are here to peacefully Occupy Memphis until our demands are heard.

We demand that Wall Street be held accountable for its role in the destruction of the global financial system.

We demand that the 1% pay their fair share of taxes, that all tax loopholes benefiting the super-rich are closed, and that those who try to skirt our country’s tax laws are tried and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

We demand that corporations not be afforded the same First Amendment rights as individuals; that corporations not be allowed to influence elections through campaign contributions.

We demand equal treatment from our justice system at all levels and at every stage, from investigations, through trials and sentencing, regardless of race or social class.

We demand that our government recognize health care as a basic human right. It is shameful that our city’s infant mortality rate is higher than in many developing countries.

We demand an end to Tennessee’s regressive labor laws, such as right-to-work and at-will employment, which keep us in poverty. We demand an ordinance mandating that no city services can be privatized; any outsourced services should be brought back in-house.

We demand affordable and fair housing for all and that Wells Fargo be held accountable for its racist, predatory lending practices in Memphis.

We demand that those Memphians who experienced foreclosures due to the illegal activities of banks and other financial institutions be adequately compensated and their debt forgiven.

We demand that the city use our money for education and public services rather than corporate incentives and tax freezes for companies like Bass Pro or Electrolux. Memphis gives away more public dollars in corporate welfare than any other city in the state, yet our unemployment rate is at 12.1%.

We demand a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our concerns will be addressed. Our demands will be met. We will not be discouraged. We will not be intimidated. We will not be ignored. We are the 99%.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” —Martin Luther King, Jr

En Español: La Primera Declaración de la Ocupación de Memphis