It has been well-established in declaration and law that all people are endowed with inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly. We, and our descendants, share common human needs — a sustainable global ecology, adequate food, shelter, health, education, and equal opportunity to fulfill our potential.
Through a deliberate series of attacks, these rights and basic necessities are being stolen from us by the economic elite in Washington, London, Wall Street and other centers where money and power consolidate.
We have no redress from our government, as it is busy ensuring the health, prosperity, and security of corporations and financial institutions while ignoring and actively working against the basic needs of the People. In light of this, a call was made to occupy Wall Street on the 17th of September, 2011. From Liberty Square in New York City to the Financial District in San Francisco, we answered that call, occupying with determination and solidarity.
To reclaim our rights, we collectively confront a monolithic government, a parasitic financial system, and a military industrial juggernaut, all of which command overwhelming economic power and seemingly insurmountable physical and legal force. We confront these entities with courageous nonviolent civil disobedience. By occupying public space, mobilizing people, and transforming public discourse, we shine the light of truth on the situation at hand.
Financial institutions have become parasites of the economic system. Instead of functioning as a buttress for the economy, they have constructed mechanisms that allow them to plunder the world’s wealth and divert it directly into their pockets. By abusing the money creation powers of the Federal Reserve, manipulating domestic and international financial markets, and creating risky, deceptive, and dangerous investment products, they accumulate staggering wealth and power, leaving in their wake global economic devastation.
Multi-national corporations are equally guilty. Under the guise of fair competition, they take an unfair proportion of produced wealth. When true competition threatens their power, they crush it. They achieve global hegemony by using our armed forces as personal enforcers and looting the public treasury to fund their empires. They befoul and contaminate the air we breathe, the waters we drink, and the soil that gives us life. The Earth’s resources are destroyed and depleted for their insatiable avarice.
To continue accumulating obscene wealth, these culprits commit horrendous economic, political, and environmental crimes. To perpetuate these crimes and escape accountability, they deploy their vast ill-gotten wealth to buy control of our society and government at all levels, undermining the tools and abilities we have available to us to resist effectively.
- They buy the loyalty and votes of politicians through lobbying and corruption to create laws and regulations favoring the financial and corporate interests at the People’s expense.
- They influence the judicial system to interpret and enforce those laws and regulations primarily to their benefit, even going so far as to grant corporations the rights of people.
- They buy or neutralize government regulatory bodies tasked with protecting the People’s and economy’s health.
- They buy university curricula and research, particularly in science and economics, to advance their agenda.
- They influence the creation of, and even draft, anti-Constitutional legislation that punishes or inhibits those who publicly protest their misdeeds.
- They buy and consolidate the print and broadcast media to inhibit diversity of ideas and opinions and ensure mass media conformity to their agenda.
- They manipulate the political process and the media, demonizing our differences in ethnicity, skin color, gender, age, sexual orientation, nationality, political affiliation, and religion to separate us from our natural allies.
- They seek Internet censorship laws to eliminate the last bastion of free media and organizational tools for the People.
- They fabricate pretexts to divert excessive public resources into wars of choice, and the weapons and personnel to wage them.
- And they inflict debt slavery on the people of other nations by using the IMF and World Bank as their foreign arms of operation.
Because these financial institutions and multinational corporations have committed these crimes, the government, the corporate media, and the prevailing ideology no longer represent the People.
We, the People, are left to suffer the staggering costs that these financial institutions and multinational corporations inflict — on the economy, political process, and the environment.
- We suffer from a shrinking middle class, rising unemployment, insecure jobs, diminishing wages, retirement plans looted by Wall Street, a decline of living conditions, and a slide toward poverty.
- We suffer from millions of fraudulent home foreclosures and evictions that have devastated our communities and families.
- We suffer the costs of fighting and financing unnecessary wars, and the inadequate support our government provides for veterans.
- We suffer from an exorbitantly expensive and inefficient health care system, leaving us at the mercy of employers and insurance companies who can arbitrarily deny, or prohibitively price, the coverage our very lives depend on.
- We suffer from decimated lands and imperiled wildlife caused by the unsustainable rape of the environment.
- We suffer from food and water supplies laced with poisonous runoff and unhealthy additives, due to woefully inadequate government regulation.
- We suffer from an increasingly inaccessible college education system that results in decades of crushing student debt and extremely limited job prospects after graduation.
- We suffer from a brutal austerity regimen resulting in ever-worsening K-12 education, imploding social services, and crumbling infrastructure.
- We suffer incalculable personal and community devastation due to the reckless privatization of public necessities, including education, healthcare, and even prisons.
- And we suffer from a broken political system where moneyed interests are represented, but the People and communities are not.
We, the People, are fed up with this unwarranted suffering. We can no longer idly stand by, with indifference and apathy, watching our rights, our economic security and our shared environmental heritage being torn from us. We answered the call to Occupy because all of us can agree that these profound wrongs must be righted.
Occupy is both the conversation and the space to make meaningful change happen. Occupy is a big tent and all are welcome to help us create the solutions for a better world. Whether it’s removing money from politics, transforming the economic system, or advocating for a more just and equitable society, we have the energy and we have the ideas, but the most important thing we need is your passion! You have more power than you’ve been led to believe, and your voice is more needed than you think. These are the days when we must speak out, no matter how our voices shake.
As we grow, the criminal financial institutions, multinational corporations, and their government lackeys will continue to attempt to silence us. But our resolve and purpose will only grow stronger. They can tear down a tent, they can eject a body, but they cannot evict an idea once it is rooted in the hearts and minds of a People. We are an expression of hope and solidarity for a better tomorrow. We are the cry that has found a voice, and that is the voice of the People. We invite you to join your voice with ours. Let us stand together and let it be known that we we will not go quietly into the night. We are Occupy!
Note: This declaration was unanimously passed at the OccupySF General Assembly on 5 April 2012. It is an official document of Occupy San Francisco. It was authored through consensus by the OccupySF Ideological Liberation working group (formerly OccupySF Research and OccupySF Ideological Warfare). Although this is presented in text format, it is intended for wide distribution via flier, pamphlet, and other electronic means. We invite other Occupations to adopt this document wholly or edit as they see fit and use it as the seed for your own homegrown declaration. Please spread far and wide!
i had the pleasure of helping write and editing this document. i’ve spent the last month working and politicking to get this document into something that people would consense on and i’m happy that it was. this is definitely a challenge, but a fun one. making a document from start to finish via consensus caused many gray hairs but also gave me a lot of respect for my working group members as we all worked feverishly to make sure that everyone’s essence remained in the final document even though our individual contributions may have been edited several times. i’m really proud of this and i’m not sure that this could have been completed any other way than how we did it. :)