Statement on #Occupy from members of the WRL Organizing Network*
Unemployment, foreclosures, businesses closing, millions hungry, the sick who cannot afford a doctor--this is what we have now, and for our children.
The economic disaster comes from greed and lust for power. All of us are susceptible to those feelings, but those with money and power have almost no restraints. The investment bankers with their fancy ways of making money through lies, the mortgage brokers who lied their way to wealth, none of them are going to jail.
They convince us with bad arguments that we'll be rich too, so we shouldn't tax the rich too much--as if being poor is only temporary or a sign of bad character. They give us the lottery so we can have our dreams in the face of our ever poorer lives.
The 1% get us to fight their wars. We fight to control oil, but the price of gas goes up. And if the price of gas goes up that's a good outcome of the war for the 1%--they're happy to make a lot more money from the oil they have.
They say that a prime cause of the federal deficit is health care costs: 23 percent of the national budget in 2009. Yet spending on wars and the military takes more than twice that much of our tax dollars. People are making money from our wars, from the military--not us, but those of the 1% who control Northrup-Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Aerojet. They, and the banks who lend to them to keep the wars going, are getting rich. They appeal to patriotism and our fear to stick their hands in our pockets. They tell us that more tanks, more missiles, better atom bombs will stop the terrorists from coming into our country--as if better police at airports couldn't do the job. They invoke national security to justify their cost overruns that make them rich. It's not just our mortgage dollars and our credit card fees that make them rich, but our taxes, too. A few people are making a lot of money, while the 99% get poorer.
There can be no justice, no hope for those of us who struggle, so long as we are gripped by greed and lust for power. It is greed and lust for power that invades us when we complain that the cost of tomatoes has gone up because the farmworkers have organized, that blinds us to the misery of those who work for so little in other countries so we can have cheap running shoes. We need to replace our fears and powerlessness with compassion, justice, mercy, and a commitment to build a good life for all of us. All of us--not just people living in the U.S., but all of us. There can be no economic justice without peace, and no peace without economic justice.
We at the War Resisters League have been standing up for peace and justice though nonviolent organizing for 88 years. Come join us as we join with you.
Socorro Peace Vigil, Socorro, NM
Evan Weissman, Denver, CO
Brandywine Peace Community, Swarthmore, PA
James M. Branum, Legal Director of the Oklahoma Center for Conscience
Steve Gulick, Philadelphia, PA
Oklahoma Center for Conscience, Oklahoma City, OK
Rosalie Riegle, Chicago, IL
Charles Paidock, Chicago, IL
War Resisters League Portland, Portland, OR
Kimber Heinz, War Resisters League National Organizer
Rogue Valley Peace Veterans, Talent, OR
Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern (LEPOCO), Bethlehem, PA
Joanne Sheehan, New England War Resisters League
Carla A. Dawson, WRL National Committee member
Mavis Belisle, Dallas, TX
Jim Haber, Las Vegas, NV
*This is not an official statement of the War Resisters League National Office.