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Monday, August 18, 2014
Occupy Wall Street - Veteran Activist Speaks Out
Originally Published on forbes.com on October 2nd,2011
To the extent I have been an activist, it has been in the company of Tom Cahill. We have worked together for years on issues surrounding the sexual abuse of people in detention. Thankfully, that work is now being addressed by a highly competent professional human rights organization Just Detention International the succesor to Stop Prisoner Rape Inc, which for a couple of years seemed to boil down to me paying Tom’s phone bill and a really good website. Tom of course is a full time committed activist for any cause that is non-violent and addresses people treating one another and the earth better. He is rather enthusiastic about Occupy Wall Street even though at 74, he is not ready to jump in his van and drive across the country and get himself arrested. I asked him for his thoughts which he has been kind enough to share.
“We did not create America’s monstrous debt AND it is not owed to anyone who needs the money. We want the debts of all nations written-off, forgiven, eliminated, disappeared.” This is the message—clear and simple—being articulated by the young occupiers of Zuccotti Park in New York awakening, like victims of post traumatic stress disorder, to the fact their future has been ripped-off by a corporate dictatorship that has been growing in power and arrogance since the coup d’etat of Nov. 22, 1963.
They, no WE, are outraged that robbers with ballpoint pens were rewarded by America’s political leaders for the most recent and biggest heist in history, one that continues to plague the entire world.
“As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard oflegitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt—a Republican mind you—while President of the United States in 1906.
Half a century later, Dwight Eisenhower, a former five-star general AND a Republican mind you, in his farewell address as President of the United States warned of the menace of what he termed “the military/industrial complex.” His successor, President John Kennedy, tried to downsize and control The Complex and you know what happened to him.
How many times does capitalism have to break down for it to be replaced by a more people and earth-friendly system of economics? Capitalism–a synonym for “monarchism”–is based on greed, it’s predatory and even Godless like its own offspring Communism. Capitalism has always been a robbery-in-progress. Capitalism’s major growth industry has always been .. . war. And who but mostly young people are conned or forced to fight these wars.
Like so many of my peers, with college not even the faintest of dreams, and with no future but a factory job if lucky, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 17—a time when I wasn’t even eligible to vote or drink alcohol.
Meanwhile in America’s “fifty-first state,” an occupation for basically the same reason as the one on Wall Street has been underway since mid-July. A woman was evicted from her home in Tel Aviv and, unwilling to move to a settlement in Palestine, she set up a tent on a street named for an international robber baron. There is now a tent city on Rothschild Boulevard similar to the one in Zuccotti Park. The on-going demonstration against the high cost of living due primarily to Israel’s militarism is the biggest and longest-lasting in the country’s history.