We're in week three of Occupy Wall Street and I still don't know exactly what I want to say about it here. No wonder the General Assembly has had so much trouble coming up with a specific demand or manifesto. I guess I should start with the basic info:
On September 17, people took to the streets of lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and started to occupy Wall Street until the changes they want are made or they're removed by force. Inspired by the movements in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, the plan is to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation and nonviolence to restore democracy in America.
"Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. The original call for this occupation was published by Adbusters in July; since then, many individuals across the country have stepped up to organize this event, such as the people of the NYC General Assembly and US Day of Rage. There'll also be similar occupations in the near future such as October2011 in Freedom Plaza, Washington D.C."
I have a lot to say about this, but think I'll just try to stay on topic for the blog and address one issue: why animal rights activists should give a shit.
If you look at the flag above, you'll be hard pressed to find a logo belonging to a company that hasn't intentionally supported animal cruelty.
If not for corporate personhood, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act would not exist.
Thanks to bailouts from these big banks and financial companies, hellholes like Huntingdon Life Sciences have managed to stay open, despite activists getting it delisted from the NYSE.
Government subsidies keep factory farmed, toxic meat cheaper than healthy vegetables.
Even the first official release brings the grievance that "They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices."
Will Occupy Wall Street fix everything? No. Will it fix anything? Maybe. But so little of what we do works anyway. So if you're going to spend time at a futile protest, why not try a new one instead of the same old thing? If this is actually successful, it will change things not just for carriage horses, or fur-bearing animals, but for everyone, no matter how many legs, fins or wings they have.
So if you're near New York, come down to Zuccotti Park. Even if you're just curious. The best way to learn more is to see for yourself, especially considering how unreliable the press has been on this.
If you're not near New York, don't worry. There are solidarity rallies sprouting up worldwide. http://occupytogether.org/ is being updated pretty regularly with new events.
At the very least, talk about it. Post links on Twitter, Faceplace, whatever. Talk to people: "Hey, did you hear about those people who are trying to hold the people who stole our 401Ks accountable? 700 arrests? That's some crazy shit, right?"
And if you're not an animal rights activist, this all still applies...except the futility part.