Occupy Wall St. befuddles the corporate media but that’s only because the message is so simple, so reasonable, and so unwelcome to corporate interests. We want our democracy back; we want economic justice. By occupying public space in approximately 350 cities and towns across the country, Occupy Wall St. is creating a dialogue about what has happened to our economy and democracy, how we can act to restore integrity to our democratic institutions and how we can restore fairness to our economic lives.
The occupations are making it possible for this debate to occur but they are doing more. The occupiers themselves are also demonstrating, by their internal organization, what real democracy looks like. The occupiers are taking their responsibilities as citizens seriously. They are informing themselves, discussing issues, formulating tactics and engaging in non-violent civil disobedience in an effort, as Mahatma Gandhi recommended, to “be the change they want to see in the world.”
If we believe their two key messages – that our democracy is not working and that we need to restore economic justice – then we have a civic responsibility to take heed of the example of these, our fellow citizens. We have a responsibility to inform ourselves of the arguments and evidence concerning our economic and political institutions, to decide what we believe to be true, and to then take what actions we deem to be appropriate.
We cannot rely on corporate media sources to uncover the message and meaning of Occupy Wall St. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the corporate media is not the solution to the problem; the corporate media is the problem. By all means, examine what these folks are saying about this movement, but then check this version of the facts with other sources, sources not beholden to shareholders or corporate money.
Here is a short list of a few sources that will provide you with a powerful antidote to what the corporate media has been selling, sources that will help you to determine, for yourself what is true, and what is to be done.
For an overview of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis that began in 2008, see the documentary Inside Job, produced and directed by Charles Ferguson. You can purchase this film inexpensively on-line and it is well worth the small investment, or you can borrow the film from Netflix or a local library.
For ideas concerning how ordinary citizens can act to restore control of government regulation and insist that elected representative represent the will of the people:
1. Learn about how Iceland is responding to the crisis by using referenda to wrest control of the economic lives from the corporate financial elites.
2. Learn about how Maine has passed electoral reform to support public financing of elections.
For news and editorial coverage that is supportive of the aims of the Occupy Wall St. movement :
For economic facts, figures, humor and analysis:
For local information on Occupy Wall St. actions.
If you support the value of democratic participation, inform yourself by confronting information in both corporate and non-corporate forms of media. You find some surprising information and points of view. And you will come to hold your beliefs with the secure foundation of having grappled with others who think differently.