Editor's Note from author, David DeGraw : History should record that the birth of the 99% Movement was on September 17, 2011. That was when the movement became a household name known to the masses. However, the 99% Movement was conceived exactly two years before, with the release of an online report and call to action titled "The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America." The report was originally released as a six-part series. The first part was published on February 15, 2010 and the last part was published on February 27, 2010.
In celebration of the two year anniversary, we reissued the report with a new introduction recapping the history and evolution of the movement, from the experience of researching and writing the original call to action, to building up the movement online and organizing occupations worldwide. At the end of the book, we featured statements from occupiers, organizers and supporters of the 99%. Chapter X: Mic Check: The People Speak.
[Unfortunately, this book is no longer available for purchase but you could bug Dave on Amazon and ask him to do a reissue. Personally, I wouldn't mind a few copies. This is the book that featured my comment alongside many I admire; Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, my former mentor Mike Ruppert and Deepak Chopra to name a few. I think you'll find this comment still echoes after the recent primary race. ~ Gabrielle]
"As a long time activist from the Midwest, I was moved and thrilled beyond words to see the Egyptian people take to the streets in January of 2010. Witnessing the outpouring of support from all over the world on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, I thought, "Please don't let America be far behind." To bear witness to people in Egypt standing in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin as they occupied their capital -- sending messages of support and pizza to sustain them, I knew something was coming. Something big. Then came September and OWS and everything began to change, including the national dialogue.
That is by no means a small accomplishment. Thanks in part to pioneers like David and the thousands of citizen journalists that took up the call. What the people of Egypt want is democracy. Not the 'democracy' facade that we have been sold in so many jingoistic, American flag-waving, truck commercials. What Egypt did and what Occupy does is force us to see past the facade, to call into question what kind of democracy we really have that slanders, beats and pepper sprays its citizens. We are made to ask ourselves some painful questions. Many of those questions have been asked before, during the Vietnam war, Kent State, the Civil Rights Movement to name a few. The difference then? There was a responsible press to cover it.
When we begin to see the state of things and ask those painful questions, we begin to find answers in each other; in the people who also see and share that same pain with us. There is an awful lot of power in understanding. Many are learning to be patient enough to honor that process in others who are unsure of getting involved or don't understand that they are the 99%. Corporate media keeps a lot of people sleepwalking and you'd be surprised how many blame themselves for their quality of life. They would rather blame themselves then what they perceive as their 'free country'. What this corrupt system has done and continues to do to the spirit and the psyche of the people is beyond amoral. Many Americans are in a co-dependent relationship with this abusive power structure. Occupy is the way of breaking the pattern of abuse and finally saying, "Enough!"
Throughout the fall, the strides made by this movement have sparked so many to action. People of all ages, colors, beliefs, skill sets and yes, classes, have come together in compassionate action and incredible creativity to understand each other, inspire and discuss the state of our Union. What has been said and done in GA's from California to Maine since September likely has more bearing on the future of this country than any address or debate on national television and this writer hopes that they are all made a part of this country's historical record. The continued People's History of the United States. If Howard could see us now.
Tonight, I watch and share the livestream of Occupy Oakland protesters as they're being kettled, beaten and under mass arrest. I'm also seeing some incredible magazine-worthy photos from Egypt's second mass protest. A year later, we are still witnessing history. We The People are the 99%. We are the first names mentioned on our living document and we hold that power the elite can never take away from us unless we consent or submit. It is the kind of power that cannot be bought, sold, traded, cheapened, slandered, broken, beaten or silenced. It is the power of the human spirit. Occupy is the genuine article and the stuff that legend is made of. I wish my grandfather were alive to see this. As a WWII soldier, he fought against fascism and now -- we all are.
I have been deeply moved in bearing witness, incredibly honored to record and participate in a movement that has single-handedly renewed my faith in a passionate citizenry, given me hope for the return of real journalism and restored pride in my fellow countrymen and women. I can hardly wait for spring."
[I would like to add film recommendations for a better understanding of this moment in history. First American Autumn: an Occudoc by Dennis Trainor Jr. The second is still available on Netflix but you can view it here: The Square by Jehane Noujaim was nominated for an Academy Award and bears powerful witness of the Egyptian spring mentioned in my comment above. Thanks for reading ~ G. Love]