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A Movement Takes Form

December 27, 2011

The “scoffers” said the Occupy Wall Street protesters would disappear with the first frost.  They didn’t, just recently they celebrated their first ninety days in action, a full one-quarter of a year.  Then they jeered, “They don’t have a platform or an agenda; all they want to do is to whine about what they don’t like!”  And displaying a certain naivete’, some of the OWS people insisted their quest remain untainted by “politics.”  Most of course, understand that “politics” are how things get done in a free society and that the negative connotations are the result of the corruption and misbehavior of current elected officials and their big money sponsors.

The good news is that like skittering blobs of mercury, the factions of OWS and like minded groups are reaching consensus on action items and melding into ever growing pools of potential political power.  A prime example is of Veterans For Peace, our own organization stood in solidarity with OWS from the time of the initial demonstrations in New York and that just this week, VFP has  made a national declaration that we will support OWS activities in cities and communities where police and other government brutality threatens the Constitutional rights of protesters to gather and present their petitions.  Here is that statement.

 

Veterans Peace Teams to stand with Occupy Movement

People of color, including Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and working class communities in America have long been on the receiving end of police brutality.

Now with the recent police violence directed toward the Occupy movement, the country at large is waking up to the unpleasant reality that the violence of the system can and will target anyone who stands up for justice and opposes the exploitation of the 99 percent by the 1 percent.

The Veterans For Peace mission statement states that we pledge to work for peaceful conflict resolution and the elimination of war—the ultimate violence. As veterans of conscience, we are compelled to take a stand against police violence toward the national Occupy movement.

Veterans For Peace will establish Veterans Peace Teams to be made available as we can, to those Occupy sites where the local general assemblies feel our participation would be helpful.  We propose that these nonviolent Veterans Peace Teams act as a buffer between Occupy protesters and police violence and ask any and all military/law enforcement veterans to join us in this endeavor.

As veterans, we stand with the Occupy movement as members of the 99 percent and oppose any and all use of force by police against peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble to seek redress of grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

We also stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tahrir Square and worldwide, standing up courageously, leading and often dying in the struggle for equality and justice as they are exposed to massive state-run police and military violence. We recognize that our common enemy is the wealthy power elite, those who control, ravage and exploit.

Excessive use of force by police toward those in the Occupy movement has led to arbitrary arrests, a fractured skull for one veteran and a ruptured spleen for another, near-asphyxiation and trampling of peaceful protesters and pepper-spraying of students sitting peacefully on a sidewalk obstructing nothing at all, among many abuses and injuries. Pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag projectiles, rubber bullets, tasers and other weapons—all of which can cause grave injury and death—have all been deployed against peaceful U.S. citizens.

This abuse of unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional First Amendment rights must cease.

As veterans and as citizens, we implore individual officers, police agencies, elected officials and government agencies to use restraint, negotiation and common sense when dealing with peaceful protesters. We will continue our efforts to convince law enforcement to avoid excessive force, brutality and injury to all involved. We also oppose the increased militarization of police agencies.

We seek to prevent deaths and additional injuries in domestic protests of governmental policies. We realize that those employed in law enforcement are part of the 99 percent, and we call upon all police personnel not to be a domestic front line force for the 1 percent—but to honor and perform their duty to serve and protect the people.

Veterans For Peace

Powerful stuff, I’d say.  We have shed our blood in the past and continue to do so as VFP and Iraq Vets Against the War have been seriously injured in the ongoing events.  Of equal note especially to me is that a political movement is taking form.  One of these to clearly enunciate their grievances and to post a declaration of intent is “WE ARE THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT.”  Their website first puts a human face on the suffering that afflicts so many of our American people.  These are not the lazy sub-humans  portrayed by Senator Orin Hatch or Mayor Blumberg, but flesh and blood hard working people whose main desire is to make a decent living for themselves and their families.

View them at  http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

Their action website is at  https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

This describes “THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT DECLARATION” which has the goal of convening a NATIONAL ASSEMBLY  in Philadelphia the week of July 4th  2012 with the purpose of developing a list of grievances for presentation on behalf of THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT of American citizens.

Their goals are to end corporate domination of our government and the manipulation  of our economy by  Wall Street, big banks and moneyed lobbyists.  The American Military Empire will end  and the federal government will serve its citizens, as originally intended.  Further, if the movement is unable to stimulate action by the current political establishment, we will form a new political party based on these principles in time for the elections of 2014 and CLEAN OUR POLITICAL HOUSE!

There is, after all, hope as long as the structure for our democratic republic exists. It can work if we make it work!

JU

 

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5 Comments
  1. Winnona permalink

    Powerful! Thank you for writing this! Would love to share it if I am allowed.

    • The pleasure is mine and thank you Winnona. Share it as far and wide as you can! This movement is all about networking!
      Johnnie U

  2. Just a quick correction… The language of the 99% Declaration has been changed to indicate that we will not be forming a third party, but instead work to get independent candidates who pledge to redress the grievances elected to office:

    “If the grievances are not redressed and solutions implemented within a reasonable time, the National General Assembly will reconvene and organize candidates to run for all of the 435 House seats and 33 Senate seats in 2014. To receive National General Assembly support, candidates seeking office will pledge to implement the solutions and redress the grievances contained in the July 4th Petition.”

    Please visit us at: http://www.the-99-declaration.org/ and register to volunteer, become a candidate for delegate, or to vote for the delegates.

    • Thank you for your information, Paula. I have tried to read the Declaration in detail and I fully understand why it was amended to to direct support to future independent candidates rather than a third party. In this way, the candidates will be compelled to coalesce around and focus on the articles and principles of the Declaration, not on a new political party. This entire 99 Percent movement is brilliant in concept. It closely parallels the precepts of Veterans For Peace and those coming out of OWS and other like minded groups. Personally, I plan to throw my hat into the ring and coincidently, I renewed my contact with an excellent prospective independent candidate as well as a talented family member who suddenly expressed interest in political activism.

      John U

  3. Make that, we will not BE forming a third party.

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