Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A speech I delivered at Occupy LA on Wednesday 12 October 2011

In 1989 I watched my television screen in awe as a single young Chinese student stood in front of a column of tanks and forced them to stop.

In 1992 again I watched in awe as I saw people rip apart the Berlin Wall.

This year I watched in awe as I saw people fill Tahrir Square in Cairo and demand a government answerable to them.

Today Americans are moved by the same thirst for greater Freedom, Equality and Justice that moved all those champions of Human Dignity to fight for governments free of corruption.

Americans want an end to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan that has cost countless human lives, suffering and TRILLIONS of our tax dollars. A war, that Alan Greenspan said, was fought for oil, period.

86.7 million Americans do not have health insurance today, Americans NEED single-payer health insurance. Millions of Americans have lost their homes, tens of millions of Americans can't find a decent job and 44 million Americans are on food stamps. While we are on the subject, Social Security is not “an entitlement” it has been paid into by American workers over a course of their lifetime. It is not charity it is their pension that some politicians want to rob them of to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

There is much work that needs to be done. More than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Leaky pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water every day. And aging sewage systems send billions of gallons of untreated wastewater cascading into the nation’s waterways each year.

These are among the findings of a report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which assigned an overall D grade to the nation’s infrastructure and estimated that it would take a $2.2 trillion investment from all levels of government over the next five years to bring it into a state of good repair.

In the face of all these staggering needs, Corporations are sitting on TWO TRILLION dollars that they refuse to spend to stimulate the economy, even after America has reduced tax rates to levels not seen since President Eisenhower and a 700 Billion dollar bail out to Wall Street by American taxpayers. It is time to TAX the Corporations, put American workers back to work and fix America’s infrastructure.

Our generation is fighting for Freedoms written into our Bill of Rights, which the so-called “Patriot Act” has diluted. 56% of Californians are in favor of Marriage Equality and yet, Marriage Equality is currently denied in California. Tomorrow, language for a new ballot initiative in 2012 that will restore Marriage Equality in California will be submitted in Sacramento.

America needs just and humane immigration laws that do not make criminals of innocent and honest people who contribute to our national economy. School children in Alabama cry in their classrooms today out of fear because the color of their skin is brown. This is immoral and needs to end now.

Americans are waking-up! In cities all across America, ordinary people are standing-up and demanding simple justice, equality and human dignity. Together we are reclaiming our country.

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