by Athena M. Henderson
When I meet people and talk to them about Occupy, many of them have not heard of Occupy. I am shocked by this after all the media coverage Occupy received last fall when Occupy Wall Street took over Zuccotti Park in New York City and other Occupies camped out in parks, plazas, and town squares across the country, across the world. Sometimes people say they have heard of Occupy but are confused about Occupy. Maybe they see the Occupy buttons I wear and ask me what Occupy stands for, what it wants. I am happy to inform people, but in doing so realize how much work Occupy has to do to educate the public about the movement before we can change the world for the better.
Occupy is a nonviolent movement. It doesn’t want wars or drone attacks. It doesn’t want the United States to invade other countries to enrich corporations. It doesn’t want Abu Graib or Guantanamo Bay prisons where people are detained without legal rights and tortured.
Occupy wants people to have jobs, homes, and to be able to send their children to college without taking on a lifetime of debt.
We want women to have equal pay with men and for all people to be treated fairly under the law regardless of their income. We want the government to be free from corruption so it can prosecute those who crashed the economy and built such wealth inequality into American life. We want elections free from the unfair influence of big money. We want our democracy back.
We want people to be able to unionize so they can be treated like human beings and not machines. We want people to have a say in the means of production. We don’t want teachers to be treated like cheap babysitters. We oppose those in the 1% who want to privatize everything that belongs to the people in order to make an extra buck.
We want every person to have affordable healthcare. We want to stop and reverse climate change so the planet does not die.
What Occupy wants seems obvious to those of us who are in the movement. I understand the Occupy message because I have been involved in politics my entire life. I have shared the values and goals of Occupy since I was a child in the Greek resistance fighting the Nazis during the Second World War.
The media needs to do a better job communicating the Occupy message. They need to do this for humanity, for the planet, for the babies.
It distresses me that people don’t know much about Occupy and the issues we are raising but know a great deal about issues such as voter ID laws, gay marriage, and abortion rights as means to deny people their rights to vote, marry, or control their reproductive rights without thought to the consequences or the bigger picture. For instance, people appear content to protect every baby’s right to be born, but won’t lift a finger to help them once they are born. In fact, they are content to afflict them with every one of society’s ills from joblessness, homelessness, lack of healthcare, lack of education, to life on a toxic and dying planet.
I have always loved babies and think that they deserve better. Like everyone else, I would like to see abortions become rare and only necessary in dire circumstances, but the right to an abortion, the right for women to control their own bodies, should not be taken away from them—not by anyone, certainly not by a bunch of male politicians. The necessity for abortion can most effectively be reduced by readily available birth control and the education of women. This will reduce unwanted pregnancies and make the lives of women healthier and more fulfilling.
I have always supported and advocated for babies. I have seen and heard of atrocities done to babies that should never have been allowed to happen and must never be allowed to happen again. In Greece, during the Second World War, Nazis would twirl Gypsy babies around by their feet and smash their heads into tree trunks so they wouldn’t waste a bullet. The Nazis used to burn babies in their cribs until they were charcoal. The United States uses drones to kill babies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and around the world. I fail to see the difference.
Occupy stands for freedom, justice, and democracy. It seeks to protect all life and provide all people, especially babies, with a happy, healthy, and productive life; however, we in America, unfortunately, are not all working toward this goal. We are worried more about protecting a fetus’s right to be born than we are about killing him or her once he or she is born.