Our democracy has been hijacked. The corporations and special interests pay our politicians to do their bidding instead of the people's. This legal bribery has to stop.
"Occupy," says Noam Chomsky in his new book, "is the first major public response to thirty years of class war." One of the movement's greatest successes has been simply to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda, influencing reporting, public perception and language itself.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau proclaimed in his Social Contract that men, though born free, were everywhere in chains. Astonishingly, three centuries later, inequality continues to dog capitalism and taint democracy's legitimacy -- worse now even than back then.
The old system is crumbling under the weight of its own corruption, as Occupy, The Arab Spring, the ongoing financial crisis and a host of other factors and influences come to a head here, in 2012. We must admit these are no ordinary times.
The movement has called for communal conversations in hundreds of American cities to successfully shift national dialogue from hypocritical austerity discussion to social and economic fairness.
Occupiers said what seemed undeniable, but no one else would say. The economy isn't working for a lot of people. The political system ignores the poor, slights the middle class, and grovels to the rich. The official story about America can seem like a cruel satire.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Charles Dickens wrote describing the period before the 1789 French Revolution. For America's rich, the 1 percent, 2011 was the best of times; for everyone else, the 99 percent, it was the worst of times.
On the streets of Moscow the protesters chanted: "We exist!" Everywhere, the "we" couldn't be broader, often remarkably, even strategically, ill defined: 99% of humanity containing so many potentially conflicting strains of thought and being.
Occupy DC protesters have been squatting in McPherson Park, in the middle of one of Washington's key commercial and government hubs, since October. And what have they achieved?
What connects the many social movements in the world today? It appears that the occupy movement is part of a larger wave of global resistance against the status quo manifested in specific local forms.