A crowd of us marched today from the Greensboro Public Library on Church Street, to Governmental Plaza to raise awareness about unemployment in Greensboro and to start the conversation about how we can build a better economy. Once at Governmental Plaza, we heard from several speakers, including Christine Chaplik, who had prepared a speech which she agreed to publish here.
We are here today to shine a light on the fact that, at minimum, 14 million Americans are unemployed and at least 26 million are un or under employed, Many people’s jobs have been out sourced to other countries.
And now, some Americans are outsourcing themselves to other countries in order to be able to work.
Big business has no intention of helping us, their only concern is the bottom line, not the lives of the people who have been destroyed by these corporate policies of greed, bad business decisions and pollution. Congress won’t help us, they have another master, and it’s not we the people. They blame the dismal economic situation regarding lack of jobs on lazy people who want to live off the system. They bail out their buddies and refuse to help citizens who are losing every thing they have worked for all their lives due to illegal foreclosure practices. There is just no end to their greed. Unemployment insurance is a vital important lifeline and if millions lose unemployment benefits, it will only compound the human suffering that is sweeping through our cities, our suburbs,and our rural areas as a result of the Great Recession.
They teach us of the vital importance of other lifelines – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are even more important during hard times.
They want us to beg for crumbs, those of us that are working are experiencing stagnant wages or decreased earning potential. Decreased benefits, or no benefits. In the mean time, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, CEOs in 2010 received pay at a ratio of $375 to $1 and yet refuse to pay anymore in taxes instead trying to shift the burden to the middle class, the poor, disabled and retired. Anyone but them!
These corporations are receiving billions in taxpayer subsidies using it to pollute our air and soil and contaminate our water extracting fossil fuels through mining, drilling or hydraulic fracturing and refuse to accept any responsibility for poisoning our planet and all who live on it. Congress refuses to cut these subsidies but will not vote to extend unemployment benefits for millions out of work through no fault of their own.
So, we can’t depend on corporations or the government to dig us out of this hole. Who can we depend on? We have to approach it from a solution point of reference. Stop feeding the machine.
We can depend on ourselves, occupy our lives.
How do we do this? How do we occupy our lives? By bypassing corporations and their polluting services. Our food supply is approximately 80% genetically modified frankenfood. Grow your own or buy locally from those that do. Save rain water, water is going to be a serious issue in the near future, learn now to conserve. In Southern Florida they used cisterns on the top of their houses to collect rain water. For those that can, open your own environmental friendly businesses, supplying your communities with needed products and services. Support those businesses. If you are knowledgeable about running a business, help someone else. Use credit unions or small banks to obtain financing or other banking needs, Fire the big banks!
Duke Power is requesting an 18% rate increase for residential services, less for businesses. People are out of work, struggling with diminished wages if they are working, and they want to increase our rates, while making millions in profits every quarter? Their reason for requesting this rate increase to build more coal plants to continue to pollute our environment. So they want us to pay them more money to kill us. In this case we need to occupy our energy. Fire Duke Energy!
Recently I saw a video about a school in India called the Barefoot College. It is a place where uneducated, illiterate woman, some who don’t even speak the language, go to learn to become solar engineers. They are taught by watching and doing. It is a six month course and when they complete it they return to their communities and install solar power giving their communities, in some cases, their first experience with electricity. If they can do it, we can do it.
They also are advocates of rain water harvesting, finding it the best solution to areas that experience droughts routinely. Mahatma Gandhi’s central belief was that the knowledge, skills and wisdom found in villages should be used for development before getting skills from outside. He also believed that sophisticated technology should be used in rural India, but it should be in the hands and in control of the poor communities so that they are not dependent or exploited as it leads to replacement.
Sounds to me like he was telling the people to occupy their resources. We need to occupy our food, our jobs our energy and resources. It might not be tomorrow, but we can work our way toward making corporations and big banks obsolete.
When I first moved to Greensboro, there was a sign painted on a building in my neighborhood. If left such an impression on me I never forgot it. It said: You are fodder for the factory and battlefield, choose to be free!
We are the 99%, choose to occupy your lives, your freedom.