The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 in Activism, VCS Alumni | No Comments

A couple days ago, I ran into VCS alumna Shellyne Rodriguez, who (as I mentioned in last week’s post) has been working as a member of Occupy Wall Street’s Call to Action Working Group. Shellyne stopped by the VCS department to drop off the newest issue of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, as well as copies of the newly printed pamphlet version of the The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, which was transcribed and edited by Ryan Hoffman, Lex Rendon, and the Call to Action Working Group, officially accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011, and later amended on October 18th, 2011 to make its narrative even more inclusive.

This first pamphlet version of the Declaration was printed in a 10,000-copy run by The Sparrow Project, and financed by support from a large group of activists, artists, and occupiers. A second edition of 100,000 copies is already in the works. It will include a solidarity letter from Tahir Square and additional documentation from the NYC General Assembly, and will be distributed to other occupied sites across the country.

Shellyne will be continuing her work with the Call to Action Working Group, and I will post further updates from her as I hear about them.

You can see the pamphlet in its entirety at this link, and read more about the upcoming second edition here. I have also included the full text of the Declaration below.

To check out what’s going with Occupy Wall Street, visit the Occupy Wall Street website and The NYC General Assembly website. You can also see streaming coverage of occupation events in New York City and around the world at Occupy Streams.


The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City —As accepted by the New York City General Assembly on September 29, 2011

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

We, the people, acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, not from corporations, which exploit the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when banks, corporations, and governments have become a plutocracy, which places profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of education debt.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They control the media, and use it to misinform and manipulate the public.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They perpetuate inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians and public institutions, who are responsible for regulating them.

They have poisoned the food supply through irresponsible practices, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They have accepted private contracts to enslave and murder prisoners, often without due process.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have profited from cruel treatment of countless animals, and have actively hidden these practices.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products that endanger lives.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction.

They have passed laws allowing the government to be controlled by banks (including the Fed) and corporate interests, which wrests control from the people.

They continually appoint bankers to the top economic posts, ensuring that the government’s economic policy reflects the interests of the plutocracy and not those of the people.

The have instituted unconstitutional measures that strip us of our rights, giving a vast public and private security apparatus unprecedented access to our private lives.

They have squandered our public treasure, over half of federal discretionary spending, into the military and security state, while waging immoral and illegal wars opposed by the people of the United States and the world.

The have wasted trillions of dollars on these wars, much of it spent on contracts outsourced to private mercenary corporations directly affiliated with members of government.

They have perpetuated colonialism abroad, maintaining a military presence in dozens of countries, and hijacking the economies of dozens more.

The have colluded with governments and companies in torture and murder in direct contradiction with the Geneva Convention.*

We have been complicit with out consumption, our money, and our silence, until now.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

* These grievances are not all-inclusive

Visual & Critical Studies