What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

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The Pathology of Greed and Power

That’s the title of a book that needs to be written. Any psychologists out there looking for a non-fiction project? Because dang.

So I’m reading a book of non-fiction (I usually have one or two going, as well as a book or two of poems and a novel). It’s called A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World, by Suzanne Antonetta, and it’s a resonant meditation on mental illness reflected through her experiences as a manic-depressive. And reading it, and reflecting on my own experiences with depression and the stories I hear from my psychiatrist husband, I come to the conclusion that like so many arbitrary binaries (like male/female, for example, or the left/right political spectrum) the binary of neurotypical/neuroatypical is a false one, and that what we really have is a spectrum. And I think it’s foolish to imagine that ANYONE short of a Buddha sports a spotless mental health.

Given that, I think it makes sense to ensure that society maintains checks and balances against any individual exercising too much power. The wreckage that is the global economy manifests what happens when greed is elevated to a virtue and allowed full reign. Surely excessive greed is a pathology that ought to be studied and prevented from doing harm. And same goes for power. Is there any doubt in your mind, dear reader, that Ghadafi is a lunatic? His fashion choices alone show that. Never mind the dead.

Speaking of the dead, and the real impetus behind this blog post, I heard this morning on Democracy Now! that President Obama has succeeded in having assassinated an American citizen, the Muslim cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, without due process. That’s whacked. Literally! I think it’s safe to say that’s way worse than wire-tapping. Or water-boarding. That’s dead.

And no man should have that kind of power. I’m not saying Pres. Obama is a lunatic, but you can’t convince me that anyone, as I said, is completely sane. And you’d have to be kind of crazy to WANT to run this mess of a country. So what do we do?

I don’t know. I’ll leave that to the lawyers, just as I’ll leave writing a book with the above title to an academic (and I sincerely hope both lawyers and academics do the job well!). But I think for the rest of us, hitting the streets in a massive protest is starting to sound like a pretty sane thing to do.

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The Occupy-Wall-Street Folks Have Spoken

Keep in mind–this is an ever-transforming document.

I got this on Facebook from a note from someone who heard this read last night–or rather, chanted via the organized, human megaphone that is the general assembly at Occupy Wall Street.

Enjoy. Post. Spread the word.

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

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.

As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background, we acknowledge the reality: that there is only one race, the human race, and our survival 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 brethren; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from 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 corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. 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 have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give CEO’s exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace.

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

They have continuously sought to end the rights of workers to negotiate their pay and make complaints about the safety of their workplace.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

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

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

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 sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

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

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

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

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

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

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

They have participated in a directly racist action by accepting the contract from the State of Georgia to murder Troy Davis.

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!

And now it’s official.