Protzmann is a sophomore philosophy major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The time for words is soon coming to an end. We, the 99 percent, have seen our country driven into the ground by your hands. There once was a time when hard work and integrity ensured an individual an equitable share of the resources. There once was a time when America was spoken of in reverence by the world. There once was a time when the people could trust those they allowed to hold the reins of power.
That time has long since passed. We used to envision a brighter future for all people. Now we are barely able to hope for economic security for our own families. The dream of humanity united in the cause of justice and equality is now a nightmare of division and inequity.
You tell us to “work harder.” Men and women now work longer hours than ever before. Despite this, the real value of much of our wages has been falling for decades. An honest day’s work no longer puts food on the table. All the while, your share of the income has risen to astronomical levels. Millions desire to work, yet are unable to do so because you refuse to use the trillions of dollars in wealth you sit on to employ them.
You tell us to “tighten our belts.” You expect the middle and working classes to bear the burden of balancing the budget. Yet we are the ones you drove into unemployment and stagnating wages. We are the ones who have seen our share of the wealth diminish. We are the ones less capable than ever to make sacrifices. But you still have the gall to demand lower taxes for yourselves and accuse us of class warfare if we ask you to make a sacrifice.
You tell us to “trust in the markets.” We did just that. We allowed you to deregulate Wall Street. You told us it was a matter of freedom and liberty for capitalism to be unleashed, and that market controls and oversight were groundless precautions of ignorant socialists. We unchained the beast because you said it would be in our best interests. Now look where we are. The culture of greed that greases the wheels of capitalism has spun out of control and wrecked the world economy.
We are waking up from the American dream. Right now in New York City and Boston, thousands are marching in protest of your destructive leadership. You wrote us off as rebellious youths looking for something to complain about. But then you saw the middle aged, the elderly and the white-collar professional begin marching as well.
J.P. Morgan Chase recently donated $4.6 million to the New York Police Department. At first we were a joke to you. Now we are a threat. Now you are scared.
Many large and powerful unions have begun siding with the 99 percent. The Transit Workers Union claims over 220,000 members in 22 states across the nation. Of those members, 38,000 work in New York City. Imagine if they all went on strike. That’s right. Imagine the greatest city in the world shut down at the hands of the 99 percent. You only call it class warfare when we fight back.
We hold the power of the pen, of the ballot box and of the idea. How you react in the coming months will determine what we choose to do with these tools of democracy. Will you accept an equal share of responsibility for the upkeep of the nation that allowed you to become successful in the first place? Or will you continue to ignore your duty and allow the vast majority of Americans to suffer for it?