Aligning Pagan Values of Community and Honor with Action

We have forgotten who we are

We have sought only our own security
We have exploited simply for our own ends
We have distorted our knowledge
We have abused our power […]

We ask for the gift of remembering
We ask for the strength to change.” – John Matthews, The Quest for the Green Man

The virtue of honor gives us the strength to become capable of living and acting for the long haul, rather than immediate gain. There is nothing we cannot do, because we learn to not give up easily, to approach tasks from a different angle, with practice as our lever. It may take us until we die, but we will accomplish what we set out to, even if it looks completely different in the end than what we had in mind when we began.

I sometimes look at decisions made in our communities, or by big business, or government, and shake my head in bewilderment. The actions taken, and the scandals or upheaval or oppression that result make no sense to me, until I recognize that people are making decisions based on short term gain rather than long term consequence. By valuing honor, and choosing to live as honorably as possible, we commit to a long term view and help those around us to do the same. This in turn helps all of our relationships, both close to home and far reaching.” T. Thorn Coyle “Honor: From the Inside Out”

If you’ve heard about Occupy Wall Street, you more than likely read Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or political websites.

It began on Sept. 17 when a few hundred people answered the call of Adbusters, a Vancouver based anti-consumerist magazine, to converge on Wall Street and show their discontent against corporate greed.

Citizens are still camped out at Liberty Square, which is actually a privately owned park, and there are about 3-5 thousand people in attendance each day. Around twenty organizations and unions have offered their support and will be marching together with citizens who are part of the 99% movement which represents those other than the richest 1% who control the majority of America’s wealth.

It was largely ignored by mainstream media until the NYPD cornered several young women and an officer maced them then casually walked away. Thousands of people poured in the next day. The video of the assault when viral.

The movement has since gotten coverage by CNN, NBC, and FOX news and newspapers. It’s even been discussed by the Senate economic committee.

VIDEO: “I think they’re really touching a nerve,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday of protests on Wall Street that have inspired demonstrations from Burlington, Vt., to Los Angeles. “The nerve is that the average American understands that as a result of the greed and the recklessness and the illegal behavior on Wall Street, these guys plunged us into the horrendous recession that we’re in right now.” Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke allowed that there was “excessive risk taking” by Wall Street when Sanders questioned him on Tuesday about the root causes of the recession and the concerns voiced by protesters. “They blame, with some justification, the financial sector with getting us into this mess,” Bernanke told another member of the Joint Economic Committee. “I can’t blame them,” he added.

Occupy Wall St. didn’t start with a clear set of demands and it still doesn’t have a streamlined agenda. I’ve attended a couple of actions in the past with the Pagan Cluster where I learned about direct democracy. There isn’t a central leader, though people with experience do step up to help guide discussions. And that is what Occupy Wall street is about. It’s about getting people out away from their TVs and taking all of their grumblings since the economic collapse of 2008 and putting them into face to face meetings where citizens can plan for change. This has resonated with thousands of people. Protests have taken place and are being planned across North America, Europe, and some in Australia.

Some ideas being discussed are for citizens to:

-move money from large corporate banks to community banks (SWAT team responds when citizens try to remove their money from St. Louis Bank of America in August during a protest about mortgage fraud.) Video)

-push for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood (This is all ready being organized by Move to Amend)

– push to end large donations and gifts from lobbies to elected officials

– push to reform elections making it possible for citizens of various economic status to run for office

– Push for regulations to end tax loop holes for large corporations so they must pay their fair share in taxes.

US corporations, and we aren’t talking about small business owners, are enjoying record profits without paying taxes. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office study reported that 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations operating in the US exploit corporate tax havens. America’s most profitable companies such as ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank of America and Citigroup all paid NO federal income taxes. $1 trillion in revenue is lost each decade to Tax havens.

In 2009, Bank of America received a net tax benefit. Basically they were given tax payer money. $2.3 billion to be exact. That would almost cover the proposed $2.5 billion cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). That program assists 34 million low-income families pay heating and cooling bills.

Staff of Asclepius “Saturday: US and UK Citizens Unite to Uncut Social Benefits”

The topic of cuts to US Social Security and health programs such as Medicare and Medicare has been covered extensively by the Staff of Asclepius. “Cutting Social Security and Medicare is a Raw Deal”

Healthcare has become a big topic among participants. Here are some of their stories from We Are The 99%.

I am 1

“I am a single father.
My daughter had over $400,000 in uninsured medical expenses after she exceed her lifetime $1,000,000 insurance cap at 3 months old.
The state insurance has reduced her nursing coverage from 60 hours to 36 hours weekly, making it nearly impossible to work.
I have been laid off 3 times in 5 years.  I now make 30% less than I did in 2006.
I am going through bankruptcy, for which I will have to spend about $2,000.
I am the 99%”

I Am 2

“$30 K in student loan debt + one chronic health condition + low-paid office job + freelance work when I can get it = I AM NOT SURVIVING. They said “Get a job,” so I did. They said, “Work harder while we taker your tax $.” So I did. Then they gambled my $, kept all of theirs, crashed the economy, and accused me of asking for “handouts.” That’s when I stopped listening. I just want the health and safety that’s my right – AND YOU’D BEDT BE SURE I’M COMING FOR IT! I’m the 99%.

I Am 3

“We are a single income family of 5. Dad works 65+ hours a week. Mom has Crohn’s disease and has 300k in medical debt. Mommy couldn’t keep a job even if she wanted to due to the debilitating pain and inconvenience of Crohn’s disease. Mommy quit paying her bills and Daddy has to control the finances and keep in his name to keep the collectors away. Best part about it? We pay 800.00 per month for healthcare and the insurance company decided the medicines needed to keep me from loosing my colon and having a colostomy at 25 were not covered after the fact. We have a nice home and a reliable car, and are certainly in a better boat than some. The part that kills us is the shitty insurance that is offered by the fortune 500 company that Daddy works for and that doesn’t seem to cover much. My daughters 7,5 and 6 months better make good grades and get scholarships to college because we cant finance our retirement 🙁

Image 5

At 21 years old, I am …

One semester from graduating college w/ a degree no one seems to hire

In massive debt because of that once “dream degree”

About to become a mother to a baby whose illness had gotten us booted off gov’t health insurance … at 9 months pregnant …

Scared for our future

I am the 99%”

I AM 6

“I am a match to donate a kidney to a friend.

I am also unemployed and have no health insurance (laid off of my job of 20 years).

Was told by the hospital, largest in MD, and friend’s health insurer, largest in the nation, that I must par for pre-op exams.

I am the 99%”

You may not agree that change can come about through protests or maybe you do. Participate in direct peaceful action. Donate to one of the actions or send a care package. Either way do something. Take action by talking with people in your community. I’m in a small Missouri town so I talked with the checkers at the local grocer and sent a care package to Occupy Wall Street and a few dollars to Occupy St. Louis. Write your state and national representatives while these issues are drawing their attention.

You are the 99%

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