Why This Issue
Do you know anyone who has lost a job recently? Or their home? Do you have a son or daughter getting out of college carrying debt they do not know how they will repay?
Are you outraged that representatives of the United States used torture? Does it frighten you that Monsanto has hired XE, formerly known as Blackwater, the largest private army in the world, as its own police force to protect their efforts to market genetically modified seeds around the globe? Are you horrified when you remember watching police stream pepper spray at young students in California? Is it your vision of “what democracy looks like” that in the Defense Authorization Bill this year? Congress and Obama (who signed it), authorized the indefinite detention of US citizens who are deemed to be terrorists. Are you concerned over SOPA and other attempts to control the internet? Are you tired of your country going to war, often to protect its economic interests and oil? Are you worried that the FAA has authorized drones to fly over United States civilian air space? Some cities, New York, LA, and Chicago, have placed orders for them.
Do you throw up your hands in disgust that Congress has shielded its members from prosecution for insider trading or that most of them got elected, being financed by big money and corporations whose bidding they do once elected? Were you disappointed that the United States Supreme Court found corporations to be persons?
If your answer to any of these is “yes,” you probably will be, or perhaps already are, interested in Occupy.
We now live in a world where wealth and power are consolidated in the hands of few people. The power of corporations to accumulate wealth and acquire virtual control over governments has grown to shocking levels. While this trend has been growing for some time, people in the United States have been awakened to it in light of the recent global economic collapse. They have become outraged because they are realizing that the economic collapse happened because of greed and injustice. People have decided to claim their space and rights to demand something radically different.
Inspired by the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupy groups have grown across the United States and now the world. Our community wanted to look at this movement in light of the Catholic Worker vision. Ellen Rehg initially gives some background to Occupy that will help readers understand Occupy and its roots. Ben Schartman explains the need for autonomous spaces where people choose to live in a more just, authentic and human way. He notes how Occupy offers such a place. Jenny Truax presents the Catholic Worker tenet of nonviolence and shows its importance in bringing about radical change. James Meinert gives a glimpse into Occupy St.Louis and examines how the oppression of the system works its way into opposition movements. Brenna and Eric Cussen Anglada from New Hope Catholic Worker Farm point out the Catholic Worker call to “Occupy the Land.” Lastly, in the Centerfold, Jeff Finnegan provides us with images of the movement.
In the regular house articles, Annjie Schiefelbein and Jenny Truax tell us about the changes in their lives at TC House and then Annjie goes on to give us a glimpse of life at Karen House. We also feature some “letters to the editor.”
We are grateful for all of those struggling throughout the world to bring forth the best of life for the human community and are inspired by their courage and generosity. We live in an unjust and violent world. Let us Occupy it with all the love, justice and strength of character that we can muster.
- Teka Childress