"OCCUPY JUSTICE"By Herman Bell

4/6/12

The people Occupy Justice to express dissatisfaction with their government and elected officials. The recent near melt-down of the U.S. economy on Wall Street, brought on by unregulated trading, big banks, and the complicity of elected officials, leaves absolutely no doubt that the U.S. government is no longer "of and by the people." Through lobbyists and campaign contributions to elected officials, Big Money - the banks and Wall Street - now fully control the levers of power in the U.S. Their officials legislated laws that opened the speculative flood gates on Wall Street and nearly toppled the U.S. economy.

So the people Occupy Justice and elsewhere to publicly rebuke those in charge for malfeasance and betrayal of the people's trust. (There are only a few honest people in government; the rest are part of the regime.) Accordingly, we have a job crisis - people out of work, losing their homes, sleeping in the streets; a crisis in our schools, which have become dysfunctional, expensive, and less accessible to people who earn their living by the sweat of their brow; a health-care crisis wherein elected officials reveal themselves too beholden to the pharmaceutical and insurance industry to enact laws that eliminate the middleman and mandate universal health-care as a human right for all U.S. citizens.

The people gather and Occupy Justice to protest mass incarceration, a policy that targets a disproportionate number of black and brown citizens and functions both as an instrument of social control and as a foil that diverts attention from the pressing issues of race, transparency, basic fairness, and economic disparity in our society. It is a violent and scapegoating policy and is unacceptable as a response to the raft of social concerns that go unaddressed in our society. Rather, it reflects, through manipulative use of the criminal justice system, the will of the "privileged few and special interest" who control and initiate social policy and who violently reject popular demand for fundamental change and fairness in our society.

Among the mass-incarcerated are political prisoners: former Black Panthers and members of Native American, MOVE, and other protest groups of the 60s and 70s who pushed back, who fought and continue to fight for social justice and basic fairness in our society, men and women who spend and continue to spend decades in torturous isolation, and who now are being denied release on parole after having served their time. You frequently hear U.S. government officials calling for release of political prisoners in other lands. We should hear you do the same throughout this land, and you should invite people outside the country to join this call. Accordingly, we political prisoners salute and celebrate Occupy Justice.

Herman Bell

Stay connected with Herman Bell