Don Schrader on Occupy Wall Street
I largely boycott Wall Street as long as I live.
I switched from a bank to a credit union 21 years ago. Credit unions are member-owned, not for profit, not invested on Wall Street and exempt from paying federal tax. Credit unions are not perfect, but they are far better than banks!
I own no stocks on Wall Street and never have. I reject all gambling! Wall Street is the worst gambling casino on Earth! Wall Street corporations steal the labor and resources of millions worldwide and cause massive misery, murders and environmental disasters.
Almost 66 years old, I receive $386 per month of retirement Social Security. If I were still in the work force, I would aim never to work for a Wall Street corporation.
I enjoy living simply and healthy on less than half the U.S. poverty level and less than half the federal income taxable level for me as a single person—to boycott the U.S. empire’s greed and wars! I lived well in 2010 on $4,126 for my total expenses—rent, food, etc.
I have owned no car for 32 years. I have ridden in no car for 10 years. I love to walk most places I go. Occasionally I ride the bus or train.
I am glad I own no refrigerator, no television, no cooking stove, no gun, no washer/dryer, no computer, no big house, no air conditioner, no cell phone, no credit or debit cards, no charge account, no jet travel, no tattoos, no business suit. I am glad I consume no cigarettes, no booze, no prescription drugs, no illegal drugs, no junk food. Freedom is not having and not wanting these things!
Sadly, the spending addictions of most of the U.S.’ 99 percent keep Wall Street feasting on profits. Sadly, most Americans are as addicted to buying what we do not need as any heroin addict is to the needle.
I buy very little from any Wall Street corporation. I buy nothing from Wal-Mart, McDonald’s. I shop at the flea market, yard sales, thrift stores. I write down every penny I spend every day and add it up.
I treasure the simple pleasures of life—natural health, gardening, close friendships, nature, passionate sex and romance, sunshine, silence, deep conversation, vigorous daily exercises, heart-touching music, naked body freedom, forgiveness, collecting wisdom in order to live it.
I would trade places with no millionaire, no billionaire on Wall Street or anywhere.
I warmly encourage my fellow activists in this international grassroots nonviolent movement—change as fast as you can as long as you enjoy it and are quite sure you will stick with it. Tragically, many of the ’60s activists gradually sold out to the system. They got seduced by big bucks, stuff and status and prostituted their consciences and careers. We need to commit for life!
I wrote a letter a few months ago in which I expounded on the growing disparity between the rich and poor in our country [“A Tax on the Economy,” Aug. 11-17]. I also predicted that because of this disparity we were going to seeing a revolution erupting from our middle/lower classes. It is happening now. The injustices of the unfair low taxation of the rich and ridiculous tax loopholes the rich take advantage of have finally been noticed by “the other 99 percent.”
I find it repulsive that the Republican politicians along with Fox News portray the Wall Street protesters as mobsters and horrible Americans. They accuse these protesters of inciting “class wars.” In actuality the class wars really started years ago with the Bush tax cuts that favored the rich and started our country down the road of massive federal deficits. And who is paying for all of this? The middle and lower class Americans. And it is getting worse. According to the ThinkProgress organization the top 1 percent is taking in more of the nation’s income than at any other time since the ’20s.
Besides being mad as hell, many of these protesters are not sure what can be done to rectify these injustices. I can tell you one simple thing that should be done and done now. Stop re-electing politicians that keep protecting the rich and fat cat corporations from paying their fair share of taxes. Find out who these individuals are and get their fat asses out of office. Power to the people!
The Social Safety Net
[Re: News, “Distress Signals,” Oct. 13-19] A few years ago while I was checking out of the household goods store where Tiffany was a clerk, she smiled, was pleasant, professional and had beautiful hair. Unfortunately, the store closed and she was out of a job. She had a young son to raise. Our "social safety net" has been torn for a long time, since at least the ’80s, under Reagan. This young single parent tried to get help. Her family tried numerous times to get help for her and her young son.
Until we figure out how to create good paying, stable employment, fair rent and less stressful existence, people's mental health will be challenged in trying to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. I hope Tiffany will be treated as a mentally ill person who killed her son during a depressive episode, when she and her son had nowhere to go.
CYFD should have helped this family years ago, and her sister Emily Apodaca tried numerous times to alert them to a desperate situation. But CYFD funding is always on the edge, right? We can return to barbarism, or we can be a compassionate society that takes care of its fragile members.
Also, receiving help from tribal versus city agencies gets confusing. The separate agencies should try harder to communicate effectively together.
Dear Alibi ,
[Re: Feature, “The Longest War: American Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan” Oct. 13-19] I understand some Afghans have died as well.
[Re: Film Capsules, Restless, Oct. 13-19] I did "forget" about Paranoid Park for a minute but thanks for reminding us that it's one of the greatest works of cinema from Gus Van Sant and ... it's on Netflix streaming. So I have to hang up now and go watch it.
And another thing: Your critique of Restless would be a lot more relevant if you were born in 1997 and wrote for the Portland Mercury. Dude, you sound old. What's wrong with “twee hispsterdom?” You must confusing this film with the next Twilight. Gee-whiz, Gramps.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.