It seems that awareness of the Occupy movement finally has spread to Baton Rouge. And so, armed with the media’s talking points, the naysayers come crawling out of the woodwork to re-enact the red scare and the culture wars.

What I would like to say, before you stop reading, is that if you disagree with the movement, then you should set down the paper, turn off the TV and take part in a general assembly before you form an opinion. I guarantee, once you get past the corporate media spin, you’ll find that we have a lot more in common than you were led to believe.

The second thing I would like to address is people’s fear that the Occupy movement advocates a redistribution of wealth. Ignoring the fact that mass quantities of wealth have been, and continue to be, redistributed from the lower classes to the ultrawealthy — see bank bailouts, corporate tax loopholes, big business subsidies, trillions in near-zero interest loans from the Fed and the growing gap between the rich and poor — the Occupy movement does not call for a redistribution of wealth.

The Occupy movement is a manifestation of our general discontent with a political process that puts money, in the form of corporate profits, before the will of the people. Occupiers have awoken to the fact that there is a systemic problem in the way our government is run. We have a political system in which the only way to get elected is to outspend your opponent, the only way to outspend your opponent is to accept corporate donations, and the only way to get corporate donations is to legislate in a way that creates corporate profits.

The Occupiers do not hate corporations. Corporations are legal fictions. What is there to hate? We do not hate bankers, or traders, or rich people. We’re sure most of them are great people. Just like everyone else, we invite them to come and take part in the discussion.

What we do hate is a system that expects us to choose between two parties, competing over which one can create more corporate profits, election after election without eventually waking up.

That’s exactly what the Occupiers have done. We’ve woken up. We’ve seen how the system works, and we won’t be lulled back to sleep.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough dreaming.

We all have to wake up if we want this to work.

We are the 99 percent.

We can change the system.

This is not an official statement from Occupy Baton Rouge. It was not approved by the general assembly.

Bryan Perkins

writer

Baton Rouge