The Faces of Occupy Wall Street – Luke Barnesmoore
October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
“I’m 19 years old. The economic crisis in 2008 affected me in a couple of different ways. It affected my family’s financial situation and it also effected my tuition here at San Francisco State University. It brought my family, which is middle class, really very much further down in our living standard from where we were in 2007. As credit cards were paid down the limit on the credit card got taken down with the payment. So in the end our household ended up with very little credit. I ended up having to leave private school and start going to public school. I mean there were some really big changes in my life as a result [of the financial crisis].
I was a child when 9/11 happened and I spent so many years of my life in that media bubble that they created – this Islamaphobia, this patriotism, all this insanity. As I grew older and I really started to read, none of it made sense. I’m an international relation student now and I do economics within international relations but I’m very much against the neo-liberal policy and the foreign wars that we are in as a result of it. And the cut to education. And the cut to healthcare. And the fact that we’re moving away from a state that provides for the welfare of its citizens and towards a state that provides for the welfare of its businesses. It’s unacceptable.
I’m just horrified at the idea that the state is cutting [San Francisco State University] funding. This is a school that is meant to educate the middle class. There’s a lot of people who did not receive an adequate high school education in this country because we don’t fund that well enough either. So the idea of cutting the funding to the school that provides for those people that didn’t receive an adequate education in high school that wish to move further is not acceptable. In the face of that they are spending trillions of dollars, more than they spent on the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase and all of World War II put together for these big bank bailouts. It’s not acceptable to be doing that at the same time as cutting education which is the basis of human capital which makes us productive on a global scale and which allows democracy to function. There’s no functioning democracy if people aren’t educated enough to critically analyze what’s going on around them.
It’s occupy everywhere. It’s in every country. In every city. It’s everywhere and it’s because we are the people. This is the 99%. This is the workers. These are the people they are trying to take education from. As more and more people become aware of what’s going on, more and more people will take to the streets. This has no end until there really is structural change and that’s when I’m leaving.
My plan is that the government should only invest in 5 sectors: education, healthcare, basic infrastructure, clean water and sanitation and food. Beyond that the government needs to keep a safe society but they do not need to be intervening in our social structure. They do not need to be cutting funding from those 5 sectors that they need to be supporting and they do not need to be supporting a military budget that allows for a conquistadorial approach to the world. This cowboy type of foreign policy is not acceptable. The fact that we’ve switched to a new president… nothing at all has changed. Guantanamo Bay is still open, our civil liberties have been further trampled under the Obama administration, the CIA is fully operational in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. We have a new face. They gave him the Nobel Peace Prize. They said ‘change’ but nothing has changed. In fact they’ve gone further and they’ve bailed out all these banks who created these fake mortgages, bundled them up into derivatives and sold them.”