Occupy Wall Street

by Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer

Director of Rum River Name Change Organization, Inc.




What is happening with “Occupy Wall Street”. Why are they protesting? Hopefully they are not simply protesting due to the ever-increasing gap between the rich and poor.  Although, that is reason enough, there are many reasons I think they are protesting. Protesters are generally claiming to be there in opposition to corporate greed.

There is no doubt in my mind that these protests are akin to the “Arab spring”, though not nearly as violent. Occupy Wall Street is a symptom of the state of the economy; the economy that is propped up by subsidies to the mega corporations.

This movement is a response to the state of the American economy and the obscene disparities between the rich and the poor, which is associated with corporate greed and the modern world economy. This world economy controls our means of survival, and is propped up by all institutions, be they government, religious, legal, academic, media, etc. It’s a kind of economics that pretends it is a science, attempting to force us to believe in its authority, attempts to trick us into thinking that Gross Domestic Product should be the measure of civilized nations. It is a kind of economics that does not take into account rapid deforestation, loss of species, loss of fresh water, depleting natural resources, oil spills, global warming, melting ice-caps, more droughts, floods and hurricanes, nuclear disasters, etc. in its “cost” or GDP calculations.

This world economy perpetuates the myth that presumes, pretentiously, that the earth has limitless “resources”; its the kind of economics that commodifies humans in the same fashion as “natural resources.” Whether expressly or not, I believe all the protesters are standing up against these basic tenets of modern economics, which are incompatible with continuing sustainable civilizations.

Could this be the crucial moment in our time when we demonstrate for all the world that we are willing to move beyond ideological obedience to corporate greed? I hope that, eventually, Occupy Wall Street includes as a demand, that we consider an American-Western, and global strategy for dealing with our current path to planetary destruction.

On Monday October 10th, members of the indigenous community from Owe Aku International Justice Project (OAIJP), First Voice Indigenous Radio, and the United Confederation of the Taino people brought their voices to Occupy Wall Street and remind us to rethink Columbus day.

They addressed how corporate greed and indigenous history have for hundreds of years been an integral part of the indigenous struggle to maintain a way of life, maintain Indigenous territories, and fulfill Indigenous responsibilities to the environment for future generations.

(Note: The leader of the OAIJP recently informed me that he send information about my Rum River watershed, indigenous peoples rights activist initiatives, to the other leadership members of the OAIJP). 

Indigenous leaders said, “Corporate greed is the driving factor for the global oppression and suffering of Indigenous populations. Corporate greed is the driving factor for the conquest and continued suffering for the Indigenous peoples on this continent. Around 100 million Indigenous peoples were eradicated during the process of Europe’s colonization of the western hemisphere. The effects of corporate greed eventually spills over and negatively impacts all people.” 

Indigenous peoples and their supporters seek the formal revocation of the 1493 papal bull Inter Caetera which was a Vatican command to Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the “new world”. This degree sought to establish domination world-wide and called for the subjugation of non-Christian peoples and seizure (occupation) of their lands.
Indigenous people are saying, “Inter Caetera is the foundation of the international system we live under today and directly related to the corporate-state-military occupation and rape of Mother Earth.” I hope Occupy Wall Street protester hear what our nation’s indigenous people are saying and make their message a permanent part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.