In case you haven’t heard, the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning something pretty big tomorrow. For the first time in national history, the United States will know what it feels like to spend a day without the 99%. Across the country (and around the world) the working class will go on strike to protest its marginalization by world leaders and corporate crooks.
Strikes have always been a way for unionized workers to get the attention of those in power, whether it be corporate executives or politicians. But barely twelve percent of American workers are union members, and even those who are might not be willing or able to put their jobs at risk by participating in general strike.
Image via Occupy Everywhere
Most Occupy May Day advocates understand that a conventional general strike is not in the cards. But that doesn’t mean we can’t sill show the world what they would lose in a world with no middle class.
What Occupy Wall Street is advocating instead is a day in which members of the 99% take whatever actions they can to withdraw from participation in the normal workings of the economic system. Here are 5 easy ways that everyone can participate in tomorrow’s historical action, regardless of employment status.
1. Don’t Shop: The middle-class consumer creates the incentive to conceive, manufacture, and sell what our economy produces. That demand drives business opportunities and spurs investment. If the 99% stops spending its giving its hard-earned money to global corporations, crooked CEOs won’t be able to afford yet another lobbyist to help bend the laws to their own advantage. By not shopping, you will hit corporations where it really counts, the wallet.
2. Don’t Bank: Big banks are some of the worst criminals in the United States. Their fraudulent lending practices are what crashed the economy, and their complete disregard for the welfare of their customers has led to millions of foreclosures, many unnecessary, over the past few years. May 1st is a great day to move your money out of a corporate bank, and into a community controlled credit union.
3. Don’t Go To School: American student debt just pass the $1 trillion mark. The quality of education in the United States is falling further behind other countries every day, yet it costs more to go to school here than almost anywhere else in the world. The government, private lenders, and for-profit colleges tell students that getting an education is a good reason to go into mountains of debt, even as they push to increase student loan interest rates. For one day, refuse to participate in this racket. Gather your fellow classmates and take to the streets to educate each other about what’s really happening to students in America.
4. Don’t Drive: In 2011, oil companies raked in $261,000 in profit per minute, while middle class families struggled to put food on the table. Despite this obscene profit, most oil companies paid zero dollars in federal taxes, and some even got a refund. Why? Because they enjoy millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies for polluting our planet and exploiting the last bit of its natural resources. Ditch your car, and ride a bike or walk instead. Refuse to be a part of the problem, even just for a day.
5. Don’t Work: Times are hard, and not everyone can simply walk out of work without facing serious financial repercussions. Still, consider taking a personal day to join demonstrations, marches, disruptions, occupations, and other mass actions. You can take your lunch hour to write personal letters to your state and local representatives, asking them to take action on an issue that’s close to your heart. Or simply take five minutes during your day to talk to a fellow member of the 99% about why you support the Occupy movement, and why they should get involved.
How will you participate in the May 1st General Strike? Share your ideas in a comment!
Image via StrikeEverywhere.net