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The Best Among Us; Join the Revolt On Wall Street or Stand On The Wrong Side of History

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There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say "I am innocent" is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher

Choose. But choose fast. The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this. They are not going to wait for you. They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets. They have their metal barricades set up on every single street leading into the New York financial district, where the mandarins in Brooks Brothers suits use your money, money they stole from you, to gamble and speculate and gorge themselves while one in four children outside those barricades depend on food stamps to eat.

Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today they run the state and the financial markets. They disseminate the lies that pollute our airwaves. They know, even better than you, how pervasive the corruption and theft have become, how gamed the system is against you, how corporations have cemented into place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequious cadre of politicians, judges and journalists who live in their little gated Versailles while 6 million Americans are thrown out of their homes, a number soon to rise to 10 million, where a million people a year go bankrupt because they cannot pay their medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of proper care, where real joblessness is spiraling to over 20 percent, where the citizens, including students, spend lives toiling in debt peonage, working dead-end jobs, when they have jobs, a world devoid of hope, a world of masters and serfs.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 

Who the hell cares? If the stocks of ExxonMobil or the coal industry or Goldman Sachs are high, life is good. Profit. Profit. Profit. That is what they chant behind those metal barricades. They have their fangs deep into your necks. If you do not shake them off very, very soon they will kill you. And they will kill the ecosystem, dooming your children and your children's children. They are too stupid and too blind to see that they will perish with the rest of us. So either you rise up and supplant them, either you dismantle the corporate state, for a world of sanity, a world where we no longer kneel before the absurd idea that the demands of financial markets should govern human behavior, or we are frog-marched toward self-annihilation. 

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Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Click here to access OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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Thank you Chris.... by Donald on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:34:31 AM
Once again the young will lead us.I've known for a... by Miriam Callaghan on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:38:52 AM
I am with you in spirit Miriam. We may be far away... by Nancy S on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 1:11:47 PM
Does One Need Papers to be a Legal Occupant? ... by John Randolph on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 5:22:23 PM
Mr. Hedges, I have been down there, and I want the... by lila york on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 5:36:52 PM
that this growing movement needs some focus; espec... by comncents on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:08:30 PM
that enabled the corporate coup. I know--Chris Hed... by larry payne on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 9:26:40 AM
bankers have the nerve to stand on their balconies... by Bob Elkins on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 5:50:40 PM
should be on every poster. the millionaires cockta... by lila york on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:22:35 PM
From the tactical, conversational, awareness, and ... by Alan MacDonald on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 6:48:04 PM
I think that substitution would clarify the issue.... by lila york on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:24:35 PM
to claim that those who don't "join" the Wall St. ... by somethinghappening on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 6:57:35 PM
As Arlo sung, in the mid 80s, ''Day will come when... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:10:26 PM
I understand the utter indignation and resentment ... by E. J. N. on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:40:48 PM
"Join the Revolt On Wall Street or Stand On The Wr... by Richard McGinnis on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 9:22:11 PM
"Join the Revolt On Wall Street or Stand On The Wr... by Richard McGinnis on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 9:23:04 PM
There is the evil international Judeo-Anglo-Saxon ... by Luis Magno on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 9:47:01 PM
Sure, occupying Wall St. is perhaps better than no... by Jill Herendeen on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 2:11:50 PM
Protests are a waist of time and more importantly,... by James Shanahan on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:11:13 PM
are being forced out of their jobs and where more ... by Michael Shaw on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 11:28:09 AM
You must join the rebellion.  It will take al... by Patricia Gray on Friday, Sep 30, 2011 at 10:15:52 PM
I would add " all money out of the electoral proce... by lila york on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 5:06:49 AM
They know where their bitter grapes of wrath are c... by Michael Shaw on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 11:51:21 AM
You can either 'walk with God' and not be intimida... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 6:55:15 AM
Mr. Hedges, you are a blowhard and a fool if you t... by Gary Brumback on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 8:33:38 AM
There is spirit and there is ego, and like oil and... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 9:46:12 AM
since 9/11. I fail to understand why folks in here... by Michael Shaw on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 11:01:43 AM
Stockholders are communists, the corporations exis... by Patrick McGean on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 12:15:52 PM
If this revolt is successful what's the end game g... by Mark A. Goldman on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 3:03:16 PM
It is not so important to nail down objectives and... by steve windisch on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 4:09:56 PM
There is a difference between capitolism with chec... by Jack Shneidman on Saturday, Oct 1, 2011 at 11:28:17 PM