On October 28, held our inaugural General Assembly in front of the historic old . We gathered as citizens to protest the broken nature of our government. We gathered to decry the way corporate interests have blanketed the ears of politicians with such thick stacks of money that these elected officials have acquired a chronic inability to listen to the voice of the people.
The fifty people who gathered at came with a diverse list of grievances, because when a system is as broken as ours there is no such thing as a single grievance or a single demand.
However, all present at the General Assembly agreed that Occupy Redwood City stands in solidarity with Scott Olsen, the two-time Iraq War veteran who was severely injured last month at Occupy Oakland. Just last week, a second veteran at Occupy Oakland, Kayvan Sabeghi, received severe injuries at the hands of Oakland police.
We of Occupy Redwood City decry this evidence of systematic police brutality on peaceful citizens.
On this Veterans Day, we honor the service of our brave men and women in uniform, but the sacrifices Olsen and Sabeghi have made at home as well as abroad serve as a reminder of the current embattled status of veterans in our nation.
We decry the fact that so many veterans lack access to affordable medical care and mental health services, affordable education, and job opportunities. This September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 11.7%, higher than the national average of 9.1%.
For female veterans, the number was even worse --14.7% last month-- and there is no statistic available for those veterans who are underemployed or have simply given up looking for work.
A nation that continues to create veterans by spending billions on war and occupation while doing a deeply inadequate job of caring for them when they return is a nation that has forgotten its core values. A nation in which war veterans who were told by their government that they were fighting for American ideals like free speech and peaceful protest come home safely only to have their skulls cracked or their spleens lacerated by domestic police forces while exercising those ideals is a nation which needs to seriously reevaluate the direction in which its heading.
We the members of Occupy Redwood City want to start a local movement in that new, better direction. We vow to be always mindful of the service veterans have rendered for our country. We vow to work on their behalf as well as for all other poor and working people in our community, for their plight is our plight. We are Scott Olsen, we are Kayvan Sabeghi, and they are each and every one of us.
Veterans are the 99%, and we stand them in solidarity against the 1%. We are the 99%.
- Occupy Redwood City