Working Washington has issued the following statement to mark the 1-year anniversary of the birth of the Occupy movement on September 17, 2012: A year after the Occupy movement first burst onto the scene, the tents may be cleared from Westlake, but the impact remains.
Before Occupy took hold, politicians of all stripes were competing to see who could promise the biggest budget cuts, no matter what the impact on poor people & working families; the astronomical wealth of the richest 1% was considered a gift of nature; and corporate tax dodging was shrugged off as business as usual.
Thanks to the energy Occupy unleashed, that's all changed. Today, the political debate is focused on jobs, not cuts. The public is deeply concerned about the gaping chasm between the rich and the rest of us. And there is a growing movement calling on big corporations and the wealthiest 1% to pay their fair share of taxes.
It's already made an enormous difference. In just the year since Occupy was born, our state Legislature voted to close a multimillion-dollar tax loophole for big banks. Chase Bank agreed to stop charging the poorest people in the state an 85¢ fee to access their cash benefits. Amazon, the online giant retailer, dropped its support of ALEC and committed to invest millions to improve working conditions. And Jamie Dimon was "greeted" by hundreds of protestors on a visit to Seattle he won't soon forget.
“The Occupy movement has inspired me to be a leader fighting for the rights of the 99%," explained Lashawna Bowman, a mother of 2 from Kent who struggles to make ends meet. "Being a part of the 99% has shown me what the power of the people can accomplish.”
Occupy may be less immediately visible today than it was a year ago, but the movement continues to make waves. They have catalyzed a powerful 99% movement which Working Washington supporters and many others have joined. United, the 99% are standing up to big banks like Chase and big corporations like Amazon — and winning major victories. Workers are rising up to demand good jobs and fair treatment at our publicly-owned airport and seaport. And in neighborhoods across the region, grassroots activists are organizing to make sure the better candidates win the elections on November 6th — and that we're on the streets holding them accountable beginning on November 7th.
In only a year, the Occupy movement has driven an incredible change in the political environment. The ground has shifted, and things are not returning to the way they used to be. The 99% are united, and we're taking our country back.