School of Visual Arts Faculty Statement of Solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement
We the faculty members of the School of Visual Arts wish to express our solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. This movement has changed the public discourse in America from deficit reduction through dramatic cuts in education and other vital social programs to a serious and much overdue national dialogue concerning the economic and political disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the American people, the 99%. As Educators, we share Occupy Wall Street’s concern for affordable quality education and the need to draw attention to the political, social, and economic inequalities that make a mockery of equal opportunity and prevent the majority of Americans, many of them our students, from realizing the goals they are working so hard to achieve. We join Occupy Wall Street in demanding an end to corporate personhood and the consequent undue influence of banks and corporations over our political process; and we challenge our government to represent the interests of all people and not just the wealthy elite, the 1%. We applaud Occupy Wall Street’s use of peaceful protest and dissent to demand the allocation of adequate resources to improve and make education affordable, provide universal health care, create jobs, protect the environment, and ensure the viability of safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment Insurance – the costs of these essential aspects of any civilized society to be offset in part by requiring the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. We share the dismay and frustration of many Americans regarding “corporate socialism,” the unconditional bailout of investment banks and corporations deemed “too big to fail” while ignoring the plight of hard working Americans who are losing their homes to foreclosure. Together with Occupy Wall Street we decry the continued enrichment and lack of accountability of those bankers and corporate executives responsible for bringing the economy into crisis. We support the demand for an end to gunboat diplomacy and the cessation of all illegal, immoral, and unnecessary wars for corporate profit, wars that have cost this country dearly in lives and treasure benefiting the few to the detriment of the many. We are outraged by the use of unnecessary and excessive force by the Police Departments of New York, Oakland, Chicago, Boston, Berkeley and elsewhere to deny peaceful, non violent demonstrators their First Amendment Rights; and we are utterly dismayed by the hypocrisy of our political leaders who quickly and outspokenly condemn such undemocratic actions in other countries while remaining silent, even supportive, when such violations occur in their own back yard. In solidarity, we invite all faculty members of the School of Visual Arts Community to lend their support to this important, peaceful, and potentially transformative movement.