Last weekend, I checked out Occupy Wall Street’s satellite protest in downtown Los Angeles, Occupy Los Angeles. I was impressed by how well it was organized in a relatively short amount of time. Along with the tents that protesters are calling their homes indefinitely, were areas reserved for donations, food, Web broadcasting and even a makeshift library. Groups of people set aside space for intense discussions on issues of the day. There is a real community there, a place where people work together and share resources as well as ideas. It’s the kind of community we are fighting for now in this new revolution – one where camaraderie, compassion and the common good are all valued.
Some complain that the occupiers’ message isn’t clear. “What do they want? What are their demands?” the skeptics ask. But those who ask these questions aren’t paying attention. I believe the message is very clear. People want to remove the vise-like grip that corporate America has on every aspect of their lives. In a democracy, the people rule – not corporations. Health care is an essential part of life that corporations have absolute control over in America.
A small group of billionaires operating in shiny glass towers with virtually no accountability to the public are deciding who lives and who dies. These health insurance executives – denizens of Wall Street – have set themselves up as Greek gods on Mount Olympus. It’s time to topple them from that perch, and turn our healthcare system over to the people. For in a democracy, we the people – not the corporations – should run our health care system via a national health insurance model: Medicare for All. Below are voices from actions around the country, talking about how a broken healthcare system has affected their lives.
Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program confronts health insurance executives in Washington D.C. as part of an action by October2011.org, a group in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Personal stories from Occupy Wall Street in New York.