Occupy Congress Addresses Corporate Greed on Capitol Hill

Occupy Congress, the “new and improved” Occupy Wall Street movement, started Tuesday, aptly chosen to correspond with the first session of the 2012 House of Representatives. People from all over the U.S. are joining together in front of the Capitol, and demanding an end to government-sponsored corporate greed. An array of subjects are scheduled to be discussed during the protests, but none as central as the topic of corporate personhood.

Until now, one of the major weaknesses of OWS has been the disorganization within the group itself, bringing together too many individuals without a specific purpose or intent. Occupy Congress now gives the protesters a clearly defined target and purpose behind their actions, and allows the general public the chance to identify with movements’ goals. As the group becomes more organized, the issues they represent deserve to be taken more seriously, as subjects such as corporate money in Capital Hill directly influence not only the legislation passed, but in turn, our daily lives.

With more than 30 activist groups, and a Facebook following of over 11,000 people, Occupy Congress has the potential to be one of the largest and most organized protests since the beginning of the OWS movement in fall of last year. Not only did the group secure a month-long permit to peacefully demonstrate, but part of Tuesday's program includes one-on-one, prearranged appointments with local lawmakers and Representatives. This direct form of Democracy is a first for the group, and gives individuals a chance to have a legitimate and productive discussion with the people responsible for the issues they are protesting.  

Throughout the teach-ins and demonstrations, the theme of Occupy Congress is clear, “Our main message is that our elected officials are no longer representing the people and that’s largely due to corporate money running the show on the Hill,” said Mario Lozada, a 25-year-old immigration lawyer from Philadelphia. When first organizing the protest, members wrote:

We are coming because of the corruption.

We are coming because of the bribery.

We are coming to remind congress that they work for the people.

Corporate personhood, and the ability to classify money (and campaign contributions) as “free speech,” is a key subject for both OWS and Occupy Congress, so much so that they recently drafted a constitutional amendment ending the "judicial fiction of corporate Constitutional rights." While OWS obviously doesn’t have the power to amend the Constitution, the draft serves as a reference point for the protests, and as a symbol of the progress the movement has made towards a unifying goal.

While the movement advocates strong and necessary reform, will it be enough to reach the ears of Congress? The Occupy movement raises awareness for people who already know how to listen, and for serious changes to be made, Congress will need more than a few thousand people to remember that 99% is bigger than 1%, even if their wallets are not. Hopefully the organization and momentum within the Occupy movement continues, and given this protests central location, raises enough awareness to unanimously demand the government’s hands out of corporate pockets.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Krosbie Carter

I recently graduated from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Social Science & Humanities, while living three of my four years of college in Italy. I am most interested in international politics, and how culture affects policy and vice versa. I am also a strong advocate of human rights and fair trade.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.