For most of us, we
left 2011with mixed emotions. And
while our individual situations and progress vary, it
is important that we look at the bigger picture as the
struggle over who government serves and how the social
needs of a nation get met. It is painfully clear that
most elected officials are either incapable or incompetent
of having both the vision and a strategy for addressing
the big economic, social and political problems that face
With a 9% approval
rating, Congress has been in crisis management mode. Government
operations were threatened to shut down three times and
the Congress barely avoided a default on the national
debt. Both the House and the Senate have passed the lowest
numbers of bills in over a decade. Congress had not dealt
with a substantive jobs bill and instead has passed hundreds
of meaningless resolutions like upholding “In God We Trust”
as the national motto or designating “Drive Safer Sunday.”
Meanwhile, working families struggle to put food on the
table, keep a roof over our heads, put gas in our tanks
if we’re lucky enough have a car and put some clothes
on our backs.
The masses have been
at the mercy of these greedy, inept and insensitive people,
watching their opulent, decadent lifestyles as the government
and courts do their bidding. The slow burn of the 99%
into an Occupy boil has been a refreshing splash across
the face of a beaten down country. An empowered and energized
class is tired of the carrying the economic burden of
this country while the 1% continued to make unprecedented
profits. The Occupy momentum must be maintained and folded
into multiple strategic battlegrounds.
The GOP steam-rolled
its anti-worker strategy in state legislatures across
the country; they held the majority in most of those states.
They left a whole lot of damage in their wake.
have our hands full. We are organizing an offensive to
the Republic roll-backs during the last legislative session.
Anything that supported working families was attacked.
The focus is on collecting
signatures for two critical ballot initiatives. One initiative
would raise the minimum wage again, a successful effort
waged over a decade ago. The second would set the cap
on the interest rates for payday loans. Currently, the
law allows these blood-sucking predators to charge up
to 1900 % (APR). The rate would be brought down from the
average interest rate of 400% to 36% - and that’s still
The new year brings
with it renewed hope and enthusiasm. We can’t stop with
the small victories such as forcing Bank of America and
Verizon to retract additional fees for service. Those
were significant but we gotta’ go after the issues that
affect our quality of life - jobs, education and health
This is the year for
the masses of people to look at alternative sources of
energy, alternative economic solutions and new social
relationships that make for a peaceful and sustainable
This is the year for
challenging hypocrisy and injustices on all levels
and for demanding fairness and accountability on all
levels. Anything that affects the majority’s standard
of living or their constitutional and human rights must
It’s time to occupy!
Not just occupy parks and the streets but occupy the legislative
rotundas, school buildings, union halls, airwaves, social
media, voting booths and any other space that needs working
class leadership. As Bob Marley sang, those “who feels
it knows it” so it will be up those of us under the boot
of corporate greed, to get ourselves out from under it.
Let’s kick mediocrity
to the curb and start charting the kind of government
that serves the needs of the majority, not the greedy
few. It’s a new year but it could also be a new day. Let’s
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Jamala Rogers, is the leader
of the Organization
for Black Struggle in St.
Louis and the Black
Radical Congress National Organizer. Additionally,
she is an Alston-Bannerman Fellow. She
is the author of The Best of the Way I See It –
A Chronicle of Struggle. Click
here to contact Ms. Rogers.