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Cameron Whitten for Unity 2012

for Portland, Oregon Mayor 2012 occupy green progressive coalition

Announcement Speech
Reclaim Justice Cameron Whitten 1/20/2012 I feel the fire of Mohamed Bouazizi inside me, thats what has brought me here today. I marvel at the birth of a Tunisian martyr who could singlehandedly shake the world out of its delicate slumber. Weve stirred from a daydream to realize that oppressive empires are dressed up with suit and tie, and marketed as free societies. We live in a world where we are not the masters of our own fate. Our reality has become an Animal Farm, some are more equal than others. Corrupt institutions of greed have declared that the fundamental essence of survival is a commodity, and tell the mythical tale of economic shortage, to keep we the people fighting over supply and demand. Many of us, myself included, have for too long been distracted by the trinkets life has waved around our faces: a source of income, good health, certain freedoms of expression, and an abundance of lifes basic essentials. But within that same instance, institutional greed has damaged our society, so that millions cannot find work, they are turned away from services, they are ridiculed when they air their grievances, and are denied the dignity of a decent life. This tragedy ends up on the backs of the entire planet. As the most impoverished in our society fight for survival, they are forced to support the industries that exploit other nations like they are economic colonies.Our politicians and their posses hurrah and throw festivals in the name of progress, when theyve only budged two inches. The funeral procession for Hope and Change has 300 million people in attendance. I can still hear the 4 year old phantoms of Yes We Can, regretting that we never actually did. Our lives are dictated by the faces of long dead white men and invisible networks of debt. Our obsession with this crude form of success is so paramount, that you can make a dollar off of anything. You can profit off of pillaging the earth beyond recognition. You can profit off of watching someone die from a treatable illness. You can profit off of intentionally desecrating all your value and credibility, and demand a bail out. Our People need a bail out. We live in an age where political tyrants can sign moral trespasses into law, and use violence to enforce their agendas. Our sovereignty is built from century old partisan politics, with delegates who arm themselves like soldiers preparing for a massacre. The gridlock that follows leaves everyone unsatisfied. Have we forgotten that were impacting billions of lives?

We have exercised a defunct system, based on an outdated parchment of paper which is begging to be recycled into something better. We are at a point of crisis. We have hit a fork in the road, where the path on the left tells us to live with the complacency of submission, and the trail on the right says to push yourself to death trying to clean up the mess that has been made. These are the options that we all have to face. For twenty years, I hid from making this choice. But when I believed my life was destined to tumble into an endless descent of despair, ten thousand people filled the streets to tell me that there was still work to be done. They held me. They taught me, it is not a crime if a person wants to eat. It is not a crime if a person wants to rest. It is not a crime if a person wants to live. No human being is illegal, but it is a sin if your goal is to perpetuate the suffering of Humanity. Ten thousand people taught me that One person can change the world. There is a limitless oasis of potential inside each and every one of us. Use your energy with consciousness and intention, and you can produce a kingdom where everyone is treated as royalty. Thank you to all the activists who reminded me that there is no such thing as a change that is too big for my time. Dont ever forfeit the struggle. If people call you a criminal, remember you are a hero. If someone calls you ignorant, remember you are compassionate. When someone says were unsuccessful, remember we are too big to fail. Whether you work to Occupy, Decolonize, Liberate, or Unify, be mindful that this world is always in motion. Please try to steer it into a more beautiful direction. Reverse this cycle of oppression and division using peace and coexistence as a guide, no matter how inconvenient it makes you appear to others. Reclaim justice for the sake of humanity. Our children are relying on us. And I thank the political machine, for watching our society crumble into ruin. Now, I am taking my city back, I am taking my life back, and Im taking the world back.