CUIDO Speech in San Francisco by Carolyn Epple

Speech given 10/6/11; October2011 protest, SF Federal Building

I am Carolyn Epple, a proud member of Communities United in Defense of Olmstead, a radical group dedicated to keeping the disabled independent and the fight for social justice.

We have been colonized. Capitalism, racism, greed, and hate are each a way to make us believe that somehow we don’t matter. It is a colonization of the mind that comes from messages like: only those with money deserve an education; or, the disabled and the elderly are parasites on society. These are insidious messages that take away our humanity, and do so usually in the interest of corporate profits. Profits that are staggering.

In 2010 Bank of America saw a 56% increase in profits and Wells Fargo’s profits went up 362%. But, were those profits enough to trickle down, to help the public? Not a chance. We have become poorer – 28 percent of individuals with disabilities live in poverty and the rate is about the same for African Americans and Hispanics. Seventy percent of the disabled are unemployed. As for the retired and the disabled, for whom Social Security is most, if not all, of their income? They, and we, are at the whim of the Super Committee. And at the whim of a military budget that is over twice that of the combined military budgets of China, France, Germany and the UK.

Because war is also colonization, committed for the same reasons of greed and hate and capitalism. Each death signifies a family that ululated until they had no voices left, ululated because humanity, with all its capacity for good, could also be so vile. We have to up the ante. Take over your representatives’ offices both here and in Washington. Repeatedly. Breach the White House gates and stay there. Hack the troop deployment list. Take over bridges and on ramps; shut down the docks and make the corporate products wait to be unloaded; and shout and shout and shout until compassion and social justice, not profit, become the watch words of the day. We must. Thank you very much.

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