Statement of Support
by Josh Pechthalt, the president of California, AFT
The California Federation of Teachers endorses the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Occupy Wall Street, and its local variations, represent the legitimate response of the 99% of us adversely affected by growing wealth and income inequality in America. The richest one percent of the population has doubled its share of the nation’s income over the past twenty years. Yet during this time the wealthy received massive tax cuts, a major cause of public budget shortfalls that hurt students, make our streets less safe, and harm the health of children and seniors.
Instead of investing its new found wealth in productive enterprises in the United States, the top 1% moved it offshore or into financial speculation, which ultimately crashed the economy. The 1% also took large amounts of this money and poured it into a public relations effort to blame teachers and other public servants for the economic problems the 1% created.
Occupy Wall Street redirects the attention of the public to the actual causes and parties responsible for the economic crash and recession. The California Federation of Teachers embraces the call of Occupy Wall Street to restore higher taxes on the rich, to re-regulate the banks, and to enact a financial speculation tax. We encourage our members to participate in the OWS actions in their cities. These actions will help restore public budgets for schools and other vital services, and set our state and our country back on the right path.
“The women and men who are participating in Occupy Wall Street have given voice to the suffering and economic uncertainty felt by millions of Americans. One of the main messages of Occupy Wall Street is the need to restore tax levels on the rich and corporations to support public education at all levels. Another is to redirect investment to benefit the 99% of us who aren’t the 1% wealthiest Americans. Educators are proud to stand in solidarity with these principles and this important movement.”
-Josh Pechthalt, CFT President