Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-op with 100 members, wishes to express our strongest support for those moved to Occupy Wall Street and other cities in the pursuit of economic and social justice. We are inspired by your direct, non-violent challenge to those most responsible for the systematic dismantling of the social contract. Corporations and their enablers in Congress have created a morally indefensible concentration of wealth at the top that has been decades in the making and is at the heart of this seemingly spontaneous outpouring of protest. And the human toll has been immense.
Reckless investment bankers have gambled livelihoods away. Outsourcing, offshore tax havens and free trade agreements have contributed to the intolerable number of unemployed. Corporate lobbyists and their revolving door regulators have weakened health and safety protections and throttled the labor unions counted on by so many to defend living standards. Agribusiness consolidation and control of the food system has devastated family farms while contributing to the obesity epidemic across the country. And the steady disinvestment in public services and education has placed the American dream beyond reach for millions.
At Equal Exchange we have been building an alternative to the prevailing models of business and capital for 25 years. We have worked with farmer cooperatives around the world to build markets and at prices that enable farmers to stay on their land and provide food and a future for their children. We work every day to give meaning to the democratic principles we practice within our cooperative.
We encourage our members and wider network of supporters and participants to stand with you, join the tent cities, donate what they can, for as long as it takes to restore fairness and equity in our society.
Rob Everts, Co-President
West Bridgewater, MA