The movement to Occupy Wall Street, or OWS, that began in New York has spread like wildfire to other major cities throughout the country, including right here in Washington D.C. From the Enough Project office we were able to cheer on protesters marching toward Freedom Square, and Enough Project interns, along with Congo Campaign Manager JD Stier, joined the crowd to protest on the steps of the Chamber of Commerce.
The OWS movement stands up against economic inequality that has been exacerbated by corporate greed. The D.C. protest attracted speakers from organizations who represent the 99 percent of Americans who are languishing under the current U.S. economic structure.
Congolese advocate and artist, Omekongo Dibinga, performed a poem at the protest depicting the relationship between American consumer products and the prolonged violence in eastern Congo, and Stier spoke about the connection between the movement to stand up to rapacious corporations and the human rights atrocities in Congo.
Clip from the OWS Protest in D.C. (Enough Project: J.D. Stier)
The 99 percent are calling for corporate responsibility in the U.S., which is exactly what the push for conflict-free calls for. Electronics companies must take responsibility for their supply chains to ensure that they and their consumers are not contributing to violence in eastern Congo.
The push toward conflict-free and the OWS protests are part of a broader social movement to stand up to big business. The Chamber of Commerce is prepared to relentlessly fight any regulation or reform that seeks to trace and audit minerals from the Congo. Dibinga reminded protesters that structural reform in the purchase of minerals is essential in order to move toward the recognition of human rights for all Congolese people.