The Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has announced its support for the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” protest, making it the first corporation to publicly endorse the weeks-long demonstration.
“We know the media will either ignore you or frame the issue as to who may be getting pepper sprayed rather than addressing the despair and hardships borne by so many, or accurately conveying what this movement is about,” Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors said in a statement published on the company’s website.
“All this goes on while corporate profits continue to soar and millionaires whine about paying a bit more in taxes. And we have not even mentioned the environment.”
As corporations enjoy near record profits and Americans face staggering unemployment, the protesters pledged to occupy Wall Street in lower Manhattan until something was done about corporate greed and the influence of the wealthy on American politics.
They have been camped out in New York’s old Liberty Plaza, now called Zuccotti Park, since September 17. The protest eventually spread to cities across the United States.
The socially-conscious company said it supported the protesters call for systematic change because the economic inequality in the United States was immoral and higher education was practically impossible to obtain without going deeply into debt.
“We know that words are relatively easy but we wanted to act quickly to demonstrate our support,” Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors added. “As a board and as a company we have actively been involved with these issues for years but your efforts have put them out front in a way we have not been able to do.”
The company said it had supported a constitutional amendment to limit corporate spending in elections, helped fund the U.S Institute of Peace, backed legislation to limit and reduce carbon emissions, and engaged in numerous other activist campaigns over the years.
Ben & Jerry’s is a subsidiary of the Unilever corporation.