Sunday, October 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: What a difference a week makes

At the news of hour on the BBC a young American voice, the voice of David Levy, a participant in the 'Occupy Wall Street' protest, now in its third week.
The hyperactive New York City police has become the campaign against Wall Street greed's best advertiser. Last week, the arm of the law used pepper spray followed by 90 arrests. Yesterday, the blue shirts arrested 700 for a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge. Accounts vary, but the police, it seems, set a trap for the protesters by allowing many of them to walk on the roadway without warning that they could and would be arrested. And arrested they were in staggering numbers, in what looks as though they were victims of entrapments.
The high numbers arrested will bring more media coverage and will swell the ranks of the protesters who call themselves 'the 99 percenters'.
'Occupy Wall Street' has encouraged others across the countries to come out in the streets and denounce the Wall Street bankers whose unregulated behaviour gave birth to the 2008 global recession. For the 99 percenters the global economic downturn which favoured the bankers and disenfranchised the vast majority of Americans who are un or underemployed, thrown out of homes, lost medical coverage, and in general, whose loss in economic status pushed them closer to poverty and debt. Contrast this reality with the one percent who control 25 percent of the annual income in America [or hold wealth equal to 140 million Americans] and ever increasing in wealth and privilege.
Say 'Wall Street', anyone on Main Street [High Street] immediately knows what it means and how much does the centre of US finance capitalism has turned his every life a hell for survival.
Talk to anyone at Liberty [Zuccotti] Park where the protesters have set up their headquarters, he or she will tell you the high debt she holds for a university degree which holds no key to a job. And he knows that his prospects for employment that matches his qualifications are almost nil, and before him lies a future of menial, minimum wage job which would barely keep life and limb together. Talk to a young banker who fell from the height of a good salary to being thrown out of work and on the dole with at least us$100.000 debt he collected for his master's of business administration. Talk to the young man who had to drop out of school to work, say, in a McDonald's at minimum wage to bring money to a family with a father has been out of work for soon four years. Speak to the single mum who had to give her children to forster care. Talk to the older man whose 40l(k) portfolio shrank radically thanks to the games Wall Street banks played with his savings, to their profit and his loss of a comfortable old age. Multiple these individuals by millions and you get the idea as to why 'Occupy Wall Street' sprang up as if by spontaneous combustion.
And the bankers and the superrich who buy and influece government --municipal, state, or federal--for padding their own wealth and comfort, whilst dumping fiscal responsabilities on the vast majority of Americans least able.
So, yes, a week since pepper spraying protesters, 'Occupy Wall Street' has grabbed the attention of the world, but not the US government. The police, the guardians of the property classes, view the protesters through the lens of terrorism. Little wonder the methods law enforcement senior managers enforce are extrene without a blush that they might be transgressing the law itself and constitutional and civil rights of the protesters.

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