October 14 (King World News) – In America, we generally go about our private business and rely on elected officials and appointed bureaucrats to take care of the government. When protest arises, it’s a sign that government is not doing its job or not doing it in a way that serves the people. Elections are fine for gradual change but sometimes immediate change is called for when government fails the people utterly and repeatedly in important ways. Protests are a way to signal that change is needed now – not in the next election cycle. Such is the case with the Occupy Wall Street movement and its “Occupy” variations in cities around the country and around the world. Governments have failed to stop the concentration of wealth, the concentration of financial power, the proliferation of derivatives and the metastasizing of systemic risk facilitated by unethical, self-absorbed and shortsighted bankers. So the people respond.
After weeks of saturation media coverage I went down to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan today to see the Occupy Wall Street protest for myself. I wanted to get past the hippie clichés and the artificial Tea Party v. Occupy rhetoric that the media had settled on. What I saw there surprised me. Despite media reports and complaints from Mayor Bloomberg, I saw nothing that was disruptive or even inconvenient for the average New Yorker. The demonstration was contained within the park and the park itself was accessible and easy to walk around. People were polite and ready to engage in conversation if you asked what they were doing or why they were there. There didn’t appear to be much organization but I’m sure there’s some going on behind the scenes.
Of course there was some silliness, some dopey sentiment and the usual run of anarchists and Che Guevara fans who seem to pop up at every “anti-establishment” gathering. But for every Che poster I saw another that challenged naked credit default swaps or the blatant income inequality that has led the U.S. past Mexico in the Gini Coefficient, a measure of concentrated wealth. After a century of mocking Mexican “oligarchs” the U.S. looks more oligarchic than they. The Occupy Wall Street protestors are shining a light on 46 million Americans on food stamps, 22 million Americans un- or underemployed, lost ethics, greed and third world levels of wealth concentration in the hands of a small elite.
So, you can laugh at or disparage the demonstrators all you want. You can call them spoiled, silly or sophomoric. You can single out the fringe and think it’s representative of the whole. But that won’t change the fact that this demonstration has touched a nerve. A rag-tag group is standing up where the government, regulators, media and business elites have rolled-over and played dead. They are shining a light on the financial cancer at the heart of America.
The interesting thing about a demonstration in the middle of America’s largest city is that it’s easy to get food, water, tents, tarps and anything else that’s needed to keep things going. Some of the protestors (they actually like to be called “occupiers”) went out to buy brooms to clean up the park themselves before Mayor Bloomberg’s sanitation forces could get to work. I was there in the rain and no one seemed to mind. This demonstration is not going away. If anything it will grow. It will be here for months or longer, a constant reminder that Wall Street greed is destroying the country one fraud at a time and no one has really tried to stop it – until now.
via My Blog.