by Jan Baughman
(Swans - October 10, 2011) On September 25, 2011, The New York Times published an article on page 18, "80 Arrests as Protesters March in New York." This 520-word piece provided information on where the protesters gathered and camped, the route of the protest, the details of the pepper-spraying and arrests, and the reaction to the police action by some of the protesters. A mere fifteen words were parenthetically inserted regarding the purpose of the protest: "The continuing protests, against a financial system that participants say favors the rich and powerful over ordinary citizens, started last Saturday and were coordinated by a New York group called the General Assembly." The mainstream media is clearly in a quandary, unable to disregard the situation unfolding on Wall Street, but unwilling to analyze its purpose due to its collusion in that very system of disparity, while continuing to publish favorable articles on the Arab Spring brought on by similarly dissatisfied citizens rising up against tyrannical leaders that have left them behind while amassing power and wealth.
After witnessing the ineffectual protests against the Iraq War organized by so-called progressive groups that continue to throw their support to the Democratic arm of the elite beast, and Obama's failure to deliver change we can believe in, it is encouraging to watch the Occupy Wall Street protesters gain momentum from the ground up. It may prove to be a truly organic movement -- unlike the artificial Tea Party masterminded and funded by a few right-wing elite -- and perhaps this gives it the wherewithal to actually make a difference. Nicholas Kristof, in an October 1 editorial, pointed out the similarities of this movement to the events in Tahrir Square -- though he distanced himself from the "antimarket sentiments of many of the protesters" -- and offered suggestions for the demands it is lacking. His proposals have long-since been raised in these pages by Gilles d'Aymery: Impose a financial transactions tax, close tax loopholes, and limit banks' ability to engage in risky behavior.
It's an uphill battle that will need to take place on many more streets, but the numbers are rising. Similar protests are being carried out in cities across the country; students, nurses, the unemployed, and unions are adding their support. Proposed tax increases on the wealthy are being floated by the Obama administration, and it will take enormous main-street pressure to ensure they are implemented despite the false assertion that such taxes would hurt economic growth. And the protesters -- along with the 99% who suffer under the current politico-economic paradigm that favors the 1% -- need to once and for all vote on their convictions and not for the perpetuation of the status quo.
As the Occupy Wall Street protesters state on their Web site, "We are the 99%, and we are too big to fail."
The Arab Spring has proven that there is power in numbers, not just in wealth. This autumn could prove to be a shift in consciousness in America if even a fraction of the 99% participates; otherwise, the forecast will be for yet another season of their continued fall.
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