Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy America?

 Occupy Wall Street  is spreading. On Thursday it reached Washington DC and more than 115 other places, although the masses were not that big everywhere. .
Justin Elliot of wrote: I spent Wednesday at Occupy Wall Street, where thousands of union members joined the core protesters for what was easily the biggest march yet of the burgeoning movement. A crowd of as many as 15,000 people marched from Foley Square just north of City Hall to Liberty Square, the capital of Occupy Wall Street. It was diverse in age, race and aesthetic sensibility — hardly a pack of hippies.
Al Jazeera had this report: 

The Nation wrote in an editorial:
The occupation of Wall Street has grown from hundreds to thousands, and more than 115 parallel occupations have cropped up in cities around the world, from Occupy Boston to Occupy Los Angeles to Occupy Finland. Crucially, labor and civil society groups like the SEIU, the Teamsters, the Transit Workers, New York Communities for Change and others have come on board, not to take over the occupation from the amateurs but to join them, won over by their DIY spirit.
But what does Occupy Wall Street want? Whether with condescension or curiosity, that is the question being posed to the young people whose brilliant act of symbolic politics has landed them in the spotlight. Wisely, they are taking their time answering it. So far they have put out only one statement, which isn’t a list of demands so much as an indictment of the corporate state: “We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.”

What does Occupy Wall Street want, the Nation asks, and with it many others.  Elliot of observes that the Union leaders who joined the protests seem far more specific than the original Wall Street Occupiers themselves. To quote somewhat more from the statement the Occupiers published in their Occupied Wall Street Journal:
We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
 The 'occupy people' pointed at the example of the masses of the Arab Spring. Others, like Naomi Klein who spoke at the protest in New York on Wednesday, pointed at the anti-globalization protests of 1999. So far the know one thing for sure. And that is that it's big.

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