In case you missed it, there was a huge protest on Wall Street this past Saturday. An estimated 5,000 people marched through the Financial District in New York, chanting, “We are 99%” and carrying signs that read “Shut down Wall Street” and “End corporate warfare”. The protest, dubbed “Occupy Wall Street”, continues on with five arrests being made yesterday.
Have you heard about this? Unlike the Emmy Awards, there has been little media coverage of the protest and if it is mentioned on air, it’s minimized and attributed to a “few liberals”. But this protest is much bigger than that; it is a rare public demonstration of the outrage many Americans feel about the unchecked corruption by U.S. corporate interests. Like the mean, stingy bully on the playground in grade school, a very small group of wealthy folk in this country control all the money. Rich bankers and (I love this description) “Wall Street fat cats” enjoy their yachts and
bailouts mansions while millions are unemployed, in debt, hungry, broke, etc. If it hasn’t sunk in yet just how greedy those at the top are, check out this infographic of what the richest 400 households--who collectively own $1.37 TRILLION dollars--could buy us. Now examine the current state of unemployment according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (16.7 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent.
Dang. Young Blacks and Hispanics should be especially pissed, but that is a different article. This diverse group of protesters is so angered by the control of the rich minority over the rest of us that they plan to sleep on the streets for the next few months until a change is made. And while the mainstream media
has been told to continues to ignore this outpouring of dissent, protesters, inspired by other dissidents in Tahrir Square, are taking to the internet to gain momentum for their cause . The Guardian reports that #OCCUPYWALLSTREET was trending over the weekend and when protesters tweeted that they were hungry, a nearby pizza place received $2800 in orders from supporters in under an hour.
We all have a lot going on in our lives but when we hear that there are 5,000 Americans--of various ages, races, and backgrounds—protesting around the clock to get the attention of those in power, it may be time to check in on the topic. And this isn’t just an American issue. People around the world are watching in admiration of this radical group as they rally against corporate greed. According to Bloomberg News, protests are already being planned for financial districts in Madrid, London, Milan, and Paris:
There is a shared feeling on the streets around the world that the global economy is a Ponzi scheme run by and for Big Finance. People everywhere are waking up to the realization that there is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which speculative financial transactions add up, each day, to $1.3tn (50 times more than the sum of all the commercial transactions). Meanwhile, according to a United Nations report, "in the 35 countries for which data exist, nearly 40% of jobseekers have been without work for more than one year". (The Guardian)
Whatever your opinion on corporate interest may be, we should all appreciate and admire those with the courage to organize and peacefully show dissent. Throughout history, groups that have undergone long periods of time feeling powerless for one reason or another have taken to the streets to get their cause noticed. There have been many times that it’s worked, shedding light on a problem and affecting change. Isn’t it interesting that the mainstream media saw fit to ignore this protest? Share your thoughts below and read more about the mission to Occupy Wall Street here.