You may have heard about the strange goings on in New York City. Two weeks ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicted that unless we address joblessness riots mights break out in the streets. Riots have not broken out, but there is a fuss in the streets. On the day after Bloomberg’s warning a peaceful sit-in began on Wall Street. Over the past two weeks it has grown to a crowd of thousands. Few of these folks are wearing overalls. God bless ’em, but that isn’t the way for New Yorkers. So who are these people, and what are they doing it for?
Many who have made camp on Wall Street are recent university graduates who can’t find jobs. More than any other recovery in history, this one has the slowest employment rebound. We’re in a “jobless recovery” – jobless not because there isn’t any money to put people to work, but jobless because the corporations and the billionaires of America are sitting on an estimated $2 trillion they’ve taken out of circulation. Many analysts say that today’s graduates who are limping into the job market will be handicapped for the rest of their lives. They feel that the folks in the Wall Street highrises who are hoarding all the money are selling out the future for ordinary Americans.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has no leaders, no manifesto and no list of negotiable demands. They feel that things have gone beyond solutions involving Democrats versus Republicans or liberals versus conservatives, and they have no interest in Senate Bill this or House Resolution that. They support no political party and propose no legislation because politics has failed them utterly. For as Wall Street wealth has refused to promote jobs, it has also bought American politics. The Supreme Court has rendered the Federal Elections Commission powerless to limit the influence of big money in political campaigns, as seen in the exponential growth of campaign spending.
With few exceptions, the corporate news media has ignored this unprecedented protest. Posts by the Koch Industries-paid “blog warriors” deride the protesters as lazy, parasitical, drugged-out and stupid bums who have no idea what they want. This sounds to me like what my parents said of the anti-war and pro-civil rights movement. Have we turned into our parents? Do we have such little regard for our sons and our daughters who, as Dylan said, have grown beyond our command?
Wall Street executives drank champagne in mockery from their balcony: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/09/30/wall-street-response-to-protests-a-champaign-toast-video/
Policeman Anthony Bologna sprayed mace into the faces of non-threatening girls among the protesters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ05rWx1pig
Ominously, Mayor Bloomberg threatened yesterday that the days of the Occupy Wall Street protest are numbered. It may be that he fears it is the days of the Bloomberg Billionaires that are over.
Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real
The hour that the ship comes in.
Then they’ll raise their hands
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharaoh’s tribe
They’ll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.
– Bob Dylan