Long before a tidal wave ever hits, it starts off as a ripple event, an ocean apart from its eventual impact. Over the vast expanses, it gains speed and power. It picks up, essentially, support from every molecule of water it rolls over, until finally — BOOM — it crashes, unexpectedly into the world.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is building in much the same way, and will have much the same impact on Wall Street, on Washington, and on the elites in America who control the wealth and believe they have an iron grip on the lives and fortunes of the citizens of America.
For decades, starting with Ronald Reagan’s election, the wealthy right wing in this country has used any means necessary to plunder wealth and financial security from Americans, poor or middle class, black or white.
They have broken union after union; they have spent vast fortunes of money — our money — bailing out the very banks who have conspired to rig the system against you. They have raped the environment because clean air isn’t profitable. They have polluted oceans and rivers because regulations “cost jobs”. They have moved millions of jobs overseas because, well, because they can. Congress lets them. The President lets them.
They throw people out of work and then call them bums for needing unemployment insurance. They cut off the insurance, refuse to hire anyone currently unemployed, and call them lazy. They cut health insurance and then complain that their workers are sick and miss work.
They cut wages and then act surprised when citizens ask government to supplement their minimal existence. They reap record profits (literally, record profits) and then cut wages, refuse to hire, and give themselves lavish bonuses. The average CEO now makes more in a year than you will in your entire lifetime.
They demand increased worker productivity and then keep every penny of those increases. They freeze wages, inflate prices, and laugh as Americans blame themselves for an economic predicament not of their choosing.
And now, they’re coming after your retirement fund and your old-age health insurance fund. They refer to Social Security as a welfare program and a Ponzi Scheme, when in fact, it is a retirement fund designed to keep old people from subsisting on cat food. They treat old folks on Medicare like they’re a drain on the system. These people have paid into both systems all their lives and deserve the payments they receive. They’re not entitlements and they’re not welfare.
They do this on purpose, folks. They want to divide us, so that each subgroup of Americans fights with the others over the crumbs the elite haven’t taken the time to suction up (yet). They want a class war and like all the other wars they start, they want you and I to fight the war for them. Well, to hell with that idea.
If it is class war they want, it is class war they will get.
The 99 per cent of us who cannot afford to bribe Congress into doing our bidding are sick and tired of watching the wealthy one per cent loot, cheat, and steal the wealth of America. We are sick and tired, and slowly but surely, we are organising.
For two weeks now, protesters have occupied the physical grounds around Wall Street. They march and they protest and they demand justice. They carry signs, and within their hearts, they carry the hopes of a beleaguered nation.
For their efforts, they have been pepper-sprayed by thuggish police, arrested on trumped up charges, and ignored by the national, corporate media. They have been marginalized under the theory that, if the elites ignore the protesters, the protesters will simply go away.
They are not going home. They are not leaving. In fact, their numbers are growing exponentially. Today, the movement took a huge turn, as two major unions signed on as supporters of the growing freedom, protest movement.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has endorsed the protests, as have some local unions in New York. For example, Transport Workers Union Local 100, (which represents 38,000 New York City transit workers and 26,000 retirees), endorsed the protests Wednesday, with a statement that read:
“The Transport Workers Union Local 100 applauds the courage of the young people on Wall Street who are dramatically demonstrating for what our position has been for some time: the shared sacrifice preached by government officials looks awfully like a one-way street. Workers and ordinary citizens are putting up all the sacrifice, and the financiers who imploded our economy are getting away scot-free, increasing their holdings and bonuses.
“Young people face a bleak future with high unemployment, and minimum wage jobs. Public sector workers face Mayors and Governors who demand massive wage and benefits givebacks or face thousands of layoffs. That’s not bargaining. That’s blackmail.
“One out of six Americans lives in poverty today, and the richest one per cent control more wealth than at any time since the Gilded Age of the 1920’s.”
Add 38,000 New York City workers to the list of those who oppose what the elites are doing to this country, to our government, to our social safety net, and to the citizens who live here.
The message of change and reform is spreading far beyond New York City. Similar movements are popping up in major cities across America: Los Angeles is next, as is Washington, DC. Other cities, such as Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego and even in Lexington, Kentucky, are organising. I have a friend in Pittsburgh who says his city is also organising a march and protest movement.
Back in New York, the protesters are digging in, and looking forward to the reinforcements from the unions. Come Wednesday, October 5, perhaps tens of thousands of workers will join the protesters in their march through Wall Street. Expect the union presence to be immense — perhaps so large that the corporate media will no longer be able to ignore and dismiss the legitimate claims of America’s new revolutionaries.
This is war, friends. The wealthy will not give up their ill-gotten gains without a fight. They will use the police as their attack force and they will use threats of violence and acts of retribution against you. Some will be arrested. But you cannot arrest a movement, and you cannot stop an idea whose time has come.
Change is coming. It begins here, on Wall Street, at the heart of American commerce. The ripples are only now being felt across the political and financial landscape. When the tidal waves finally hit, and the temples are washed clean and the moneychangers rebuked; when the poor are fed and the sick have medical care; when the stench of greed has long been removed from the air, we will finally, gratefully, be free.
— John Thorpe
You can reach the author by email [email protected] or on twitter@johndthorpe.
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