Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Occupy Portland!

It's spreading.

What started as an unheralded protest in Lower Manhattan, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, is now spreading all across the country.  Protests are planned, or have occurred, in Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, Hilo, Baltimore.  And, yes, there is a protest planned for tomorrow in Portland.  I plan to be there.  You can get the details here.

Today, the AFL-CIO is joining the protest in New York, where just last weekend 700 protesters were arrested for occupying the Brooklyn Bridge.  

The protesters don't have specific demands.  At least none that they can articulate.  They are protesting the economic state-of-affairs.  This movement cuts through the rhetorical labyrinth and points a stark finger at the economic realities of today.  While 15% of Americans are living in poverty and home foreclosures are at an all-time high, corporations are making record profits, rigging the system to avoid paying taxes, and sticking it to us with exorbitant banking fees.  In short, the rich keep getting richer while the world crumbles for the rest of us.  Here's what they say at the Occupy Portland website:
It is no longer enough to vote and to participate in the political system because our political system has been altered drastically from its intended and proper function. Currently, we are allowed to pick from a few candidates whose campaigns are funded more and more by large organizations, corporations, and special interests. The success of their campaigns depends largely on how the corporate mass media presents them. When our elected officials enter office they then pander to the small groups responsible for their election. Even good men and women cannot make real improvements that benefit the American people.

I believe the people at these protests are the same people who rallied around President Obama in 2008; the same people who are now so bitterly disappointed by his failure to bring about the changes he promised.

Unlike the Tea Party movement, which was fostered and promoted by Fox News and other monied interests, this appears to be a real grassroots movement, similar to the Wisconsin union protests and perhaps even inspired by the Jasmine Revolution that is still underway across the Middle East.  

I continue to hope that these popular movements will wake up the powers-that-be to the need for real reform.  We need a government that, rather than deferring to rich and powerful corporations, will bring them to heel, will serve all the people, will address the needs of the hard-pressed common folk of this country. 

Rally on, you 99%!  Rally on, you rabble-rousers.  Rally.


Stranger in a Strange Land said...

let's do it! don't forget: gas mask, water, cell phone. i was in the crowd that protested Bush and got rubber bullets shot at us. they shot pepper spray on babies and old people. my message is to US Citizens: WAKE UP. you are being lulled into stupidity by corporate/gov greed/evil. death to Monsanto! long live PEACE! i am pissed off and ready to shout about it!

Dan Binmore said...

Popular movements have zero effect without political teeth. It's been less than a decade since the biggest popular movement ever, which had no effect in the USA.

The Tea Party has actually had an effect on the laws of the land because it organized itself enough to get people elected, and was supported by enough regular people who were willing to make that happen.

I would also say that I think there are very few people who don't know that the economy is very bad and that people are suffering and that there are rich people doing well. Lots of people who know this are against this movement.

I know because I have said these things that people will assume I am against reducing the political power of corporations, against universal health care, against a progressive tax code. Quite the reverse, I am for all of those things. I just want people to do things in a way that makes a difference, by being pragamatic and practical.

Anonymous said...

AFL-CIO = Monied interest just as much as Fox News does but don't let the facts get in the way.