October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The Occupy Wall St movement has indeed been both ignored and ridiculed, at least initially. Since the first two weeks however, those of us who have been decrying the corporate takeover of this country for a long time now have marveled at the growth of these protests, both in the number of participants across the US and in the media coverage that has been afforded them, culminating in President Obama being asked his opinion on the movement by the mainstream press this week, a sign that this social and political wave is beginning to look as if it will not recede; on the contrary, politicians and corporate media across the nation are being forced to respond to it.

One of the complaints regarding Greenpeace when it began to grow exponentially was that it was a “single issue” movement and therefore would not be able to effect meaningful change due to a supposed inability to work with legislators and other politican action groups that weren’t able to have such a “narrow” focus. This despite the fact that Greenpeace’s focus was always intrinsically multi-faceted, taking into account everything from deforestation to urban sprawl to economic injustice which forced poor citizens of third world countries to work for environmentally destructive companies. The “single-issue” complaint was no less specious than the argument being put forward by those whose interests are threatened by Occupy Wall St, namely that the movement lacks a coherent message and that their demands and objectives are nebulous.

Two words sum up their demands: economic justice.

I won’t take up readers’ time today by delving into the almost infinite examples of wealth inequality and basic unfairness that exist in the United States, a country with the greatest divide between rich and poor in the history of the civilized world. Instead, I encourage you to visit We Are The Ninety-Nine Percent, a website displaying photos of people holding up hand-written notes describing their desperate economic state.

I often say that one of the elements we are gifted with as human beings upon entering the world is an acute sense of fairness. Children understand what’s fair and, more often than not, are content to share once they feel that their needs are being taken care of. The mega-rich CEOs of huge corporations (including up until recently Steve Jobs) can provide endless justification and obfuscation as to why it’s “fair” for their lowest-level employees to receive so little while those at the top reap so much; we all know how fast their tune would change if they found themselves in the circumstances of those at the bottom.

The reason why the oligarchy in this country – the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the Robber Barons – spend so much money buying politicians and creating fake “grassroots” movements like the Tea Party is because they understand perfectly the complaints and desires of the vast majority of the population in this country. They know all about the theft that’s taken place because they’re the ones who’ve benefited from it.

Before you visit We Are The Ninety-Nine Percent, remember that before Ronald Reagan, a US citizen with a high-school diploma could make a decent living, have affordable healthcare, buy a house and put his/her kids through college while being able to count on a sustainable pension in their old age. That hasn’t been the case for a while now and finally, finally, the country is waking up.

Those who’ve sucked up most of the wealth and opportunity won’t give it up easily. The ninety-percent are no longer being ignored and much of the ridiculing has abated; it remains to be seen how long and hard we’re willing to fight before we can even think about winning.

Here’s some people running for Congress next year who I believe will attempt to fight economic injustice. If you’re not able to join the Occupation, a donation of any size is a way of making your voice heard:

Elizabeth Warren

Alan Grayson

Running for re-election, the outstanding Bernie Sanders

Finally, please donate to the cause itself.

Picture: One of the Ninety-Nine Percent, crushed beneath student loans.


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