Occupy Wall Street Anniversary

The Occupiers rallied again over this past weekend and into Monday, September 17th for an anniversary March.

Media reports say that numbers were quite lower than the year previous with perhaps 1,000 total occupiers and couple hundred arrests.  Portland, Oregon also held an anniversary march.

Media critics have focused in three areas.

Some believe that this is a movement guided by a jobless youth who are unhappy with the state of the economy.

“We’ve been locked out, people my age don’t have much chance of getting a job, so we have to do something to get people’s attention,” is a quote from one occupier who interviewed for a Reuters article.

This definitely seems to be a fair.  A percentage of the Occupy crowd march because of this issue.   It is possible that this  angst comes from a complex of economic problems, like betting and trading industries based on phantom wealth.  This is a large part of our economy which contributes instability to the economy with very little productive investment.  The income gaps in wealth between the top 1% of the nation and the 99% is enormous, as money continues to have more influence in politics and we are seeing increasing concentrations of power and wealth in corporations.

Economist Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times, “First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.”

At the same time, as history goes and as the world goes, the current economy of the United States is not too terribly off.  When we look at the conditions for say, immigrants, or the hundreds of millions who live in slums in Asia, or the farmers caught between the police and guerrilla warfare in the Americas, or Indigenous populations begging for food in changed societies, I’d say the United States has managed to provide well for most sectors of their population.  Here we have a gap between the people who just want a job and people who understand that we are needing some systemic changes.

People say the movement is not holding strong.  Reuters explains, ”The demonstrations attracted roughly 1,000 activists, down sharply from last fall, highlighting the challenge the movement has faced in trying to sustain interest in protesting against what it calls an unfair economic system.”  Umm.. haven’t the media been saying that since day one?  I personally don’t know of the last time a protest had it’s own anniversary.  Then again, perhaps the Tea Party and other organizations have found more funding sources and sustainability in their action.

Lastly, we have all heard that occupy folks don’t know what they want.

I believe that the true Occupiers don’t just want a job, and perhaps don’t just want the reform of one policy.

Gerry Williams a wood worker from manhattan described the new Paradigm he seeks in this poster.

Gerry is an occupier who felt called to the movement after a history of working to protect animals from unnecessary and cruel abuse in laboratory settings.  Gerry says he feels like “animal testing” epitomizes our “current paradigm”, the manner in which our systems and people “objectify life around us.”

Getting at the core of the inadequacy of Capitalism,  Gerry makes another broad sweeping demand with the statement “GIVE ME MY ECOSYSTEMS BACK”.

Corporate control and abuse of our planet is not just a problem of individuals, or policies, or politicians, it a cultural fixation driven by a system which promotes the conversion of ‘resources’ to consumer goods, and especially given the nature of our banking systems, does not promote the protection of public goods, or of the inherent value in other species.

Occupiers like Gerry don’t just march for their own benefit; they march in order to change the way we value the world around us, our U.S. and international citizens, and all other precious life on earth.

 

Notes:

Here were the four subjects of education on the website: OccupyWallStreet.org

  • The Occupy the K-12 Public School Narrative Thematic Breakout - will bring together students, parents, educators, community members and activists to discuss the Privatization of Public Schools and the Continuum of Resistance.
  • Money out of Politics Assembly: Together, we will: describe the parameters of this movement, it’s origin story, involvement with OWS, New York specific efforts, national campaigns and major organizational actors.
  • Strike Debt: Share individual and collective actions for those fighting debt in all of its forms.
  • Occupy for all species: An OTS teach-in to talk about ways we can commit ourselves to the struggle: All Day, Every Day.