On 17 September 2011 the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ began. A heavy police presence, however, kept the hundred of protesters well away from Wall and Broad where the New York Stock Exchange reigns.
The protesters–mostly young–took over nearby Zuccotti Park to stay the course; they had come to stay and raise the flag of citizen discontent: at a time when a majority of Americans are having a hard time to make ends meet; when many are out of work for a long time; when families are failing below the already low bar which the government sets for the poverty level; when millions face home foreclosures; when schools are underfunded and the countries infrastructure is falling apart, the big bracket banks that are too big to fail, after having being rescued by the ordinary taxpayer from collapse for the 2008 global recession they engineered, have not only recovered but are sitting on trillions of dollars that they are not lending to spark economic recovery but are feathering their own bed with horse chocking bonuses and flaunting modesty by conspicuous consumption with monies that could feed, house, and clothe millions in need–the financial elite, aided by the government in Washington they have bought with campaign contributions have rarely been held accountable for high crimes against the livelihood, the lives, and commonweal of the American people.
‘Occupy Wall Street’ participants have cried ‘basta ya!’, enough’s enough, and they are bringing the people’s anger to the bastion of US finance capitalism demanding an accounting and a call for indictment, punishment, and imprisonment of the fat cats who are driving Americans to despair and ruin.
Wall Street is a golden goose for New York City. It is a major industry and although it pays less taxes than it should, what it pays buoys up an economy that lives by cheek and jowl. Translation the poor pay more and receive less in goods and services which are geared to the pleasure of the plutocrats, coupon clippers, and the rich.
So, the billionaire mayor Bloomberg doesn’t take the protests lightly. New York City police have roughed up the demonstrators, arrested them on the slimmest excuse which violate their civil rights of freedom of assembly and speech and then release them without charges. They do it simply for harassment and in order to push the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ organisers and participants to roll up sleeping bags [yes! more than a hundred have camped out in Zuccotti Park since Day One; hundreds more go home at night but return in the morning; still others come down to cheer the protesters on and swell their ranks].
Radio has fleetingly mentioned the campaign to occupy Wall Street; national television is sternly silent except for rare exceptions like Rachel Maddow and Amy Goodman.
Suddenly on Saturday 24 September, a week into the protest, the police turned the ignored ‘Occupy Wall Street’ into an object of international media coverage. In a large, peaceful march to New York’s Union Square, swelled to several hundred marchers, New York’s finest as the police pride themselves in being, manoeuvred the protesters into meshed walled in pens where the law officers beat, dispersed pepper spray, and ultimately arrested 90. The excessive use of force by police authorities turned a small march into an international event, making headlines and gracing media with repeated showing of police attacking peaceful protesters on television and in still photos.
‘Occupy Wall Street’ is like a magnet which draws ‘right on!’ cheers from everyone who is suffering from the fallout of the 2008 global recession and today’s fear of an anemic economy slipping into depression, whilst stuff shirt bankers like JPMorgan’s Jaime Dimon is ranting and raving that governments are trying to make banks pay a greater share of profits to pull the economy at home and abroad out of economic morass if not disaster.
And the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protest continues, and with the passing of each day, complacent bankers should take note and be afraid of the people’s anger.