Occupy movement goes global: 900 cities and counting

The social protest movement that started several weeks ago with Occupy Wall Street has gone global, as Esther Addley reports for Guardian newspaper (link here):

  • 60,000 protesters in Barcelona, Spain
  • 25,000 in Santiago, Chile
  • 5,000+ “massed outside the European Central Bank” in Frankfurt, Germany
  • 4,000 in London
  • 3,000 in Auckland, New Zealand

Addley adds:

The Occupy campaign may have hoped, at its launch, to inspire similar action elsewhere, but few can have foreseen that within four weeks, more than 900 cities around the world would host co-ordinated protests directly or loosely affiliated to the Occupy cause.

Testifying on the human costs: Occupy the Boardroom

As protests mount, others are finding ways to spread the message online. Joshua Holland, writing for AlterNet (link here) reports on Occupy the Boardroom, a project that allows members of the public to share personal stories of what the economic meltdown has done to them and their families. For example, here is what one woman from North Carolina wrote to fellow Tar Heel Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the President’s national debt commission:

Like you I’m from the Tar Heel state so I thought I’d tell you my story. A couple of years ago my father died waiting for a liver transplant. It was an ugly, horrible death and left me parentless while still in my 20s. My brother and I inherited the small ranch-style house my father worked his whole life to pay off. (Our mother died during our childhoods.) I wanted to take care of my father’s money so I invested it. Six months later I had lost over half of it when the crash happened. I lost half of my father’s life savings because of the corrupt practices of Wall Street. My father worked his whole life. He was the 11th child of a sharecropping family and was sent to the cotton fields before he was ten. He completed high school but there was no money for college so he went to work at blue-collar jobs which he used to support us his whole life.

When I think of the money I lost, I think of my father’s hands. I think of his broken, scarred hands that built a home and future for me. It wasn’t just money that Wall Street stole. Futures, trust, hard work and respect — those are the things Wall Street corruption has stolen from the American People, not just money. I don’t think everyone on Wall Street is corrupt, but the system is, and I want to do my part to correct it, even if it’s just writing a letter like this. I owe my father that. Mr. Bowles, I hope you do your part too. Because of your position, you are a powerful person in our society. So I ask you, how will you use your power? What will your legacy be?

***

Watch and listen to this catchy video and song above, “We Are the 99%,” posted on YouTube.

Related posts

Economics 101: Defining terms and saving capitalism from itself

From “punk-styled kids” to airline pilots, is Occupy Wall Street the start of something big?

Post-meltdown America: An economic recovery for the wealthy

Globalization and workers 101: A quick primer

2 responses

  1. Erskine Bowles raises excellent points. We need to remember why the economic meltdown was so tragic, so unjust. Indeed, I’d like Congressional Medals of Freedom to go to the nationwide team of AP editors and reporters who told stories like Erskine’s just before the Occupy movement took flight. Each reporter submitted a detailed interview of someone trammeled by the economic meltdown. And each subject bared soul and wallet for the greater good. It was an impressive series, but even more, it was moving: at once inspiring and shameful. … To the Bowles account, I’d humbly add one point. Wall Street’s misdeeds made it under the radar because the vast majority of Congress sold out everyone but their cronies. Yes, Congress has gotten ever-chummier with the captains of industry. And why? The latter (and their lobbyists) give the former insider-trading tips that literally are worth millions of dollars. Who can mistake the ever-growing spread between annual performances of the S&P 500 and the portfolios of our “average” Congressperson? As everyone else’s fortunes plummet, the fat cats’ are soaring out of sight. That’s not even counting other “nice perks” that our representatives in Washington receive: vacations labelled “research efforts”, fine wines and gourmet meals labeled “goodwill contributions”, favoritism in access to top-notch medical care, and so on. Let’s not forget, our nation’s greatest gift to Corporate America: by the narrowest margin, the Supreme Court “interpreted” our Constitution as meaning that each corporation is actually an individual. That allows virtually unfettered gifts of goods and services to the firms’ dearest politicos. All this time, the spin doctors convert sound rhetoric to nonsense. Congress filibusters vital debates into oblivion. The media are gutted by profit-takin, and undermined by bribes to anonymous sources. Through it all, the public trusts authority figures, mainly because issues are framed in terms so complex only a specialist can grasp them: hedge funds, banks “in peril”, etc. What comes next will say a lot about who we are as a nation, and what we need to fix.

    • Just a quick clarification: Erskine Bowles is not the author of that personal account — he’s the co-chair of the national debt commission to whom the account was directed.

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