- Politics and Social Issues»
The American Occupation?
- Occupy Harrisburg Protesters Make Plans for 'The Long Haul'--PennLive.com
Dozens of potential demonstrators hear of the need for logistics, PR, a campsite and fire permits.
- OccupyWallStreet's Doctrine of Beliefs
. . . we will not be silenced until we strip the corporate culture of its power and return it to its rightful owners, the citizens of the United States of America.
The 'American Awakening'?
People in the press, especially the progressive 'alternative' press, have taken to calling what's going on in New York City and elsewhere as the "American Autumn". These writers see similarities between the protesters against corporations and their CEO's and the protestors who brought down authoritian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and even Libya.
I think the path towards Wall Street, and elsewhere, actually began with the "Wisconsin Winter". The public employees who occupied their State's capitol in protest of their Koch Brother's backed governor's legislation to strip them of their rights may have been the first stages of a growing American class consciousness.
For the last 70 or 80 years, America seems to have lacked the consciousness of class that much of the industrialized world has. The kind of mass protests that have been seen in Greece are rare here, and there could be several reasons why that has been.
The main reason might be the notion of "The American Dream". The notion that with hard work, a person can move through the social strata. This is a great notion, but it may be based on some dated notions.
Even 50 years ago, there were jobs available that did not require extensive educations. A person with a high-school education could find a job at a steel mill, etc. The union would make sure he or she had a wage that kept place with the cost of living. The earnings could be used to pay off a house, put a child through college, or allow for a retirement.
Thirty years of pro-corporate policies have created a new reality for too many. The reality of working as part of the "McEconomy" in a Wal-Mart, etc; with low wages, limited benefits and little opportunity to advance, or risk a lifetime of debt and put themselves or a child through college, with now little guarantee that they'll be in a job that uses that degree.
A second issue is that for all the charges of "Class Warfare" that the GOP levels any time any legislation that would help workers or put their intererests ahead of corporations, the right has been waging their own version of it for decades. To me, one common trait of any right-wing movement is a "corporate state", and to do this, there's a need to get the citizens to vote against their economic interests. The main way to do this is to divide the %99 by creating outgroups; the current 'other' seems to be Latinos, as states in places like Alabama and even Pennsylvania follow Arizona's lead in "ethnic profiling".
But could all this be changing, there's still some work that needs to be done to build an American awareness of class. For one, the occupiers need to, as much as they may not want to admit it, realize they need to build themselves into a political movement. They need to build some political power to break the hold of the %99 on the process; if this means building the infrastructure that it would take to allow a true working-class political party to rise, so be it. Second, there is a need for more working-class voices like Carlisle's Rick Smith; an industrialist once said "I can pay half the working class to kill the other half". Who needs to do that any more, when one can just purchase advertising on Beck or Limbaugh's programs, or FOX News, and let them spread division.
A final thing is that for President Obama and other Democrats to see that the "occupiers" are actually much of the party's base. A need to stop pandering to the %1, and allow voices like Bernie Saunders (I-VT) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to take leadership roles in the party is a necessity. If not, and America continue down the path towards "USA Inc", the next popular uprising may not be as peaceful.