Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Checking out Occupy Wall Street.

I haven't been this hopeful since the day before President Obama was inaugurated.

Twice last week I dropped by Caesar Chavez Park in Sacramento to see what's happening with Occupy Sacramento, hoping to learn more about them. Thursday after work I found a few dozen people there gathered around someone talking into a very low-volume bullhorn. I left feeling a little frustrated. But on Saturday, I joined 500 or more people who marched to the Capitol. It made me hopeful to see young people leading the events.

I was impressed by Occupy Wall Street (OWS) on line. I'm way behind the technology curve, so I appreciate that you don't have to be at a particular place to be part of the cause when you've got Facebook and Twitter and who knows what else. Here are links to the national and local websites.

At work on Monday I noticed that several knowledgeable Wall Street types had written articles sympathetic to the movement. The Quotes/Resources section below will provide additional information about some of their concerns.

For the first time since early in the Obama administration, progressives appear to have framed a slogan: "We Are the 99%", that is getting attention from the corporate media. The Republicans and Tea Party have consistently been able to control the issues agenda, using the main stream media to spread their messages, whether it be fear about "Obamacare", Terrorists", "The Deficit" or any other fear.

I'm just glad that the Occupy Movement is shining a light on some serious economic issues and the behavior that has happened and is still happening in the financial services industry.

Quotes and Resources to learn more about Occupy Wall Street

"The participants are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, as well as the power and influence of corporations, particularly from the financial service sector, and lobbyists over government." -- from "Occupy Wall Street" in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street


We now have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major, advanced country on earth. The top one percent earn more income than the bottom 50 percent and the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. -- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Six Demands to Make of Wall Street http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/12-6


Do they have legitimate gripes?

To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes.And if America cannot figure out a way to address these gripes, the country will likely become increasingly "de-stabilized," as sociologists might say. And in that scenario, the current protests will likely be only the beginning.

The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.
-- Commentary by Henry Bloget, former Wall Street insider and editor of Business Insider. Lots of charts about income inequality and redistribution to the very rich. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1


Inside Job is a documentary that traces the evolution of the issues that culminated in the economic meltdown of 2008 that have still not been adequately addressed. http://www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob/


Funny The New Yorker magazine cover. http://i.huffpost.com/gen/378338/NEW-YORKER-COVER-OCCUPY-WALL-STREET.jpg


Finally, check out Jon Stewart's funny monologue on Occupy Wall Street and the media response. http://www.hulu.com/watch/286243/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-wed-oct-5-2011#s-p1-so-i0