The Occupy Wall Street campaigns have gained widespread national and international recognition as the ongoing series of demonstrations, beginning on September 17th, have spread throughout the USA.
Founded by a Canadian anti-capitalist group, known as Adbusters, the protests have been compared to the activities of the “Arab Spring” movement. The comparison is hardly fit as the “Arab Spring” is a conquest of liberalism and the people against the tyrannical powers of their rulers and the security forces, resulting in thousands of deaths in various countries. Many Arab activists have loudly voiced their opposition to such claims, stating that such a comparison denigrates the “Arab Spring” movement. So saying, the comparison may be lacking in any fundamental truth, but the Occupy Wall Street youths are using the “Arab Spring” as vindication for their movement, for inspiration and are drawing their own comparisons (for self-comfort). Many demonstrators have views the “Arab Spring” as a reinforcing ideal, supporting the idea that sometimes it is necessary for citizens to take to the streets in order to effect political change. Moreover, the police suppression in Boston, though nowhere near the true security force brutality in the Middle East, has been easily sensationalized by media assets and the movement, to draw public attention towards their mission. Evidently, the disenfranchised youths behind the movement remain steadfast in their stated mission to topple their existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way of life for all Americans.
Despite evident sensationalist and radical methods, the message resounding from the movement is the most important part. The infrastructure of America is in shambles with political gridlock fueling fiscal cancer that has broken the American spirit, the trust in Washington and the faith in reform. Americans have grown cynical of any progress coming from Washington and with persistent political partisanship dividing Washington on key issues for the future of America, gloom and despair of American society only intensifies. Now on day 27 of cyclical demonstration around the US, the national participants stand in opposition to the social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government.
“When your normal avenues of redress in whatever type of system you are part of are no longer open to you or are not there to begin with, there’s a breaking point, a point where people stop and say – we’re just not going to accept the way that things are done anymore.” – Ed Needham, Occupy Wall Street spokesman in New York.
Globalization has led to the escalation of pluralization, an increase in the number of participants in the global network. Such connection has made evident the growing complex interdependence and instability of a growing complex interdependence of nations, in which one fault will, and has, led to global fiscal crises. Not only has the crisis in America illustrated the dysfunction of both the political and fiscal structures, but it has also illustrated the inequalities of America. America has become a nation where the rich have become the mega-rich while the middle class has steadily lost ground, where unemployment is stuck as levels once considered unacceptable, and where the political system is too dysfunctional to take bold actions for progress and reform. With the readily available use of technology and all media assets, it is not surprising that some choose to protest. Demonstrations, public frustration and widespread outcry are loved by the American populace. The popularity of the Tea Party and MoveOn, radical political organizations, demonstrate the sensationalist appeal of America and the media. Currently, Occupy Wall Street has proved the most fruitful, as the protests have inspired similar demonstration in some 70 cities across America, with news media coverage of the Occupy movement treading along. Last week’s movement received coverage that was quantitatively equivalent to the early coverage of the Tea Party movement in early 2009.
“The result is a lot of angry people, to whom new information technologies have given the means to threaten the stability of the societies they live in and even to threaten social stability in countries of the wealthy zone.” – Robert Wade, economist
Such publicity and national coverage has its double edge, of course. With demonstration in Boston, Washington and San Francisco resulting in scores of protesters being arrested, the outside perspectives and opinions of the Occupy movement have grown, spanning from Iran anti-capitalist view to a hypocritical movement that is funded by the very mega-rich that the protesters oppose. For instance, reports have indicated that the disparate protest has received its main financing and sponsorship from George Soros, who in September debuted in the top 10 list of wealthiest Americans. There is evidence of indirect financial links between Soros and Adbusters, the premiere anti-capitalist Canadian group that founded the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the Forbes 400 list, George Soros is listed as 7th, with a fortune of $22 billion. Like the protesters, Soros has been staunchly opposed to the series of 2008 bank bailouts and subsequent purchase of the toxic sub-prime mortgage assets amassed in the property bubble. Along with Soros, the demonstrators have received support from an online fundraising campaign run by Kickstrater, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore. On the opposite extreme, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that the Occupy protests will bring down capitalism in the US and ultimately lead to the Wests’ downfall. The speech was broadcasted on Iranian state TV, as the Supreme Leader addressed thousands of Iranians to hear his messages of hatred towards Western capitalism. Apparently, any opportunity to challenge American hegemon status is a gift to the Iranian leader, especially considering the recent foiled plot to commit acts of terror on US soil.
“The 1% (who are ruling America) launched the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the remaining 99% have to suffer the deaths and pay for it.” – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader