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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carl Gibson: Elite are trembling in their boots

OCCUPY WALL STREET UPDATE

READER SUPPORTED NEWS 
PERSPECTIVE

By Carl Gibson
Reader Supported News
readersupportednews.org

18 October 11 - As of October 15, 2011, the movement protesting banks that wrecked our economy for profit can now claim the "too big to fail" title from their targets.

Once dismissed as a ragtag fringe group of rabble-rousers, Occupy Wall Street protests have spread to 82 countries and 950 cities worldwide in just a month. In Europe, millions protested corporate/financial corruption of Democracy. And in America, Occupy Wall Street solidarity encampments continue in cities as big as Chicago, and as small as Jackson, Mississippi.

A sign frequently seen at occupations reads, "The system isn't broken, it was built this way." This movement's participants and organizers are all in basic agreement that the current system is by the 1 percent, of the 1 percent, for the 1 percent, and rigged to favor the 1 percent on the backs of the 99 percent. The evidence that spending money lobbying Congress means higher corporate profits is mainstream knowledge.

Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that his deregulation-driven ideology that drove US financial policy for the better part of a decade was wrong. Even wealthy investment managers admit that the wealth and power amassed by the top .01 percent - mostly through the use of complex financial instruments - is unavailable to the bottom 99.9 percent. The occupation movement isn't just a protest of the current system - occupiers are designing a political system that has no room for lobbyists or a powerful elite group of decision-makers over everyone else.

Now, as Cornel West predicted a few weeks ago, the elite are trembling in their boots.

Tom Leppert, running for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-TX) seat, has funneled money into a website called endoccupy.com, attacking the protesters' "false sense of entitlement." This is particularly amusing considering the site's founder was a high-ranking executive for Washington Mutual right until the firm folded in the largest bank failure in American history, extorting $63 billion from shareholders.

Erick Erickson of the conservative blogging site redstate.com helped launch a blog called "We Are the 53%," a nod to the oft-quoted yet misleading conservative talking point that 47% of Americans don't pay federal taxes (even though they pay 1/3rd of their income in sales, property, payroll and excise taxes). To add to Erickson's callousness, the blog also intentionally mocks the "We Are the 99 Percent" tumblr blog, where people suffering from unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, foreclosure, poverty, hunger and mountains of debt share their struggles with the world.

Republicans vying for the presidency can't wait to line up and take potshots at the nascent movement, eager to downplay the struggles of the "99 percenters," as they rake in piles of campaign cash from corporate, financial and even secret donors. Mitt Romney said it was "dangerous, this class warfare." Not to be outdone, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain said "if you're not rich and unemployed ... don't blame the banks. Blame yourself."

The corporate-owned media, who had previously been blacking out coverage of Occupy Wall Street (probably because it wasn't a Tea Party protest), now takes to the airwaves every day in attempts to smear and discredit the movement at every opportunity. On his own show, Sean Hannity told one occupier she didn't "believe in freedom." On Fox News, Ann Coulter called the Wall St. occupation "The beginning of totalitarianism." MSNBC's conservative morning host Joe Scarborough openly mocked the protests on the air before being called "part of the problem" by a CNBC reporter at the New York Stock Exchange. Jon Stewart did a bang-up job exposing the media's hypocrisy in its coverage of the movement.

Despite such unflinching criticism and excessive smear campaigns, the message of the occupation movement is still getting through. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) says it is disingenuous to dismiss the movement as a leftist "fringe" element, given the diversity of occupiers' beliefs and backgrounds. After the official dedication of the memorial to her father in Washington, Martin Luther King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, said the occupation's fight for economic and social justice for the other 99% of Americans is a cause her father would have gladly fought for. After Occupy Wall Street brought thousands to Times Square, a decorated marine openly confronted dozens of NYPD officers over allegations of police brutality, vowing to protect his fellow citizens from injustice, even if it came from their own law enforcement officers. All the officers could do was listen to him, and ask him to move on and be silent.

America has reached a turning point. Occupy Wall Street, after only a month, has gained global attention and unstoppable momentum. It is no longer up to the system's political power-brokers, whose incompetence was on full display during this summer's manufactured debt-ceiling crisis. Nor is it up to the system's titans of finance, industry or capital. If those groups want to have a say in what the future holds, they'll eventually be forced to come to the occupations themselves, and meet with ordinary Americans on their own terms.

Carl Gibson, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. He graduated from Morehead State University in 2009 with a B.A. in Journalism before starting the first US Uncut group in Jackson, Mississippi, in February of 2011. Since then, over 20,000 US Uncut activists have carried out more than 300 actions in over 100 cities nationwide. You may contact Carl at carl@rsnorg.org.

Reader Supported News Special Coverage
The aim of #OCCUPYWALLSTREET is to draw protesters to New York's financial district and around the world in a non-violent protest to spark a mass movement against corporate dominance. While the corporate media ignores the protest, the Rim Country Gazette Blog will post the best of Reader Supported News continuing coverage of the latest developments.

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