Angry New Yorkers organized an initiative called "Occupy Wall Street." Beginning September 17, they called for "tak(ing) the bull by the horns," referring to the familiar New York financial district symbol.
Its web site statement said:
"The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%."
Saying "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired," civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer's epitaph said it her way.
Today, we're all sick and tired of corrupted officials letting Wall Street crooks steal public wealth at the expense of millions ripped off to enrich them lavishly.
Occupy Wall Street activists are angry about "profit over and above all else." Because of political Washington collusion, it dominates public policy in America.
Comparing their initiative to Arab Spring uprisings, they said:
"On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months."
"Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants."
One of many protester signs read:
"The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us."
Adbusters organized the protests. On September 16, ahead of its September 17 inaugural, it published an "Orientation Guide," saying:
"Saturday's occupation begins at noon in Bowling Green Park....See you at the bull....The first people's assembly will start at 3pm at One Chase Manhattan Plaza and continue until our one demand is agreed by all."
Suggested ideas include:
• revoking corporate personhood;
• reinstating Glass-Steagall, decoupling commercial from investment banks and insurers, among other provisions to curb speculation;
• imposing a Tobin tax on large financial transactions;
• making corporations and rich Americans pay their fair share;
• demanding Obama establish an "American Democracy Reform Commission" to end "monied corruption in Washington;" in other words, get money out of politics;
• creating a similar commission for banking to assure for starters too-big-to-fail banks don't exist;
• perhaps an "END THE MONIED CORRUPTION OF AMERICA MANIFESTO;" or
• all of the above and more to create a level playing field.
Most important is returning money power to Congress as the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8 demands, saying:
"The Congress shall have Power....(t)o coin Money, (and) regulate the Value thereof...."
It didn't say bankers have a divine right to control the most important of all powers. More on that below.
"Agree to be bold (and) decisive against the financial corruption of America," say Occupy Wall Street organizers.
Kick it off there, then spread it nationally. Tough tasks take time, impossible ones a little longer. Anything is possible with enough sustained commitment. Survival depends on generating it.
On September 17, "our Tahrir moment beg(an)....strength, courage, nonviolence!"
Web sites, social networks, and one-on-one contacts spread the word to fight corrupt politics, corporate power, and Wall Street crooks.
Adbusters editor-in-chief Kalle Lasn said:
"We need to shake up the corporate-driven capitalist system were in. To do that, we need something radical."
Major media scoundrels first said nothing, then dismissively gave it short shrift. As America's lead wealth and power voice, The New York Times barely noticed. Then it did offensively in Ginia Bellafante's September 23 article headlined, "Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim," saying:
Occupy Wall Street is "a noble but fractured and airy movement of rightly frustrated young people...."
"(A) default ambassador (is) a half-naked woman who called herself Zuni Tikka....Ms. Tikka had taken off all but her cotton underwear and was dancing on the north side of Zuccotti Park, facing Liberty Street, just west of Broadway."
Bellafante arrogantly called real grievances "street theater." She mocked social injustice, calling protesters "a diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists...."
She scorned their "lack of cohesion and....apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably...."
She downplayed crowd size, grit, anger and nonviolence. She mentioned scores of arrests but ignored police brutality.
Cops always do it, especially defending social injustice. Trends analyst Gerald Celente calls them "enforcers for crime bosses." They serve and protect America's super-rich, not ordinary Americans they attack for demanding their rights.
Since September 17, they've been out in force in New York, practicing their stock and trade (no pun intended), beating up on nonviolent protesters instead of supporting them.
They were pepper sprayed, maced, thrown to the ground, beaten, handcuffed, dragged off, and locked up. Even though hundreds, not thousands, turned out, they were committed, spreading the word, and urging others to join them.
Nonetheless, on September 26, Wall Street Journal writer Gordon Crovitz called last week's protests "a bust," saying "over-educated and under-employed" participants "learned a lesson: Just because it's on social media doesn't make it true."
Mocking social grievances, he added:
Most in Zuccotti Park "were typical left-wing critics of markets, Zionism and people who wear fur...."
"A tabloid headline, 'Violence Erupts at Wall St. Protest,' proved overstated."
Billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg said nothing about arrests and gratuitous abuse.
Police brutality victims were outspoken. On September 25, New York Daily News writers Matt Deluca and Christina Boyle expressed them, headlining: "Wall Street protesters cuffed, pepper-sprayed during 'inequality' march," saying:
"Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent."
"Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face."
"I saw a girl get slammed on the ground. I turned around and started screaming," said a young Brooklyn woman who said she was sprayed.
Another woman said:
"I was shocked because it seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn't clear why. I was deeply disturbed to see (police) throw a man (down) and immediately they were pounding on him. Their arms were going back in the air. I couldn't believe how violent five people needed to be against one unarmed man."
Video images showed NYPD commander Anthony Bologna using pepper spray. In fact, he and other New York cops were sued for police violence during the 2004 Republican National Convention.
At the time, 1,800 were arrested. Many were held incommunicado under appalling conditions. The case will go to trial next year. Abused nonviolent protesters want justice.
Crovitz mocked Wall Street demonstrators, saying:
"Wall Street has survived much worse than some ragged protesters trying to occupy it....(S)ome ideas deserve to be sold short."
So do media scoundrels, making pimps, prostitutes and dope peddlers look good by comparison.
Wall Street Protest Spirit Going Viral
On September 27, Occupy Wall Street began going national. In Chicago, protesters camped out in front of the Federal Reserve. Others rallied outside the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
On September 26, Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon joined New York protesters. They and others stressed that change never comes top down, only bottom up.
In early October, rallies are planned across America in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, Washington, Lexington, KY, Seattle, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Boston, Tampa, New Orleans, and dozens more communities including Canadian ones, hoping they'll show up everywhere committed for long denied social justice.
America's First Amendment guarantees free expression and assembly rights. Thuggish police across America attack them. Peaceful protesters are treated like criminals.
Police indeed are "enforcers for crime bosses," and not just in New York.
Money Power: The Root of All Evil in Private Hands
This writer's new book explains, titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War."
It discusses how Wall Street crooks transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket, facilitated by government collusion at the highest federal, state and local levels.
As a result, working Americans got scammed. For years, they've lost their savings, jobs, homes and futures to let privileged elites get richer and more powerful. The book explains, pulling no punches in exposing their criminality and duplicity.
At issue is powerful bankers having control over money, credit and debt for private enrichment. They've used it illegitimately to bankroll and collude with political Washington to implement laws favoring them and turn a blind eye to their criminal fraud and abuse.
As a result, decades of deregulation, outsourcing, economic financialization, and casino capitalism followed, producing asset bubbles, record budget and national debt levels, as well as depression-sized unemployment, depravation and anger.
Today's contagion is global. Billions suffer. Economies are wrecked to save banks. Washington is Wall Street occupied territory. They've gotten trillions of dollars to socialize losses, private profits, and run their printing press overtime for as much more as they want.
Whatever Wall Street wants, it gets. Powerful banks run America. Speculative fraud is their stock and trade. In their hands, corruption became an art form. Markets are manipulated to serve them. Politicians are used like handmaidens.
For decades, war on working Americans raged, transferring wealth to Wall Street, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites already with too much.
Moreover, high-paying/good benefit jobs went overseas to cheap labor markets. Fewer low-pay/low or no benefit temporary or part-time ones replaced them. Essential social services eroded en route to eliminating them altogether, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public pensions.
Worse still, corporate/government collusion conspires to end all worker rights, return America to 19th century harshness, and enforce it by police state brutality.
America's well along toward the worst of all possible worlds, a hellish dystopia no one should tolerate.
Occupy Wall Street protesters know it. So do others across America. Everyone needs to!
Join the struggle for what's possible no other way!
It's high time to fight back, putting bodies on the line for long denied social justice!
There's no other way to get it!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.