Man does it suddenly feel like the 1960s. This beautiful Fall weekend in the Northeast saw Times Square turn into a daytime version of the annual New Year's Eve crowd. Only not drunk. But celebratory in ways reminiscent of the many many demonstrations I took part in back then.
Not celebratory over what they're protesting, but from the joyful feeling of being among people who share your outrage over economic and social injustice, and political impotence. And the amazing reality is that after only a few short months that began with a handful of people deciding to occupy a park in The Wall Street district of lower Manhattan, demonstrations small and gigantic have spread around the globe.
The original occupiers were inspired by the Arab Spring demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, and now they in turn have inspired "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations of support and equally passionate outrage throughout Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Oligarchies and corporate elites must be shaking in their mansions and boardrooms at the sight of this. But you know they're also organizing and spending to influence the media and create anti-OWS organizations, like the poor misinformed and misleading folks, including among my own clan, who are facebooking and blogging about how they're not part of the 99% (that has become the theme of the occupation—"we're the 99% being screwed by the 1% that controls most of the wealth of the world, let alone this country")—but are instead a part of the whatever percent that "pay taxes" as opposed to those they think don't, but of course do.
No one who lives in this country or probably most countries doesn't pay taxes. Maybe the poor don't pay income taxes but they pay payroll taxes and sales taxes and etc. etc. taxes. And many corporations and financial institutions and those at the top who benefit disproportionately from them, don't pay any taxes at all, or very little especially considering the wealth they get to keep based not on performance, obviously, but on what they've been able to get away with because they buy politicians and whole political parties.
It fills my heart with gratitude and hope to see these demonstrations spreading. I know that those who would destroy the movement they're building—or we're building I should say since I'm a part of the 99% who knows it and supports the occupation of Wall Street and have gone there and demonstrated that—are already planting agents to provoke criminal activity to discredit the protesters as was done in the 1960s with the Civil Rights and Anti-War protesters, and that those elites who are for maintaining the status quo of their outsized influence on politics and government and continuing to take more and more than their share of the country's and the world's wealth will buy intellectuals and pundits and politicians and governments and regular working people who are fearful of change etc....
...and the various causes and beliefs of the people protesting will begin to fragment and clash, especially when those differences are highlighted and exploited by the media to further the divide-and-conquer agenda of a lot of the media's corporate masters, but nonetheless, this growing movement and this moment are historical, inspirational, and past due. And may well succeed in creating a people's movement for change that has a big enough impact to actually create change despite the wealthy who have grown bold because they had no opposition to their expanding wealth and control of government and politics at least since Reagan.
As one of the signs I saw said, "We are who we've been waiting for!" Ain't it the truth.
[Here's today's NY Times take on the protests as news.]