Oct 20, 2011 - Issue 446
Wall Street Movement is now about a month old. It began way before people
The Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) has spread
to about 1,000 cities in the
For at least the last twenty years, the salaries of the working class have not just flattened, they have taken a dip, given the rise in the cost of living. During this same time span, the gap between the 1% and the 99% has tripled, pushing more Americans into poverty. While we lined up at pantry centers for food, lost our homes, filed bankruptcy because of health care catastrophes and witnessed a decline in the stability of our neighborhoods, the elite in this country have been jet-setting around, eating at the finest restaurants, going home to their nice mansions and finding more ways to exploit the world and keep wars going.
Some media observers and political pundits keep pressing the protestors for their demands as in what-do-you-people-want? Movements have their own unique rhythms, their ebbs and flows. It’s okay that people have come out to express their anger and outrage at a system that has caused a lot of economic damage at taxpayers’ expense. The ruling class and their Congressional cronies need to see the scope of this anger. We are tired of Wall Street getting bailouts on the People’s dime. Enough is enough and quite frankly, we’re out of dimes.
Each city’s Occupy looks and acts differently. It will take some time for those who are at the heart of the actions to get to know one another, to struggle through acts and words of racism, sexism and homophobia, to learn consensus building - all necessary to create a truly democratic space.
For example, Occupy L.A. has stated that it’s in it for the long haul and has put together Principles of Solidarity for its Action Assembly. It plans on reaching out to diverse communities and neighborhoods to bring them into the process.
And the movement is getting more organized - creating websites to inform people of actions, raising monies, etc. They are organizing food, shelter, medical care, libraries and a host of other needs for participants.
Ultimately, the OWS Movement will have to figure out strategy and tactics that will ensure tangible changes in the future. We should always be guided by the eloquent words of Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
With thousands of people being mobilized across the country, it would be a travesty not to use the power of the people to force some concessions that will ease our economic pain. We can choose from a smorgasbord of economic injustices to address: mass unemployment, rampant home foreclosures, slashes in social services, defunding of public education, increases in health care costs, etc. People will need to graduate from chants and signs to a political agenda that spells out what must happen to “Make Wall Street Pay for the Crisis!”
This is a broad based, intergenerational, multi-racial movement that could bring meaningful changes in this country, especially as we head into the 2012 elections. Let’s work towards minimizing empty rhetoric and pockets and maximizing our political power and economic victories.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Jamala Rogers, is the leader
of the Organization
for Black Struggle in