“There’s something happinin here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.”
Lyrics from “Stop Hey What’s that Sound” by Buffalo Springfield.
By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
Trees across America change colors as Autumn settles in and winds of discontent swirl down Wall Street. They carry the voices of an ever-increasing number of protestors camped out at Zuccotti Park and on sidewalks.
Over 700 protestors were arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend. People chanted, “We are the 99 percent!” Thousands of protestors gathered at Foley Square midweek and were joined by union activists in a march to Zuccotti Park.
Their signs condemned the corporations, the banks, the speculators, the government, the wars, and the wealthy minority who rule like robber barons of old. They shouted epithets and chanted “F*** the Fed!” Signs proclaimed, "Tax Wall Street" and "Make Jobs Not Cuts."
This ongoing demonstration has become known on Twitter (and recently by the mainstream media) as #OccupyWallStreet. It began in July with the launch of a simple campaign website calling for a march and a sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange.
The call to protest came from anti-consumerist magazine AdBusters on September 17th, and people haven’t stopped coming. Over the past three weeks, demonstrations have addressed various issues, including police brutality, union busting and the economy.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this protest - which has extended to other states - is the lack of a central leadership. We’re witnessing a true grass roots movement. I’ve read where protestors said they were inspired by the so-called “Arab Uprising.”
The Wall Street Journal reported similar protests sprouting up across the country in cities including Chicago, Pittsburg and Los Angeles. Over 60 smaller cities throughout the country have had turnouts supporting the movement. Students at Humboldt State University, in Arcata, joined other students throughout California in voicing their concerns.
Several hundred people marched around the financial district in San Francisco, their angry voices joining the New York protestors, "They got bailed out, we got sold out" and "Join our ranks, stop the banks."
I hope the politicians are paying attention because no amount of rhetoric will satisfy the millions of Americans suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The majority of Americans are angry with our government and the power of the wealthy minority. This blacklash has no leaders, but the overall message is clear; things have to change. People can’t stand the inequalities in our system of government any longer.
The mainstream media has reluctantly reported the Wall Street protests, and others that are springing up everywhere thanks to social medias like FaceBook and Twitter. I’ve followed this “American Uprising” from the start, and the thing that impresses me is the unity among strangers.
I can’t help thinking about the sixties when protestors spoke out against the Vietnam War and a corrupt government. They made a difference. They showed if the majority of Americans banded together and let their voices be heard, they could make a difference.
If the Republicans and the Democrats have any brains at all, they better pay heed to what’s happening in the streets. The winds of discontent are blowing and show no signs of letting up.
The protests have been peaceful for the most part. People are arrested and ticketed. It’s important to look at who the protestors are. The core of our democracy - the middle class. Of course the poor are protesting too. They always have by virtue of their position in life. Their voices are seldom heard. There’s no Super PACs (Political Action Committees) for the poor.
A fire has been started by the people. Not by a PAC (financed by the wealthy) and claiming to be for the people like the Tea Party. No, this a very real uprising among common Americans fed up with the powers that be. It’ll be impossible for the mainstream media to vilify any one person and call them responsible for the rebellion that is sweeping the cities.
Despite that, expect negative reports about the protestors. Expect stories about liberals gone wild and lazy hippies having a heyday. Expect conservative attacks that revile those protesting Americans on Wall Street and Main Street USA. Above all, expect the demonstrators to continue to gather in growing numbers.
More than the color of the leaves is changing this autumn. Common Americans are finding their voice. The working class. The people who bear the brunt of taxes while the corporations and the wealthy cheat. Everyday people. People who work long hours for low pay and practically no benefits.
Common people who have a dream of equality. Who think all Americans should have health care and seniors shouldn’t have to fear for their social security benefits or be used as pawns in politics.
The politicians who don’t respond to this groundswell of discontent will harvest what they sow when they come up for re-election. This is a campaign year. This is also the year the people have decided to fight back.
As the bitter winds of autumn carry the protests, they threaten sleet and snow as the protests grow. Angry voices ride the winds of change, unafraid of the establishment that has failed them so miserably. Their ranks continue to swell.
As It Stands, can you hear them? The voices ringing out across the land?