Sunday, October 9, 2011

As It Stands– ‘American Uprising’ – an ongoing demonstration for equality

    “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?


Carl Hand-up said...

Thank goodness, our revolution has begun. Long live the 99@ ers'

Ernie Branscomb said...

Great article Dave.

I can't wait for this "movement" to become cohesive and focused, to see what it is to become.

skippy said...

Thank you for your fine article, Dave. I appreciated your insight and light placed on the subject-- and hope the awareness grows.

The New York protests are entering their fourth week. We saw the size of the crowd grow to as many as 5,000 folks last Wednesday.

These numbers, however, still pale to the 50,000 or 60,000 protesters gathering at the IMF and World Bank a decade ago. Or, the 250,000 people marching against the Iraq war in 2003. Or the New York demonstration against the Bush administration at the 2004 Republican Convention that organizers claim drew 500,000.

Will Occupy Wall Street spread with mainstream America buying in? Will the coming bone chilling weather dampen spirits? Will the message be co-opted, spun, or simply ignored by doing business as usual?

We'll see what's in store between Main Street and Wall Street, the Haves and the Have-nots. Everyday folks out there ARE hurting in this economy.

As one protester opined, "I lost my job... but found an occupation."

Rose said...

This is hilarious. Last month they were "protesting' demanding higher pay for teachers in Wisconsin. Now they're "protesting' demanding that teachers don't get paid at all - encouraging students to renege on their student loans, to not pay for the education those teachers provided in exchange for that money they owe.

The end result? What do you think it might be? Maybe now, students will have to pay up front in order to protect against this abitrary and willful theft.

Why are you such sheep?

ImBlogCrazy said...


It's about more than the students (who you seem to have a real problem with).
It's about numerous issues.
By selecting one thing (students) and writing the rest of what's happening off is very narrow-minded.
You're smarter than that Rose. You know it's about corporate greed and corrupt corporate political parties ruining this country.
Marginalizing what The Majority of Americans are protesting about is an elitist and extreme right-wing reaction.
What are you afraid of Rose?

Rose said...

Frankly, Dave, if my kids were in that crowd, I would be embarrassed. If my kids were planning to default on their student loans, I would consider that I had failed them as a parent, as their lack of basic morality would be in question.

So you're ok with students defaulting on their student loans - and undoubtedly also on adults defaulting on their mortgages, part and parcel to this phony "protest" - ok, cool. I'm all for it, let's zerobase all debt, wipe the slate clean. If I was you, I'd go but down a coupla bucks on a mansion, because if these freaks get their way, you'll get to keep the mansion free and clear. Why wait!!!

But - wait, there's more: #OccupyFraud

Rose said...

These frauds at #OccupyWallStreet are nor - I repeat NOT - at all comparable to Neda, who was shot down in the street for protesting. These pathetic dupes do not have to face down tanks. They are in no danger, as their actions are being fomented by the activist in chief.

All they really need to do is get a grip, get a job (Yes, vote in someone who will actually allow that to happen), and become responsible citizens - LIKE YOU, Dave, LIKE YOU, Ernie.

Oh, my God, I cannot believe you guys are falling for this. Do you not comprehend the man behind this has moved into the top 10 richest? Do you not see the HUGE corporate donations to Obama? Are you blind?

(Ironic captcha word, patsu)

Crosby Kenyon said...

Let's see...what was it someone once said...oh, yes...about dividing and conquering?

skippy said...

Take a close look at the pictures. What do you see? Young kids, middle aged people, clean cut folks, a WWII vet, and others.

Do you see scoundrels? Dupes? Pathetic peeps lazing around without jobs and having lost their grip? No. They're all participating in democracy, and, I might add, doing so civilly and peacefully. This movement wasn't manipulated any more than the Tea Party was birthed by the Koch Brothers. This movement has $25,000 in their 'treasury'; they just spent $2,000 of that for sleeping bags. Now, what does that tell you about the movement and it's funding? That it's an evil, diabolical plot orchestrated by a sinister cabal to dupe others? Is that really the most logical conclusion here? No.

I suspect this movement will dissipate over time for different reasons, or, it could grow as the economy worsens. If that happens to any large extent, The OWS demonstrators at some point will be cleared out, tear-gassed, and clubbed into relinquishing their liberated territory-- as was the case with the Bonus Army of veterans occupying Washington in 1932.

The economic depression that started in 1929 awakened protest movements as this current 'New Depression' sparked the occupation of Wall Street. Even if this protest disspipates or is repressed, this great endeavor represents the aspirations and interests of the other 99 percent who've taken a huge stride forward.

With labor unions, students, workers, the unemployed, the elderly, mortgage holders, and veterans working together to confront the centers of ill-gotten wealth and power that have run amok on Wall Street, the wider movement representing the other 99% is destined to grow. They're pointing the way.

old school friend said...

Well said, Skippy!

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