Occupy Wall Street: For the People, By the People and Of the People
Occupy Wall Street is a mass movement that originated in America and is fast spreading across several countries across the world. It is an uprising of the general population against the minority that is super rich.
Wall Street home to America’s biggest investment banks and financial corporations crashed as a result of unregulated financial activity that could easily be seen as gambling. High risk products, not based on sound fundamentals were bought and sold by these financial institutions. This was done using the savings of investors. On the other side, real estate boomed with loans being doled out without checking the capacity to repay the mortgage. This almost unregulated financial landscape was lorded over by a few who drew fat bonuses and were accountable for little.
The crash that was waiting to happen, did. The bubble overheated and burst. Consequently banks crashed and investors lost on their life savings. The real estate sector saw defaults piling up and homes foreclosed. The market was filled with cheap homes, and several homeless. The government on the insistence of the treasury secretary bailed out Wall Street in the biggest 'welfare cheque ever'.
And even as the system crashed, these bosses got their bonuses. The bailout was the last straw for a suffering public. In September about 20,000 people marched from lower Manhattan to Broadway. It was a protest against “bank bailouts, corporate greed, and the unchecked power of Wall Street in Washington.”(Source: occupywallst.org).
None of the big corporate bosses have as yet been held responsible for the financial crisis, while the working middle class continues to be squeezed. Several are homeless and many others with little or no healthcare or financial assistance. The impact of this crisis was felt the world over where similar financial organizations indulged in dangerous practices to perpetuate their corporate greed. The Occupy Wall Street movement is inspired by the Arab Spring tactic, a civil resistance mechanism that relied on demonstrations, marches and social media to drum up support against repressive regimes.
A core group inspired by the mood on the street started organizing this peaceful protest.
As part of a global day of action October 15th, protests were held from North and South America to Asia, Africa and Europe, with over 1,500 events organized in 82 countries.
The Occupy Wall street movement feels that American corporates and politicians have long been hand in glove, where the majority has borne the brunt of their greed. They demand that the US must return it’s country back to its people. The Occupy Wall Street movement now includes the Transit Workers Union, the Airline Pilots Union and the SEIU.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has come to represent people’s anger against governments who they feel have not protected the interest of the public at large. They believe that it chose to protect the 1% rich. They believe that the American dream has become just a dream, thanks to the severe financial and social inequity. Currently it stands as a forum for people across countries to voice this. It will be interesting to see what policy changes they will be able to enforce as a result of the movement.