The Occupy Wall Street protests have spread to other countries. This shows, in no small way, that what happens in America doesn’t necessarily stay in America.
Many observers seem to think that the 60s were only about protesting the Vietnam war, or being stoned, but in fact, growing out of that anti-Vietnam war protest, were many concerns as to where modern cultures in the West were headed, politically, economically, and sexually.
Political manifestos were being written (even here in Australia) on changes to enact after “The 60s Revolution.”
Corporate and government leaders, which together were called “The Establishment,” found ways to entice the “Revolutionaries” to give up their cause, changing or defeating corruption, for a cosy, or at least a promising, career within “The System.”
Since that revolution was dying from the manipulations of “The Establishment,” discussions led the betrayed grass-root members to predict an economic crisis as an inherent result of Capitalistic encouragement of avarice and greed. This they referred to as, “The Crunch.”
“The Crunch” was predicted to follow a world wide economic crash because of capitalism’s inherent inequities. Only the very rich would have access to the means to live in anything like decent human surroundings or support, let alone the outrageous luxury the rich could afford on an over-populated planet.
A number of movies were based on, or had backdrops that were inspired by, this scenario; Soylent Green (1973) and Logan’s Run (1976) and Mad Max (1979) being just three examples. Hollywood, if nothing else, has provided movies warning us of nearly every disaster which may befall humanity. Very few of those movies end ‘happily ever after’.
Between the 70s and more recent times, every opportunity to hoard money and profits has been the crazed objective of corporations and the majority of the extremely rich. The peasants are deemed unworthy, unwashed, unkempt, and should be kept and portrayed as such, as we have seen them being depicted in the right wing media.
It is as if the corrupt and greedy actually concurred with the predictions of the defeated revolutionaries’ massive economic and social “crunch,” and set out to secure their lives of luxury regardless of whom they deprived.
If we were to think in terms of a conspiracy theory, then it would be along the lines of a conference of corporate appointed sociopaths, each of them an expert in fields that contribute to finding a final solution for controlling, maybe even eliminating the poor, the deprived, the aged, the less privileged, and those who have become a drain on society when they have no further usefulness to add to the coffers of the rich and powerful.
At the very least they strive to keep the deprived undereducated, and chained to cultural rituals of belief.
What about the government, surely they would not allow this to happen? Faced with an overpopulated planet, and a somewhat orchestrated corruption of politicians, government departments have fallen victim to the demands of diminishing their size and the rights of the people in both freedom and under the law.
It is only by a quirk of reaction to unfair, unjust law enforcement on that fateful night at Stonewall in 1969, plus the work of recently deceased Gay Rights Pioneer, Frank Kameny that equality and human rights for LGBTQ people began a lengthy long overdue battle for freedom.
If the Queers were seen revolting publicly, then they had to be recognized. Harvey Milk saw this quite clearly as the means to gaining acceptance.
There is little doubt that without that recognition, the admittance and growing tolerance of the LGBTQ people would have been much slower to happen, if at all. Worse still, without Stonewall, and as evidenced by the inaction of the Reagan administration, the Aids-HIV pandemic (beginning in 1981) would probably have resulted in attempts to eradicate LGBTQ people, or to isolate or even exile them, had we not already started to be accepted as a natural part of the human panoply.
From this we should realize that the protesters on Wall Street are not the equivalent of Stonewall. Their Stonewall was the Revolution that was overthrown by the Establishment in the 70s.
The Occupy Wall Street protests are a reaction to the economic disasters that may well fit the description of the predicted “Crunch.”
In any case, the corruption, the avarice, and the greed in both the corporate and government sectors are now as clearly evident to the protesters as they were to Michael Moore in his film, Capitalism: A Love Story. They are people demanding to be accepted as equally entitled to a fair share of the productivity of the nation, through work and entitlements. They have been refused, exiled and are not far from the threat of being eradicated.
The people are revolting, as has been seen before in history, but now they are recognized.
Nearly every answer proffered to counteract the ‘Wall Street’ demonstrations, in the political arenas as well as in the board rooms of corporations, are congruent with the manipulations that defeated the call for peace, love and harmony back in the 60s, but this time with a much larger financial backing, and the basis of legal means to disperse and disrupt the protesters, thanks to ‘anti-terrorist’ legislative attacks on freedoms previously taken for granted.
In America, thanks to the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional Amendments, the people are deemed as the government, of, by and for. Awareness that the American people are their own government is more than just observable, it is palpable in nearly any encounter with each and any citizen.
Why then, it must be asked, have they allowed their authority to be undermined? Why do they allow their politicians to be corporate puppets instead of fulfilling their roles as democratically elected leaders? Is it corruption? — If you don’t find corruption revolting, you’re in the building and not protesting on Wall Street.
The problem is that there is no clear objective in the protests. The people are angry and as mad as Hell, but exactly what is it that they won’t take any more? What do they want to achieve? If the political objectives are not clear, the protest will default to the power structures that are already corrupted, as they did in the 70s, or at best, serve cake and tea, without remedy for the ensuing upset. The freedom to protest must not be wasted, or misused.
There is another danger here, in lifting the lid on freedom’s obligations, and that is that the people must be prepared to be responsible, not just for their own actions and beliefs, but for each other, to protect each other, and to safeguard the rights of minorities. That doesn’t mean we must make others believe what we do, just to please our beliefs or ourselves.
We must allow others to please themselves with what they believe, and to have the right to hold beliefs that may differ from our own. What must not happen is the denial of our human rights to have the means to work, to live, love and be loved.
Believe it or not, when we swung down out of our trees and formed tribes, we did so to help each other, to protect each other, not to profiteer from each other. But that was before we picked up stones to build walls of fear around ourselves. Those walls too, must be torn down with as much compassion as we can rally.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have the potential of being subjected to a violent confrontation, as authorities seem to lack the will to do anything other than obey their corrupt and powerful masters to maintain the status quo by stonewalling the masses to comply with their will.