Occupy Wall Street: Gaining Traction
Almost 2 months ago, a small movement called Occupy Wall Street got started in New York City. It began as a sit-in style protest against corporate greed and financial institutions. Theses corporation’s strangle-hold-grip on America has been dismissed for too long and some people finally had enough.
Taking inspiration from protests that were sparked in Africa earlier in the year, this small group of people have begun to grow and their voices are getting louder.
What is Occupy Wall Street
This is the creed of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”
“This #ows movement empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up. We want to see a general assembly in every backyard, on every street corner because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians to build a better society.”
Occupy Wall Street got started on September 17th of this year. Now, almost two months into the movement, it has not only spread throughout the US but internationally, as well. The Occupy Wall Street site claims that it has spread through over 100 cities in the US and over 1,500 internationally. One thing holds true: these people are not alone, for they are who they claim they are. They are the 99%.
The wealthiest of American’s make up just one percent of the population, yet many of the benefits, including: taxes, health-care, and even insurance are geared toward this one percent. Why such an imbalance? This is why the movement started. Corporations have their hands so deep into Congress and every other government around the world, that they can control the way policies are drawn-up, enacted, and therefore enforced.
How do you get things done?
Just ask Google and Facebook. Both companies set records in the second quarter for the money they spend on lobbying politicians.
Google increased its lobbyist spending from $1.48 million in the first quarter to $2.06 million in the second. For the first time, the company is spending more on lobbyists than Microsoft ($1.85 million). Meanwhile, Facebook increased its spending from $230,000 in the first quarter to $320,000 in the second. Before this year, the highest amount the social network had reported spending on lobbyists in one quarter was $130,000.
It’s not unusual for large companies to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists each quarter. In the second quarter, Sony, Tyson and Walmart paid out $490,000, $600,170 and $1,490,000 respectively. General Electric spent a whopping $6.8 million.
Popularity, Sympathy, and Recourse
As soon as the ball dropped the group of protesters began getting attention. Much of it, at first was in jest, but that has quickly waned. Many celebrities have taken to the crowds to voice their support and share their thoughts, as well. One of the most stinging comments was made by Bill Gross, manager of PIMCO’s Total Return Fund, the world’s largest mutual fund, when he stated “Class warfare by the 99%? Of course, they’re fighting back after 30 years of being shot at.”
The P. R. Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the protests had exposed “fundamental problems” with the US economic and political systems, and that it showed “a clear need for Washington, which habitually rushes to demand other governments to change when there are popular protests in their countries, to put its own house in order.”
No statement could be more true. Accountability, is number one and large corporations are no more accountable for their actions than a reckless toddler is. They play in the house that is built around them and use what they have at their disposal to entertain and keep themselves busy.
In an interview on ABC News, a reporter asked American President Obama to explain the fact that his administration hasn’t prosecuted any Wall Street executives who didn’t play by the rules, he replied, “One of the biggest problems about the collapse of Lehman’s and the subsequent financial crisis and the whole subprime lending fiasco is that a lot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily illegal; it was just immoral or inappropriate or reckless.”
The truth of the matter, is this “fiasco” was created over a period of decades and as banks and other institutions pushed for easier regulations that allowed them to manipulate the system, the government responded “unaware” of the repercussions that would follow. The corporations asked/”paid” and the government opened the doors. What President Obama reveals in his response is that the government is just as guilty as the corporations.
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