Archive | October, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Televised: Occupy Wall Street

13 Oct

Gil Scott Heron is turning in his grave. The socially charged poet who penned “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” died this spring but the spirit of revolution is deep in the heart of New York City’s Financial District. What started as a an ad campaign by the Canadian-based group, AdBusters, has turned into a full scale occupation in Lower Manhattan’s Zucotti Park to protest the growing corporate greed of corporate America. To be honest when I first heard of the protests I didn’t give it much thought. People protest every day, especially in NYC, but with the occupation gaining momentum and supporters nearing the 10’s of thousands it’s hard to ignore.

If you are a twenty-something you need to pay attention to what’s going out here. The fact of the matter is we are screwed as a country. Unemployment in the U.S. is at an all time high of 9%. Unemployment is running out and the number one cause of debt is unpaid medical bills resulting in a higher percentage of American’s filing for bankruptcy. In this year alone, over 1.4 million homes have been seized in foreclosure. Add that to the facts that college tuitions are skyrocketing and due to rampant outsourcing graduates are facing a grim job market. Where does that leave us? With a bunch of pissed off and disenfranchised American’s, that’s where. To the retirees living off my Social Security contributions I hope you’re enjoying it; we’ve already been told that by the time our generation is of retiring age there won’t be anything left in Social Security. Do I have your attention now?

So where does that leave us as a people? In all honesty, I have no clue. I support the movement but I think it’s going to take more than occupying a park to make some real change. The only way to evoke real change and get corporate America listening is to hit them where it hurts: their bank accounts. What would you be willing to boycott in order to show your support? In 1955, during the heart of the Civil Rights Era, the Montgomery Bus Company suffered huge financial losses during the 13-month boycott in which African-American’s refused to ride the segregated buses. In that time people pulled together and formed carpools or walked to work. This is before Facebook, Twitter, text messaging or email; it was truly a community effort. 50+ years later do I think we have the fortitude to really stick to our guns and fight for social change? I hope so.

With so much going on in the world it’s easy to stay in your bubble and lose touch with the world around us. It’s refreshing to see so many people band together to fight this crazy capitalist system but I’m anxious to see the next steps. On Friday Mayor Bloomberg has ordered that the protesters camping out in Zuccotti Park be evacuated for a routine cleaning. This has been met with heavy criticism from OWS supporters because of unfair treatment of supporters at the hands of the NYPD. Actually, J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the banks that Occupy Wall Street is protesting against, just donated 4.6 million dollars to the New York City Police Foundation for new laptops in patrol cars and security software. Really, J.P. Morgan? Really?

To find out more about the Occupy Wall Street protests or to support an occupation in your area check out the official Occupy Wall Street website at http://occupywallst.org/

-Nikki B. Decadent

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