'Occupy Wall Street' Movement Protests, Survives

The protests on Wall Street against corporate capitalism have been growing by the day and are now expanding across the country.

Beginning in September with several rallies in New York’s financial districts, the protests are an organic response to the collapse of global capitalism and the takeover of America democracy by the corporate order and, as such, represent a far more useful reaction to the current political moment than a Tea Party movement that has won over the media and taken over the Republican Party.

The protests – which had spread to Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington as I write this and were expected to spread to other cities, as well – are targeting “the systems and institutions that support endless war and unrestrained corporate greed,” according to the Washington Post. The goal, according to Arthur Kohl-Riggs, 23, a political activist from Madison, Wis., is “’forming a direct democratic movement’ that is not controlled by political elites.” (Washington Post)

The Post described the protests as a broad “assortment of anarchists, anti-globalization activists and disaffected 20-somethings from North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” along with “union members, including New York transportation workers who allowed some of the protesters to take shelter inside the subway system,” organized loosely through social media networks and the Web.

“The primary theme is that corporate capitalists, backed by corrupt politicians, have tipped the balance of the economic system too far in favor of the powerful, thus condemning the regular guy to a sea of debt and little opportunity,” the Post reported. “The American dream is dead or dying,” Max Richmond, a 26-year-old New York City-based carpenter, told the Post. “Four or five weeks ago, I was just another apathetic, defeatist member of my generation. Being here, I’m not.

“We were all just waiting for something like this to happen.”

The Wall Street protests are far larger and more sustained than the early Tea Party rallies and, more significantly, their target is the capitalist system itself. Direct action, as Chris Hedges wrote at (Sept. 29), is a must in this time of corporate domination, but it has to be accompanied by a detailed explanation of why capitalism has failed and where we must go from here.

Corporate capitalism is about profits — and doing everything and anything possible to maximize those profits, including leaving the sick to die and the economically disenfranchised to grasp for crumbs or pick vegetables in sweltering heat for almost nonexistent wages.

Government’s role should be to act as protector of the weak, as leveler of the playing field. To make sure that corporations provide the services they have promised or to prevent them from dumping their waste on the public (literally and figuratively). But corporations have taken over the government and gamed the system.

Farm subsidies once meant to keep small farmers afloat now result in corn so cheap we use it in place of sugar, while the cost of fresh produce puts it out of reach of most in the lower classes.

Especially those in America’s depressed cities.

Oil companies suck at the public teat and then turn around and gouge drivers and lobby Washington to gut what’s left our regulatory apparatus.

And we make the banks whole without any strings or anything to ensure that the banks would keep credit flowing.

The list is long and seemingly endless and it leaves us with just two choices — give up or fight back.

Sitting back and leaving it to a corrupted political process is the same as giving up.

The protesters on Wall Street know this. It’s time the rest of us figured this out.

Hank Kalet is a poet and regional editor for in central New Jersey. Email; blog; Twitter, @newspoet41; Facebook/hank.kalet.

From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2011

News | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2011 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652