FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Roar of the People

by RALPH NADER

Inside the barricading bubbles surrounding the Wall Street plutocrats and the Washington oligarchs who service them, there must be worry. After three years of disclosed “lying, cheating and stealing” as one prosecutor put it, with nary a visible stir from the masses, suddenly the barricades are beginning to quiver.

Could this “Occupy Wall Street” challenge in New York City that is spreading to hundreds of communities from Prescott, Arizona to Hartford, Connecticut, be the real thing they have dreaded? Could this be the revolt of the multitudes, the “reserve army of the unemployed?”

It is remarkable what a little more than 100,000 Americans, showing up and staying awhile have done in three weeks.

They’re rattling the corporate supremacists. They have become a mass media story with columnists, editorials and cartoonists grinding out the ever increasing commentary.

There is fascination and curiosity about people who call themselves “The 99 percent!” People are organizing their little societies and 24/7 necessities – food, first aid, shelter, legal advice, music, posters – all without leaders.

The demonstrators are deliberately nonviolent but are angry over deep inequities and entrenched greed and power that are impoverishing and harming millions in need, including hungry children and those without health care. The protesters are keeping the pundits and pontificators guessing about their “real agenda.”

Perfect, so far! Keep expanding the numbers of Americans who show up all over, who stay, who discover each other’s talents and the emerging power of the powerless. Go to 300,000, then 800,000, then 2 million and onward. There are 25 million Americans who want work but cannot get it to pay their rent, their debts, their mortgages and their multiplying student loans. While big corporate profits, bosses’ bonuses and tax loopholes for the wealthy proliferate.

Sparked by an urging from the culture-jamming ADBUSTERS magazine from Vancouver, Canada in July, the Occupy Wall Street effort gets more remarkable by the day. It carries the moral outrage and the moral authority of the vast majority of Americans who are excluded, disrespected, defrauded, unrepresented, underpaid and unemployed. The American dream has turned into a nightmare. They are taught to trust as school children the very public and business institutions that have betrayed them, looted or drained their pensions, their tax dollars and their common properties.

Those protesters at the renamed Liberty Park in New York are going into the nearby stores, with other consumers, and paying nearly 9 percent sales tax on their purchases. While the Wall Streeters are buying trillions of derivatives and stocks without paying a penny in sales tax. Taxing Wall Street speculators could produce hundreds of billions of overdue dollars a year from just a ½ percent sales tax on financial speculation.

The Wall Street “occupiers” and their offspring have good picks for their demonstrations. In Washington, D.C. they chose the insidious corporatists at the Chamber of Commerce building opposite the White House. They went before the building that houses part of the military-industrial complex devouring our public budget that President Eisenhower warned us about in his remarkable farewell address in January 1961 (Read it here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm)

It will be only a short time before these resisters point to these multinational corporations’ abandonment of America by shipping jobs and industries to dictatorial regimes abroad that repress their 80 cents an hour workers.

Reporters write with some surprise about this new human energy. Look at all the bystanders in suits or uniforms nodding in support at the posters, the signs and the chants. Washington Post columnist, Patula Dvorak was astonished and observed:

“Every Washingtonian I talked to who stepped out to watch the action in Freedom Plaza – from the security guards to the suits – felt a solidarity with the message.

“The banks. The banks are taking all of us for a ride,” one security guard told me. “And they’re in the right place now, because Congress is behind that.”

Though the Occupy surge is going in the right direction – flipping our corporate government from our masters to our servants – no one knows how far it will go, whether it will retain its burgeoning energy and what the backlash will be from the ruling power structures.

Back in October 2008, when Wall Street was crashing on American investors, workers and taxpayers -in that order – our independent presidential campaign held a major rally at Wall Street.

Addressing the New York Stock Exchange, with our participators and their signs, I proposed specific recommendations for law enforcement, a financial transaction tax and accountability for those handling “other peoples’ money.” Few listened.

Now the powers-that-be are starting to listen, because instead of a one day event, they see day-after-day aroused citizens rallying back home and before the perpetrators of the predatory abuses.

When the corporate and political bosses hear the rising roar from the people, they start sweating. Now is time to turn up the heat without pausing.

Visit http://occupywallst.org/ for more information on how to join the movement.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail