Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Street Action

Politicians face a spreading revolt against Wall Street, financial tycoons, banks in general and an insensitive government that ignores people’s needs. The latest poll shows a radical lack of confidence for those running the government

A September 30 Gallup poll said 81 percent felt dissatisfied with the way those running country. Congress’ rating fell from the toilet seat into the toilet (15% approved of them). The public had similar low opinions on those aspiring for office. Force yourself to watch the Republican Presidential “debates”!

Most mass media sources didn’t even report the Gallup findings, or did so in low priority spots. Nor did they pick up on key specifics. New York Times columnist Charles Blow (Oct. 2) noted that the Gallup survey showed that “Americans sense that the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals’ rights and freedoms is also at a new high.”

Imagine if Cuba or Iran released such a poll! See, we would say: “This is what people feel if they have no democracy.”

But we elect our government – well, less than 50% vote, but who wants to get picky? Well, how come we don’t like or approve of our officials or have any confidence they can run the country? Is there a hole in our democratic logic? Or is discontent with government here and in the rest of the world a signal that systems (economic and environmental) have raced beyond control of the current institutions and imaginations of political leaders?

When many angry tens of thousands hit the streets in Greece, Spain, England, Israel and Chile it is because they had no institutions through which to channel their grievances. No political party or union could negotiate for them; nor could their governments satisfy their basic demands: jobs, housing, free education, safe environment.

Neo liberalism’s failure stares us in the face as tens of millions of jobless despair; millions of homeless seek shelter; natural disasters challenge national capability to deal with them.

The American right blames third world foreigners, sins of abortion and homosexuality and calls for ever more guns and aggression, while slashing budgets meant for the poor: the new Christians. In Europe socialist parties have lost credibility by adopting neo liberalism; communists in the post-Soviet era have splintered and disintegrated into spattering sects in some of those countries.

In the United States, bereft of left parties, people began to demonstrate against the Wall Street criminals (bankers and brokers) whose behavior helped induce a massive collapse. In Manhattan, hundreds of protesters in painted white faces and costumed as corporate zombies rocked and rolled past the New York Stock Exchange. Many showed cameras their handfuls of phony money.

In Chicago, drummers marched through the financial district. Some pitched tents and in them made anti-banking and corporate greed signs, which they showed to gawkers in passing cars.

Instead of the New York mayor offering the imaginative demonstrators a chance for dialogue, he set the police on them, a good lesson for some middle class protestors who said the streets belonged to the people not the police – who pepper sprayed them.

The U.S. protests began earlier in the year, in Wisconsin where a right wing Governor declared fiscal war against the working people. The New York demonstrators demonstrated the same rebellious spirit, turning the Gallup survey results into action instead of griping to pollsters. Like the New Yorkers, young people in Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Portland Maine, Los Angeles and other places expressed political indignation over corporate greed. They marched on Federal Reserve banks and camped in parks. All share the anxieties of the wobbly economy, but the leaderless coming together against a common enemy – finance capital – with common values of decency and justice has held people together – including some Tea Partiers. They communicate through websites and streaming video and have invented democratic forms of assembly.

Like their counterparts in the other countries the U.S. demonstrators found no channels for their grievances. Gradually, liberal Democrats and progressive unions begin to support this movement – or moment – and call on others to join them. But can their messages seep into the ossified political membranes of established structures? Can their energy transform a dysfunctional political establishment into one that begins to transform the nation?

The financial sector lends to the corporate elite who impulsively try to reduce the socially necessary cost of labor, which makes life more desperate for the already poor. The elite immunize themselves against the rage over wage differentials of 325 to 1 for corporate executives and workers (See the Institute for Policy Studies report). They ignore pleas for environmental sanity, or embrace denial on climate change.

Without lobbyists the American public had no voice – until it hit the streets. Politicians who throw their weight around for epical interests demonstrate their national concern by “supporting our troops – after 10 years of no progress in Afghanistan and destroying Iraq – and love our country.

Mostly, they woo corporate funders to insure their reelection, while the executive elite hide behind the biblical phrase “National Security,” which the President imposed to justify assassinating a U.S. citizen (al-Awlaki) and denying basic rights to prisoners suspected of terrorism – and harboring anti-Castro terrorists in Miami. The “indignants” remain on The Street. Has the American Spring arrived in the fall?

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP plays Nov 2 at Pomona College and Nov. 9 at University of North Carolina. For DVDs go to cinemalibrestore.com. Counterpunch publiShed his BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD

More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail