By DAWN GOOGE
The movement to Occupy Wall Street would suggest that our generation has officially dropped the “Generation of Apathy” label as more of our own join the movement for accountability, equality and social responsibility in the world of finance.
Thousands of protesters have camped out indefinitely in New York’s Zuccotti Park, which is near the heart of New York’s financial district. The title of the movement alludes these protesters who are trying to end corporate greed and corruption within the government and the richest one percent of our country.
Media coverage has been careless at best, with many early reports casting a semi-satirical light upon the protest and protesters alike. Some could argue that the news networks, many of which are backed by corporate fat cats, are working to delegitimize the protests. Consequently, the people whose opinions are being manipulated are those who the protests are fighting for: the 99 percent of the population who are not associated with the wealthiest one percent of Americans.
A misguided few would argue that targeting the top one percent of the population is “class warfare,” yet, the same top one percent possesses 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, which warrants a war.
Money equates to power in our society and the top one percent has the ability to buy our policy makers, who dance on marionette strings while the remaining 99 percent deals with the backlash of a privilege-based representative democracy.
Is this blatant favoring of the wealthy in our nation not “warfare” on those who fail to qualify as such?
Many major players in organized labor are aligning themselves with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, including Workers United, United Freedom of Teachers, Communications Workers of America, Transport Workers Union and the Working Families Party.
When prompted on why they are getting involved with the movement the local spokesperson for the Transport Workers Union stated, “We’re getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers.”
As stated earlier, the 9.1 percent unemployment supports the argument of who is being hit hardest by this crisis; it’s certainly not Wall Street that is, as of late, enjoying record bonuses only to not promote job growth and skate around our tax codes and policies.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a former Wall Street worker himself, had a different take on where the blame lies with the financial crisis: he is on record saying, “We always tend to blame the wrong people. We blame the banks. They were part of this, but so was Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae and Congress and you and me and everybody.”
While this is a seemingly pragmatic view on the state of things, if we all share the blame equally, why is it that the worst off of Americans are weathering the consequences while the most privileged few bear no cross, but instead enjoy further indulgence?
No one can be sure of the future or the overall impact of the Occupy Wall Street protests, but the word is spreading, awareness is contagious and it’s a step in the right direction that warrants our respect if, not our agreement.