Occupy Wall Street – An American Spring Amidst Media Blackout?

As governments across the world prostrate themselves before corporations and corporate greed takes over the daily business of governing, mass struggles are breaking out all over the world. What started as the much propagated ‘Arab Spring’ – apparently the Arab world’s yearning for American and Western values represented by ‘democracy’, has now, after spreading through Europe (France, Greece, Spain, Portugal…) engulfed the heart of Empire – the United States of America. The Occupy Wall Street movement that started almost three weeks ago, with thousands of people assembling in Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan, New York, has now spread amdist media blackout and police repression, to other parts across the United States. A glimpse of the situation about a week ago:

It is by now clear that what is happening in the United States today is a continuation of the protests that have been going on, especially in the ‘developed capitalist world’ since the onset of the recession and the governments bending over backwards to  bailout the culprits – the banks and corporations who have swallowed up public money and now want more.

Today, 5 October at 4. 30 pm, the participants join in with the march of the trade unions to the Financial District. This is where, as the website Occupy Wall Street puts it,  “their pensions have disappeared to, where their health has disappeared to.”

A report of the situation of about five days ago, when the unions joined in the movement:

As we mentioned in one of our earlier posts on the movements in Europe (and Spain in particular), the mainstream Western media that celebrated the democracy movements in the Arab world not very long back, had suddenly turned relatively silent. It seems even worse this time – and the Indian media, always loyal followers of the Western media, have not surprisingly, followed suit. And yet, the movement surges ahead, despite the media blackout. For those who believe that the media is the all-powerful sorcerer of the contemporary world who can call into being mesmerized masses into struggle (or will them out of existence), a point to ponder on, perhaps?

While some of the above links give a picture of what is happening, here is an interview with David Graeber, well known anarchist activist and one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street that tells us something of some of the thinking that is behind it.

7 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street – An American Spring Amidst Media Blackout?”

  1. I would like to invite Kafila readers to read the post ‘an open letter to occupy wall street activists’ :
    http://mzzainal-straten.blogspot.com/2011/09/open-letter-to-occupy-wall-street.html.
    expressing the viewpoint of the indigenous people of the American continent on the issue. Somehow it reminded me of the reflections of the Dalits and oppressed people’s viewpoint on our middle class Anna Hazare movement. I seek some informed viewpoints on this issue from Kafila.

  2. Some notes from the belly of the beast —

    * The expansion of the protests into the heart of Wall Street is indeed significant as a way of contesting the notion that the media is all-powerful and over-determines everything. Indeed, on the flip side, it’s been refreshing to see positive coverage of the protests even on mainstream media.

    * This is not the first expression in the US of the global discontent, but the result of many forces building up unevenly over the last year. The protests of tens of thousands in Wisconsin and Ohio in February against vicious, anti-union legislation was significant in terms of unions mobilization outside of electoral politics and get-out-the-vote campaigns. The two-week Verizon strike about a month ago was also a key moment. National mobilization against the Troy Davis execution, though unsuccessful, also has served to raise a certain political consciousness. The Occupy Wall Street movement’s links to these existing struggles is not a given but needs to be built.

    * It’s important to recognize the constructive debates that are going on inside the movement. Is there a need for more explicit political slogans, or does uniting under a general slogan allow more diversity? What are the possibilities but also the limits of “decentered” organizing?

    * Finally, Occupy Wall Street is mushrooming into organizations all over the country, which are all figuring out what to do and how to organize. In other words: there’s an Occupy Boston, Occupy Portland, Occupy Columbus, etc. Of course under the slogan of “fighting corporate greed” there’s a whole host of ideas and directions. But the overall direction is definitely positive for rebuilding the left.

    Who know where it will all lead. But there’s an excitement among activists that the anger that has always existed here — not only against corporate greed but also its manifestations in endless wars, ramped up racial discrimination, etc — is finding direct expression. The bar has been raised in terms of our expectations for what’s possible.

  3. Everyone knows the true colour of medias- not enough time has elapsed since neera radia. So its futile to lay faith in such corporate disciples to understand the real pulse of the people. But what has happened to our very own people . Are they too obsessed with the worship of the WEST. Why are they reluctant to take centre stage in these difficult times. PETROL prices have seen sharp decline last week but none took the matter to the government and the oil companies are continuing the public loot unfazed with atmost impunity

  4. The shameless and open callousness of a handful of people could bring about an extremely violent revolt. I wont be surprised if those smirking with champagne glasses are brutally lynched by the people

  5. We should not expect that the mainstream media will beat their drums for the protesters, simply the reason is that the mainstream media itself is a component of the corporate conglomerates. Occupy Wall Street movement is something against the mainstream media’s interest. It’s not their war, it’s a war against them.

  6. We in Britain are desperately trying to follow events, despite the mundane trivialities being espoused by the media on national television. I have even seen a poster stuck in a car, we are all behing you all at occupy as we are also tired of the patronizing platitutudes and rhetoric and given to us overhere. Good on you.

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