September 21, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - America's Arab Spring?

I have wondered, since the spring, how bad things would need to get before complacent North Americans left their couches and took to the streets, like those in the Middle East. Has that time come as citizens gather in the streets to establish a semi-permanent occupation of Wall Street?

The peaceful populist rage that started with the Arab Spring is spawning revolution and change, and now it is hitting where revolution needs to happen the most - the very center of our corrupt financial system.

Participants say that they are there to criticize a financial system that unfairly benefits corporations and the rich, and undermines democracy.

Conditions for the majority of North Americans have been deteriorating for a long time, with incomes stagnating since the 1980s, and then the final death knoll for the good life, the 2008 financial crisis.

2008 saw the greed and corruption reach frenzied proportions, led by Wall Street. The super-rich have been staging a revolution of their own for decades, aided and abetted by the very people that have been entrusted with guarding the public interest - our elected officials. Events post-meltdown have confirmed that our governments have been hijacked.

Those engaging in civil disobedience know they can not go to government and be heard. Disappointing, since government listening to the people and acting on their wishes is one measure of how effectively a democracy is working. The only option left is to take to the streets.

Wall Street occupiers say, "We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are building the world that we want to see, based on human need and sustainability, not corporate greed."

I may live 6000 kilometers away, but I am tempted to pack my tent, join the revolution, and brave the NYPD arrests.

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