Occupy Wall Street – Is Violence Inevitable?
The 99% are showing that the world is rising up against social and economic injustice. Millions of protesters are participating in “Occupy” events around the globe. This tells me that traditional electoral politics are dead. People feel disenfranchised and voter turnout decreases with each successive election. The only choice for change appears to be to take to the streets – the “Arab Spring” and now the “American Fall” provide clear evidence of that shift.
This movement has spread like wildfire, and it is happening completely on its own momentum. It cannot be stopped. It’s spreading all over the world. People want to be heard. In London, a protester said that “when you’re in a situation where your voice has been taken away, you have to make your voice heard somehow”.
Unfortunately, the increase in violence is unavoidable as police attempt to remove demonstrators from public areas occupied by protesters. In Oakland, hundreds of police in riot gear used rubber bullets, flash grenades, and gas canisters. There have been violent incidents in Chicago, Portland and other American cities. More than 2,000 arrests have occurred in the past weeks. Injuries will pile up and it’s just a question of time before some will die for their cause.
The core message of Occupy Wall Street resonates with a majority of Americans and is leading to an inevitable direct confrontation with the corporate state. OWS is pulling hundreds of thousands of people together and is starting to leap across class lines and across all demographic groups. The movement is taking on the flavour of the peaceful revolutions in East Germany and Czechoslovakia, the civil rights movement in the U.S., the feminist movement and the anti Viet Nam demonstrations of the sixties and seventies.
I hope that as Baby Boomers look back at those times with nostalgia, this cohort of some 85 million people in North America, will soon add its considerable clout to the 99%. The question one needs to ask is “why did it take so long for Occupy Wall Street to happen”? It is long overdue!