American reality - where the uber-wealthy operate under socialism, and capitalism is for the rest. It is a game of nationalised losses and privatised profits, and those occupying Wall St are calling it to account.
The “Occupy Wall St” protests are about to enter their third week, and suddenly America is paying attention.
Is this the beginning of a societal flash point aka class warfare?
Some of the banners – like those proclaiming ‘when there is nothing left to eat you eat the rich’ indicate time is ticking, even on the nice shiny Rolexes of those peering down on the angry mobs.
Right-wing commentators are in an absolute tizz over it all, resorting as they do to discussing the protesters as people who only need to go home and have a shower and get a job...or unemployed because they don’t want to work...or utterly left-wing, incoherent and destructive...and on it goes. No surprise, except perhaps some of them who grace the Fox ‘News’ screens may be getting a little worried that the mass arrests of last weekend did not deter the dirty filthy proletariat.
What’s really amusing – or sad I suppose – is the reaction of the Tea Party.
One of the co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots Mark Meckler (rhymes with ???) dissed the Wall St occupiers as not like Tea Partiers at all. Why? Well because the Wall Streeters are breaking the law...they are not law abiding citizens because they are camping out in a public park which is not allowed and breaking the laws by assembling on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Just how naughty can you get?
It would be interesting if the anti-Wall-St-occupiers Tea Party members gave a little thought to the group from which they took their name.
The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was classic revolution with much law breaking, trespass, looting and destruction of property. That’s what you do if you board a private ship and dump its cargo into the Boston Harbour!
Oh that was just soooo long ago, why bring it up now when it doesn't suit? These “law breaking thugs” as Meckler called the Wall Streeters will never appeal to Americans because Americans don’t like unreasonable behaviour.
Note to Meckler – they ARE Americans and they are not happy.
Meckler seems threatened too, and has resorted to trumpeting the immediate success of the Tea Party when it launched in 2009, as opposed to the comparatively slow momentum of the Wall St occupiers, but perhaps he should pay closer attention.
America’s middle class, let alone those who can’t even be classified on that rung, is in bad shape with high unemployment, foreclosures and general uncertainty for most...while the rich have become richer.
The top one percent has all the money and all the say, and they are extremely pro-active in keeping it that way. How can one percent have a greater collective net worth than the bottom 90 percent and the masses be expected to shut up and keep sweating?
After shafting their fellow Americans, the titans of Wall St with their extraordinary concentration of wealth were bailed out by the very people they trod over to make their money, and they are free to do it all over again, although moaning about regulations that might impede them just a smidgen.
It seems capitalism is for everyone but the capitalists. For them socialism is the order of the day. It’s a neat little trick where losses are nationalised and profits are privatised.
As a result Americans are waking up to the fact that they have been caught in profound unfairness.
It is too glib for life and death reasons to liken the Wall St occupation to the Arab Spring, but reports about how technologically savvy these protesters are is definitely worth a comparison or two. The Arab uprisings were to oust dictators and herald in democracy. Those camping out in Wall St and its environs don’t seem to have a clear message – yet, but their democracy at least allows them to protest without being shot.
They need to formulate a focus that perhaps encapsulates all the chat about not having money and so not having a political voice, or having no job and no future. Just hating bankers won’t do it.
As for the politicians...it is quite a sport watching them try to work out how to handle this.
Who is to blame – given politics is a blame game.
The Republicans can hardly condone it as most of this began stewing on their watch, the very reason why they can’t condemn it either.
Obama can hardly embrace it given he’s in charge and while he used to rant about corporate greed, he’s been complicit in the ‘too-big-to-fail’ mantra and will be wary about where this protest is heading.
What we do know is Obama and the do-nothing Republicans - whose only economic policy is to make Obama a one-term president – have to realise that a bureaucratic response to an emotional groundswell against corporate rape and pillage – perceived or real - will not work. The protests will only spread.
All the politicians have on their side is the approaching North American winter which can be brutal if you are in a tent in downtown Manhattan. Waiting for God(ot) is hardly a strategy.