By Tom Siracuse:
Stock markets, banks, and governments worldwide are getting more and more rattled as they fail to intimidate the working class into accepting the burden of a financial collapse caused by corrupt governments, greedy speculation, and unregulated bank loans. Despite the Obama administration’s announcements to buy up long term treasuries, a new “stimulus package”, and even a millionaires tax, stocks have suffered one of their biggest monthly losses since the Great Depression. Even if the Republicans went along with more taxes, these “reforms” would not solve the underlying problem; capitalism cannot control UNBRIDLED GREED.
Permanent high unemployment and a lower standard of living is predicted for the
U.S. and Europe. Young people in particular are being hit hard with no prospect of getting jobs. Despite efforts of governments, whether corrupt dictatorships in the Middle East or so-called social democracies of Europe and the United States, to suppress protests or misinform the public through a controlled mass media people are developing a new consciousness of their power summed up in the phrase that Obama used but hardly imagined would result in recent events, “Yes we can!”.
People in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya have already toppled their governments. People in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and yes even Israel are on the streets opposing
the political and economic system that can no longer work. The Greek working class is on the verge of a prolonged general strike and demonstrations are happening in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and England. Public sector unions in Europe and the U.S. have organized protests and strikes as the economic collapse has caused debt crises and governments, banks, and corporations try to cut pensions and lay off workers.
In the U.S., the strikes of the Verizon workers, the California healthcare workers and nurses, and the Tacoma teachers are the most recent examples. These protests and strikes, however, are not sustained and do not force the ruling elite to make significant changes.
But a new tactic coming out of events in the Middle East has the ruling elites really worried, people taking over the centers of cities and refusing to go home until the government resigns or makes significant changes. This tactic was not lost on the public sector workers in Wisconsin as they occupied the state capitol and stayed. The recent occupation of Wall Street by a growing number of protesters, mostly young people from all over the U.S., has brought the struggle in this country to a new level. As Mayor Bloomberg observed, “You have a lot of kids graduating college and can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo and Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.”.
Growing numbers of people realize that bourgeois democracy and capitalism can no longer solve the crisis. Those occupying Wall Street are realizing that through the militant tactic of sustained occupation they can circumvent the political establishment and corrupt union leaderships, and make the mass media take notice. Just as Tahrir Square spread throughout out the Middle East, the occupation of Wall Street will spread to other cities in the U.S.. Just as in Tahrir Square, the word is getting out through the Internet and more and more people are either joining the occupation or bringing food, blankets, and money to these brave people protesting against a society that puts profit ahead of humanity.
Co-chair of the Manhattan Green Party