Occupy US: Main Street Vs. Wall Street – OpEd


By Porya Mohajer Soltani

The collective demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement were already granted to the US citizens, centuries ago, with the adaptation of the Declaration of Independence. With time, however, the statements of the Founding Fathers lost their meaning as administration after administration began to increasingly lie to the people, and at the same time to hoard more and more money from tax-payers, without ever delivering any of their promises.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

Yet, 235 years later, the citizens of the world’s frontrunner in democracy and human rights say the US economic system has created a great deal of inequalities which have left a majority without jobs and crippled with debts they cannot repay, while a handful of people are pocketing all the wealth in the country.

And so an anti-corporatism movement emerged in New York on September 17 with the name Occupy Wall Street. At first, they were only a handful of people, seeking to occupy the Zuccotti Park (formerly known as Liberty Plaza Park) in the city’s financial district. Well in their fourth week, the live ticker on the website of occupytogether.org reported that similar Meetups have surfaced in 1354 cities across the US. And the ticker currently adds new cities nearly every hour.

It is worth mentioning that, while the movement has included people from a wide range of backgrounds, they have all centered upon one statement, “The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

Nevertheless, while the US, as according to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, allows its citizens to peaceably assemble, and in addition, is the one country which is quick to point a finger of blame at others for disallowing an adequate representation of their voiceless voices, the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement has faced numerous barriers before reaching their current state.

In fact, it nearly took two weeks for the movement to get their voices heard on the country’s mainstream media outlets. And this only occurred when some 800 peaceful protesters were arrested by the NYPD on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Police crackdown has since then been reported in several cities.

Max Keiser, a financial analyst and journalist, told Press TV in an interview in the early days of the movement that Jamey Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the top banks in the US, has given “USD 4.6 million to the New York Police Department to beef up police presence on the streets and to crack heads and to violently oppress protesters.”

The 1%, however, did not stop there. The movement has, since they finally got some airtime and recognition, been verbally attacked and ridiculed.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recently called the movement anti-America and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the protesters as selfish job killers.

CNN called them “hippies,” and they were introduced as “dopey college kids and fatuous liberal journalists” by the Wall Street Journal, and of course, the list goes on for the rest of the country’s corporate media, which many believe have enough resources to accurately report the events occurring within their own country.

Other points that the movement of “hippies” have been criticized for are their supposed deficiency in organizational skills as well as their lack of having a united direction.

Yet, despite these “shortages,” the movement has since its emergence managed to spread across the entire country. They have even established a General Assembly, wrote a Declaration of Occupation and published their very own Occupied Wall Street Journal.

And their demands are clear; they are tired of the centralization of power and wealth in the country. They want the changes that US President Barack Obama has failed to deliver despite all the promises he made before being elected. They want to have jobs and an enough income that can support their families. They want their tax-money to be used for the people, not to bail out companies and banks, or to fund never-ending wars.

Simply put, they want all people to be “equal” and to have the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as should have already been granted to them in accordance with the Declaration of Independence.

But, how likely would it really be for Obama to act in favor of the people and not of the country’s multinational-billion-net-worth corporations. After all, according to opensecret.org, the nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit organization, which seeks to inform and empower people on US politics, Obama received a staggering USD 745 million in donations for his 2008 presidential election campaign.

Their figures also tell us that JPMorgan Chase & Co., the same company who’s CEO paid NYPD officers to crackdown on peaceful protesters, was one of Obama’s donators.

And despite the increase in the country’s revenue reported by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s 2010 financial statements, a report released last month by the Census Bureau shows the country’s high poverty rate that has increased to 15.1% in the same year. This is the fourth consecutive year to show an increase in the country’s poverty rate.

Another report recently published by The New York Times showed that household incomes in the US have decreased more considerably after the recession ended in June 2009, than in the actual economic downturn itself.

The question now is whether Democrat Obama is any better than former Republican George Bush.

Bush was the one who refused to answer any questions posed to him in 2004 by the 9/11 Commission; he also refused the presence of any journalist in the conference, saying that he would only participate in the meeting if former Vice President Dick Cheney was with him.

“If we had something to hide, we wouldn’t have met with them in the first place … We answered all their questions,” Bush said, about a year after he waged a war with Iraq after convincing the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The two wars that Bush dragged the US into, based on the research Costs of War released by the Watson Institute for International Studies, cost the country more than USD 3.7 trillion. In addition, some 5,000 US soldiers have been killed.

Yet, the Democrats and the Republicans are really the only two parties that could potentially enter the White House. Both, however, have failed to make life better for the US people.

Another part of the Declaration of Independence says, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

Is this not what this movement is about, to remove a destructive government and replace it with one by the people, for the people?

Press TV

Press TV is a state funded news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran and seeks to counter a western view on news.

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