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US Elite To Survive Occupy Wall Street? – OpEd

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By Porya Mohajer Soltani

The anti-corporatism protesters, that have not been everywhere in mainstream media, despite having occupied Wall Street for nearly two weeks now, claim to be “the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%” in the US.

Although the above mentioned figures might not be entirely correct, they do suggest the land of the free and home of the brave to be an unequal society.

In fact, as explained by Professor George William Domhoff, author of the book Who Rules America?, the top 1% of the US population owned 42.7% of all available financial wealth in 2007. The next 19% owned 50.3% while the remaining 80% shared a tiny 7% of the country’s financial wealth.

To make an already gloomy picture worse, the Great Recession only commenced in the end of 2007. Since then, the haves and the haves-more have been hovering in wealth like a vacuum cleaner.

Meanwhile, a recently released US Census Bureau report revealed poverty in the land of the free has for a fourth consecutive year increased.

It further showed that 15.1% of citizens in the world’s largest free-market economy in 2010 lived below the country’s poverty threshold. That’s some 46.2 million US citizens.

Another report released by the Children’s Defense Fund showed that 15.6 million children below the age of 10 lived on food stamps in 2009. In addition, 6.9 million children lived in extreme poverty. Their families (of four) had a total income half of the country’s poverty line.

Interestingly, a number of countries in the world have in the past two years witnessed peaceful demonstrations, riots and in some cases revolutions, against an elite which keeps pocketing all the wealth available, leaving little to nothing for the man in the street. And all the demonstrators want is a more equal society.

While this type of anti-government demonstrations have until the emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement not been much of a concern for the elite in the US, the gap between the rich and the poor in this ever so democratic and equal society, have been far worse than in the countries which have recently experienced turmoil.

The CIA World Factbook tells us that the US falls behind all European Union countries that have in the past two years been the scene of anti-government demonstrations. The level of inequality in the US is so extreme that it even falls behind countries like pre-revolution Tunisia, Egypt and even in Yemen.

So the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began 17th of September, should really not have come as a surprise to anyone.

In fact, even before the anti-corporate protests began, New York’s billionaire Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, warned the US that with its dire economic situation, riots might erupt.

“You have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here,” Bloomberg said.

Riots, really? Is that what the awakening in Europe and the Arab World is to the elite?

It sure does seem so.

So the question that comes to mind is how hard will the 1% in the US try in order to stop the 99% from truly waking up?

A movement like this will indeed have a hard time managing to stay alive, despite their existence being in a country that loudly boasts about being the frontrunner of democracy, humanity and freedom of speech.

And so while the protesters have been peaceful, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has cracked down on them ever since their rally began. In addition, mainstream media have, either intentionally or unintentionally, failed to cover much important event.
“The average American who derives his news principally from television would have no idea that this protest movement [Occupy Wall Street] is taking place,” said James H Fetzer, the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.

“Apparently it is too threatening to corporate interests to acknowledge it,” he added.

Therefore, the protesters have virtually remained non-existent to US mainstream media, despite their rally having been attended by famous individuals like Lupe Fiasco and Immortal Technique.

The protesters even had the Internet giant Yahoo blocking emails related to the demonstrations in the early days of the movement.

Emails with the words “Occupy Wall Street” or the website address of the organizers, www.occupywallstreet.org in the body of their messages, were blocked.

After Yahoo’s misdeed became known, the Internet giant apologized, claiming the blocking was not intentional.

People have had to simply rely on alternative news to receive information about this movement. As Sarah Flounders, co-director of International Action Center, noted, people “were able to video this with their cell phones. So, the examples of police brutality were there for all the world to see, and it was young people who were able to get this message out right away.”

The NYPD’s brutality have included razing the tents of the protesters, disrupting their gatherings, using pepper spray to disperse them and arresting more than a 100.

“They’ve been arresting a lot of people,” one of the protesters said, adding that “the Constitution gives us the right to peacefully assemble, the right to not be searched, seized and arrested without a warrant, they don’t respect the Constitution anymore.”

Yet their brutality comes as no surprise to Ms. Flounders.

“Well, in fact it happens all the time for blacks and Latino youths in the US. It’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the police. The US has the largest prison population in the world ten times the size of most countries, but it’s rare that police attack primarily white youths in broad daylight and in public streets.”

Does the silence of the media, together with the police brutality and the mass arrests show a fear among the elite in the US that they might in fact be on the verge of losing their power?

It seems however, that this time, the elite might have troubles containing the country’s protests against the elite.

In less than a week, another movement, called October 2011, will occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C.

“This is a wave of people demanding real democracy, we are demanding that violence and wars and the huge amount of money that is spent on wars, our tax dollars, stops, and that that money go to people’s needs, not corporate needs, go to human needs not corporate greed,” said Tarak Kauff, one of the organizers for the October 2011 movement.

Only time will now tell how much harsher the regime in the US will become in order to maintain their power.

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Press TV is a 24-hour English language global news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran. Press TV carries news analysis, documentary talk shows and sports news worldwide with special focus on West Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

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