An Occupy Wall Street Protester with placard in Zuccotti Park, New York
Photogragh: Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis
Tomorrow, at last count, some 90 plus college campuses nationwide will hold solidarity protests in support of Occupy Wall Street.
This is most significant as college age students have traditionally been a part of, and at times, in the forefront of sweeping social movements not only in the U.S. but worldwide. It is long past due.
Personally, I can attest to being a part of the last great societal movement for change in America as a grad student at one of the campuses (the University of Maryland) that erupted in protests against the Viet Nam war in the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Back then thousands of students, undergrads and graduate students, even some faculty members filled the malls (college quads) with protest gatherings, occupied administration buildings, marched in solidarity and meet ups with students from other universities. To this grad student in the spring of 1970, that phenomena was unbelievable, considering the sleepiness of the Maryland campus during my undergrad days in the early 1960's. Memories of those grad school days remain vivid in my mind.
Until the current occupy movement, now happening in some 1200 cities and towns nationwide, began with the Occupy Wall Street action, I wondered how we as a people could remain passive and indifferent to what was happening in this country i.e. the pre-emptive unnecessary and endless wars, the resort to torture, the implosion of the financial industry that brought the massive billion dollar bailouts using the peoples money, the great recession created by and as a direct result of the financial meltdown, that has brought untold suffering to millions in job losses and unemployment, home foreclosures, bankruptcies et al while the too big to fail banks were made whole again to grant outrageous bonuses to those who concocted the financial scheming of packaging mortgages into collateralized debt securities that became worthless toxic paper when the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst in 2008 and to this day some three years later have not been held accountable for their misdeeds while continuing their greedy and wanton ways as if nothing happened.
Meanwhile the Arab Spring erupted first in Tunisia in December 2010, followed in Egypt into February 2011 and still happening in Libya, Syria, Yemen, et al yet hardly anything of a similar nature was occurring in America.
To say the least, from here it was extremely frustrating and exasperating until Occupy Wall Street took hold less than a full month ago on September 17 in Zuccotti Park adjacent to Wall Street itself.
Finally, the time had come in America where we have begun to awake from our collective, somnolent stupor to join and rebel against the collusion of political and corporate oligarchs that have transformed our representative democracy into a plutocracy that served their interests, the richest 1%, to the detriment of the 99%.
For those of you who have just been observing from afar this occupy phenomenon I suggest you see it directly for yourself and join in.
It's committed to non violence and except for some instances where the police have over-reacted, these protests are gatherings of people from all parts of the country, young and old and those in between who have come to express their voices to be heard and contribute their own ideas and experiences and their take on what has happened and is happening in this country.
This occupy movement is not a one day protest and go home phenomena. We are the 99% of the people and we will no longer be ignored and dismissed.
The arrogant and greedy 1% that has stolen America is on notice. The jig is up; we are here and we are staying and we intend to take back our country and make it once again of, by and for the people.
As a post script, yesterday the October2011.org protest action in Washington, D.C. (whose permit to stay and occupy Freedom Plaza was extended four months in agreement with the U.S. Park Police) was on Capital Hill protesting outside the Hart Senate Office Building.
Meanwhile I held a sign outside the House of Representatives that read, "We are the 99%, the Congress Must Decide Who They Will Side With, the 99% or the 1%", (many passersby nodded in agreement).