An Occupy Wall Srtreet protestor with placard in Zuccotti Park, New York, October 2, 2011.
Photograph: Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis
"Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations are spreading across the country.
One of the latest is occurring right now in Baltimore. It apparently was planned in a matter of days; spread over the internet sites Google, Twitter and FaceBook and had over 800 people who had RSVP'd their commitment to be there by late afternoon on Monday.
It's a phenomenon that has no end in sight with as many issues as there are people. For the present it's enough just for people to gather, show solidarity, plan logistics i.e. what do about food, sanitation, sleeping etc. and be committed.
But as in New York and starting Thursday in "Freedom Plaza" in Washington, D.C., the protestors are vowing to "stay until things change", a rather nebulous desire which will need to become more focused with demands made more specific if these protests are to have any real impact.
Many of the protestor's issues and what they care about are in fact connected, although not as yet presented as such or even clearly understood by them. Be it Wall Street greed, the bailout of the banksters, unemployment, home foreclosure and bankruptcy, the endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bloated defense spending on unnecessary weapons systems, the assault on unions and collective bargaining, environmental degradation and global warming, tax cuts for the rich, the income disparity between the richest 1% and the rest of the people et al. For now it seems an amorphous polyglot of issues and problems that have no clear focus or what's to be done to correct the issues and the inequities inherent in them.
But ah, there is an issue that interconnects all the other issues, cuts across liberal, conservative and progressive lines and is the primary factor driving every major issue in this country and that's the issue of corporate and special interest money that has usurped the electoral process.
Control the electoral process and you control everything of consequence.
Now money in politics didn't begin with the Supreme Court's decision in "Citizens United v/s FEC" which granted corporations 1st Amendment rights just like real people and gave the moneyed and special interests the freedom to spend unlimited amounts in the electoral process. That's something that's been happening for decades. What "citizens" did was to give corporate and special interest largesse a completely free hand to overwhelm and usurp the political process in their favor and control.