Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mainstream media begin to notice three-week occupation of Wall Street

As a regular reader of Adbusters - the Canadian magazine campaigning to protect our mental environment by reducing our exposure to advertising and capitalism's propensity to turn every moment of our lives into a marketing opportunity - I have been aware of their call to occupy Wall Street for several months.

On September 17th a few thousand people - most Americans but joined by a few sympathisers from around the world - marched on Wall Street, protesting in very general terms about the financial sector's freedom from democratic oversight, the excesses of the super-rich - and capitalism's failure to organise modern society in a fair and equitable way.

Many remain to this day: 700 were arrested (most released soon afterwards) over the weekend for blocking traffic on Brooklyn Bridge.

Mainstream media has begun to sit up and notice. Even the BBC covered the protest on the TV news last night - albeit in slightly mocking terms. It seems that the union movement in the US is beginning to take notice too now, and plans a solidarity march at the site later this week: with that the movement becomes 'political' and isn't just about a bunch of anti-capitalist hippies venting their rage. It's a legitimate story, in other words.

Obviously the protests won't bring down Wall Street, or the Federal Reserve - even less the US Government. But that's not the point. Like the so-called 'Spanish campers' at Brighton's Old Steine this summer (pictured left), the idea is to create a Temporary Autonomous Zone - a living experiment in real grass-roots democracy, and freedom from the institutions of the state and the greed of the few men at the top of the banking system who have caused all the tax hikes, public sector cuts - and house repossessions - blighting the lives of the vast majority around the world.

However the Occupy Wall Street movement ends, it will have been a success.

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