On July 4th the anti-corporate Canadian magazine Adbusters sent out this tweet , and then tweeted it again July 13th along with a plan to meet on Wall Street on September 17th and adopted the slogan “We are the 99%”. Nearly 2,000 people showed up on the 17th, the message spread through social media and within weeks the movement took root in cities throughout the U.S. and worldwide. The protests have been largely peaceful, but as with any large group not everyone has good intentions; anarchists and anti-capitalists attempt to co-op the energy of the protests for their own agenda, and paid infiltrators cause problems in an attempt to cast a negative light on the movement. Most protestors aren’t anti-capitalists but are against a system designed so those on top economically remain on top through a tax code rigged in ways that help the wealthy, massive income disparity, allows extremely profitable corporations to give executives six and seven figure compensation packages but pay no income tax, and enables the ultra-wealthy to pay lower tax rates than do their employees or pay no income taxes at all. Many of the 1% use their vast fortunes to blackmail politicians: write the laws and tax codes to benefit them, or face a well-funded opponent in the next election and be “black-listed” from later employment in many major firms. In a system controlled by wealth it’s difficult to win an election without major backing. Greed has become king and a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals our new monarchy. We don’t need a King George to destroy us; we’re doing it to ourselves.
And that’s why we need the OWS movement: the general public’s ignorance about the gross inequalities in our financial system and the only way the public will know these things is if national news outlets report it and without widespread protests sensationalist-driven news outlets report only what sells, as evidenced by scant national coverage of massive protests in Wisconsin last spring. Many of our political leaders seem to have forgotten their true civic duty.
I closed my accounts at Bank of America in June, 2011. When asked why I was closing my accounts I replied that BOA doesn’t pay income taxes. No one at that branch knew that BOA didn’t pay income taxes and insisted that I’d either misunderstood what I’d read or I was just some crazy person because “no bank could stay in business without paying taxes”. The manager called her supervisor who insisted if what I said were true then they would know, since “they tell us everything”. Obviously, no multi-billion dollar, highly profitable corporation has any reason to tell its employees that each of them pays more income tax than does the corporation itself. To avoid such issues, you can use social media like instagram as a platform for your advocacy or for a greater cause. You can get free instagram followers instantly using the right tools.
A problem has to be recognized before it can be corrected and money in politics is the problem. The OWS movement is getting the symptoms of the problem reported on by network and cable news, so more people are becoming aware of those symptoms. If a tree is bad you cut it off at the root, and if the root is money then the treatment is to get the money out.
The longest journey begins with a single step, and these protests are that first step.