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Occupy Wall Street – America’s own Arab Spring?

Published time: September 19, 2011 20:57
Edited time: October 03, 2011 12:00

Protestors hold up signs during a demostration on September 19, 2011 in New York City (Michael Nagle / Getty Images / AFP)

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Crowds gathered in New York’s financial district to protest Wall Street greed, corruption and lack of accountability. RT dove into the rally to find out whether this could be the beginning of America’s own Arab Spring.


“We’re going to shut down Wall Street! Shut it down! Shut it down! Blood-sucking war mongering bastards!”

These were the chants heard in New York’s financial district on Saturday – the first day of America’s attempt to follow the example of the Arab Spring. Social media had been abuzz with this planned occupation of Wall Street for months. Up to 20,000 people were supposed to spill out onto the streets, but not more than a thousand of the most fed up Americans showed up.

“I’ve got my sleeping bag and my pad. I was told not to bring a tent so I left that at home,” said activist Ben Green, who flew in from out of state to camp here day and night.

He had a simple message for the US president: “He’s backed out of everything he promised in the campaign. It’s like he’s asking to lose the next election.”

Wall Street greed, corruption and the lack of accountability that followed brought these Americans to the brink. Over 46 million people are living in poverty in the US – with 14 million unemployed. Much of this is triggered by the shameless gambling of Wall Street CEOs.

“This very spot, Wall Street, is a site of a heinous crime that’s been perpetrated by Wall Street bankers, who, instead of guarding people’s money speculated with reckless abandon and incompetence. They clipped the wings of the American dream,” said one protester clad in a Franklin D. Roosevelt mask.

“You’ve got these corporations that are paying no tax. I pay more tax than GE and Exxon,” said union worker Dan Peters.

“I spent a lot of years and a lot of money to get a degree. That degree is worthless now. Right now, they are more powerful than any emperor has ever been. We are facing an army of Caesars. And Caesar must fall,” said biologist Jimmy Holt.

Mayor Bloomberg has been warning New Yorkers that as youth unemployment skyrockets, riots could be around the corner. But at the demonstration on the street of the Big Apple,these people blame the mayor himself.

“Every day people want to be involved in politics, and we deserve to be involved in politics. And I don’t think you should have to be a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg to be involved in politics. Michael Bloomberg is a beautiful example of what’s wrong in this country,” said editor Emily Turonis.

But for demonstrations like this one to become a real force and not just a fringe group, more Americans will need to join these crowds.

“I expect the volume to get a little larger. All movements start off small. To answer your question, why there is so few people, the information that gets out is controlled by the mainstream media, the corporate media,” said hip-hop pioneer Radio Rahim.

So will the political and financial elite push Americans into launching their own Arab Spring or will they take note before the crowds swell out of control?

“We’re going to shut down Wall Street! Shut it down! Shut it down! Blood-sucking war mongering bastards!”

These were the chants heard in New York’s financial district on Saturday – the first day of America’s attempt to follow the example of the Arab Spring. Social media had been abuzz with this planned occupation of Wall Street for months. Up to 20,000 people were supposed to spill out onto the streets, but not more than a thousand of the most fed up Americans showed up.

“I’ve got my sleeping bag and my pad. I was told not to bring a tent so I left that at home,” said activist Ben Green, who flew in from out of state to camp here day and night.

He had a simple message for the US president: “He’s backed out of everything he promised in the campaign. It’s like he’s asking to lose the next election.”

Wall Street greed, corruption and the lack of accountability that followed brought these Americans to the brink. Over 46 million people are living in poverty in the US – with 14 million unemployed. Much of this is triggered by the shameless gambling of Wall Street CEOs.

“This very spot, Wall Street, is a site of a heinous crime that’s been perpetrated by Wall Street bankers, who, instead of guarding people’s money speculated with reckless abandon and incompetence. They clipped the wings of the American dream,” said one protester clad in a Franklin D. Roosevelt mask.

“You’ve got these corporations that are paying no tax. I pay more tax than GE and Exxon,” said union worker Dan Peters.

“I spent a lot of years and a lot of money to get a degree. That degree is worthless now. Right now, they are more powerful than any emperor has ever been. We are facing an army of Caesars. And Caesar must fall,” said biologist Jimmy Holt.

Mayor Bloomberg has been warning New Yorkers that as youth unemployment skyrockets, riots could be around the corner. But at the demonstration on the street of the Big Apple,these people blame the mayor himself.

“Every day people want to be involved in politics, and we deserve to be involved in politics. And I don’t think you should have to be a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg to be involved in politics. Michael Bloomberg is a beautiful example of what’s wrong in this country,” said editor Emily Turonis.

But for demonstrations like this one to become a real force and not just a fringe group, more Americans will need to join these crowds.

“I expect the volume to get a little larger. All movements start off small. To answer your question, why there is so few people, the information that gets out is controlled by the mainstream media, the corporate media,” said hip-hop pioneer Radio Rahim.

So will the political and financial elite push Americans into launching their own Arab Spring or will they take note before the crowds swell out of control?

Journalist and author David Degraw added to RT that places like New York City are perhaps the best example of how too-big-to-fail banks are causing the great American inequality to only worsen. As a result, he said, it's refreshing to see Americans finally taking to the street,

"Look at New York City where these protests are happening," said Degraw. "New York City has the inequality of wealth equal to places like Honduras, the most desperate third-world countries. You have Wall Street and a short subway ride north you have the Bronx."

"We have 50 million people living in poverty in this country," added Degraw, though those that call the shots are seemingly unaware.

"We have to get into the streets and show politicians, this is what we're working on here and this is what you have to work towards, otherwise you’re going to be voted out of office," added Degraw,

"We have to move now. We have to get into the streets. We have to pressure politicians."


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