On September 17th, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of New York’s financial district, calling for deep changes to unjust financial and political systems. Referring to themselves at "the 99 percent"—as opposed to the top 1 percent of Americans who control a majority of the nation's wealth—the mostly young demonstrators held signs saying, "Too Big Has Failed," "Tax the Rich," and "Our Democracy Isn't for Sale."
Though their numbers have dwindled, many of the protesters are still camped in Zuccotti Park (renamed Liberty Square) nearly a week later. They meet in daily General Assemblies to discuss issues such as police relations and meeting their food and shelter needs (as during the workers' rights protests in Madison, Wisconsin, supporters from far and wide have sent thousands of dollars worth of free pizza). Indeed, some protesters say they were inspired by the way demonstrators "liberated" public spaces during the Madison protests, the Arab spring, and anti-austerity protests in Europe.
"We occupy Wall Street as a symbolic gesture of our discontent with the current economic and political climate and as an example of a better world to come," the demonstrators wrote in a recent dispatch on their website.
How is it that our nation is awash in money, but too broke to provide jobs and services? David Korten introduces a landmark new report, “How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule.”
What the privatization of public spaces has to do with our likelihood of taking to the streets.
- While wealth and power concentrate in the hands of a few, the rights,
jobs, and services that everyday Americans depend on are on the line.
Across the country, people are rising up to defend them.