Occupy Wall Street

7 Oct

Last Monday I rushed to Liberty Park to see Amy Goodman’s press conference. Unfortunately I got there late and missed it. But as I browsed liberty park my impression of the protest was not a good one. I did not think that it was as organize as las Acampadas in Spain, nor did I think it had a clear message, or a clear objective, although I deeply believe there are many reasons to protest.

But yesterday I went to Liberty park. The unions and students had joined. You could feel the energy, you could read the coherence and anger in the protests signs but above all you could sense the solidarity, and community of this movement.

Lucky me one of my idols was going to speak at the protest, Naomi Klein, author of the Shock Doctrine (a book on how America has used disasters and crisis to implement “free market” policies), gave an inspiring speech to the crowd. Naomi criticized the U.S. mainstream media for asking: “Why are they protesting?” when the rests of the world is asking “What took you so long?”

And then I thought, creating a movement with a coherent voice takes time, it took time in Spain, in Tunisia and even in Egypt. At first only the brave, the really affected and the really angry show up. But with time the courage gets contagious, with time we realize that we are part of something great and that we have to at least try to make a change. But we can get there.

It took us a long time but we are here. Occupy Wall Street may not have yet a set of “coherent” demands but it has a clear message, it represents “99%” of the population. It is sending a clear message that we might be in the richest country in the world but only 1% of the population controls the majority of the resources. And for spreading message alone is worth taking the streets.

In a time when we are told that we have scarce resources, that there is no money for education, public housing or public health care, the protesters occupied the center of abundance. The mecca of that 1%. That is a symbolic message in itself.

My favorite message Naomi Klein gave the crowd:

“This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.”

“I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.”

Indeed “we have picked a fight with the most powerful economic powers in the world”, so that fight is going to be difficult, it may seem impossible but it doesn’t mean is not worth fighting for. Because economic justice, and people fighting for that economic justice, is the most beautiful thing in the world.

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