The Occupy Wall Street protests, which began as a small grassroots campaign, have gained a lot of traction and have inspired cities across the US to begin their own protests, leading to a massive social movement in the country.
I know many people credit the Syrian and Egyptian protests as the sparks that ignited the movement in the US, but as Noam Chomsky has mentioned several times, those protests received their inspiration from the protests that took place in Western Sahara around November 2010. Of course, not much, or any, media attention was given here to the Western Saharan protests, which should come as no surprise to anyone.
I haven’t written anything about OWS because there is so much coverage of it that I don’t think I can contribute anything substantial that hasn’t been said already. Besides, Jeffrey Sachs provides brilliant commentary in his analysis. If you want to read an insightful and great perspective on OWS, I really encourage you to read his column here. Another great piece of great commentary comes from Amy Goodman; you can read her thoughts on OWS here.
So yesterday, in an attempt to quell the demonstrations–perhaps even trying quash them–from gaining even more momentum, NYC’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, announced the city would send police to Liberty Plaza aka Zuccotti Park to remove the protestors, at the request of the company that owns it, under the pretext of cleaning it. I loved how the protestors responded. They held firm, allocated $3,000 from their funds to buy cleaning supplies and cleaned the park themselves. How is that for working together as a community? Now I wonder what lame excuse the city will use next to remove the protestors.
The US government’s greatest fears have come to fruition with these protests. The dominoes have started falling, beginning in NYC (actually, starting in Western Sahara) and spreading to the rest of the US. Public opinion still matters, even if the power is concentrated in the hands of a few. The stage has been set, and the 99% are making their voices and opinions well known and heard.