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De-Mythicizing Occupation

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

October 11, 2011

By Perry Redd

Enough of the lies—by both the American mainstream media and the conservative Republican Right!  There is nothing right in their attempts to equate the current groundswell of the Occupy Wall Street movement with the Tea Party movement of the past three years.  I will clarify for you the obvious similarities and the glaring differences between the two and the objectives behind those making these assertions.

The Tea Party is a conservative/libertarian movement which came to national attention in 2009 and spawned protests and supported specific candidates beginning in 2009.  They purported to be angry over government actions.  That’s where the similarities to the Occupy Wall Street protests end.  The Tea Part’s anger was focused on reducing government spending, opposing taxation, reduction of the federal deficit and the national debt and a stricter, originalist interpretation of the Constitution.

In contrast, the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t advocate for any political candidate (they’re all crap), but that the elected politicians are responsible and accountable for the vast disparities of wealth, the debt of the people (not the nation) and the bleak unemployment reality.  Occupy Wall Street protestors are calling attention to the years of neglect of the will of the people; but more importantly, the plight of the 99% (which would include most Tea Partiers) in relation to the Wall Streeters who caused the financial meltdown.

Now, what many in the press and the conservative blogs are seeking is an agenda…a road map of the Occupy Wall Streeters.  Guess what?  There is none; there is no laid out agenda for them to scrutinize and then marginalize.  Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be spelled out.  To act responsibly doesn’t need a hand-holder.  That tact may cause anxiety, but our elected leaders need to be anxious—damned worried as a matter of fact.  The Occupy Wall Street protests will culminate in election politics, but there’s no election today.  Today is time for action; time for legislative change.  All of the obstruction of Republicans and paralysis of Democrats needs to stop…today!

I was at the Occupy DC protest at Freedom Plaza in the nation’s capitol; I observed the lack of diversity, though Occupy Wall Street is an intentionally diverse movement.  Participants noted that absence of people of color in DC and called for Blacks, Latinos, Native peoples, Asians and whomever else to join.  Panning across the nation, people of all hues, sexual orientations and income levels have joined the protests.  That is not, nor was not the case with the Tea Party.

It is factual that Blacks have been—and always are—hit the hardest when the unemployed are counted.  That’s yet another point of the Occupy Wall Street protests.  Inequality based on race is a societal ill that Republicans in general, never want to admit—regardless of what the numbers say.  Democrats have de-prioritized that reality.  The Occupy Wall Street movement places that issue on the front burner.

Presidential candidate Herman Cain said this past weekend that he didn’t believe racism was a major factor holding minorities back in America, asserting instead that African Americans had a level playing field on which to advance economically.  This is the insanity and utopianism that has plagued the Black community since…since the end of the Civil Rights era.

Jobs numbers released just this past Friday showed the unemployment rate among Blacks standing at 16.0%, while the total national unemployment rate remained at 9.1%. For whites, that number is 8.7%.  “I don’t believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way,” Cain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” It’s never a “big way” if it isn’t you.  “Are there some elements of racism?” he asked.  He then diverts the race issue to the economic growth.  The point is that even when the economy was healthy, the numbers between Black and whites was highly disparate.

Those critics of Occupy Wall Street include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Bloomberg blasted Wall Street protesters for “trying to destroy the jobs of working people in the city.”  If anything, the Wall Streeters have created jobs!  All of the police deployed in DC, Boston, New York, Chicago and other cities—to watch non-violent protestors—is a stimulus plan!

Calling for accountability and change is nothing to be ashamed of.  Its pretty darn patriotic (as patriotism goes).  When any group does that, they will be demonized by those who enjoy the status quo. In this case, that would be the top 1%.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor used part of his address to the Values Voters Summit this weekend to attack the Occupy Wall Street protests, and he condemned political leaders
who are supporting them.

“I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town, have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”  In America, debate is “Americans against Americans,” duh.  Otherwise, it would be communist, right?

Occupy Wall Street is being blamed for airing America’s domestic dirty laundry. Just as Blacks who remain economically disadvantaged, or the unemployed American worker, Herman Cain said “they often only had themselves to blame.”  Is there a chance that blame could be placed at the feet of the corporate raiders who depleted investment houses?  Or could it be home loan mortgage investors and greedy bankers who knowingly manipulated the financial system intentionally jeopardizing the financial system while enjoying huge personal gains?  Couldn’t be their fault for a failed economy, huh?

Well, that’s what Occupy Wall Street is here to address.  The agenda isn’t clear only to those who wear rose-colored glasses.  It is a myth that the Tea Party and Occupy are identical.  It is also a myth that there is no agenda of the Occupy Wall Street protestors; its just that the agenda that the pundits are searching for is the agenda the power structure doesn’t want to hear.


2 Responses to “De-Mythicizing Occupation”

  1. Great analysis and observations. Why aren’t good, thoughtful folks like yourself working as journalists in mainstream media to help inform the public of the deeper and broader issues so that they can better influence their own living conditions?

    Oh wait, I think the answer is found in the question, and especially in your last sentence: “its just that the agenda that the pundits are searching for is the agenda the power structure doesn’t want to hear.”

    • Thank you for your response…and for taking a minute to read take in the message. Our observations are much more robust on our Facebook page: Socially Speaking. We’d love to converse with you as we strategize to make society a better and more amicable place for all of us to live.

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