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Noam Chomsky and Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This Land Is Your Land…
by Hilary Bettis
Photo by David

In a denim shirt and blue jeans, Noam Chomsky, perched in an old plastic chair, waits for a gathering audience at a New York Housing Works event. I happened to, out of pure luck or fate, be one of the first people to arrive. I approached Mr. Chomsky with a burning question: “What is our next step for the Occupy Wall Street Movement?” In his gentle demeanor, Mr. Chomsky spoke of past movements that created sweeping change for humanity such as the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Arab Spring Movement. “Every social change in history… comes from concerted, organized public action and struggle over a period of time.”

Noam Chomsky at Housing Works in New York City

Back at Zuccotti Park, I hear, in the distance, a fiddle cry with a Woody Guthrie song as members of a local teacher’s union sit quietly grading homework assignments of children still too young to understand the struggle their adult counterparts face on their behalf. A middle-aged woman tells me she is there because others struggled to keep children out of factories. She tells me it is her turn to keep corporate greed out of schools.

A young black man in a leather jacket holds up a sign that reads, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” He tells me he is there because his father participated in the Great March on Washington. He tells me he needs to understand his roots so that he can protect his future.

An Egyptian woman in a hijab types furiously on her laptop sending out messages of hope and unity on her facebook and twitter account. She tells me she was a part of the Arab Spring Movement that gave her the opportunity to leave Egypt and pursue her dream of an education at New York University. She tells me she has never had much hope for the world until this past year.

Occupy Wall Street is an extension of human rights movements that have existed for generations. We are all here because our ancestors struggled, patiently and dignified, for a better way of life. But we must also recognize that change will not come overnight. The winter nights will be filled with moments of fear and hopelessness and pain and hunger and frustration. There will be media rhetoric that will attempt to discredit us. And narcissistic egos that will try to divide us. But if we continue to stand in solidarity we will overcome these moments together in ways that bind and strengthen the human spirit for generations to come.

As a great man once said, “[Human Rights] …was never given by a gift from above. It was always given by struggle”


{ Nalliah } at: October 30, 2011 at 9:57 PM said...

Wall Street is a confidence trick, a dazzling edifice built on paper promises, gambling, bets and speculation. Wall Street doesn’t manufacture or produce anything. The Wall Street however attractive it may appear is built on paper. Wall Street only gambles and bets and speculates.
Speculators, propagandists and financiers of Wall Street are given some unfair advantage over the average consumers and taxpayers and the cumulative effect of the people watching selfishness prevail over the public interest has been an undermining of the public’s trust in the present US government. There’s no question the Wall Street is rigged against the average consumers and taxpayers. The Wall Street has a lot more information. Wall Street jerry-rig the system so that Wall Street always win. If the Wall Street loses trillions, the US Treasury will bail the Wall Street out so it can go back and do it again.
50 trillion dollars in global wealth was erased between September 2007 and March 2009, including 7 trillion dollars in the US stock market, 6 trillion dollars in the US housing market, 8 trillion dollars in the US retirement and household wealth, 2 trillion dollars in the US individual retirement accounts, 2 trillion dollars in the US traditional defined benefit plans and 3 trillion dollars in the US nonpension assets.
There are trillions dollars of new money taken again from Americans to make deals and hand out outrageous bonuses. And when these trillions run out Wall Street will come back for more until the dollar becomes junk. The value of the US dollar declined very significantly during the last 70 years. The value of the US dollar in 1940 was worth 2,000% more than the value of the US dollar now.
Many big US manufacturers are outsourcing to Mexico and China to increase their profits, adding more unemployment in the USA. Manufacturing jobs in the USA declined 37% between 1998 and 2010. Since manufacturing industries declined in the USA, the US competitiveness in the global marketplace is also declined.
The top 6 US banks had assets of less than one fifth of US GDP in 1995. Now they have two third of US GDP. The financial crisis was created by the biggest US banks to consolidate power. The big banks became stronger as a result of the bailout by the US Treasury. The big banks are turning that increased economic clout into more political power.
Oligarchy is the political power based on economic power. And it’s the rise of the Wall Street in economic terms, that it’d turn into political power. And Wall Street then feed that back into more deregulation, more opportunities to go out and take reckless risks and capture trillions of dollars.
Wall Street only has the lobbyists. Since the heads of Wall Street and their representatives are afraid because they don’t have the substance or the arguments, they will not come out and debate with the people who occupy the Wall Street.
The political and economical leadership of the US has chosed to cartel profits and transformed the US economy to serve the colluding and unlawful oligarchy. The political and economical leadership of the US is bailing out failed paradigms with trillions of dollars while committing social injustice to its people. The US banks are borrowing money at near zero interest from the US government, then lending it back to the US government at even mere fractions higher interest than they are paying. The net interest margin made by the US banks by lending the money back to the US federal government in the first 6 months of 2011 is 210 billion dollars.
Due to the oligarchs’ rapacious looting and their purchase of a politically protected luxurious lifestyle, the people of the US are on the road to permanent serfdom under a police state. The democracy was not given to the people of the US on a platter. It is not theirs for all time, irrespective of their efforts. Either people of the US organize and they find political leadership to take this on, or they are going to be in deep trouble.

-Nalliah Thayabharan

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