The most aggressive efforts began last week to dismantle the protracted assemblies of dissatisfaction in various cities around America. Certainly the most visible confrontation between the people and “the establishment” was in Oakland, California, but Occupy Oakland wasn’t an entrenched demonstration like Occupy Wall Street and Occupy L.A.
Oakland’s occupation movement was a start-up movement and the city officials refused to allow it to become entrenched. But Oakland was a peep into what confronting the occupation was going to look like. What happens when the government’s tolerance with First Amendment’s freedom of assembly rights runs out? What happens when the patience for the people’s right to petition the government with their grievances is shut off? And what happens when government refuses to respond to the people’s grievances and nothing has been resolved?
Well, that’s what’s happening in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis and other cities that now are trying to dismantle occupation movements. Governments, the institution and the authority granted by the people, are now using their powers legitimized by the people to remove the people from public properties that the people pay for and own. The problem is that the reasons for the occupation movement haven’t been resolved. The dilemmas of class disparities and greed exploitation are still present. What has been resolved?
The mass protestation against corporate greed that is exploiting the American labor force by reaping huge profits while transferring jobs overseas and laying off American workers, has not been resolved as unemployment rates have remained high and stagnant. The protracted encampments that have laid open the mass travesty of mortgage loan exploitation, which have taken the homes of more than 4 million American homeowners and threatens even a greater number in a “second wave” of foreclosures at the feet of government.
The major banks of the nation, without either conscience or remorse, have forced many families out into the streets, and our government has turned what seems to be a blind eye to this violation of personal pride and dignity. America has allowed 1 percent of the nation’s population to amass 42 percent of the wealth, and the next 2 percent to control another 23 percent, leaving 97 percent to live on 35 percent, and that massive wealth disparity is the greatest in the nation’s history.
That raping of the American capital system has not stopped. Yet, the governments of America now want to stop the occupation movements. They use excuses like the encampments are killing the grass at City Hall (Los Angeles), or the park is becoming a health hazard (New York), as if the current conditions of America are not killing families and the spirit of the American worker.
The concern for government is to maintain order, although the lives of the 99 percent are in disorder. The concern for corporations are their shareholders and not those that no longer have the disposable incomes to consume or save. The concern for Congress is now how we cut government and reduce spending instead of trying to figure out to help the American people out of this spiraling quandary. Many of our elected officials are looking for ways to push more people into despair for the sake of ideology and scoring political brownie points.
It’s interesting how when industry needs help, they’re “too big to fail”; but when the citizenry needs help they’re “failing because they took on too much debt. “Well, corporate America got too big because it underwrote a housing bubble for profit’s sake. And government got “too big” because it fed the military-industrial-complex for two decades and refused to make the rich pay their way. Those who run the country have got it twisted and forgotten whom they serve. Those who run corporations have forgotten how to serve others, and are now only serving themselves.
American society is on the brink of collapse and disorder is imminent.
The authorities and greed-mongers don’t know what to do to resolve society’s problems, and the only thing they can say to us is to “get off the grass?”
America is occupied by the insane in government and in corporations, but are they insane enough to push the country into anarchy? We’re about to witness the next steps of the occupation movement, and find out whether the authorities will turn on the people, or do what’s right (if they still remember what’s right) to recast and modify the wealth redistribution system of the nation.
Meanwhile, we are still the 99 percent.
Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum (www.urbanissuesforum.com) and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21st Century Popular Culture. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com or on Twitter at @dranthonysamad.
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