Dress Rehearsal for Our Tahrir Square. OccupyWallStreet.org
Thousands of people from across the country are
planning to converge on Wall Street this Saturday to protest America’s
“corrupt democratic process” and the use of
corporate money in American elections.
The day has already seen support from hactivist group Anti Sec,
on Twitter Thursday: “Americans it is now our time. The Tunisians
did it, then the Egyptians. It is OUR time. It is OUR America.”
Anti-consumerist magazine AdBusters asked on
its site: “Is American ripe for a Tahrir moment?”
Perhaps. Just last month, professor of sociology David Meyer, who
wrote “The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America,” wrote a piece
in the Post’s Sunday Outlook section examining why angry Americans
weren’t protesting when the rest of the world was.
Meyer’s explanation was in part that the strongest social movement
existing in the U.S. at present — the Tea Party — actually wants the
government to do less. The Tea Party, he wrote, has replaced activists
at the grassroots level in the U.S. who would otherwise spur Arab
Spring-like protests into action. Meyer also pointed out that the
American political system is such that people think they don’t need to
protest, knowing “they can get what they want by working through it.”
What happens when that belief falls away? Probably something like the
Organizers explained their reason for holding such a day:
Unfortunately, free and fair elections are a thing of the
past in America. Because of recent
Supreme Court decisions, money is flowing freely and unaccountably
into the American electoral process. Elections will be swayed by
interests opposed to those of the United States. Corporations, even
those owned by foreign shareholders, will and do use money to act as the
voices of millions, while individual citizens, the legitimate voters,
are silenced and demoralized by the farce of American Democracy.
Doesn’t sound like they think they can get what they want by working
It’s unclear how successful Saturday’s protest might be, but the
movement has already gotten some backing. Rapper Lupe Fiasco has donated
tents for the day, and written a sort of poem called “Moneyman”
to inspire protesters. On Twitter, supporters rallied around the
hashtags #usdor, #sept17,
The plan to “occupy” Wall Street has already spread to plans for
Ore., and other cities.
It is unclear exactly what these protests might look like — whether
they will take on energy of the protests in Egypt or fall flat like
those in Israel today. Survival Web site Off the Grid Living is
worried that the protests could turn violent.
But one supporter, a geographer in California, wrote
Thursday: “I’d like to say (that to begin) to take back your freedom,
all you need is to stand on the sidewalk on September 17.”
By Elizabeth Flock
05:05 PM ET, 09/15/2011
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