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Micah White and Kalle Lasn write: "There is a shared feeling on the streets around the world that the global economy is a Ponzi scheme run by and for Big Finance. People everywhere are waking up to the realisation that there is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which speculative financial transactions add up, each day, to $1.3 trillion (50 times more than the sum of all the commercial transactions)."

Blocked from Wall Street by police, activists gathered in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan on Sunday, 09/18/11. (photo:Kevin Hagen/WSJ)
Blocked from Wall Street by police, activists gathered in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan on Sunday, 09/18/11. (photo:Kevin Hagen/WSJ)

The Call to Occupy Wall Street Resonates Around the World

By Micah White and Kalle Lasn, Guardian UK

19 September 11


We need deeper changes to our financial system, or tent cities of people angry at corporate greed will keep appearing.


n Saturday 17 September, many of us watched in awe as 5,000 Americans descended on to the financial district of lower Manhattan, waved signs, unfurled banners, beat drums, chanted slogans and proceeded to walk towards the "financial Gomorrah" of the nation. They vowed to "occupy Wall Street" and to "bring justice to the bankers", but the New York police thwarted their efforts temporarily, locking down the symbolic street with barricades and checkpoints.

Undeterred, protesters walked laps around the area before holding a people's assembly and setting up a semi-permanent protest encampment in a park on Liberty Street, a stone's throw from Wall Street and a block from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Three hundred spent the night, several hundred reinforcements arrived the next day and as we write this article, the encampment is rolling out sleeping bags once again. When they tweeted to the world that they were hungry, a nearby pizzeria received $2,800 in orders for delivery in a single hour. Emboldened by an outpouring of international solidarity, these American indignados said they'd be there to greet the bankers when the stock market opened on Monday. It looks like, for now, the police don't think they can stop them. ABC News reports that "even though the demonstrators don't have a permit for the protest, [the New York police department says that] they have no plans to remove those protesters who seem determined to stay on the streets." Organisers on the ground say, "we're digging in for a long-term occupation."

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET was inspired by the people's assemblies of Spain and floated as a concept by a double-page poster in the 97th issue of Adbusters magazine, but it was spearheaded, orchestrated and accomplished by independent activists. It all started when Adbusters asked its network of culture jammers to flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens and peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. The idea caught on immediately on social networks and unaffiliated activists seized the meme and built an open-source organising site. A few days later, a general assembly was held in New York City and 150 people showed up. These activists became the core organisers of the occupation. The mystique of Anonymous pushed the meme into the mainstream media. Their video communique endorsing the action garnered 100,000 views and a warning from the Department of Homeland Security addressed to the nation's bankers. When, in August, the indignados of Spain sent word that they would be holding a solidarity event in Madrid's financial district, activists in Milan, Valencia, London, Lisbon, Athens, San Francisco, Madison, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Israel and beyond vowed to do the same.

There is a shared feeling on the streets around the world that the global economy is a Ponzi scheme run by and for Big Finance. People everywhere are waking up to the realisation that there is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which speculative financial transactions add up, each day, to $1.3 trillion (50 times more than the sum of all the commercial transactions). Meanwhile, according to a United Nations report, "in the 35 countries for which data exist, nearly 40% of jobseekers have been without work for more than one year."

"CEOs, the biggest corporations, and the wealthy are taking too much from our country and I think it's time for us to take back," said one activist who joined the protests last Saturday. Jason Ahmadi, who travelled in from Oakland, California explained that "a lot of us feel there is a large crisis in our economy and a lot of it is caused by the folks who do business here." Bill Steyerd, a Vietnam veteran from Queens, said "it's a worthy cause because people on Wall Street are blood-sucking warmongers."

There is not just anger. There is also a sense that the standard solutions to the economic crisis proposed by our politicians and mainstream economists - stimulus, cuts, debt, low interest rates, encouraging consumption - are false options that will not work. Deeper changes are needed, such as a "Robin Hood" tax on financial transactions; reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act in the US; implementing a ban on high-frequency "flash" trading. The "too big to fail" banks must be broken up, downsized and made to serve the people, the economy and society again. The financial fraudsters responsible for the 2008 meltdown must be brought to justice. Then there is the long-term mother of all solutions: a total rethinking of western consumerism that throws into question how we measure progress.

If the current economic woes in Europe and the US spiral into a prolonged global recession, people's encampments will become a permanent fixtures at financial districts and outside stock markets around the world. Until our demands are met and the global economic regime is fundamentally reformed, our tent cities will keep popping up.

Bravo to those courageous souls in the encampment on New York's Liberty Street. Every night that #OCCUPYWALLSTREET continues will escalate the possibility of a full-fledged global uprising against business as usual. your social media marketing partner


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+19 # Activista 2011-09-19 10:42
notice how USA media are same as in totalitarian Egypt - silent and trying to block social media.
Can anybody point me to Murdoch's WSJ "analysis"?
+12 # X Dane 2011-09-19 11:57
Yes activista, unfortunately I also notice that the Egyptians have much more BACKBONE than we do.

They stuck it out till they won and got rid of Mubarack. And I read in LAtimes Sunday that they realize they will have to stick with it and protest for at least 5-6 years?????

And we loose HEART???......O r is it INTEREST AFTER ONE WEEK-END. That is pitiful. We have lost the spirit or WILL to help ourselves.

+10 # Drgulla 2011-09-19 13:11
Where do you see that they gave up or lost interest? The article says they are "digging in for a long-term occupation." What they need is more publicity. If the mainstream media won't cover it, then everyone should post this article on their Facebook page, and go there and post You Tube videos- anything we can do to spread the word and make the protest go viral.
+5 # X Dane 2011-09-19 15:51
Drgulla, I read several comments that said as much. I Will be happy to stand corrected, and apologize too, if the demonstrations keep going , thay need to, in order to make an impact.

The publicity, is an other matter. The media has to be kicked in the shins,.....very , very hard before they bother to say anything....let alone something complimentary
+14 # Connie Tuttle 2011-09-19 12:23
Finally! Bravo to those on Wall Street. "They've got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen." HUEY LONG
+20 # iris 2011-09-19 12:32
17 countries now tax all their stock market transactions at about 1/2of one percent. This would bring in trillions to the economy: stop the great rip off: and make it easier to police the fraud and wild speculation going on.... but watch the repubs fight that. iris
+7 # BradL 2011-09-19 13:14
How fantastic these courageous people are doing this! So important!!

Our world economic system of money based in interest is indeed a Ponzi scheme.

However, the "deeper changes" mentioned in this article will not go far enough to create a permanent solution. The problems are: money based in interest and the dominance of national currencies. These cultivate greed, competition and scarcity. We need to shift to a system of negative interest (or "demurrage") and more with complementary currencies (or "local currencies"), such as Time Banks. These kinds of systems promote a more nurturing, caring, collaborative and abundant culture. Only with fundamental change.

A fantastic book to read on this subject is "Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisentstein, which is downloadable free online by the author at:
+7 # Kev C 2011-09-19 15:29
If we want change then we cannot sit around chewing the fat waiting for change to somehow miraculously happen. It will only happen if we make it happen. This is why the people in the park near Wall Street are there. They are trying to make change happen. The change they want to see not the change that the government would like to impose on the people.
So stop bitching about the fight being over before its started and do the right thing. Either join them or support them through donations of food, water, publicity or in any way they need supporting to make it happen. No army fights a war without its logistics corp. That's what your job is here. Now get to it! Its going to be a long haul but then nothing worth fighting for was ever easy to win.
+6 # tedrey 2011-09-19 15:34
Is that correct? For every dollar of commercial transaction which *may" make something, move something, add something useful, there are fifty dollars of speculative transactions which do nothing on our dear earth but impoverish the many and enrich the few? They are paying themselves for doing absolutely nothing. Can someone point out anything good that speculation does? If not, some very "revolutionary" solutions come to mind. If speculation continues, capitalism itself has had its day.
+8 # dabonich 2011-09-19 17:40
We have been watching the livestream of the global revolution on internet and just now began calling all TV stations in our area to cover it. LOL! Most don't "know" anything about it and few said "Oh, that was on Saturday" How dumb do they think we are? Don't answer that.
+1 # DPM 2011-09-20 17:56
Yeah, Kev C and dabonich! I can't be there, but I'm making noise with the media, people I know, some I don't know and the little monetary support I can afford.
Will everyone above do the same as Kev C, dabonich and me? Yes? No?

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