Sunday, September 18, 2011

Biggest Wall Street protest in years

The mainstream media actually gave a teensy bit of coverage to yesterday's "Occupy Wall Street" protest. It's still a little difficult to find out what exactly went on, though.

MSNBC, for example, reported "more than a thousand" protesters descended on Wall Street -- but we're wondering what that means. Other estimates put the crowd as high as 50,000.  We think the truth lies somewhere in between.

Here's the New York Daily News, sticking to the "more than a thousand" estimate:
More than 1,000 social media-driven protestors descended on the Financial District Saturday to rail against corporate greed, forcing the NYPD to lock down Wall Street.
The demonstrators, many of whom used Twitter and Facebook to coordinate their movements, marched peacefully as they chanted about money's influence on American politics.
"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," said Jason Ahmadi, 26, from Oakland, Calif.
The rally, dubbed #OccupyWallStreet, was intended to energize lefty-leaning Americans to mimic protests in Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern and European capitals.

We waded through a lot of nonsense about Occupy Wall Street and concluded that ThinkProgress had the sanest take on it: a country where much of the populist energy has been absorbed by a movement that compared expanding access to private insurance to “death panels,” it’s worth reviewing why Americans and others should be protesting against Wall Street.
While many of the conservative defenders of Wall Street may be quick to portray protests against the American financial establishment as driven by envy of its wealth or far-left ideologies, the truth is that people have a very simple reason to be angry — because Wall Street’s actions made tens of millions of people dramatically poorer through no fault of their own. In 2010, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conducted studies of the effects of the global recession — caused largely by Wall Street financial instruments that were poorly regulated by government policies — and found that the recession threw 64 million people into extreme poverty...
And nearly three years after the start of the global economic crisis — where taxpayers in multiple countries were called upon to save the financial industry — most of the banking elite’s top executives remain virtually untouched. There have been almost no high-profile convictions for fraud and related financial crimes, banking profits continue to soar, and unemployment not just in the U.S. but globally remains very high.

Given these facts, the question is not why more than a thousand people demonstrated on Wall Street yesterday. The question is, why aren’t even more people in the streets of the financial district in New York City?
Occupy Wall Street will continue. Stay tuned.