By Chris Meyer
Since being forcibly evicted last November, demonstrators returned to Zuccotti Park to commemorate the day the Occupy Wall Street movement began. While there has been some form of protest here and there since last fall, this past weekend saw the return of more formidable crowds. From an outsider’s perspective, the supposed “movement” died down, but what these protests have spawned on an intrinsic level cannot easily be forgotten.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist, and current Nightwatchman Tom Morello was present on Sunday afternoon to play a 30-minute set, which included a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and an instrumental version of Rage’s “Sleep Now in the Fire”. Other performers included Das Racist member Kool A.D., Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra and the rap trio Rebel Diaz.
The “We Are The 99%” slogan has been replaced with “We Owe You Nothing”, and the thousands upon thousands of protestors in Zuccotti Park have been replaced with daily literature and films about the Occupy Movement. But what hasn’t been replaced is the overall resentment towards the 1%; that upper-crust-Wall-Street crowd blamed for this nation’s economic troubles. What hasn’t been replaced is the general discontent towards a government that has allowed these people off the hook with no more than a slap on the wrist. At the same time, over 7,000 protestors of these injustices have been arrested by police forces. Therein lies the problem.
With a presidential election approaching, we look to find representatives that will do more than just speak on our behalf. We need those that are elected to fight for the betterment of a country that is seriously lagging behind in every major category when compared to other nations. Four years ago, we looked at Barack Obama to get this nation on the right track. Now, not much better off than where we were at that point (if at all), the question becomes can Mitt Romney do a better job? The answer, unequivocally, is no. This guy IS the 1%. His lifestyle is a slap in the face at our problems, rather than the solution. I am not saying that Barack Obama is the best answer either, but Mitt Romney? Is he really the best alternative we have? If so, then the times really are a-changin’, and not for the better (that applies to about 99% of us).
Perhaps the answer in fact lies in We, the People, and our ability to change Washington, D.C. by getting all of the lobbyists, special interest groups, and dirty money out of there, on top of keeping the corporate powerhouses in constant check. Ask any Tea Party member and they claim it to be the way. Another answer may be providing this country with stronger third and fourth parties in which to represent the electorate properly a la British Parliament. We, the People, are forever at the mercy of these two warring factions (those loving Democrats and Republicans) that can only seem to agree to disagree, while a large percentage of the nation continues to suffer. Maybe it’s time the system had some tweaking because our democracy doesn’t feel like much of a democracy. It’s evolution, baby! – A frightening topic of conversation around the country.
Do any of us truly believe that either of the parties that divide our country is acting in our best interests? The problems that the country faces right now goes way beyond simply which presidential candidate will do the “best job”. This is an internal issue within the system itself. If a gear is broken, don’t you fix it? It seems we all agree that a fix is necessary. The real question is: How do you fix it? Mike Patton of Faith No More said it best, “What is It?” Do we even know? Something is broken in this nation. That is a fact. But can we put our finger on what it is to truly change the course of our own history? There are issues that have been both relevant and unchanged since the Bush years, which have continued through the Obama administration, and will continue into the foreseeable future whether it is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as our next President. Unless we fight for our right, we can all bet on that.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement is more pertinent now than ever before given the fact we are in an election year. We cannot forget what has happened to the lower and middle classes over the last twelve years. People are out of work, our education system is a bureaucratic mess (similar to our government), we STILL rely on foreign oil – though, domestic isn’t any better – and our government is not exploring alternative plans of attack to fix the problems that exist. Or, which could be more accurate, we are at a never-ending bipartisan standstill. If it takes those in power this long to deliver attainable solutions, we are seriously screwed as a nation. We got to fight the powers that be, and realize that politics is merely the decoy of perception.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.” Well, the good ol’ U.S.A. is full of crooked rivers and crooked men and we cannot stand idly by and let anyone destroy our freedoms, rights, and lives in their own quest for power and glory. We have the right to protest. We have the ability to spark change. We have got to Take the Power Back!
For information regarding the Occupy Wall Street Movement, check out this link:
If you are interest in contributing writing, videos, or music to the Occupy Movement, check out these links:
* Lines used by Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Faith No More, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and Rage Against the Machine