The Hightower Report
Occupy Wall Street shows signs of becoming an effective national movement
As Ray Charles sang years ago, "Them that's got are them that gets, and I ain't got nothin' yet."
A majority of Americans are now seeing that "them that's got" are not only getting theirs but also getting ours. The wealthiest 1% of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90% of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic "normal" of long-term joblessness, low wages, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.
This is the alienating reality that "Occupy Wall Street" has chosen to confront. This burgeoning movement began in September when fewer than a dozen college students pitched camp in Liberty Plaza, in the heart of New York's financial district, and began daily peaceful marches down Wall Street.
This is not your grandfather's tightly organized protest. It's intentionally loose – instead of a "leader," group decisions are reached through a consensus-based democratic process. With no faith in traditional politics or conventional media, the mostly young protestors have taken to the streets, using their well-honed "culture of the Web" to organize, strategize, harmonize, and mobilize.
Their encampment might look chaotic at first, but look again. It includes a medical clinic, media center, cafeteria, and library. Food? Their widely viewed website lets anyone in the world go online and have pizzas delivered to them from a local shop. They even produce their own newspaper, appropriately named The Occupied Wall Street Journal.
The New York protest is growing, and the movement has now spread to more than 50 cities, from major hubs like Chicago to such smaller places as McAllen, Texas. All across the USA, something is happening. Link into it at www.occupytogether.com.
For more info on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.