Wednesday, 19 October 2011

We are the 99%

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which rapidly spread to 150 cities across the US has now gone global. Last Saturday saw the biggest day of world-wide demonstrations since the 2003 demonstrations against the war in Iraq. From New York to Hong Kong, a million people were on the streets, in more than 950 cities in over eighty countries, occupying central banks and other symbols of the banking industry. Some of the biggest protests were in Spain where the 'Indignados' movement that inspired the US protesters is still going strong. Some of the most militant were in Italy where Berlusconi is pushing some of the harshest austerity measures in Europe.

Across Britain there were around twelve demonstrations, including the 3,000 strong demo at the London Stock Exchange. In London protesters have maintained a permanent occupation outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The protests are against corporate greed and the richest 1 percent in society. The movement’s size, breadth and vibrancy make them an important development for the fightback against capitalism. In London a section of the occupation of St Paul’s cathedral joined the demonstration of electricians at Blackfriars station this morning. Afterwards, a section of electricians marched to St Paul’s for a rally.

These protests express a growing sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with the world and that we can do something about it. Protesters call themselves the "99 percent" in contrast to the "1 percent" elite that accumulates power and wealth by robbing and exploiting the rest of us. The mass co-ordinated strikes planned for 30 November could really ignite the movement in Britain. We need to push for the biggest turnout in the ballots and for people to strike and join the rallies being held across Britain.

Meanwhile in Greece a 48-hour general strike, the latest of so many in Greece, got underway today with the rallies being reported as some of the biggest yet.
Athens 19/10/11
This is the key. Like in Tunisia and Egypt, the way to win is to combine a massive street protest movement with a wave of strikes. Together we can smash the austerity plans of the 1 percent. But we can also transform the world from one run for a handful of rich parasites to one we run for ourselves.

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