"American spring" on Wall Street
The Occupy Wall Street action has been going on in the USA for three weeks. Protesters are trying to draw the attention of authorities to people’s social problems, unemployment, corruption, dominance of corporations and high education prices.
The marches were initiated by students and began in Manhattan, the business centre of New York, on the 17th of September. One of the organizers of this informal movement is a Canadian of Estonian origin, Kalle Lasn. He uses the experience of mass demonstrations in the north of Africa and in the Middle East. This does not mean that Americans are fighting against an authoritarian regime, but the methods are similar, political scientist Feliks Burdzhalov says:
“They contact each other through social networks and go into the streets together protesting against the inadequacy of President Obama’s measures."
Protesters use the Internet on a large scale. An account has been made in Twitter and even a separate site where all information is posted. Originally Lasn called for a peaceful protest but did not conceal that actions could spread to other countries. So far the students’ initiative has been supported in Los Angeles, Boston and other US cities. Protesters have thousands of supporters. Suffice it to say that over the last weekend police arrested 700 people.
After the 17th of September, teachers, retired army officers, the unemployed and even part-time workers joined the students. The site reads that they are people of all races and confessions. Their aim is to express discontent with the economic situation and the authorities’ policy. There are plenty of reasons for this. The unemployment rate remains at 9% and is at 46% among young African Americans. It is difficult to create new jobs in the USA, which directly affects young people.
Protesters are against the “growing power of the ruling classes”, the impact of corporations on policy and the practices of prosperous banks when the poor get even poorer and the wealthy get wealthier.
The participants in the protests found unexpected support in George Soros, the famous world stock exchange speculator. He says that tax-payers are justified in their discontent with their money going to support banks which suffered from the crisis.
Soros has found a good ground for criticism of Obama’s administration, American economist Alexander Gohman believes:
“Soros believes that all steps of the US government taken to improve the country’s economy are not aimed at supporting the public but at supporting financial pillars, such as banks, companies and corporations, which are the largest employers. In this way they allegedly stabilize the economy. But people do not feel supported, they sense antagonism because the government is trying to help companies that are against them, that sack them and deprive them of wages and benefits.”
Protesters also remember the “class war” and call for a “revolution”. However, it is not quite correct to associate Americans’ protests with the events in the Arab countries, Alexander Gohman believes:
“The financial situation of American students is certainly not so disastrous as that of the population of the Arab countries. For this reason, the protests are meant to express displeasure but on no account are they a political struggle against the existing state system or economic policy.”
The American economist’s Russian colleague Boris Makarenko agrees. He thinks that there are plenty of democratic ways in the USA to express one’s vexations:
“There is always a lot of unrest in the USA, we just don’t notice it. The larger part of this unrest stays within the limits of the law. American society has been strongly criticizing the Big Business, especially the financial market, since 2008. Americans had had a comfortable life for several decades owing to this financial market, saving money and paying mortgages. Then everything collapsed, which had an effect on the economic growth and jobs, which is people’s well-being.”
Experts are at one believing that Barack Obama will lend an ear to the protesters’ voices for the sake of his rating but hardly anything will change in his policy. The more so in conditions when an overwhelming majority of Americans are used to building their lives within the limits of the system and traditionally do not respond to revolutionary appeals.