IN EARLY 2011, democracy movements
in Tunisia and Egypt began to take shape. And soon, millions turned out,
occupying streets and squares. In the end, they forced the government in
both countries to step down. Two heads of government, Ben Ali and Mubarak,
resigned. The first fled. The second is now facing charges brought against
him, in court. The people in Tunisia and Egypt is no longer willing to
accept fake elections, to endorse parties that did not represent them and
to bow to the power of rulers who tried to sell a fake democracy as the
In May 2011, the Egyptian example
inspired hundreds of thousands of mostly young people to occupy the streets
and squares of dozens of Spanish cities. It is the beginning of a courageous
democracy movement, not only in Spain, but in Greece as well. And it immediately
kindled hope of change in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland
There is so much awareness that
things are unjust. The majority – those who are the people, common folks,
not billionaires – has long ceased to believe that things are fair:
that the economic game is to the advantage of “all of us.” And they distrust
politicians in power; they do not believe any of their promises. More and
more people think that something is awfully wrong. Not only with the economy.
Not only with the global climate. But with “our” democracy, as well. Which
the “elites” have stolen and occupied: pushing us out, turning us into
spectators who watch their political game. And into tax-payers. Yes, in
a society that relies on money, taxes are the price of a civilized society.
But why are we, the people, the common folk, paying the bulk of all indirect
and direct taxes? Why is big busines paying so little even though the fortunes
of the uppermost 1 percent are bigger than ever?
A LOT’S GOT TO CHANGE. We all
feel this. Some know it for sure. Some are hesitant because they don’t
know how. If we feel the need for change, clarity is necessary. To attain
clarity, we need debate. With our neighbors, our work-mates, our colleagues.
With our friends and the family at home. After all, in a dictatorship,
someone up there may try to dictate the answer to problems. If we believe
we have the right to be heard and the right to decide, in a republic, in
a democracy, it’s up to us to find answers to the things that we feel are
wrong. Together. That’s how Jeffersonian democracy was meant to work. That’s
what Tom Paine would have said. THAT’S AT THE ROOT OF DEMOCRACY: the “res
publica”, the public affairs are what we should decide. Not the experts.
Not the billionaires. Or the lobbyists. Or a small crew of influential
In September 2011. a democracy
movement took off in the United States. Perhaps it was heralded by the
protests in Wisconsin. But it is not about a specific pay issue or a specific
job issue. It is about the economy as such. About the big thing:
our socio-economic rights. The right to have a job. The right not to receive
lousy pay you can’t exist on. The right not to be cheated by the super-rich
and the big corporations, de-facto tax-dodgers because they used politicians
to obtain a privilege: the privilege not to pay their fair share of taxes.
We all know they got their banks and their fortunes protected from loss,
by a government that used our tax dollars to shield them.
Obviously, the way politicians
and big business and the super-rich interact is something most of us have
been aware of for years. Is it true that we cannot do anything about it?
O come on, folks, if this is a democracy, we can. And if the democratic
system is deficient, we, the people, the true democratic sovereign, can
change it. YES, WE CAN. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans or independents,
Greens, or Leftists, Catholics or Protestants or Muslims, Buddhists, Confucians,
or whatever. Yes, we can. We can come together, as civilized citizens,
not so angry any more, but sane and determined to work out together how
America’s got to change. If things are to be fair. So that our democracy
will be our’s, again, and not a fiefdom and playing field of the few.
WE HAVE SEEN THE YOUNG, and a
few middle-aged and older Americans take to the street in September. Isn’t
their critique of the banks and hedgefunds justified? Isn’t their critique
of the way the political game is played, justified?
This movement which is called
OCCUPY WALL STREET reached a first, astonishing, though still modest climax
in the U.S. in mid-October. A surprising number of people turned out in
many American cities. According to independently verified sources, there
were between 250 an 300 in Ashland, OR, about 50 in Billings MT,
200 in Bloomington, 500 in Boulder, 2,000 in Chicago, 5,000
in Los Angeles, 1,000 in Miami, 2,000 in Phoenix, 5,000 in Washington,
D.C., the Guardian reported. And of course, New York was again
in the headlines. Obviously what happened was a decentralized, spontaneous
upsurge of people who longed to take action and who needed no leaders.
Many similar protests took place
around the world. In Calgary, there were up to 400, in Montréal
about 3,000, in Sydney 2,000, in Seoul 600, in Tokyo
300. While in Lima, about 500 took to the streets, an astonishing number
turned out in Santiago de Chile, about 200, 000, according to the Guardian.
In Europe, the mobilization was
considerable in Southern European countries which have a tradition of popular
revolt as well as strong unions, and which suffer enormously at present
due to the economic downturn triggered by the U.S. subprime crisis. In
Rome, 200,000 expressed their discontent with the bankers and demanded
democratic change. In Barcelona, 350,000 turned out, in Madrid 500,000,
in Valencia 100,000, in Zaragoza 40,000. The fact that the Democracia real,
ya! movement had been so active since May 15 contributed a lot to this
In Lisbon and Oporto, a combined
40,000 took to the streets - the same total was asserted for all the demonstrations
in Germany where the biggest gatherings were in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt,
Bochum and Cologne. In London, Paris and Lyon, in Brussels, Amsterdam,
and Copenhagen, just as in Budapest and Zagreb and Split, considerable
numbers turned out as well. In Athens (Greece), the protest movement showed
a strength on Oct. 15 that is comparable to that in Italy and Spain. And
four days later, in the context of the general strike, more than 200,000
people took again to the streets.
These facts and figures tell
us one thing: People in many countries reject the unacceptable political
influence and economic power of the banks, the financial markets, the multinational
corporations. People reject the degree to which governments all over the
world pander to them.
SEEING THE YOUNG ON BROOKLYN
BRIDGE, many of us feel sadness and distress because the police is ceasing
so apparently to be a servant of the people, a protector, a defender of
Are many of them distressed,
too, because of what they were ordered to do? Or are they ready to become
willing helpers of those who restrict democracy? In Nuremberg, Hitler’s
willing helpers once were told that we must not obey unjust orders. That
he who obeys them is just as guilty as his superior.
Let us all pay attention that
America is not being turned into a police state. That the world is not
being turned into a prison camp.
WE, THE PEOPLE, who have not
started to move yet, as the Egyptians and the Tunisians had the courage
to do, may well ask ourselves, “where do we stand?” “WHAT CAN WE DO?” “Which
is the best way to act?”
Seeing the young protesters in
New York, in Chicago, in Washington, the question arises, “Will they who
profess to be, or to speak in the name of the 99 per cent, manage
to take the majority along?”
Will even working class and lower
middle class Tea Partiers be able to go along?
For we all sense that many of
their basic grievances are not so different from those felt by the young
OCCUPY WALL STREET kids.
A possible suggestion to the
brothers and sisters who occupy Wall Street is: be patient, even with Tea
Partiers. Be kind. Accept, honestly, that people in the U.S. – and in the
world – have many different values.
Concentrate on the essential:
- THE UNABILITY OF ALL OF US
TO STILL TRUST MAINSTREAM POLITICIANS.
- THE LACK OF REAL DEMOCRACY,
in a system that let’s us vote but disregards our wishes, grievances, needs.
- THE SOCIAL DIVIDE that separates
the politically and economically powerful from the rest of us.
Perhaps it will become clear
to the fair, sober, average citizen that no movement of a few thousand
or even a few hundred thousand young and enthusiastic folks can speak for
all of us, and provide all the answers to the problems we face. They who
are committed to change GIVE AN EXAMPLE. An example of what we should be
doing. WE SHOULD GET INVOLVED: AND THERE ARE MORE WAYS THAN CAMPING IN
A DOWNTOWN PARK AND CHANTING SLOGANS IN THE STREETS IF WE ARE GOING TO
WE CAN SET UP NEIGHBORHOOD COMMITTEES
WE CAN PREPARE THE CONVOCATION
OF TOWN MEETINGS.
WE HAVE MANY WAYS TO TAKE UP
THE CLUE the youngsters have been giving us.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO CHANGE?
LET’S GET THIS CLEAR.
THE ENTIRE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL
DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT: AND IF THEY DEBATE IT, IF THEY FREE THEMSELVES OF
THE UNDUE INFLUENCE OF THE PRIVILEGED FEW, well,
it seems that the people indeed
can bring about change.
Our many ideas, the proposals
of every one of us count.
Our grievances should be heard
in our midst, and should be discussed.
And this with the honest intention
of finding a fair solution, a rational remedy.
There is no perfect democracy
But this one we experience today,
which sees the billionaires and millionaires and those they finance run
for office so often, deserves to be improved.
So that common people will have
a voice again that matters. Rather than being wooed as a voter but forgotten
after the election is over.
A GOOD SOCIETY, a good world,
a peaceful planet, a protected ecology, the right to live decently, instead
of in poverty – these are no unattainable, utopian goals.
It’s really up to us to improve
TO BRING ABOUT A WORLD WHERE
SISTERHOOD, BROTHERHOOD ARE
NO EMPTY WORDS.
Occupy Wall Street
We Are Change
Z Communications AND Z mag
Local to global.org
IN ENGLISH (ON SPAIN)
Democracy real YA!
Manifesto of Democracia
'Indignant' Protests Heat Up Election Campaign"
(IPS news net, Oct.4,2011)
Students in Chile are protesting against
the privatization of higher education that took place
under Pinochet, and against the underfinanced
public education system
net, Oct.20, 2011)
the general strike (Oct.19-20,2011)
on the general strike
Athens (Greece) indymedia
POESY'S CALL TO JOIN
THE GENERAL STRIKE
Argyros on the general strike
Real.gr, Oct.20, 2011)
Support Julian Assange
Forum Social Mundial
GERMAN LANGUAGE SITES
zur Demo am 15.Okt.2011
15 October Net
Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen
Die Gruenen [Green Party, Germany]
Demo am 15.Okt
of the world, rise up"
Aufruf von K21 zur Demo am 15.Okt.
Echte Demokratie jetzt
Echte Demokratie jetzt
Aufruf zur Demo
am 15. Okt.
Die Linke (Left Party, Germany)
DIE LINKE unterstützt die weltweiten
Proteste gegen die Diktatur der Finanzmaerkte und für mehr Demokratie
We Are Change Austria
We Are Change - CH