The Occupy Chicago movement is gaining momentum. Initially mainstream criticized the movement as a bunch of people who would not know what they want. But that is certainly a superficial characterization of the protesters and was may be wishful thinking or propaganda.
It’s today more than 15 days ago that the protests in the Chicago Financial District (Jackson at corner LaSalle) started — inspired by the New Yorker Occupy Wall Street demonstrations not only people in Chicago but in many other cities in the U.S. formed protester groups.
Occupy Chicago has set-up a website where they inform about their activities and where people can read about the demands, a.k.a. the list of grievances. Visit the website at: http://occupychi.org/
Occupy Chicago’s motto is “We are the 99%” and so this initiative shall represent the majority of people (the non-upper-class) — sure it does if one looks at the wealth distribution and economical situation in the United States. Not sure if non-wealthy opponents and Republicans would agree and would support the movement as they look at it as something coming from the ‘left’ (which is a unjustified statement) . However, nobody should be blinded by propaganda techniques of opponents of the demonstrations since they certainly need to try hard to suppress the free speech idea when it is inconvenient for them. It seems Americans are just not used any more to demonstrations; not used anymore to people that voice their opinion. It worked for a long time to keep people quiet even if the grievances already existed.
As this blog post is a comment on what currently happens in our society we want to add our opinion to the soup of notions and emotions: It shouldn’t be a matter of what a voter has voted for in earlier elections, it should not be about whether you lean in general towards Republicans or Democrats. It is a matter of common sense and sense of justice and fairness. Do people really think that it is right that some corporations should be awarded with nearly no tax payments (using loop holes etc.), being able to declare profits as non-taxable off-shore profits, receiving bail-out money and buying real estate or jets for it or give bonuses to execs, receiving subsidies (like Big Oil even when declaring gigantic profits), and not doing much for creating jobs for Americans? Outsourcing of production and services versus employing people in the United States? Trying to pay just minimum wages and cutting benefits? Complaining about economical hardship while pampering executives with bonuses? It’s a cheap comedy and nobody can laugh (except the ones at the top).
Social responsibility should be on the agenda of any corporation and any individual who has more than they can ever spend in their life. If the gap of rich and poor grows further in this country then it is not difficult to foresee enormous problems coming our way. History should give enough examples — if the pressure for people gets too high they will eventually voice their opinion and stand up for their rights.
The Occupy movement, even if some use the term ‘revolution’, just asks for some common sense corrections of the status quo of the economical environment and for more fairness — the American Dream once promised that everybody could get rich and to the top if they just would work hard enough. That’s outdated — reality is that many will never have the chance to get to the top and it is not because they are lazy but because they face the reality of corporate profit thinking and exploitation of labor (like… work for less money or you don’t get the job). Check out the public statements of some of your fellow countrymen: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/
The Obama Administration asks for example for applying the Warren Buffet Rule (== people earning > $1 million per year should pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle-class taxpayers) — this is one the proposals which is supported by the OccupyChicago movement, read more about what they stand for here: http://occupychi.org/2011/10/07/our-proposed-demands/#more-879
No doubt, Chicago as an important financial market in the U.S. is highly visible in the media and it will be interesting to follow the development here and elsewhere.