Thousands of people from across the country are planning to converge on Wall Street this Saturday to protest America’s “corrupt democratic process” and the use of corporate money in American elections.
The day has already seen support from hactivist group Anti Sec, which wrote on Twitter Thursday: “Americans it is now our time. The Tunisians did it, then the Egyptians. It is OUR time. It is OUR America.” Anti-consumerist magazine AdBusters asked on its site: “Is American ripe for a Tahrir moment?”
Perhaps. Just last month, professor of sociology David Meyer, who wrote “The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America,” wrote a piece in the Post’s Sunday Outlook section examining why angry Americans weren’t protesting when the rest of the world was.
Meyer’s explanation was in part that the strongest social movement existing in the U.S. at present — the Tea Party — actually wants the government to do less. The Tea Party, he wrote, has replaced activists at the grassroots level in the U.S. who would otherwise spur Arab Spring-like protests into action. Meyer also pointed out that the American political system is such that people think they don’t need to protest, knowing “they can get what they want by working through it.”
What happens when that belief falls away? Probably something like the U.S. Day of Rage.
Organizers explained their reason for holding such a day:
Unfortunately, free and fair elections are a thing of the past in America. Because of recent Supreme Court decisions, money is flowing freely and unaccountably into the American electoral process. Elections will be swayed by interests opposed to those of the United States. Corporations, even those owned by foreign shareholders, will and do use money to act as the voices of millions, while individual citizens, the legitimate voters, are silenced and demoralized by the farce of American Democracy.
Doesn’t sound like they think they can get what they want by working through it.
It’s unclear how successful Saturday’s protest might be, but the movement has already gotten some backing. Rapper Lupe Fiasco has donated tents for the day, and written a sort of poem called “Moneyman” to inspire protesters. On Twitter, supporters rallied around the hashtags #usdor, #sept17, and #occupywallstreet. The plan to “occupy” Wall Street has already spread to plans for protests in Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, Ore., and other cities.
It is unclear exactly what these protests might look like — whether they will take on energy of the protests in Egypt or fall flat like those in Israel today. Survival Web site Off the Grid Living is worried that the protests could turn violent.
But one supporter, a geographer in California, wrote Thursday: “I'd like to say (that to begin) to take back your freedom, all you need is to stand on the sidewalk on September 17.”