The Brooklyn Bridge arrests on October 1st are still reverberating across the internet. I had no idea that such a massive row had occurred between the NYC police and so many everyday citizens of the USA. 700 people were arrested. I can only postulate that Brooklyn Bridge will take on a larger meaning, and galvanize Occupy Wall Street, but I feel safe in doing so.
As I watched the YouTube video of ‘Brooklyn Bridge,’ I witnessed compelling images of blue uniforms immersed in hordes of protesters (and flashbacks from a different era), holding hands in solidarity, and we even have a soundtrack, some mantras that suck you into the controversy, even though you are simply sipping coffee at your computer terminal. But we are there too!
Chants like: “Let them go! Let them go!” Or: “The people united, will never be defeated! The people united, will never be defeated!” Chant this about a hundred times, and see what I mean. You’ll come up with your own definition of democracy, and why recent events are tending to disenfranchise you and me from attainment of THE AMERICAN DREAM!
I grew up believing The American Dream was attainable, but I’m having strong doubts now, as I see a growing cleavage between the Have and the Have Nots. Social and economic inequality are the quickest road to American Dream Extermination, so this makes me thankful for what the Occupy Wall Street Movement is doing.
The Rich need to pay a larger portion of taxes. *(Repeat this mantra as many times as possible until it sinks in 100 %.) The post WWII Middle Class Renaissance of vast home ownership, all with jobs, and a vibrant Baby-Boomer culture, that fostered the Leisure-Time-Youth-Movement of the 1960s (which in turn was a stimulant for the Rock Revolution), was created mainly by the GI Bill, which was a government-run program.
A twist of irony is intrinsic in this historical phenomenon. A robust middle-class society, running on all 8 cylinders (I drove a yellow Ford Mustang 289 during this time), was not a result of a vibrant free-enterprise system, but rather was a positive by-product of government inspired social engineering and American hegemony, where we had preeminence in the world, in an odd admixture of military/capitalist tyranny, with a chilly Cold War vice-control on emerging Third World nations.
This is what Vietnam was all about. This is what the protests against the Vietnam War were all about. They were about social injustice and the fact that it was Blacks and Browns and Poor Whites who were coming back in body bags from Vietnam, not the rich. On the other hand, the wealthy kids could get student deferments that allowed them to live in safety, away from the jungles of Vietnam.
I see continuity between the ’60s war protests and the growing Occupy Wall Street Movement. Both are grass-roots political movements that are fostered by legitimate grievances, that tend to make it impossible to continue living or functioning under current conditions. Unemployment is the greatest catalyst for the New Wave, but there are many other triggers for discontent.
Low wages, corrupt greedy corporations that won’t hire, out-sourcing, avaricious banks, the wealthy who enjoy a plethora of tax-loops, wars that never end and produce no results either, and in general, a feeling of shrinking hopes, or simply the impossibility of ever carving out a portion of America you can call your own.