Why Are They Occupying Wall Street?

Chase Iron Eyes

I hope we have all been following the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) action that is unfolding before us. Why are they protesting? Hopefully OWS is not only due to the rich-poor gap -although, that is reason enough. The main-stream media is describing this movement as having no discernable organization or purpose. Protesters are simply making statements against corporate greed.

I did not think that this movement would catch a fire in New York, let alone spread to other cities in America. I am very happy there are Americans who are “still alive.” OWS seems truly spontaneous at this point. Who sent out the first call to, and to whom? What were the purposes? Where is the manifesto? The movement gained momentum even without main-stream attention. The revolution will not be televised. That saying has become a cliché; revolution and activism have been made fashionable. Yet, this is more than that.

It seems obvious that this movement is a response to the state of the American economy and the obscene inequities of Western capitalism. In that line of reasoning, neo-classical economics should bear the brunt of the blame. Pundits generally refer to neo-classical economics as the modern world economy. To me, neo-classical economics describes the economics that has been propagated all over the globe, controls our means of survival, and is propped up by all institutions, be they government, legal, academic, media, etc. Neo-classical economics pretends it is a science, attempting to force us to believe in its authority, attempts to make us accept that GDP should be the measure of civilized nations; that with its aloof formulas and it can best provide for any nation’s needs. It is a kind of economics that does not take into account rapid deforestation, loss of species, loss of fresh water, oil spills, melting ice-caps, nuclear disasters, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. in its “cost” or GDP calculations.  Purveyors of neo-classical economics do not want us to know their economics is myth that presumes mother-earth has limitless “resources.” Whether expressly or not, I believe all the protesters are standing up against these basic tenets of modern economics, which are incompatible with continuing sustainable civilizations and our spirits.

OWS is not as violent as Tunisia, Libya or Egypt, or any number of Arab spring risings; however, this movement is no less significant. Could this be the crucial moment in our time when we demonstrate for the world that we are willing to move beyond ideological obedience to corporate greed?

Usually protesters present a list of demands and we watch the T.V. to see the results. This time the reasons behind the protests are at the very heart of our modern existence. Hopefully, protesters are not only protesting because they want more pay, job security or other incidental benefits of a corporate-world economy. Because, surely that system cannot last—we are keeping it on life support.

I would hope that at some point OWS announces that it seeks, among other things, a true cost “global market” where we incorporate real costs of continuing down the oil-slicked road and further engaging the carbon economy. Although it is more than enough to be mad at our own economic collapse, unfair rates of pay, loss of jobs, Wall street bailouts, and corporate greed, I hope that OWS includes as a demand, that we consider an American-Western, and global strategy for dealing with our current path to planetary destruction.

Protesting within the confines of the system has often been criticized for the perceived reason that it does nothing to really change the system. There is criticism that protesters are only pacified within the system and life returns to corporate normalcy once again. Never mind that, we should be happy that a tangible spark of change has been created. We should appreciate this time, this moment, the direction it could take us.

I expect the movement to grow despite police brutality, unofficial silencing, and other tactics. We will see an increased police-state in New York and other cities. How far are Americans willing to go: loss of job, loss of freedom, etc. Can we afford to go on as usual? The financial-industrial powers are not listening to the peoples’ loud message for change.

Some professional friends caution me to write with care to not jeopardize a future job or client; I take that advice and write so as not to jeopardize my future job as a grandfather or risk losing my real client, the ancestors yet to come.

I personally hope this movement grows. We, as Americans, should all be prepared for change, abrupt growing-pains-like change, if we are to forge our way forward in a world which seeks to displace us as the pre-eminent world power.

Hecegla (That is enough)

Chase Iron Eyes is an attorney licensed in the State of South Dakota and the Federal Courts of both North and South Dakota. You can read more of his writing on his blog, thelastrealindian.blogspot.com.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page




hamlaw's picture
Good piece Chase. We sometimes think we are "isolated" or "insulated" from the rest of the world, but this crisis and cycle of change will touch everyone. When 85% of the nations wealth is in the hands of 20% and the majority of that 85% is in the hands of 5% and the majority of that in the hands of just 1% (Actually about 20 identifiable families.) the country is heading towards a major shift. I hate the 1% slogan because that actually does not include the "money brokers" in that other 19% and these are the people that are the heads of corporations and investment banking who makes ten to hundreds of millions of dollars each year. We cannot forget that "they" are the ones who invented dirivatives and dirivative "pakaging" (paper value with no hard assets to back it up) and then sold them to investors (other investment banking entities and hedge funds)and AIG was eager to sell insurance against failure, among others. They the shit hit the proverbial fan. Thousands were prosecuted in the "savings and loan" debacle. Not one person from wall street has been indicted on this one. Not one. Just a few yahoos who were running ponzi schemes that collasped. Now that is not justice. They pretty well wiped out the middle class; let's not forget that 19% that follow the 1%.
tovangar2's picture
Thank you so much for your supportive article. (I'm Mescalero/Scots-English.) Here at Occupy LA there is a very active Indigenous Committee. Please encourage everyone to get involved. Indian voices are wanted & needed. The US democracy is based on the Indian model and the country needs to be reminded again to stick close to Indian sensibilities/traditions/governance as we change course to a healthy, balanced society. Thank you again
twofeathers's picture
I live in Boston. I believe that the Boston Police are on the side of the protesters. I believe that the loss of the american people's money is a sign of the Hopi 9th Prophecy being fulfilled. Wowahwa, Two Feathers.
elizabethekatherine's picture
I was part of the protest & was disheartened by the lack of including native issues beyond the cursory, brown,red people were abused & stolen from. The CIA plot to infiltrate many groups which included African American men,, also caught in its net AIM members, that was not mentioned & I am here in Washington DC. Yes I do believe that things need to change in order for this nation to move forward for all of us, we need a government which is for the people, of the people & by the people, which s clearly not the case right now, however I believe that native people share insights into how things currently are,why they are the way they are, & what steps we need to take to change them. We do not all have activist language, because many native people have steered far away from what looks like "illegal activity". I have asked if some of us might sit down & have conversations on how we can as a people, coming from many nations, frame activists conversations that focus on what ails all of us as humans, as americans.
klsplenty's picture
All natve americans and americans period should support in some way these protests that the natinal news choose to down[lay. How much of your wages, if you work go to getting gas for the month, or indirect costs that get attached to your home living and other hosehold purchases? Bush and the republicans left this economic dilema to future generations, and don't be fooled by tea peoples or anyone else that this was obabma's fault. rebuilding or establishing an infrastructure to create jobs, is not building pipelines. maybe we should also quit directing out children into college, and instead direct the ones who have the ability and desire to get into trades, to work with there hands. not everyone is born to be a doctor, oawyer or computor wiz. I say native should show some kind of protest at their local reservation banks and let them know that they are not under the radar. banks on or near reservations are notorious of skinning the native poulous with overdrawn charges and high interest rates and favoritism.
lookinghawk's picture
Perhaps it is quite possible that these peoples are in fact being used to create a problem. Perhaps establishment will respond serving a solution by and through the patriot act. Thus establishing laws to protect protective bubbles around financial institutions for future stock market and economical downfalls. Look into history of what happened to the financial institutions in the 30's and 40's. I dunno.....
lookinghawk's picture
Perhaps it is quite possible that these peoples are in fact being used to create a problem. Perhaps the establishment will respond serving a solution by and through the patriot act. Thus establishing laws to protect protective bubbles around financial institutions for future stock market and economical downfalls. Look into history of what happened to the financial institutions in the 30's and 40's. I dunno.....
tmsyr11's picture
Agreed! Why are they 'just' occupying Wall Street? In fact, they should be occupying the White House, occupying Nancy Pelosi's Office, occupying Tim Gethner, Treasury Secretary (some of the biggest culprits to the US Govt. Bailout and the money given to Wall Street. This current White House and US Govt is responsible for the biggest deficit to occur to the Federal system. WOuld General Electric (GE) and owner of MSNBC be just as responsible if not more particularly when GE didn't pay US taxes and has a foot hold into China corporate dealings. How about the spin that MSNBC puts on White House news and events and other White House failings in convincing the American public the White House isnt incompetent....
dbender's picture
People are occupying Wall Street because they are becoming aware of the lies and exploitation. In the 80's and 90's, people were so brainwashed that they believed Gordon Gekko when he said, "greed is good." Ronald Reagan was and still is championed by the Republicans because back then there was way less bitching about racism, exploitation, greed; people were more oblivious to the dark side of industrialism and when Ronald spoke he made everything sound so good. Like, the world was perfect and everything was going to be okay. Now, since we have access to the internet, we can communicate and educate unlike in times past. Not only that, jobs are shipped overseas and south of the border because they find that its easier to exploit the environment and 3rd world peoples. The U.S. doesn't manufacture things as in times past and as a result people are jobless and losing their homes. Industrialism is coming to an end. That is what this is really about. We, as humans, were duped into becoming pawns for the industrial giants of the world. Think about it: sugar based diets, cancer industry, medical industry, drug industry, sugar industry, drug industry and industrial food. They use chemicals to industrialize this whole population so people will rationalize putting their jobs before family; jobs before health; jobs before education; making just enough money to get to work and pay rent. People forgot about the necessities of life: clean food and water, spirituality, family, and community. People forgot how to subside on their own and with their own. People forgot how to educate and protect their own children. That's what this is about. Mother Earth is speaking to us and she is willing this fight. That's what I believe. I hope tribal leaders are taking notice.
kodiac2000's picture
I have been waiting a long time for a reaction from the current generation to what has been happening over about a thirty year span. First, big business has purchased our polical system. Second, they shipped all our manufacturing jobs off-shore. Resourse-rich tribes play to big business for short-term gain which is not the Native way. Instead of creating manufacturing jobs with our great combined wealth and credit we look to gaming that creates much money for third parties and tribal members get the low-level jobs. If we can't create a sustainable economic development solution with "real" jobs then the future is bleak for our future generations. Native people have the ability to create solutions. The questions is when will they awake to this fact and are they up to this economic fight?

Read more