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Here’s to the 99 percenters…

… the REST of us!

I have written several times in this blog that I expect an “Old Folks March on Washington” :-) in protest of attempts to dismantle the safety nets to which Baby Boomers have contributed money their entire lives. Little did I suspect at any of those times that the marches and protests in the U.S. would start first on Wall Street, in New York City, and involve people of a wide range of ages, from a wide variety of backgrounds, and representing a vast array of causes and concerns – true democracy in action. Although I have read op-ed pieces that expressed the view that “Occupy” protests should be a “moral” protest, rather than a “political” one, I really believe that MOST (not all, I know “counterexamples”) of the top 1% of income earners pay only “lip service” to morality. The 99 percent will have to meet them on grounds that they understand.

Like the revolution in Egypt, the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations seem to have no clear “leader” (whose “head could be chopped off”) and, like the Internet that was built to re-route network traffic around damaged network areas in a nuclear war, it seems as though authoritarian repression of the demonstrations in one geographic area will merely re-route them to another.

And now, the “Occupy” protests have “gone global….” Americans can understand. Many of our jobs have been offshored to exploited workers overseas. It is entirely fitting that this particular aspect of  the American experiment in Democracy should be exported, too. After all, it’s a small planet now.

In America, at least some of the protestors seem to want the America that has been stolen from them, sometime during my lifetime. The “Land of the Free” NOW seems to offer the freedom to do pretty much any LEGAL thing that you want, so long as you realize that you will always stay on the BOTTOM (99%) of society, and never advance or experience “upward mobility.” For us Baby Boomers, the new reality means that we will have to continue to fight for the benefits that we earned during our lifetimes, and for the young, it means that they will never even have the “false hope” of “upward mobility” that was given to OUR generation.

Sometime during my lifetime, the rungs of the ladder of opportunity were removed, with a widening gulf between the richest 1%, the only segment of American society that has made significant financial progress since 1980, and the rest of us.

Today, Saturday, October 15, “Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts… as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia — and took a particularly violent turn in Rome.” (Maybe that explains a surge in my recent traffic from Europe, particularly Italy (Rome and Milan)! Firefighters fought the flames at an Interior Ministry building near Porta San Giovanni in Rome, and eyewitnesses reported seeing a Molotov cocktail thrown near the building. In Rome, 70 people were injured, 40 of them police officers.

CNN says:

“It’s been completely hijacked by these violent factions, and the police are nervous, and the situation is very tense,” Barbie Nadeau, a Newsweek correspondent, told CNN. “I myself saw at least — I would say — a dozen people who probably needed some hospitalization or some care — some stitches certainly.”

For the record, Cheshire Cat Photo does not support such violence. In the U.S., at least, I think that most (99% of) Americans would just like our country returned to us, peacefully.

About 3,000 people joined the demonstration for “Occupy Denmark” today:

“They want money spent on the 99 percent, and they want to take [money] not only from the rich but also from the expenses on wars,” iReport contributor Mikkel Wiese said.

An estimated 7,000 people marched through Brussels, Belgium. Tens of fhousands of people marched through Rome, Italy. Over 2,000 people marched in Amsterdam. Over 10,000 people took to the streets in Madrid, Spain. Protests occurred in Hong Kong, China, Taipei, Taiwan, and Seoul, South Korea. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets in Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany. United for Global Change, which is the central site for the movement organizing global protests, said that 951 cities in 82 countries would participate in the rally.

A protestor in Belleville, France was quoted on CNN that government is not listening to the people:

“You are not listening to us, whatever we do, however we vote, however we demonstrate. It does not give any result. Quite the opposite, as poverty and austerity plans continue. So we can’t go on like this so we are getting out and showing ourselves,” he said.

Europeans facing debt crises and austerity programs marched in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal!

In Spain, over 10,000 demonstrators (OF ALL AGES) marched peacefully from Madrid’s Plaza de Cibeles uphill to Puerta del Sol.

In London, Julain Assange of WikiLeaks said:

“What is happening here today is a culmination of greed that many people all over the world have worked towards from Cairo to London.”

Organizers of the worldwide protest started social media pages on Facebook devoted to “October 15” and the Twitter hashtag #O15 that urged people to join the global demonstration.

Many of the protestors wore masks of one kind or another. In these days of ubiquitous surveillance cameras and omnipresent facial recognition software, THAT seems like a really good idea.

In California, photos of protests in Los Angeles and around the world were published by the Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Times also has an article about the global protest and “full coverage” of the “Occupy” protests against corporate greed and the financial system.

-Bill at

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