This is a Think Piece I wrote on October 6, 2011, as part of my studies in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program at the East West Center in Honolulu, HI. I’m enjoying a sabbatical from life at the best travel company on the planet, Smiling Albino. Enjoy!
Americans are coming out in force as of late, questioning not only their economic place in the world, but more importantly in their own
country. The economic decline and inevitable reality that America and the west are soon to no longer be top of the world’s economic heap seems to be slowly sinking in – perhaps more gradually than it should have.
Occupy Wall Street, a small group of fringe-of-society rag-tags, has grown considerably in the last few weeks into a movement that’s gaining momentum and international interest. Tired of being unemployed, in debt and dramatically economically separated from the small American elite, this growing movement that’s now supported by several unions is making their stated cause heard: “Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”
While still relatively small, a few hundred protestors have been occupying areas around Wall Street for the past few weeks but their unhappiness is spreading throughout America thanks in part to a sister organization Occupy Together whose mandate is, “To provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the
greed and corruption of the 1%.” They claim to be organizing ‘Meetups’ in 445 cities across the world, mostly on October 6, 2011, to unite the global 99% against the greedy 1%.
Whether these organizations will gain national let alone international momentum remains to be seen. Their goal to create a more equal distribution of wealth is a societal shift for the ages, but one that America may need to make if they are to keep their place among the world’s most important and dominate economies. Will the west wake to reality, adjust and rebalance to a stark new reality and lifestyle? The last 50 years would say not, but all movements start somewhere and this one’s but a few weeks old.