As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue to grow, so do calls for
these protesters to define themselves and their demands. This morning
commentator and veteran ABC News diplomatic correspondent Barrie
Dunsmore gives us his view.
(Dunsmore) I confess that a month or
so ago, when news began to trickle out about people gathering near
Wall Street to protest corporate greed, the stories barely caught my
attention. If I thought anything at all it was: It’s been three years
since the crash of 2008. What took them so long? Even today , with the
spread of the movement to many more parts of the country, as well as
overseas, the jumble of causes espoused by the protesters can seem more
cacophony than coherent message.
But just as the prescient
Canadian futurist Marshal McLuhan, who fifty years ago in describing
television coined the phrase, "the medium IS the message," it could well
be said that the Occupy Wall Street protesters, wherever they may
gather, ARE the message. That fundamental message is that increasing
numbers of people have lost faith in their system of government –
because as they see it, the system has become completely unfair and
totally co-opted by the very rich. And what’s more, millions of their
fellow citizens appear to share that view – and not just knee jerk
Arnaud de Borchgrave was a former chief foreign
correspondent for Newsweek. The son of a Belgian aristocrat, Arnaud
always lived elegantly and would never be confused as a populist. Yet
two weeks ago, now editor at large for UPI, De Borchgrave published a
scathing indictment of Wall Street outrages. He deplored how in his
words, "Wall Street’s chief executives walked away with hundreds of
millions of dollars after plunging their companies into a sea of red
ink- and driving the economy into a tail spin."
The Wall Street
Journal itself has reported that the gap between what workers and top
executives make -quote- "helps explain why income inequality in the
United States is reaching levels unseen since the Great Depression."
this week the NPR program On Point featured William Black, a law
professor at the University of Missouri and formerly a senior federal
financial regulator during the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s.
Black lamented that while a thousand or more people were prosecuted
after that problem, only a handful have faced prosecution since the
Crash of 2008 – which according to Black did ten times more damage to
the economy than the S and L scandal.
Yet while those apparently
responsible for today ‘s economic crisis have gotten off scot free-
some even becoming richer in the process – the vast majority of the
middle class have become poorer. Millions have lost their jobs and
millions more lost their homes to foreclosure.
Is it any wonder
then that it’s not just the Occupy Wall Street protesters losing faith
in an unfair system that they don’t really know how to change. Elections
used to be the way. But since the Supreme Court declared that
corporations are effectively people – who can channel virtually
unlimited funds into the electoral process – it is hard to escape the
fear that elections will merely result in the best government money can