I was talking to David, my Bridge partner, the other day. David’s no fool; he graduated university in the days when that was not a very common thing to do; he’s well travelled and widely read; he also knows better than most how the world really works. Yet when we spoke last week he seemed genuinely mystified over the almost total British news-blackout concerning the surging Occupy Wall Street movement that’s currently sweeping through the United States.
You can understand his confusion. Our normal so-called news is pretty obsessed with what happens in Wall Street – so much so that there’s hardly ever a national news broadcast that doesn’t include a few words about what’s happening in the US stock exchange. So it might seem, to the uninitiated, a bit strange when those same news programmes don’t say a word about the fact that Wall Street itself has been besieged by angry American protesters for the best part of the last month.
Many of the protesters refer to themselves as the 99%, a very good description; because they are, like you and me, part of the 99% of the Earth’s population who are disenfranchised from deciding how the world works. The 1% who do decide also control about 50% of the planet’s wealth; and they include amongst their number those who pay for the election campaigns of politicians - and those who control the content of our so-called news.
It would be nice to think that this time the people will have their day, that political justice will finally result from the OWS movement. But there’s a fearsomely long way to go, and the 1% are immensely powerful and hugely experienced in dealing with protest in such a way that they never lose their grip around the throat of the 99% for very long. However, there is a small difference this time, and that is the slowly-growing awareness by the 99% of their real disenfranchisement and growing impoverisation.
by John Andrews