The Occupy Wall Street protests, which began in New York City, have gained?momentum with hundreds of thousands of demonstrations held last weekend in nine hundred cities protesting against bank bailouts, corporate greed and wealth inequality. Protesters from London to Sydney echoed the anti-capitalist, populist rhetoric of the movement.
The unrest comes amid a mounting European sovereign debt crisis, which contributed to the ongoing market volatility and fears of another global economic recession. Governments around the world have implemented the most draconian austerity programs, which are more of a threat than an actual solution to the economic downturn. Critics say the austerity measures?will cause tax receipts to drop and worsen the deficit rather than help alleviate it.
In the United States, there have been protests against bailing out banks that are considered responsible for the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate has remained above 9 % in the world’s largest economy while 8% in the United Kingdom. According to latest reports, eurozone unemployment figures stand at 10%.
Protesters are questioning why bankers and financial heavyweights are earning more money than ever, while average workers are struggling to make a living wage.?The disenchanted people took their anger to the streets from Hong Kong to Fairbanks, from Miami to London, from Berlin to Sydney, and hundreds more cities large and small.
Thousands of people in the heart of London’s financial district have issued a charter setting out their grievances as the demonstration gained momentum. The protesters? nine-point manifesto urges the government to halt its austerity measures and tighten regulation of London’s financial institutions. The statement, drafted by an assembly of over 500 people, warns against IMF-dictated austerity measures. The statement also comes with the caveat that ?like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress.?
Following are the nine commandments issued by the protestors in London:
1. The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.
2. We are of all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together with occupations all over the world.
3. We refuse to pay for the banks? crisis.
4. We do not accept the cuts as either necessary or inevitable. We demand an end to global tax injustice and our democracy representing corporations instead of the people.
5. We want regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate.
6. We support the strike on the 30th November and the student action on the 9th November, and actions to defend our health services, welfare, education and employment, and to stop wars and arms dealing.
7. We want structural change towards authentic global equality. The world?s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.
8. We stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and we call for an end to the actions of our government and others in causing this oppression.
9. This is what democracy looks like. Come and join us!
The protesters won the support of the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral. A spokesman for the protesters said the demonstration was to “challenge the bankers and the financial institutions which recklessly gambled our economy”.
“This occupation and 20 other occupations all around the UK have been directly inspired by what’s happening all across America and especially Wall Street,” he added.
Sources: theatlantic.com, Reuters, Daily Telegraph (UK)