Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger
After the news over the past few months about the global uprisings against tyrannical and non-responsive governments, I have pondered why the United States has not had more people in the street protesting the economic inequality that we are facing here at home?
We have seen uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Spain, Greece and many more places, but at best we have seen large numbers in Wisconsin and Ohio protesting about State governments trying to remove collective bargaining rights away from state employees. One group of dedicated and non-violent protesters is especially interesting to me since they have taken to the streets and they have stayed there to press their fight. It is a group in Spain called the Indignados. They are camped out in various areas of Spain in an attempt to draw the country’s and the world’s attention to what they see as the Spanish government’s attempts to cater to the bankers and not to Main Street.
“Thursday night Madrid’s city centre offered a glimpse of what Western democracies have become, as thousands of unarmed nonviolent civilians with their hands up in the air shouting “these are our weapons” and “this is a dictatorship” were beaten by police commandos in full riot gear. This event was the culmination of a month of intense mobilizations across the country by the popular movement known as the ‘Indignados’. People, whom despite being ignored by the government have made their voices heard, as banking cartels, European bureaucrats, rating agencies and the country’s elites continue in their frantic push to sell-off Spain’s remaining public wealth, and persist in the implementation of drastic cuts to the welfare state. The ‘Indignados’ are fully aware of the fact that their government does not represent them, whenever they congregate they shout that loud and clear. They know that only popular unity will salvage them from the train wreck, which complicit speculators and politicians have created, and as they read the financial news, they know things can only get worse. When the EU announced today that the economic crisis is no longer restricted to the Euro-zone periphery countries, people in the movement understood that this could only mean bad news for them.” Truthout
Now, we have had some Tea Party protests, but their numbers were paltry in comparison to the Spanish protests. The numbers in Wisconsin and Ohio were the closest to the Spain numbers, but those protesters were not met with wide-spread beatings at the hands of the government and police and they are still not camping out in Madison and Columbus as they are in Madrid.
Would protestors in the United States ever commit to a continuing protest for months in Washington, D.C.? These Indignados in Spain, are continuing to protest what they see as government attempts to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor and the middle class. Why haven’t we seen tent cities springing up in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across the country? Many progressives and liberals have claimed that Washington is working only for the bankers and Wall Street barons, so why aren’t our streets filled with dedicated people who are willing to nonviolently protest against the Rich getting richer, while the middle class and poor seem to get poorer? Is the claim of rising inequality between the rich and poor true?
Where is the evidence that the income disparity is growing in the United States? … “in dollar terms, the rich are still getting richer, and the poor are falling further behind them. The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its largest margin ever, a stark divide as Democrats and Republicans spar over whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, the data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.” Huffington Post
With those depressing numbers, why haven’t American “Indignados” taken over Washington, D.C. like their Spanish counterparts did in Madrid? Are Americans just too lazy or indifferent to their plight? Have they given up being able to make a real difference in Washington? Why aren’t you and I there in Washington pressing our claims for economic equality? Finally, what will it take for the American poor and jobless to stand up and say, enough is enough? Maybe you have the answer for these American Indignados!
Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger