The revolutionary contagion has finally reached the US. Occupy Wall Street, the civil society movement following on from the protest movements of Arab and European youth, is challenging the financial, economic and political oligarchic elites who over the last twenty years have hijacked true democracy in the US — and everywhere else.
The genesis of this revolutionary virus, which has already infected North Africa, Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Israel and the Arabian Gulf, is globalization coupled with financial deregulation. The first outbreak was the 2001 default in Argentina, a country praised by politicians and high finance for its neo-liberal economy. As Tunisia would find out 10 years later, this neo-liberal model only promotes inequality and slow growth. Today we are at risk of sharing the harsh fate the Argentineans experienced in 2001, when the bursting of the sovereign debt bubble plunged that country into chaos.
But if we want to avoid losing our jobs, our homes, and our hopes for a better future, it will not be enough to challenge high finance, we need to extend the protest to the politicians who have let our democracies – from Egypt to Spain to the UK and the US – become something else, an instrument in the hands of the oligarchic elites.
We must regain control of politics, we must be able to elect people who truly represent us, who are not puppets in the hands of Wall Street. We must stop paying for organizations such as the IMF, which have become exclusive clubs for retired politicians, lazy diplomats and former ministers seeking new stardom.
The future belongs to us. To seize it we must be organized, we must understand what is happening and have a clear program. The way out of this mess does exist: let’s tax the 1% of the population that has pocketed most of the growth produced during the last 20 years; let’s close all tax havens and stop funding wars of political hegemony launched by Bush and his administration; let’s fight corruption at any level and especially on Capitol Hill. Invest in our industry, ‘Buy America’ should not be what it has become, a joke. Promote small to medium-sized agriculture, invest in the poor South, as Roosevelt did in the West almost a century ago.
Time is short, frightfully short, for us to transform this movement into a new social, economic and political paradigm, in the US as well as in the rest of the world. Reach out through social media, to friends and family, to our next-door neighbors: let’s get everyone involved in building our future.