Sunday, November 27, 2011



Exciting developments are taking place across the world.  What began as a small demonstration by a group of 70 Americans in Wall Street has turned into a global resistance against the inequalities and oppression of the capitalist system. The struggle is still in its infancy.  It is too early to guess if the struggle would be satisfied with demanding some structural changes in capitalism or decides to work towards a larger objective.  Whatever may be the direction of this movement, it has already shown the world that the power of the people is an unstoppable force of global change.
            The Occupy Wall Street movement was inspired by the peaceful occupation of Tahrir square in Cairo.  The protestors said that it is no longer possible to tolerate the greed of capitalists; that 99% of the Americans cannot be forced to pay for the sins of 1% of America which continues to live in filthy luxury.  Though the movement that began on 17th September was looked at with skepticism, its steady popularity forced the media to recognize its cause and potential.  The New York Times (October 8) had to concede that ‘extreme inequality is the hallmark of dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation’ and it is this extreme inequality that fuelled the movement.  The Occupy Wall Street movement spread far and wide across continents and on 15th October tens of thousands of people marched across 951 cities in 82 countries demanding an end to the capitalist exploitation and punishing those responsible for the crisis.

            The last three decades have indeed been very painful for the working people across the world.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the triumph of Neo-liberalism under Thatcher and Reagan brought tremendous hardship on to the working class.  The Neo-liberalism further widened the inequalities in all countries but more so in the United States.  It is estimated that 1% of the Americans hold 42 percent of the wealth while the bottom 80 percent is left with just 7% of the wealth.  The top 10 percent American holds 90 percent of the income gains while there is a decline in the real wage of the working class in the last 30 years.  The richest country in the world ha over 15% of its population living in penury and one in six American is dependent on food coupons.  The anger of the ordinary Americans who were made to believe that theirs is a great middle class society is quite understandable.  Through their experience they have learnt that the 30 years of Neo-liberalism has been a period of ruthless class war and class exploitation by the rich.

            This very ruthless exploitation and greed brought about the crisis in the financial markets in the United States and the industrialized nations in 2008.  The Crisis turned into a general crisis of capitalism.  The US and the industrialized nations pumped in trillions of dollars to save the failing banks and financial institutions while attacking the jobs and social security of the workers.  While the crisis has pushed millions into poverty in these countries, the workers see that the people responsible for bringing about the crisis are rewarded with hefty pay and bonuses.  The anger in the circumstances was natural and therefore the Occupy Wall Street movement began with the slogan that those responsible for the crisis should pay for the crisis.  The movement is becoming larger by the day with the trade unions of the United States now actively supporting the movement.  The trade unions played an important role in mobilization of people on 15th October in large number of countries.
            The Occupy the Wall Street movement has developed a sympathetic chord with the working class of India too.  Since 1991 under neo-liberalism India has seen unprecedented transfer of national wealth and assets to the rich.  This has resulted in huge increase in inequalities.  While the number of dollar billionaires is increasing, more that 40 crore people live below the ridiculous poverty line drawn by the government.  It is estimated that the top 50 families in the country control wealth which amounts to nearly 35 percent of the national GDP and ironically India is home to the to the largest number of hungry in the world.  Fortunately the Indian working class today has closed ranks to challenge this unbridled exploitation of the poor and the loot of the national resources.

            The Occupy Wall Street Movement has inspired a global resistance against the capitalists exploitation. This movement has given new hope and confidence to the working class across the world.  Whatever may be the final outcome of the movement, it is clear that capitalism can no longer operate in the manner it has operated so far.  One hopes that this movement develops into a real global movement that would demand an end to the capitalist exploitation in the real sense.  It is with this hope that we welcome the Occupy Wall Street Movement and urge the Indian working class to join this movement to demand an end to the exploitative social order.