The Monday Line: Beware the Ides of October

Occupy Wall Street has awakened a sleeping giant… the 99% of people globally who identify with the notion of asking why the top 1% of Corporate chieftains, earners and bankers who wrecked the global economy were allowed to treat our money like a drunkard’s casino credit line? Creedence Clearwater Revival’s bad moon has indeed arisen.

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This weekend saw protests in hundreds of US cities including an occupation of New York’s Times Square and a day of riots in Italy, Julian Assange joined Occupy London, US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked back his ‘angry mob’ rhetoric and the Occupy Wall Street protestors now enjoy a 54% favourable rating.

Meanwhile, the extreme Right Wing in the US led by former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tried, after four weeks of calling the protestors out as kooks and hippies, to belatedly embrace the “middle class members” of the demonstrations whilst simultaneously continuing to take shots at Far Left ‘dirty radicals.’ Oh and their beloved Tea Party’s favourable rating? Down to 27%. Now while that is double the US Congress’ favourability rating, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement that only 1 in 4 Americans think you have a sound message.

It wasn’t working because not everyone on the right got the memo changing direction. FOX’s liberal hating Ann Coulter on Sean Hannity’s programme Friday said, “people should look at the Wall Street protesters with “hilarity and revulsion.” Indeed a parade of GOP/Tea Party media pundits on numerous FOX News shows have focused more on where protestors bathe and go to the toilet than on their message…

Because they know the 99% are right on point. Indeed they are jealous because this is precisely the easy to digest message they would have created to SPIN against the President. They trade in simple repeatable sound-bytes because they gain quick traction and destroy everything in their path. Deep in their simple semantic labs live “don’t kill grandma!” Where’s the birth certificate?” And death panels rationing healthcare.” They know the 99ers have the potential to destroy the very houses of cards they carefully crafted, that give them a great living expounding their RW bile and they fear that when their audience begins to see THEY are the 99% it is game over for Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. Their ship has been listing and taking on water badly since the UK phone hacking scandal broke four months ago.

Three weekends ago I was yelling at protestors to behave more professionally and shut off their livestream feed unless they had something to report. Now I am marvelling at how smart they are. The rest of the media are telling them they need leaders and organisation to be taken seriously? A 54% approval with a solid and consistent message means they are being understood and taken very seriously.

I have taken a lot of stick on Twitter and Facebook for comparing and contrasting Occupy Wall Street with Tahrir Square in Cairo. Right wing nutters usually fire off a string of expletives, say I’m just trying to sell books and then they high-five each other and crawl back under their rock. But Andrew Breitbart got ‘bitch-slapped’ for dismissing them, Red State’s Erick Erikson got shot down for his short-lived “the 53% counter-protest” (& bragging about his ‘huge CNN contract’) and each day more right wing pundits join them on the dustbin heap whilst the 99% movement grows globally.

And every time the police over-react, the movement grows. The thugs of Mubarak’s police force came into the Square and beat people with canes and whips before the crowd battled them for four days and won. The NYPD, heroes of 9/11 turned their billy clubs on protestors and were genuinely perplexed when instead of facing a retaliating mob, they instead faced a barrage of cell phone and video cameras. While their mates pummelled a defenceless protestor taking them into custody, the police covered their fellow officer’s backs ready for a fight that never, ever came. Except it is coming on YouTube where officers brutalising peaceful protestors are memorialised then disciplined by the force.

The people of Cairo eventually understood that peaceful resistance (after defending themselves) would carry the day. Simply, Mubarak could not kill them all. The Occupy Wall Street protestors have mastered the power of film and the internet to win hearts and minds around the globe.

And the OWS crowd have many of the same hopeless financial feelings the people of Egypt felt. In Cairo the average age is below 30 yet there remains 40% unemployment and no jobs. The privileged military leaders and families control the economy and jobs. How is that different from a young person living in America, playing by the rules, getting an education, exiting graduate or medical school with a degree and $200,000 worth of debt that only grows and can subject them to wages being garnished, benefits being withheld and even their Social Security being seized to pay when they retire? Are they not feeling as hopeless as the people of Egypt felt in February?

When your belly is empty and you have no hope, you will do desperate things. The people of Egypt fought against this emptiness and hopelessness as well as a corrupt dictatorial regime. The US and UK are fighting against a corrupt Congress and Parliament that only responds to the will of corporate interests and their lobbyists who fund campaigns vs. the will of the people who elected them to office.

Still think there is that much of a difference between Cairo, London or New York?

It took four days for fear to die and the people to fully support the protestors in Egypt. It’s been four weeks for OWS. Would you like to see the rest of this story play out? I know I would and can tell you the result now.

Tahrir is Wall Street and Wall Street is Tahrir.

We are all Egyptians now!

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightning.
I see bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a-blowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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