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OCCUPY WALL STREET.

Byline: DR. RIZWANA BASHIR

Income inequality between poor and ruling elite has assumed the dangerous proportion. Occupy Wall Street is not a sudden reaction on joblessness by a small group of people in the world but the story has begun centuries back.

In a situation when 80 per cent of the wealth is occupied by 20 per cent and 20 per cent remaining is left for the 80 per cent population, any such situation could be expected.

There are two important questions arising out of the protest demonstration around the world. First, what induced the people to do so? And, second what will be the implications?

From Square Cairo to Times Square, NY, one thing was common i.e. the feeling of deprivations. Globally, governments are fudging with the national statistics of unemployment inflation, tax collection, budget deficits, forex reserves, GDP targets, poverty reduction and UN's HDI (Human Development Index) ranking etc. but in reality people are losing their jobs as a result of downsizing.

People are finding it very difficult to arrange daily foods needed for the family as a result of price hike of food stuff globally.

"Occupy Wall Street" protesters were disappointed that the billions of dollars in U.S. bank bailouts during the recession allowed banks to resume earning enormous profits while average Americans got inadequate relief from high unemployment and job insecurity. Another factor of their disturbance was tax relaxations for richest one percent. The protest spreads over 100 US states demonstrating around 1500 protests. Furthermore, this protest has also gone global from North and South America to Asia, Europe and Africa. The movement has attracted the people of different races, different ages, different political beliefs and different walks of life.

Protesters firmly believe that this is the only way to protect their country and the world. This development has emboldened the drive and sent a clear message that the power of the people has succeeded against Wall Street, the corporate power.

These protesters demand a fairer system that provides education, healthcare, and opportunities for all without corporate influences on the government. The matters of good governance, tales of corruption by government officials and slogans to protect democracy can be heard in Pakistan as well. New political forces based on the hatred against typical politicians regardless of earlier political associations can also be seen in Pakistan.

Occupy Wall Street protesters term their movement as against Democratic Dictators. This is the new term demonstrating the behavioral change by the politically elected governments towards the people. People found the similar insolence of their elected leaders as they observed under autocratic regimes, whether they protest against taxation system, unemployment or other exploitations.

In Pakistan, everyday there is a new form of protest witnessed. The protest being global and getting sustenance by many individuals and countries has strengthened the movement for a fairer system in one after another country. The comparable protests (against socialist rulers) have witnessed successes against Middle East where US was also the supporter of the movement. At that moment, US couldn't perceive it would have to face such situation in its backyard. The occupy actions are also happening all across the Midwestern and the Southern United States asserting that people are suffering at these places and now raising opinions. Family farmers are struggling, students face mounting debt and fewer good jobs, and household incomes are dropping. Protesters demonstrated that they are not willing to keep suffering for Wall Street's debaucheries. People in US are waking up and realizing that now it's not just going to the ballot boxes and voting for any one.

They are constructing a movement to make their leaders listen. Protests gathered on the streets of financial districts are also extending from Berlin, to Athens, Auckland to Mumbai, and Tokyo to Seoul.

In the UK, over 3,000 people attempted to occupy the London Stock Exchange. Protesters believe that the financial system is fundamentally unfair and undemocratic. In South Africa, people gathered at the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. In Taiwan, people sat quietly outside the Taipei World Financial Center, known as Taipei 101.

Australia and Canada also saw these demonstrations. Indigenous leaders are organizing and leading these protests at their native countries and determined to expose how the richest one percent of people writing the rules of the global economy are commanding an agenda of neo-liberalism and economic inequality that is foreclosing their future.

The occupy protesters are strongly determined to continue gathering the sympathies of international community and most importantly people who suffer because of the corporate system. This movement is expected to make the world hazardous for richest one percent making it difficult to continue earning huge sums of money at the cost of people losing jobs and necessities. In the coming years, the world may take new shape, new slogans will be heard, new leaders would be arising from the common people.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Date:Oct 30, 2011
Words:812
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