‘Product of despair and disgust’ with system favoring greedy few
Although it’s been criticized as a movement that has no clear demands, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement (including its replications in other countries) is clearly anti-capitalist. It is focused against corporate greed and the social injustice perpetrated by a system dominated by a mere 1 percent of the population.
The movement has been slow in coming, but it has been a product of generations of despair and disgust with the system that favors only a few and oppresses the many. In a way, the movement has deeper social content and impact compared to the anti-war and anti-globalization actions. By not having a fixed single demand, it is not constrained by the pragmatic limits of single-issue campaigning. The movement encompasses a broad range of issues that represent both urgent laments against what is perceived as an unjust capitalist system.
The movement is in fact revolutionary as it strikes at the deeper roots of the problem—the domination and monopoly of economic wealth and political power by a few corporate groups and political clans. The solution to this crisis hovers on the issue of socialization, which is being put forward as a democratization issue—the democratization of economic wealth and political power in society.
The demands include: a stop to bank foreclosures of poor people’s homes; housing for the homeless; full employment; genuine universal health care; affordable education; cuts in military spending; more social welfare projects and many others. Put together, the demands call for a complete overhaul of the capitalist system so it can provide for the needs of 99 percent of the population.
Call it the democratization of the economy and political power—but the demand is basically to do away with the concentration of wealth and privileges in the hands of a select few and its diffusion to the many. This alternative can only be socialism. In the words of Marx, this change necessitates the wresting, by degrees, of all capital from the hands of the bourgeoisie. Capital here denotes not the personal but the economic, political and social power of the ruling class (as represented by 1 percent of the population).
This early, there have been voices urging for the staging of the OWS movement wherever there are oppressed and exploited working masses are; and for the widening of the scope of occupation to include empty buildings and spaces where the poor can build homes, empty factories, too, where they can produce some of their needs; and universities where extensive teach-ins and assemblies can be held.
Through the OWS movement, radicals everywhere have now an opportunity to put forward alternatives to the unjust and tottering capitalist system. The demands point to the need to advance a genuinely socialist system. The direction also points to the need to put power in the hands of the 99 percent of the population. Let us all assist in the birthing of this new democratic socialist society.
chair, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM),
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