Oct 3, 2011
For several weeks, young protestors have appeared on the streets of major cities, protesting a range of issues, including the lack of prospects in this society, the predatory role of the banks in the mortgage crisis and the corruption that pervades business and governments, local and national. Some protested the wars. Some noted with revulsion the official murder of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia. Some spoke of the destruction of the schools. Some have called on Obama to set up a special commission to take over the banks. Some completely disdain the official parties. Some called themselves “anarchists,” some called themselves “conservatives.” But there is one idea that seems to pervade all the protests – the one appearing on signs from one coast to another: “enough is enough.”
Starting near Wall Street in New York City, with daily protests, some numbering in the thousands, the protests spread to Boston and the Bank of America headquarters. Other cities, from Los Angles to Cleveland joined in, sometimes with protests numbering in the hundreds, sometimes, only a few dozen.
The protests have been marked by encampments, sit-ins, attempts at “civil disobedience,” arrests, music, marches, picnics – and in some cases, police decisions to make mass arrests: 700 in New York, 24 in Boston on October 1.
Some bourgeois media accounts emphasize that the protests have no clear aim, that they are disorganized, marginal; others that the participants are “scruffy” looking. Whatever.
The fact is these protests are a symptom of a society marked by vast unemployment and underemployment, capitalist society which is slamming the door in the face of the young.
These protests are the symptom of a political system in which the population has no voice, a system which has used the power of the state to lower the standard of living of the population in order to bail out the banks, and to reinforce all those who are already monstrously wealthy.
The protests also speak to the complete cowardice of the official union leaders in the face of an economic crisis that demands an organized fight back.
Are the protests disorganized, are they composed of “marginal” elements? Perhaps. But the organizations of the working class – led by bureaucrats who have made it their mission to put the well-being and profitability of the corporations ahead of the interests of their own members, not to speak of the working class as a whole – have disorganized the whole working class.
Workers should be pleased to see those young people in the street – not because the protestors can change the situation for the working class and other layers of the oppressed, but because there is someone who has shown the courage to say what almost everyone feels: enough is enough.
Yes, it is. Enough of job cuts. Enough of wage cuts. Enough of seeing our standard of living sink down, month after month.
The working class needs to defend itself against the ravages of capitalist society. It needs to fight for its own goals in the midst of the crisis: a job for everyone, a paycheck that allows us all to live as human beings should live. And it must refuse to pay the cost of the crisis that the capitalists and their bankers created.
The working class has the power, in the midst of a social explosion, to impose these goals. In fighting for them, it can also pull after itself all those others who today are marginalized by the capitalists and their government.