Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Occupy_______Protesters" Give me Optimism

          Four weeks ago a group appeared in New York with the vague slogan that they wanted to occupy Wall Street. They had many signs and walked back and forth but their slogan could have meant different things.

         I think this group would have quickly disappeared except that the police arrested 700 of them for rather poor reasons. This gained the group massive publicity and as a result the movement grew by leaps and bounds with sections forming in many different centers.

        We have all seen the development of obscenely high salaries for top executives for the last ten years. It had started on a slower pace 25 or 30 years ago. Companies piled up huge amounts of money. Sports would be an example where athletes make enormous amounts of money. This is a competition between players and the leagues. Any first year hockey player gets close to one million dollars in his first year.

       The "Occupy " group is very shrewd in it's tactics. There is an emphasis on no violence. Their aims and objectives are vague. They are extremely well spoken so communication is excellent.They are using social networks wisely.

       I think that this movement has a good chance of success in bringing about a change so that the wealth is more fairly distributed. That's why I'm optimistic.

       I started my professional career in the late 50's. Times were good . Jobs were a dime a dozen. Salaries were quite adequate. I have watched with dismay as many labor groups have lost benefits such as wages, pensions and  health care . In the 80' I saw many parents with five or six jobs between them over an 18 hour period. They were trying to make ends meet. Many times their children were neglected. These people were hard workers and had finished high school and often had post high school training yet they could not get employment that was productive. No doubt some businesses were benefiting from their labor.

       I think these groups will continue with their low key actions for a long time. They will keep up the pressure on government and business until Govt. and business begin to worry. I'm sure that political parties are already looking at how they are going to be maneuvered. In Canada where we have three main parties it's easier for them to influence political parties to shift. It may be more difficult in the U.S. with only two political parties.

      I see  link to demonstrations in the Arab world although they were looking more directly for regime change. The English riots were about the same thing except they were put down with force as the rioters gave the police good reason to arrest them . Many of the English demonstrators were of color so it made it easier for the police to take action.

      I would think that at this time government and business is totally ignoring the "Occupy  Group."  This will be to the peril of govt. and business. A few weeks ago they could have thrown a handful of change to the protesters and made a few vague promises and the protesters would probably have disappeared. The longer this movement stays around the more change they will demand.

      So I am optimistic that the "Occupy Group" will bring about change. They are asking for an adjustment to make the sharing of wealth more equal. I think such an adjustment is needed and cooler heads will find a way to do it.