Occupy Wall Street has a long US tradition
There have been worker revolts in the United States pretty much as long as the United States has existed. However the revolts took on another tenor in the late 60’s. During the civil rights movement these labor disputes began to be focused racial on blacks. According to Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States, in 1966, seventy poor blacks occupied an unused barracks on an air force base. After this event had been resolved, much in the way many occupy encampments were resolved this year a Mrs. Unita Blackwell said,
“I feel that the federal government have proven that it don’t care about poor people. Everything that we have asked for through these years had been handed down on paper. It’s never been a reality. We the poor people of Mississippi is tired. We’ve tired of it so we’re going to build for ourselves because we don’t have a government that represents us.”
It’s amazing how 45 years in this country doesn’t seem to change much, this statement, albeit most likely with a little better grammar, would not seem even remotely out of place today.
Again from Zinn, during this time period A. Phillip Randolph advised the president, “ The Negro’s protest today is but the first rumbling of the ‘under-class.’ As the Negro has taken to the streets, so will the unemployed of all races take to the street.”
This is what the Occupy movement is about, not some socialist ideal but an opportunity for people to be treated fairly and decently in this country. That of course is based upon the idea that it’s not fair or decent that the 1% of the nation live like gods while there are so many people hurting, that’s why people are in the street. Now that may be a socialist ideal but basic common decency is a socialist ideal I can get behind.