Occupy Wall Street protests spread to hundreds of cities

Occupy Wall protesters in New York are a major part of a “Millionaires March” today. Oct. 11, bringing demonstrators to the homes of five of the richest people in the world: right-wing publisher Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, oil magnate David Koch, financier Howard Milstein, and hedge funder John Paulson.

Protests in New York today and tomorrow will be the second time in as many weeks that the labor movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement join forces. The “Millionaires March” today was originally spearheaded by the Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, United New York and a variety of other groups, all of them now working in concert with Occupy Wall Street. They are calling for an extension of the state ‘s “millionaires tax,” which expires at the end of the year.

Tomorrow, the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, will give a major boost to the “occupiers” when it leads a march to the Financial District. Workers in the midst of contract negotiations at Verizon and workers who have been locked out for two months at the art auction house, Sotheby’s, will meet up in downtown New York with the marchers and “occupiers.”

As the protests continue to spread they appear to be drawing clearer lines not only between the different approaches to solving the economic crisis but also between different approaches to the crisis by Republicans and Democrats.

Since the “occupy” movement began several weeks ago, Republicans have made it clearer than ever that they oppose any additional taxes on the super-wealthy, no matter how small the increases, and that they consider the protesters to be un-American “mobs.”

Democrats have increasingly come out for making the rich pay a fairer share in taxes and for the Democratic rights of the protesters to do what they are doing. They have described Republican leaders as “hypocrites” for supporting the right to demonstrate when it came to the tea party movement but not supporting those same rights when it comes to Occupy Wall Street protesters.

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked why Republicans had not condemned the tea party movement, as they have the Wall Street protesters.

“I didn’t hear Rep. Cantor say anything when the tea party was out demonstrating, actually spitting on members of Congress right here in the Capitol, and he and his colleagues were putting signs in the windows encouraging them,” Pelosi said, on national television.

“To protest Wall Street and the bankers is basically saying you’re anti-capitalism,” Herman Cain, a GOP presidential hopeful said, also on national television.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney condemned the protests, calling them “dangerous manifestations of class warfare.”

Robert Borasage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, said the Occupy Wall Street movement is helping people better see the basic policy differences regarding the economic crisis. “People will have to decide which side they are on,” he said.

Pelosi said, “It’s a fight between those who do not believe there should be any government role in public safety, public education, clean air, clean water, food safety” and those who do. “The American people will have to make a judgement,” she said.

Photo: Back during the Bush era, “Billionaires” thanked ordinary New Yorkers for taking on a greater tax burden at a tax day rally. Fred Askew. 



John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York. Along with being labor editor, Wojcik is a co-editor of peoplesworld.org.