The Occupy Wall Streeters have it!

As I write I hear strains of Bob Dylan’s song of the 60s, “The Hour When the Ship Comes In.”

I also hear strains of “The Internationale.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement – who are these people congregated, young and old – students, deployed soldiers from Afghanistan, workers, labor unions?

“They” are You and Me, our representatives who call for peace with justice, jobs, the living wage that all deserve, and an end to greed of the corporations of Wall Street.

The media accuse that “they have no program.” No program? An end to exploitation, food on the table for families, an end to billions spent on a futile war in Afghanistan, Jobs Jobs Jobs for the unemployed

Who could have imagined back in the Bush era that these demonstrators reminiscent of the 1960s would reappear? They are not nostalgic remnants but present-day Americans crying out for justice.

What do the words say on the placards the Occupy Wall Streeters carry? There is the program – Restore the nation to the people!

As I write I feel again the clarions, the urgencies, of 1968 that prompted us to organize and rally in the streets to defy the ruling class power brokers in Washington, to declare an end to the war in Vietnam: the Poor People’s Campaign of the late prophet Dr. Martin Luther King.

The cry goes out from Occupy Wall Street, now moving across the nation to every city: If you are rich, join in with the human continuum, even contribute a few dollars to the movement! In the meanwhile the rest of us, the 99 percent, will move on to every city in America, even to the gates of the White House!

Sotere Torregian is a poet who lives in Stockton, Calif. While he was writer in residence at Stanford University in the late 1960s, he helped create that university’s African American Studies Program.

Photo: Occupy Chicago demonstration at the Chicago Board of Trade, Oct. 26. John Bachtell/PW.


Sotere Torregian
Sotere Torregian

Sotere Torregian is an American poet associated with French surrealist poets, former assistant to Dr. St. Clair Drake, Stanford University Afro-American Studies Program (1968-1975) and now occasional visiting lecturer, Third World Affairs, University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.