In mid-2011, the Canadian-based group Adbusters Media Foundation, best known for its advertisement-free anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, address a growing disparity in wealth, and the absence of legal repercussions behind the recent global financial crisis.
Social media sites fueled the cry for protest and Occupy Wall Street, In New York City, began on September 17, 2011. The Occupy Movement is an international protest movement directed against economic and social inequality. By October 2011, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries worldwide, and over 600 communities in the United States.
The movement commonly uses the slogan “We are the 99%”. It was originally launched as a Tumblr blog page in late August 2011 and refers to the concentration of wealth among the top 1% of income earners compared to the other 99 percent. The top 1% of income earners nearly tripled their after-tax income over the last thirty years, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
What are the 99% asking for?
While the Occupy Movement has been criticized for their loosely organized effort that sometimes lacks a “voice” on just what this protest is about, different media sources report their concerns as follows:
End the corrupting effect of money on politics
Reduce the influence of corporations on politics
End tax evasion by wealthy firms
Tighten banking-industry regulations
Promote bank reform
Ban high-frequency trading thought to contribute to the 2008 crash
Arrest all financial fraudsters responsible for the 2008 crash
Form a Presidential commission to investigate corruption in politics
In a nut-shell, protestors, the 99%, want more and better jobs and a more equal distribution of income among the social classes.
What better guest to discuss the occupy movement than Philosophy Professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Bill Martin, part-time Salinan. Dr. Martin has written 6 books, what I would call text books, on Philosophy and Social Theory.
Does capitalism exploit the 99%?
Excerpting from his book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation”, Dr. Martin writes, “Ethical Marxism is a philosophical theory of justice that attempts to show us clearly that we need to overturn the existing society and create new forms of society that are transitional to the global community of mutual flourishing.” He also writes that an “Ethical Marxist” would say that “capitalism is based upon exploitation, and exploitation is wrong.” Do you agree?
The Occupy Movement, 1/7/12 and 1/8/12, on “The Joan Jerkovich Show”. I challenge you to tap in to this philosophical discussion of an important, current, social and political movement.