Occupy Wall Street - An Anti-Capitalist Movement?

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Case Code : ECON037
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : -
Pub. Date : 2012
Teaching Note :Not Available
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Introduction Contd...

Though the traditional American media downplayed the OWS protest , it spread to other cities in the US such as Chicago, Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Austin, Louisville, Atlanta, and dozens of other cities that included Washington DC through social networking channels. However, the movement did get attention from the international press.8 The print media in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Denmark described the OWS movement as anti-capitalist.9 The People's Daily, mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, described the movement as the tip of the iceberg of accumulated social conflict, which had surfaced.

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The movement also spread to London city, when the city was taken over by the protesters under the banner "occupy the stock exchange" on October 15, 2011.10 The movement became a global phenomenon with similar protests occurring in other countries such as Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Australia. The protestors vented their anger over financial and social inequality, and were critical of the government in their respective countries.

The Great Disruption or the Big Shift

Dubbed as an "anti-capitalist movement" by a section of the media, the OWS Movement criticized and blamed large financial institutions on Wall Street for ransacking the US economy.11 The protestors held play cards reading "Blame Wall Street Greed" and "Wall Street was the Real Weapons of Mass Destructions". However, Gretchen Morgenson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter for The New York Times, placed the blame entirely on the government for the crisis. The USA Today Gallup poll12 conducted from October 15, 2011, to October 16, 2011, showed that most Americans blamed Wall Street for the nation’s economic predicament but in the same breath, blamed Washington more. Bloomberg, commented that it was the Congress that had allowed the financial industry to collapse, not the banks13 while Congresswoman, Rep. Michele Bachmann,14 in a speech at Ames, Iowa, said, "politics, not capitalism, was to be blamed for the economic crisis and Occupy Wall Street protesters should target Washington rather than businesses that created jobs".15

Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist and three times Pulitzer Prize winner, commented that "OWS" was either a sign of "the great disruption" or "the big shift". Paul Gilding, former executive director of Green Peace International and author of the book "the great disruption", said the protests were a sign that the current growth-obsessed capitalist system was reaching its financial and ecological limits. He argued that the US was now the mother of all broken promises . Since the housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse in the global financial markets, the blame game was going on. The OWS protests called attention to the root causes of the crisis.

Excerpts - Next Page>>

8] Danny Schechter, "Occupy Wall Street is All Over The Media: But for How Long?," www.therealnews.com, Novemebr 28, 2011
9] John, "The European Media Describes the Occupy Movement as 'Anti-Capitalist," Why Doesn't the US Media?," www.verumserum.com, November 25, 2011
10] Lee Moran, "Day of 'Global Revolution' comes to London as thousands of demonstrators take over the City," www.dailymail.co.uk, October 15, 2011
11] Lindsay A. Ownes,"40-Year low in America's view of Wall Street," edition.cnn.com, October 7, 2011
12] Rick Hampson, "Poll: Washington to blame more than Wall Street for economy," www.usatoday.com, October 18, 2011
13] Azi Paybarah, "Bloomberg: 'Plain and simple,' Congress caused the mortgage crisis, not the banks," www.capitalnewyork.com, November 1, 2011
14] Elected in 2006 Congresswoman Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives.
15] Russel Goldman ,"Bachmann Targets Occupy Wall Street, Warns of U.S. Becoming Banana Republic," www.abcnews.go.com, November 3, 2011

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