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October 19, 2011, 12:46 PM ET

Millionaires Control 39% of Global Wealth

The Wall Street Journal

Here’s another stat that the Occupy Wall Streeters can hoist on their placards: The world’s millionaires and billionaires now control 38.5% of the world’s wealth.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, the 29.7 million people in the world with household net worths of $1 million (representing less than 1% of the world’s population) control about $89 trillion of the world’s wealth. That’s up from a share of 35.6% in 2010, and their wealth increased by about $20 trillion, according Credit Suisse.

The wealth of the millionaires grew 29% — about twice as fast as the wealth in the world as a whole, which now has $231 trillion in wealth.

The U.S. has been the largest wealth generator over the past 18 months, according to the report, adding $4.6 trillion to global wealth. China ranked second with $4 trillion, followed by Japan ($3.8 trillion), Brazil ($1.87 trillion) and Australia ($1.85 trillion).

There are now 84,700 people in the world worth $50 million or more — with 35,400 of them living in the U.S.. There are 29,000 people world-wide worth $100 million or more and 2,700 worth $500 million or more.

The fastest growth in the coming years will be in China, India and Brazil. China now has a million millionaires. Wealth in China and Africa is expected to grow 90%, to $39 trillion and $5.8 trillion respectively, by 2016. Wealth in India and Brazil is expected to more than double to $8.9 trillion and $9.2 trillion respectively.

Credit Suisse

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October 19, 2011, 12:46 PM ET

Millionaires Control 39% of Global Wealth

The Wall Street Journal

Here’s another stat that the Occupy Wall Streeters can hoist on their placards: The world’s millionaires and billionaires now control 38.5% of the world’s wealth.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, the 29.7 million people in the world with household net worths of $1 million (representing less than 1% of the world’s population) control about $89 trillion of the world’s wealth. That’s up from a share of 35.6% in 2010, and their wealth increased by about $20 trillion, according Credit Suisse.

The wealth of the millionaires grew 29% — about twice as fast as the wealth in the world as a whole, which now has $231 trillion in wealth.

The U.S. has been the largest wealth generator over the past 18 months, according to the report, adding $4.6 trillion to global wealth. China ranked second with $4 trillion, followed by Japan ($3.8 trillion), Brazil ($1.87 trillion) and Australia ($1.85 trillion).

There are now 84,700 people in the world worth $50 million or more — with 35,400 of them living in the U.S.. There are 29,000 people world-wide worth $100 million or more and 2,700 worth $500 million or more.

The fastest growth in the coming years will be in China, India and Brazil. China now has a million millionaires. Wealth in China and Africa is expected to grow 90%, to $39 trillion and $5.8 trillion respectively, by 2016. Wealth in India and Brazil is expected to more than double to $8.9 trillion and $9.2 trillion respectively.

Credit Suisse

Good for them.

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October 19, 2011, 12:46 PM ET

Millionaires Control 39% of Global Wealth

The Wall Street Journal

Here’s another stat that the Occupy Wall Streeters can hoist on their placards: The world’s millionaires and billionaires now control 38.5% of the world’s wealth.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, the 29.7 million people in the world with household net worths of $1 million (representing less than 1% of the world’s population) control about $89 trillion of the world’s wealth. That’s up from a share of 35.6% in 2010, and their wealth increased by about $20 trillion, according Credit Suisse.

The wealth of the millionaires grew 29% — about twice as fast as the wealth in the world as a whole, which now has $231 trillion in wealth.

The U.S. has been the largest wealth generator over the past 18 months, according to the report, adding $4.6 trillion to global wealth. China ranked second with $4 trillion, followed by Japan ($3.8 trillion), Brazil ($1.87 trillion) and Australia ($1.85 trillion).

There are now 84,700 people in the world worth $50 million or more — with 35,400 of them living in the U.S.. There are 29,000 people world-wide worth $100 million or more and 2,700 worth $500 million or more.

The fastest growth in the coming years will be in China, India and Brazil. China now has a million millionaires. Wealth in China and Africa is expected to grow 90%, to $39 trillion and $5.8 trillion respectively, by 2016. Wealth in India and Brazil is expected to more than double to $8.9 trillion and $9.2 trillion respectively.

Credit Suisse

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its pure science link http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

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John Bellamy Foster: We know why we occupy -- the Great Revolt from Below is here!

Thursday, October 20, 2011 By John Bellamy Foster, Eugene

John Bellamy Foster address Occupy Eugene, October 15. Photo by Rob Snyder/MonthlyReview.org. John Bellamy Foster is renowned Marxist economist and ecologist, and an editor of Monthly Review. He was a featured guest speaker at the World at a Crossroads: Climate Change-Social Change conference, which Green Left Weekly co-organised in Melbourne over September 30-October 3. His latest book, co-authored with Fred Magdoff, is What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism.

Bellamy Foster delivered the speech below to the Occupy Eugene action in Eugene, Oregon on October 15. More than 1500 cities and towns around the world took part in the "United for Global Change" actions that day. The speech is reprinted from Monthly Review .

See also:

Pham Binh: Wall Street occupation sparks mass movement

Occupy Australia takes off -- thousands take part across the country

Occupy Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane continue, new actions planned

Pham Bihn: The 99% occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street statement: 'All wronged by corporate forces are our allies'

United States: 'We are the 99%' testimonies

Socialist Alliance: Occupy to put human need before corporate greed

Occupy Wall Street spreads to Australia -- 'Occupy' gatherings for major cities on October 15

Unions back Occupy Melbourne

Building workers, teachers, maritime workers back Occupy Sydney

* * *

We are here as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which in a few short weeks has become a global movement in hundreds of cities around the world. We are part of the 99% not only in this country but the world.

I have been reading the mainstream, corporate media. I have been listening to the pundits, the power brokers, the politicians. They criticise our movement, saying we don't really know why we are here.

They claim that we are simply angry; that all we are is an "emotional outcry". House majority leader Eric Cantor calls us "a growing mob".

Wall street bankers interviewed by the New York Times say that we are "fringe groups"; that we will "thin out" and disperse when the weather gets colder.

A New York Times article reported yesterday that we were confused "liberal activists" fed up with partisan politics but with no real ideas of our own. An editorial in the same paper said we were just protesters, with no clear demands.

We are well meaning, they conceded, but it is the politicians, not the people in the street who have the job—so they say—of determining the future course of things, not us, not the 99%.

Foreign Affairs magazine, the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes that Occupy Wall Street is critical of Wall Street, but not of capitalism; they say that we do not question the system itself.

They are wrong. We are part of the growing army of the Occupy Wall Street movement worldwide. And we know why we are here.

*We know that US society has become fundamentally unequal. We know, though we may not all know the exact numbers, that the top 1% of income recipients receives almost 25% of all income in the society (including capital gains), and the top 10% receives almost 50%.

* We know, though we might not be able to quote the figures precisely, that between 1950 and 1970, for every additional dollar made by those in the bottom 90% of income earners, those in the top one hundredth of 1% received US$162 dollars. But that was back when things were more equal! Between 1990 and 2002 for every added dollar made by those in the bottom 90% of the population, those in the top one hundredth of 1% made an additional $18,000.

* We know about the Forbes 400. That in the United States 400 individuals (a number far less than those here today) own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, some 150 million people.

We know that when it comes to financial wealth (which excludes houses) the top 1% of the population in the United States owns four times as much wealth as the bottom 80% of the population.

* We know, though we may not know the precise details, that according to an audit by the US General Accounting Office, the Federal Reserve Board provided more than $16 trillion in financial assistance in the latest financial crisis to the largest corporations in the United States and the world. The rich were bailed out while the majority of the population was made to pay the cost! And we are still paying!

* We know that there is more than 9% official unemployment in the United States, while the real number of people who want full time employment and don't have it is about twice that.

* We know that official unemployment for adolescents is 25%, for blacks, 16%, for Hispanics 11%. And if you double these numbers you are closer to reality.

* We know that poverty is growing and being "feminised." We know that many people in this country are unfairly branded as "illegal immigrants".

*We know, though we may not realize its full extent, that there are 2.4 billion people globally, who according to the International Labor Organization, are unemployed, underemployed, economically inactive, or engaged in subsistence labour. That 39% of the world's workers live on less than $2 a day.

* We know that multinational corporations exploit the differences in wages between countries taking advantage of the enormous global reserve army of the unemployed, to generate humongous profits, and to hold down wages worldwide.

* We know that there is no real economic recovery; that we are in a period of economic stagnation, where only the rich are prospering. That economic growth in the United States has been slowing down in each successive decade since the 1960s and is now virtually stagnant. That the rich are getting bigger slices of a non-growing pie while the slices for almost everyone else are less.

* We know that the planet is being destroyed. That the future of all species and of humanity itself is being cut off. That, as James Hansen, the world's leading climatologist puts it, this is "our last chance to save humanity". And that none of the governments in the rich economies are doing anything at all about it! That oil companies and coal companies are more important to those in power than the planet itself.

* We know that the United States and its allies have been engaged recently in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. That an intervention is being planned for Iran, and possibly Venezuela. That US military bases dot the entire globe and are increasing in numbers. We know that the United States spends around a half a billion dollars officially on the military each year, and in reality a trillion dollars a year.

* We know that we live in a plutocracy rather than a democracy. Where money outvotes public opinion at every point in the political process.

* We know that unions are on the defensive in this country. That they have been smashed by unfair legislation. That they are struggling to find a way to fight back.

* We know that our elementary and secondary education system in the United States is being privatised and destroyed.

* We know that we have by far the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

* We know that all of this is related to the system of economic power, to a society that believes in the Wall Street principle, "greed is good," the signature of capitalism.

* We know that we are the necessary, last defense of humanity. That we are the world's 99%. That we will not "thin out" when the weather gets bad. That we are not a mob. That we are the earth, we are democracy, we are the future. The world has been occupied too long by a tiny minority. It is time for the people to reoccupy it. To take it back.

In 2009, I took part in a discussion about the global financial crisis on Democracy Now! I said then that we were in a period of long-term economic stagnation (of which the financial crisis was simply a symptom). The closest historical precedent was the Great Depression.

I pointed out that it took about four years after the 1929 stock market crash before there was a revolt in the United States in the 1930s -- what we know as the Great Revolt from Below -- that resulted in the industrial union movement, the rise of the CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations -- a militant union federation], and the second New Deal.

The revolt didn't come in earnest until a year or more after the economic recovery had started in 1933, when people suddenly realised that the recovery was false.

I said that a similar Great Revolt from Below was likely in the United States today, given a deep and lasting economic stagnation. But that we might have to wait three or four years, just as in the great depression, for it to get off the ground, and for the people to ignite.

That, just as in the Great Depression, the revolt would not materialise until people had learned that the promise of economic recovery was false, that they had been lied to and systematically robbed. Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Eugene, Occupy the United States is the Great Revolt from Below in our time.

But what we are witnessing this time is the growth of something much larger still. In a matter of a few weeks we have watched the emergence of an Occupy the World movement. Everywhere people are uniting in struggle.

When I was in Australia at the beginning of October, when this all was getting started, radical activists were absolutely glued to the events in occupy Wall Street -- even before it was being reported by the mainstream media in this country.

Why? Australia is on the other side of the globe. Why should they care about a resistance movement in New York?

The reason is that we in the United States live in "Fortress America," the heart of a world empire. Revolts are not supposed to happen here!

If a break in the wall appears, if huge protests occur, here, "Inside the Monster," as 19th century Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti called it, the whole world is suddenly uplifted and encouraged to resist. Because then they know that the empire is crumbling.

Our struggles here are opening up space for resistance for all the people of the world.

What does occupy mean? Why is an occupation so important? Why is this movement so different?

It is because it means we are not going away. We will not disperse. We will remain. We will win. The world requires it.

{flash video not allowed on forum}

Understanding the Capitalist Economic Crisis from Jill Hickson on Vimeo.

John Bellamy Foster speaks on the 'Understand the capitalist economic crisis' at the World at a Crossroads conference in Melbourne, September 30-October 3.

From GLW issue 899

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“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

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And the idiots in "Occupy London" are .... going home each night to sleep in their own warm beds, and have food and showers....

Makes you proud, wot? :lol: :lol: :lol:

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http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/49194

VIDEO: Noam Chomsky speaks at Occupy Boston

Monday, October 24, 2011 This is a full video coverage of Noam Chomsky's address to Occupy Boston protesters on Oct 22, 2011 by a NewsParticipaton.com citizen reporter.

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How to overcome the power of the 1%

Sunday, November 13, 2011 By Dave Holmes

occupy_sydney_oct_15.jpg

Occupy Sydney, October 15. Photo: Peter Boyle

The global Occupy movement has focused the spotlight on the 1% versus the 99%. Who are the 1%? In the United States, the 400 richest individuals have as much wealth as the bottom 150 million. A similar picture applies in all the large capitalist countries.

Economy owned by the 1%

The source of their power derives from their ownership and control of society’s economic infrastructure. A relative handful of people own the means of production, distribution and exchange. They own the corporations that own the mines, factories, banks, transport networks, supermarket chains, media empires, and so on.

This is monopoly capitalism. Each sector of the economy is dominated by a few giant corporations. They are continually engaged in ruthless competition — against each other and against their workforces.

The concentration of economic power is rising. In Australia, Coles and Woolworths account for 75% of grocery and liquor sales. The German giant Aldi is steadily pushing in. Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers owns the huge Bunnings hardware chain, and Woolworths intends to open its own chain to rival it.

Capitalist apologists will at times trumpet that we have a “shareholder democracy”. This is patently false. Some ordinary people may have shares to augment their basic income but they control nothing; their investment is just a cheap loan to the company. Real control remains completely with the 1%.

Working class

Ordinary people have to work for the corporations of the 1%. Most of the population in countries like Australia and the US have to work for a living — they are the working class. A still substantial number are state employees, but their environment is an increasingly corporatised, profit-driven one.

The modern working class is very diverse. It ranges from a Vietnamese woman outworker sewing garments for miserable piece rates in her living room to a highly skilled welder earning more than $100,000 a year on a big infrastructure project.

Who creates the wealth

The Rupert Murdochs, James Packers, Gerry Harveys, Gina Rineharts, Andrew Forrests and Frank Lowys dominate the headlines, but behind each of these pillars of the 1% is an army of workers whose stolen labour makes up their profits.

The economy is a social enterprise. We all depend on it and the labour of working people keeps the wheels turning. But because the 1% own the bank, factory, mine, freight company or supermarket they get the profits. The workers get wages and, as we know, getting a decent wage is a constant struggle against entrenched corporate power backed by the state.

There is an alternative

The media constantly parrots the phrase “the markets”. This is code for profit-crazed capitalists and greedy speculators. The economic universe we are presented with excludes any alternative. This is simply self-serving ideological rubbish.

Our economic and social relationships are a human construct, not an act of God. They can be changed.

Capitalism arose out of the historical process. Its rise was marked by ferocious struggles — against the old feudal order, against working people and against people in other countries that resisted colonial conquest.

Economy should be socially owned

The Occupy movement is assailed by establishment critics who ask: what are our demands? But clearly what we want is a world where there is no 1% dominating society.

Socialists say the only way this can happen is if the economy is brought under social ownership and control. The commanding heights of the economy should be publicly owned (whether federal, state, municipal or cooperative).

With the economic levers in the hands of the people, there would be a conscious focus on meeting human needs. Combating climate change and building a sustainable economy would be the most urgent priority.

Plans would be democratically decided. Workplaces would be controlled by their employees. There would be no obscenely overpaid CEOs and insecure badly paid workers.

This is the socialist perspective. It will take a big, united and prolonged struggle to overcome the entrenched power of the 1%, but there truly is no alternative. Either we overcome them or they will destroy the planet and most of us along with it.

[A collection of Dave Holmes’ articles and talks can be found at his blog.]

From GLW issue 903

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Occupy for a world ‘full of the power of love’

Sunday, November 13, 2011

occupy_brisbane_1.jpg

Occupy Brisbane, Post Office Square. Photo: Occupy Brisbane/Facebook

Veteran Brisbane activist Gary McLennan spoke at an Occupy Brisbane rally on November 5. An abridged version of his speech is below.

* * *

Friends, I want to thank you sincerely for the invitation to speak to you today. It remains for me a badge of honour, a great honour, that I’ve been asked twice to speak to the Occupy Brisbane movement.

I said when I first spoke to you that your movement represented the best hope for the kind of world that I wanted my grandchildren to grow up in.

I believed that then and I still believe it now.

Since I spoke to you first, you’ve been mocked in the media. You’ve been ridiculed and made fun of in the media, the newspapers and in cyberspace. Politicians from all sides have sneered at you.

And their loyal servants, the Queensland police force, have attacked you, harassed you and broken up your camp.

In the face of all that scorn and all that ridicule it is still very true that you are the best hope for a world ruled by compassion, love and decency.

I want to say a few things about the world we have. We live in a world ruled, and organised and run for the very people who have mocked you.

What is the world they have created like? Look north, south, east, west, anywhere — its not working.

This morning I read about the economic crisis in Greece. I also read of an economic crisis in Cyprus, Italy and Denmark. The whole of Europe trembling on the brink of economic destruction.

Poverty and misery is waiting for the people of Europe. And here in Brisbane, politicians and the media dare to make fun of you.

They have destroyed the world. They have ruined the planet. And yet they mock us. The politicians say “you’ve made your point, now go away”.

We say to them, you have not got our point at all. We are saying that you control the world and the world is not working. We want a better world. And we will stay here until we get it.

In America — the heart of capitalism, the heart of the beast — millions upon millions live and die in poverty. And more people are everyday joining the homeless.

That’s the economic system. It’s created a world where 1% owns almost all the wealth and we don’t even get the crumbs anymore.

Now this system can’t stabilise itself. The crisis of 2008: they said they’d solved it. There’s now a crisis in 2011: if they “solve” this it will be worse than in 2008 and the next crisis will be worse and worse.

Some people are saying what are they on about? What are they talking about? What’s wrong with Australia? When their jobs go, when their pensions go, they will come to you and say yes, you were right.

Now there is another source of criticism of the world we live in. And that is a moral criticism. Because make no mistake about it: you hold the moral high ground. You are the good people, and they are the bad people.

They are the rulers of a world run by greed, fear and hatred.

I do not want to live in that kind of world. Instead of a world dominated by greed, I want a world where wealth is shared equally.

Instead of a world of fear, I want a world full of compassion. Instead of a world full of hatred, I want a world full of the power of love. And this movement wants that too.

From GLW issue 903

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Things are obviously very fluid at the moment. The movement has made many understandable mistakes. This is a necessary part of politicisation. Through direct experience and vicariously many now have things to think about.

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Things are obviously very fluid at the moment. The movement has made many understandable mistakes. This is a necessary part of politicisation. Through direct experience and vicariously many now have things to think about.

Dear John, It will take hard thinking,new thinking,hard work......to change you must organize.

link http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/2011/11/9-final-ways-bankster-occupied-us.html

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African Americans and Occupy: Convergence of interests

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 By Malik Miah, San Francisco

black-occupy-protesters-start-occupy-the-hood.jpg

What's striking about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement and its popular slogan “We are the 99%” is how much the central demand of the movement resonates with the Black community.

African Americans, with few exceptions, are in the bottom 20% of income and wealth. Double digit unemployment is the norm in “good” economic times.

Yet the social composition of most OWS occupations (some 10,000 including college campuses) has had few Black faces including in urban areas with large Black populations.

The reality of high unemployment, few job opportunities, poverty and inadequate health care has most poor people trying to survive. It is why African Americans are not visible in large numbers.

In many cases, however, African Americans are taking to the streets. They are using civil action to protest police brutality and the shutdown of community schools, hospitals and obvious acts of discrimination.

These protests, while widely known in the Black community and Black-oriented media, rarely get prominence in the mainstream newspapers and networks.

In Oakland, for example, at the same time Occupy Oakland was center stage with cop violence against protesters, there were community actions to protest plans to shut down local schools.

Taking a leadership role

Historically, African Americans will march and rally around issues of racism that directly affect them. There is little faith that politicians or the legal and political structures will act without facing extra-parliamentary and civil disobedience pressure.

The most energised and committed group in unions ready to take on the bosses are African American workers, because of their understanding of how change is won.

Disproportionate to their numbers, Blacks have taken leadership roles in fightbacks. Their actions have inspired and mobilised others to fight for their own interests and join in broader coalitions, as occurred in the 1960s and '70s.

Blacks understand from their history the inequality and social injustice of American capitalism -- it’s what African Americans have lived under before the Great Recession and continue to suffer today.

The OWS movement is a convergence of African American reality with the broad working class and “middle class” concerns due to the housing crisis and demise of “good” paying jobs. Temporary jobs with no benefits are increasingly what the wealthy “job creators” offer even to educated whites.

The key point is that the social injustice and inequality gap that fuels the OWS movement is the reality that Blacks have experienced for four centuries.

The ruling class counteroffensive against the gains of the civil rights revolution of the '60s and '70s hit African Americans and unionized workers the hardest.

Nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared since 2000. More than 40,000 factories have closed. Outsourcing of better-paying jobs is still rampant.

African Americans have endured what has been described as the greatest loss of collective assets in their history. Millions have been thrown into severe poverty and desperation.

What’s called “the Black middle class” is not based primarily upon small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. It is actually the better-off working class group, largely employed in government jobs or blue collar union jobs that are in decline or under attack.

Labour joining the Occupy movement reflects a fundamental coming together of unions with high Black memberships and issues that reflect the broad interests of the African American community.

Attack on postal service

A case in point is the United States Postal Service (USPS) that the right wing has targeted during the past decade.

The adoption of law by Congress in 2006 makes the United States Postal Service (USPS, a self-financing body but under the Congress’s direction) put aside billions of dollars in 10 years’ time to cover health and pension benefits for the next 75 years.

No other government agency or private sector company has a similar obligation. The goal is the destruction of the postal service as we know it.

It is the only government agency authorised under the US Constitution and thus can't be eliminated without an amendment to the Constitution.

A radical restructuring of the USPS will mean the elimination of Saturday mail service, closing of post offices and reduction of 200,000 jobs -- one-third of the workforce.

About 25% of the USPS workers are African Americans. Many other employees are Latinos and Pacific Islanders.

These jobs are the backbone of stable families in most urban Black communities. In addition, they are unionised; relatively better paying jobs with good benefits.

Conservatives have targeted the public sector (federal, state and local) since the so called Reagan Revolution that began in 1981, when Reagan declared the “government as the problem”. Reagan began the three-decade redistribution of wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 1%.

Corporate taxes were slashed and the top personal income taxes sharply reduced for the top 1%.

Recent studies by the Brookings Institution and the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California note the great impact of this class warfare to public sector jobs.

About one in five Black workers have a public sector job, and African Americans workers are one third more likely than white ones to be employed in the public sector.

“The reliance on these jobs has provided African Americans a path upward,” said Robert H. Zieger, emeritus professor of history at the University of Florida, a November 29 New York Times article entitled “Public Sector Sheds Jobs; Blacks are Hit Hardest” reported. “But it is also vulnerability.”

Robber barons old and new

The power of the demand of defending the 99% against the one-tenth of the 1% is that it unifies all races and ethnic groups suffering what African Americans have endured for decades.

From a historical point of view, there has been a link between the rise of new progressive movements and the state of Black America. That convergence has helped to build powerful protest campaigns against the capitalist system and its elites, including the ruling Republican and Democratic parties.

The wealthy elites respond with violence and use racism to divide suffering whites from oppressed Blacks. It is still a widely used weapon today especially in the Old South.

It targets not only African Americans but Latino immigrants. The objective is to reverse gains and reestablish old white dominant relationships. In the long run, as demographics change, it cannot last -- but in the short run can delay change and roll back important social gains.

The first major counteroffensive occurred in the 1880s and '90s with the defeat of post-civil war Radical Reconstruction Period in the south that began to bring some equality to freed slaves.

Both ruling parties, like today, served the interests of the corporate robber barons in this Gilded Age of US history.

A progressive movement arose after the 1893 financial crisis. The backlash against the elites resulted in popular campaigns that led to antitrust laws, labour laws and the women’s suffrage moment.

It included, in 1913 following a series of financial panics, the creation of the Federal Reserve that the libertarian right has attacked as undermining free markets.

Black civil rights, however, made little progress even though African Americans backed the progressive movement.

The second gilded age came in the 1920s. Again it came after the rightward push against immigrants, Black civil rights and labor unions. The decline of organised labour was drastic in the 1920s.

Unions were crushed; Black militants such as Marcus Garvey and his urban-based movement came under fierce government attack. Thousands of Blacks who migrated from the Caribbean during World War I were arrested and deported.

White vigilante violence escalated. The “Roaring 20s” was the heyday of the new rich, and hell for Blacks and the working class.

In the 1930s, African Americans began to push for social justice during the Great Depression. The white unemployed fought back and the rise of the trade unions as a fighting force occurred.

Legal racism still reigned, but the unity of Black and white workers in the north occurred to a degree never seen up to that time. Although still rampant, racism began to recede as industrial unions emerged in the north.

Some of the most significant labour laws and restrictions on the robber barons occurred as the 99% gain more power. It shook the super-rich and Wall Street to their core.

The socialist and communist left joined the anti-racist campaigns and helped integrate the trade unions.

The retreats after WWII and rise of McCarthyism did not wipe out the gains of the 1930 and '40s. The growing post-war influence of the civil rights movement inspired organised labour, helped to radicalised students and energised the '60s social movements.

The big gains for Blacks and other social groups weakened the 1% and its supporters.

New reaction, new response

The counteroffensive that opened in the Reagan era came at a time when African Americans had already won some of their greatest gains. Many of the movement’s leaders had become prominent elected officials, and others won seats at the table including on Wall Street.

But the steady decline of the social movements set the stage for the rise of the new Gilded Age that we live in today.

Labour lost tens of thousands of members, a re-segregation of big urban cities and schools accelerated, and much of the new Black professional class moved to the suburbs.

No groups stood up to the far right’s ideological offensive that the public sector was “evil” and had to be cut down to a size that it could be “drowned in the bathtub”.

African Americans have always played an objectively vanguard role in responding to the 1% -- raising protest on behalf their own interests, and making demands on the state and system.

What’s happening now with the OWS movement is the convergence of African American interests and the broader community, shaking up the political system.

Blacks are not the “leaders” of OWS, but the example African Americans have played in US history shows the potential of the new social movement.

It also explains why the political and economic elites are so concerned about their brutal class warfare against the oppressed and exploited: The fear of Wall Street is that the masses will not stop with simply demanding higher taxes on the rich, but will demand political power for the 99%.

[Malik Miah is an editor of Against the Current.]

From GLW issue 906

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