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We Are The 99% – Expect Us

15 October 2011 4 comments

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OCCUPY WELLINGTON ON NZ NEWS MEDIA
“A group spurred on by the Occupy Wall Street protests in the United States is planning a week-long protest at Civic Square, (Wellington) starting on Saturday (15th Oct). The Occupy Wellington group is also planning to protest in front of the Reserve Bank from November 5 to 30. Groups have been set up in Auckland, New Plymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin and all are planning events starting on Saturday.”

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There are those cynics  and “aspirational” middle class supprters of the status quo, who deride these protests as “meaningless”, “pointless”, and without a firm agenda.

Such Cynics/Aspirants ignore the most obvious point: the protests are the point. They are expressing their anger. Protestors are pissed off that our economy is not meeting their needs; that social disparities are widening; and the promises of jobs, success, and security are not there.

The protestors are pissed off that vast corporations with billions of dollars receive bail-outs – but if you just lost your job because of these corporate vampires, then you receive no bail out. If you’re lucky, you might get a social welfare payment that will not meet your needs. And of course, you’ll get the smart-arses who will then deride you as a “bludger” because you’re on the dole – not knowing that only a few weeks/months ago you were in paid employment.

The protestors are pissed of that the top 1% earn/own most of the wealth whilst the remaining 99% barely get by. (Middle class aspirants please note: if you honestly think that one day you’ll end up as a member of that exclusive 1% – think of your chances of winning Lotto. Take it from there. )

The protestors are pissed off because a minority of wealthy parasites have taken the wealth; wrecked the planet’s economy in the process – and then we have to pay for it in rising taxes (gst, ACC, other government charges); higher mortgages/rents; and endure cut backs in social and community services.

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It is no coincidence that our government cut early childhood education back by $400 million – whilst cutting taxes, predominantly for the most well off.

It is no coincidence that thousands of government and private sector workers have lost their jobs – whilst unemployment figures continue to rise.

It is no coincidence that as we face rising costs and stagnant wages – the top 150 richest people have increased their wealth  by almost 20 per cent in one year. Have your wages/salary gone up by 20%?

It is no coincidence that as the economy stagnates and more businesses go under, more and more people are losing their homes in the process. Five families lose their homes every single day, in this country, to mortgagee sales.

And our Prime Minister’s reaction? Whilst   billionaire Graeme Hart tops the NZ Rich List list with a $6.5 billion fortune – John Key (himself with a fortune of $55 million) describes the Rich List as a “joke“. But then again, this is the same Prime Minister who said this, of the unemployed victims of the Great Recession,

But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills. And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.Source

John Key would know about “choices”, I guess, like which champagne to drink,

There were lunches where we drank a lot of Moet and fine wine, and that was nice.” Source

This is the growing social and income disparity that many protestors are pissed of about. That the top 1% have obscene wealth – whilst the rest of the population barely gets by with increasing prices; job insecurity; and wondering why we have to cop the fall-out from Wall Street’s crazy excesses.

Other protestors are pissed of that we crap all over our landscape; polluting lakes and rivers; threatening  our Conservation Estates and Parks with mining. Or that our government signs up oil companies for deepsea drilling – when we can’t even cope with a single stranded freighter spewing oil into our coastal waters.

When swimming in the Manawatu River is considered a health hazard – that is a sign of something seriously screwed up.

What are the 99% protesting about?

Oh, there is plenty to choose from. In fact, it’s not to dissimilar to this scene,  from the 1953 movie, “The Wild One“,

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I hold the protesters – whether in New York or New Zealand – in the highest regard. Like the young people of the 1960s and early 70s, they are protesting the greatest loss of all, in the mad rush for greed –  the collective soul of our humanity.

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Categories: Social Issues, The Body Politic Tags:

That was Then, this is Now #7

15 October 2011 4 comments

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Previous Blog post

That was Then, this is Now #6

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