Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

American People’s Fight for Democracy and Rights

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American People’s Fight  for Democracy and Rights

American people are protesting against a financial mafia/oligarchy that has taken over their country and is bent on preserving its own economic interests at the expense of people's welfare and lives.
The fight for genuine democracy, people empowerment and an equitable and fair if not just society is not at all over in what we know as the West. Many might think that it is countries such as ours; Afghanistan, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria that need democracy, rule of law and social justice the most, but even in the West, where the struggle for these ideals were launched for the first time and bore fruit, the fight is still ongoing.

Over the past many days and nights, we have been witnessing a spontaneous movement of citizens all across the United States voicing some very genuine grievances that they have and had kept themselves in silence for long.

They yearn for a genuine democracy in which the rights of common American people are not trampled under the feet of money and power-wielding financial elite of the Wall Street silk. They, seeing the excesses and failures of their government, want some real "change" and "hope" that they can "believe in".

What Barack Obama, the thunderous president promised and could not achieve, these people and this movement want to bring about through what empowers, enlivens and sustains a democracy: the people power.

The movement, dubbed "Occupy wall Street", started when thousands of people gathered on September 17 in Wall Street, New York, which is the center of American banking and finance industry. The movement has now spread to other cities across the United States and has caught the attention of people inside the U.S. and across the world.

The people in the United States are justified to be angry and feeling let down by a government and a system that have grown unjust and unfair over the years. Economically, the system and the government that props up the system reward the super rich but ignore the middle class and the poor.

The wealth gap, the skewed distribution of national wealth and the income inequality in the United States is much worse than in other similar countries. Economically, socially and politically, the country is on gradual decline while the government and governance in the U.S. are being increasingly taken over by special interest groups, especially the banking and finance industry centered on Wall Street that wield enormous power in the American political system.

For American people, economic conditions have taken a sharp turn for worse since 2008. The so-called "American dream" - the notion that just about everybody can thrive and prosper in the America - lost its meaning many years ago. It is simply not true any more for tens of millions of average, middle class Americans who are under the intense pressure of unemployment and rising costs of living in front of stagnant and decreasing incomes.

Politically, the American political system is increasingly falling short of the challenges of the time and is proving unable to offer workable solutions to many grand problems that face America and Americans. The poisoned partisan atmosphere in Washington has, ad nauseam, pitted the Republicans against the Democrats with the result being a state of national paralysis with the two parties and the political system unable to agree on many crucial matters.

The latest example is Obama's job creation plan which broke to pieces as a result of the never-ending Republican-Democrat animosity. Unemployment in the U.S. is at historically high levels leading to destruction of families, people, dreams of young Americans and millions of average Americans who cannot even afford their daily food expenses.

Right now, one in every six American is on government food stamps. Even such mainstream American thinkers as Fareed Zakaria, Paul Krugman and even Thomas Friedman complain and lament about this state of national paralysis wherein the political system is growing increasingly dysfunctional.

The bank bailouts since 2008 have worked to reward the generally corrupt yet influential banking interests who went to the edge of destruction due to their own recklessness but found new lives because of generous government bailouts.

To be precise, the negative influence of the banking and finance capital in American political life has grown to unacceptable levels that has led to "drowning out the voices of every day Americans" in the words of Barack Obama himself.

It is under such circumstances that the spontaneous movement of people wants their true wishes and desires reflected in how their country is run but as Paul Krugman rightly observed, this time and unlike before, American people are angry with the "right people" on the wall street.

American people protest against a financial mafia/oligarchy that has taken over their country and is bent on preserving its own economic interests at the expense of people's welfare and lives. The acknowledged fact is that the growth and rise in power of "finance capital" over the years particularly in the U.S. has meant that the whole economies and societies have been taken hostage by a predatory financial oligarchy.

This has gone to the extent that in the U.S., for example, the power to create and print money, rather than lying in the hands of the government elected by the people, lies in the hands of a private network of bankers and financial oligarchs who, from their own chairs and desks, determine the economic fate of not only American people but much of the world in today's globalized world.

Over the past many years and especially since 2008, this fact has meant that serious reforms and economic re-organization, so desperately needed in the U.S., has been prevented by this oligarchic system. Therefore, the American people are indeed angry with the right people this time. The center of this financial oligarchy is the Wall Street and any meaningful reforms should start from there.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement is, in a sense, the Arab Spring spreading into the United States. The ideals and the objectives that the people on the streets of Cairo and New York fight for are, in essence, the same.

In the Middle East, people fought against their oppressive dictatorships. In the U.S., they now are fighting against a financial dictatorship that has taken hostage their government, society and economy and their very lives. Even in America, the fight for human dignity, rights and democracy still has a long way to go.

The author is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlook afghanistan@gmail.com

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