The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began last month in New York, has expanded now to dozens of towns, including Tampa, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, DC; Boston; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Chicago; St. Louis, Missouri; Minneapolis; Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Nashville; Portland, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; and a number of California cities.
The demonstrations - fueled by anger over social inequality, unemployment and a vast decline in living standards for the overwhelming majority - are also gaining international support. There are calls on Facebook for a global demonstration on October 15 in cities in more than 15 countries, from Dublin to Madrid, Buenos Aires to Hong Kong.
“Occupy Melbourne” in Australia is planning an October 15 protest in City Square, and similar calls are being organized on Facebook for protests in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The “Occupy the London Stock Exchange” Facebook page has more than 6,000 followers, and has announced plans to occupy Paternoster Square beginning October 15.
The spontaneous outburst of anger at the banks and big business, which has struck a chord with wide layers of the population, has been met with arrests and police harassment and brutality in a number of areas. It has also come under attack from sections of the political establishment, and has been given generally short shrift in the mainstream media.
In comments to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain denounced the protesters as “anti-capitalism,” and added, “Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job, and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”