US Occupy protesters have called for solidarity rallies in a show of support for the dozens of 99-percenters detained during the rallies on the six-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
On the six-month anniversary of movement on Saturday, anti-corporatism demonstrators gathered together to launch new series of protests in New York.
During the gathering, US riot police clashed with the 99-percenters that tried to reoccupy the Zuccotti Park, the focal point of the anti-Wall Street campaign in New York's financial district.
Press TV has interviewed anti-war activist, Don Debar to further discuss the matter. The program also provided opinions of two other guests, Dave Lindorff from www.ThisCantBeHappening.org from Philadelphia and Norman Stockwell, from a Community Radio station of Wisconsin. The following is a rough transcript of the interview.
Don, we have witnessed new protests now in New York and again occupiers have been arrested and of course as usual many are saying that they have been mistreated by police.
Do you think that we will be seeing more of these protests hand in hand with increased police abuse?
Absolutely on both counts. First, the conditions that gave rise to the original occupations have only become worse.
Secondly, we are moving into an election year for presidential election and the bulk of the Congress being up, where the two presidential candidates whoever ends up emerging for the Republican Party are out of synch with the people.
The people do not want any more war, they want out of Afghanistan immediately, they want no war with Syria, Iran, Russia, China or any other place and you have the two candidates and their respective parties in congress trying to outdo each other to sound as bellicose and war-like as they can.
With respect to the economy, even going back to the 2008, when a record number of people in the country contacted Congress and said, do not do bank bailout; the same pattern that they put into place in 2008-2009 has followed where the money flows to the top, people still do not have jobs, people still do not have healthcare, people still do not have money for education or relief from student debt, people still have their houses in foreclosures.
So, the conditions themselves are only getting worse and the fact that the state would not respond to the people with anything except repression has been made very clear.
Over the winter, while people have not been preoccupied with occupying real estate, they have been very busily organizing themselves into a network across the country that serves both as a fiber to connect all kinds of other progressive movements, all kinds of other peoples organizations and also serves as a way of keeping the demands of the people at the forefront and in front of the media and at the town squares in most every community in the country.
So I think we are going to see a lot of more activity this year, because the conditions are right for it and the people are much more organized than they were just a year ago.
What about the organization in general? Because of course as you said it was very spontaneous and it started, but now six months has passed for this Occupy Movement.
Do you think that the movement in general is becoming more focused and that the people involved are more aware of exactly what is going on in the US or do you see it as still being pretty scattered and still trying to get itself together?
Well, I look at the Occupy Movement, more as a connective tissue and an infrastructure for political movements around the country that have both existed and that are coming into existence because the Occupy Movement has shown the possibilities.
I think the people that have actually been involved from last year or going forward, for last six-eight months, there was some prep-time that was spent from some people that were setting up for the first occupation.
I think that having had the opportunity to push and measure a response back and push and measure response back, has illuminated the nature of the beast so to speak for them in the way that they…, you know, they did hot have this information before.
So I think on the one hand, those that are involved in the formal, to the extent that it is one, Occupy movement are better educated about the nature of their opposition because of their experience with it over the last six months and I think also that the interaction with the people at all levels across the country, is the actual formation of an organism comprised of the 99 percent, which has been coming into being and relying, sort of; on this occupy movement as a connective tissue.
I think that that's still taking shape and that the people are starting to really get a feeling for their power and strength that, I think it would become actualized over the course of the year. And I think later on as we get close to first in May where you look at both the NATO Meeting in Chicago and the WTO [World Trade Organization] or G8 or whatever that is going to be at Camp David and more particularly as you get close to the Democratic-Republican Conventions at the end of the summer, you are going to see, really, movements across the country flexing their muscles because the system continues to not respond to the people with anything, but violence.
I think you might see a real upping of peoples’ faith in alternative means of democracy and looking outside of the existing structures to where the center of gravity may actually move outside of the political system and into an amalgamation of people's movements around the Occupy Movement.
Let us talk about the role of the mainstream media in all of this, because still the majority of Americans, I am assuming, usually get their information or their news from the mainstream media.
The role of the mainstream media in trying to keep the world suppressed as far as the Occupy movement, and do you see a change on the horizon?
Well, what I mentioned there earlier that the Occupy movement has been providing an infrastructure for protest going forward, a good part of that has been that it produces its own media.
From the time they began the occupation of Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street group was broadcasting live from Zuccotti Park on Livestream.com, and as occupation … and this is a free service by the way that gets interrupted every 15 minutes by a 30 second commercial, but you basically plug a camera into your laptop and if you have internet connection, it's now on the internet, video and audio.
This started to happen as Occupation groups started all over the country, each one was broadcasting live and I watched the numbers go from a couple of a hundred to thousands.
For many of them at a time, sometimes you would see four thousand people watching New York, two thousand people watching Boston, four thousand people ….
So the media, not only the independent media that has been springing up with the internet and outside of the internet, perhaps even going back to public access television in the 70’s, but really there has been an accelerated growth in independent media and people are plugging into it as consumers, much more.
If you look at the polling day in the United States, the only group that approaches Congress in terms of negatives,--the Congress is now something like an eight percent positive perception in American public-- is the media.
The media has essentially rendered itself irrelevant in the minds and the opinions of a large majority of Americans. This is, I am talking about the American media from CNN to Fox [news] and even including some of the so-called progressive media, like Democracy Now and Pacific radio, where people do not look to them anymore for authoritative information. They come to Press TV, they go to RT.com, they go to the actual sources with these Occupy movements and others have modeled after that.
There are groups, for example the Peoples’ Organization for Progress in New York, New Jersey and an internet radio station that I have been working with, CPRmetro.org. where we have producers all over the country, that send stuff, we assemble it.
People go to one spot and Press TV has been phenomenal in that way with people all over the world. You have people like me, talking; you have the people from the US government talking people get to hear a wide range of opinion and make them mind up.
That has not been the case in the United States since, like the mid 1960’s and at this point in time those people who are exposed to the alternatives, they are consuming them.