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THE GREAT FINANCIAL CRISIS: Causes and Consequences
by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff
WHAT EVERY ENVIRONMEN-
TALIST NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT CAPITALISM by Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster
MARX'S ECOLOGY: Materialism and Nature by John Bellamy Foster
EMBEDDED WITH ORGANIZED LABOR: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home by Steve Early by Steve Early
WHY UNIONS MATTER by Michael D. Yates
ON THE GLOBAL WATERFRONT
by Suzan Erem and E. Paul Durrenberger (Introduction by Greg Palast)
NOT AUTOMATIC: Women and the Left in the Forging of the Auto Workers' Union by Sol Dollinger and Genora Johnson Dollinger (Foreword by Kim Moody)
MEATPACKERS: An Oral History of Black Packinghouse Workers and Their Struggle for Racial and Economic Equality by Rick Halpern and Roger Horowitz
RECLAIMING THE IVORY TOWER: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education by Joe Berry
THE LAST PHASE IN THE TRANSFOR-
MATION OF CAPITALISM
by Michal Kalecki
MONOPOLY CAPITAL: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order by Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy
TIONS OF "REAL SOCIALISM": The Conductor and the Conducted by Michael A. Lebowitz
|Why We Occupy, What We Know
by John Bellamy Foster
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 percent 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 criticize 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 your own. An editorial in the same paper said we were just protestors, 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.
In 2009, I participated 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 -- which resulted in the industrial union movement, the rise of the CIO, 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 realized 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 materialize 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 massive protests occur, here, "Inside the Monster," as José 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.
John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review. He is the author of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism (with Fred Magdoff), The Ecological Rift, The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis, Marx's Ecology, Ecology against Capitalism, and The Vulnerable Planet.