An analyst says the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is only the first wave of a major movement that will change the entire global economic system.
Press TV has interviewed Sara Flounders, the co-director of the International Action Center from New York to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of Jeff Gates, an additional guest.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: I’d like to get your opinion about the police forces arresting, and also threatening to arrest, the Occupy protesters in a number of cities across the United States. What do they hope to achieve by these actions?
Flounders: Well, in every city where there have been mass arrests, there has also been a growth in the mass resistance.
So it’s hard to know what they hope to achieve. But certainly not, they are not achieving what they except.
The determination is very great. The demands they make are many. Every single day in each of these cities there are demonstrations; there are targets against the banks, against the war, against the foreclosures.
The almost 200 people arrested in Chicago, they are being told that while they are able to stand and applaud, they cannot lie down or even sit down.
Now, so of course there’s an attack on constitutional rights to peaceably assemble, to air grievances. And this is under attack across the country and yet it is not dampening the mood and the determination.
Press TV: Debra Sweet, a fellow protester, has called her arrest a political detention. Is that how you view the arrests that are taking place as far as the protesters of this movement go?
Flounders: Yes, there are very much political detentions there, and efforts to break the movement. I would say thought that overwhelmingly the attempts to stop it, have at this point not succeeded.
Last week in New York, they said they were going to shut down all of Zuccotti Park, they claimed, in order to clean it.
Thousands and thousands of people showed up. As a matter a fact, stood out all night in the pouring rain, in order to safe guard the site. It was the largest turnout that there had been at night.
Now, these demonstrations then marched different location in the city. There have been demonstrations against the police tactics, the stop and frisk, which regularly lead to the imprisonment to arrest records that have put, if not the thousands, then really hundreds of thousands of black and Latino youths.
So there are also protests against those tactics, along with targeting the banks, the foreclosure, and power seize.
The variance in the workers, have been many striking workers, workers in tact with their pensions. Workers in contract negotiations have also joined the occupations.
Workers in closed hospitals, here in New York tomorrow, from St. Vincent’s hospital, thousands of workers will be joining in the protests against the closing hospitals. Because there are always money for banks and for wars, and for super profits for these big corporations, and not enough, for the desperately needed social programs that the average working person needs and is due to receive.
Press TV: There seems to be a lot of time discussing Obama’s job act and bickering over the debt as well as getting busy with the election campaign, but why has lawmakers in Washington failed to discuss these protests?
Flounders: Well, there is a growing profound of disconnect between Congress, the presidency, the home of the whole system and the lines of the average person.
And that is also what is fueling protests such as we have not seen before in this country.
Congress who is elected really depends on who can wave money from corporations. Any elected seat in the US Congress and this is certainly true in presidential campaigns, depends of corporate money. And that’s who it served, overwhelmingly.
Press TV: Another roadblock that many say for these protests is the lack of media attention. Many say now the media attention is now shifting away from the protest movement, do you agree with that assessment?
Flounders: Well of course the media in the US is corporate owned. And so, that has a lot of impact on what is news.
I do want to say something very much about it’s the capitalist system itself. And it’s important to address that as a global system, it is in complete crisis and at its end.
No longer able to get itself out of what was cyclical crisis in the past, but there is now a now so enormously productive. And yet the profits are true, goes to a smaller and smaller and smaller handful of people, of corporations really. There’s greater and greater concentration of profits … and enormous poverty on a global scale, that’s really the capitalist system.
And this wave is just the first wave of people in motion, who have many different demands at this point. But they will be educated by the movement itself, by putting forth demands, by awakening over the purportedly.
So if you see it how I see this, as a first step of people finally breaking free of that mindset, that there’s nothing that they can do, or just handing their future to politicians that can be bought and paid for.
And it is an important time to be in the streets, and be making those links between the system itself, which feeds on and is built on wars and super profits at the time of the greatest global poverty.
It’s a system roundly out of balance. And, I do think that in an awakening mode, in the US and internationally, will be the next challenges, the next challenges. Not the biggest ones, it’s too small, the concerns are too small, but it will grow and people will wake up and make further and further questions.
And also, increase their demands, their demands will become much more focused, and they’ll be much more up against the system itself.
So I think we look to the future while very strongly participating every day every moment in these ongoing occupies, occupations around the country.
Press TV: Can such a momentous task be achieved without a proper leadership of this movement?
Flounders: That’s the greatest difficulty, and it is an enormous difficulty. Because there is no one organization or leadership acknowledged at this time. But it makes the challenge the challenge all the greater to get there, and be part of the organization, the mobilizing and helping to shape the demands and direction in the future.
Press TV: Many say that having a specific set of demands and leadership may alienate some of its supporters that joined in because of its vague goals. Do you think that, given the magnitude of the resistance against this movement, can it afford to alienate its supporters?
Flounders: A leadership isn’t formed just by declaring it. And as I say, I see this as the first wave of protests. And this is true globally, not only here in the US.
When you look at the process in Egypt, when you look at the development in Europe, these are the first steps of millions of people saying, we do not accept the enormous cuts that are being demanded of us, in such rich societies.
When you look at the rebellion demonstrations going on in Greece, what happened in Spain, the rebellions that broke out in London.
All over the world you have people waking up and refusing to accept that they should live in poverty that their healthcare and their pension and education should be cut, to feed this tiny fraction of population that have so much money they don’t know what to do with it.
And they are pulling the entire global economy down. Now, that level of destabilization, will become clearer, and will force people to make more radical decisions, when we say this is the first wave of people waking up, worse things are coming in the economy and that will give rise to more powerful movements for change.
And new leadership will emerge from it. And that I am very confident, it is not there right now, and that is a great loss we wish for it, but it is not in our hands. We got to go into the streets and be building people’s organization, pulling forth more radical demands. And actually making demands, sometimes people are in the streets with discontent, raising their frustration and anger.
To focus this movement and also to broaden it, beyond many of the youths who are participating, they are all different kinds of the workers movements that are also now waking up.
You see workers in a contract that first marched down to these occupations, that means, that increasingly workers are thinking we should be occupying even our plants and places of work.
That when we are in contract negotiations we got to refuse to accept these ridiculous concessions that are being demanded of us, the same goes with students. Increasingly there are discussions of occupying the campuses, refusing to allow the tuition increases to go through.
So there are all kinds of demands on many different levels, that should be put forth and increasingly our people are discussing that on levels all over the country.
And that is new. I have to say, in the US, before this, the silence was the biggest problem. So I think we are going to go through a very uneven process. But rebelliousness is essential for a movement to grow.