The Occupy movement has sharpened the focus of Americans on the unfair economy and wealth divide to the point where institutionalized systems are weakening.
Press TV talks with Kevin Zeese, organizer of the Occupy Washington DC. in Baltimore about the worsening economic and social situation in America where police are being forced to trample on the constitutional rights of peaceful protesters and how the awareness of the Occupy movement is weakening the one percent’s hold over society. Following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Looking at the police tactics it’s been said that this is police state violence, which has been accompanied by mass arrests, which have included violence with everything from teargas to rubber bullets? And many people are asking – is this what democracy looks like?
Kevin Zeese: This is what democracy has looked like in the US for many many years. People recall the violence used against civil rights protesters; they recall the history of the union movement where there was a lot of violence as well, Usually when this kind of state based violence occurs it is a sign that we’re winning.
The Occupy movement has sharpened the focus on the immense wealth divide; A wealth divide where the top 400 people have the amount of wealth of 150 million Americans; Where those 400 people pay an average federal tax of 17.4 percent whereas the rest of Americans pay 30 percent.
The unfairness in the economy and the insecurity in America economy is pushing this movement forward. What it is doing is sharpening the focus on our wealth divide and sharpening the focus on the fact that government and the economy are ruled by compensatory law. And that compensatory law that rules the capitalist system needs to be dismantled and transformed into a much more participatory democracy both in our economy and in our government.
I think that the people in power the economic and political sphere are using the police force to try and stamp out this debate. That’s not going to work. The toothpaste is out of the can and we’re not going to let it back in.
Press TV: You very well pointed out what the Occupy movement in essence stands for. But what has it revealed after three months? Would you agree that this repression that has been going on has revealed a basic truth that democratic rights are incompatible with a system in the Us in which society’s wealth is monopolized by the richest one percent?
Kevin Zeese: Yes. The concentration of wealth we have in the US where one percent of people has the equal of what 95 percent have – you really don’t have a democracy; the people in our electoral system is dominated by money. I think what we have right now is pretty much a mirage democracy and we’re we can only choose from corporate-approved candidates who are funded by the corporation … so we don’t get a real choice of candidates – it’s a mirage.
I think that can change and I think other analysts are right that these protests are going to get bigger and stronger. We’re also seeing cracks in the police support groups. I did an article on OWSnews.org today about the police who are now supporting the Occupy movement; there is now an Occupy Police.org organization developing.
You can see that some police are confused to follow orders to arrest Occupiers. In Europe we saw them using pepper spray, but they’re not using pepper spray here. So they are part of the divide; we’ve been working closely with the police to make sure they treat us fairly – We treat them as part of the 99 percent; we know that their healthcare is threatened; their pensions are threatened; they’re working without a contract so they’re suffering from the same economic as we are now.
Of course, they do work for the one percent so we have to see what will happen. But at some critical point they will say ‘no’ to the one percent and that they’re not going to go against these peaceful protesters that are just exercising their constitutional rights… the law will revolt at a key moment…
Press TV: Are you seeing protesters coming to realize that a revolution is what is going to be required when you look at the disparity and inequality that exists?
Kevin Zeese: I think the majority of people are fed up with unfair economy, the wealth divide, the compensatory law, and the influence over elections. This has been coming for a long time I think for decades… your other guest has it right; you can’t have both democracy and concentrated wealth.
The US has a very sophisticated propaganda system and it includes the electoral system, but rather than a one party dictator like a Mubarak, you have a two party system where you throw the bums out, get new bums in, throw them out and you think they’re making change, but they’re not.
Propaganda in the media – very concentrated and powerful with mergers and acquisitions you have newspapers of a half dozen outlets so you have a very concentrated corporate media that dominates. But all these things are weakening. We see a rise in independent media where people are blogging from their own resources… it’s a democratized system where any person can be an outlet; social networks; the i-phone becoming a live TV channel.
And you see now the weakening of the electoral system with very low levels of support for both political parties; low levels of support for the president and for Congress. People want an alternative to the two party dictatorship.
The economic insecurity – where students come out of college with 2,000 a month in student debt; fro the elderly who won’t have a decent living in poverty in retirement because social security is so poorly funded.
You have a middle class who need jobs and are unable to get help. As a result, people are feeling the pain and now they’re starting to react. And you see this Occupy movement as an example of what will follow.