News Release

Protests: “Another World Is Possible”

Reports indicate that today is seeing the largest Wall Street protest to date, see. For more information and for livestreaming see and see.

ARUN GUPTA,  ebrowniess at yahoo.com
A founding editor of the New York City based Indypendent, Gupta also helped found the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, cpanayotakis at google.com
Panayotakis is associate professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology at CUNY and author of the forthcoming book “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” He said today: “In Greece you have a strike today in reaction to the latest austerity package, which will mean the dismissal of thousands of public sector workers and the slashing of their salaries and benefits. An even larger general strike is coming in two weeks, while there are indications that the government may seek to reduce minimum salaries in the private sector while also liquidating collective bargaining rights.

“Also today, in the U.S., you have unions and other groups starting to meaning fully join the Occupy Wall Street movement. This development is a real blow to those who have been saying that the protests are misguided and protesters don’t know what they are talking about, since it broadens the movement and adds to its credibility. It also should encourage unions and other progressive groups to ratchet up their resistance — people in Europe and elsewhere have been wondering where the protests are in the U.S. and now they are finally manifesting themselves. They have some similarities to protests in Europe, including even the mode of protests, with the occupation of squares, and the practices of self-organization, including working groups that prepare food and collectively work to fulfill people’s day-to-day needs.

“What we are seeing is the outcome of the fact that capitalist markets cannot be trusted to lead to an efficient allocation of resources. They lead to a small elite having power, including over the political system and the culture and that does not serve most people in a meaningful way. What we need is economic democracy where ordinary people have a real say about the allocation of resources. You’ve seen some of this in Latin America, which was hit early by neoliberal free market policies. In Argentina, there was an economic crisis ten years ago and workers took over factories that were getting closed and began to run them democratically. You’ve also seen participatory budgeting that allows ordinary citizens and historically disenfranchised groups to have a larger say over public spending and public investment.

“Occupied and self-organized squares are living examples of the principle that ‘another world is possible.’ They are islands that obey a logic radically different from their surroundings. I experienced this last summer in Athens, where the central Syntagma square became a site of direct democracy that was a jarring contrast to a delegitimized Parliament, hated banks, the obligatory McDonald’s and the luxury hotels hosting the foreign diplomats and technocrats who dictate the austerity policies that turn life into hell, thereby driving Greeks into the streets.”

See Panayotakis’s articles: “Youth in Revolt”

Also: “Greeks on the Move: Capitalism’s Wreckage and the Demand for Real Democracy”