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Friday, October 24 2014 @ 06:51 PM CDT

Searching for Sustainable Models of Activism, 2 Years After Occupy

Occupy Wall Street

While economists are celebrating a tenuous recovery five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, this week’s U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty provided a sobering statistic: 15 percent of Americans are poor, a number that has remained the same since last year. It seems recovery is for the rich; the well-being of poor Americans does not enter into the equation of how we measure national wealth.

Searching for Sustainable Models of Activism, 2 Years After Occupy

By Sonali Kolhatkar
Truthdig

While economists are celebrating a tenuous recovery five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, this week’s U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty provided a sobering statistic: 15 percent of Americans are poor, a number that has remained the same since last year. It seems recovery is for the rich; the well-being of poor Americans does not enter into the equation of how we measure national wealth.

Meanwhile, Lehman executives who were responsible for triggering the Great Recession are back at work, most of them in Wall Street firms, comfortably ensconced in the income brackets of the 1 percent.

Despite public outrage over the crimes of Wall Street executives, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation was quietly swept under the rug and not a single Lehman employee was prosecuted. Huffington Post senior financial writer Ben Hallman told me in an interview that “we’ve seen again and again throughout the financial crisis that [government] authorities have been ... extremely, overly cautious when it comes to bringing charges. ... There’s been a real risk aversion among federal prosecutors to bring up these types of cases.”

After Lehman’s collapse, it took three years for people to get mad enough about the injustices of American capitalism and lack of government accountability to take to the streets. Two days after the fifth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ collapse on Sept. 15 was the second anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The OWS movement spread rapidly in 2011 across the nation to cities large and small, and popularized the notion that we, Americans, are the 99 percent—the majority who are left out of the spoils of capitalism, and hit hardest by the unethical and greed-driven practices of Wall Street’s 1 percent.

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