I mentioned the musician Tom Morello, who had appeared on Bill Maher recently, discussing social issues. I was so impressed with his genuine concern for societal imbalance and dedication to several causes.
Morello spoke of the "occupation of Wall Street" by folks who had just had enough. One member of the panel belittled the protesters, claiming there were only a handful, but clearly there are more than he would have liked us to believe.
In fact, at least 800 were arrested, and the numbers are rising, not only of arrests but of demonstrators.
The group, called Occupy Wall Street, has been protesting against the finance industry and other issues by camping out in Zuccotti park in New York. During the afternoon a long line of protesters numbering several thousand snaked through the streets towards the landmark bridge across the East River with the aim of ending at a Brooklyn park.
However, during the march across the bridge groups of protesters sat down or strayed into the road from the pedestrian pathway. They were then arrested in large numbers, and held for several hours, by officers who were part of a heavy police presence shepherding the march along its path. At one stage 500 protesters were blocked off by police on the bridge. At least one journalist, freelancer Natasha Lennard for the New York Times, was among those arrested.
The protesters then took their march to police headquarters.
Erin Larkins, a Columbia University graduate student who says she and her boyfriend have significant student loan debt, was among the thousands of protesters on the bridge. She said a friend persuaded her to join the march and she's glad she did. "I don't think we're asking for much, just to wake up every morning not worrying whether we can pay the rent, or whether our next meal will be rice and beans again".
400 of America's wealthiest citizens, have more money than the bottom 155 million combined. Yet when Wall Street gambled and lost, they were bailed out, while thousands at the bottom were thrown out.
Thrown out of their jobs, out their homes and out of the government's concern.
I'm pleased to learn that a similar protest is planned for Canada.
Inspired by protesters along Wall Street and in other U.S. cities, hundreds are expected to occupy Toronto's Bay Street in two weeks to air their various grievances against the financial system and its wealthiest companies. The protest near Wall Street in New York is entering its third week, and doesn't appear to be slowing down. In fact, a police crackdown has only emboldened protesters and some are now expecting the "occupation" to continue into the winter.
The organizers of Occupy Toronto plan to descend on King and Bay Streets on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15 to set a base of operation to prepare for a march on that Monday. Organizers hope the occupation will last into the following week.
It's all we have now.
Michael Moore was also a guest on the program and his discussion with Morello turned toward citizen activism. They agreed that it would just take one person. One "last" person.
The last person to be thrown out of their home. The last person to lose their job to outsourcing or downsizing. The last person to be refused medical treatment because their insurance didn't cover it.
Rosa Parks was the last person, symbolically speaking, to move to the back of the bus, simply because she was black, and she sparked the Civil Rights movement.
In Canada, wonderful little Brigette Depape, stood alone against Stephen Harper and the Senate. She took a beating from the media and a dressing down from Senator David Tkachuk, one of the sorriest excuses for a human being who ever lived.
Yet Tkachuk prevailed. We chose corrupt not courageous.
In July Kai Nagata quit his job as CTV's Quebec City Bureau Chief, over the state of the Canadian media, and their refusal to sound the alarm over the Harper Doctrine, a rehash of the Bush Doctrine.
But the media is still spinning themselves silly, afraid to stop, fearing they might land on a real political news story. There are exceptions, but sadly, too few.
So if you're tired of corporate tax breaks, deregulation that threatens our environment, and the constant pandering to the rich, join the protest on October 15.
For heaven sake, a former Goldman-Sachs employee is now running the Bank of Canada. Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper have signed us on to new accounting rules that allow corporations to lie and cheat, without penalty, while toughening laws against far weaker, and less damaging, criminal acts.
When are we going to say enough is enough? Who will be our "last"?