Wall Street, Flooded

Yesterday and for the second day in a row, thousands of demonstrators protested on Wall Street, the financial district of New York and the center of the world’s finances, to denounce the connection between capital speculation and global climate change, as well as to request that world leaders take decisive and urgent action to stop climate change. Even though Sunday’s demonstration broke an attendance record —approximately 300,000 people were present — the one that took place yesterday, which was much smaller and was performed against an injunction placed by the New York City police, shows a sort of continuity, what seems to be a third incarnation of the global protests against the prevailing economic model in most countries.

In effect, the last decade of the past century saw the rise of the alter-globalization movements —derisively called globalophobics by former President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León — which spawned alternative forums opposed to the great meetings of the economic, financial and commercial world elite. In the following years, we saw the development of social expressions through political movements specific to each nation, articulating the people’s discontent regarding predatory economic strategies — as was the case with the Spanish indignados, Occupy Wall Street, and to some extent, #YoSoy132 in Mexico. There were clear differences between these protest movements and the so-called “Arab Spring,” but there was also common ground, such as the enthronement of social media as a stage and as an indispensable instrument for political action.

The demonstrations currently taking place on Wall Street also add environmental consciousness to the list of grievances against an economic model that has caused misery, inequality and re-occurring crises, and against democratic structures of formality that have twisted the principle of representation into a simulation, and which cover up a growing authoritarianism, the gradual destruction of social and individual rights, and the concentration of power into small corporate-political cabals that soar over the will of society.

The link between these three spheres — economic, political and environmental — is impossible to ignore: in effect, the subservience of the formal political powers to the orders of capital- and international-financial bodies put in place the savage liberalism that rules world finance and commerce, and is also due to the distortion of democratic institutions. Supporting the system are the rule of high financial turnover, which in turn requires social and environmental predation, overexploitation of populations and natural resources — particularly in peripheral nations and developing countries — the regular violation of legal frameworks, push for irrational purchase patterns and the massive production of trash, which is not exactly an added value.

In short, the protests currently taking place on Wall Street are clearly applying pressure in order to stop the environmental summit starting today in New York — that will bring together over 120 heads of government and state — from becoming just another simulation. Let’s hope they’re successful.

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