The protests in Wisconsin or the Occupy movement were a response to the growing inequalty and injustice in the US, says Goodman. "Our country has become more and more unequal by the day, one of the most unequal countries in the world. It is extremely serious". But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats wanted to change this political trajectory. For instance president Obama blocked a reform toward a universal health care system a majority of the American population is asking for. At the same time Obama surounds himself with bankers so that they are protected against criminal prosecution. "There has to be a tipping point and I think we're going to see that. And I think the Occupy movement was only the tip of that tipping point."
Amy Goodman: founder, producer and host of the newscast Democracy Now, Right Livelihood Award laureate, author of "The Silenced Majority", New York City
David Goessmann: When the financial crisis broke out in 2008, the people in the United States seemed to be in a kind of shock, while in Europe and also in the Arab world, people went to the streets and protested. Then Wisconsin and the Occupy movement appeared. What is the significance of this protest, what triggered them and where are they heading?
Amy Goodman: First you had the Arab spring. It had a tremendous effect in the Middle East and around the world. This young man, Mohammed Bouazizi, in Tunesia who set himself on fire because he has no opportunity and he is being harassed by authorities in the workplace they take his scale and all he can do is sell roots and vegetables. That frustration, the reason he burned himself alive, was the spark that ignited the Tunesian revolution. That rolled over into the Egyptian revolution and around the Middle East. And then there was Wisconsin. In Wisconsin a Republican governor had been elected, elected by most people. But then he did something he did not say he was going to do during his election: He went after the public unions and he said I'm going after the teachers and the nurses to bear the brunt of the debt of the deficit. He told the Police and Firefighters not to worry, that he would go for the teachers and the nurses. And they said "No". If you're going after the teachers and the nurses then you're going after us. And they stood with the teachers and the nurses and this mass-uprinsing took place. A 150.000 people in Madison, Wisconsin, on the state capital grounds and then they occupied the capital building and they slept there and the Police protected them. We have not seen anything like this. Wisconsin did not see anything like this and Wisconsin was the home of the major public unions 50 years before. It is also home of the John Birch Society, which was co-founded by the father of the Koch-brothers. Charles and David Koch were the billionaire funders who are funding the extreme right, the Tea-Party and others in this country in a time when we're just seeing money drown democracy in the United States. So this uprising was an uprising that captured the imagination of people all over the country. And then came Occupy: It started 9/17 in New York, but of course started before that, but they occupied Zuccotti Park. Young people just so frustrated as the inequality in this country continues to escalate and snowball. And that too, people of every walk of life went down and they started occupying their town-squares and saying: "We need a voice, we are the 99%", while the corporate media first didn't cover it at all, and then started to ridicule it. But you know what Ghandi says: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". That's exactly what took place. The media first absolutely ignored it, second they ridiculed it: "What are those people's messages? Everyone has a different message, really". Any Madison Avenue advertising executive would be drooling to have been the one to come up with this term "We are the 99%". That captured people across the political spectrum. So many people said "Yes, that rings true for me". I went to Occupy encampments all over the country, from Oakland, California to Louisville, Kentucky. In Louisville the encampment was right next to the jail. When I came there at midnight people started to come out of their tents and the first person to come out was a veteran of the gulf war. And the next person he had just served in Iraq and I said to him: "What are you doing here?". And he said: "I served my country in Iraq and now I'm serving my country here." When I told that story, someone said to me: "He should have said: I served the 1% in Iraq, now I am serving the 99% here." But to hear these voices of people so deeply frustrated, who are hearing that sucking sound of the wealth from the bottom that's going to the top faster and faster. Our country has become more and more unequal by the day, one of the most unequal countries in the world. It is extremely serious and the question is: Are the Democrats taking any different views than the Republicans on this? Here, you have President Obama, who, I think, campaigned on the issue of equality, and yet he surrounds himself by the bankers and their supporters in the same way President Bush did. So they are protected and even as they commit massive crimes, stealing how many billions of dollars from people, those that can least afford it - who is going to jail ? Instead they walk the corridors of power in Washington and they continue to give money, so that they won't end up in jail. They determine the way the laws are written and not written. And that is not the way it's supposed to be and it's going to change. But we need media that reflects the views of the majority of people in this country, not this minority elite. And when I say minority I don't mean people of colour.
David Goessmann: If you look at the polls people in the US don’t want tax brakes for the rich, they favor a single payer health care system, they rather want the money go to infrastructure and social programs than to the military and wars, they are afraid of climate change. Talk about what people want in this country.
Amy Goodman: On the one hand there are two different views competing, that there needs to be social security and Medicare, some kind of national healthcare system, but you can't say Obama has put forward a national healthcare system and that is what is so frustrating for many. Because polls show, when explained, people are for Medicare for all. We have a law in the United States that people who are over 65 have healthcare the way European countries have it. Different versions of it, but basically they are covered. All you would have to do is take out those two words - over 65 - and that would be health care for everyone. But that was never proposed by the Democrats, they said, what we call the public option, was off the table. So what we have preserved is a kind of patchwork that gives tremendous amounts of money to private insurance companies as well as the drug companies and it is very easily attacked. On the other hand you have the Republicans who want to end even what we have established over the last half a century under Franklin Delano Roosevelt after the great depression to get us out of the great depression. And that is social security, and that is Medicare, and that is Medicaid for the poor, Medicare for senior citizens. And that's what they're attacking, they're saying "Better to put it into the stock market", and we see what happened to the stock market. We are talking about people’s lives. They can least afford to figure out where to invest, when they're older, when they're poor, that's when they're supposed to get some money from the government and figure out where to put that money. I think there is a majority already on all of these issues. To separate commercial from investment banks, so people's money is not riskily invested. To have a healthcare system, like a public education system, and that's been threatened as well. Where people have basic rights and then when you want something extra that's your choice. Eductaion, healthcare. But that is being challenged, because large corporations want to privatise the world. And they have the upper hand in the United States with the Surpreme Court ruling. But people are deeply concerned and there has to be a tipping point and I think we're going to see that. And I think the Occupy movement was only the tip of that tipping point.