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It's All Greek To Me

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The Greek Parliament agreed on new austerity measures to avoid sovereign default.

As the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and European Banks grapple with a plan to avoid the collapse of Greece, and the potential domino affect on Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy, the social unrest in Greece grows.

Austerity measures imposed by the European Central Bank are deep and damaging to the Greek people, striking at the most vulnerable citizens; sparking huge protests in the cradle of democracy.

The problems in Greece and southern european countries are microcosms of a problem throughout the world; financial destruction caused by a greedy, protected, unregulated banking system.

But, the anger and unrest are not confined to the socialistic states of Europe.

It is happening globally and the thirty year move to a Plutocratic Oligarchy is propagating class warfare.

The Arab Spring spread to Madison, Wisconsin, and Europe, and has now spread to the financial center of the United States; manifest in the growing protests on Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Street, a grass roots movement cultivated from the growing anger at banks and the financial sector, is taking roots and becoming a revolution; a peaceful revolt some are desperate to label 'class warfare.' Others argue that it's the culmination of 30 years of repression.

It is class warfare -- it's a class struggle between 99% of the population and the wealthiest 1% in the nation.

This has been a long time in the making and, though 'the people' had been too busy surviving to actively protest, they've had enough and have taken to the streets to express their discontent.

Those occupying Wall Street are frustrated by the role the financial sector played in the financial crisis -- causing the "Great Recession" which still weighs heavily on most Americans. They're incensed by the help banks, corporations, and the rich received from Congress, the Fed, and the Treasury at the expense of the middle class.

Help that widened the income gap despite the painful decline in the economy.

Income disparity is at its zenith; greater than the imbalances in the late 1920s. And we know what happened in the 30s.

While wages have remained relatively flat for hard-working Americans for three decades, the wealthiest have seen their wages grow dramatically. CEOs in the 70s made 35 to 50 times the average employee at S&P 500 corporations. Most now make 263 times the average salary of their employees and many are making 400 to 500 times the median income. The median income for CEOs in 2010 was $11 million.

The middle class in the U.S. has all but eroded and the number of families sliding into poverty is rapidly increasing, climbing to 15.1 percent last year, the highest level since 1993.

This growing occupation of Wall Street is not just spawned by the widening disparity between the classes, nor is it focused on Wall Street alone.

It's directed at a system that is broken; concern about the offshoring of jobs, persistent levels of unemployment and lack of job prospects, the bonuses banksters received, the Bush tax cuts benefitting the rich, and the fact that no one has gone to prison for causing the financial crisis.

One of the criticisms of the "Occupy" movement is the lack of a cohesive message. True, it doesn't have a singular focus, nor a singular demand, but that's the beauty of the movement.

But there is clarity.

Clarity that there are a multitude of intolerable problems we face and a growing lucidity of who caused them!

Congress doesn't yet know how to deal with the protests, reluctant to recognize it as the populist uprising against the policies of their own making. Denying their complicity in fueling the protester's collective anger will be political suicide.

The message will become clearer as the protests grow to Occupy Everywhere -- including the massive gathering in cities like Portland and other cities around the country.

Whether you call it class warfare or by some other name, the struggle initiated by banks, corporations, the wealthy, and Congress is "real" -- the unintended consequence of their rapacious greed and arrogance. Or, as Paul Krugman wrote, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, it is a push-back against "the malefactors of wealth."

Occupy Wall Street's growth is organic. It is broad based and is spreading like the protests in Europe.

The growing global unrest will continue until the disparity between the 1% and the rest of us is brought into balance and a vibrant middle class is reinstated throughout the world.