"Take this message to my brother
You will find him…everywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty’s despair
Are you…telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see "

Brothers ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’- Lyrics


After initially ignoring the whole thing,
the giants of Media have now turned their focus to the so far loosely-organized
demonstrations against Wall Street Greed.
Or, in favor of labor unions. Or,
because a hell of a lot of people are gathered near Wall Street, visibly upset
about the effects of this dreadful economy.
Or, something . . .

As usual, in dire economic times,
people take to the streets, and people have been doing so for a long, long
time. What became known as Coxey’s Army
(official name, the not-too-catchy: Army
of the Commonweal in Christ
), was a march of protest by unemployed people
on Washington DC back in 1894, during year #2 (following the Panic of 1893) of
the, at the time, worst economic depression ever to befall this country, led by
Populist, Jacob Coxey. The homey
expression: "Enough food to feed Coxey’s Army" got its name from this
march of the unemployed.

Coxey led another, second march in
1914. Some saw political symbolism in
the Wizard of Oz story and movie in light of Coxey’s Army’s marches: when Dorothy marched on the yellow brick road
to Oz, her companions, the Scarecrow (American farmers) and the TinMan (American
industrial workers), joined her in the trip to Oz (Washington, DC) to demand
relief from the Wizard (the US President) – even Dorothy’s shoes are thought to
symbolize the move to use free silver instead of the gold standard (reflected
in the yellow brick road), because it was the shortage of gold to which some
attributed the Panic of 1893. You can
see, or not see, that symbolism, just like you can start playing Pink Floyd’s
classic album: ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ when the MGM lion roars at the start of
the film, and the entire album will provide a seamless musical score to the
classic film – and John was the

Next, came Cox’s Army, formed by Father
James Renshaw Cox (1886 – 1951) a Catholic Priest from Pittsburgh, who led a
march of 25,000 unemployed people from Pennsylvania on Washington DC in January
1932, during the Great Depression, the largest demonstration in American
history up to that date – hoping to convince Congress to create a public works
program, and also to increase the inheritance tax to 70%. This march so embarrassed then President
Herbert Hoover that Hoover launched a congressional investigation of Cox,
enraged to find out how these people could buy the gas to make the march to
Washington – when Hoover found out that his Treasury Secretary, Andrew Mellon,
had allowed his Gulf gas stations to give free gas to the Cox’s Army marchers,
that was the end of Mellon’s cabinet position.
The march helped create the Jobless Party, which wanted to run Cox for
President in 1932, until he pulled out of the race to throw his support behind
FDR and the Democrats.

Fast forward to our 21stC, and ever
since the darkest hours of the Fall of 2008, when the you-know-what hit the
economic fan, one wondered (at least, I did), when those hardest hit by these
grim economic times would take it to the streets in some form of protest. After watching the Arab Spring on all our
bigscreen TV’s, followed by protests in European countries over their own
economic miseries, austerity, and the future of the Euro, it was only a matter
of time. The Take Back Wall Street
protests in lower Manhattan began a few weeks ago. For a while, only Michael Moore’s voice was
heard as the giants of Media simply ignored it, until a member of the NYPD got
a bit carried away and pepper-sprayed a few completely innocent and harmless
women for the crime of ‘being there,‘ followed by arrests of those videotaping,
and last weekend, some 700, for the crime of walking across the Brooklyn

This movement has now gone viral –
there is a group in downtown LA, who have made a home on the sidewalks around
City Hall – the group in lower Manhattan is receiving a lot of mature and
well-thought advice and is slowly organizing itself, but, other than Moore, no
leader has coalesced, like was the case with Coxey’s and then Cox’s Armies.

Now the labor unions have joined,
as have some college students, and cries to strike and to organize these street
protests all across America, have grown loud and frequent, while the Media has
finally caught on, the Today show being broadcast from the site of the
demonstrations in NYC last Thursday morning.

what are they protesting?
Well, that
is being focused now by a number of people from academia, the unions and others
who are joining the bandwagon. The polls
show that the concept of the ‘millionaire’s tax’ enjoys the support of a large
majority of those polls. The dangers of
the gulf between rich and poor continuing to widen is, obviously, center-stage
– the protesters chant: ‘we’re the 99%,’ playing
off the frequently bandied-about statistic that the wealth enjoyed by 1% of our
nation exceeds that of the other 99%, combined – whether right or wrong,
accurate or inaccurate, these things no longer matter. The public is angry and now has a voice, of

Some commentators have now opined
that this still amorphous movement against Wall Street, against Greed, and to
tax the millionaires, is the Left’s version of the Tea Party, and some Tea
Party commentators have even expressed approval of this burgeoning movement,
suggesting a possible locking of arms from way off one side of the proverbial
aisle with way off the other side.
Politics proves over and over that it does indeed make for strange

Both major parties, however, are threatened –
this movement is not especially good for Republicans or for Democrats, and it
could well spawn a third party, as Cox’s Army spawned the Jobless Party in the
30’s, before they threw their weight behind FDR. It is all happening so fast that major Media
was caught a bit unprepared, but, their focus is now firmly locked – we will be hearing a lot more about this
movement as it continues to take off in the public imagination. May it stay peaceful.