Occupy Wall Street Rides Again

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readApr 29, 2022

Student loan debt forgiveness was a core principle of OWS and the Biden Administration is seriously considering it.

The second-year anniversary of OWS: shot in Washington Square Park and near the UN Building (and, later, en route to Bryant Square Park) September, 2013. (photo: Timothy Krause)

Right around the time Washington bailed out big banks in 2008, average American job seekers were already just about fed up.

Considering the 2022 success of Amazon employees in unionizing, all these many years later- in spite of the enormous company’s best efforts to prevent it- workers of the world may have had a point way back in 2008.

With the benefit of hindsight, hindsight and more hindsight- plus post-pandemic and post-Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hindsight- we can see clearly some of the key downsides of globalization which were only just becoming clear in 2008.

The contrast between what was meant to happen and what has actually happened is clearer to us now in 2022. In 2008, the long-term impacts of U.S. globalization weren’t yet fully realized.

In 2008, right around the time big banks got their bailout, the American economy, and in particular the working class, were already beginning to feel the strain.

Major policy shifts, like NAFTA and opening trade with China, sometimes take decades to be fully felt by society. And so it proved with these well-meaning U.S. efforts, backed by both parties, at globalization.

By 2008, the downsides were becoming clear, and they weren’t at all good. On one hand, American consumers had access to more cheaply made, mass-produced goods than ever before. On the other, the disaster trade agreements like NAFTA and others wrought on small-town America began to emerge in earnest.

Factory jobs disappeared, dried up. Methamphetamines, opioids and now fentanyl moved in and laid waste to families and communities, lowering the life expectancy for whole demographic groups.

It would have been one thing if these good paying U.S. factory jobs had been lavished on other countries to their benefit. But instead of fulfilling the great promise of globalization, some major U.S. corporations used the opportunity to offshore their manufacturing centers in order to exploit low-wage workers and lax regulatory environments in emerging nations.