From Greece to Alaska, the Word is Occupy
by Mark Riley
posted Oct 19 2011 10:01AM
The two day general strike in Greece may not be directly related to the Occupy Wall. St. movement, but it would be tough to argue the common spirit that drives both. Another thread of the same spirit is on a lonely piece of tundra in Alaska, where a woman and three rescue dogs have taken up the call. But first, to Greece.
At issue is a set of austerity measures that would warm the cockles of John Boehner's heart. Cuts to wages, pension and healthcare benefits are included, as well as a 20-25% downsizing of the nation's public workforce. All this is the name of pleasing Euro Zone leaders, who in turn want to please bankers holding Greek paper. While the US doesn't hold much, French and German banks do, and US banks hold plenty of paper from those two systems. Hence, the US "concern"
The monkey wrench in this race to the bottom is the collective resistance of Greek workers. The strike, which began Wednesday, has brought the nation to a screeching halt. No government departments, no customs workers and therefore no air service, even bakeries and retail shops are joining the protest, which is scheduled to culminate in mass demonstrations outside parliament. There's a vote on the latest round of austerity measures set for Thursday, and it's anybody's guess if they'll pass.
Here's the problem: Greek workers feel they've given enough, that austerity is being implemented on their collective backs. They're also tired of being called lazy unproductive, and overpaid. That's why more than 150,000 of them are expected to protest. Of course, they're right. The question is, will their government hear them?
While Greeks are taking to the street, one woman in Alaska took to the tundra earlier this month. Her name is Diane McEachern an academic from Bethel, a small town far removed from the high profile Occpy Wall St. protest elsewhere around the world. But there she is, in a photo with her three dogs, standing on the tunrda near her home. Her words bear repeating.
"Lonely vigil in remote Alaska. I'm wearing muskox neck warmer and I am a woman. The day is chill. The sentiment is solid. Find your spot. Occupy it Even if it is only in your own mind. Keep this going". She holds a single protest sign saying "Occupy the Tundra".
Like her counterparts on Wall St. Diane McEachern may be on to something. A co-worker has offered to join her this weekend.
And like those folks in New York and in Greece, she deserves to be saluted.