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3 Oct, 2011 19:37

‘US protests might turn explosive’

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is gaining force across the United States, and the situation in the country has the potential to become explosive, anti-war activist and journalist Don Debar told RT.

“This movement was joined by unions this past weekend in New York City, and coming up, even the Working Families Party in New York is planning this Wednesday to join with the protesters,” he said. “Student organizations around the country are starting to organize both with the protesters in their cities’ downtowns and also on campuses.” “This has the potential – in an environment where people are frightened and have no confidence in their institutions – of becoming explosive,” Debar added.  According to the activist, many Americans are currently experiencing hard times making ends meet, and this further fuels dissent. “They are in horrible economic straits, [and have] no confidence in the political institutions – the polling data for Congress is between 15 and 20 percent positive,” he said. “Their condition is such that 65 percent were polled as saying that they have less than a $1,000 in case of an emergency… and they have no healthcare.” Debar said that police violence during protests in New York will have a serious effect on the American population. According to him, with the American middle class now getting hit by “the wrong end of the billy club,” perceptions of power will inevitably change. “You are going to see a huge turnaround in the public’s perception of where they stand in relation to the power structure as a direct consequence of the police beating people up for making legitimate demands – basically, for the right to live in security,” he said.

Brooklyn College associate professor Alex Vitale told RT that the protestors want serious, long-term reforms from the government. “I think that they are looking for long-term solutions,” he said. “I do not think they have a set of short-term measures that they are appealing to the government to address. I think a large part of what they are trying to do is to create a political climate where a number of political actors can start to talk seriously about significant reforms that hopefully can break up this kind of corrupt marriage between the economic and political elites in the United States.”