A global awakening
In Egypt, a leader was taken down. In Libya, leader hangs on, but barely. In Greece, as many as 30,000 protesters came out last month- angry at the ongoing austerity measures imposed by the government there. In Portugal late last year, it was the same thing.And in this country, Wisconsin remains at the crux of a fight described by many as the battle between the haves and have-not.There, the governor wants to take away collective bargaining rights of the public workers. Well it turns out it’s not just police and firefighters, people whose job it is to protect and serve Americans, who are fighting back.It’s also those whose job it is to care for Americans, as evidenced over the last few days in front of the Washington Hospital Center.It’s not only the biggest hospital in Washington DC, but also has a level one trauma center, which means the patients that come through are often the most serious cases.They say the company that runs the hospital, Medstar, is operating on the cheap.“Nurses have about 6 patients, especially at night, 6-8 patients that’s way too many. These patients cannot move, do not get out of bed, do not walk around. And I think there is a huge problem with safety,” said Sharon Chrobak, a nurse there.They’ve been without a contract for nine months and are locked out of the hospital as other nurses had to be bused in to care for the patients here, as they strike.Some say the most frustrating thing is the sharp difference between those who run the hospital from the board room, and those who actually run it from the emergency rooms and patient rooms.“Traditionally, CEO pensions and wages are about 300 times what the average worker makes, and it’s the average worker that’s putting the product on the street and doing the job,” said Doug Menapace, a Union member with the United Food and Commercial Workers. “And it’s just amazing that corporate profits have come in front of worker welfare.”Corporate profits versus worker welfare: you could say it sums up most of the major conflicts.But at what point are words not enough? Over the last few months there have been stunning pictures. Lawmakers like Dennis Kucinich have come out to show their support for the movements. “This is an important moment in history,” said Rep. Kucinich (D-OH).“This is a moment where we must stand up and speak out.” It’s evident that people are indeed speaking out more, but will those speaking out, whether in Wisconsin, Egypt, or on the streets of DC, achieve a fundamental change in the system?