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'Occupy Frankfurt' protestors highlight inequality

The Local · 29 Oct 2011, 13:34

Published: 29 Oct 2011 13:34 GMT+02:00

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Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers that house some of Europe’s most powerful banking institutions, a committed core of protesters have huddled together in a small tent village to vocalize their opposition to what signs posted across their makeshift camp call the “dictatorship of the financial markets.”

Inspired by the demonstrations on Wall Street in New York, thousands of sympathizers have joined the Occupy Frankfurt movement and taken to the streets of Europe’s financial capital to protest growing social inequality in Germany and throughout the 17 member eurozone currency union.

As European leaders shuffled between summits last week in a bid to prevent the debt crisis in Athens from compromising the continent’s financial institutions, the Occupy protesters have hunkered down in front of the European Central Bank (ECB), the institutional nerve centre of the ailing eurozone.

“In principle it is about the injustice that is taking place, that the money that exists is very poorly distributed, and that a lot of people can live a lot better when a little more attention is paid,” said Daniel, a 24-year-old freelance IT worker who is participating in the demonstrations.

“We want to send a message to the politicians who at the moment are working against the people instead of for them.”

The growing disparity between the rich and poor is not the subjective impression of protestors like Daniel, but instead is a statistically proven reality, according to Dieter Rucht a sociologist at the Social Science Research Centre in Berlin.

Since German re-unification in 1990, the wages of lower earners has largely stagnated while the wealth of those with higher incomes has grown - a phenomenon confirmed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Many of those participating in Occupy Frankfurt believe this widening income disparity is a result of the failure to establish transparency and appropriate regulations over how banks and other financial institutions generate profits within the marketplace.

“The profits don’t benefit the people, but instead they all flow into the banks and the whole financial market is undemocratic,” said Linda, a 32-year-old environmental consultant.

“It’s unjust and undemocratic that the people cannot participate in the decision making. When decisions are made over money, it occurs separate from the democratic process.”

These profits do not come from nowhere, according to Zsolt Darvas, an economist with the think tank Bruegel in Brussels. They are generated through risks on investments made with the savings of ordinary citizens as well as the charges and fees associated with other banking and financial services.

As banks agree to take a 50 percent hit on Greek government bonds, European governments have promised recapitalisation – with state money if necessary. It is a phenomenon that has shaken the faith of many young Germans in the economic and political system they have come of age in.

“For me personally, there are only two differences between capitalism and communism, “said 19-year-old Thomas, a Frankfurt native who works in a hospital and is taking part in the demonstrations.

“In capitalism, the banks are nationalized only after they go bankrupt whereas under communism the banks are nationalized from the beginning and then go bankrupt.”

Story continues below…

In an era when a growing proportion of the wealth lies in the hands of a shrinking proportion of the population, the sociologist Rucht sees a crisis of trust among the Occupy demonstrators.

“The trust in the ability of career politicians and policymakers to solve problems has clearly sunken, which has been strengthened by the current developments because they promised three years ago that this wouldn’t happen again,” Rucht said. “That’s devastating for democracy.”

The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:04 October 29, 2011 by shahislam
Please tell others about these kind of great things Obama's Administration is doing as you can find attached at the bottom or just forward the copy to others and watch with patience, how the world evolves to be a better place for mankind everywhere. Barack just needs a little more time and support from US/ North-American citizens with global links.

So, I implore: please tell all the connections you have in USA and elsewhere with positive influence on US voters, to unconditionally support Barack for now and this party in the coming time. If we lose him, the world will head for only worse at this time of rapid transitions in global trades that's taking place, although expectations and ideas of 3rd world war by opportunist money hungry businessmen and brutal minded bad leaders will be rejected by the smarter collective wisdom of evolved global public.

There are always different scenes behind the mental pictures that we get from dishonestly controlled media -giants /moguls and then, from baseless hearsay-a vicious cycle.

Being envious of others' good-luck is not uncommon but when jealousy leads to killings or aimed at complete destruction of it's objects; it becomes a matter of sickness in human heads and 'too negativity charged crimes against humanity' get committed right-away, regardless of the strength of backing! Killings, assassinations etc. were part of old-style politics of uncivilized times!

Attached below what I just posted to ProPublica.com and some other World-class News papers:

If our policies abroad involves crimes against humanity by our leadership, the back fire is bound to reach our homeland too. We must respect God's presence among everything we humans do, especially when we honestly say "In God we trust".

We waste our valuable life time on worrying over nonsense things far away from facts as presented by easily available social tools of media giants, controlled by insatiably money hungry businessmen.

This is called politics for money and selfish power handling by small minded guys in world leadership.

Barack, a true friend of-yet unknown to everyday people of outside world, is doing a very hard work for ..........
14:17 October 29, 2011 by Sastry.M
While science, innovative technology and practical engineering all apply to strictly abide to the laws of natural creation, the mercantile laws of monetary transactions appear to fail in holding fort and always transcend all natural laws because of mind awarded values and rented virtues.
18:49 October 29, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ shahislam

' We waste our valuable life time on worrying over nonsense things far away from facts as presented by easily available social tools of media giants, controlled by insatiably money hungry businessmen. '

you must be confused about who Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are.

Worried about Corporate Dollars affecting policy? Which party do you think receives the most lobbyist dollars? Of the top 18 biggest lobbyists, how many donate to Dems and how many to Repubs?

Luckily, there is a website where you can find out.


Dishonest media Giants? Who do you think those media Giants/moguls were supporting in 2008, and again in 2012?
02:00 October 30, 2011 by jbaker
Obama is a pawn for the Rich Elite. Skin color or religious beliefs have nothing to do with integrity. This guy sold his soul years ago when he agreed to become a pawn for the controllers of this world.

I believe the Occupy Movement is a sham by big business to divert your attention from what is really going on in this world. At least half or more of the people attending these rallies are ignorant of what is really going on. Maybe it started with good intent, but I think it is controlled by outsiders.
06:52 October 30, 2011 by Sastry.M
In the 50's of last century someone sang a ending "I owned my soul to the company store". True to date in the 21'st.
20:16 October 30, 2011 by derExDeutsche
OWS and the bailouts are nothing but slight of hand to push things toward the 'New World Order' that the Government Cheerleaders and profiteers desire.
11:54 October 31, 2011 by hardly
I do not know the specifics for wealth equality and corporate elite dominating politics and the government in Germany, but in the U.S. the situation is a sad state. The general discontent and most criticisms put forward by the OWS protesters are lvalid and understandable. In the U.S. the movement seems to want to steer the politics and culture away from corporate dominance and seems to focus on less corrupt democracy. Only with time will we see if this discontent can be mobilized into an effective movement which deals with economic asymmetry and political corruption.
18:20 October 31, 2011 by jmclewis
The Occupy Protesters have a perfect right to protest but do they know what they are protesting? They say it is capitalism but under a capitalist system these banks would be allowed to fail. They should be against Faux Capitalism!
01:54 November 6, 2011 by rwk
Perhaps what is not apparent to many people is that the occupy movements have no central tenet. There are attempts at tactical organization on the ground in terms of survival and peace-keeping, but that's about it. Sure, there are many who claim to be organizers or somewhere in the hierarchy of some organization which many would wish to study, but they do not represent the rank-and-file. I've gone down to the demonstrations and have met people espousing almost every economic system possible. These demonstrations are not political parties in themselves, but political organizations will arise from them.
22:46 November 6, 2011 by wenddiver
We seem to have reached the conclusion that Socialism is bad for the Poor, but great for Millionaires and Bankers.

Capitalism for all or Capitallism for none, nobodey is to big to fail, at the very least the Government should give the Banks to the Citizens that paid for them. Why can we not distribute their assets to everybody in the form of Stock. That would make our Robber Barrons more careful when risking the Golden Goose.
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