US protesters target the rich

2011-10-12 07:50

New York - Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters marched on the New York homes of wealthy executives on Tuesday, triggering one of their targets, billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, to defend his wealth.

Around 500 people marched through Manhattan's Upper East Side, passing the high-rise buildings where many of the executives live. Among them are Paulson, global media mogul Rupert Murdoch, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon and David Koch, co-founder of energy firm Koch Industries.

The protesters chanted "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out" and "Hey you billionaires, pay your fair share" and carried signs that read "Stop robbing from the middle class to pay the rich" and "We are the 99%," a reference to the idea that the top 1% of Americans have too much.

Mustafa Ibrahim, 23, an engineer marched on the "Billionaire's Tour" during a visit to New York from Cairo, where he said he was arrested during a popular uprising this year which toppled Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

"It's pretty much the same thing as Egypt," Ibrahim said. "The problem is the rich keep getting richer and the poor are getting poorer."

Protesting against bank bail-outs

Since September 17 protesters have been camped out in a park in Lower Manhattan near Wall Street, rallying against bailouts for banks during the recession, which allowed them to earn huge profits while average Americans suffer high unemployment and job insecurity with little help.

As protesters took their grievances to the homes of the rich, the Paulson & Co hedge fund defended its status.

Paulson took home $5bn in 2010, the hedge fund industry's biggest ever paycheck, but this year one of his main funds has fallen 47% after he mistimed a call that the economy would recover strongly.

"The top 1% of New Yorkers pay over 40% of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state," Paulson & Co said in a statement, adding that New York has the highest income taxes of any US states.

"Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City and continue to grow," it said.

Planned global protests

The Occupy Wall Street movement is burgeoning ahead of planned global protests on Saturday. On Wednesday, the Service Employees International Union will march on New York City's financial district for good jobs, while US college students plan solidarity protests on Thursday on at least 56 campuses.

According to Occupy Together, which has become an online hub for protest activity, the Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked rallies in more than 1 400 cities throughout the United States and around the world.

Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein cancelled a talk at New York's Barnard College, and though the company - which received and repaid a big federal bailout during the financial crisis - said a scheduling conflict would keep him away, students from nearby Columbia University were planning to protest his appearance.

"Don't look at the Arab spring, look here because things are going to boil over," said protester Charles Evans, 62, as he marched on the "Billionaire's Tour."

Fifth Avenue resident Lorna Goldberg, 57, said she was surprised to see the protesters near her home. "But I guess they're getting their point across by coming here," she added.

Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, last week likened the growth of the protest movement to the grass-roots Tea Party, but the conservative group on Tuesday sought to distance itself from the protesters.

The Tea Party Patriots said in a statement that its supporters were "not lawbreakers, they don't hate the police, they don't even litter." 

  • Libertador - 2011-10-12 08:44

    The US is beginning to resemble a medieval European feudal state, ruled by a handful of 'aristocrats' rich of the back of the toiling mass of 'serfs', in a violent and insecure realm where dissent is not tolerated. That sounds like hyperbole, but is it that far from the truth...? The wealth-transfer to the super-rich continues unabated.

      Badballie - 2011-10-12 12:57

      We have always worked under the feudal state, it was just repackaged as "democracy" and sold to us as freedom. in the words of Benjamin Franklin "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" Any system that requires the upper classes to pay tax at the same rate as the middle class needs to be overthrown by the people by force if necessary, Democracy is a lie used by the rich to placate the poor when in fact; Many governments allow their citizens to vote, but the vote is hollow as the candidates are all from the same class strata. The citizens are told they are controlling the country, but as they cannot get members of all the classes on the ballot, they in fact are continuing to hand the wand of power to the uppers classes, time and again. Thus, to some degree, they remain slaves to the upper classes, which determine where employment can be gained, the compensation for this employment, and control behavior by threatening to black-list any who don't obey their rules. The US the so called protector of the innocent is guilty of more human rights violation than any other country, including Nazi Germany, in the world. Civil liberties were suspended after the 9/11 attacks and has never been re-instated, so although the average man doesn't even realize it the US has effectively been a military run slave camp for the last 10 years

  • Lovenergy - 2011-10-12 09:30

    No USA, they are not part of any political party, they are just gatvol of the "system" you keep on forcing down their troughts. It's the downfall of greed, get ready

  • yaris 1 - 2011-10-12 10:39

    the masses are awaking to these international bankers. the de rothchilds and co. there biggest fear is that the masses become enlightened.they have caused wars and revolutions. from before the ww2. go check how many of these guys had name changes. george soros real surname is strauss. why was it changed. who groomed condo rice and madeline albright. check what her dads name is. these people are rats that should be in the court in the hague they cause all these human rights abuse. but israel get away with murder.

  • analyse - 2011-10-12 13:21

    The rich - poor gap is a ticking timebomb and we are sitting on a big one in SA

  • John - 2011-10-16 21:30

    America is the land of equal opportunity. If you are poor there is something wrong with you. People come in from all over the world and MAKE it in America. But the LAZY, for sure they are poor! Others like the sick and the lame are also poor, but if you are LAZY, for sure you are poor!

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