Oakland just witnessed the first General Strike to hit America in decades (the last one was also in Oakland). In response to the police brutality involved in clearing Occupy Oakland, thousands took the day off work and filled the streets. Some scrawled messages on banks, others shut down the port (one of the nation’s largest). This kind of escalation marks a new turn in the burgeoning American unrest, showing that protesters are willing and able to shut down significant parts of a major city.

In New York, on Wall Street, a large procession of protesters from the American military marched silently through the streets of New York then came to address the protesters. Many were inflamed by the near-fatal injury dealt to Scott Olson, a two-tour Iraq Veteran, by the police in Oakland. Veterans for Peace and OccupyMarines have been gathering steam rapidly in recent weeks, often in uniform, and announced proudly that they are a part of “the 99%” and were here to ensure that the constitution was defended.

In the financial world, things are beginning to look unbelievably grim. After revelations about corruption at trading firm MF Global and more grim forecasts, the American economy is staring over a precipice. Across the Atlantic, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has announced his intention to hold a referendum on the recent EU emergency bailout deal, which threatens to unravel all the work done for so much of this year at containing the exploding debt crisis. By doing so, he hopes to gain some sort of “mandate” for implementing the harsh austerity measures which come with it, which have left the population on the verge of revolution after their own general strikes last week. European leaders are fuming, and words like “resignation” and even “coup” are being thrown around (hopefully the surprise reorganization of military leadership had nothing to do with this…). Since Monday’s announcement, Papandreou has back-pedaled on referendum plans after resigning party members whittled down his majority to two people, and numerous calls were made, both in Greece and abroad, for his own resignation.

The economic crisis is growing more serious on every front. Not only would the global financial system probably be on the verge of collapse without any protests, but the petty and brutal attempts to keep protesters out of the limelight are having the the opposite effect. Any serious mis-step here could ignite an explosive process of global change like the world has never seen, and it’s entirely possible that the fuse has already been lit.

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