"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you – then you win," a middle-aged man yells into the microphone from a makeshift stage erected at the far end of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.
Eighty years later, the words of the great Indian freedom fighter Mohandas K. Gandhi have found their way to the U.S. and still resonate as strongly as they did during India's struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
Only now the words are bellowed by disenfranchised working class people who are gathering in swarms around the country to protest the alliance between politicians and corporations, tax burdens on poor people, and the capitalist system in general.
The crowd at Freedom Plaza on Thursday afternoon was over 1,000- strong, a mass of colourful posters, T-shirts and homemade flags carrying every declaration from "Veterans Against War" to "We are the 99 percent!"
The last is a slogan borrowed from the burgeoning "Occupy Wall Street" encampment in New York City, whose ranks swelled to an estimated 30,000 protestors Wednesday as the movement pulled in hoards of union members, students and a growing number of disgruntled job-seekers in what is quickly becoming the longest sustained protest in the U.S. since the civil rights era.
In three weeks, the leaderless, organic movement has put out shoots in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, drawing hundreds, more often thousands, to protest the 2008 financial crash "caused by bankers and cleaned up by taxpayers".
In fact, the World Bank estimated that an additional 64 million people are living in extreme poverty, on less than 1.25 dollars a day, as a result of the global recession, which hit ...