Back in May 2010, the Greeks started demonstrations and protests against austerity measures implemented to counter the debt crisis. The bailout of the Greek economy created more demonstrations and protests and none have so far created the desired result.
France has strikes and protests on a fairly regular basis. The French followed suite with the Greeks (plus the Irish, Belgians and Spanish) in protest of exploding deficits created by European Union (EU) policies. Unlike their non-Gaul friends, the French took protests to a new level. French rail and airway workers struck shutting down the country for several days. Like Greece, French workers have threatened rolling strikes to keep the pressure on the government and EU.
Not to be outdone by their Norman neighbors, the British most recently rioted in August when police fatally shot Mark Duggan in North London. Originally the impetus of this riot was poor relations between police and the local community but as the riot quickly spread, the economic impact became quite evident. The rioters were looting communities and organized crime had figured out that through social media, they could recruit thugs to help them out. The police simply could not respond fast enough to a flash mob striking multiple businesses at one time.
Most white Americans are descendants of the same European nations that have experienced riots and protests in the last few years that it seemed the United States (which was founded by a revolution after all) would eventually see some type of protest. We did not have to wait all that long.
While the news media followed a hunk of space debris falling from the sky, a group called Occupy Wall Street started to stage protests in the financial district. A core group of around 200 protestors has been able to orchestra demonstrations consisting of thousands of people. Over 700 were arrested this weekend when the protestors staged a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Protestors have assembled in as divergent areas as Albuquerque, Boston and Los Angeles in support of the core movement in New York. While exact demands remain vague, interviews indicate people are protesting over financial policies that are leaving more and more Americans in debt. Two weeks into the protests and the movement shows no signs of abating.
While terrorism takes the front page (see al-Awlaki, while an influential cleric he never did pose a direct threat), the Occupy Wall Street poses a far different problem. What happens when hundred or even thousands of protestors all organize and demonstrate at the same time? There aren't enough law enforcement officers in the country to handle such a situation. Even if there were, where would they process or lock-up all of the demonstrators? We may be seeing a similar situation developing here in the US that has been going in Europe for the last few years. Unlike Europe, we have a much larger population which is connected virtually.