American Autumn vs. Arab Spring

October 7th, 2011
in Op Ed

By Frank Li, Ph.D.

Occupy Wall StreetEver heard of the term “American Autumn”? It started on September 18, 2011, when a few college students camped out, occupying Wall Street. Since then, not only has the crowd been getting bigger, but also it has become a national movement, spreading to the big cities from Boston to Los Angeles. Although this movement does not look very serious at this time, some people are worried, comparing it to Arab Spring that has already toppled a few regimes in Middle East and North Africa.

Follow up:

I, too, am worried. Here is my position on this movement:

    (1)Americans have many reasons to be frustrated. I especially have sympathy for the students, who are “$100K in college debt, but no jobs.”

    (2)They are protesting in a wrong place: Wall Street! They should be in Washington D.C., where the real problem is, so is the real solution!

Now, let me replay the rumored dialog between China’s Mao and Richard Nixon in 1972:

    Mao: “Aren’t you worried about a revolution, as guns are so widely available over there?”

    Nixon: “No. Revolutions are not caused by the guns, but by the smart people at the bottom. The American system allows the smart people to move up. So there will be no revolution in America.”

Nixon was right, at that time! America has changed quite a lot since then. Here are two main reasons we all should be worried about American Autumn:

    (1)High unemployment: More than 14 million Americans have been out of work for more than two years, with no relief in sight! Although the official unemployment rate is at 9.1%, the real number is much higher, perhaps above 15%.  Worse yet, the unemployment rate for the young people, including recent college graduates, is even higher, definitely at the 20% range.

    (2)America is no longer the “Land of Opportunities” as it was 39 years ago when Nixon met with Mao.  In fact, America has moved decisively “from a nation of makers to a nation of takers, with more Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and utilities combined."

Why is America in such a bad shape? It’s the political system, stupid! America’s antiquated political system is the #1 reason behind America’s fall but we have yet to recognize it! Instead, we keep trying to fix some symptoms without addressing the root cause, making a bad situation much worse. Unconvinced? Think about this: On September 8, 2001, President Obama gave a big speech on his jobs bill to Congress. Here are two big problems with that speech:

    (1)President Obama called for a class warfare against the rich in that speech and his jobs bill was filled with new taxes, especially on the rich.

    (2)It was a big campaign speech in disguise. This not only was a new low in the American Presidency, but also means that President Obama will carry the class warfare throughout his remaining time in office until the 2012 election.

10 days after that speech, American Autumn started on Wall Street. Coincidence? I do not think so! President Obama provoked it! Will it end soon? No, because President Obama has both the incentive and the means to keep it going throughout his re-election campaign until November 2012!

American Autumn could turn into a proletarian revolution, led by President Obama! If that happens, it would be much more significant than Arab Spring in human history, because it would end America, as we know it!

Shouldn’t more Americans be worried about American Autumn?

Related Articles

Will Arab Spring End Up Too Much for the World? by Elliott Morss

The American Autum (GEI News)

College Dropouts And Unemployment, At What Cost? by EconMatters

Previous articles by Frank Li

About the Author

Frank LiFrank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson" (see page 31).

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  1. Wayne Shi says :

    I don't think "Occupy Wall Street" started by President Obama. The people are so frustrated that Obama is also one of the Occupiers' targets.

    The class warefare has been existing with or without President Obama's speech. The rich has been assaulting the poor first and recently the middle class since President Reagon's time. The public sit aside or go along with the republicans for more than 30 years because 30 years ago, the left were extreme. The Unions pulled the legs of the economy. Now 30 years after, the right is so extreme, and the people's mood has changed. The public mood is on the Union's and the poor's side now. The middle class is beginning to feel the ampathy for the poor.

    If a society destroys the middle class, everybody is poor except for a few super rich, who are the rich going to sell their products to? The economy has to halt.

    The republicans will never get it due to their ideology. The Democrats seem to get it but they are afraid of being labeled "class warfare". Meanwhile, the middle class is breaking down to either the poor or the rich.

    The American future is bleak, without a Roosevelt-like president.

  2. Ron Boyer says :

    Hi Dr. Li,

    Actually I coined the term "American Autumn" in my exclusive interview on Sept. 26 for TruthOut with Margaret Flowers, "'American Autumn' depends on people, not parties". Cornel West picked up the meme as a slogan for his interview with Amy Goodman a few days later, then Van Jones and everyone else caught on to the term. I'm delighted my phrase has gone viral! Just setting the record straight.
    Ron Boyer

  3. Admin (Member) Email says :

    @Ron Boyer:

    We have written a news brief that documents you as the originator of the term "American Autumn":

    Dr. Li was clearly not laying any claim to the term which was in quite common use at the time he wrote his essay.

    Until someone points to an earlier use of the term (other than the band with that name) we will attribute the term to you. We have not found an earlier use.

    John Lounsbury



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