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400% Rise in Anti-Depressant Pill Use: Americans Are Disempowered -- Can the OWS Uprising Shake Us Out of Our Depression?

Is it time to repoliticize a great deal of our despair, and reconsider the old-fashioned antidepressant of political activism?

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We decided to prolong our visit and stay for the afternoon march to the Martin Luther King Memorial. At this march, there were the chants that are common to all Occupy marches: “We are the 99 percent.” “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” “Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate greed has got to go.” “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.” On this march, we paused at the International Trade Center (in the Ronald Reagan Building), where there were about 75 demonstrators protesting the tar sands pipeline. As some of our marchers had earlier participated in their protest, the pipeline protesters returned the favor by joining our march. We shouted our appreciation and our morale kicked up another notch. 

Leaving Freedom Plaza at the end of my short stint there, I thought that even a little dose of democracy, especially when it has not been experienced, is the best damn antidepressant that many people will ever experience. And even if the cynics are right and the movement dies from cold weather or gets large enough for the corporatocracy to bring out their tanks and crush it, something still will have been won. Everybody who participated will remember that their demoralization and despair was “cured,” at least for a time, not by a pill or any other consumer product but by their own political actions.  




>Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of  Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite   (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is  www.brucelevine.net.

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