Occupy Wall Street Protests
Written by Faith Anderson on October 4, 2011
Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have brought together a diverse group of protestors across the nation, from college students concerned about their job prospects to middle-age workers who were recently laid off. “It really speaks to everyone getting fed up and tired of these corporations taking every bit of money we’ve worked so hard for,” said Brandon German, a protest organizer with Right to the City, a collection of community groups that helped organize an Occupy Wall Street rally in Boston last week. “People are fed up and mobilizing.”
Protests Against Wall Street Sweep the Nation
Occupy Wall Street protests have already taken place or are planned in more than fifty cities, from San Francisco to Portland, Maine; some small and some large. More than 700 people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public street late last week when protestors marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, while 30 protestors beat drums in Chicago’s financial district on Monday. Others have pitched tents or waved protest signs at passing cars in St. Louis, Boston, Kansas City and Los Angeles. In Boston, protestors marched from a tent city on a grassy plot of land across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to the Statehouse to call for an end of corporate influence over government.
City bus drivers sued the New York Police Department on Monday for commandeering their buses and making them drive to the Brooklyn Bridge to pick up detained protestors. “We’re down with these protestors. We support the notion that rich folk are not paying their fair share,” said Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen. “Our bus operators are not going to be pressed into service to arrest protestors anywhere.”
Demonstrations to Fight Corporate Influence over Government
Some protestors have compared themselves to the tea party movement or to the Arab Spring demonstrators who brought down their rulers in the Middle East. “We feel the power in Washington has actually been compromised by Wall Street,” said Jason Counts, a computer systems analyst in St. Louis. “We want a voice, and our voice has slowly been degraded over time.” Protestors are using social media services like Facebook and Twitter to plan protests. Websites and Facebook pages with names like “Occupy Boston” and “Occupy Philadelphia” have surfaced in order to organize demonstrations.
Demonstrators have wielded signs declaring things like, “Fight the rich, not their wars” and “Human need, not corporate greed,” as the protests against Wall Street enter their eighteenth day. These demonstrations have quickly spread across the U.S., as what is being called the infant movement of Occupy Wall Street taps into broad frustration and anger about corporate control of government. One protestor vocalizes her message: “Our beautiful system of American checks and balances has been thoroughly trashed by the influence of banks and big finance that have made it impossible for the people to speak.” It seems the discontented have spoken.