Why Do We Occupy?
Beginning on September 17, protesters began to gather near Wall Street in New York City. Inspired by the peaceful occupations of the Arab Spring, they sought economic justice for the vast majority of Americans. They felt shut out of the political system which seemed responsive solely to corporate concerns.
The mantra 'We are the 99%' refers to a UN Report which showed that 40% of the worlds' wealth is owned by 1% of the worlds richest adults.
The movement spread to cities and towns across the US and then spread globally. It has given voice to a growing frustration with the widening disparity between rich and poor and the continuing concentration of wealth among a lucky few. Political leaders appear blind to the increasingly desperate situation of the working class.
I got involved a week ago in a Wall Street inspired Occupation of a city park in a nearby town. It started very modestly. Brought together by Facebook, the first night we were only five occupiers.
It rained all the next day and night, The small but determined group set up canopies and tarps in an often futile attempt to stay dry.
The local newspaper showed up and a radio station interviewed one of the organizers. Word started to spread. Positioned on a busy street, many drivers honked, waved or gave a thumbs up. Strangers showed up with food, water and juice. Pizzas appeared out of nowhere.
The crowds have continued to grow. There is often a festive atmosphere during the day. Musicians entertain and small knots of people gather to share philosophical and mundane conversation. Sleeping bags and blankets are carefully folded and stowed away.Continued on the next page