The “Occupy” movement gains momentum as small towns join in the fight
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
A people-powered movement utilizing tactics that are reminiscent of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Occupy Wall Street is gaining more momentum each and every day; not only here in the US, but around the world. The protestors are an ever-growing group of people out, according to their website, to “fight back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations.” Thousands of people have been taking to the streets to protest corporate greed and to expose how the richest 1% of the population makes the rules, owns, and controls the other 99%.
Referring to themselves as that 99%, the movement got its start at the Zuccotti Park in the financial district of New York. Demonstrations have now spread to cities all over the country. It’s hard to explain just what exactly the protestors want though. With no concise list of demands or specific leader or leaders, the group just wants a change. That change in its whole includes stopping the corporate greed and bail-outs of banks and big business.
There is no denying that Wall Street has not nearly admitted enough to its cause of the financial crisis and the following recession. On top of that, it is impossible to ignore the fact that 99% of people do not own nearly close to 99% of anything. According to slate.com from 2002 until 2007 about two-thirds of all income gains went to the top 1 percent of households. If anything, the protestors are illuminating the world of how unequal America’s wealth is.
While the movement has been fairly easy going by protest’s standards, it has seen its share of troubles. Videos of the demonstrations from all across the nation are floating around the internet and news: Wall Street; full of non-violent marching, Washington DC; kids and adults alike joining arms, Portland; singing and dancing. Then take a look at Occupy Oakland; tear gas and explosions abound. When the Oakland police asked the demonstrators to evacuate public property after the curfew, the protesters ignored their commands and stood their ground. The police then used extreme force, such as shooting bean bag munitions and projected tear gas canisters, injuring many bystanders, to rid the area of protesters. Scott Olsen, a Marine Iraq War veteran, was one of those injured. Dottie Guy of the Iraq Veterans Against the War tells the Associated Press that a police projectile fractured his skull.
Even the close-to-home Occupy Tulsa has seen its share of the trouble. When the eleven o’clock curfew came on November 2nd, the police told the protestors to evacuate the park. A core group of protesters stayed on the grass and ignored the officer’s commands. The police returned a few hours later and began to pepper-spray the protesters still on the grass.
“To me right there that was police brutality," Gena Madsen told Tulsa’s KTUL referring to the police’s heavy-handed use of pepper-spray.
By the end of the night, ten were arrested on top of thirteen arrested the night before. Then late night on the 3rd, ten more protesters were arrested at the Occupy Tulsa protests; making 33 arrested within just three days.
Now even Tahlequah has started its cry for change; on the November 5th, Occupy Tahlequah began. The group met outside of Bank of America to protest its acceptance of bail-outs and corporate greed. They passed out fliers with lists of local banks and credit unions and encouraged everyone to close their account with the corporate giant and join those of us who support local businesses.
According to the Wall Street Journal, close to 2,500 cities around the world have joined the Occupy protests. With thousands of more people joining each and every day, one thing is clear. For the 99%, there need to be a change.