By Elizabeth Willoughby on
In mid-September, a thousand people marched into New York City’s financial district to occupy Liberty Plaza in defiance of the crimes of Wall Street bankers and America’s financial system abuses affecting the majority of the citizens for the benefit of the richest one percent.
The so-called 99 percenters, inspired by the Arab Spring and uprisings in troubled European countries, have long planned this sit-in, which is unified in its frustration and condemnation of the corporatization of the country, but not willing to define a specific demand. Rather, this demonstration, which is growing in size and spreading to cities across the US, has an all-encompassing message from its participants who range in age, profession, sex, class and origins. They want a new system that is fair. They call it “social change”.
Because the protest of the “underemployed and over-educated” is getting coverage in the UK but almost none in the US, some celebrities are stepping up. Political activist Michael Moore has participated and spoken to media outlets about Occupy Wall Street, actress Susan Sarandon has made an appearance and Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons spent some time handing out bottles of water and moral support.
“The lobbyists and the corporations are running this country,” said Simmons. “They’re taking all the money from the underserved and from the people who need it the most. The Dow Jones is fine. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.”
“The rich weren’t satisfied with having practically everything,” said Moore in an interview with The Last Word. “People have had it and they’re not going to take it anymore. The main reason people are down here is to reclaim their future.”
The nonviolent protest and marches have resulted in arrests, including some involving excessive force, even though, according to Occupy Wall Street’s blog, some members of the New York Police Department have expressed solidarity with the cause.
“After what the individuals in [Wall Street] did back in 2008,” decries Moore, “where they crashed this country right into the ground, to this day, not a single one of them arrested. Not one of them! But on Saturday, a hundred of these citizens who were being nonviolent, they were arrested. How can I live in a country that arrests 100 nonviolent people, and doesn’t arrest a single one of these bankers or the people that caused this collapse? It just boggles the mind! Tax the rich, jail the bankers, end corporate welfare, end these wars which are costing two billion dollars a week. Somebody’s got to start it somewhere and that’s what those kids have done on Wall Street.”
Now into the third week of the occupation, medical supplies and food donations are coming in with messages like, “I wish I could do more.” It’s welcome support for a movement chanting, “A month, a year, we’re not going anywhere.”
“We are the 99 percent, and we are too big to fail.”
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Copyright © 2011 Look to the Stars