The occupation has begun. Citizens from across the nation gathered in Zuccotti Park starting Sept. 17 to protest Wall Street financiers and the United States government for the unemployment rate, greed and the state of the economy.
Several weeks ago, Adbusters, an anti-consumerist organization, published an article with a simple idea: an occupation of Wall Street. Soon, Anonymous, an organization calling for civil action, organized and summoned people to protest corporate greed and government bailouts. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Socialists and Anarchists united for what many protestors are calling a revolution against an oppressive and obsolete American economic system.
“This is not just for hippies,” said Jay, an activist proudly wearing his Guy Fawkes mask. “The people need to rise up and see what is happening.”
Chants echoed through the streets as the occupiers marched. “Hey, ho, the cops and banks have got to go,” they said. “The people, the power!” the marchers said, many with raised fists.
Their goals and objectives vary from one person to another. In Brooklyn, Occupy Wall Street activists call for America’s exit from Haiti while others argue for small government. Others demand the taxation of the wealthiest one percent of the country. These protestors claim that 99 percent of Americans suffer from an unfair and overbearing political and economic system.
Their definition of “occupation” means the “taking back of public property.” Intending to reclaim what belongs to them, these “revolutionaries” construct makeshift homes and beds in the park—determined to stay there until the winter. Growing from about 300 to more than 1,000 at one time, the occupation has continued to attract new members since its first day almost a month ago. Recently, the NYPD heightened their activity, arresting protestors near Wall Street and on the Brooklyn Bridge, citing a lack of permits.
Many businessmen and Wall Street executives walk past the protestors each day. Some approach the protestors, thanking them for at least keeping the park clean. Others use the words “disgusting” and “disappointing” to the occupiers.
“People’s greed caused the current economic recession,” Adam Sarzen, a worker at the New York Stock Exchange, said. “Not Wall Street.”
The infamous downfall of corporations like AIG and Lehman Brothers hurt many of their own employees, Sarzen said, and many of the “one percent” also disagree with government spending and believe economic reform is necessary.
The debate—whether free enterprise, America’s traditional economic system, can continue to exist with so much debt and what new and innovative system could replace it–does not seem to be ending any time soon.
Occupations are now taking place all over the country from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco.