This weekend, I visited Boston to see friends, and while there, we checked out the Occupy Boston rally, located in Dewey Square, the heart of the city’s financial district. Occupy Boston is an off-shoot of Occupy Wall Street, the movement that has formed to protest corporate greed, bank bailouts, and budget cuts, especially to education and other domestic issues.
Upon arriving at the scene, we saw a sea of tents and a huge Occupy Boston banner, as shown in the picture above. The tents had various signs that read “Main Street,” “We are the 99 %,” and “Tax Wall Street.” The population of the crowd was pretty diverse and included the good, the bad, and the ugly. There were some teachers and nurses there, as well as representatives from local unions. There were also folks in tie dyed shirts and dreadlocks, and some punk rockers with black bandanas over their faces. It was also a mix of young and old.
I was especially surprised at the organization. Occupy Wall Street is now in its fourth week, but Occupy Boston is younger than that. But already, Occupy Boston has a detailed schedule of events for each week, major union backing, and tents set up marked media, medical, food, logistics, and legal. They’re also conducting marches through the downtown, which we took part in, teach-ins, and media training.
The movement is also doing a good job keeping itself unaffiliated with either political party. I didn’t see a sign for Obama or the Democratic Party. I did see a Ron Paul campaign worker handing out literature, but that was it. All of the signs were aimed at the abuse of corporate power and the high unemployment rate.
It has yet to be seen the effect this movement will have. I hope it produces some kind of effective legislation to regulate Wall Street more and prevent corporate bailouts that are used to give bonuses to CEOs or buy corporate jets. I also hope it encourages Congress and the president to produce a broad jobs plan that will lower the unemployment rate. But movements take time to coalesce and produce results. Civil Rights and pro-labor legislation took a while to happen after those movements formed. But it’s clear the Occupy Wall Street folks aren’t going anywhere. This movement has now spread to several cities. There’s even an Occupy Scranton movement, and the Facebook page has over 600 likes. The leaders of this movement need to ensure that as it grows, it stays non-violent and focused. One brick through a window will generate a swarm of bad press and end this.