Occupy Boston/Occupy Wall Street Movement

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.

A New Movement Taking Shape

I’m sharing yet another post about politics/social issues. I promise I’ll do something on writing again soon. 

Anyone that has been paying attention to the news lately has probably heard about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Over the last two weeks or so, protestors have come to NYC’s financial district to protest the growing income disparity in the U.S.  What intrigues me about this movement is that it considers itself “leaderless,” and so far, it hasn’t designated a spokesperson, unlike the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, or even the more recent Tea Party Movement. According to the movement’s website, what the protestors have in common is that they are “the 99 % that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 %.”

Coverage of the movement was slow at first, but after a NYC police officer pepper sprayed some of the protestors, the video was seen all over the web and gained national media attention. “The Daily Show” even spoofed the incident. You can see that video here.  

Now, the movement is spreading to other parts of the country. It’s already started in Boston, according to a recent blog post at Forbes, and it also spread to San Francisco, according to a Huffington Post article.  

Furthermore, the protestors in NYC may soon have a powerful ally. According to another article, some NYC-based unions are considering teaming up with the grassroots movement. If this happens, the numbers on the streets could swell, especially in NYC.

What surprises me about this movement is that it didn’t happen a few years ago when the economy nearly crashed, and then Congress bailed out the banks and Wall Street, yet the same problems still persist. But maybe all of the union busting in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states finally sparked this, as well as the daunting 9.1 percent unemployment number, which is even higher for young people and the black community.

There are still a lot of questions surrounding the movement, including its general list of demands. But the fact this movement is so organic and grassroots is exciting. It hasn’t been co-opted by either political party or  a single politican, at least not yet.

I will be in Boston next weekend visiting friends, and we plan to stop by one of the protests to check it out. I’ll probably blog something about that when I get back.