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Why are the Occupiers Really Protesting? In Their Own Words

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For over a month we heard stories about Occupy Wall Street, with a group of individuals protesting big business. This movement has since spread to other cities around the globe. Likewise a group known as Occupy Austin has been gathered outside Austin’s city hall to protest their grievances. Recently they collectively walked to Skank Bank of America and other national banks withdraw all their money, close their accounts and redeposit their money into new accounts at local credit unions; an act I fully support.

With there being a local group, I thought I would go downtown to talk to some of those protesting. While I was there I saw and heard a number of drivers honking their horns in support of the protestors, while a small number of cars contained people shouting, “Get a job.” Despite all the commotion, the demonstrators didn’t seem deterred from their protests.

So what is on the minds of these protestors? Why are they protesting? Below are four interviews of those that I talked with.

Kendall (age: 20)

Kevin: Why are you here?

K : Because I don’t support the fed and I don’t support the fiat system. I think it’s ponzi (scheme).

K. S.: What do you hope to accomplish by being here?

K : Honestly, my main concern is getting people to quit believing they are worth very much gold.. Because if you break us down… Found this out today and it was a cool piece of information they actually break down our our chemicals…if you break us down chemically and you put a net value on us; a dollar value, we are worth about $5. I just don’t think that is enough gold to keep me alive. and happy. So you know think green is a lot cooler and a lot better for everybody across the who world and I think that we gotten the internet and world economy so quickly in such a short amount of generations that we need to balance the whole world economy. We need equilibrium for the whole world economy. As a country we need to catch up because we are just getting broker and broker and so I think more green in every-bodies lives can make that happen.

K. S.: What changes would you like to see?

K : No more gold standard and also corporate, uh not just accountability but liability.

K. S.: Do you have any ideas as to how to accomplish these changes?

K : Still looking for the next epiphany. I haven’t seen a single corporation go to jail for 80-years for killing anybody. So you know I’m just trying to go off of practical stuff. Separation of state and corporation could be one extension of that of that thought. Because as sovereign states we are really going to do a lot better for ourselves if we have a green standard.

K. S.: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate?

K : Probably Ron Paul. I like his strategy to, slow and steady. It makes sense.

Larry Singleton (age 53)

Kevin: Why are you here?

Larry Singleton: I’m here because I was place here by God because…actually I am dying of emphysema, COPD and P.A.D. I’m looking to build a facility for some of the homeless vets and non-homeless.

K. S.: What are your ideas as to how to accomplish these changes and see your facility open?

L S: I have the Lord behind me. He’s woke me up and showed me that I am dying and he’s also stated that he’s going to do a facility for the people so when you (himself) are gone, they will enjoy it.

K. S.: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate at this point?

L S: No sir I really don’t follow the presidential stuff. I leave that to everyone else. Really you cannot blame any president for wrongdoing because it is the people who have to vote and say he can do his move before he makes the move. So Obama isn’t really behind all the bad stuff going on or the other presidents in the past.

Gabriele (age 24)

K. S.: Why are you here?

Gabriele: I’m here, I guess looking to just put power back in our hands and take it (the power) out of the money.

K. S.: What changes would you like to see?

G : They have got to stop letting lobbyists buy their way into what they want. I think that is a good place to start. Because that is controlling a lot of our laws and a lot of our regulation and whatnot. i think from there other things will start to come down like the horrible prison system and the faulty education. we have got to get the money out of there.

K. S.: Do you have any ideas as to how to accomplish these changes?

G : No! As a 24 year old I expect grown men who are 40 and actually seen how the United States to have evolved, I expect them to practically put their knowledge to use. I’m here to back good ideas. If I come up with one, I’ll let you know. Sorry I don’t have much political knowledge.

K. S.: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate at this point?

G : No, at this point I think they are all bought out.I think a lot of hands are tied especially when they are accepting money from people where here against. When every candidate has got multiple millions and millions of dollars from these people, I think they are going to what they tell them to do.

Amber (age: 24)

K. S.: Why are you here?

Amber: To protest, maybe get a change. It’s the little things I would like to get to happen.

K. S.: What do you hope to accomplish by being here?

A : To see the world open her eyes. see what is going on. Because people look the other way.

K. S.: What changes would you like to see?

A : Probably, definitely for the better. To help. There is a lot about the government that I do agree with but it’s the little things like where are they going to put the money for this budget. Why are they so overdrawn? Like they expect us to pay all of our bills, but they can’t even balance a checkbook.
Why are there so many homeless people? Why are there so many people that don’t have Medicare? They are just on the street dying because they can’t afford the right medications.

K. S.: If Government don’t have any money, How are they going to pay for all this?

A : This beautiful building (Austin City Hall) right here is made out of copper. Seventeen ($17) million dollars of copper just setting there on that roof. I mean, why can’t they just put regular brick or glass on top of the building like all the rest of them? Why is the $17 million just setting there? You know $17 million dollars can feed so many people and help so many people out.

K. S.: Do you have any ideas as to how to accomplish these changes?

A :I figure we should get people that aren’t as spoiled. Like if they mess up, if they go to jail they get a slap on the wrist. They can go drink and drive. They next day they are out of jail. Everything’s fine, nothing on their record. Their spoiled and they know they are spoiled. They are getting paid all this money to do what? If they can’t do their job, then we can’t do it for them. So I figure if we pay them like normal people to help everything else and maybe have 2 or three people doing that one job so they can figure out different ways, then it will be okay.

K. S.: Do you have any aspirations about running for city council or maybe another public office?

A : No. I feel it is to corrupted right now. Until they get better people I won’t stand for it.

K. S.: If you feel they need better people, why not run and maybe you can be one of those better people?

A : It’s kind like I would be the little stick in the river. Like a little stick is not going to do much in the river, but if you get a bunch of sticks then a bunch of things will happen.

K. S.: But doesn’t it start with one person?

A : It does, but you have to have rain drops to get the river.

K. S.: Do you have a favorite presidential candidate?

A : No. Let’s face it, I agree with some of these people. However, many of these people seem to be protesting only because it’s something to do. Most, I won’t say all, seem to only be protesting just to complain. They don’t seem to have any ideas to correct the problems that they see. Most even don’t appear to be willing to even put themselves out as the agent of change that they so desperately seek. Sadly that is most Americans though. We all want to complain and whine about how terrible everything is, but we won’t rise up to make those changes that we want. I am sadden, because outwardly they seem to be what we needed in this world, but unfortunately they don’t appear to have any ideas to fix what they perceive to be broken any more then the rest of us.

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About Kansasman

  • Maurice

    Jordan #5- I agree with the guy on the left. We should never go to war. That is one reason I think the occupiers should be protesting our Killer in Chief. I also agree with him to tell Hannity to FUCK OFF! The guy that allowed himself to get too far into debt screwed up. I have five kids and they all wanted to get student loans I told them to work 2 or 3 jobs and pay as they go like I did. Once again that guy is protesting the wrong bunch. He should be protesting counselors and colleges not the banks that loaned the money.

  • Jordan Richardson

    From Reddit, another marine shares how he feels about what went down in Oakland.

    Powerful stuff.

  • Costello

    How is it easier to take to the streets and challenege the authoritites? Sounds like the opinion of someone who never has stood up for his rights

  • Zingzing

    And both certainly have their roles to play in all this.

  • Jordan Richardson

    it is a lot easier to get hit in the head protesting than to sit down by yourself and study an issue.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of what’s easier; I think it’s a matter of what people find to be most effective.

  • Which makes you a studious type, Baronius.

  • Baronius

    I know you mean that sarcastically, El B, but it is a lot easier to get hit in the head protesting than to sit down by yourself and study an issue.

  • “My main problem with protest rallies, for any political cause, is that they’re so much easier than working at a phone bank or reading a piece of legislation.”

    Yeah, if only Scott Olsen hadn’t taken the easy way out and done something more difficult like reading.

  • Baronius

    Thanks, Irene. I don’t care what someone smells like as long as he’s not standing next to me. My main problem with protest rallies, for any political cause, is that they’re so much easier than working at a phone bank or reading a piece of legislation. And nothing’s easier than complaining on a comments thread.

  • Which of these aren’t to your liking?

  • t

    ……’remember remember the 27th of October’ doesn’t sound quite right

  • Of course, but why wait?

    Today’s as good a day as any.

    Except for Jordan and our little clique, the rest of BC denizens somehow don’t appear overly enthused.

  • Have you noticed that talk of general strike has been in the air as a response to the gov’t attacks on protesters and evictions of occupiers and unoccupiers?

    Well, today #generalstrike is trending on twitter.

  • Good video, Jordan. Thanks for posting it.

  • @18

    You mean like organizing for non-payment of taxes?

  • @8

    Rather lengthy, Handy, but good article, provides a bit of the historical context.

    What don’t you like about Rich’s analysis?

    BTW, I’ll repost the link on the Protest thread.

  • unoccupier troll

    …remember to remember: seditious conspiracy remains on the books in the US

    Kevin – did you discuss what working groups your occupiers were involved with or their impressions of the GA process?

  • @15

    To prevent shit like that from ever happening again, the OWS must be reinforced by civil disobedience on a mass scale. Refusal to pay any municipal/state taxes would be an excellent place to start. That’d send the right kind of message to police departments across the land and local governments which deploy such tactics.

  • I went down to see for myself if these people wanted a socialist government, as you can tell from my questions, but in the end couldn’t find that liberal of agenda. In fact would say they are more conservative then the Vietnaum era protestors.

  • Jordan Richardson

    24-year-old Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull after police stormed the occupants in Oakland Wednesday.

    It’s too early to tell if he’ll need surgery.

    No matter what you stand on these peaceful protests, seeing stuff like this in the “Land of the Free” has to be unnerving.

  • …. Is …

    Dancing in the Dark …

  • “Man, some of these kids are in the hole for thousands of dollars because they followed the urging of the guidance counselors at their public high schools and WENT TO COLLEGE.”

    Ia this the only reason why they’re there?

  • Baronius, it’s encouraging to read your #6 and #10. I’d begun to slide into UTTER despair over the lack of compassion from Right Wingers who hadn’t come over from the dark side to Ron Paul* yet.

    Tuning into local AM radio to get the weather report on these iffy autumn mornings, I’m forced to listen to talk-show blowhards making the following comments: “we should send the Marines in after them,”
    “Send in the military tanks. That’s the answer,” “What sort of a statement are they trying to make by not taking showers?”

    Man, some of these kids are in the hole for thousands of dollars because they followed the urging of the guidance counselors at their public high schools and WENT TO COLLEGE. Now what do they do to pay off that debt? Even if the state paid for their tuition, what do they do with their “free time” as unemployed people? Compose serenades that Corrupt Government and Unethical Corporations can sing to one another?

    (Handyguy, I think you need to read #6 again with an eye that is less critical of EVERYTHING Baronius writes.)

    *I’m becoming insufferable again, I know.

  • Thanks for the comments. As has been mentioned the group is very divearse. I was disapointed that the one person that sounded most intelligent was full of execuses as to why she was unwilling to step forward and place herself as a candidate. I wish the video I shot of the interviews was better quality to post.

  • Baronius

    Handy, there’s one area that I’ve definitely been staying clear of. There was I think one clip of an OWS protestor saying something anti-Semitic. Some people on the right pounced all over it and claimed that the whole movement was anti-Semitic. That’s garbage.

  • It’s a large and diverse group. I know Baronius objected to caricatures of the Tea Party a year or two back. Perhaps Maurice did too. So they might want to hold their fire on the quick generalizations about OWS. [But they won’t.]

  • Frank Rich’s take on OWS, both shrill and thought-provoking [as usual]:

    The Class War Has Begun

  • Great clip, Jordan.

  • Baronius

    I’d go much further than Maurice did in describing these people, but the truth is that everyone sounds stupid when they don’t have a chance to prepare a script.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wonder if Maurice would consider these two gents as “naive.”

  • “Naive” is a favourite conservative word. It makes it easy for them to dismiss anything the other side thinks, says or proposes.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Good job, Kevin. You talked to people from different backgrounds and age groups, getting to the heart of the movement without suggesting that this quartet presumes to speak for the whole. Well done.

    Maurice, what about the views of “these people” do you find so unsophisticated?

  • Zingzing

    Maurice, did you really get the full picture from this article? Even if Kevin had put up astonishingly articulate and intelligent interview with someone who had workable ideas and a plan that would successfully implement them, that wouldn’t show the whole of this movement.

    Kevin showed a wide range of povs here, and that’s commendable. You, on the other hand, have closed your mind, and that’s sad.

  • Maurice

    Kevin – thanks for posting this. It confirms what I already thought of these people. They are astoundingly naive.