Occupy Wall Street Marches On With Louder Voices And Clearer Goals
The crowd of protestors has grown on Wall Street over the past week, with participants expressing anger at the current economic system, believing if more people speak out they will get their message across to decision-makers: it is time to change.
In Liberty Square retirees, college students and the unemployed from across the country held their signs high and told their stories to people stopping by. About 10 musicians performed to show their support to the protest. Several nonprofits set up tables to campaign for their own plans.
Most condemnations were aimed at big banks on Wall Street, which protesters referred to as the beginning of all evil, saying they were given too many privileges while being taxed too little.
Jed Holtzman, a businessman from San Francisco, complained about “corporate personhood,” which means corporations are given rights similar to those held by individuals. This was the philosophy behind a Supreme Court decision allowing unlimmited corporate donations to political campaigns.
“Quick solution, amendment to Constitution that only people are people,” Holtzman said.
Others argued that the government spent too much money saving the banking system from collapse but were aloof to those really in need of help such as young students and the low-income people.
In defiance of the famous phraseology “Too big to fail” -- which justified the massive bailout packages -- some protestors‘ slogans said, “Only democracy is too big to fail”.
Jacob Wasy, a retiree who worked for banks for more than 30 years, joined the group to support the unemployed younger people living with their families who are also struggling. As an older person, he has suffered as much as they have, and he can understand what they are going through, he said.
“The banks make money coming and going. They engineered the 2008 financial crisis through their financial instrument that became subprime mortgages,” said Wasy, “But they are the ones that got bailed out, not those losing their jobs because of them.”
Critics said protestors are just angry and have no clear plan. Protestors responded by blaming the media for misleading the public with the false impression.
Holztman made the decision to come and speak by himself after watching the poor coverage of the movement. “I was right because the movement is much more genuine and educated than the media has been presenting,” Holztman said. He pointed out that protestors here did have concrete plans. He took his own plan on constricting corporations’ right as an example.
The Center for Working Families, a nonprofit in NYC city whose vision is to improve lives of families and low-income people, set up a table in the square to advocate for a “milllionaire's tax.” According to CWF staff, New York Governor Cuomo is about to allow a state millionaires' tax expire, providing a tax cut to the wealthiest New Yorkers at the cost of education and health care services for ordinary New Yorkers. They argued it is important to help protestors figure out specific and functional solutions.
The New York City police surrounding the square to keep the order declined to comment on the movement, as they were not allowed to speak. Most protesters agreed that conflicts with the police are rare.
Many visitors stopped by the square and took pictures of the occupiers. Although most them supported the movement, the pessimistic opinion that the movement would change neither the essence of the Street nor the current economic situation was common to hear.
Allen Fan, a Taiwanese businessman working and living in NYC for six years said he fully understands the movement and on the protestors’ side. “But I don’t believe this will improve the bad economy fundamentally," he said. "I was considering about moving back to Taiwan.”
However, most participants showed their faith in making a difference eventually because this is a universal movement that involves 99 percent of Americans, said Holtzman.
“This is a crisis that affect everyone, but the very rich and comfortable,” said Wasy when asked whether he believed the movement would make a difference,
“Even the rich like JP Morgan gave the New York City Police $4.3 million which tells me they are afraid, and they should be afraid.”