You are hereOccupiers gain ground nationwide
Occupiers gain ground nationwide
Occupy Wall Street protesters returned to Zuccotti Park Thursday, just two days after police swept through the demonstrators’ encampment. Police reported up to 75 arrests.
The movement spread through the country quickly in two short months, growing from a small gathering in New York’s financial district to multiple demonstrations throughout the nation.
The movement took root in Colorado in October. While Denver protests have been marked by police presence, Boulder demonstrations have been smaller. Three Boulder protesters set up camp on Pearl Street last night in solidarity with the other protests throughout the nation.
Many have applauded the movement for its message. Those involved in the movement express resentment of America’s current financial system by calling for an end to corporate greed.
Boulder protesters chanting “We are the 99%” can be heard as they march through Pearl Street on Saturdays and Sundays. The “99 percenters” say the number represents the gap between the country’s richest 1% and the remaining 99%, who they say shoulders the burden of the country’s economic woes.
The movement has drawn support from activists like Michael Moore and various lawmakers, but overall has met skepticism by many in Washington.
President Obama has said that he understands the demonstrators’ frustration, “the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” The president has refrained from offering outright support to the movement.
College-aged demonstrators express concern about the increasing cost of higher education. Protesters cite the growing student loan debt the country faces—expected to hit $1 trillion before the end of this year—as one of the symptoms of the current economy.
Eleven-year-old Aster Arwen La-Fountain attends middle school in Boulder. She says she wants to see an end to corporate greed, and is concerned with how it might affect her life.
“I really want my future, I want to get out of college and not have $80,000 debts, I want to grow up and be proud to be an American, because corporate greed is destroying us right now,” says La-Fountain.
La-Fountain’s fellow demonstrators vet the same frustrations. Jennifer Williamson carried a drum for last Saturday’s “general assembly” and “Move Your Money” march, in which some Occupiers pulled their money out of major banks and set up accounts at local credit unions. Williamson says she’s worried about the current state of American democracy.
“There is no democracy right now,” says Williamson, “it’s obvious that capitalism is for the capitalists, which at this time is a rare amount of a handful of a few, controlling it all.”
Williamson ran into her former Boulder High School English teacher at one of Occupy Boulder’s events. Jacqui Goeldner says she understand the U.S. system through years of being an educator, but is ashamed by her country.
According to Williamson, “the things that are not good about America are the things that are costing us so much money.”
Occupiers have said that they will continue their demonstrations until they see real change. The coming weeks will provide a better picture of the future of the movement, as police presence intensifies and colder temperatures set in.