Occupy Wall Street

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Occupy Wall Street

Image by Atomische * Tom Giebel
OWS Knitter

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Occupy Wall Street

Image by InSapphoWeTrust
The "Occupy Wall Street" protest began on 17 September 2011 at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, near Wall Street, which the protesters renamed as "Liberty Square."

Many people throughout the US and beyond have been upset by an economic system that benefits the powers that be, especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the massive taxpayer-funded bank bailouts, and continued difficulties for everyday people.

The Tea Party had been the initial populist uprising, upset with the Obama Administration’s "attacks on the US Constitution," but as it became clearer that the Tea Party was more of an Astroturf organization funded by the big bankers themselves to further weaken common sense rules and further consolidate wealth into the few, it built up a very negative image after the initial upswell.

Occupy Wall Street and its sister protests come generally from the other side of the political spectrum. Participants may be mainstream center-left to anarchists to far-leftists. Although they don’t always have common goals, I support their right to voice their frustrations and ask for solutions that benefit the people and the economy as a whole, rather than the most powerful.

Occupy Wall Street had been inspired by the peaceful people-led overthrows of Middle Eastern dictatorships. Their right to protest is largely based on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, assembly, and grievances. The large media outlets at first ignored the protests, then various entities (including New York City’s mayor and police department) tried to crack down on the Occupy protests, but each crackdown has only added more legitimacy to the protests. Now the key is not to merely squat in public areas, but to proactively push for concrete changes, through voting and discussions, so that jobs can be created and the American workers can go back to work.

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