Occupy Wall Street spreads to Baltimore
They are in the streets protesting all over the world. They are calling for a redistribution of wealth. They have even begun to assemble in Baltimore. They are the 99 percent of “Occupy Wall Street.”
“Occupy Wall Street” is a movement that began on Sept. 17 in Bowling Green Park, New York. According to The Huffington Post, “the media organization Adbusters—an anti-consumerist, pro-environment organization—published a call to action.” In Adbuster’s message, they state “Beginning from one simple demand—a presidential commission to separate money from politics—we start setting the agenda for a new America.”
An article produced by Slate and Vanity Fair with the statistic that one percent of Americans hold 40 percent of the county’s wealth and 24 percent of its income has inspired the movement’s slogan, “We are the 99 percent.” According to occupywallst.org, the protestors in the movement assume the title of the 99 percent to “expose how the richest one percent of people [in America] are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on [the 99 percent’s] future.” The movement was inspired by the political protesting that occurred in Egypt and Tunisia in Januaryearlier this year.
According to The Huffington Post, hundreds of arrests were made from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 due to “stopped traffic.” However, the movement continued to spread, and on Oct. 1, “Occupy” protests began in Washington D.C. as well as Los Angeles. Protestors have spread to over “1,500 cities globally” according to occupywallst.org, and one of these locations is Baltimore.
According to the Baltimore Brew, protests began Oct. 8, and “police say there have been no arrests related to the demonstration, and several Occupy Baltimore protesters said they don’t feel harassed by those patrolling the area” according to The Baltimore Sun.
However, recent updates from The Baltimore Sun have revealed that the movement has taken a more violent turn.
“We’re getting addicts and drunks down here, and it’s a ratio that’s hard to deal with, given the number [of activists] we have,” David Kellam, a member of the Occupy Baltimore media team, told The Baltimore Sun.
According to the Baltimore Sun, “…Officials asked the protesters to limit their gatherings to two people overnight and to stay confined to a smaller area of the square during the day…If these rules are followed, the Occupy group will not be arrested.”
“They’re trying to force a confrontation,” protester Robert Brune told The Baltimore Sun. “Other cities have bent their rules to accommodate the movement. Baltimore should do the same. They’re not giving this movement a fair understanding.”
According to occupybmore.org, “Occupy Baltimore was started as a show of solidarity for those protesting on Wall Street. Individuals protesting bring their own specific goals and concerns and the group plans to highlight the diversity of issues inspiring those who are occupying. A plan to create a clear articulation of goals and demands are underway. In the meantime the group continues to find unity as the 99 percent.”
“Regular General Assemblies of Occupy Baltimore are being held daily at 8p.m. at McKeldin Fountain located on the corner of Pratt Street and Light Street in Downtown Baltimore,” according to occupybmore.org.
Every Tuesday, social studies teacher Brian Powell holds a “Political Tuesday” discussion with his AP Government class in which the topic of “Occupy Wall Street” has come up.
“We discuss what’s going on in the world of politics, but focus mainly on domestic issues,” Powell said.
According to Powell, the goals of the recent discussions about Occupy Wall Street have been to figure out what the protestors’ goals are, what they are protesting, looking over their stories, determining whether their slogan of being “the 99 percent” is accurate or not, or if the movement is to have an impact on the upcoming election.
“The consensus is that it will not have an impact. [The protestors] are just a group of people upset over not having opportunities they were promised. [The protestors are] a bunch of people who have done all the right things and are still losing,” Powell said.
Senior Brian Reid is one of Powell’s AP Government students.
“I am fully against the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I believe that Wall Street CEOs have worked hard to earn their success. It is not their fault that some Americans cannot find a job. They are obviously too busy occupying Wall Street,” Reid said. “Generally the best way to apply for a job is not to protest outside, but that seems to be this group’s thought.”
Grace Kim is the Online Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.