Interviews with the Occupiers
Forget what you've heard about the Occupy Wall Street protesters: the supposedly bohemian, bourgeois, disorganized, lazy, naive, pot-smoking communists who still live with their parents and want more government money.
In the New Orleans encampment outside of City Hall, veterans, musicians, students, nurses, the unemployed, unionists, Christians, teachers and pensioners started their vigil on October 6. They have little money. They have put their lives on hold to protest and sleep on the ground for no pay or personal recognition. They are ultra-democratic: each protester has veto power over any decisions made in the group. They are drug-free. They carry many different signs - wouldn't it be strange if they didn't? - "Tax the Rich," "End the Fed," "Bail Out Hospitals, Break Up Banks," but their politics are rigorously developed and highly critical.
Ask any of them why they are there and they will recite a litany of abuses at the hands of their banks, their employers, their government, their police, and anybody else with power.
The half-truth is that that they have no demands. The truth is that the demands are obvious and general. They want accountability for the bankers whose stated business ethic, the maximization of personal greed, collapsed the global economy, destroyed the lives of millions of people, and led them to sprint to the US Treasury with one palm outstretched and the other clutching a copy of Atlas Shrugged. The occupiers want the bankers to stop committing crimes.
To insure they and their fellow Americans are never fleeced again, they call on the lessons of the civil rights movement and Tahir Square. They believe in and practice nonviolence with ascetic devotion.
But they don't want your sympathy. They want you to join them.
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