March 1, 2024

Columbus joins the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement

The protestor occupation of Wall Street, dubbed Occupy Wall Street, has taken hold across the country.

In almost every state, thousands of students, working class citizens, middle class citizens, and unemployed people have taken to the streets protesting against the big banks and corporations that operate on Wall Street in New York City.

Protestors believe that those Wall Street corporations take away profits from the middle class, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. They are also protesting what appears to be a government that works for the elite population only, while ignoring the vast majority of the people.

As the people protest, the State has come into action, sending police forces to stop the protests from losing control. Many arrests have been made and photos of police spraying pepper spray on protestors, walking the streets with batons ready, and even carrying and dragging American citizens by force from the streets are common.

Dr. Daniel Skinner of the political science department considers “a sense that government has served the interest of economic elites for some time now, much to the detriment of working class Americans” to be the central issue of the protests. Skinner said that the protests on Wall Street offer political interest due to their lack of concern for concrete results from their actions.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement is most interesting in its non-instrumental approach to politics. That is, the movement seems to be more concerned with the act itself than what the act might ultimately yield,” Skinner said before comparing the protests to other social movements within US History, more specifically the Tea Party.

Skinner considers this movement a paradox to the Tea Party movement of 2009 and 2010, “Though the Tea Partiers tend to blame the working poor and middle class Americans for the economic situation rather than the unscrupulous banks,” Skinner said.

Dr. Gloria Still of the English Department compared the current protests to social uprisings within the Great Depression that brought about social programs Americans today take for granted.

“This is the same kind of social uprising it took to create real social change in the 1930’s. I hope it continues,” Still said.

Still fears for the protestors, drawing attention to the police treatment of the protestors and what occurred in Egypt where the military attacked Coptic Christians. “We in the U.S. only need to remember Kent State in 1970. The situation could get ugly, I fear,” Still said.

Sophomore Corey Ansel, a political science major and political activist, discussed how the protests affect students across the country and at Capital University.

“As a student, I think the Occupy Wall Street protests are very significant,” Ansel said. Many of the protestors are students who are already in debt from student loans and fear the lack of jobs and benefits.

“This isn’t just about fighting for the present, but it’s about all of our futures,” Ansel said, then discussed his involvement in Columbus as part of the national Occupy Wall Street movement. “We began to occupy the Statehouse lawn on Monday, October 10th. This is about expressing solidarity with the protestors in New York and building a movement for change,” Ansel said.

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