Camping out on Wall Street

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photo: 2010,

On September 17, over 5,000 protesters began an “occupation” of New York’s Wall Street, and although they were blocked by police from entering Wall Street proper, they are planning to settle into the area for at least a month, camping at “Liberty Plaza”.

In seeing the news and photos regarding the current Wall Street Occupation, I wonder why the group — though apparently growing daily — isn’t larger.

Several other countries have staged similar protests in recent months that frankly make the U.S. look like the land of the subdued and the home of the complacent by comparison.

The news media may paint some of the protesters in New York City right now as bit fanatical, but perhaps some of the things these protestors are saying are rightly based on truths, as in the rather large inequalities between the wealthy (1%) and everybody else (99%.)

In the wake of this demonstration, it seems important to bring up a few facts that everyone in this country should know:

Everyone in this country should know that the government and people currently do not control the country, as they were designed to.

Everyone in this country should know that atop our ingenious system of government checks and balances sit a few big corporations who have our government in a state of perpetual check mate. They control nearly everything, from what you eat to who you can vote for.

Everyone in this country should know that yes, your vote does count, but not as much as your voice and your actions do.

As citizens, we have the right to assemble, and the right to demand and force change in ways that are in the end, far more effective than our efforts in going to the voting booth. Not taking away from the importance of voting, Americans should realize that in order for real change to happen, it takes a critical mass of people who have strong enough will to defend their personal freedom and their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This concept, of course, means different things to different people, and the current group of protesters holed up a few blocks from Wall Street are showing their will in taking to the street, banking on drawing people who are unemployed, or who have seen their retirement funds limp along, or who don’t know how they’ll survive in the next few decades, or who wonder why they can’t ‘escape’ a system that keeps them delicately tiptoeing between contentedness and ruin.

The movement’s current ‘occupation force’ of around 1,000 would need to grow tremendously over the next few months — 2-months is the length their occupation is planned for — in order to have any lasting effect. The streets of Manhattan would need to be filled with Americans who believe that the capitalist democracy has failed them.

Realistically, if you look at the problems these folks are apparently trying to fix, you begin to realize that the only way to effect banks, wall street, corporations, and in turn the government is for a large percentage of this country to simply stop participating in the system.

Poster: Kevin Vancio (

Poster: Kevin Vancio (

And so the Wall Street Occupation will go for two months, quitting jobs, taking breaks from school, etc… while the majority of this country wonders: what person in their right-capitalist mind would do that?

To that, the collective camping out at “Liberty Park” in New York City seems to say: you’ve apparently lost your mind. If there were an opportunity to get involved, speak your mind, and create some real change, this may very well be it.

So then, see you on Wall Street?


Further Reading (with live stream)