Occupy Wall Street is closer to home than ever before, featuring protests in Olympia and Seattle, Wash. and Portland, Ore.
Protesters in New York, N.Y. have been participating in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration since September 17. This demonstration has thousands of people involved and it is starting to spread across the nation.
Olympia adopted this movement in early October with their first general assembly meeting. Occupy Olympia had their second official meeting Oct. 7, in which people began gathering downtown in Sylvester Park throughout the day.
Sarah Hansen, a participant in Occupy Olympia, said “What we need is a fundamental change and not just a reform of the same system that we’ve had.”
Prior to 6 p.m., sign making stations were set up so that occupants could paint individual slogans on their own personal signs. Fliers were also available so that people could take them home to learn more about the movement.
When the meeting started the crowd formed a circle and began sharing personal thoughts and goals. When someone wanted to speak, they would raise their hand and be passed a megaphone in order to be heard.
Each person who spoke had different reasons for being there. One goal was to get the power back from the government and into the people’s hands.
Another issue shared is how 1 percent of the population makes up rules for the 99 percent of us to follow.
Hansen said her hope for the overall movement “will be doing community building instead of relying on a system that’s been broken for so long. We will take decision making back to communities.”
Evergreen student Brit Reed said, “I know that a lot of people want to talk…I know a lot of people have responses…I want to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard in all this. That’s the purpose of us coming together.”
The next event is to officially begin occupying Olympia by camping at Sylvester Park Oct. 15. The day of the event is also National Take Back the Square Day; a day that is recognized by various regions around the world that plan to start an occupy movement of their own.
SPSCC student Catherine McCartan was unaware that citizens of Olympia and the surrounding area are going to begin occupying on Oct. 15, but would like to attend.
“It is kind of interesting to see what the community can do together to make a change,” said McCartan.
Many people who attended the Oct. 7 meeting expressed that this movement means more to them than the possibility of getting arrested.
Event supporter Dana Walker addressed the crowd saying that there is nothing illegal about the occupiers being there during the day of Oct. 15, but if permits are not obtained it will be illegal to occupy after dusk.
He informed that police might give a warning, but people should be aware that they may be arrested without prior signal. In order to be there legally and stay the night a permit must be obtained from the city.
When the crowd addressed this subject an anonymous speaker said, “From lots of experience mace is not fun. If we get a permit then we are allowed to be there. And the police will just stand there and watch us instead of trying to tell us we gotta leave.”
People throughout the crowd started talking amongst themselves about the permit. Some were not aware that a permit was needed.
Another person in the crowd started shouting, “I don’t need a permit!” This began a chant amongst some of the people.
Once the majority had a chance to speak, the crowd was informed of the next gathering date. People were encouraged to break into smaller groups, each of which having a different purpose.
There were various themes discussed in the individual groups. Some were planning on how food would be supplied, another talked about how to get the permits. There was one that also focused on permits for bands.
According to the Seattle Post Intelligence website, the movement in Seattle is being held downtown outside of the Westlake Center on Pine Street and 4th Avenue.
They are demonstrating against corporate greed, lobbyists, and America’s economic instability.
Drew Thompson, a former student at SPSCC, has been at Occupy Seattle off and on since Oct. 7.
When asked why he is in attendance, he said, “to fight for human rights.”
Demonstrators are communicating through electronic devices to people on the outside in order to keep their supplies coming.
Their supplies include things such as food, tarps, cardboard, blankets and basic necessities that can help sustain them.
According to Thompson this event continues to grow on a daily basis.
Occupiers in Seattle as of Oct. 4, started applying for official city permits that will continue to allow them to demonstrate. The city has been threatening to arrest anyone in violation of park curfews. If permits are obtained demonstrations will be allowed to continue.
According to Seattle PI’s website, on Oct. 11 occupants in Seattle said they were told by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said that they were no longer allowed to occupy Westlake Center unless a list of demands was given to him by 8 p.m.
The list of demands was handed in on time and the occupants were allowed an additional 24 hour time period to occupy the space at Westlake Center.
According to the demands on the list occupants agreed to move to City Hall, where they say Mayor McGinn had suggested.
Other demands on the list were four tents that would be used as a hospice, information area, kitchen, and a place to store supplies. They also wanted to be able to use restrooms on the first floor of City Hall.
According to Thompson, the news coverage of the Occupy movements is inaccurate.
Thompson said that on Oct. 12 demands were sent in to the mayor, “they were trying to get us to move to city hall, [but] we did not agree.”
Occupy Portland was scheduled to begin Oct. 6 at noon. The location for this event will be held at Tom McCall Park at Ankeny Plaza. Demonstrators have been working with the city to obtain permits for this event.
On www.occupyportland.org they state, “We will gather in solidarity with the ongoing protest in New York City, Occupy Wall Street, and the growing number of cities whose people will no longer sit back watching corporate and special interests run their government. We are citizens of the United States, and this country is ours. We will take it back.”
They also point out on their website that more and more candidates in government and politics are relying mainly on how they are represented by mass media.
They state, “It is no longer enough to vote and to participate in the political system because our political system has been altered drastically from its intended and proper function. Currently, we are allowed to pick from a few candidates whose campaigns are funded more and more by large organizations, corporations, and special interests.”