Thursday, October 13, 2011

Joining the 99% at Occupy Chicago

    As those who know me can tell you, I am not part of the 1% of the population that is cornering 37% of the USA’s household wealth. Therefore, it was about time that I joined the other 99% in a long overdue moment of rage. With that in mind, I headed over to Occupy Chicago to see whether or not the outrage that has been inexplicably absent until now had  finally come.

Yesterday, October 12th, was the 20th day of Occupy Chicago. In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, people have been occupying many cities throughout America. A few hundred people have been occupying the area outside of the Federal Reserve Bank on LaSalle Street, the heart of Chicago’s financial district. I think that people are coming together to say that they are serving notice that they will no longer allow an oligarchy to control America’s wealth. It belongs to all of us and needs to be distributed more equitably than it has been.

While the majority of the people appeared to be young, the crowd spanned the age spectrum. It was exciting to see the crowd being overly considerate of one another. I asked one woman why she was there. She said that this was the first protest that she had ever participated in her whole life and she was doing it for her grandson to insure that he had a world of opportunities in his future. She proudly carried a sign that said, “I am doing this for you.”

A middle aged woman from Indiana said, “This is the eleventh hour. If the middle class is destroyed in America, there will be nothing to hold up democracy.”

I spoke with a college student from Florida who referred to herself as a college dropout. When I asked her if she had dropped out for lack of funds, she said yes, that her family is very poor and can hardly feed themselves. She hopes to resume her studies someday when she can find the funds to continue.

Many ideas were suggested for resolving America’s financial crisis. One that I found interesting was for Illinois to establish a state bank. Another was for a one-time-only progressive net worth tax to reverse the widening distribution of wealth. The person who suggested this had even set up his own web site to discuss his ideas.

Although everyone was united in a feeling of anger against the 1% whose noose is tightening around the rest of us, there were no concrete demands made. Maybe that will come soon. When it does, I hope they can stay organized enough to press those demands forward. In the meantime, I share the sentiment. I hope that it can be translated into some concrete political action soon. As was said before, we’re in the 11th hour.         

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