Know Your Occupiers Buffalo
One of the many great things about the internet is that it is an effective means of communication, especially between people or organizations that would otherwise have no way of meeting. Recently, I used the internet to divulge into the “Occupy” movement that is sweeping the nation. I had the opportunity ask a few brief questions to a spokesperson for “Occupy Buffalo” that I thought people would be interested in having answered.
Before I share my our conversation, I think a little background on the movement is necessary for those who are unaware. The “Occupy” demonstrations began in September in New York City, specifically in the Wall Street district. The protesters are fighting things such as corporate greed, corporate influence on government affairs, and economic inequality. The demonstrators have used the phrase “The 99%,” pointing out the income disparity between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. In fact, the top 1% controls about 40% of the nations total wealth. It truly is a movement for the “common man.” Of course, this all roots back to the mortgage crisis, in which top Wall Street executives were given multi-million dollar bonuses despite the poor handling of their own company’s finances.
The movement has since spread around the country, including our own backyards. Here is the conversation I had with an “Occupy Buffalo” spokesperson, who shed a little light on the goals and nature of the demonstrations.
Q. When did the “Occupy Buffalo” movement begin, and how long do you expect it to last?
A. Occupy Buffalo started 9/24 with a twitter account to get the movement started. It spread to Facebook. The first general assembly was 10/1 and the occupation started the night of 10/8. There is really no way to know how long it will go. No plans are in progress to de-occupy anytime soon.
Q. Would you say the movement is more against “big business” or government policies?
A. The Occupy movement isn't really against either one more than the other. It's more against the influence that big business has on government.
Q. What changes do you hope the demonstrations will produce?
A. Were hoping to bring awareness to all citizens about how corporations are influencing American politics. Were working for political finance reform. We want the voice of the 99% to be heard rather than just the corporations.
Q. Is there communication between the other “occupy” demonstrations around the country? In other words, is it a unified movement?
A. There is some communication but for the most part each occupation is organized and ran independently. There is no central leadership to this movement. A group from Buffalo did go out to Rochester last week to help out with the occupation there.
Q. Some have called those participating in these demonstrations “hippies” or unemployed people looking for a bailout of their own. Response?
A. I don't know that anyone is looking for a bailout or hand out. It's more about stopping corporations from getting so many hand outs and leveling the playing field. Occupy, for the most part, seems to be a very educated group of protestors.
Q. A few celebrities have identified with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Have any local celebrities reached out to you?
A. Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls has publicly supported Occupy Buffalo via his Twitter page.
Hopefully this interview was able to inform you on what exactly the Occupy movement is all about. The easiest way to find out more information on the demonstrations is through their social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter.