October 11, 2011

Cornellians Join ‘Occupy Wall Street’

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Dozens of Cornellians joined the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City on Saturday and Sunday to express their opposition to the “corporate greed” that they say has corrupted American politics.

Students said they participated in Occupy Wall Street, an ongoing demonstration that began on Sept. 17 in Zucotti Park, to learn more about the movement and to take part in history.

“I decided to go because this is clearly something very important and I wanted to see what is going on in person and see what I can do,” Denise Robbins ’12 said. “I really needed to learn more about it in person and do what I can to support it.”

According to K.C. Alvey ’12, an estimated 20 to 30 protesters from Cornell arrived on Sunday to the park and met up with groups of protesters. Cornellians were interviewed, given material to make signs and then marched to an assembly meeting at Washington Square Park.

“My friend and I had a ukulele and we joined some musicians playing some folk songs” said Robbins, highlighting the different activities going on.

Some Cornellians at the protest this weekend disagreed with criticisms that the Occupy Wall Street movement lacks clear demands.

“Finding a single sentence that encompasses all the injustices to the 99 percent of the population is hard,” Alvey said. “It’s trying to reestablish true democracy and it’s trying to call out to problems of corporate constitutional rights.”

Reed Steberger ’12 also addressed critics who say the protest does not have clear demands.

“Folks who say they don’t know what the protests are about haven’t been reading the news since 2008, when the recession started. The protest is a movement to reform the economics that have been working regular people harder and giving more of the prosperity they create to a smaller number of people,” he said.

Steberger said he hoped politicians would listen to protester’s demands.

“Protesting is never the best or first step. Lobbying is the first step, but the frightening truth is that it hasn’t been working,” he said. “Our petitioning and our phone calls aren’t being heard. It’s time for things to change.”

Occupy Wall Street protests have spread beyond Wall Street to cities around protests have spread beyond Wall Street to cities around the nation, including Ithaca. Ithacans showed their support for the protests by rallying in the Ithaca Commons on Thursday.

“The Wall Street [protest] is the heart of it, but others are following the same format,” Robbins said. “At Occupy Philly, we were there for a soapbox, where people can sign up to take the floor and say what they want.”

Ithacans and Cornellians plan to continue their protests. A rally is planned for Friday at the Commons. An “Occupy Cornell” event is planned for later this week.

“What Occupy Wall Street is doing is adding energy to the progressive movement on campus,” Alvey said. “Understand how our struggle is the same larger struggle for justice is what the movement is doing.”

Original Author: Kevin Milian