Why Are You Occupying Wall Street?

Many People Cite Many Reasons to Protest in NYC

Photo Blu Laces

The occupiers of Wall Street are now in their third week of protest against… well, too many things to name.

Setting up camp since Sept. 17, the collection of people camping out in front of the New York Stock Exchange have set off a movement that has grown beyond the Big Apple.

Milling through Liberty Square at all hours of the day are people from all walks of life and of very differing political opinions. Both the rich and the very poor are in the mix, discussing their thoughts about what is wrong, what is right and what, if anything, can be done about the future of true democracy, and financial stability, in America.

The main speaking point that comes through the plethora of issues people are protesting here is a culture of greed in the American financial system. How systemic this greed is and what should be done about it is for anyone to say. Ask 10 people in the crowd why they are here and what they want, and you will undoubtedly get 10 different answers.

Dressed in a full business suit and slicked back hair, Daniel J. Halloran III, a NYC councillor, discussed with protesters what he thinks the issues are and what can be done to change the system.

“This is about corporatism, not capitalism,” he said. And though he sympathizes with the occupiers, he says, “just protesting isn’t going to get us anywhere. […] What needs to happen is people need to get out and vote [if change is to be achieved].”

Halloran said he hopes that more people like himself–those viewed as the “enemy” by many in the park–will come out to engage with the protesters and find some common ground.

Some in the park, though, are not so quick to trust politicians joining in the dialogue.

“I don’t believe any of those fucking people,” says Hamza Sinanaj, a self-identified libertarian who came from upstate New York to join in the protest. “They’re all paid for by the corporations.”

“I’d like to get rid of the current corporate structure,” he says. “We need a new rule of law. We need to bust [the largest] corporations into 6 or 7 smaller corporations [and] we need strong anti-trust laws.”

“I have a message for the corporations: you won,” he said while looking up at an office building.

He says, though that this isn’t a reason for total despair. Sinanaj believes that a dialogue with the corporations, which he says are now running the show, needs to be opened if change is to be achieved. The government, he says, on the other hand, is a lost cause and merely an extension of the corporations.

“So why not go straight to the source of the problems we face?” he asks.

Sinanaj says his plan now is to travel to Washington for the occupy protest there, where he will continue to fight for “the economic justice we all deserve.”

Stay tuned for more updates.