Riverside, CA: "Occupy Wall Street" movement heads to Riverside

On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 6, a crowd of approximately 150 gathered in front of the California Museum of Photography to join forces with the rapidly growing "Occupy Wall Street" movement. Dubbed "Occupy Riverside," the series of meetings and protests intend to focus on how bigger-picture Wall Street corruption issues impact the Inland Empire on a local level.

The meeting was conducted with a spirit of true democracy, allowing anyone wishing to speak to do so. The crowd repeated everything said by the main speaker, so as to ensure he was understood despite the lack of microphone. Hand signals were used, with audience members signaling if they wished to speak, had a point of order or wanted a speaker to wrap up his or her speech in a more timely manner.

Much of the gathering focused on listing grievances against corporate corruption, but it mainly acted as an open forum for individuals to suggest solutions. Public discussion and commentary are the foundation by which the movement functions on the local level. A speaker emphasized camaraderie and a sense of community when assessing solutions, saying "these proposals are for the collective action of what we will do together."

While specific feasible solutions to corporate corruption were scarce, a call to action was well received by the crowd. A speaker exclaimed, "To the people of the world, we urge you to exert your power. In the spirit of democracy, join us, make your voices heard! Let us gather together with grievance against mass injustice. Our system must protect our rights."

The importance of the media's role in the expansion of the movement was also covered, and attendees were encouraged to join the group's media committee. While the "Occupy Riverside" group is still developing in infrastructure, it has paid special attention to establishing quality media and legal committees.

Signs with slogans like "Re-enact the Glass-Stegal Act, separate commercial and investment banking," "We're asking 4 reform, you're asking for revolution," and "Left and right are not political wings to lift us, they are corporate fists to knock us down. Fight back, America!" set the tone for the gathering. Wanderers and miscellaneous attendees of the Riverside Arts Walk occurring down the street were encouraged to participate in the vocal forum. One woman entered the circle of protesters exclaiming "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" and was met with overwhelming cheers.

The spirit of solidarity amongst the protesters was best summed up by a sign: "Corporate America has two parties, it's time the people had one."

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement began in mid-2011 when the Canadian based anti-consumerist group Adbusters Media Foundation encouraged a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy and general corporate corruption. The specific goals of the movement remain ambiguous since they have no specific policy ambitions or official list of demands, but Adbusters claims that a main intention is to get President Obama to "ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over representatives in Washington."

1 comment:

Burkey said...

Put most simply, the demonstrators are asking for our friggin' money back.

We work very hard for it.