Occupy Wall Street Gathers Momentum
Monday, October 17, 2021 10:08 PM

A people-powered movement dubbed Occupy Wall Street (OWS) that started exactly a month ago with a call for economic justice has gained momentum in the U.S., spreading to over 100 cities from coast to coast.


OWS began on September 17, 2011, in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, saying it was against financial bailouts and the role Wall Street played in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The occupiers cite the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia as inspirations. 


“We are so grateful for all of you involved in this defence of America. We firmly believe this is ‘it’,” a couple from West Virginia wrote on the OWS Web site. “If we can't grab this democracy this time, we'll sink and it will be a long time before we will have this opportunity again. Thank you for taking time from your busy life to be there.”


“OWS shows Washington, Wall Street, and the world that the American public is sick and tired of being a commodity and we are willing to stand together to be recognized as people,” reads another comment on the OWS site. “The demands will come as it naturally progresses. Stay strong. We are the next generation and it's our time to reclaim our precious country.”

“I am occupying Wall Street because it is my future, my generations' future that is at stake,” says New York University student Linnea Palmer Paton. “Inspired by the peaceful occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, tonight we are coming together in Times Square to show the world that the power of the people is an unstoppable force of global change. Today, we are fighting back against the dictators of our country - the Wall Street banks - and we are winning.”

“I am here to celebrate the 30th day of this protest against corporate power,” says Karanja Gacuca from Liberty Square, a former Wall Street analyst who now organizes with Occupy Wall Street. “Concerned about the egregious Wall Street bonuses - particularly after the industry accepted a tax-payer bailout and the middle class continues to be squeezed - I believe it's time for a fairer system that provides health care, education, and opportunity for all, and rejects corporate influence over government.”


Meanwhile, General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt worried that anti-Wall Street rhetoric hurts people other than those it is aimed at. "If your first comment is Wall Street is horrible and you're in a position of leadership, you don't hurt Wall Street," a Reuters report quoted Immelt as saying. "But there is some guy in Illinois that's not going to build a factory today because he thinks the financial system is horrible. That's my point. This is a time when leaders, people like me, should be trying to do things that are more convergent, because ultimately words count."

Demonstrations were also held near Wells Fargo bank in San Francisco last week, with protestors demanding the bank to return tax payer money.