From California to New York, the tide of protest keeps rising
By Stephen Foley
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
What started last month with a lofty promise to “Occupy Wall Street” and a sit-in at a public park in Manhattan’s financial district has spread into a national protest movement with miniature demonstrations popping up in cities from Los Angeles to Boston.
Organised on social networks such as Twitter, and galvanised by anger at the arrest of 700 protesters in New York at the weekend, activists are erecting tent cities and planning marches on banks, corporate headquarters and police stations across the US, in an effort that idealists among them hope might grow to upend politics.
The range of participants’ complaints is as broad as the protest itself, and the absence of specific demands has prompted derision in some quarters, but the movement is coalescing around the view that the country’s politics and its economy are skewed in favour of the moneyed elite.
As Occupy Wall Street has been joined by Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Chicago and more than a dozen other copycats, the unifying mantra of the protesters has been that “we are the 99 per cent” – ordinary Americans frozen out of the economic gains of the pre-recession era, disproportionately hurt by the downturn, and routinely ignored on political issues ranging from education to the environment to war.