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occupy detroit: yosh!

October 13, 2011

Occupy Detroit is scheduled to begin this Friday. We’re meeting at the iconic Spirit of Detroit at 4pm, and marching to Grand Circus Park at 6pm, where the occupation is planned to take place. A friend and I are planning on at least spending Friday night there. Like other protesters, we want to help add our voice to movement and inspire others to do the same.

Of course, some people don’t think that organizing and protesting can change anything, that it’s simply a waste of time; but history shows otherwise. During the Great Depression, for example, similar protests and civil unrest motivated Roosevelt to institute major reforms such as the enactment of Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, the right of workers to organize unions, etc. And more recently, protests and occupations led to the resignation of Tunisia’s longtime president and toppled Egypt’s de facto dictatorship.

As for my own reasons for supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement, I can think of four right off the top of my head. I’m protesting: (1) rising wealth inequality and lower economic mobility; (2) the increased influence of money in politics since Citizens United v FEC; (3) grievous conflicts of interest in the 16 trillion Federal Reserve Bailout, which went to large financial institutions while average, working-class Americans got next to nothing; and (4) restrictions on the use of public space. Beyond that, I’m just trying to help create a better world—one where 1% of the population doesn’t essentially rule over the other 99%.

To be honest, I don’t know if this movement will be successful in the long run; but as I said before, I’m truly heartening to see so many people passionate about something greater than themselves rallying around a common cause, particularly in my home town of Detroit, and I’m happy that I can be a part of it. Even if we fail to change the world, at least we can say we tried.

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