Updated Oct. 5
By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan
There’s been a lot of talk that other than rallying against bankers and corporate greed, the message coming from Occupy Wall Street isn’t a clear one. And many of the college students, artists, unemployed, transients who’ve set-up camp in a concrete plaza in lower Manhattan wouldn’t disagree with that assessment.
In fact, many of the young protesters–mostly in their 20s–seem to embrace the notion that it’s hard to define just what Occupy Wall Street is all about and what it hopes to achieve. For many, sleeping on the streets and staging a “Zombie March,” or getting arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge is enough to bring attention to the fact that too many Americans are still suffering from the financial crisis.
“I’m here because in this recession, the rich have become richer — and it ties in to the bank bailouts,” says Dylan Bozlee, a college student from Hilo, Hawaii, who booked a one-way ticket to New York to join the protest. “Think about it? Wall Street got us into this huge mess, enabled by our government, and we are in the same state of affairs–recession.”
Spend some time with the protesters camping out in Zuccotti Park and it’s clear violent revolution of the social order isn’t what this rag-tag movement is all about. Sure, there are some signs that say, “Abolish the IRS,” or “Cripple Wall Street.” But many more are personal statements about not having a job , or having too much student loan debt, or feeling voiceless in their own country.
“Over the last several years, I have noticed that things in our banking system have been going in the wrong direction,” says Richard Machado, 20, a college student. “Wall Street is highly exclusionary and they have been given many, many handouts to save our economy, but that has not translated into a stronger economy?”