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Published on Oct 7, 2011
Down with banks, student-loan debt, and expensive elections! Up with barter...capitalism...and...Mitt Romney?!?!
On October 4, 2011, Reason.tv visited the Occupy Wall Street protests at Liberty Square in Lower Manhattan, on Day 18 of the ongoing demonstration.
The crowd was relatively small at about 300, and included educated but unemployed workers, college students and recent graduates, homeless drifters, performance artists, 9/11 truthers, and a not-insignificant number of journalists.
The "leaderless" movement is made up of more than a dozen smaller groups, such as the "Information" group with Macbooks hooked up to generators who maintain the "OccupyWallStreet" Twitter feeds and liveblogs, a "People's Library" consisting mostly of donated leftist literature, and a well-stocked kitchen where organic vegetables are sliced for communal salads.
Student loan debt, campaign finance reform, and general anger with the sluggish economy were the more frequent grievances aired, but the demonstrators are hardly monolithic in their passions or opinions. Among the boilerplate anti-capitalist rhetoric included a lifelong Democrat professing his support for Mitt Romney, an unemployed aviation mechanic declaring his continued support of capitalism and disgust at corporate welfare, and a homeless man expressing skepticism that any of the protestors would remain in the park if just "one bad wind" rolled through the area.
Also in the crowd was Republican New York City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran, who took all questions from the assembled crowd, and even won them over after forcefully denouncing taxpayer bailouts of corporations and eminent-domain abuse.
Though the message of Occupy Wall Street is muddled and the future of the protest remains unclear, similar "Occupy" demonstrations are popping up in cities all over the United States, and the quasi-anarchist community residing in Liberty Square shows no signs of relinquishing its post.
Reason recapped the list of demands of the self-professed "99%," which include free college education for all and a minimum wage of $20/hr. Read that at http://bit.ly/pcDOLc