Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to Nashville





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Published on Oct 7, 2011

Produced by Kyle Blaine

It started out as protest on Wall Street against the perceived injustices of large financial institutions.

Now, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread across the country, and Nashville got its first taste of it this week, with two rallies held at Legislative Plaza and Centennial Park respectively.

The name of the group behind the local movement is Occupy Nashville, but the two rallies they put on Thursday were more traditional protests than they were occupations.

Jane Steinfels-Hussain is the secretary of the Nashville Peace and Justice Center, the group responsible for organizing the rallies. She says the Occupy Nashville movement has three goals: get big corporate money out of politics, end corporate personhood and support the protesters on Wall Street.

"We want a sincere discussion of the issues, a sincere discussion of this economic crisis that we're in," Hussain said.

The rush-hour protest drew in 170 people, and there were a variety of issues represented at the event, including anti-war demonstrators and organized labor. But the focus was on Corporate America, with signs reading "Stop Corporate Domination" and "We are the 99%".

Andy Wollison has been an activist for two years and showed up to the rally to show solidarity for Occupy Wall St.

"It's one financial district, in one city, in one country that makes decisions that affect the entire world. So it's important that we stand here in solidarity and speak out against it because its affecting all of us," Wollison said.

The protesters put on a scripted demonstration using a Corporate Military Machine prop to illustrate their message.

Across the street, two women staged a counter protest in support of capitalism and economic freedom.

"What capitalism is an economic embodiment of freedom, where the government stays out of the financial institutions, and its run by the economic will of the people," the counter-protester said.

The Occupy Wall St. movement has faced comparisons to the Tea Party, another leaderless, grassroots organization.

Vol State Community College student Cory Amons said there is a big distinction between the two.

"The difference between us and the tea party, its simple - we're educated," Amons said.

Taylor Stephens led a chant at the rally. He says people are tired of the government not addressing the country's problems.

"People are finally realizing that the reason the government isn't going anything about these problems is because our government is ran by corporations through lobbying. I mean, there's several billion of dollars are spent exclusively on lobbying every year," Stephens said.


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