Occupy Wall Street: Coming to a small town near you!

The Occupy Movement from New York City has spread across the globe and popped up in Lewisburg, PA on Saturday, October 15th.  Venturing down to the Lewisburg Post Office, I was not sure what I would find, but was definitely surprised to see the crowd that was swarming the front of the building. While looking for a parking spot, I thought that I was doing something wrong because everyone kept honking, but I soon realized that there was a man on the edge of the crowd (which pushed into the street) with a sign that read “Honk if you are fed up!”

I first stood on the outside and observed as various leaders, students, and children spoke, but then worked up the courage to make my way in. I wanted to see if the citizens of Lewisburg had the same reasons for protesting as the citizens of New York.  I was wondering if the reasons I found in my last blog of corporate greed, economic inequality, and function of banks were relevant to the citizens of Lewisburg.

The first lady I spoke to was a middle-aged woman who has Type One Diabetes and has been unable to get medication.  She believes that health insurance is tied directly to employment and that people that are unemployed do not have the opportunities for proper healthcare.  If the 1% was taxed more heavily, it could be used to create better healthcare programs for everyone.  She then told me about a documentary called, “Apology of and Economic Hit Man,” which showed how Americans would go into Latin America and demand them to follow certain rules.  She related this to the current ties between politics and Wall Street, saying that Obama is just a puppet of Wall Street.

I was next drawn to a family with captivating signs and they expressed their concern of the Marcellus Shale debate.  Owning property in the region for over 300 years, they were concerned for the effects on the environment.  According to the family, drilling in this region would lead to exploitation of the land.   The elderly man of the group even joked about Pennsylvania becoming “Pennsyl-tucky” or “Pennsyl-ginia.” The family has put their land into conservation for these reasons. (If you are interested in taking a field trip to his beautiful property, let me know because he gave me his number!)

The last people I spoke to were two students from Susquehanna University.  Their biggest concern is that Americans in power don’t care and that our entire system is based on elitism.  The male student explained his concern with the cost of higher education (which seems to be mandatory for a good job) and how difficult this made it for families with lower incomes to get the same opportunities as those with higher incomes.  This perpetual cycle beats down the poor and further elevates the rich.  The students compared America to other countries, such as Austria and Denmark, where healthcare and college education are free.  Their solution is to tax the corporations and the rich.  I was still curious about their thoughts on economic inequality and the students’ response was that “people on Wall Street think that nobody is working as hard as they are, so they deserve such high pay.”  Instead, they believed that employees of Wall Street had connections, which led them to these jobs, not because of a superior work ethic.  Most interestingly, the female student concluded by saying everyone should think twice about taking these opportunities to use connections because it is not fair to those people who don’t have those opportunities.  Although this would make sense in a morally equal world, I am not sure if it could ever actually be implemented in today’s world.

The people who I spoke with today all had completely different concerns and reasons for occupying Lewisburg, but still came together under the common belief for a need for change in America (Della Port et al’s framing idea). 

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12 Responses to Occupy Wall Street: Coming to a small town near you!

  1. Kaylin says:

    I would like to clarify, as the female student from Susquehanna, I do not think people should turn down job opportunities because of connection. Merely that it is a question of ethics that should not be overlooked. That people with opportunities should think about the people who were not as lucky. In today’s world, if a job opportunity presents itself, out of need we must seize it but first we must question the ethics of the opportunity.

    • Alyssa Haglund says:

      Hi Kaylin! I am so glad that you found our blog, but I am sorry I was not clear on your concern. I have tried to correct it, so please let me know if you think it is okay now.

      I find the last point that you made extremely interesting and although it would be great in a morally equal world to take other people into consideration during the decision process, I feel that society today is just a bit too selfish. Perhaps people should not seize these opportunities to use connections out of need, but instead focus on opportunities that are found without elitist connections.

  2. Ethan says:

    As the male student from Susquehanna, I enjoyed it! haha I just would like to add that I believe that we should tax the individuals with the most wealth, not necessarily the corporations. But yeah, other than that, good job! 🙂 Hope to see you at the next one.

  3. ALXLIONS says:

    wow alyssa i am very impressed with this blog and your popularity at the protest. I did not have the courage to really engage with the protestors in New York. I was like the awkward guy in the corner at a party with my hands in pocket.

    • Jordi says:

      Don’t be too hard on yourself. I would love to know how the mothership protest compared to it’s spawn. Maybe you two can do a joint post.

  4. tpm011 says:

    Interesting blog. I am curious as to how people who are calling out for higher taxation for the top 1% (because apparently 35% isn’t enough) plan to implement it. Do they know that the top 1% pays for roughly 40% of the federal tax? I think a better idea would be to aggressively ensure that corporations are held to their 35% tax standard. International companies are able to get around America’s high tax rate by having money stored in other countries with lower tax rates which saves them millions, if not billions of dollars.

    • Ethan says:

      Well, here are my thoughts.

      While they do pay 40% of the total federal tax, they pay less percentage of their income than most middle class people do, which seems a bit odd to me.

      Second, I feel if we tax corporations higher, we might encourage these businesses to cut jobs. However, if these jobs are all shipped overseas, i really don’t see a problem in taxing them more. Maybe have a tax break for businesses that don’t ship jobs overseas…? Not sure if thats a good solution or not, just came up with it off the top of my head.

      • Alyssa Haglund says:

        I think that is a great idea. Perhaps it could be the opposite as well, tax companies to do outsource because this may also cause companies to think twice about outsourcing and maybe even keep more jobs here in the US

  5. katiebaum13 says:

    I thought this was an awesome post. I was really impressed how you engaged with the movement and with the people that were protesting. I definitely would not have had the courage to do so!! I thought it was a really interesting piece because it got a lot of perspectives from a lot of different people who are different situations. This really gave me another perspective about this movement.

    • Alyssa Haglund says:

      This was really the best part about getting out there because in my previous blog the only reasons I could find as to why the movement was occurring was from articles online. Actually speaking to the people of the movement helped me to understand that although not everyone has the same things they would like to change, they are all out there for the same reason, to bring change

  6. Pingback: Best of Blog, Week 7, Protests and Films | Biz Gov Soc

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