weeks ago, a small group of young people set up camp in New York's
Zuccotti Park to protest against the financial market's role in the collapse of
the American economy, and to voice their united feeling that economic decisions
no longer favor the average individual. They christened themselves "Occupy Wall Street
reports place their active demonstrators at well over 10,000 people. Both in
support of, and as an extension of the Wall Street protests, satellite groups
have sprung up in cities and small towns across the country, including
almost entirely by Facebook, Twitter and various other Internet live feeds, a
larger-than-expected crowd estimated at about 1,200 gathered downtown to
speak, march and support Occupy Indianapolis
small group of protestors vowed to continue making a stand downtown for as long
as the movement on Wall Street persists. Meanwhile several other Occupy groups
and a group called Occupy Small Town Indiana
Small Town Indiana.
the first hour of the Saturday afternoon protest, those in attendance sat on
the Veterans Memorial Plaza
Memorial Plazalawn or stood and listened to volunteers who signed up to
speak. Anyone was allowed to offer their voice but within an enforced
cited several related reasons for their civil action, including corporate
greed, a growing disparity between the richest and poorest, lack of employment
and a general frustration that economic policy has been rigged to benefit only
the very wealthy.
asked about charges that the movement had no clear focus, local organizer Joh
Padgett was quick to respond.
he said. "That's just the media's way of trying to pigeonhole us. We've
got plenty to say. The problem is: How do you convey the voices and
frustrations of thousands of different people? How do you do that? You can't
fit it into a normal media narrative, so they make stuff up as they go along.
They're doing the exact same thing that we are. They're making it up as they go
along. Nobody has ever done this before."
media sources have been quick to tag the movement as a left-wing alternative to
the Tea Party
Party. Josh Howe, an Indianapolis-based music producer who attended the
event, does not deny the comparison.
Tea Party is all about reducing the size of government," he said.
"But who do you think runs the government? The politicians? Big banks and
finance own everyone of them. That's who the government works for. Do you think
government is going to propose any policy that would help me before it helps
referred to Saturday's rally as a Meeting of the General Assembly, a set of
procedures that national Occupy groups have adopted as a way to conduct their
business. As stated in the Occupy Together brochure, it is "a gathering of
people committed to making decisions based upon a collective agreement or
is no single leader or governing body — everyone's voice is equal. Any
individual is free to speak, offer a proposal and have that proposal voted on
through a series of hand signals. In order to pass, a proposal needs to have a
91 percent consensus. Future demonstrations, or "Meetings of the Indiana
General Assembly" are currently being planned. To hold one, it must be
proposed and voted on, as well.
AIDS walk scheduled at the same time as the demonstration was expected to
supply further supporters once the AIDS event ended. At one time, the AIDS
group and Occupy Indiana were actually marching across from each other on
opposite sides of North Meridian Street heading in opposite directions.
spirited group, almost three blocks long, left the Veterans Memorial Plaza
and marched to Monument Circle shouting rally cries: "We are the 99
percent!" The chant contrasts the majority of Americans against the 1
percent who own and control the majority of the nation's capital and, by
extension, power. After two laps around the circle, a large portion of the
crowd marched on to the Capitol Building while others returned to the Veterans
Memorial or simply left.
are hailing the Occupy movement as the next revolution. Filmmaker Michael
Moore, for instance, predicted that events of the last three weeks are only the
tip of the iceberg.
on the other hand, are unconvinced the movement amounts to anything, viewing
the activities as the antics of a bunch of misguided college kids with too much
time on their hands.
Saturday's rally had plenty of college age people in attendance, people of all
ages seemed to have been equally represented.
The Indianapolis rally confirms that the New York protest resonates with people across the country. It remains to be seen whether the substantial legs the movement has gained so far are capable of sustaining the momentum necessary to influence any real change.
combined Occupy Facebook sites list over 450,000 members. The Occupy Indiana
site currently ranks 19th in size with over 6,000 members. It is showing
consistent growth, with several hundred new members joining daily.