It started in New York City in the middle of this month, and as of today has popped up in 1,400 other cities. Now the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality, corporate greed and big banks, government, has erupted in Gainesville. The movement’s Facebook page boasts about 1,700 “likes” and dozens gathered today at Bo Diddley Community Plaza.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/spikereal.mp3]
Protestors like this woman, who prefers to just go by Spike, say it is time to close the gap between rich and poor.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Spike3.mp3]
But not everyone in the crowd was pleased with the demonstration. Lourdes Chew attended the event, and says instead of closing the gap, protestors are enflaming the problem. She believes instead, they should be taking concrete steps to change America’s economic problem.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/chew3a.mp3]
The original protests began on Wall Street earlier this month. Those organizers have created a document called the Declaration of the Occupation of New York. It states a list of grievances, including their feelings that banks have taken their houses through an illegal foreclosure process, and have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give executives exorbitant bonuses. Spike compares this to earlier events in American history.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Spike4a.mp3]
Economics professor David Denslow says he understands the protestors’ concerns.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Denslow1.mp3]
But he says the fundamental problem is how 2 billion workers in India, China, and developing nations entered the labor market, driving down wages for American workers, except for those at the top. Denslow says he feels for the protestors, but that they are not focusing on the right problem.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Denslow2.mp3]
Lourdes Chew says she is worried about the kinds of thoughts Occupiers have about the direction of the United States.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/chew5.mp3]
Denslow says while economically the U.S. is not on the way to communism, there are social elements like redistributing wealth that may sound good in theory but don’t work out practically.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/Denslow3.mp3]
Members of the American Dream Movement also protested today.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/epple1.mp3]
Though they support Occupy Gainesville’s cause, they are focusing on demanding, in their words, millionaires to pay their fair share to create jobs rather than make cuts that hit the middle class and poor.
Hear the full clips above.