It could be said that America is in the middle of a very real revolution. On September 17, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement began in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States with actions in over 1,500 cities globally.
Occupy Wall Street has inspired people across the country, including a veteran contingency aptly named Occupy Marines. These Marines are a group of non-active troop members that are calling on non-active Marines to support the movement. The group was formed online to support the Occupy Wall Street protests after videos circulated online of a Marine confronting New York City police, questioning their tactics used against peaceful demonstrators.
Occupy Marines wants people to participate in the movement, but asks supporters not to demonstrate in uniform, especially if they are still on active or reserve status. They also have a zero tolerance policy for any violence whatsoever, including verbal. They view security forces and police as potential recruits to their cause, because they are accountable to the people.
Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Marines, like most idealistic social movements, want real political solutions. Their ideals may seem foolishly utopian to outsiders, but to them it’s a sign of the deep political conviction that many of the protesters carry. Their slogan is “We are the 99%”, which refers to income inequality in the United States between the top 1%, who control about 40% of the wealth, and the rest of the population.
These intense political rallies have led to clashes between police and protesters, permitting people like Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas to deliver powerful public speeches regarding the treatment of his fellow Americans. Physical confrontations have also occurred. Scott Olsen, a former marine and member of Veterans for Peace, was injured by a police projectile while participating in the Occupy Oakland march.
What is your stance on Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Marines? Do you support it, are you against it, and are you the 99%? Leave your comments below.
Photo thanks to eDsanca under creative commons license on Flickr.