Karen Ocamb

Guide to 'Occupy Wall Street' Protests

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 05, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: ENDA, Occupy Wall St., Occupy Wall Street

LGBTs have a stake in this growing protest movement since our unemployment numbers and job searches are often made more complicated by having no job protections such as would be provided with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. For instance, the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate for African Americans surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%. The unemployment rate in California is 12.1%. LGBTs are in those statistics. To better help us all understand what’s happening with the “Occupy Wall Street” grassroots protests, Think Progress put together a helpful guide:

Why They’re Protesting

What started with about 1,000 people in New York City is a civil disobedience campaign to draw attention to economic inequality and the need for structural economic reforms. In the true spirit of the Boston Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street protesters are practicing civil disobedience for many of the same reasons. They demonstrating in opposition corporate greed; demanding that government support education, infrastructure, and jobs; getting rid of corporate tax loopholes; and strengthening democracy. Read more here.

How Unequal are We?

Protesters call themselves the 99 percent - meaning the portion of the nation pushing back against the top 1 percent of the most wealthy Americans. Here is an explanation of exactly how economically unequal we are:

1. The top 1 percent of Americans owns 40 percent of the nation's wealth.

2. The top 1 percent of Americans takes home 24 percent of national income.

3. The top 1 percent of Americans owns half of the country's stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

4. The top 1 percent of Americans has only 5 percent of the nation's personal debt.

5. The top 1 percent is taking in more of the nation's income than at any other time since the 1920s.

Read more here.

Who’s Involved

The number of people behind Occupy Wall Street has grown from that first group who started the demonstrations in New York. Now, people ranging from labor unions to celebrities and veterans are protesting in the streets across the country. Here’s an Iraq veteran who joined the protest in Boston because the future is at stake and “it’s not going to fix itself”:

But of course not everyone has been giving the Occupy Wall Street protesters fair coverage. After Fox News had mocked and tried to “prank” protesters in its coverage, the news channel did not air this interview with Jesse LaGreca in which the protesters clearly explains why he’s there protesting and what he thinks of Fox’s coverage, even scolding the Fox staffer for his network's role as a far-right "propaganda machine.” Watch the unaired interview:

Read more here and here.

(Crossposted at LGBT POV. Imgsrc)

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