OWS eager to mobilize in AthensPosted: October 11, 2011
ATHENS, Ga., Oct. 7 — It is the start of the second day of protesting; a quiet morning as commuters drove through Downtown Athens, Georgia at 10 a.m.
Varying signs that communicate grievances ranging from the “The crisis is Capitalism” to “We are the 99%” surround the historic University Arch.
A rotating of 20 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are putting together more posters – posters that outnumber the number of protestors at present. Pamphlets are available for anyone interested. Embedded in them, it states that the “demonstration will continue for as long as the occupation of Wall Street in Manhattan lasts.”
Despite the efforts of the demonstrators to make their movement known, passersby only glance and smile upon seeing the signs as a few students stop to ask questions. Two police officers casually walk near the location, while students throw a football on the North Campus lawn as a family settles down for a leisurely picnic.
Sitting in a foldout chair, knitting, is Patty Freeman-Lynde, an unemployed social worker who previously helped the homeless in Athens. Like many other protestors, she has a long list of complaints that she wants addressed, though she admits that change will probably take its time before the movement will cease.
“I am here because I think that the corporations have too much power. I think the government hasn’t done enough to limit their power,” Freeman-Lynde said.
“I think the bulk of our tax money is going to loopholes that are allowing these organizations, like oil companies, to make money while people are starving because they aren’t working and are not able to make a living.”
The Occupy Wall Street literature offers 22 grievances against the “corporate forces of the world” that range from failure to recall faulty products to secretly misinforming people through the media and killing innocents abroad for monetary gain.
“Obviously we here are here with the Occupy Wall Street movement, but not everyone can go to Wall Street to be supportive. We believe in the same thing they believe in. And different people have different aspects that are most important to them. I’m an environmentalist, that’s one of my biggest concerns,” Freeman-Lynde said.
Sympathizers of the movement are starting to realize that their lack of common goals are scattered, which can be a major weakness in their cause, as is evident from comments on their Facebook group “Occupy Wall St Athens, GA.”
University of Georgia students Mehreen Sultana, a sophomore studying pre-med, and TJ Alfonso, a senior majoring in history, were present to help make more signs and support the movement.
“Right now, I just want to help support,” Sultana said. “I don’t want this to be just about workers’ rights… [or] avoiding foreclorsures. This is about changing values.” Sultana contends that currently, “money has more valuable than people.”
Unlike those rising up in foreign countries against regimes, Sultana said, “We have rights here and we should be aware. We are being robbed of our rights and robbed of our money.”
“Part of the reason why [the movement is] here is to make sure it lasts long enough to mobilize a change,” said Sultana.
Alfonso emphasized that major cities all over the country had similar demonstrations going on.
“We can make this accomplish things,” he said. Demonstrators may not have swayed spectators to join, but they have started a discussion throughout suburban America.
The grassroots movement spreads its rhetoric through public demonstrations but primarily uses social media to inform followers of its operations.
Carter Adams, organizer of the OWS demonstration, has been updating Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds regularly since the start of the demonstrations.
The group’s last assembly meeting was announced to have begun at 9:30 p.m. tonight.