I support the Occupy movement because I believe the nation’s current political leadership favors the rich and fails to take into account the needs of workers and the poor. Despite the huge disparity of income between the working class and people of wealth, the tax structure favors the wealthy. In the 2007 financial crisis, large banks and other financial institutions were given the funds they needed to weather the crisis; little was done to help those who lost their homes. Since then, our leaders have been unwilling to impose adequate controls upon Wall Street financiers, despite the economic disaster they caused in 2007 and the resulting loss of retirement savings. The 99 percent protest at Occupy Oakland wants to change this.
I had not as yet participated in the Occupy movement locally, when my husband, Brian, and I made plans to visit our daughter, Maureen, in Berkeley, CA. I woke up the day we were to leave to the news of the injuries to veteran Scott Olsen who returned safely from fighting in Iraq, only to be seriously injured by the Oakland Police for peacefully exercising the rights for which he fought. So I packed my SEIU vest.
We spent 2 days at Occupy Oakland and participated in the rallies, general assembly meetings and various other events. Notably, there was passion and commitment, but not anger, for the cause. The leaders were very organized and all events were very orderly. Even standing in a very long line for free silk screen posters made on the premises was calm and orderly.
We flew home November 2nd so we could not participate in Oakland’s General Strike. However, our daughter, Maureen, did. She reported that, as with the other times we spent at Occupy Oakland, the rally was peaceful, friendly, and vibrant, even though by some counts there were 100,000 people in attendance.
Dolly Kildee is a former MCPS employee and a retired SEIU Local 500 member