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Guest Column: Occupy Wall Street sweeps the nation

October 5, 2011

By Kelly McKee

New York City is once again ground zero, but this time, the war following is likely to be nothing short of revolutionary.

A quarter million people across America have taken to the streets in front of Federal Reserve buildings, banks and the New York Stock Exchange protesting corporate greed and calling for a complete reform in the way corporations and the government have been doing business.

The failure of anyone taking responsibility for the billions of dollars lost to banks recently has created civil unrest in major cities throughout the country.

The streets in New York are packed with citizens who are risking their freedom for the sake of freedom. Signs that read “We are the 99%” echo a direct quote from Michael Moore’s recent documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, and reflect the people’s outrage and frustration with the richest 1 percent of the population’s extreme growth in wealth as the monopoly effect climaxes.

Seven-hundred protesters were arrested, many on bogus charges. Three were arrested in one hour for drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. One was said to have been drawing the word “Love” before he was arrested.

Mainstream media have been ignoring the events taking place in the nation’s major cities, and one can only assume there is some reason for this “media blackout.” However, all the American people can do is try to stand their ground and stay strong against an impossible foe — their home of the free, home of the brave.

Chicago has seen increasing numbers of citizens joining in solidarity against the giant corporate machines. Their numbers grew from 30 people who stood and slept in front of the Federal Reserve Building on the corners of Jackson and LaSalle to the thousands in one week, and the numbers continue to swell around the nations major cities.

The only way to track the progress of the Occupy the Nation movement is through social networking such as Facebook, Myspace and amateur videos on Google and YouTube.

Many videos show gruesome police brutality on peaceful protesters recorded in the early morning by shaky phone cams. One video was taken Sept. 20, 2011, at 10:08 a.m. (Eastern) in Zuccotti Park in New York City by an unknown female asking the people getting arrested what their names were so she could call the National Lawyers Guild to assist them.

One man is shown being handcuffed after being thrown on the ground. The officer then rolled the man onto his back and dragged him by his feet across the street. When the camera woman caught up with the man, his hands were discolored and bleeding. Seconds later, a boy is dragged by another officer into view. The boy is on his stomach, screaming that he has asthma and needs his inhaler because he is having an asthma attack and cannot breathe. The officer then kneeled on the boy’s upper back while the boy continued to scream and beg for the officer to get off his lungs.

In another video, a group of young women are shown standing docile inside an orange tarp perimeter. A few moments later, the officer released a pressurized can of mace into their faces. The group of women collapsed, and their screams echoed for a few minutes until the video ended.

One can only imagine the details of what our fellow Americans are experiencing on the front lines, the living conditions of sleeping at their posts for the fight for true freedom. The Bill of Rights that should have been seems like a dream that never came true to them.

People on the streets shout, “This is what democracy looks like,” and I don’t like what I see.

The lack of coverage on this subject is the only reason I am writing this. People should know that now is the time to hold President Barack Obama accountable for a real change — a change that matters.

From the Oct. 5-11, 2011, issue

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