Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 11, 2011, 6:01 p.m. EST by wouldstronglypreferjustice
from Portland, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I want to report on what I have personally seen and experienced at five separate OWS sites.
Being one who travels for business throughout the US, who has been objectively intrigued by many aspects of the movement, and who wants to develop a perspective based in fact, not in media spin, I have personally visited five OWS sites including Manhattan, Philadelphia, DC, Portland and Dallas. At each site, I have spent a couple of hours and made an effort to speak with, and hear from as many individuals as possible. Here is what I have seen:
A consistent presence of articulate, educated activism. While the issues are varied, there is a wealth of people who are informed, motivated and able to clearly express their criticism of the state of our nation.
A surprising degree of order and safety, but I would say that I feel it is tenuous. At no time, at any site, did I feel unsafe or intimidated. Sure, there were homeless and otherwise "marginal" citizens at the sites, but in my observation they were far in the minority. And, for anyone who frequents downtown areas as I do, their presence at the OWS sites was not especially remarkable. In addition, the sites themselves were surprisingly clean and orderly.
That said, I am in agreement with Mayor Sam Adams' decision to evict the OWS in my home town of Portland, OR. From what I have read, that site has taken a turn for the worse, with two recent overdoses, drug dealing and instances of vandalism. That's just not acceptable and if OWS wants to be effective, that behavior will have to be stopped.
- These people are hard workers. Everywhere, volunteers were working, serving, organizing, building. At each site, there was a consistent schedule of workshops, education and resources for the public. I totally disagree with the thought that these sites are filled with lazy do-nothings who just want a handout. .
Since my visits have been spread out over 6 weeks or so, I have found an increasing specificity to the issues that drive the movement. By far, the most common are 1. The corrupting influence of big money in our elections. Everywhere, this was the #1 issue raised. 2. The lack of accountability for the financial sector's contribution to the financial crisis. I would also add that there is very little talk about scrapping our capitalist system. On the contrary, I met many professional, educated people who want compete as individuals on a fair playing field. It's not capitalism, it's crony capitalism that drives the anger.
A consistent love of America. There were USA flags everywhere - and treated with respect as best I could tell. Moreso, a lot of discussion about our constitution, founding fathers, major legislation, important historical events and the ideals of our country. These people definitely don't hate our country, they are just angry and peaking out against what they see as how it has been corrupted.
In closing, I am as troubled as anyone about the reports of violence, crime and unsanitary conditions. If those become more prevalent, I won't continue to support the movement. But, those things have not been my observation. My recommendation to others would be, however, that the mainstream media has an agenda to discredit the movement and their information is based on exceptions and fringe elements, not the rule.
Respectfully submitted, an OWS supporter from Portland, OR