Monday, January 23, 2012

Assignment #8- Occupy Providence

Occupy Providence

When I walked into Burnside Park in Providence, I was shocked to see it looked like a ghost town.  There were tents spread all around, but hardly anyone around.  I walked to the “information booth” and was greeted by a few people there.  They said that there were only about 20 people left, when there were over 300 before the weather got cold.  Many people left their tents though, making it look like a pretty run down area.  The first guy I spoke to was named Steve, and he mentioned that even though there was only about 20 people camping out there, some people still come during the weekends and when they don’t have work, and many more go to the rallies they have.  Steve mentioned that there are over 1500 occupy sites in the U.S.  He said everyone is there for their own reason, but many of the reasons over lap and most of them all agree with each other, some just feel more strongly about certain issues.  Steve told me to look up the video I posted below of Keith Olberman explaining the reasons why they occupy.  He didn’t have much to say other then to watch that video, but I was quickly approached by a man name Fred.  Fred agreed that almost everyone they have talked to at Occupy Providence agrees with what Keith Olberman mentions.

Fred mentioned just like it is stated in the video that no true democracy is obtainable when the process is determined by economic power.  He mentioned how the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  He said the main reason he is there is because he is outraged by the fact that farming is being monopolized by a company named Monsanto.  This monopoly is explained here.  According to that website Monsanto already controls over 41% of the commercial corn seed and 25% of global soybean seed.  Another point Fred talked about was how the government gives tax breaks to the wealthiest and the middle class and poor people have to pay more in taxes.  This was briefly mentioned in the video above, but talked about in more detail in Michael Moore’s video below.

Moore mentioned that the 1% that many occupy people are talking about mean people who make more than $343,000.  These 1% have had their income triple from 1979-2007, when middle class people have only had a 40% increase and poor people haven’t really had any increase, making the gap between rich and poor, bigger then its been in over 70 years.

Another point that Fred mentioned which was also talked about by Olberman is how the government continues to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.  I saw an absolutely shocking documentary about this last year called “ Who Killed the Electric Car.  I highly suggest watching this movie.  It is on netflix and there is also a link to buy the movie on the website I put in the last sentence.  It is about an electric car that came out in 1996, and was loved by everyone who had it, the car was amazing and the government took all the cars back from everyone who had them and smashed all of them because they are tied into the oil companies and both the government and oil companies would have lost a lot of money if they didn’t.  Even though electric cars just started coming out again last year, they would have been out for good in 1996 if the government didn’t stop them.

The Occupy Providence activists reminded me about how Love and Helmbrecht talked about how feminism should be more than just an identity label and must signify action, even when action calls to make difficult choices.  These occupy activists are definitely making difficult choices, and sleeping in the cold, even the nights when it was around 5 degrees outside last week. I was also reminded of the ‘People like us” website, and the stories about people like Ginnie with her kids who constantly had their electricity and heat turned off since they were so poor and didn’t want to get welfare.  One thing Fred mentioned was that he believed the welfare system needs to be changed to make it harder for people to abuse it, so people like Ginnie who need it don’t feel ashamed to get it.  Overall I enjoyed the Occupy Providence experience and was able to learn more after researching points they had made.

No comments:

Post a Comment