The Occupy Boston protestors camping out on Dewey Square downtown for the past three weeks agree that they are not leaving until their demands for change are met. So the Dig approached some parents with two-year-old children, a member of the Iron Workers Local 7, a kid blasting Slip Knot on his boom box and another wheeling a bike to sustainably charge his iPhone—among many others—in this horizontally-based movement in which all voices are those of leaders.
It wasn’t hard to be swept into a very clearly defined undercurrent flowing through all of their reasons for discontent.
“One of the reporters came down from FOX 25 News and approached the media tent looking for someone to interview and I volunteered myself. And they said ‘what’s your job here at Occupy Boston?’” the member of the Iron Workers Local 7 tells me, the sun glistening off his hard hat, with a small “OCCUPY BOSTON” sign taped on it. “I said I was a labor delegate and she outright refused to interview me. She wanted to find a more radicalized college student.”
“We have to get all the influence of all that money that has corrupted our government and hijacked the [democratic] process out of Washington,”
he says when asked his opinion of the #1 demand of the Occupy movement that needs to be met. “If we could restore real democracy, then we’d have a point to work from.”
“Ultimately I suppose I’d like to see corporate money taken out of politics in a meaningful way,”
says one kid as I step into a tent where he pedals the energy-saving bike powering the generator beside him.
“Some sort of electoral reform where people have more voice in politics, that sort of thing, so that change can actually happen in an ongoing way … because if a systematic change doesn’t happen, eventually we’ll end up right back where we started.”
“Just take our demands seriously,”
“I think one of the things that would be great to see would be for the money to come out of politics,”
says her husband. “You know, real campaign finance reform would be terrific, because I don’t think anything can get passed in the current situation, where corporations and banks are pretty much funding politicians to run for office.”
“[Campaign Finance Reform as it stands now is] not real. Money is not speech.”
“I’d like to see the banks own up to the bailouts because that’s ridiculous. There’s too much corruption in this country,” says a kid wearing a Ghandi t-shirt and munching on a roll from “The Kitchen” tent, the source of the donated food sustaining Occupiers. “I mean, you can see it everywhere. There’s been more manipulation in the past two years than there has been, or at least more than I’ve ever seen. They want to keep you dumb.”
“That’s something you’d see in like, Russia.”
“My reason why I’m here is for better working wages, health care, you know etcetera, so I can spend more time with my kid and not have to kill myself,” one guy tells me. “You know, try to secure his future so that way he doesn’t have to bust his ass off as hard to survive and still have nothing.”
“There’s so many different problems that I don’t think Occupy is looking for one solution to one problem,” says another kid, who is spray-painting a sign portraying a “guy pulling his face off.”
“I think we’re looking for, at the very least, a discussion of all of the problems.”
“On Colbert the other night they had the funniest skit where a reporter was down at Occupy Wall Street interviewing people,” says a kid blasting Slipknot on his boom box and drinking coffee (who’s been at Occupy for weeks), “and they all had good reasons for what they were fighting for. So Colbert kept saying: ‘Wait, wait no! I want to see someone in a squirrel hat playing bongos! I want to see someone say something silly, not all this ‘important’ stuff.”
“I guess what it really boils down to is we’re looking for representation for a better and equal tax break for the country,” one of the Occupy Logistics organizers tells me, “so the whole burden isn’t falling on the lower class, and the poor, and the middle class.”
“Because the American dream is pretty much dead.”
BACK to all of the Dig’s #occupyboston coverage.