by Itxaso Garay and Sheridan Kowta
Throughout the country thousands are raising their voices as they chant their complaints in unison: the voice of the middle class can be heard through the human microphones that are directly associated with the numerous protest movements. Beginning with the Occupy Wall Street in New York City on Sept. 17, similar protests have appeared in cities across the country: Chicago, Denver, Oakland, San Francisco, and now Petaluma.
The protests all have similar complaints: the top one percent of the country should stop profiting at the expense of the 99% who are suffering.
It begins with a march, people gather in the streets with their signs and the sound of the human voice. The protest then moves to a park; there the protesters stay until their demands are heard. The protesters occupy the park, exercising their first amendment rights to peaceably assemble. The protesters then sleep in the park until their message is heard.
Despite denial from major corporations, there is no ignoring the fact that there is something wrong with the direction America is headed. While the middle class is disappearing, CEOs and others from large corporations are growing. According to thinkprogress.org, Chevron recently announced that they more than doubled their third-quarter net income, bringing their total gains to over $21 billion; Chevron’s chairman Jon Watson received over $16.3 million, an 85% increase from the previous year. The big five oil companies (BP, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell) are collectively sitting on cash resources of $59 billion and have made a profit of a staggering $101 billion. The unfair distribution of wealth in America as a result of corporate greed is endangering 99% of the population.
The sanitary habits, the disorganized tactics, and the “us vs. them” attitude might all be harshly criticized, but there can be no arguing that the numerous Occupy movements across America have caused both corporate greed and economic inequality to be thrust into the public’s attention and scrutiny.