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Occupy Wall Street movement reaches Grand Forks

Organizer: 100 or more expected to turn out at local group’s Saturday meeting
The resistance movement began last month in the New York City financial district but has since popped up in cities across the country, including Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

By: Ryan Johnson

The Occupy Wall Street movement has made it to North Dakota, and a group of local residents is now gearing up to make an impact in the Grand Forks community.

The resistance movement began last month in the New York City financial district but has since popped up in cities across the country, including Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

Hundreds of Minnesotans gathered at the Hennepin County Government Plaza in Minneapolis Friday. A group of protesters participated in a Fargo-Moorhead rally for locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers on Saturday.

Nancy Hennen, a UND student and former radio personality, said she hopes the movement will catch on locally and gain more participants who will work to make a difference.

She got involved about a week ago when she launched Occupy North Dakota on Facebook. By Monday afternoon, more than 900 supporters had “liked” the social network group and offered comments of support, solidarity or suggestions on possible next steps.

“What I’m trying to do is just motivate the great state of North Dakota into action,” she said.

Rallying the ‘99 percent’

Hennen said she soon realized after forming Occupy North Dakota that there was an appetite for local events across the entire state, not just the Fargo-Moorhead metro area.

She has since established separate Facebook groups for Devils Lake, Wahpeton, Bismarck-Mandan and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks.

The goal, she said, is to enable the state’s residents to be participants in the national movement that contrasts the so-called “99 percent” — the majority of Americans — against the wealthiest people and corporations they say now hold most of the power.

“This is part of the whole belief that we are the 99 percent and that 1 percent of the population is really controlling so much,” she said. “The only way to take an effort against it is to organize and create a group and let the group speak as one.”

Occupy Grand Forks-East Grand Forks held its first organizational meeting last weekend and 17 people turned out.

The group is gaining new members and more attention — more than 100 people had “liked” the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks group on Facebook by Monday afternoon. And Hennen said she expects 100 or more local residents will turn out for the next meeting, which is tentatively set for 1 p.m. Saturday at a to-be-determined location.

But the local group, much like the national movement, is hard to characterize because it has deliberately avoided being tied to one cause, goal or platform.

Hennen said the movement is political in many ways. But the group will not support candidates for office or side with a political party in its search for social justice.

“We have this 1 percent of the population in the world who are elitist and really, really wealthy,” she said. “It’s just block by block, city by city, 99 percent strong and not any kind of political vote for this or not or anything else. It’s really about finding a group and helping them organize by area.”

And there are no official leaders. While she formed several of the movement’s Facebook groups in the state, Hennen stressed that she was just trying to help “the cause.”

Hennen said she comes from a family that has always been “passionate” about politics and involved in the media. Her brother, Scott Hennen, is now on Grand Forks airwaves and previously was conservative radio show host in Fargo, while her sister works at WDAY in Fargo.

“I don’t have any interest in being anything other than part of the 99 percent that’s fed up,” she said. “It’s not ego or anything like that. This is just something that I’m really passionate about.”

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105

source : Occupy Wall Street movement reaches Grand Forks | Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, North Dakota

Occupy Protesters Gather at Capitol

by Megan Lowry

Some protesters are calling out big businesses in oil country…

Their numbers might be small… But around a dozen protesters at the Capitol say their message is big…

They are joining what is being called “Wall Street protests” around the country They say the represent the 99 percent of Americans who don’t have a voice in Washington.

Eric McCommon says the middle class is hurting while the rich keep getting richer.

“We’re not anti capitolism we want to make money we are just so fed up with some much of the wealth being in the hands of so few. When the top one percent controls 42 percent and the bottom 80 percent which is the majority of us have a whopping 7 percent that is a problem.” It’s Day 21 of Occupy New York protests.. and rallies are happening in 732 cities, including Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

People here in Bismarck say financial concerns extend here to North Dakota.

“Go to Western North Dakota and you can see that corporations are taking over everything and that is not we are about here in North Dakota, I have friends who can even go outside at night because of the bar brawls and everything I can’t even go back to my hometown and not be affected It breaks my heart. ”

Other “Wall Streets Protesters” gathered in Grand Forks today.

They say if you want to know more about their cause you can visit occupytogether.org. watch the video | save this article / add to your favorites list

source: Occupy Protesters Gather at Capitol | KXNet.com North Dakota News

Occupy Bismarck Mandan Rallies at Capitol

By Cat McClintock

A group rallied today at what organizers say will be just the first gathering for Occupy Bismarck Mandan.

“I saw what was happening on Wall Street, and figured it needed to happen here,” says Eric McCommon. “I wanted to show North Dakota and the world that there are people who support this movement here.”

Holding signs along State Street across from the state capitol,  the group was met with honks of support and at least one detractor.

“Get a job!” shouted a driver in a black pick up truck.

“I’d like to know where these jobs are,” said McCommon, who is unemployed. Although the jobless rate in North Dakota is low, McCommon says, with two degrees,  he’s told he’s overqualified for most jobs here.

While McCommon says he wouldn’t be able to survive if he didn’t live with his parents, he said that’s not the main reason he’s out here on a Saturday afternoon.

“This is about wealth controlled by a small number of people. We haven’t seen such imbalance in this country since the 1920s.”

Co-organizer Jessica Hegland, a student at Bismarck State College, says, “I was inspired by what was happening on Wall Street. It feels wonderful to know I’m not the only one who sees how broken everything is.”

“Eric and I got together and said, ‘why don’t we bring this to Bismarck?’”

Occupy Bismarck Mandan communicate through Facebook.

source: Occupy Bismarck Mandan Rallies at Capitol | Prairie Independent

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