Occupy Lansing movement fights against inequality
By Julia Nagy
“We’re just expressing our concerns of the political, social and economic concerns of the moment,” said Taylor, a graduate student and an organizer of Occupy Lansing. “Massive amounts of economic inequality is a problem from my perspective.”
Occupy Lansing, an event to provide an outlet for those frustrated about the current economic situation, will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 on the lawn of the Capitol.
“The lack of essential message can be good, because then the movement can represent diverse perspectives,” Taylor said.
The event spring boarded off of the Occupy Wall Street movements currently taking place in New York City. Hundreds of people are protesting against corporate greed and social inequality along Wall Street, according to CNN.
Social relations and policy senior Mitchell Rivard spent Saturday and Sunday in New York City participating in Occupy Wall Street.
“All the people who I joined this weekend, we represent the 99 percent,” Rivard said, referring to the middle and lower classes in the country. “We, the 99 percent, need to say enough is enough. We need to hold these corporations and banks accountable.”
He said he is excited to see the Occupy Wall Street movement branch to other cities, including Lansing.
“It’s great to see citizens stepping up through a grassroots action to get their voices heard,” Rivard said.
Lansing is not the only city involved in this movement. Grand Rapids was “occupied” beginning Oct. 8 and an Occupy Detroit is being organized.
Philosophy senior Kevin Lynch is also one of the coordinators of Occupy Lansing and hopes the movement will last.
“The idea is to stay there, to have some endurance,” Lynch said.
The event will have a general assembly to decide how to organize the event, Lynch said. No definitive plans are yet in place, and both Taylor and Lynch stressed they do not speak for the movement as a whole.
The group is having a planning meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at The NorthStar Center, 106 Lathrop St., in Lansing.
“It’s direct action,” Lynch said. “It’s inspiring because nothing like this has come around in a while.”
Biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology freshman Dominique Pompei does not see how an event such as Occupy Lansing will bring about change.
“I don’t think it’s going to do much of anything, especially in Lansing,” Pompei said. “It seems like a hassle.”
But Taylor still feels an event such as Occupy Lansing is important.
“I think the expression is key, that people aren’t going to let themselves be walked on,” Taylor said.
“I think that’s a pretty good start.”
Wall Street comes to Lansing
Occupy Lansing set to begin Oct. 15
For over three weeks, thousands of protesters have occupied Wall Street to fight against the status quo. Now, the movement is coming to Lansing.
“It’s people getting together out of a common emotion, out of a common frustration,” said Kevin Lynch, one of the organizers of the Occupy Lansing event, which is scheduled for Oct. 15 at the Capitol. Beyond that, however, the plans are not set in stone. It may nor may not involve occupying property.
Lynch, a 21-year-old senior at MSU, was intrigued by the online coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York and decided to help organize a similar movement in Lansing.
“There’s a bunch of cities trying to do the same thing as New York,” Lynch said. “People are trying to be more resilient and have more endurance and a lot of people are getting behind it.”
Lynch and other organizers are spreading the word and holding informational meetings before the event to plan. About 60 people attended the group’s first meeting Wednesday at the NorthStar Center, Lynch said.
While a final decision to start an occupation won’t be made until a general assembly to represent the protesters is formed on Oct. 15, Lynch said he plans to stay for as long as it takes “until something happens.”
“I think people are excited about the idea of an occupation and I think that’s why most people want to get involved,” he said.
Thirty-year-old Hokyo Joshua Routhier, an unemployed widower living off of social security, also plans to participate in the event.
“There’s something that happened where we suddenly started treating corporations and banks like they were people and they had rights and that doesn’t make sense,” Routhier, one of the creators of the event’s Facebook page, said. “Political and corporate interests should be completely separate issues.”
Attendance for the occupation is almost impossible to predict, Routhier said, but over 1,000 people already confirmed they were attending on the event’s Facebook page as of today.
Both Routhier and Lynch cited frustrations that the top 1 percent of the population owns over 50 percent of the resources as a driving motivation for the movement. This sentiment is also the driving force of the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the similar movements that have begun in cities all over the United States.
An additional planning meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the NorthStar Center, 106 Lathrop St. , which is open to the public. He also suggested joining the group’s Facebook page or visiting the group’s website, occupylansing.us, to find more information.
Lynch and Routhier stressed that they did not speak for the group, only themselves. The general assembly will represent the desires of the group once it is formed, they said.
“It’s a very horizontal organization. I think that’s awesome,” Lynch said. “I find decisions are best made when everyone has an equal voice and equal power.”
source: Wall Street comes to Lansing