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Occupy Wall Street in pictures

Yesterday I was near Wall St. and went to meet some of the protestors who had sat through freezing weekend temperatures without heat or much proper shelter.

Many of them seem to have come together for very different reasons.

Some are protesting banks and finance, some healthcare, some the Iraq and Afganistan wars, others climate change and others simply the economic system in general.

The protestors I spoke with included a mix of hippies, educated students, anarchist/anti-capitalist types and a group of folks with disabilities protesting funding cuts and support cuts.

It’s very clear to me that this movement, at least in New York, is simply about general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs we find ourselves in.

Thinking back to the anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation protests of the late 1990s and early 2000’s, it’s pretty small beer by comparison. And compared with the 1960’s and ’70’s, who are we kidding?

On the one hand these protests are aiding debate about where we are.

On the other, the small size and lack of direction in them shows us perhaps just have far we have fallen in terms of impetus to encourage political action, or at least serious debate about sustainable solutions.

What’s worrying to me is that even in the midst of this ongoing crisis, this is the best we can seem to muster publicly. What happened to us? Perhaps we’ve become lost in nuance, grey areas and lobbying.

The more we know about ever more complex systems, the less we seem to be able to do to change them.

Here’s some of the pictures below of the protestors and their signs I took on Sunday.

If reading via email you’ll need to read this post online to see them.

Bothered by banking
Tree worship, I think

Drummers and senior citizens

Generally upset with US capitalism

Climate, water, gas fracking, all in one combo protest

Healthcare capitalism concerns

Not really a radical statement in Europe

One end of the camp: Books. The other: Drums 

Protesting cuts to services, I think

A good friend of mine has written up her thoughts after joining the protestors for a day.

It’s worth taking a few minutes to read this. She offers excellent and thoughtful insights on the Wall Street protests in this post.

UPDATE 1/11/11: This report helps explain the unifying anger amongst protestors around the economics of income inequality. To quote from it/SocialFunds.com:

“The wealthiest 20% of Americans now hold 87.2% of wealth. The net worth of the top one percent is 225 times greater than the median. The median net worth of black households is $2,200, the lowest ever recorded. And for the first time, the percent of home value owned by homeowners was below 50%; in other words, banks now own more of the value of the nation’s housing stock than do homeowners themselves.” 

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