Seattle: “The Democratic Party is not doing anything for the people”

By a reporter
18 October 2011

A reporter for the WSWS spoke to protesters at Westlake Plaza on Friday, the day after Seattle police forcibly arrested a group of protesters who had erected a tent in the park in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protest.

The police also asked the protesters to also dismantle the medical tent, which had so far served the function of keeping supplies dry in this city of rain. The group complied with this request. The medical tent facilitated the preparation and serving of food, the loss of which makes it difficult to hold on to Westlake Park as a venue for ongoing activity.

Protesters have already taken ill, relying on sleeping bags and tarps for shelter, having been denied the right to erect tents by Mayor Michael McGinn, a Democrat. There is a determined effort by McGinn and the Seattle police to push out the protesters by creating a harsh environment. Protesters, however, have not backed off, circulating leaflets for a “Global Day of Action / Night of 500 Tents” in advance of the October 15 protests.

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Protester Leanna Adams said that she was there because she is unhappy with the government and its failure to provide jobs to people. She has a master’s degree but has been unemployed since June 2010. She moved from Florida to Tennessee, Oregon and is currently in Seattle trying to find a job. She said she was disillusioned with the Democratic Party.

Perl Richard came to the protest because “people were losing their homes, jobs and their minds.” She was angry at inadequate shelters for the homeless and at rich people who would pay $5,000 to hear political candidates speak. “Who would spend $5,000 to hear a buffoon speak when people are starving?” she asked.

Ms. Fern, 63, was angry that “all the rights we won in the Civil Rights movement are being taken away. I was a teenager when the Civil Rights movement took place. The Democratic Party is not doing anything for the people.” Her friend said, “Democrats are bought and sold. There is also a significant media consolidation. Only a few large corporations own the media and that makes it very difficult for people to know what is going on.”

Artie is involved in the protest’s “general assembly” process. He agreed that trade unions have not conducted serious struggles in the recent days, but said that unions should be preserved because “we will be worse off without them.” He said that workers need to replace leaders that don’t fight on their behalf.

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Artie felt that if enough people gather in protest, the political establishment would take note and provide a measure of relief to people. He stressed that the Occupy Seattle movement has not endorsed any political candidate and that any group is free to come in and educate protesters on social issues.

Taylor told us he saw “no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.” He was emphatic in stating: “We need a third party.” When asked how he would like the Occupy Seattle movement to proceed, he said, “There needs to be more education. Without an education about the nature of the problem, it will be difficult to streamline our demands as a group.”