Several hundred people rallied in Washington DC Saturday as part of the anti-Wall Street protests. Protesters staged a march around noon, and then held a General Assembly.
The protest attracted interest from passersby, who stopped to listen to protesters’ grievances. One person noted that the protest should raise the demand for a halt to all rent increases. The WSWS spoke to participants of the Saturday event.
Charlie, a systems analyst from Maryland, told the WSWS, “I’ve been drawn to these protests mainly because of the environment and global warming. Watching the media, you’d barely have a clue, they spend so much time treating these deniers of global warming as though their arguments have equal validity that it’s ready to make my head explode.
“I think this movement is really the start of something much larger. You’ve got the Tea Party on one side, and they really represent to me the absolute worst America has to offer. I would rather prefer to call the right ‘terrorists’ than representatives of the people.
“In six decades I have never seen things as bad as they are right now—the environment, the economy, health, the general level of public consciousness to what’s going on, everything. Why is it when a poor man robs a liquor store for $40 he gets 10 years, but these bankers take billions after crashing the economy and not one gets jail time?
“As soon as Obama got into office in 2009 and said that he wished to compromise with the right wing, I knew right there that his presidency would be a failure. He wants to work with these evangelicals, these hyper-militarists as though there is some sort of greater good that can be achieved by it.
“I don’t believe that the Wall Street bailouts were right. I think things would be better if government still had the funds in order to right some of these wrongs in society. I agree that there needs to be a third party, one which represents the disaffected in society.”
Keith, an Episcopal seminarian from New York, said, “My partner is in New York right now at the Occupy Wall Street protest, and since I’m traveling in D.C. I figured I might as well show my solidarity.
“I think it’s absolutely necessary that this movement becomes political in order to place demands on our leaders and make them get something done for us. This country has slipped out of the hands of the people and we need to take it back. The Democratic Party is no longer the party of the people; it is now the party of the center.
“I think people are very fed up and frustrated at the amount of inequality. The average citizen has no money or power in order to hire anyone to fight their battles for them, we must do it ourselves.
“I hope that this movement becomes much bigger and stronger; people are becoming less afraid to do something about it.”