Eat the rich or they’ll eat you
“One day, the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich.” —one Occupy Wall Street protest sign
The resistance movement dubbed “Occupy Wall Street” began on Sept. 17 with protestors staking out the financial district in Manhattan and speaking out against corporate greed and social inequality. Despite incidents including police brutality and more than 700 arrests of protesters, the demonstration has not been silenced and has spread rapidly across the nation as various “Occupy Together” demonstrations have cropped up, including ones in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.
Lea Moser, a 22-year-old political science major at the University of Nevada, Reno, is one of the organizers of the Occupy Reno protest. A general assembly was held Wednesday on the university campus to plan a demonstration in town in the near future.
“I think it signifies a lot of things that we thought changed but still exist,” Moser said. “We want to live in an economy where opportunities are still available. We grew up thinking that these things would be available, and they’re not. I don’t know anyone who has graduated in Reno that has a career in the field that they studied.”
One of the primary goals of the Occupy Together protests is that the majority of us—“we are the 99 percent” being an operative phrase in the demonstration—are injured by a society that subsidizes the richest 1 percent. While those of us in the working class suffer the effects of the economic recession everyday, the members of the capitalist class sit leisurely by and sip champagne.
In short, it is rough out there, and it is only getting worse.
A few days ago, Bank of America announced that it would begin charging customers $5 each month for using debit cards in order to make up for money lost when a new law was implemented that would limit how much money the bank was able to collect from merchants. This seems like as good a time as any to close our bank accounts and go back to storing money in our mattresses.
These issues are extremely relevant in the epicenter for joblessness that is Nevada. As of Sept. 30, the state has borrowed $773.1 million from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits to Nevada residents. In August, Nevada’s unemployment rate was 13.4 percent.
A sanctioned Occupy Together protest takes place in Las Vegas on Oct. 6, and similar demonstrations are planned for Reno and Lake Tahoe. The disenfranchised working class can follow updates from these groups on Facebook or OccupyTogether.org.
The nationwide protests are necessary in showing solidarity on this issue. A large portion of the intent is to overwhelm the 1 percent of wealthy power-holders with an outpouring of dissatisfaction. And it is necessary to demonstrate this dissatisfaction in Reno.
I’ve always thought of my high school as a microcosm of the caste system in Reno. I went to Reno High, where the class divide in the local community is pronounced. The zoning for the school includes a number of trailer parks and spans West Fourth Street, and also reaches up to South McCarran and Skyline Boulevard. That means that students come from mansion-living, pony-owning backgrounds as well as one-room weekly motels that are shared with their entire families.
I have grown up watching the rich bask in their luxurious lifestyles while others struggle to get by from day to day. I have seen, again and again, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. I can hardly stand it anymore.
We need these protests. We need to show the government that this many people cannot continue to suffer on an unequal playing field. We need action.