Occupy Fresno camps for a cause

Community members, students, professors and children protested in
solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and hundreds of cities around
the country.
Ana Mendoza / The Collegian

Fresno community members, along with Fresno State students and faculty, have gathered at the Fresno Courthouse Park in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.

The protest began with the reading of the Declaration of the Occupation by community member Angelica Chavez. Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City wrote the declaration. The declaration also has been used by several leaders of similar protests around the country.

“We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality, run our governments,” Chavez said. “We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”

Several Fresno State students and community members plan to stay at the park for an indefinite amount of time.

“Our goal is that when this protest ends we will leave the park and the surrounding area, community and hopefully the city of Fresno in better condition and in better shape than when we first arrived,” Steven Avila, Fresno Sate student and organizer, said.

The group has organized park-cleaning committees among other committees.

Avila said Occupy Fresno would maintain its presence at the Fresno Courthouse Park until they see real change, even if they have to stay several months.

Fresno State political science professor Dr. Michael Becker also attended the event and predicted what would cause the movement to continue.

“[It] Depends on what happens in the economy over the next few months. The United States seems to be, according to a lot of economists, on the edge of a new recession,” Becker said. “If the new recession occurs, if there is another contraction in the economy, then I think it definitely has the potential to grow even more.”

Becker added that the current economic situation has caused the movement.

Majority leader Eric Cantor and other opponents of the Occupy Wall Street and the protests that follow, blame President Barack Obama for beginning a class war and pitting Americans against Americans.

“I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country,” Cantor said at the 2011 Values Voter Summit.

“People are hurting all over the country and it’s evident in this movement. The frustration and anger that people feel, they are coming and joining us,” Becker added.

Avila said the only issues the organizers have faced are policies concerning their camping tents along with park conditions.

“Our biggest concern at this time is sprinklers; the rain we are not too worried about,”

The future of the movement is still under consensus.

“Historically, what tends to happen is that the Democratic Party has latched on to popular demand and taken a few of those demands and turned them into legislation,” Becker said.

“The best example of that is in the New Deal. Many of the policies of the Roosevelt administration were actually Socialist Party policies that the democrats adopted.”

More than 400 cities have had similar demonstrations.

“Obviously the economy has created a savage inequality that the top one percent controls now almost 25 percent of the income,” added Becker.

“The top one percent controls over 30 percent of the wealth, that translates over political power that continues the cycle and gives them more wealth,” Becker added. “What this movement is about is demanding that everyone has an equal voice.”

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