(Ferndale View: Steve Furay,10/29/2011)
Financial distress can be a debilitating societal anxiety, and the frustration is running high in people throughout the world as the global economic markets continue to suffer. What started with Occupy Wall Street has now become a national movement, as demonstrators throughout the country are taking to the streets and actively voicing their demands to their political leadership and the financial industry.
Occupy Wall Street began in New York City on September 17 with a mass general assembly, initiated primarily through social networking on the internet. The Occupy movement mantra has been “We Are The 99%”, in reference to the historically disproportionate amount of wealth concentrated in the possession of one percent of the United States population.
At issue has been the enormous growth in percentage of income share amongst the top 1% of wage earners, as this elite level of income earners has seen its largest percentage of income share since the 1920s. This comes at a time when unemployment statistics are rising, home foreclosures have become an epidemic, and public funding for education is being cut.
After weeks of occupation in Zuccotti Park, located in lower Manhattan, the Occupy Wall Street movement has become a cultural moment in history as well, with social activists gaining international attention for their efforts. Mainstream media attention for the demonstrations was low at first, but they’ve since come forward to create their framing of the debate.
This is the common call of the Occupy movements heard throughout the process of conducting meetings, a human microphone repeating and amplifying the rhetoric of speakers to reach the depths of the rows of people standing on the front line of the process of democracy.
Occupy Detroit followed on October 14, conceived at the first General Assembly at Spirit of Hope Church on Trumbull on October 10. The first event was attended by approximately a thousand people, workers and students and community from this city of industry, where once powerful factories controlled the pulse of the city but now the people are wrapped in poverty. That Friday, a march to Grand Circus Park drew a massive crowd of demonstrators to officially launch the campaign.
Wryter Bush has been at the front lines of the Occupy Detroit movement since the beginning. Tonight, he is hosting a poetry evening at Thistle Coffee in Detroit. He stands in front of the microphone and reads from Yeats “The Second Coming”.
He reads his own poetry calling for liberty, using the forum to reflect upon his work for justice. He is asked about the progress being made at Occupy Detroit, and he explains that during the course of their presence at Grand Circus Park, the collective has become more organized and expressive of their needs and wants.
His job at the Occupy Detroit front lines has been as a general facilitator, where he’s been steadily filling the need of helping to provide the occupiers with basic supplies. The job has been demanding, as the needs of the people have been high to accommodate the numbers present at the camp.
“It’s going all right. They are the heroes,” says Bush. “They need stuff, they’re the ones out there sleeping. Why should I be the one complaining?”
Those interested in Occupy Detroit can go to Grand Circus Park at any time and find people who can talk to them and explain the way the encampment works. There is an information tent, a first aid tent, and tents where organizers sort and distribute food donation and supplies. More information can also be found on Facebook.
Steve Furay is the founder of Common Breath Media, an independent news source focusing on how people use music to change the world. The video below was produced by Common Breath, the opinions expressed are those of those being filmed only.