SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — Several weeks ago a mass protest began in New York City with the intent to Occupy Wall Street. The group wants to remove influence of corporations from elections. On October 6, Occupy groups from across the nation began to “occupy” certain parts of their city.
Much like the “T(axed) E(nough) A(lready)” groups that formed in 2009, the Occupy groups are only seeing part of the problem. The “TEA parties” were only complaining about certain forms of taxation – the attendees and speakers were largely in favor of the “Fair Tax” and military intervention. I did attend one “TEA Party” and tried speaking to people about abolishing the IRS and Federal Reserve and was mostly ignored or put off, even by the “Fair Taxers” – who don’t seem to mind the spending so much as the form of taxation.
I attended parts of the first two days of Occupy San Antonio – not as an activist, but rather as an independent journalist. As such, and being in street clothes without a press badge, I was able to get candid interviews with protesters. Of the handful of attendees, most were just “there”; the vibe was that of people hanging out, not of a political protest. However, when asked why they were protesting they would give a lively answer about removing corporate interest from political campaigns, and to give the people a voice. When further questioned on the fact that corporations and dollars don’t vote, one protester said, “yes, but they buy lobbyists and influence members of Congress.” This will continue to happen, as long as the government is involved in the economy.
I asked one of the protesters, “who are you planning on petitioning or delivering your demands?” He didn’t know and said the group would vote on that.
Additionally, no one had a plan to call for every incumbent to be voted out of office, they just want corporate money out of politics, but they still want the government to be involved in the economy by adding more regulations to businesses. Most of the protesters seemed unaware that the big corporations are the ones lobbying for the regulations that are in place – the big businesses want to establish barriers to smaller competitors.
Another “demand” of the Occupy groups is the elimination of the Federal Reserve – something I’ve supported for years. However, there was no consensus on what they wanted to replace it with. Some want the Treasury to issue paper currency, other want to establish 49 more Central Banks at the State level – similar to what North Dakota has already done (except the Bank of North Dakota isn’t allowed to print currency) – and a few want a system of barter and voluntary currency.
All in all, the occupy protest in San Antonio seems very weak, without a firm plan and with several small factions each attempting to “take over” the protest to meet their objectives. The groups claim they will “occupy” their city until their demands are met. However, I believe the protests will fall apart no later than Thanksgiving.