Occupy Las Vegas: The Spirit Lives On
When the tsunami rolled from New York, down the east coast through the plains and over the Rocky Mountains, America started to take notice. When the surge engulfed nations around the planet, governments paid attention and leaders were toppled.
The tsunami had a name: Occupy Wall Street. While beginning in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, it didn’t stop there. Occupy movement sprang up in Indianapolis, Washington DC, Oakland, Richmond and everywhere. Ralph Nader, at the height of the crusade, claimed there were more than 24,000 people involved directly with an Occupy movement somewhere in the country.
The protest movement grew like 99% of Americans who had been left behind in government bailouts, tax breaks and the subsidies which the 1% received.
The original purpose of Occupy Las Vegas, as with the other Occupy movements, was to reveal the role giant companies had in formulating the financial crisis.
What one of the highlights the Occupy Las Vegas Event brought to the table was the occupation began advancing with limited resistance from the police and the city administration. The organizers and occupiers had been cooperating with the police, and some of the demonstrators showed gratitude for the role that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department played during the occupation.
Veterans, students, workers, homemakers, homeless and unemployed and those on social security took part. Participants had seen their homes lost to foreclosure and others whose mortgage was ‘underwater’ and they now owed more on the house than its value. Many protesters had never owned a home and didn’t expect ever to be able.
The new poor, those who had worked hard their whole life, saw their futures wiped out and savings vanishing. Between a rock and a hard place, they still wanted their families to grow and survive.
Occupiers also were the long-term poor. Those who never had a chance or voice to make their way in the social and economic systems which had left them behind. Protesters came from all religions, races, and backgrounds.
The directions their lives were taking was frightening, and there was no hope. The light at the end of the shaft was a train coming the other way. Part of a larger global and national movement real world wants to be turned into real-world demands for change. Business, as usual, wouldn’t be accepted anymore.
Seeking an end to corporate money’s influence through Citizens United, they disagreed that money was speech. Seeking genuine campaign finance reform, they have tired of corporations have more leverage over American politics.
Demands that the justice system treats everyone equally regardless of age, sex, religion or national origin, they were tired of America’s justice being available to those with deep pockets, the right connections and no shame in bending the system to their benefit.
Occupiers sought secure and sustainable investments as well as improvements in social infrastructure including schools and libraries. They wanted to create a nation where each person could live in a dignified manner, unencumbered by the daily fear of the police.
The men and women who spent weeks and months camped during the 2011-2012 winter demanded justice. What they got was tear-gassed, arrested, jailed and a criminal record.
Law enforcement can arrest a person, but they can’t arrest a spirit. The spirit of Occupy Las Vegas — and all the Occupy encampments still lives and most recently was seen when almost one-million protesters gathered in Washington DC for an anti-violence rally.