Sunday, November 06, 2011

Occupy Anchorage Protesters Get A Bit Rowdy, Invade Fifth Avenue Mall To Target Wells Fargo Branch In Concert With Bank Transfer Day, Two Arrested

The Occupy Anchorage movement, which until now had been essentially a model of decorum, got a bit rowdy on November 5th, 2011. About 40 of the protesters entered the Fifth Avenue Mall in downtown Anchorage to target one of the big predator banks, Wells Fargo, and ultimately two of the protesters were arrested for trespassing (according to KTUU). And judging by the response in the comments to the Anchorage Daily News, they may have played up to the negative stereotypes promoted by leading neoconservative pundits. KTUU news video embedded below:


However, it appears the intent of Occupy Anchorage was not destructive, as they fully intended to clean up any mess left before departing the mall. Around 2:30 P.M., the protesters entered the mall, a few carrying signs, and some attired in white hazmat suits. Another protester dumped some fake paper money as "dirty money" in front of the Wells Fargo branch to symbolize the contention that the bank's profits were ill-gotten. This action was also designed to correlate with the national Bank Transfer Day observance, in which Americans were urged to transfer their assets from the big predator banks to smaller community banks and credit unions.

Mall security guards soon arrived, blocked the bank entrance and told the protesters to leave even though the protesters wanted to finish sweeping up the "dirty money" strewn about. Anchorage police arrived and arrested two of the protesters, although one of them was quickly released; the other had an outstanding warrant. There is some dispute among Occupy protesters as to just what exactly went down, though. While the Anchorage Daily News reported that people started chanting, "The banks got bailed out, what about us", another participant reported differently:

Jay Stariwat November 5th 10:44 P.M:
Casey [in reference to Casey Grove, ADN reporter], if you're going to be covering this issue, please pay attention to the details. The chant was, "They [the banks] got bailed out, we got sold out!". We're not asking for bailouts or erasure of debt for ourselves as you (with your misinformation) and one other poster suggest. We're not all as self-interested and greedy as you may think. Not that we don't have problems ourselves, but at least we're trying to make this nation and this world better for everybody.

If you look at our society, our economy, our politics and you don't see problems, then you are certainly not living in the USA. We're trying to shine light on the reality of these problems when everybody else, from corporate media to our own government, refuses to do so. What happened to government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

If you think we are wrong for critiquing a system full of corruption, exploitation, and a disregard for our basic rights, then you are saying the rights guaranteed to us by our founding fathers through the Constitution are wrong or not needed.

The first step to solving any problem is to be aware of the problem itself.

Unfortunately, the damage was done, as there have been an upsurge of comments critical of OWS in the Anchorage Daily News. Many people persist in perpetrating the stereotype of OWS protesters being a bunch of unemployed hippies and students looking for student loan forgiveness. On the other hand, too many of those defending OWS also attack the right and the Tea Party, which further perpetuates the artificial righty-lefty feud dividing our society. Another comment best nails down what Occupy Anchorage is all about:

El_Fudd November 6th 1:41 A.M:
Somehow, I am not too surprised by the anti-support sentiments here directed at the Occupy demonstrators. Reminds me of many sheep being led to the slow slaughter ahead and cannot fathom it actually happening. There is a lot of "I got mine, you go get yours" mentality. It is possible to actually have yours and support what they are doing if one can remember that a good deal of this nation`s greatness has been born in dissent and demonstration.

The Occupy Movement is non-partisan, for both parties` policies have failed its` citizens. No matter how hard the left leaders try to attach themselves to the momentum, it is too grassroots to be hijacked; unlike the Tea Party movement. To those who vehemently insist they all get a job, from my point of view, I see many of the past couple generations paying more than twice the rent I paid with less than half the real wages adjusted for inflation I made back then. All one has to do is follow the money and see the excess has gone either overseas or to the top 1%. We have been living in a modern Robber Baron era and this backlash and adjustment to the system is long overdue.

And here's a useful comment from Steve Pratt, a perennial political candidate who's part of the Republican establishment:

StevePratt November 6th 10:30 A.M.:
If the protestors have a point, they should make it – you can’t just be against something. What are you in favor of?

To repeat a previous post on a different thread:

It is true that a middle class fueled by US hegemony is disappearing.

China invests in roads, bridges, power lines, pipelines, railroads, manufacturing plants, fossil and renewable energy supplies, and education.

We invest in unemployment benefits, no-bid contracts to conduct wars, regulatory paralysis, investment banker bailouts, politically chosen industries and companies like the solar company that went south.

In 2007 Zheng Xiaoyu, the head of the Chinese food and drug agency, was put to death for taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies.

In 2007 Franklin Raines, former Fannie Mae CEO in the US, nearly wiped out the mortgage lender and received $52.6 Million in bonuses.

In the US, investment bankers that lied to America's middle class investors and the US government about their liquidity positions received millions in bonuses paid for by taxes imposed on those very families.

China demands accountability for its public servants. The US demands "accessibility" to its public servants.

Corporations and companies that employ are not the enemy. The lack of accountability in corporations and government IS the enemy.

If you are worried about government handing out goodies to the wrong people, the answer is simple: less government control over resources to hand out.

Limited government = Limited Government mischief

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes protestors are so focused on doing good with their actions, they don't see all sides of the picture. After the bank protest, many of us in Occupy Anchorage, while supporting the spirit and message of our colleagues well meaning actions, were concerned about the feelings of the workers inside the bank and mall. Tellers, security guards, cashiers are all part of the 99%: we wanted them to know we are against the greed of CEO's and Bank Execs, not them. So, we wrote a letter of apology, saying we were sorry if they were scared by the hazmat suits, which 20 protestors signed. We bought them a $50 bouquet of flowers and delivered it a week later. They were surprised and happy. I was surprised and happy with my fellow occupiers. We are all mostly new to this protest thing, learning as we go. Bear with us, join us, help us do better!