Hundreds of citizens frustrated with the economy gathered at the Boston Common gazebo on Monday to organize a protest sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The Occupy Together movement aims to “occupy” the financial district in Boston, calling for “democracy, not corporatocracy!,” according to the Occupy Boston Facebook page. The meeting, titled the “1st Boston General Assembly,” aims to plan when, where and how protestors will demonstrate in Boston.
Nicole Sullivan, who said she was one of thousands of poor people in the city of Boston, went to the protest to voice her views against public welfare cuts.
“The wait for public housing in this town right now is over 12 years,” Sullivan said. “They’re closing down shelters… we can’t get food, we can’t get housing, we can’t get education. What I’m looking for out of Occupy Boston is a way to change it.”
Shouts of “F— capitalism!” and “Tax the rich!” rang amongst the crowd as speakers spoke out against funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and home foreclosures.
Keegan O’Brien, a University of Massachusetts Boston alumnus, highlighted the country’s democratic crisis by speaking about the recent death of Troy Davis’ by lethal injection in the state of Georgia.
O’Brien said that while his death was legal, it was not ethically correct. He added that the brutalization of communities of color and murder of innocent black men by “racist police” should not go without punishment.
“I’m so excited to be out here tonight with so many people who want to fight for a more democratic society,” O’Brien said.
“It is the same system and government that spends trillions to slaughter Iraqis and Afghanis, that sends thousands of young American women and men to die,” O’Brien added. “It’s the same system that bails out Wall Street while people are left homeless in the streets as their homes are foreclosed. I think we can agree we need some serious f—ing change.”
A demonstrator held up a sign that said “99%,” the token phrase of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “99%” is the movements logo, symbolizing how one percent of the country holds the power and wealth, while the other 99 percent struggle financially, according to its website.
After listening to speakers, the crowd gathered into eight separate groups aimed to organize parts of the future Occupy Boston movement, focusing on legal and tactical aspects.
The “location” group discussed the possible location of the protest, while an “arts and culture” group planned how to entertain protestors who could potentially be sitting on the streets for days.
The Occupy Together movement, which organized Occupy Boston, is springing up in cities across the nation, with general assemblies and planning meetings occurring in cities such as Omaha, Tampa and New Orleans.
Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement made up of people of numerous races, genders and political persuasions, according to the Occupy Wall Street website.
Some protesters argued that economic change is only possible if President Barack Obama is not reelected.
“We need a complete change, and I think we need to get rid of Obama first because he’s not going to do what needs to be done,” said Rachel Brown, a political organizer for the LaRouche Political Action Campaign. “And we need Glass-Steagall because that would stop the bailout, and essentially in the model of what Franklin Roosevelt did. We need a mission for the economy again for the future.”