No clear answers for the future of the protests
by Olivia Fecteau (SYRACUSE) As the weekend approaches, protesters at the Occupy Syracuse movement are looking ahead to an uncertain future.
Protesters have been camped out on South Salina Street in downtown Syracuse since last Sunday. They’re stationed on private property owned by Chase Bank, a symbol of the corporate greed they say they’re protesting.
United despite differences
Just as their counterparts in New York City, protesters in Syracuse say they don’t have a common goal that they’re hoping to achieve. Their slogan says it all: “We are the 99%.”
What they share is that they are not among the wealthiest one percent of Americans, in whose hands are concentrated an enormous amount of wealth.
And they all share a sense of dissatisfaction.
“A vast majority of this country has had it,” Mark David Blum, a defense attorney from Manlius, said.
Blum is offering legal advice to his fellow protestors at no cost, so that they can avoid any run-ins with police. So far, Blum said, interactions with police have been courteous and civil.
Representing their beliefs
Blum counts himself among the 99%. Most protesters say the power behind the protest is that everyone can be part of it. At the Syracuse University student protest on Friday, however, one protester acknowledged that they don’t represent everyone.
“There’s a lot of people in that 99% who have been convinced that the system’s working for them [and] seem to think that everything’s great in this country,” Rebekah Jones, a senior at SU, said. “We don’t represent all of them. We represent ourselves. Every person who’s here is representing their beliefs.”
Kristi Andersen, a political science professor at SU, said the movement likely stems from income inequalities that exist in the U.S. and that people no longer believe in the American Dream. That’s because income inequality usually persists from generation to generation.
“If you grow up in a wealthy family, you’re likely to be wealthy,” she explained. “If you grow up in a poor family, you’re likely to be poor.”
Despite the strength of the New York City protests, Andersen doesn’t think the movement in Syracuse will be able to continue for very long. In part, she said, occupying Wall Street is more attractive symbolically than protesting in Syracuse. She also cited the sheer number of people in New York City.
Still, some protesters intend to stay downtown for as long as it takes.
When asked how long she planned to continue protesting, Angel F. said, “How long? Who knows?” Like other protesters, Angel plans to travel back and forth to the protest site when she isn’t working.
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