The Occupy demonstrations we are seeing in cities throughout the US have encouraged diverse groups to march in the streets.
In Los Angeles, homeowners facing foreclosure loudly expressed their shared grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement and are planning to fight back.
Ten protesters took over the lobby of a Bank of America branch in Los Angeles and were willing to get arrested in order to send a clear message to Wall Street.
“We’re here to let the banksters know, you’ve stolen all the money from the land and we want it back,” said Peggy Mears, a protester yelling through a microphone.
More than a thousand people took to the streets of Los Angeles to speak out against the nation’s biggest banks and the role they played in the financial crisis. Protesters from Occupy Los Angeles joined the demonstration in solidarity with foreclosed homeowners and union workers, demanding that banks pay up.
Dozens of police officers, many in riot gear, were called to keep the crowd under control.
The anti corporate mobilizations, which started in New York, are spreading and now some of those most affected by the nation’s economic crisis are joining in.
Rose Gudiel received an eviction notice after falling behind on her mortgage payments.
“I’m a state worker and due to that I was furloughed and they lowered my hours so they also lowered my pay,” said Gudiel.
Gudiel also had a death in her family, which caused further financial hardship. She claims her bank refused to deal with her when she tried to renegotiate her mortgage.Gudiel was arrested during a peaceful sit in earlier in the week, but she believes that this type of political action will bring results.
“They’ve been governing our lives, our money, and just taking it,” said Gudiel. “There has to be a stand and this is the stand that you’re seeing at this point,” Gudiel added.
From struggling homeowners to the unemployed, people of all walks of life are becoming emboldened by the recent street demonstrations.
“Two years ago I lost my job due to the economic meltdown that the banks created,” said Javier Sarmiento, an unemployed homeowner.
Sarmiento used to work at an auto parts plant. He is part of the 4.5 million people who have been unemployed for more than a year. Now, this father of two is struggling to hold on to his home.
“Wall Street created this mess and they should be held accountable,” Sarmiento said.
Diverse groups have made up the mobilizations in cities across America in recent weeks as more people become inspired to vent their frustration with our financial and political institutions.
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” said Dr. Cornell West to demonstrators in downtown Los Angeles.
There is still uncertainty about whether these protests will cause direct change or whether other self-interested groups will try to capitalize on the popularity. But it appears that the financial state of the nation, has helped motivate Americans to take democracy to the streets.