‘Occupy Wall Street’ comes to Lansing, Michigan
I went to the OWS-Lansing, Michigan campsite today. The event is tomorrow. I spent 30 minutes there and spoke with two people for an extended period of time.
The campsite, in its’ second day, was clean and there was only minimal disorganization, and no litter. There were two porta-potties on-site. There were a couple of dozen people there when I stopped by. The signage was non-violent and no trendy leftist hobbyhorse issues were mentioned.
The people were polite and clean. One was a Vietnam vet, wearing a ‘VFW National Home for Children’ t-shirt. He was old enough to be retired. His concerns, aside from general unhappiness at un-representative government, centered around how veterans were being mistreated in Michigan’s two state-run vets homes – warehoused, treatment regimens not followed, staff reductions, et cetera. He invited me to hearings at the local courthouse (there must be a lawsuit). The other was a man in his 20s, employed, there when off work. He seemed to be an organizer of things there. He said that they’d refused union help, as they want to stay independent and have no debts to anyone else’s agenda. He was very informed about the issues, didn’t like Goldman Sacks de facto ruling the country, wanted Glass-Stegall reinstated, opposes the Fed giving bailouts to big banks w/o accountability of any kind, distrusts both parties and pressure groups in general, etc. He organizes a local meetup-type OWS group that is working on common goals. it will be consensus-based, with no one allowed to insert anything that all do not agree to.
While we talked, a woman dropped off some vegetables for the campers to cook. She was a vegetarian, and the young man said that several of the campers were, too. He mentioned that a local bakery had donated bread, that other people gave blankets, and that the local homeless population had been very helpful with cold- and wet-weather outdoor survival tips.
I detected no particular ideological bias, only great concern over what’s happening as our country is taken from us in broad daylight. The only hint of leftist activism I noted was his raised arm/fist salute when our picture was taken together by the ‘We Are the 99%’ sign.
I found nothing that alarmed me here, just Americans exercising (with no interference from city government, either) their right to free speech.