Occupy Wall Street Speaker's Corner; October 24, 2011
Once again, CNBC.com gave participants of the Occupy Wall Street protests a podium to express their views, from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.
John, who is employed, says he is not represented by anyone in Washington. He says it's never been better to be a billionaire, and that everyone needs to pay their fair share. Stephanie is a 22-year-old who says she's having problems paying for school and that it would be great if America had a program to help pay for education. The systems we currently have in place don't allow that. And Jackson from Mississippi, who attends Columbia, says he's here to fight corporate greed. He also says that while tuition is going up, financial aid is going down, and that he'd like corporations and people to give back, like Oprah. People need to come together and think more in terms of we, not me. We're all connected.
Ken Jones says he was says he was in Chicago in 1968 when Mayor Daley called in the National Guard and this is the best thing he's seen since. He believes 9/11 is a propaganda scam that's been very successful helping companies make money. He worked on the Standard Oil Building, near the site when the World Trade Center was being built, and says the WTC did not fall because of the planes. The main reason he's here, though, is because he believes things have gotten worse since 1968. This country is an enormous disappointment to him and many others, in spite of the fact that he loves America. There's a huge need to investigate 9/11 and we should quit calling it 9/11, because it's become a brand to be profited from. He honors the ladies and gentlemen in this park.
Warren says he's a semi-retired Wall Street executive and that we need to end the iron triangle of corruption. Right now the system is controlled by those who control the legal process. Essentially, we're set up with a divide and conquer system in this country. An increasingly growing population is causing huge problems around the world. We're looking at a structural breakdown and it's essential that we look at our systems in a more practical way. We need to get people to see the larger picture instead of focusing on single issues. It's similar to the crisis the world faced in the 1930s when ignorance nearly brought about complete totalinarianism. The Freedom Tower, he says, is a sign of failure and breakdown. We need to understand our role in the world.
A 55-year-old gentleman says he graduated with $3,000 in student loans as an electrical engineer. It was not hard to pay back. His generation, he says, is not providing the same benefits to today's students. It's fundamentally unjust and he apologizes for the Baby Boomer generation. The next speaker thanks him and says he got hit in 2008. His business fell apart. The protest started on Wall Street because the most important group to reach is the one that controls the money. He says we have to take our money back. The more we give it to Wall Street, the more power they'll have in Washington. Know where your money goes. Kate from Minnesota, who's an entrepreneur, says what we have now is crony capitalism and it's not working for 99 percent of us. This movement gives her hope.