Occupy Columbia underway at the State House

Updated: 11:13 AM, Sunday October 16, 2011

Occupy Columbia is ongoing at the State house. A few hundred people are enjoying the day with a spirited and fun protest. The reaction from people driving by is tremendous!

Occupy Columbia

Occupy Columbia, facing the NCSB building. October 15, 2011

Permission has been worked out with the State House troopers to camp! People will be staying overnight! Participants cannot bring tents, but they can lay down bedding and sleeping bags. People intend to stay for several days.  Donated food is being served by Food Not Bombs and area restaurants.

Head down there if you can go yourself to check it out, or catch up on the goings on via these websites:

http://occupycolumbiasc.orgOccupy Columbia

http://occupycolumbiasc.org/livestream/

http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyColumbia

Lots of media were there before Noon. For example WIS, interviewing mostly the most outrageously attired folks at first. I think that they got some more serious stuff in before the end.

Edit: a story with video is here: http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=674364#.TpoDcZuXu7u

 

Occupy Columbia, Evening General Assembly, October 15, 2011

Occupy Columbia, Evening General Assembly, October 15, 2011


 

“Occupy” protesters take to the State House grounds

Posted: Oct 15, 2011 11:52 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 15, 2011 5:18 PM EDT
By Mary King

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A protest group who says there is a problem with greed, government and Wall Street took their cause to the State House Saturday morning.

Around 150 protesters, calling themselves “Occupy Columbia”, gathered in front of the State House at 9:00am.

“That’s been the so-called beauty of this whole thing is that everybody has their grievances and the here’s a forum for my voice to be heard,” said protestor Travis Bland.

The group got its roots from the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York where cries for a separation of big corporations and politics began back in September.

“They need to stay over there and hand money to their people,” said Sarah Parker. “Don’t feed money to my president or to try to get them to do what they want.”

Political science experts like USC professor Dr. Robert Oldendick who have been monitoring the Occupy movement say it symbolizes the frustration of Americans on many levels. But they add the argument for change may be better steered in another direction.

“They’re concentrating efforts on Wall Street to look to those people who haven’t suffered to get some relief,” said Dr. Oldendick. “The solution to that is not on Wall Street — it’s in Washington because the Congress is the one who gets to make the rules.

Some Columbia protestors agree. While calls for change ring nationwide, experts add if political change is made, it won’t happen overnight.

“To get money out of politics involves campaign finance reform and as we’ve seen in the past couple of years it’s been going in the opposite direction,” said Dr. Oldendick.

It is not known when the protest will end, but protest organizers say they are prepared to stay overnight if they are allowed.

Associated Press gets it wrong below, there were about 150 people later around 3:00 PM in the heat of the day. In the morning, there were at least 350.

‘Occupy Columbia’ protestors gather at State House
– BRETT FLASHNICK /AP

Protesters took to the State House grounds today to express their unhappiness with Wall Street greed.

About 150 people waved signs declaring they are the “99 percent” who are not among the nation’s wealthiest, who they say should be paying more taxes. They are also angry with banks and their role in causing the recession, then taking government bailouts and stubbornly tightening up credit.

Folks with signs asked passing motorists to honk if they supported their ‘Occupy Columbia’ causes.

The demonstration is part of a sweep of similar gatherings across the country on Saturday. Each was being held in support of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ sit-in that began last month in Lower Manhattan. On Saturday, part of the New York City group made a second orderly march of the week onto streets where wealthy corporate executives live in expensive high-rises.

In Columbia, the group was not certain how long they would stay on the capitol grounds. Some said they would stay overnight, if allowed.

The coverage leaves a lot to be desired, but isn’t as bad as it could be.   Journalists around the world seem to be allergic to actually counting crowds.

The opinions expressed by USC Political Scientist Dr. Bob Oldendick that people ought to concentrate on Congress because “that’s where decisions are made” is an ivory tower fallacy.  People who care about civic society and who have loyally participated in politics have seen the economic and civic situation for working people steadily worsen  over the last 40 years .

If relief were going to come from Congress, people would be able to affect the change they want.  Yet time and time again, the desire of the majority of people to avoid war and to fund social programs first are blunted then ignored.  It is perfectly correct for people to accuse the corporations and political action committees of gaming politics to benefit the wealthy and well-connected in this country.

Simply demonstrating that the vast majority of people are dissatisfied with government and economic authorities of this country is a necessary and highly civic-minded act.  Politics can come later.  People who care about the condition of their neighbors and the sickness in civil society need to be heard.  These multitudinous complaints can change the national conversation and establish priorities that put peoples’ needs for education, health care, honest government, and an open and equitable society first.

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