Photo: Andrew Burrows
When Betty Carbone’s son suffered from an injury that disabled him, he became evicted from his home for defaulting on mortgage payments. Two days later, he died without ever receiving a single social security disability check.Armed with a poster that reads “Tear Down The Wall Street Greed,” Carbone, 75, of Rochester, N.Y., joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters on Wednesday to demand that debt be forgiven.
“The American people are here because we finally want a piece of the pie for ourselves – decent education, food, house care,” Carbone said. “People are living in poverty.”
A couple of yards away, Elijah Moles, 19, who’s homeless and living in New York City, is sitting with his group of friends – all homeless – in Zuccotti Park. They have been protesting since the beginning of the campaign three weeks ago.
“We’ll achieve our goal by building more numbers to the millions,” he said.
The vast differences in the protesters are quite obvious. What started as labour union problems has now become a fight for far-left activists, stirring concerns in union workers.
Despite their apprehensions, the radical Occupy Wall Street protesters possess an energy that has attracted the media — something the labour movement hasn’t been able to accomplish in a long time. In recent years, labour union efforts have ceased to receive the same amount of media coverage despite often gathering hundreds of thousands of people together. Last October, a labour rally in Washington brought together more than 100,000 people, but the press seemed uninterested in covering the event.
On Wednesday, Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in Liberty Square to prepare for a march to the state courthouse in Foley Square where they would meet several labour unions.
Ken Ledd still believes in the union:
Before the union started at the turn of the century, there was a lot of 16-hour workdays, children in factories, people being overworked, no healthcare, no rights. It's come to a point where the union is a buffer for the middle class, for the people to improve their lives and that's what unionism means to me.
Matt Perasso, of Fort Lee, NJ, believes bankers are the problem and came out to help the people 'rise up.'
Matt Corpp, 24, is a writer from Vermont who participated in Occupy Wall Street during the first few days. He had to return home, but made it a point to return to N.Y. for the rally.