Occupy Wall Street protests come to Pocatello

7 Oct

Two protesters hold signs in Old Town during an Occupy Pocatello protest Friday evening, inspired by the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

By Jamie Hale

As “Occupy Wall Street” protesters gather in cities around the country this week, Pocatello is having a local protest movement that’s smaller, but just as fired up.

Two dozen people gathered at Simplot Square in Old Town on Friday evening, a location named after one of the local corporations for which they have so much disdain. Some were in their teens, some were in their 70s, but their message was all the same: get rid of corporate influence in America.

Scott Richardson, one of the protest organizers, said that message is all about what they see as corporate control over America. Corporate influence over politics has led to a majority control of American wealth by a slim one percent of the population, he said. The national movement has said they are speaking on behalf of the other 99 percent.

“We’re the 99 percent, you know, everybody just feels like America has gone the wrong way for too long, and they really just want to stand up and let their voice be heard,” said Richardson. “We can’t just sit idly by and be silent anymore”

The group marched through Old Town with signs that proclaimed “We are the 99% and so are you,” “Do not be complicit,” and “Tax the rich.” Nationally, the protests have been defined as a new youth movement that is seen as revolutionary by its supporters and hypocritical by its detractors.

But not all of the protesters in Pocatello were the angst-ridden youth that dominate the national stage. Donna Jordahl, a 75-year-old Pocatellan and coordinator for local group Concerned Citizens, joined ranks with college students and teenagers, even if she wasn’t as active as her younger counterparts.

Jordahl was an antiwar protester during the Vietnam war, and said she has been itching for another chance to take to the streets. “It’s exciting, I’ve been feeling in the doldrums, because our constitutional democracy is dead if not dying,” she said. In her opinion, corporations just don’t understand the importance of keeping people happy. “You have to keep the masses happy, give them a decent wage, decent health care benefits, all those pathetically simple little things,” she said.

The fix isn’t so simple to some of the others. Rachel Taylor, who protested in a traditional Guy Fawkes mask, said she thinks there are a lot of things wrong with America. “I’m just sick of following bigot laws that make no logical sense,” she said. Her hallmark issue is with the Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the United States.

Taylor identifies as a libertarian, but doesn’t necessarily identify with some of the other libertarian-leaning protests in the country, like the Tea Party movement. She said she wants the Occupy Wall Street movement to be a dedicated group–one that can camp out and protest dawn to dusk.

Richardson sees the same goal for the movement. The showing of about two dozen people was actually incredible to him, especially considering the fact that he started the Pocatello branch on Tuesday over Facebook. Although the movement is nationwide, he said there’s a lot of reason for people in Pocatello to take to the streets. Corporations, like Simplot, have a lot of influence in town, he said, but most of all, people in Pocatello are part of that 99 percent. “Stand up and let your voice be heard,” said Richardson. “We are the 99 percent, everyone of us in this town.”

Contact Jamie at JHaleTBA@Gmail.com

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5 Responses to “Occupy Wall Street protests come to Pocatello”

  1. David Corbet (@dlcorb) 10/07/2011 at 7:28 pm #

    This is a game that the 99% cannot win. So if you cannot win then you have to change the game. Three things each and everyone can do to change the game.
    1. Take personal responsibility for your spending and your earning. Know where your money comes from and where it goes. If you feel something is amiss in your financial chain, then change it!
    2. If you really want to make a game changing play then close your bank accounts. That is right go bankless. Until the 20th century banks were only for the wealthy and the poor did not need them nor have widespread access to them.
    3. Cancel your credit cards. This should be the first thing you do.

  2. redqueen67 10/07/2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Wow, glad you covered this! wish I had known about it earlier, we’d have travelled into poky to lend our support!

    • Kendra Doty 10/08/2011 at 2:51 pm #

      We’re planning on having more rallies and an occupation! Find Occupy Pocatello on facebook, all of our events are on there!

  3. Bronson Cole 10/08/2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I can appreciate what the movement is working towards. I don’t understand where this disdain for the Simplot company is coming from. Simplot treats it’s workers fair, has a good benefit package, is mostly union and everyday works toward running cleaner. I seriously think the better move would be to not demonize this company, or fault any corporation for being guilty by association. If you can assert your motives, perhaps you can get union support and even corporate support. Simplot is a family run business and they may agree things are not fair between the classes. We will never know if we demonize them the same way many of us have been demonized. If we all work together, we truly can become the 99%.

    -Bronson Cole
    United Steel Workers local 632

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Occupy Pocatello » Occupy Idaho - 10/08/2011

    […] forward to seeing you all there!   ( Press ) ( Press ) Posted by admin at 6:04 pm […]

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