Protesters Occupy Boston’s Financial District

BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a city within a city in downtown Boston.

About 100 people have set up tents in the Financial District for a protest called “Occupy Boston.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

It’s part of a nationwide movement against what they say is continuing corporate greed.

A similar demonstration has been going on Wall Street for three weeks.

The Boston group marched from their tent city to the State House Monday morning, calling for political and financial reform.

“We’re talking about the fact that corporate interests have an inordinate amount of control over the democratic process and the 99-percent of us out here, our voices aren’t being heard the way they should be,” said 26-year-old Jason Potteiger of Boston, who’s looking for a job in politics and advertising.

“We’re the 99-percent. One-percent of the people in America control 50-percent of America’s wealth. More importantly, many of them are using that wealth to undermine democracy,” said Nadeem Mazen, who has a design firm in Cambridge.

On Friday, two dozen protesters were arrested for trespassing at the Bank of America building.

Monday’s protest was peaceful and there were no arrests.

“When I’m looking around at people my age and when I’m thinking about myself looking for a job, I wanted to make sure that I came out here and I was part of the dialogue about what direction this country is headed in, because when I think about myself and my friends, we’re really wondering what the next week, month, or year is going to look like as we’re trying to pay off all of our student loans,” Potteiger told WBZ-TV.

The young men and women make all decisions as a group and have what they call general assembly meetings twice a day. They’re planning at least one “direct action” every day, like Monday’s march.

They also have several groups meeting to organize everything from food to dealing with the media.

“What I’m most excited about is there is direct democracy happening here, people are making decisions through consensus processes,” said protester Brendan Curran of Danvers.

“Young people are going to be in debt for the rest of their lives, while banks and corporations are getting bailed out, people are getting million dollar bonuses.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

People have been dropping off food for the group to show support. Wendy Nicholas gave them some cookies on her way to work.

“I support what these folks are campaigning for, when you’ve got a teeny percent of the American population making more than all the rest of the American population, when you get a budget situation where this Congress won’t ask the wealthiest of Americans to pay more and instead are trying to solve the problem on the backs of the elderly and the poor. And when you get the American taxpayers bailing out the banks and insurance companies and they still get their bazillion dollar bonuses? Yeah! I support what these guys are fighting for. It’s ridiculous.”

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) weighed in on the protests, saying he understands the frustration.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

Emily McArthur of Boston works at a food truck in Dewey Square.

Why is she joining Occupy Boston?

“I’ve worked hard, I’ve watched my parents work hard, and we still had our electricity turned off, we’ve never owned a home, we’ve had our water turned off, and that’s not okay,” she said.

“There’s this false American dream where if you work hard enough, if you are just passionate enough, than your life will turn out well and you will turn out successful and your family will turn out successful, and that’s a lie. Wealth is too concentrated in the top one-percent and in order for the vast majority of Americans to survive, that needs to change.”

The group says they plan to stay indefinitely. McArthur says, “Until we get some recognition in our government.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

  • emom

    Hey do you think they should move this protest to the state house I mean the governor needs to see this and hear the people of how they feel for a change.. We seem no matter how much we scream about what this state does HE WHO SHALL BE NAMELESS never listens,, Maybe a protest at the state house like this will finally get his attention and the help this state truly needs…Its time the people make their voice heard ,, We dont like the way this state and this country is being handled, and most of corporate greed is is killing the economy ,,,

  • AceMaster

    First off, GREAT story. I heard about the protest going on in NYC and I am so glad Boston is following suit. I fully plan to participate in the protest. FINALLY the American people are standing up and protesting something. I do have to say one thing though, I am dissappointed in the fact that there are no comments to this story yet. Just last week after the Red Sox collapse, there were over 100 comments in the first hour about whether or not Tito would be fired. And here’s a REAL story which could affect the lives of millions of people and NO ONE has commented yet?? Something is definately wrong here.

  • Ken

    All of these idiots need to get real jobs like the rest of us and stop wasting the time of the boston police who constantly need to deal with you morons.

    • Michael E. Harvey

      Spoken like a true member of the “F*** you, got mine” set.

      • rob

        oh and one more thing just to validate my points… i am a recent graduate. i went to three different universities. i am swimming in $130,000 in debt to sallie mae. while at the first two schools i did literally nothing and expected handouts. then i realized it was time to grow up. the fact of the matter is that the american dream is still very alive, all you have to do is be willing to work your rear end off for what you want— which most people arent willing to do.

      • rob

        hey listen michael harvey- ken is right. there are too many people looking for handouts. there are jobs, why do you think so many people are STILL immigrating to this country. the problem is that the jobs that are available are not what you’re looking for. such is the case in a down economy. and regarding your “f-you. got mine” comment… that’s absurd. youre angry because you feel you deserve somethign more, and you may, but dont expect anyone to just give it to you. people need to work for waht they want, and stop expecting the government to just hand them something. the government forks over plenty of cash in the form of student loans. the next move is yours. dont go to school for some liberal arts degree and expect to come out and make 40k a year. do something better, use that free cash to get a solid degree, not a degree in booze and pot.

    • vb

      that’d be a great suggestion if there were any jobs, and the boston police shouldn’t have to ‘deal with’ anyone. It’s a peaceful protest.

  • WeAreTheChamps

    Why don’t they just withdraw all of their money or switch bank?

  • justme

    There are more members of themedia than protestors

  • Stanley11

    For the 1 percent that has 50% of the wealth (according to a quote in this story), is that the same 1% that pays 99.4% of the tax revenue collected by the federal government?

    • tsal

      I say that with all due respect of course, Stanley. I’m trying to figure out why a person – other than one who has considerably wealth – supports our shift to wealthy group of 1% and what will eventually be working poor. I am thinking I’m missing something but just not sure what.

      • tsal

        Hi Stanley. I have heard many say this but doesn’t it follow that if the remaining 99% are not making enough money they cannot contribute to taxes. The income of the 99 has gone down every year for a very long time. I am not sure I understand how anyone can justify the figures I posted yesterday at 3:41 pm. How can 80% of all income gains go to 1% of the population?

      • Stanley11

        Hi tsal……I don’t necessarily support the top 1% having everything. I’m merely pointing out that A) the guy said that the top 1% has 50% of the wealth B) the fact that that same 1% pays 99.4% of the taxes and that C) by that logic, the top 1% are paying more than their fair share according to his stats. It kind of goes against what he is protesting.

    • tsal

      Stanley – when 1% has all of the money and 99% has none, I wonder how those with none can pay taxes. It’s tough to pay taxes on nothing. If you support a country ruled by the wealthy – both corporations and individuals – then I can understand your comment. It’s called a Plutocracy; however, along with several other names – not a democracy.

  • tsal

    I am thrilled that the majority is finally beginning to speak up. For those who have no idea what is going on – these are just some of the reasons for the protests.

    In 2010, the wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 24% of overall income in the U.S., a drastic increase from 1976, a year in which the top 1% of Americans earned 15% of the wealth.

    The CEOs of the largest corporations in the U.S. made 531 times as much as the average worker in 2001, a huge change from two decades before, where CEOs made an average of 42 times as much as an average American worker.

    From 1980 to 2005, thanks to the spread of Reagan’s trickle-down economics, and many Bush policies favoring wealthy Americans, more than 80% of the increase in U.S. incomes was attained by the wealthiest 1%.

  • Phil

    Useful Idiots

  • massman

    Well said TSAL.

  • response

    “There’s this false American dream where if you work hard enough, if you are just passionate enough, than your life will turn out well and you will turn out successful and your family will turn out successful, and that’s a lie.”

    NO, Your statement is a lie….you make your own decisions, you make your own choices, you work hard and pay your bills, your electricity will not get shut off.

    • tsal

      Not if you can’t get a job. Not if the income equality is so great you are not paid fairly for the work you do. Not if only the wealthy rule. That’s really the lie. Elizabeth Warren made a statement that I’m not sure the wealth in America or those who wish to continue feeding the wealth understand. It was a simple but completely accurate statement.
      “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you.

      “But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate…Part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

  • emom

    To hear that only 1% of the population that is rich,, which I feel is much higher,,, pays taxes and then the 99% is those that are broke up into different income levels,, Let me say that I see that anyone that is in the lower to the lowest salary we pay on average 33% to 40% in taxes and deductions. I find it ridiculuos that those that struggle pay such a high percentage of taxes,, But what is even more troubling is when we have been given a tax credit,,, Like does anyone even think thats a possitive move, since by the following year we have to pay it back. sure we get it in our checks during that time, but in the end so many look forward to that refund check and when we do get it we are totally dissapointed… I feel that the tax stucture needs to be revamped, lower what the lower salaries pay and raise the higher salaries… we need to revise this since they get away with so many perks to AVOID TAXES.. CORPORATE GREED IS OUT OF CONTROL, we have seen story after story were they take advantage of the little guys and then get bail outs to fund their perks,,,, its time for the same to happen in the political world aswell.

  • steve

    How about the sports players, actors and news anchors salaries? Are they immune from the movement?

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