Voices from “Occupy Wall Street”

Voices from “Occupy Wall Street”

Ryan Harvey

Brief Introductions to Some of the Many People at “Occupy Wall Street.”

ROB – A plumber working on the new World Trade Center buildings. He came out to walk with a sign at the park on his lunch break. He is in the Local 1 union.

“This is all truth out here, it’s just gotta be voiced…. You can’t go wrong with the truth…”

“Everybody’s angry right now, you can see it. But I think these are all good people, nobody wants to hurt anybody…”



DOREEN - She is 66 and lives at the Fulton Senior Center in Chelsea. She has just come from housing court over a dispute with the city over rising rent of her public housing. She is organizing elderly and disabled folks in her center and in their community to come down next week to support the occupation.

“My interest is one, unemployment in New York, because it effects everybody. Two, I’m a senior and there’s all sorts of cutbacks coming into play in January… They are going to eliminate a lot of care that people need… The next thing I’m afraid of is that they are going to remove the lunch program in the center and the home-lunch program.”

“So far I have not seen a great deal from seniors or about seniors in this movement, and that’s why I am talking to folks at my senior center.. They are coming for their own personal reasons and also for the community… The last I heard there’s 400 cities involved now, and it will be a lot more. I don’t believe that this can end, I don’t think it can end until people are not hungry anymore… The number of people I see here is baffling!”



ROBERT - From Harlem. He heard about the occupation on the radio and he and others from Harlem have begun mobilizing to come support.

“I’m down here because I don’t like what the government is doing to the small people of America. First, the bank would loan you money to buy a house they knew you couldn’t afford, then they would take it from you, foreclose on it. Then second, they are spending billions and billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And third, these kids have to pay this high tuition for schools, and then there’s veterans that come back and they’re sleeping under the bridge… We need to get rid of that.”



ANTHONY - A Longshore worker with ILA Local 1588 in Bayonne, NJ. He has come to support the \occupation and to try to mobilize more ILA members and longshore workers to participate. He is also part of pushing the ILA to take on more social justice issues and he fights against corruption in the union.

“I’m here to support the occupation, to the show that the occupation has some union support… We’re against corporate greed, and we deal with these issues on a daily basis, so we are sympathetic with the cause here. Most of these sings here we support. That’s what we’re about.”



EDDIE – A World War Two veteran, he says the social movements of the 1930s pushed the government into providing more support for working people, and that we need similar changes today.

“This is a wonderful time, to see so many people come out and fight for economic and social justice… I hope this movement develops into a broad peoples’ movement so it will have more of an impact on the whole political process.”

“People are waiting, they are looking for a way to join in struggle. It’s a hard process, but this is what makes it so beautiful. It creates the opportunity and the environment for broader struggle.”



UNNAMED - She is 19 years old, a student from Buffalo, NY studying in the city.

“I’m here for a change in the heart of the people and in the heart of the government. I think there’s a lot to be done here to reach the type of balance we need in American, and in the world, but we need to start with ourselves.”


GIL - Born and raised in Brooklyn. An Iraq veteran who served in the U.S. Army.

“I’m here because there are no more jobs here, they are all being shipped overseas. There are no jobs. I’ve been searching hard for the past 2 years for a job and I cannot find a job. I’m in college right now in hopes that I might find a job when I get out… Ever since I came back form Iraq, I realized that is is not worth being the Army, the pay but also fighting for these guys to get richer off oil and exploitation… I want these wars ended.”

“People are realizing that we can say something, as opposed to just dealing with the bullshit and sucking it up, cuz that’s what they want, for us to suck it up… So that was one of my first goals was that this becomes more popular and more known, and that people speak up against all types of injustices. I want to see people realize that there’s an issue and that there’s a problem.”



ALAN - A 48 year-old born and raised in New York, he is a shop steward porter with SEIU’s 32BJ. He works in Midtown Manhattan.

“We’re on strike right for better wages and for a contract nearby, but this is a broader issue. Workers, we need to stand up to the corporations that are ripping us off… Out here in the park, I hope everything goes well for us, but we need to fight.”


Ryan Harvey is a Baltimore-based independent journalist and grassroots historian. His writings are posted at his blog, Even If Your Voice Shakes . He is also an organizer with the Civilian-Soldier Alliance and a member of the Riot-Folk musician collective.