Protesters move to Occupy Aspen
Ryan Summerlin October 11, 2011
ASPEN – The Occupy Wall Street rallying cries were audible in Aspen on Monday, as a small group of protesters joined the national chorus of anger over the wealth disparity in the country and the recklessness of its financial institutions.
The Occupy Aspen rally took place at Wagner Park in hopes of generating support from Aspen’s working class. The protests began in September in New York City, claiming the slogan “We are the 99 percent.” The slogan pertains to the number of supporters who believe America’s top 1 percent of income-earners control disproportionate amounts of the wealth and influence legislative politics.
“Aspen is a playground for the 1 percent,” said Jeannie Perry, one of the event’s organizers. “But it’s still a workplace and home to 99 percent.”
Monday’s rally partnered with such national organizations as Moveon.org, and used online entities like Occupy Together and Facebook to spread the word.
Monday’s rally had, at any given time, about 10 supporters with signs. One supporter said it will be difficult to gain momentum in Aspen, with many residents who are on sure footing financially.
“Everyone across the country is joining in,” said Melanie Finan, an activist from Carbondale. “But Aspen is a tough crowd.”
Finan also said: “I’m demonstrating my support of the need for a change in our political and economic system, which is muddled and does not fairly represent or support the majority of Americans.”
Frieda Wallison, chairwoman of the Pitkin County Republicans, said she agrees that people are hurting economically, but her perspective is different.
“I don’t think that (protesters) should try to identify one organization or group of organizations such as Wall Street to blame,” she said.
Wallison also said that the way to make change is at the ballot box. She said it isn’t her view, but if protesters want to see more regulation of Wall Street, they need to vote for politicians who will do that. She said the anger toward bailouts of Wall Street institutions was misplaced because essentially all of that money had been repaid to the government at a large profit to taxpayers.
Over the last few weeks, the national protests have seen a groundswell in support and media coverage. Rallies have organized all across the country. The protests continue to grow despite having no specific goal or support for specific legislation.
Yet the protests seem to be gaining momentum, and supporters say they are in this for the long haul.
A supporter who would not give a name said, “We’re going to do this again. We’re going to get bigger and bigger, with all types of people.”
Organizers are planning another rally Oct. 22 at Wagner Park.