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Occupiers hypocritical leaving out the homeless

BY BENJAMIN EVANS | NOVEMBER 03, 2011 7:20 AM

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Oh, Occupy, you almost had me. I was that close, just about an inch away from volunteering and trying to help communicate, or narrow, your message. So close.

I am a part of the 99 percent, you see. I'm not a big fan of corporate greed, and I completely agree that we, the people, have a strict responsibility to regulate the government regulation of corporations, which is a funny way of saying deregulation and no government bailouts. I'm on board— where do I sign?

But then my ultra-conservative Tea Partier of a Grandpa from Arkansas sent me an email from the New York Post, saying cooks in Occupy New York were going on strike because they were tired of feeding the "professional homeless."

Eh, New York Post. Tabloid. Eh, Fox News. Biased.

Perhaps you've heard of the New York Times.

It reported on the homeless migrating to Occupy camps weren't being treated as one of the "99 percent." One Occupier, Hero Vincent, 21, a member of security at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, said the homeless were "bad for most of us who came here to build a movement." And then he put a nice cherry on top by saying, "We didn't come here to start a recovery institution."

Uh, yeah you did. The homeless are definitely not in the 1 percent, unless we are talking about the lowest 1 percent. You tout you are for everyone, but you say homeless people are not good for the movement? They are the poster children for the movement.

That's just one individual who doesn't understand what the movement is really about, you say? OK. Let's go to Nashville, where the Times spoke to Bob Titley, a Occupy protester, who said the homeless are "keeping people away: It distracts a lot of energy away from the issues we're fighting for when we're just managing life in the camp."

Are you kidding me? What people would you prefer to come to your encampments? If you are looking for movie stars and politicians, then you are really nothing more than a screaming teenage-girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Also, the Times reports in the Nashville camp, people are beginning to receive bracelets distinguishing who is homeless and who is not. I don't know if I should comment on that or if the palpable hypocrisy is just implied.

Oh, but these are just small select bits of what Occupy really is: a radical change of democracy. More evidence you say?

The Wall Street Journal is a pretty reputable source, so let's see if it has reported anything. Yeah, looks as though the Occupiers have trouble with the homeless in Los Angeles, too.

"There have been some pretty anti-homeless sentiments expressed by some of the organizers and some strong accusations made," said Becky Dennison, a codirector of LA Community Action Network, a homeless advocacy group. "That's been a little bit disappointing."

Just a little disappointing? It's a disgrace. If you have basic principles, then you should live up to them. Now the "We are the 99 percent" propaganda just seems like a ploy to get attention. It is insulting, actually, because I would rather be a part of a 99 percent who care about the homeless, give them the help they need, and provide for the common welfare of all people, not just your college buddies who seem pretty politically active.

Because that is who it is: the white, college kids. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Rodrigo Venegas, 31, co-founder of Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, a center for political activism, said it is "white, liberal, young people who for the first time in their life are feeling a small percentage of what black and brown communities have been feeling for hundreds of years."

And that is what I look at when I cross the College Green each evening: a group of unorganized, well-dressed white kids who are talking about how their protests aren't radical enough, while a homeless man lies on a park bench, shivering from the cold.


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