You’ve seen them on the news: thousands of fed-up Americans gathering, first at Wall Street, and now all across the nation, united against corporate greed and corruption. A few weeks ago it was a mere hundred or so people, barely being covered in the news. Now the protests have taken place or are scheduled in over 40 states, gathering numbers that are much more difficult to ignore (30,000 last weekend, according to Nate Silver of the New York Times).
The reasons for the rallies are simple: People are tired of the thirty-something hedge fund guys whose tremendous, destructive role in the financial crisis of 2008 forced many Americans into foreclosure and caused the collapse of some big financial institutions. Enough is enough. It’s time for a grass roots, people-driven demonstration (meaning without the financial backing of corporations, like our Tea Party friends).
On October 15, that movement spread to Fargo—about 1,500 miles away from Wall Street—as a group of about 200 protesters rallied at U.S. Bank Plaza as part of Global Action Day. The day was set aside for people all across the nation to join in solidarity against corporate greed.
I was among those rallying on Saturday, toting a simple sign with an even clearer message: mad as hell.
Some have suggested these rallies are unnecessary for North Dakota. After all, the state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and a budget situation that’s envied by every governor in the union. While this is true, the movement is not about the state, it is about the people in the state. It is about people from all across the nation standing up to incredible and undeniable inequalities, to corporate greed, and to the recklessness that got us here in the first place. Having people in solidarity—from Wall Street to Fargo—sends a strong message to CEOs and hedge fund managers that a united front exists, and time for reform has arrived.
As students, these events are
particularly important. We will be inheriting the mess that is being caused. We will soon graduate and have to face a competitive job market with a dim future. We must have a say in what is happening around us. Indeed, central to the mission of Concordia is to become responsibly engaged in the world. This, not just in a few years, is the time. We must not sit back and let corporations trample all over our future. To gather peacefully and vocally—even in Fargo—demonstrates that we are aware of what is happening, and ready to stand against it. Our collective voice is being heard.
Matt Hansen, a fourth-year student, writes The People’s Republic of Matt, a politics column in Opinions. He double majors in political science and sociology at Concordia. On Twitter: @MattHansen