'Occupy Boston' Protestors Gather In The Hub

By Toni Waterman

Oct. 5, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 3 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — With a blue and white megaphone, a member of the Occupy Boston camp asks fellow demonstrators how they should welcome the homeless into their movement.

In near unison, the group responded, "we welcome everybody."

This is the population of Occupy Boston: a mishmash of young, old, unemployed, employed, all outraged over what they see as an untenable economic divide.

"I think something that everyone here is thinking about is the fact that one percent of Americans control 50 percent of the wealth in this country," said Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger. "A lot of people feel like their voices are being undermined by the fact that there's so much money in special interest — corporate interest in Washington — that their voices are not being heard," Potteiger said.

So since Friday night, Occupy Boston has brought their message to the Financial District's Dewey Square, transforming it into a makeshift tent city. Potteiger, who's an unemployed college grad, says he's concerned about his job prospects.

"Forty-five percent of people 16 to 29 are unemployed and 85 percent of people who graduated in 2011 moved back in with their parents. This is the issue facing my generation," Potteiger said.

Occupy Boston is an unaffiliated spin-off of New York's Occupy Wall Street, a group in its third week of protests. Over the weekend, 700 protesters were arrested for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. And similar protests have cropped up across the country, including Vermont and Los Angeles. "Stop the corruption on Wall Street," yelled one L.A. protestor.

Here in Boston, the message is the same. A demonstrator who would only give his name as Patrick says he quit his job so he could join the protest.

"My benefits for one person were almost $300 a month," he said, a red bandana hiding most of his face. "That's half my rent right there. So I had to choose between living somewhere or having health insurance."

Fellow protestor David Trauterman, barefoot and holding a sign, said he's looking to end all injustice. "I'm here for a larger movement than just Occupy Boston. I'm here for a revolution of humanity. We need to stop working against each other and come together as one."

But for the most part, the group's intentions are elusive. There are no clear objectives and protestors are making no demands. But demonstrator Nadeem Mazen said knowing what they want so early would be premature.

"I think it's unusual to want to have clear objectives this early. We're saying that we represent the 99 percent and that many of those in the 1 percent use that wealth in order to undermine the democratic process. It's flatly wrong. And it's not democracy," Mazen said.

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