“Occupy” movement to come to Ventura this weekend


Bryn Gallagher

A man protests the distribution of wealth at a similar protest in Los Angeles. Credit: Ben Gill for The Foothill Dragon Press
A man protests the distribution of wealth at a similar protest in Los Angeles. Credit: Ben Gill for The Foothill Dragon Press

The movement that began on Wall Street a little less than a month ago is finding its way to Ventura city streets. Occupy Ventura, a local manifestation of the national “Occupy” movement is set converge on Mission Park Saturday.

“It is hard to tell how many (people) will come, we have 500 twitter followers and 700 Facebook fans so we are expecting around 1,000,” said Jay Liederman, attorney and one of the event organizers.

“Occupy” is a national protest against the power held by big banks and corporations. Participants protest mainly the government’s handling of the banking crisis, including $4.72 trillion in bank bailouts of 2007 and 2008. They also find fault with the still struggling economy, while many on Wall Street have plenty.

They aim to fight reckless lending, income inequality and the general power of large corporations in the lives of American citizens.

“(Occupy Ventura) is a local branch of a national movement, that garnered a number of people who were tired of being marginalized and of being ignored by the government,” said Liederman.

Those people say they are tired of the majority of Americans who seem to be controlled by the comparatively tiny wealthy class.

“We call ourselves the 99 percent because we are not part of the privileged one percent,” Leiderman said.

The original movement started on September 17 when protesters gathered at Zuccotti Park near Wall Street. Shortly after, the New York City General Assembly issued a “Declaration of Occupation” explaining the various grievances being protested.

From there the fervor has spread to America’s major cities including Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The movement first entered Ventura on Friday with a general assembly meeting that helped to establish various aspects of the Occupy Ventura Protest, including committees to handle logistics, media and outreach. Protestors have created the Occupy Ventura Nexus website to keep people informed.

As far as the protests themselves are concerned, a kick-off rally is set for 3 p.m. Friday in front of the Government Center followed the next day by the occupation of Plaza Park beginning at noon.

The group will hold a general assembly meeting tonight at 5:30 at 5740 Ralston St., Suite 304, in Ventura. The public is invited.

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