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Occupy Clarksville reaches out to campus

» By MORGAN SMITH – msmith156@my.apsu.edu

The Occupy Clarksville group has staged their “Clarksville Occupied Protest” in the public square of downtown Clarksville for 15 days as of press time.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, day, Occupy APSU organized a student walkout at 11:30 a.m.

“I went to the protest because I felt that I needed to make a difference in the world,” said Summer Hayes, an APSU alumna. “I am too young to have participated in the great revolutions of our time, like the American Indian Movement or the Civil Rights Movement. I felt that Occupy Wall Street … was the revolution of our time and that I had to be there.”

The plan was for protestors to congregate at the Public Square and march to campus where they would join together with students who walked out from their classes for a general assembly in the MUC Plaza. However, attendance for both was small.

Most of those gathered in the MUC Plaza for what was supposed to be a general assembly after the walkout were APSU media, police and some staff and faculty members.

Occupy Wall Street is a movement sweeping across the country. These organized demonstrations have sparked major media coverage, police monitoring and, in some cases, violence.

“I’ve seen it all on the news but I’m totally confused as to what it is they’re fighting for,” said Delano Lenyard, an Afghanistan war veteran. “I see the signs but they give me no indication.”

The movement has a broad range of grievances, all of which they try to bring attention to at the same time. This is what seems to be leading to the confusion of what the movement stands for.

According to the Occupy Clarksville Facebook page, they “demand an end to: Wall Street money in our politics, unemployment, student debt, home foreclosures, corporate greed, attacks on organized labor, racist police brutality [and the] death penalty.”

The Occupy movement has a lack of central leadership and organization, but some of those involved say that is part of their objective.

“I believe that the strength of the movement is because we’re not all drinking the ‘Kool-Aid’ of an inspirational leader,” Hayes said.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread across not only the U.S. but also the globe. Protests have been taking place in Greece, London, Belgium, Italy and Spain. They share a parallel discontent regarding their countries’ economic circumstances.

“I think what they’re doing is awesome,” said James Cohen, Criminal Justice major. “There were so many great movements in the ’60s, when young people actually had a voice and they changed things. I think with a little more focused direction, this movement has the potential to do the same thing.”

Hayes graduated with a criminal justice degree and now works at a bank because nothing was available to her.

“If I had known while attending college that, when I graduated with highest honors, that I would not be able to find a job, I would have walked out of class too and saved myself tons of money,” Hayes said. “A student gains nothing by attending college and finding that there is no work when they graduate.”

According to the Occupy APSU Facebook page, Sean Collette, who declined to be interviewed, said of the planned Tuesday, Nov. 8, assembly in the MUC Plaza, “If you support, oppose or are undecided about the movement, this will be an opportunity for you to ask questions or voice your ideas on the movement and the current state of corporate America and its politics. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate.”

Preston Gilmore, Administrator of Occupy Clarksville, also encourages those in support of the movement to join them in their occupation of the public square in downtown Clarksville.

For additional information on the movement and its upcoming protest, events or general assemblies follow them on Twitter @occupyclarksvil or email with questions at occupyclarksville@live.com. TAS

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