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Do protests like Occupy Wall Street make a difference?

October 17th, 2011 6:18 am by Staff Report

The Occupy Wall Street protests that began five weeks ago in New York have spread nationwide. Demonstrators have now taken to the streets in Washington, Seattle and Chicago to speak out on greed. Similar demonstrations have also been held in Knoxville and Asheville, N.C. An Occupy Johnson City event was held Saturday near East Tennessee State University.
“A large part of what this is about is coming together and hearing individual voices and coming to a consensus as a group as to what it is we’re going to do and what actions we are going to take,” participant Josh Flaccavento said last week during a meeting to plan the gathering.
Press staff writer Madison Mathews reported that while the Johnson City group didn’t have a particular demand, the individuals involved with the movement are concerned about corporate greed, social inequality and global climate change.
As the Associated Press reported recently, veterans of political demonstrations say the Occupy Wall Street protests are welcomed, but they are unsure what the demonstrations will accomplish.
“There’s a difference between an emotional outcry and a movement,” said Andrew Young, who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a strategist during the civil rights movement and served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “This is an emotional outcry. The difference is organization and articulation.”
Earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said on CBS “Face the Nation” that he believes the protesters to be “jealous” Americans who “play the victim card” and want to “take somebody else’s Cadillac.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has called them “mobs” who have pitted “Americans against Americans.”
Do public protests like Occupy Wall Street really make a difference? Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or  . Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks. You also can go to to cast a vote in the online poll. Results of the poll and comments from readers will appear on this page Oct. 25.

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