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"Tin soldiers and Nixon's Coming" - do you remember Kent State? If not, Zuccotti Park may remind you.

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Turn Live-in Into Civil Rights Call to Action - OP ED

Amy Minteer Piazza
This is when they started to erect a barricade yesterday at Zuccotti Park in NYC.
Diane Lilli
Posted

If you looked for Zuccotti Park on Google Maps yesterday, you'd find a large black box instead of a satellite view of the public area in New York City. The Brooklyn Bridge was shut down for hours and hours so protesters could not get to the park. Streets in NYC were closed, to block anyone from getting to Zuccotti Park.

Local and state New York Police, working with the New York State Supreme Court's blessing, have kicked out the peaceful, but messy, mobs of protestors who have been camping out there for weeks.

Hundreds of protesters, and some journalists, were arrested during the mass exodus and arrests late yesterday.

220 protesters were arrested, and tents have been officially banned from the park.

But if you look beyond the media circus, unsightly tents and squatters who have been arguing that they have every right to live in a public park, paid for by taxpayers, a more critical issue is at hand.

This protest, as many before, has turned into a large scare civil rights' movement. This time, however, the issues are not central to one interest group; one race; one generation; one sex or one religion.

Instead, this movement is being propelled by the frustration of millions around the world who believe big banks, big business and the uber-wealthy do not deserve to own 99 percent of the riches.

Having hundreds of strangers camp out on your doorstep - or in this case, in the public park in your neighborhood - must be beyond inconvenient. Businesses have suffered; a rape was reported; the press was everywhere and it smelled.

Yet I can't help remembering another protest movement in another time in the 1960's and early 70's, when young Americans took up the cause of ending

the Vietnam war, swarming campuses, city roads, and towns everywhere.

Then, as now, the police moved in to squash the movement.

But history, sadly,repeats itself. At Kent State University, the mobs and police clashed in a deadly event that left 4 University students, all unarmed and peaceful, shot dead on the ground.

How long until this movement also suffers losses?

I believe a dialogue must be opened with the leaders of this movement.

There should be some kind of ongoing talks to try to create a plan to

offer hope to the thousands and thousands of young unemployed who are now roaming parks in America to voice their frustration.

If some kind of meaningful conversation were initiated by someone very high up in our government - yes, perhaps President Obama and his staff - then perhaps this movement can transform itself into more of a daytime protest minus the camping out in public areas across the country.

I don't want to see another Kent State tragedy.

Flying to Paris a few weeks ago, I sat next to a man (about 28) from NYC who is close to one of the founders of this Occupy Wall Street movement.

What he told me was shocking.

"She is not looking to make a specific plan happen, and they are all pretty much anarchists," he said.

I asked him how that could accomplish anything, since after all this is a

capitalist society founded in democracy.

He told me he often asked her that himself, but that she and her colleagues were committed to bringing the issues of unfair wealth distribution to the public, through the young and adult children of Americans.

It looks like it is working.

I work hard - in more than one job - to eke out a living.

But I know many young people are truly frustrated living home, not being able to get a job in their field, and not being able to support themselves when they do get hired.

It's time for government leaders to step up and meet with the protesters in a public way.

They don't really want to live in the park.

But if we keep pushing them back, kicking them out, and ignoring the issues they are bringing to the public, there will be a tragedy and this

movement will transform into something that may truly get out of control.

Look around - there is no equality in wealth, as it's always been here in the U.S. Should this change? Can it?

I don't know.

But I do know if someone, perhaps the President, doesn't step in soon we are looking at a movement that can turn on a dime.

History does repeat itself. Read up and learn - and let's get some dialogue going with these idealist kids before people start dying.

Just ask the families of Allison Krause (shot and killed at Kent State May 4, 1970); Jeffrey Glen Miller (shot and killed at Kent State May 4, 1979);

Sandra Sheuer (shot and killed at Kent State May 4, 1970) and

William Knox Schroeder (shot and killed at Kent State May 4, 1970).

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