The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students join in Occupy Fort Worth

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

TR Campus student Alden Aldrich had seen unrest stirring for a while before the Occupy Wall Street protests erupted in New York City.

Now he, along with fellow student Maximilian Perry, is part of the movement’s local iteration — Occupy Fort Worth.

“The past couple years we’ve seen so many documentaries about how industry economics works,” Aldrich said. “I’ve kind of been waiting for something like this for so long.”

Since the protests began in late September in New York, more than 200 cities have followed suit in the U.S. alone by creating their own Occupy movements. More than 10 of these protests are in Texas. Fort Worth occupiers are located in Burnett Park on West 7th Street.

Aldrich and Perry stressed that every occupier protests for different reasons, but a list of grievances approved by a 90 percent majority at the New York protest can be found in its declaration at In solidarity, the Fort Worth occupiers voted to adopt this declaration.

As an individual, Aldrich said his frustrations start with the lobbying system that has developed. Lobbyists are paid by corporations to influence government officials, who in turn control what restrictions are placed on the corporations. Aldrich says this is tantamount to “legal bribery.”

Perry is frustrated with blocking of positive change. He specifically talked about an emergent tendency in Germany of covering houses in solar panels, making each home its own power generator. He and Aldrich wondered why the Fort Worth skyline isn’t covered in solar panels.

“There are things that can be done but aren’t,” Perry said.

The occupation functions as a community through general assembly meetings, typically held at 7:30 p.m. Its operations are voted on and must be approved by a 90 percent majority. Further activities are divided into committees, such as health and media.

All of the occupation’s decisions must be approved by a 90 percent majority, including how its money is spent. The community fund, into which donations go, can be used only for necessities such as food, water and transportation.

Aldrich thinks this method of decision-making can function on a larger scale.

“I think we are making it clear that the U.S. and other countries can be direct democracies instead of republics, which have lobbyists and legal bribery,” he said.

As with any occupation, the occupiers will leave under

certain conditions. However, as with anything in this particular occupation, those conditions vary on an individual basis.

Aldrich says that more unionization and closer communities are what he’d like to see.

“I personally don’t care if everybody else wants to hold onto the president, but I hope people realize through these movements that they can sustain each other,” he said. “The corporations can still be around. That’s fine. But I want to see an increase in unionized businesses.”

For Perry, the goal is simply awareness of corruption in the economic system.

“Once you have the power and the money and the position, you can do whatever … you want,” he said. “I can’t do whatever I want.”

Perry said that people should come down and see the occupation for themselves.

“If nothing else, come by,” he said. “Try participant democracy to try participant democracy. Talk to the government teachers. See if they’ll give you extra credit.”




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