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Thursday, October 6, 2011 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: "We Are the 99%": Voices from the Occupy Wall...
2011-10-06

Decrying Debt and Budget Cuts, Students Stage Walkout to Join Growing Occupy Wall Street Movement

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Students made up a large contingent of Wednesday’s march in support of Occupy Wall Street. A national day of student walkouts was held to protest budget cuts and to show support for Occupy Wall Street. According to the website OccupyColleges.org, walkouts occurred at 75 schools across the nation, including many in New York City. Democracy Now! met up with several students who walked out of classes at the City University of New York, the New School and New York University to attend Wednesday’s march in Lower Manhattan. "I think that a lot of students are in the direct lines of seeing how this economic crisis is selling people a really terrible bill of goods. People got the impression that they’re able go to school and then have a well-paying job afterwards, some semblance of security, some semblance of inclusion in a professional, responsible life," one of the students says. "What we’ve seen a lot with students across the sea in Europe and students in Puerto Rico and Chile is that this is really a mirage." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Students also made up a large contingent of Wednesday’s march in support of Occupy Wall Street. A national day of student walkouts was held to protest budget cuts and to show support for those there at Zuccotti Park in the Occupy Wall Street. According to the website occupycolleges.org, walkouts occurred at 75 schools across the nation, including many in New York City. Democracy Now! met up with several students who walked out of classes at the City University of New York, the New School and New York University to attend Wednesday’s protest.

PROTESTERS: Students and workers, take the city back! Students and workers, take the city back!

CONOR TOMÁS REED: My name is Conor Tomás Reed, and I’m a student here at the Graduate Center, and I teach writing composition at Baruch College and CUNY. Students have historically been a tremendous catalyst. When the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had really taken up the charge of leading the desegregation lunch counter campaigns, people talked about these lunch counter sit-ins spreading like a fever. And the same thing happened here today. There was a coalition of CUNY and SUNY students who initially called the walkout for today to be a state walkout October 5th, and this has totally ballooned, where there are now students from dozens of different campuses who are latching on, and similarly it’s spreading like a fever. I think that a lot of students are in the direct lines of seeing how this economic crisis is selling people a really terrible bill of goods. People got the impression that they’re able to go school and then have a well-paying job afterwards, some semblance of security, some semblance of inclusion in, you know, a professional, responsible life. And what’s happening, you know, that—you know, we’ve seen a lot—what we’ve seen a lot with students across the sea in Europe and students in Puerto Rico and Chile is that this is really a mirage.

MALENI ROMERO: My name is Maleni Romero. I study here. And I think this is part of what is going on throughout Europe and also in South America. I mean, people are fed up with what’s going on, and they need that space that I’m coming to, because the political parties are not providing, they are not showing the voice of the people, but they are, you know, mainly look for the benefit of the bigger corporations. So, I think what I do or what I was doing, explaining what I would like to do here is that, you know, try to find new ways of building a better society.

PROTESTERS: Students and workers, take the city back! Students and workers, take the city back!

SPARKLE VERONICA TAYLOR: Sparkle Veronica Taylor. I’m actually with the New School for General Studies, and we’re out here to protest against the government, and we’re marching to Wall Street to occupy. I have no job. I just came—went on an interview earlier today, and, God willing, I will get the job. But, you know, they say they’ll call me, so you know how that goes. For the past year, I have been a professional flier distributor, which is maybe a notch above consultant. So, yeah, this is how I’ve been making my money, piecemeal as a freelance flier distributor. As far as student debt is concerned, the more debt that we accrue and still are not able to get jobs after we graduate, kind of doesn’t make any sense, does it? How we’re even going to be able to pay back that debt if we don’t have jobs?

PROTESTERS: Banks got bailed out! We got sold out! Banks got bailed out! We got sold out! Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!

BRANDON OWENS: My name is Brandon Owens, and I’m out here because I’m a broke student, and I think it’s crazy how much school costs. And I think it’s crazy that 99 percent of the population isn’t in control of their own wealth, that one percent of the population has a majority of the money, and it’s not being fairly distributed. I’m $50,000 in debt for two years of school, with no clue how I’m going to make or pay that money back when I graduate. And that’s unfortunate, you know? I have to pay all this money just to get a good job, you know, with no certainty of that.

PROTESTERS: The people, united, will never be defeated! The people, united, will never be defeated!

TEJ NAGARAJA: My name is Tej Nagaraja, and I’m a student at New York University. NYU students are mobilizing today to support Occupy Wall Street, and it’s an especially important day with the community-labor mobilization, where people who have been doing long-term labor organizing, housing organizing, racial justice organizing, in communities in all five boroughs of New York City, are turning out to support Occupy Wall Street, so we can really bring national attention and really get a fire going in our broader movements, while we take leadership from and support people that are doing long-term organizing in their workplaces and in their communities, so we can really win larger victories for justice based on the leadership of these struggles that have been going on since before 2008 and need to really go forward to get us out of this current rut and toward the broader victories.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices of the students who joined with the tens of thousands in Foley Square in downtown Manhattan, surrounded by the courts, as union leaders gave their speeches, then people marched from the square to Liberty Plaza, where the encampment called Occupy Wall Street has been for the last three weeks.

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