Unafraid to occupy

Angered by perceived economic greed, Bhaskar Sunkara is standing up to corporations in D.C. and New York City.

Emboldened activist and native New Yorker, Sunkara has joined hundreds of others in Occupy D.C. and Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

Last weekend, Sunkara got his first taste of the movement, joining the thousands of protestors who watched from the sidelines of the Brooklyn Bridge, as his friends participated in the controversial move to cross via the roadway and were arrested in the process.

“I went there expecting people who didn’t know what they were talking about to a degree, with justifiable anger but no way to articulate it,” Sunkara said. “But there were a lot of very articulate people who knew why they were there, why they were staying and why they were protesting.”

Using ideas as weapons, the ideological battle against wealthy corporate America began Sept. 17 in New York City with a few hundred protestors, but has attracted thousands nationwide.

“Dealing with stuff like not having health care and being unemployed is scary. But being with thousands of people who feel the same way against the same thing is sort of emboldening,” Sunkara said.

Sunkara describes the Oct. 1 demonstration as an “act of mass civil disobedience,” an experience he felt was refreshing to see.

“Given the situation that youth are dealing with, like student loans, the deteriorating standard of living in the U.S. and unemployment, I think to a degree, you are going to see the movement in Wall Street grow and more people debating and speaking about these ideas,” Sunkara said.

With diverse demonstrations and eclectic protest signs, the palpable mood amongst the youthful rallying scene was frustration – a frustration over the burdening cost of the current economic crisis.

Musicians performed against a backdrop of Americana: a scroll of the constitution reading, “We the people” – the adopted collective sentiment of the demonstrating group.

Signs reading, “Human Needs Not Corporate Greed, “Not Too Big To Fail,” ”Brother can you spare a BILLion,” “Tax the Rich” and the more provocative “Eat the Rich,” punctuated the peaceful group.

Senior Isaiah Toney met Sunkara at a Democratic Socialists of America meeting, a partnership through which Sunkara helped the Progressive Student Union strategize about which professors and students to reach out to when they started rebuilding their organization.

The Progressive Student Union and recent protests share in an anti-corporate egalitarian hunger for financial integrity.

“The Occupy struggle is currently the most powerful cry for justice in democracy and it is spreading – across the nation and the world,” Toney said.

He says the message is a universal call to action.

“There is no single message apart from insisting upon the right of individuals to participate meaningfully in our democracy,” Toney said, “and unfortunately, we live in an age in which we have to fight for that right.”

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