Occupy Baltimore: Day 3

McKeldin Square is a small triangular patch of bricks
separating the struggling Harborplace from the successful upscale mall known
simply as The Gallery. The fountain, drained of its usual supply of homeless
urine, sat idly in the plaza’s Southwest corner. Its shabby trash filled basins
an unintentional metaphor for the lives of the protestors gathered around it; the
empty basin also revealed the rusty base that supports the fountain’s shiny
statue, reflecting the hollow wealth of the people who commissioned it.

It is easy to stereotype the people gathered for Occupy
Baltimore as “unwashed hippies looking for a big government handout,” but there
is more to the movement than that. Most were there to protest the growing
disparity between the wealthy 1% (who control 60% of the world’s money) and the
99% of the people who aren’t and most likely never will be no matter how hard
they work.

“People have a greater chance of being struck by lightning –
TWICE – AND getting into a car accident AND getting Syphilis at the same time
then they do of working their way into the top 1%,” Cullen Nawalkowsky said empathically.

A few feet away from the “media tent” (which was in fact
little more than an uncovered folding table and two or three metal folding
chairs), a few young protesters are creating signs to hang across the railing
of empty fountain. Meanwhile, about four or five protesters stand at the
Northern most corner of the plaza waving signs at passing motorists, some of
whom honk back in support of the cause causing the protesters to erupt in
cheers.

A mother stood in the center of the square trying to explain
the protest to her energetic four year old. “This park belongs to all of us,”
she said. “See these big buildings: Bank of America, PNC, and Wakovia? THEY
have money… but they don’t like to share it with the rest of us so these people
have gathered to tell them that that is not right.”

That’s somewhat of an oversimplification, but with BoA
recently announcing a $5 ATM fee and the shuttering of their Small Biz loans
division, it isn’t hard to argue with her. However, the banks aren’t the only
ones in the group’s cross hairs: politicians and their corporate masters were
also on their agenda.

“I’m AGAINST people making money,” Nawalkowsky said. “I just
want to get rid of lobbyists and cap donations. I believe $200,000 is a
reasonable salary.”

I asked him, why the media wasn’t covering this protest, and
he said “oh they show up at around noon, take a few pictures and leave because ‘there’s
no-one here.’”

I look down at my watch, it was exactly 1pm.

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Categories: adventures, Baltimore, news, photography | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Occupy Baltimore: Day 3

  1. Not quite what i said and certainly not represented as an interview… but i guess scribbling some fragments of conversations and stitching the words together makes reportage these days. Politics + gossip blog!

    • One of the rules of revolutionaries is to know who your friends are. I may call myself a journalist, but I make no money off it so I am technically unemployed (click through my “job hunting” category sometime) and thus in agreement with many of frustrations expressed in both Baltimore and the OWS movement in general. I’m saddened to see you disapprove of my so-called “gossip blog,” and lament that you feel you need insult both myself and this blog in such a manner. Remember, it is your Occupation’s own notes that say that representatives of the group should “be nicer to people” and “not insult others opinions” – especially when they are on your side. Servus, and thanks for reading anyway. 🙂

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