STOCKTON, CA -The message a dozen of Stockton demonstrators wanted to convey this week at the busiest downtown crossing is so simple that it defies argument: Where is the Middle Class bailout?
Faced with the worst recession since the 1930’s Great Recession, Wall Street, the biggest banks, the automakers and America’s largest corporations have gobbled up the government financial rescue packages, yet the middle class is still waiting for the jobs it was supposed to recoup, or the stable economy that was rebuilding. So, commencing on September 17, a very heterogeneous group of New York City residents started a series of demonstrations in what became known as Occupy Wall Street movement, compared by many as the Arab Spring that shook the Middle East this year.
Participants are protesting —among other concerns— social and economic inequality, corporate greed and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government. According to the U.K.’s paper The Guardian, by October 9, 2011, similar demonstrations had been held or were ongoing in over 70 cities.
Although started yesterday, Wednesday October 12, as a solidarity action with the New York effort, Occupy Stockton demonstrators added a sprinkle of local grievances: Why San Joaquin County has the highest unemployment rate in California? Why federal trickle down help does not trickle into the Stockton-Modesto area? Why local businesses are dying and national chain outfits are occupying the void?
The Stockton daily demonstrations will last until Saturday, 2 p.m., said Motecuzoma Sanchez, self-described facilitator of the local movement. “At that time we will march north to the vacant lot at Harding Way and Madison Street where we will hold a rally,” said Sanchez. He added the Stockton movement —unlike previous or different demonstrations— will not die with the rally, “we are creating a database of concerned citizens,” said Sanchez, “we are starting a Facebook-based virtual presence… not an Arab Spring, but an American Autumn!”