October 14, 2011 in THE ECONOMY
Over the weekend of October 8th, protests were held all over the state of Texas in solidarity with the “Occupy” demonstrations taking place nationwide. Unlike the protests which began in New York City, occupying Wall Street and the financial district, crowds formed in Texas have focused more on what they believe is the root cause of our economic strife – The Federal Reserve.
Demonstrations in the state centered on Regional District 11 of our nation’s central bank, the Dallas Federal Reserve, spreading to the San Antonio and Houston branches of the Dallas Fed as well. The Houston assembly, which I visited, featured a varied crowd of individuals, each of whom attended the rally for their own reasons.
Although there was no central group responsible for the event, one of the principal figures in attendance was controversial radio show host, documentarian and activist, Alex Jones of Infowars.com, stationed in Austin, Texas. When I asked Alex to comment on the reasons for the demonstration, he explained “I’m just trying to point out that freedom and capitalism aren’t the problem – the problem is crony-capitalism, monopoly capitalism […] the opposite of freedom.” “If you want to know who really runs the economy, it’s these people (The Federal Reserve) – they’re not even federal, it’s all a scam!”
Comparisons between the Occupy The Fed movement and Occupy Wall Street have already been made and are generally viewed as fair – many even believe them to be two sides of the same coin. Jones, however, sees it slightly differently. He acknowledged that Occupy Wall Street is incredibly diverse, but suggests to the crowd, “People, we understand you’re upset – but we’re going after the real enemy here.”
Aaron Dykes, also of Infowars.com went on to elaborate, describing the Federal Reserve as a “predatory and fraudulent banking system.” Dykes provides a historical context to the issues with the Fed, commenting that while Congress was originally given the constitutional authority to coin money, in the early 1900’s (with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) that authority was delegated to a private banking institution. “While it appears to be Federal, it’s not – they are a private entity,” said Dykes, “they print the money and through inflationary tactics, they drive down the value of the dollar and further institute debt upon the country.”
Others in the crowd included Derrick Broze, a Houston native and founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers. Derrick explained how this movement picked up steam in the area, and what they have planned going forward. “If you go to occupythefed.net, you’ll see what we’ve been working on. We’re gearing towards November,” he said. “Every year for the past 3 years, they’ve been having national End the Fed rallies […] at all 12 Regional banks, and we’ve been working towards that date to occupy all 12 banks and sub-branches that are ready. We’re just out here promoting the ideas of individual liberty.” Broze went on to explain that he and others have reached out to the local Occupy Houston group, trying to direct them towards the Federal Reserve, which he called “the true center of our economic enslavement.”
While many seemed to be in sync with the general theme of the event, sporting “End the Fed” t-shirts and hand-made signs, others simply were there to express a general dissatisfaction with the system and personal economic woes.
Roxanne from Beaumont, whose sign read “I Got LAID OFF today, so I found another Occupation”, explained she decided to head down to the rally after just being fired that same morning. “I’d been paying attention to the Occupy Wall Street demonstration”, she said, “and once it hit Houston, I’ve been keeping tabs with it, and with my situation today, I just decided – It’s time.”
Regarding the relationship between Occupy The Fed and other demonstrations taking place across the country, such as Occupy Wall Street, she said “I think people are angry about a lot of different things, and I think that they’re all legitimate, and we all have an opportunity to come together and express that. Whether or not we’re all necessarily fighting the same battle, I think we all want the same end result.”
While Occupy movements continue to sprout and spread throughout the country, each with its own autonomy and specific set of interests, the underlying theme remains the same – a concern with the unhealthy relationship of big business, government, and private banks. The effects of which, have finally reached us all. The gap between the upper 1 % and the rest of America – the “99” – is as evident now as it has been in several generations. As we part with the comforts and leisure that came with our prosperity, with it goes our complacency and apathy. Whatever our political beliefs and inclinations, the reality of our nation’s economic situation – euphemistically labeled a “recession”, with no recovery in sight – remains an absolute that can no longer be denied.
More Photographs at: Occupy Houston – In Pictures (October 8th, 2011)