Occupy COMO gains supporters at Liberty Plaza, on Facebook

Saturday, October 8, 2011 | 7:28 p.m. CDT; updated 10:48 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 13, 2011

COLUMBIA — No more than 15 people gathered outside the Daniel Boone City Building on Saturday morning for the Occupy COMO protest, but more than 1,600 people "like" the group on Facebook.

The ratio between protesters holding signs downtown and those liking the Facebook page is roughly 100-to-1. More than 500 people follow the group’s Twitter account.

For the past 12 days, Columbia residents have gathered in front of the city building to protest corporate greed and advocate for the “99 percent” of Americans who protesters said are excluded from the majority of the country’s wealth. Occupy Wall Street started a protest in New York City 21 days ago, and similar protests throughout the country have popped up since. The Columbia protesters are calling the area in front of the city building Liberty Plaza after the location of the New York protests.

The protesters on Eighth Street and Broadway are gaining community support and seeking organization. Protesters will hold a general assembly at 8 p.m. Saturday, Occupy COMO's first official meeting, in an attempt to give the group some cohesion as it moves forward.

Local support

People who aren’t holding signs have still found ways to help. Hotbox Cookies, located across the street from where the protesters are gathered, is open late and provides protesters with a bathroom once the Boone Building closes each evening.

"I’ll go with them," Hotbox Cookies owner Corey Rimmel said. "I would never go and stand out there, but I’m not going to throw things at them. I definitely like that they’re trying to get something accomplished."

He added: "They’re right next to us. They’re bringing people downtown, and I support that."

Other businesses have supplied the protesters with food.

Crystal Martin, the general manager of Ingredient, brought enough wraps and chips for those assembled Wednesday evening.

"We know that a lot of the Mizzou students are involved in this Occupy COMO thing," Martin said. "We want to show our support to the community of students. ... I think it’s a great thing for people to stop by and see such a young community base."

She added that she spoke for herself, not for her company. "I think it’s really amazing to see this young generation standing up for something."

Protesters said an unknown donor set up a prepaid tab for them at the Columbia Coffee Express, Billiards has supplied them with free ice, an employee from Clovers Natural Market brought bread and many passersby have donated cash for food, pizzas and homemade breakfasts. People at the Boone Building have allowed them to use Wi-Fi and electronic outlets.

"A lot of it is just local people," Nicholas Berry, a protester, said. "People bring breakfast every morning — just people that can’t be here because they have families, but they’re like, 'Here’s breakfast for all you guys.'"

Wider circles of support

The Huffington Post ranked Columbia's Occupy COMO page as the 68th most popular page out of more than 250 Occupy pages nationwide. By Thursday, 450,000 Facebook users had liked Occupy Wall Street pages across the country, according to the article.

People gathered on Saturday did not see eye to eye on the role their Facebook supporters should play.

"I think it’s wonderful that we can say, 'Hey we have 1,600 likes,' but I’ve only seen 16 people in the last 24 hours," said Juleena Meggers, who had been protesting for two days. She said it was most important, though, that people work together, however they choose to do so.

Douglas Triplett, another protester, told several others when he learned how many Facebook supporters they had.

"The whole 1,600 likes — that is so freaking cool, I’m giddy about it," he said. He said he thought it made sense that more people could support the cause on Facebook than they could in person.

"What that tells me is that, OK, at any given time on a good night, we can have 60 to 70 people here," he said. "But the next night it’ll be 60 to 70 different people. Thirty to 40 of those people are new every night."

Ariel Ceara had protested for 11 days. She is one of several administrators on the group’s Facebook page, but between working full time as a maid and protesting everyday, she said she has little time to monitor the page.

“We simply have a problem with people thinking they’re going to moderate the site and then never showing up,” she said. “I barely have time to be on the Facebook page.”

Ceara said anyone who wanted could be an administrator on the Facebook page; for her it was more important to be with the protesters.

Ceara said she thought more people weren't at the plaza because they did not yet realize how applicable the movement was to their lives.

“I think a lot of it is people who think it’s really cool that we’re out here but don’t see how it applies to them yet,” she said. “They don’t really feel that it applies to them, and they don’t realize that it directly applies to them. They are the 99 percent.”

Meggers said the idea that those protesting were all homeless or jobless is a misconception.

“I would say the majority of the people that are truly contributing to this on a regular basis have a home and a job and life and are choosing to do this,” she said. “We have had a handful of men that have contributed a good part of their day that are of retiring age, or would have been five years ago.”

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Mike Bellman October 9, 2011 | 7:48 p.m.

Why aren't there any photos?

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 9, 2011 | 8:09 p.m.

If you were a student newspaper would you want to publish photos of fellow like minded people in the paper for all to see?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 10, 2011 | 1:56 p.m.

("For the past 12 days, Columbia residents have gathered in Liberty Plaza to protest corporate greed and advocate for the “99 percent” of Americans who protesters said are excluded from the majority of the country’s wealth.")
It's not greed, it's competition.
And as for 99 percent of Americans being excluded from the country's happy, it could be worse. If these protesters succeed with their endgame, there might be lines to buy toilet paper and you might only be able to own no more than two pairs of shoes.
I wonder what the Marxist in these protests think of people's rights to own as much land as they can privately afford.
Greedy land barons no doubt.
Perhaps our government should do away with private land ownership as well and doll out small pieces to those they deem worthy.
New age hippies and the SDS advocating for their version of Utopia for a global community ruled by what?
Not a free market for starters.
Create anarchy. Destroy capitalism.
Make way for the progressives.
Will the Clintons give up their wealth and join the peasants and peons?

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance October 10, 2011 | 2:27 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Paul Allaire October 10, 2011 | 2:36 p.m.

Just wow. Someone has quite a vivid imagination. Just let it go as it is for another twenty or thirty years and then see what is left of "capitalism."

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 10, 2011 | 4:27 p.m.

Another reference to the worn out term, "corporate greed". "Columbia residents have gathered in Liberty Plaza to protest corporate greed and advocate for the “99 percent” of Americans".

"Greed" is the word progressive liberals have confiscated to use for their vision of someone, anyone, who feels the need to work to better their lives or lives of those around them, rather than wait for the stipends received from Government. Those forming corporations or working for corporations most naturally belong the the former group, can be called "capitalists",and therefore are the ones causing "corporate greed". The shallow minded among us believe that this term would be applied those who are greedy and have broken laws or ethics to achieve their "excessive desire to possess wealth or goods with the intention to keep it for one's self." Not so! The progressive sees "Corporation" (though most everything we need and cherish is and has been the product offered us from some "corporation") as the enemy of the people, ignoring the fact that they are of the people as well. The progressive, while condemning corps. ignores the fact that "corporate greed" to most any degree is nearly impossible to achieve without the aid of a government that winks or as in the last five years jumps happily into bed with the culprits (GE, auto makers, big banks, etc.)

I've taken the long way around to show that most of these protestors haven't a clue as to why they protest. We must subtract the Unionists, Democratic Socialists, Communists and Marxists. They know exactly why they protest.

Pravda, official newspaper of USSR, at one time announced that 2% of the people were wealthy, 10% were middle class (technocrats that ran the country) all others were poor. No stocks bonds or savings accounts were used in their survey because no none there possessed those that sort of wealth To refer to USSR now is, I suppose, silly. After all that was a long time ago.

(Report Comment)
Shawna Sheeba October 10, 2011 | 6:15 p.m.

I think the people on Wall Street have a good idea, but they are not protesting to the right people. They need to be in Washington, right on the steps of The US Capital, specifically near the House of Representatives' Chamber. Corporations are the BEST at what they do; if they werent, then we wouldnt use their products, and they wouldnt be corporations.
I think their message is that they are of the 99% of people who have to struggle every single day to pay their bills, while these same corporations continue to raise prices, so they can continue to make profits. People dont like hearing that some companies will be receiving huge bonuses and vacation packages when the people who buy their products (us little people), are barely able to afford their mortgage (all because of BANKS--but Ill get to that). I think the message on Wall Street is that these corporations should either:
A. take a hit on profits. Stop raising prices on already inflated prices, on merchandise that has OBVIOUSLY gone down in quality or
B. use those profits they are making off of us, and recycle it back into our pockets. This can be done by making higher quality products, maybe some sort of "customer appreciation" fund. Its easy for some people to say "well, this is America, and capitalism is the way" but it is NOWHERE in the Constitution that capitalism is "American", just like Socialism is NOWHERE in the Constitution, either (by the way, Ray, Socialism and Communism are NOT the same--read a book on it, cause you sound pretty uneducated on the subject). For anyone to say that failure is our own fault has been detached from the normal American people, and need a reality check: NOT EVERYONE WHO IS POOR HAS MADE MISTAKES IN THEIR LIVES THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! Jail sentence, anyone? (I could even go on a rant about that, but Ill leave that for another time).

(Report Comment)
Shawna Sheeba October 10, 2011 | 6:16 p.m.

If big corporations paid more in taxes than the rest of us, there is two ways of looking at it. Some want to look at it as the government taxing people who are innovative geniuses who know how to use psychological tactics (some ethical, some unethical) to make themselves money. Others, see taxing big corps as a way to equal out the playing field. (Like, "a man who gives 5 of his 10 eggs to charity is givng more than a man who gives 40 eggs of his 400"). I think, with this country in as dire straights as it is, Americans feel like they are forced to give these big companies more of their money, because they are already broke, and going to a local market is too expensive.

I cant speak for the tens of thousands on NYC's streets. What I can speak for is myself, and I am DISGUSTED with the repeal of the protective parts of the Glass-Steagall Act, which protected us from the risk and gamble of applying our money into the global market.
I love Clinton, but, the reality is, he signed that act, and it caused the housing market to collapse, it made the banks play risky, and because they risked so much (and LOST), WE had to bail them out.
Now, those banks had to pay that money back, right? So, rather than taking a hit on profits for the next few years, some of them are making their users to pay $5 a month ($60 a year) to use their that they wont lose any money out of the bailout fiasco. So, we pay their bailout in our tax money.....and AGAIN pay for it via the bank charge.
How is THAT fair?

(Report Comment)
Shawna Sheeba October 10, 2011 | 6:16 p.m.

One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson--considered by many to be one of the best presidents in our history--said it best:
""I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. This issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of the moneyed corporations which already dare to challenge our Government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

And when Abe Lincoln, another of our country's best, says something very close to that...130 years later, then maybe they are onto something.
"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed."

(Report Comment)
Shawna Sheeba October 10, 2011 | 6:30 p.m.

This comes directly from the Occupy Wall Street website.

"Protestors are assembling in New York and around the country to let billionaires, big oil and big bankers know that we’re not going to let the richest 1% force draconian economic policies and massive cuts to crucial programs on Main Street Americans."

Please understand that there are TEA PARTY members who support Occupy Wall Street. This is so far beyond Republican-Democrat politics. This is about survival. Meaning LIFE AND DEATH.

(Report Comment)
Shawna Sheeba October 10, 2011 | 6:34 p.m.

Lobbyists should be OUTLAWED in Washington. And that is it.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 10, 2011 | 8:19 p.m.

The one percent crap is always good for a laugh but I do agree with the no lobbyists. I would never lend my voice to a lobbyiest group like OWS.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 10, 2011 | 8:36 p.m.

Great stance Corey. I understand the situation so much better now...

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 10, 2011 | 9:27 p.m.

Cory - Have to disagree on lobbyists. Our government is so involved in every walk of our lives, if there weren't lobbyists to 'splain things to them, neither our legislators, nor anyone else would have a "clue". I know, many still don't, the only shaky solution is for the people to pay attention all year long and vote for the most Honest (remember the word?) candidate. This too is a goal never before achieved in our history. Maybe this is why someone said the remarkable thing is not how democracy works so slowly, but that it works at all!

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 10, 2011 | 10:13 p.m.

Frank, I think when you factor in lobbyists you can not truly say democracy is working. I see what your saying and understand that it has evolved to this point and more then likely can never go back but a guy can dream can't he? I know the system is crashing and figure we have about 10-15 more years before everything is turned upside down and nothing can be done about it. But a person still have the believe what they think is right.

Maybe you can go back and reread it Paul. Maybe a little slower this time.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 10, 2011 | 10:46 p.m.

What? Reread?! Do you mean the WHOLE two sentences?

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 11, 2011 | 6:28 a.m.

Too long?

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 11, 2011 | 8:38 a.m.

Corey - I saw a documentary sometime ago that told, 4 out of 5 federal bills were written by lobbyists. I can't find that figure now, but if you haven't Googled "lobbyists write bills for legislature", try it. Isn't it impossible for any person to possess or learn all the information necessary for intelligent vote on (for instance) the Murkowski legislation providing checks on the out of control EPA, etc.? Where else can any legislator quickly obtain necessary information for complicated instances like this? As in any other situation the legislators must gather all the info possible even tho most sources have an agenda and decide which is proper for the people they represent. Keeping those legislators honest is our job. We made a good "stab" at it in 2010. Unsavory congressmen from both parties lost their jobs.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 11, 2011 | 9:37 a.m.

Corey, the statement you made reminds me of those given by the illustrious Phil Neel/cielocamino 3, such as "liberals are always clueless." I've formed quite a profoundly unflattering mental image of him from repeatedly reading such. It's one thing to repeatedly state your stance and quite another to give the reasons why. I do expect this to be something more than a shouting match where one side says "Are NOT!!!" while the other exclaims "Are TOO!!!"

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 11, 2011 | 9:53 a.m.

If they had more than 15 protesters, maybe they could send a few to Vandiver and Worley to protest at the offices where WIC, TANF, Medicaid, etc. are handed out. (One has a sign on the desk: "Free condoms available upon request," a misplaced effort because access to birth control isn't the problem. It can't get much cheaper or easily accessible than it's been for decades.)

I wonder if eventually they'll also march on neighborhoods such as the Old Southwest. Some of those residents advocate higher taxes on millionaires. But I wonder if they'll change their tune when it becomes clear that there aren't enough millionaires and billionaires to fund the government largesse, and suddenly the surcharge proposals go from a tax on incomes over $1M to a tax on assets over $1M. "Wait, I'm not rich!" cries the retired department chair with a $400K house off Stewart, a $200K condo in Hilton Head or Vail and $500K in an IRA. But the protesters won't care where the money comes from any more than someone signing up for WIC does.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 11, 2011 | 10:34 a.m.

Fox Business mentioned this morning that there are 390,000 millionaires (1M$ or more)in the U.S.A. 300,000 of those derive their taxable income from their businesses. Any one but a liberal would understand that more money sent to D.C. to pay for Obama's Gov't would be less to put back into an expanded business, which in most cases would require more employees, which would indicate business is the source of more jobs. Somebody, please 'splain this to Obama and Immelt!

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 11, 2011 | 10:54 a.m.

Not only that, it would be horrible for the banks and creditors who loan money to your government!!!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 11, 2011 | 11:06 a.m.

Having $1 million in total assets is hardly surprising, given the depressed buying power of our currency today. When some of us were young (and I guess that would include Frank) $1 million was a very large sum of money! (New Fords, Chevrolets and Plymouths were selling for around $695, and you could buy a nice house for under $10,000.)

There are, I will confidently predict, quite a few Columbians whose net worth is at least $1 million. I don't need to go far to locate one.

But now we come to a very different situation. If they are living off the INCOME from having invested their $1 million the amount they receive annually is NOT so impressive.
Adequate*, probably, but hardly impressive.

*- "Adequate" is to some extent a subjective term. For some people, nothing is ever adequate.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 11, 2011 | 12:21 p.m.

The latest IRS figure I've seen was for 2009, when nearly 237,000 returns were for incomes of $1M or more. Sure, some of those 237K are billionaires, but the vast majority aren't. So the question is, will increasing taxes on just those 237K be enough to fund everything that everyone wants? Or will taxes also have to go up -- way up -- on the ~52% who owe federal income taxes each year?

(Report Comment)
Luna Paydon October 11, 2011 | 12:28 p.m.

Frank Christian said: "The progressive, while condemning corps. ignores the fact that "corporate greed" to most any degree is nearly impossible to achieve without the aid of a government that winks or as in the last five years jumps happily into bed with the culprits (GE, auto makers, big banks, etc.)"

I cannot speak for everyone. But if you listen to the MAJORITY of protestors, they are very critical of the government. After all the biggest issue they protest about has to do with corrupt and out of control banks, and it was the government who bailed the banks out on tax payer dollars and did not hold them accountable for their terrible mistakes.

To those who call this a "Marxist" movement. Maybe you should do some research. I, personally, have read a lot of Karl Marx's writing. and I don't see how this movement is at all related to Marxism.

Our market system is not perfect by any means. Striving to make it better does not mean we are trying to destroy it! a perfect market system can literally not exist without some sort of intervention. There are things that naturally happen in a market system that need to be "kept at bay" otherwise, it will not be a competitive atmosphere and thus can not be a market. Monopolies cannot exist in a free market system for example. This is basic economics!

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 14, 2011 | 3:13 p.m.

Luna Paydon - I'm late getting back here. "But if you listen to the MAJORITY of protestors, they are very critical of the government". Then why not begin at the White House and move to the Capital?

I, for one did not call this a "Marxist" movement" I did indicate that Marxists and Communists are included in their number. Would you deny this?

In my opinion, those of the left have a huge problem with identification of those responsible for our problems. That in a nutshell is reason to believe that Liberal Democrats will never solve our problems, only deepen them every time needed control is allowed them.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 14, 2011 | 5:07 p.m.

Well, I saw Lyndon Johnson as President and a bunch of disappointed liberals protesting in the streets.

I think I'm experiencing deja vu.

Either that, or it's gas.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 14, 2011 | 7:56 p.m.

MW - "Either that, or it's gas." You been soaking them grapes again?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 15, 2011 | 3:19 a.m.

Luna Paydon wrote:

"it was the government who bailed the banks out on tax payer dollars and did not hold them accountable for their terrible mistakes."

I've seen people justify the bailout to the automakers as "saving jobs". How many jobs did bailing out the banks save? I'm suspecting that the "bang for the buck" as far as saving regular jobs (tellers, customer service people, IT people, etc) was comparable.

I've never thought the bailouts were a good idea, for anyone. The last thing we need is more cars. Often, when companies declare bankruptcy, other companies step in and buy them, reorganize them, and they carry on under different management. But if we can justify it for one industry, we should justify it for all.

Is it more that people love to hate banks (particularly if they are behind on payments), but love to love the iconic automakers?


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 15, 2011 | 7:08 a.m.

The second largest domestic automaker (Ford) neither needed nor asked for a bailout. Maybe that tells us something about domestic automakers.

PS: A graduate of one of the four UM System campuses was at one time President of General Motors. He no longer is, but his "parachute" was indeed golden. :)

(Report Comment)

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