Occupy Fort Myers draws 150 to organize against wealthy Americans

Participants in Occupy Fort Myers held the group's inaugural meeting Saturday in Centennial Park


Participants in Occupy Fort Myers held the group's inaugural meeting Saturday in Centennial Park

Participants in Occupy Fort Myers held the group's inaugural meeting Saturday in Centennial Park

Participants in Occupy Fort Myers held the group's inaugural meeting Saturday in Centennial Park

— Amid a torrential downpour, a crowd of around 150 people gathered under a Centennial Park pavilion Saturday night to attend the first meeting of Occupy Fort Myers.

The goal established from the outset, advertised largely through social networking groups and word of mouth, was to organize a local offshoot of the national Occupy movement.

Slogans and chants about "the 99 percent" -- a term at the root of the Occupy Wall Street movements used to distinguish the group's dissociation with the country's wealthiest individuals -- were present Saturday night.

The evening was an open platform of mixed opinions and ideas, but the message attendees left with was two-fold: There is dissatisfaction with the government, and they want to take action.

"Is strictly being upset going to be enough? Probably not... but it will make people more aware," said Drew Scott, 38, of Naples who emerged earlier in the week as one of the local movement's organizers and spoke out Saturday night.

The Fort Myers group mirrors others forming around the country following a Occupy Wall Street protest, which began on September 17 with protestors camping out in New York City's financial district, demanding financial, political, and social reforms like a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare, free college education, open border immigration policies, and support for alternative energy.

From California to Maine, the movement's unofficial website lists participants in 1,132 cities, including international sites.

"We've forgotten that this is a country run by the people... we've all forgotten we're the bosses of the president, of Congress, of the judges," said Michael Cooper, 34, of Cape Coral after the meeting.

Jeanie Williamson, 51, of Bonita Springs said she came to the event to take a stand against "corporate greed."

"There is a difference between being comfortable and being greedy," Williamson said.

Though participants were unsure how the group will evolve and what impact, if any, the Occupy movement will have on elections in 2012, the meeting was used to schedule its first demonstration for Oct. 15 in Fort Myers.

Occupy Fort Myers participants plan to march from Bank of America to the Federal Building and Courthouse in downtown Fort Myers beginning at noon Oct. 15, though permitting and logistics have not been finalized.

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Comments » 3

panola60 writes:

We are going to stand in solidarity with the 99%ers by boycotting all professional sports, Hollywood movies and TV. Today's athletes, movie stars and actors are not just wealthy, they are filthy rich and greedy. Obama is right, no one should be allowed to make that much money.

leemombear writes:

Whoa! The title of this article is off-putting. Nowhere in the article does the article say the group's goals are "against wealthy Americans". Instead, the group is for more fair taxation. Fair taxation is a whole different thrust than being AGAINST a class of people because of a social trait. The title of the article, if its premise caught fire, could lead to class warfare. "Panola60" seems to echo the class warfare theme. Our president did NOT say the wealthy should NOT be allowed to make "that much money". Instead, he has repeatedly explained the Buffett Rule as the rich should not continue to pay at a lower tax RATE than the RATE of those in lower income brackets. We will lose this fight for fair and equitable taxation if we aren't careful to accurately portray our concerns.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Glad I got my first job at 15
Glad I work my way through College (No loans)
Glad I Graduated and got a job as a trainee ( Averaged out to less than minimum wage)
Glad as soon as learned my Job I got a better one, and the a better one, then a better one.
Glad I live in American where I had the chance to do all those things.

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