Occupy Boston: Iraq Vet Fought For His Country Overseas, Now Fighting For His Country By Protesting The Banks

Setting up the occupation in Dewey Square Park. Credit: Curtis Entenmann.

The streets of Boston’s financial district are usually empty and silent on Saturday night. But this weekend, Dewey Square Park, a plot of greenery in the shadow of the Boston Federal Reserve and the State Street Bank headquarters, has turned into a small city in less than two days, filled by 75 tents and hundreds of people. Mobilizing in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, hundreds of Americans have assembled in the heart of downtown Boston to reclaim the American dream from the richest one percent, who control over 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.

In a video interview with ThinkProgress, one of the protesters staying in the Occupy Boston encampment, Ryan Cahill, explained why he is part of the Occupy Together movement. Cahill served in the U.S. Army as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and 2006, and is now a sophomore at Bunker Hill Community College. He explained that he opposes the top one percent using their “wealth to circumvent the democratic process” and is concerned that he and his fellow veterans are having trouble finding jobs commensurate with their skills. “I can get a job waiting tables,” he said, but he’s looking for something more in his future. Asked his message for other Americans, Cahill asked for their participation:

Get involved. OccupyTogether.com. There’s occupations going on all over the country right now. This is your future at stake. It’s not going to fix itself. I think that’s pretty clear.

Watch the interview, shot after 11 pm on Saturday night:

The Boston occupation, begun Friday afternoon after an earlier protest of 3,000 people led by foreclosed homeowners at Bank of America, had a core of about 150 people last night staying indefinitely in the park. The occupiers, like those at Zuccati Park in New York City and in the other cities where occupations are taking place, hold General Assemblies to disseminate information and come to consensus on their goals, with reports from committees such as Media, Medical, Spirituality, Food, Tactics, and Outreach. The occupations are a remarkable combination of high-tech social media organization, as Micah Sifry explains, and face-to-face assemblies using hand signals and call-and-response to ensure horizontal democracy.

A Ron Paul supporter, Cahill expressed great pride in the diverse community that had quickly arisen in Dewey Square Park across the street from the Federal Reserve, and was grateful for the way the local government workers and officials have treated the occupiers, helping them build a safe space for protest amid the city’s economic elite.

A police officer interviewed by ThinkProgress said the goal of the Boston Police is to “protect everybody’s rights,” and said that the police had no intention of making the occupiers leave unless they got orders to do so from City Hall.