Occupy Chicago denounces 2012 presidential candidates

By Kaley Fowler

With election season in full swing, attacks against both major political parties are abounding. While many are typically critical of either Democrats or Republicans, a recent Occupy Chicago protest brought together a group of individuals who denounce both political parties.

On Sept. 4, the first day of the Democratic National Convention, approximately 100 protesters gathered at the corner of Jackson Boulevard and LaSalle Street to express their dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“We know that this election is a non-choice,” said Ted Aranda, an Occupy protester. “The ruling class is going to trot out two corporate stooges for us to choose from, and it doesn’t matter which we choose. Either way, the next president is going to be an agent of the ruling class.”

In a mock funeral procession, the protesters marched to Obama’s campaign headquarters at 130 E. Randolph St. carrying eight coffins labeled “hope” and “change.” The protesters chanted, “Romney, Obama, same old drama,” as they marched.

Upon arriving at Obama headquarters, demonstrators were greeted by a line of police, who confined them to the sidewalk where they dropped their coffins and used a megaphone to take turns denouncing the  2012 candidates.

“If you pay any attention to the issues, then you would be rejecting both presidential candidates,” said protest organizer Andy Thayer. “We’re disgusted by President ‘One Percent’ who not only opposes the 99 percent around the world but the 99 percent right here in this country.”

According to Matthew McLoughlin, an Occupy member, both political parties are subject to corporate control, which is why the Occupy movement does not affiliate itself with either.

“[Obama] has proven time and time again that he is only on the side of the corporations and muddied interests in this country,” McLoughlin said.

Bill Bianchi, steering committee member of the Illinois chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, said although his organization generally supports the Democratic Party, it agrees with some of the points Occupy made. He added that the Obama Administration is “controlled to a certain degree by corporate interests” that influence political policies.

Bianchi said that while he agrees that the current Democratic Party is lacking, he does not believe anyone should boycott the election out of spite.

“If I had to advise people, I would say right now we are stuck with the party that we have, which is the Democrats,” Bianchi said. “The political battles are fought between the parties and in the legislatures. I don’t see how it serves people’s interests to be outside of that.”