The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Occupy Dallas continues to gain momentum

While attending college at Louisiana State University, Eubilia Engel decided to study nursing. Once in the program, she decided nursing was not a good fit so she dropped out.

Engel, 23, has been traveling and working odd jobs ever since. She currently lives in Arlington with her younger brother who attends the University of Texas at Arlington. She works as a part-time waitress.

When the protest movement Occupy Dallas began Oct. 6, Engel jumped at the opportunity to join and has been a strong figure in the movement. She is in charge of running the library at the Occupy Dallas headquarters on S. Akard Street. She organizes the books that have been donated and distributes them to people interested in learning about issues involving political science or economics.

She has been camped out at the site since day one, leaving only to work and bathe.

Engel is one of the dozens of people who have joined Occupy Dallas. Their demands aren’t completely clear and interviews with a handful of people recently found a wide array of perspectives and goals.

The group on any given day includes people from those who barely graduated fifth grade, to people with graduate degrees and full time jobs.

“Think about it like a family at the Thanksgiving dinner table, when everyone goes around saying what they are thankful for. You are not going to get one consistent answer,” Robert Porter, a leader for Occupy Dallas who received his MBA in Management Information Systems from University of Dallas and currently works for the Texas Department of Transportation, said. “A key thread that everyone participating in Occupy Dallas agrees on is fighting injustice.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City set off a global protest movement just over a month ago. It is headquartered in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Protesters there explain the movement on the Occupy Wall Street website as a

“leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”

Now, according to Aaron Stouder, one of the Occupy Dallas participants, over 1,600 cities across the world are participating in the movement

“We are all here for our own individual beliefs and rights. I am here because I can not find a job. I have been looking for a job for months now,” Kyle Helton, an Occupy Dallas participant, said. “Anytime I do find a job it is part time, there is no full time work available.”

Protesters say they want to educate people on what they believe is the corruption in major banks, major corporations and government. They want people to understand that the richest people make up 1 percent of the population and they have power over everything, a power that has lead to the economic collapse of the world.

“We are wanting to raise awareness and get people talking about justice and talking about the unfairness that is going on,” Porter said. “Right now the attitude that is prevalent is if you can get more money you should get more money. That is not right. This is not a fight against the wealthy, it is about addressing the imbalance among all people.”

Stouder said he wants to wake people up and get them to talk among themselves. He wants the movement to create a radical reconstruction of the American government. He believes the major corruption resides in the pharmaceutical, energy and oil industries.

Another participant, Jesse Farrow, had much more direct goals. “I want to change AT&T and Verizon. They charge too much money to use phones. They are ripping me off.”

The Occupy movement members call theirs a peaceful protest. Occupy Wall Street describes it as “using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.”

Occupy Dallas has followed suit, and on Oct. 20 they protested in an Oak Cliff Wal-Mart.

Stouder said that over two dozen protestors split into small groups and walked into Wal-Mart distributing flyers and hiding them within merchandise. The flyer stated the difference between how much money the CEO, Michael Duke, makes, which is $16,826 an hour, and an entry level employee, who receives $8.75 an hour.

“Nobody would argue that someone running such a huge company shouldn’t receive appropriate compensation, which would certainly be more than an employee,” Porter said. “We are questioning how different the numbers are; it’s disproportionate.”

Stouder said after the chanting and marching started in the store, 12 police cars and a police helicopter came to the scene. The police escorted the protestors outside, and kept everything under control while the protestors continued chanting outside.

Occupy Dallas first set up camp in Pioneer Park, but have since moved to City Hall Park, directly in front of Dallas City Hall.

The Occupy Dallas site has been given a 60-day no harassment deal from the city, which allows them to camp there, and on the 55th day, the movement can start negotiations with the city for more time.

Participants, about 120 of them right now, have been setting up tents and sleeping in the park every night.

According to Stouder, the number of protestors and visitors grows by about a dozen a day, and the number of overnight campers grows by about six people each day.

Committees have been set up to provide different services for Occupy Dallas participants. The committees—facilitation, security, medical, food and water, community outreach, social services, administration, web support and media—are organized by volunteers. Most committees have their own tent, some even have generators to provide electricity.

Everything is provided through donations and volunteer work.

The only things missing are restrooms. The park is not zoned for restrooms, so port-a-potties are not an option. Protesters say it has been difficult for them to find public restrooms, but t

hey have been getting by.

Most people have sporadically left the site to go home and bathe. Some say they have only bathed a couple times in the three weeks of living at the Occupy Dallas site.

There is a general assembly every night at 8 p.m. where the entire camp gathers to discuss and vote on topics at hand. One big decision made as a group was moving the site from Pioneer Park to City Hall Park.  

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