_“I’ve been worried about this problem for 10 years . . . long before this crisis. Long, long before Occupy Wall Street. I’ve been very aware of the fact that the economic system doesn’t work the way that I learned it works in school. Once you’ve taken a couple of classes in economics, it’s obvious that [the theory] is very different from what goes on in the real world . . . classical economics is just not valid—the idea of a self-regulating market is invalid. If you look at the mathematics of it, it’s just impossible. I think one of the worse sins we’re committing is continuing to teach the subject as if it were some kind of a valid pattern for the way things work, and that we should therefore make public policy on the basis of what the subject would tell us. When we do, we see how screwed up things get, and right now we’re seeing that it doesn’t work in an incredibly graphic way. We’re not in a good position to reform yet, because we don’t know what the truth is. I think we need to do a heck of a lot more soul-searching so that we can come up with something better.”
_“I didn’t know about the movement until my caregiver told me about it, and then I saw it on the news. I told my friend, ‘I’m down to support that, I’ll definitely march with you guys.’ We’re the ones suffering—people like myself. They’re trying to cut [funding to] a lot of people like myself—paraplegics—and they’re trying to cut our caregivers so they can put our asses in homes. That’s something that got me riled up. Yeah, pretty much.”
_“I’m trying to get more people involved because a lot of people don’t know what’s going on and what this actually supports—making Wall Street and the upper classes take more responsibility for the state of the economy, and exercising our rights to demand them to take that responsibility. I think the most important thing is that people can feel empowered that we do have choices we can exercise—that’s one of the best parts of America. Instead of getting frustrated and complaining that we should do something, we should come together and realize that when we unite we do have a lot of power, that those days aren’t over. The more empowered people feel, the more they will come together and that’s when ideals can manifest. It’s a way to feel heard, to feel supported—that you’re not alone—and that maybe we can do something about it as a group.”
_“I’m a grandmother, so I would like for children to have a home on our planet, and if we don’t stop killing each other [that won’t happen]. I stand with the Women in Black regularly on Friday nights—we stand for peace. I think [Occupy Santa Cruz] is part of what the Women in Black stand for. There is a lot of stuff besides the Occupy rallies going on, but at least this is in 800 cities in the U.S. and Europe and Japan, as far as I understand. If we don’t stop the military involvement we will never make it as a planet. That’s the level on which I stand. . . we are one world and we need to start loving each other.”
_“I want to support change in the election system and change how the whole system is tilted toward the rich. The Supreme Court made a decision to allow corporations to give as much money as they want, so anyone can just buy off votes. Votes should not be bought . . . that’s not democracy. We don’t have democracy here—money runs things. We all had hope that when we voted for Obama we were going to get change. We didn’t get change at all. Now we want real change. I’m sure there are a lot of different ideas about how it can be done, but that’s wonderful . . . [the Occupy movement] is an amazing thing that’s happening all over the world. The people are rising up, and they’re not going to just get tired and go home, it’s gonna get bigger and bigger.”
_When I originally came down to Santa Cruz, about three weeks ago, I was sleeping in my car because my friends and I didn’t really have very much money and there was nowhere to camp. It’s pretty much illegal to sleep anywhere here—you get arrested or ticketed and things like that. And parking’s ridiculous, too—you’ve got to get up every couple of hours just to feed the meter so you don’t get ticketed for that, too. Anyway, I met a guy named Dreamcatcher—we were talking about camping and he said there was a protest going on over here. I wanted to come see what it was about because I kind of enjoy protesting things—as long as it’s something worth protesting. So I came down here, found out what it’s about, and I’ve been here ever since, 24/7. We’ve got a really nice system going on here.
_I was already homeless and sleeping here before the protestors came, so it was kind of a natural thing to do for me to get involved. I was here with a lot of my friends, who were homeless too. We’ve had a very interesting integration time with the Occupy people. I helped get things organized a bit—I’ve been here for five years, so I kind of know what’s going on. I have all kinds of outlets for resources, because I’ve used them all. Whenever anybody asks how to get something I know where to tell them to go. There’s really nothing that you can’t get, appropriately. I came here with nothing but the clothes on my back. Now I have a nice tent that was given to me, a brand new sleeping bag that was given to me, an air mattress that was given to me, a guitar—just by making contact with people. I’ve been doing the right things for the right people, just genuinely, and boy do they come back with nice surprises. And the police and legislatures in this town are just really bending over backwards for us—I know the difference. We’ve got the resources of the world here—we’ve got bathroom facilities . . . oh my gosh, I don’t even want to say what we did before.