Occupy Wall Street Attracting 'Political Fringe'

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NEW YORK CITY -- The protest movement known as "Occupy Wall Street" has been popping up all over recent media coverage.
    
Much of the coverage emanates from New York City's Zuccotti Park in the heart of Manhattan's financial district. Occupiers have dubbed the park "Liberty Square."

"Occupy Wall Street" has its own team of what could be called press agents.  They insist the demonstrators represent the 99 percent of Americans who aren't the 1 percent who are super rich.

Main Motivation

"A big part of it is just the American people really wanting this to happen," said Jason Ahmadi, an unemployed 26-year-old from San Jose, Calif., who serves as the protesters media spokesman.
 
In fact, the first person CBN News encountered on a recent visit was a priest holding a sign that says, "Jesus is with the 99 percent."
    
Nearby, a senior citizen read the U.S. Constitution aloud. People of all ages debated and discussed economics, government, and America's woes. 
    
Even a couple of Wall Street workers come down from the skyscrapers to show their support during their lunch hour.
 
"It's all about greed, and the rich just don't want to share," one Wall Street worker said. 
 
Most everyone appeared  reasonable, warm and friendly, assuring visiting reporters that they're goal is not to bring down the capitalist system.

Fringe Elements

But around the square, there were also those on the political fringe espousing a more leftist ideology.

"The heart of this is anti-capitalist. That's what started it. And I think it should go further than that," protester Roman Shusterman, a self-proclaimed Marxist, told CBN News. 

"We shouldn't be afraid of the Far Right," he said. "We should embrace socialism. We should embrace Marxism. That's how revolutions have succeeded."
 
CBN News also spotted a trio of practicing Communists standing in front of posters with the messages such as "Marx was Right" and "Class Warfare Ahead."
    
One of them burned a dollar, stomped on the American flag and raged against it.
 
"This *---  represents more violence to me than any fascist symbol from Europe," the masked protester said. "For someone with enslaved African blood and indigenous blood, this *--- represents true evil for me. 

"My people were not exterminated in the European holocaust," he added. "They were exterminated in the U.S. holocaust."  

Money Burning

The point of the money-burning?
 
"We can't be bought off anymore," one protester explained. "You're not going to bribe us with toaster ovens so we forget our brothers in the Third World." 

Socialist Stephano Winkels, an out-of-work financial planner, also took part in the demonstrations.
 
"People have painted the word 'socialism' into some negative word," she said. "Social Security is socialism!" 
 
Some of the protesters want to see everyone's debts officially written off, including America's $14 trillion of red ink.
 
"Restructure everything," said Thomas Fox of the New American Regeneration Party. "Erase a lot of it, forgive a lot of debt that can never be paid off anyway.  We will free up capital for more productive uses." 

Anti-semitic Characters  
 
One angry protester named David blamed the Jews for current financial crisis..
 
"The Zionists are unscrupulous in their ways, unsavory," he said. "They commit more white collar crimes in America than any other ethnic, religious group."  
 
Mixed in every few feet were all sorts of interesting characters holding all sorts of interesting signs, doing and saying all sorts of interesting things. 
 
One man sporting a Bernie Madoff costume said,  "What goes on on Wall Street (is) much bigger than what did. I stole a billion -- they steal trillions." 

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.