Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Social Justice, Antiwar Activists Meet and "Occupy Iowa"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Social Justice, Antiwar Activists Meet and "Occupy Iowa"

Article excerpt

Some 500 Iowans expressed their support of and solidarity with Occupy Wall Street protests nationwide by occupying a park near the state capitol building in Des Moines on Sunday, Oct. 9. The group, dubbed "Occupy Iowa" by its organizers, represents a wide variety of concerns, and many of the activists addressed more than one issue.

Kate Dirks, a student at Iowa State University in Ames, held a hand-lettered sign declaring on one side "Fox 'News' Will Lie About This" and "I Am A Human Being Not A Student Loan Number" on the other.

"There is a lot of diversity in the messages," Dirks acknowledged, "but the overarching theme that everyone can agree on is that we want the government to be "about the people" again, whether that be concerns about war or about finance or business, or about student loans."

David Drake, a member of the Des Moines Human Rights Commission and a psychiatrist, wore his white lab coat to the protest. Many of the issues that most concern Iowans are related, he pointed out.

"As a physician, I'm most concerned about health care. I see health care as a right not as a privilege, and I support a single-payer health care plan. I work with lots of people who've had foreclosures, who've lost their jobs, who lose their insurance. I'm very concerned about that," Drake said.

"I'm impressed with the interconnections of all these issues with ongoing wars, with the billions, even a trillion dollars that we're spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places, it's just astounding to me," he added. …

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