The Big Story Blog

Occupy MN: Marches, fairness and a not-so-silent majority?

Posted at 7:43 AM on October 11, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Politics

Welcome to the Big Story Blog. Each day we'll chase a story in the news important to Minnesotans. We'll take everything we know and everything we're learning and put it here. Jump in with your comments and together we'll make the reporting smarter.

Today we're chasing the economic protests known locally as Occupy Minnesota.

The local version of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy Minnesota has captured public attention here, with a bunch of groups raising questions of fairness and corporate greed in an economy still struggling to recover from a recession that began nearly four years ago.

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But is it really changing people's views? Economic protests come and go. Anyone recall a protest in the last 30 years that changed the way America does business? We'll take a run at those issues today, explore the origins of the group and let you know what's happening today.

We need your voice in this. Post your comments or drop us a line directly.

Here's what we know this morning.

Not going away. Demonstrations are expected to continue this morning, including a march in Minneapolis from Government Plaza to Wells Fargo bank. Later today, protesters are expected to ask the Minneapolis School Board to move its banking away from Wells Fargo and into community banks.

Not just politics. There's no doubt the politics of the day is driving much of the debate. The traditional Democrat vs. Republicans are pretty well drawn. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson last week told the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference he was happy not having to spend Friday afternoon "with a thousand or so clueless, obnoxious and frankly very messy anarchists or socialists or flower children or whatever they call themselves." He later apologized.

But it's not simply a political battle. We've heard from Minnesotans in MPR's Public Insight Network who may not agree with the politics or tactics of the protests groups but certainly know the pain of losing a house or a job and feeling powerless in this lousy economy.

Peace, so far. Widespread protests three years ago during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul were met with mass arrests. We haven't seen those kinds of confrontations so far between police and protesters.

Hey! Police confirmation: Day 4, and still NO ARRESTS at #OccupyMN!
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That's great news no matter where you stand on the issues and demands of protesters and the future of our economy.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.