LOS ANGELES—On the heels of last Thursday’s national day of student solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, members of the AYF-WR paid a visit to the Los Angeles branch of the campaign to show their support.
The campaign, which began in New York’s financial district on September 17, has grown dramatically over the last month, challenging the role of Wall Street behind the economic collapse and the corrosive influence of money in politics.
“We don’t see this as something partisan,” said AYF member Caspar Jivalagian. “It is a growing popular movement against corporate unaccountability and economic injustice. We stand principally in support of democratic-based efforts to put people over profit.”
Members delivered a letter of solidarity on behalf of the AYF on Friday, as well as a package of water and food to the protestors camped out in front of Los Angeles City Hall.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement has gone viral and spread throughout the world,” added Jivalagian. “We would hope our people would be inspired by such movements and become vocal about the even sharper social inequalities and economic injustice in Armenia.”
Meanwhile, Babken DerGrigorian, an AYF member currently studying in London, was quoted widely in the media on Saturday for his part in organizing a demonstration in London in support of the movement. “Occupy Wall Street, media-wise, started out with really bad coverage,” DerGrigorian was quoted as saying to ABC. “We don’t want anyone to miss the point of what this is about. Our governments have been hijacked by corporate interests, and the solutions won’t come from our politicians.”
Below is the full text of the AYF-WR letter to the Occupy LA demonstrators.
Dear Occupy LA Protestors,
On behalf of the Armenian Youth Federation we would like to express our solidarity with your peaceful, lively and democratic movement to awaken social change.
Like many, we share your dismay over the rising inequality and financial hardship being brought to bear on ordinary people throughout the country.
Particularly concerning for us, as students, are the skyrocketing costs of education and mounting student debts. Last year, student loan obligations reached the $1 trillion mark, surpassing even the amount owed on credit card debt. Rather than education leading to a brighter future, young people are finding themselves in a financial abyss, with few promising job prospects after graduation.
The major financial institutions behind this debt machine and the economic meltdown continue to reap exorbitant benefits while most people are seeing their wages stagnate and their taxes spent on bailouts for Wall Street. While the top 1% enjoys record profits, the rest of the public faces foreclosures, budget cuts, layoffs, and financial insecurity.
It is our responsibility as youth to speak out and demand what is fair. We stand in support of a truly bottom-up, decentralized, and democratic movement to challenge institutions perpetuating social, economic, and political injustice.
We view the Occupy Los Angeles protest as a positive, grassroots effort to address such critical issues. We salute your determination and stand in support of your initiative.
Armenian Youth Federation