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Occupy Wall Street? In Vicksburg? Really?

Last weekend, The Wife and I made a trip over to Vicksburg just to get away for a couple of days. We had a great time, but there were a couple of surprises.

Wandering downtown on a beautiful Saturday, we walked up on a local chapter of Occupy Wall Street standing on a corner on Washington Street. Occupy Wall Street? In Vicksburg? Really?

There were three of them, which doesn’t sound like many. But, the Jackson chapter of Occupy Wall Street that has been in Smith Park around the clock for weeks now can barely scratch up that many.

The Vicksburg group was more engaging than their peers in Jackson. Of all the times walking in and out of the MBJ, which is directly across from Smith Park, I’ve never had a Jackson Occupier as much as acknowledge my existence.

Still, the Vicksburg group’s “recruiting efforts” were weak by my estimation. One woman, who greeted us with a warm smile, was preoccupied (pun intended) with getting her sign crafted. One man had his sign — it said “Revolution” with the “e” printed backwards — but he was busy with his cell phone and only nodded toward us.

The other fellow was on post with a nice sign and a winning personality. He said “hello” and “great day.” Unfortunately, he was wearing a Halloween mask, which I founded disconcerting.

So, we just kept on walking.

The other surprise was encountered at the same time. Downtown Vicksburg is struggling. Vacant storefronts are common, and many of the downtown stores had already closed by early afternoon or were only opened on weekdays.

Vacant/closed retail property? In tourist-rich Vicksburg? Really?

While the megadeals such as Toyota get the ink, it is small businesses that create the majority of jobs and put money in people’s (consumers’) pockets. Thus, downtowns can be an excellent barometer of economic health.

It’s official — downtown Vicksburg, like every other community in America, is ailing. It’s a troubling sign of the times.

What Vicksburg needs is a vibrant downtown with sidewalks full of consumers. The last thing it needs is an element making visitors feel uncomfortable.

It’s a classic. No other group has a more vested interest in seeing the economy swing around than the Occupiers, yet their actions often seem detrimental to the very things they want. Don’t like big business? Fine. But, occupying downtown Vicksburg affects mom-and-pops, which are already struggling to meet the competition from big-box retailers.

I can make a strong case that the Vicksburg chapter of Occupy Wall Street is actually aiding big business, the “greedy monsters” that the movement says is sucking the financial life out of American consumers.

The recent reversal by U.S. banks on debit card fees proves the average voice counts. Consumers were displeased, showed it, and the heaviest-hitters in the financial world tucked tail and ran.

Occupy Wall Street has no coherent message, no consensus, and in their flailing around seem to hurt more than help.

Next time I go to Vicksburg, I hope the Occupiers are not standing on the corner, but rather are gainfully employed in a new downtown store. Now, that would be progress.


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About Wally Northway


  1. shane masked occupier

    For one every one of us, occupiers, you saw on Saturday are employed and we happen to have weekends off. We just find that there is a great injustice in the world now and feel the need to be apart of this movement if nothing else to educate those who are not aware. Also if you noticed the building we were posted in front was a vacant building,therefore we were not any one businesses way. I am not sure how much you know about our little town here but the businesses downtown often struggle because they are way overpriced. We pay taxes in this town only to see casinos brought that promised to help Vicksburg flourish but have done nothing for this town, but cause people to lose homes and dignity, all for the sake of a dollar. More disturbing our schools that were promised financial support by these casinos have lost funding. I understand that you think the Occupy movement is a joke but there is a point. No matter how you feel about the movement, though you should understand this is our home, our Vicksburg, and our Washington Street! But all that being said THANK YOU because people like you make us stronger! Hope to see you back out there!

  2. occupie vicksburg

    FYI The sign said Revolution with the letters EVOL backwards to emphasize the word LOVE!

  3. Hey, I went to Occupy Baton Rouge to read the Bible over them (to the side, not confrontationally). Online, there are a TON of protesters. Two showed up for General Assembly, and asked if I were with them. I said “No, I’m a preacher,” & went back to my outloud Bible reading (but I was not loud–they can ask if they want to know). So, I went to “Occupy New Orleans”. Well, there were maybe fifteen people, but a ton of tents. The police said there were a lot at first (came in from out of town and took pictures), but they left. One man was “Occupy”–he came and started asking me a ton of personal questions, where did I live, where did I go to church. I told him I didn’t come to talk about my personal business and that he needed Jesus.
    Apparently, if they chanted “We are the half of one percent” instead of “we are the 99%,” it would still be a gross over exaggeration. Which makes sense, since America has the greatest distribution of wealth on the planet (is the gold standard for countries wanting to be free)!~

  4. occuppy vicksburg

    Where on earth did you go to school you sound like a moron! I hope that you speak more coherently in your sermons, than that which you have communicated on this site. Just so you know the Occupy movement is not about religion. Oh and FYI if you are a true follower of Jesus it is your place to judge anyone nor there spiritual relationships, and if you believe that it is you need to study up on Jesus because he was apart of the 99% he hung out with whores and the sick!

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