Occupy Memphis participants have national, local demands

(WMC-TV) - Despite the rain, sleet and snow, the Occupy Memphis movement is in full swing, and it seems the end of the occupation is no where in sight.

No matter which occupier you ask, each one believes Occupy Memphis could become a permanent part of Civic Center Plaza.

"For however long it takes," occupier Marquella Scott said.

The national Occupy Wall Street movement came to Memphis on October 6th to denounce what they called "corporate greed" and "control of government by the wealthiest 1% of the population."

Occupiers call themselves the other 99%.

"We believe that change can happen when we keep pushing the limit and keep going," Scott said.

So what would it take for Occupy Memphis to achieve its goal?

"It's not just one agenda that needs to happen," said Sam Rodriguez, a local attorney. "It's waking people up. This community itself, by its existence, is the gadfly."

Occupy Memphis has nine demands - from closing tax loopholes "benefiting the super-rich" to declaring health care a basic human right.

But five of the demands are specific to Memphis:

- To ban privatization of city services, as the city entertains a sanitation worker buyout.

- To provide affordable and fair housing for all - Memphis has no free homeless shelters.

- That Wells Fargo be held accountable for alleged predatory lending practices - the city is currently suing Wells Fargo.

- That people who foreclosed due to predatory lending be compensated and their debt forgiven.

- That the city use taxpayer dollars for education and public services rather than "corporate incentives and tax freezes for companies like Bass Pro or Electrolux."

"The snow is going to stop and the rain is going to stop, but poverty is not going to stop, people are not going to stop losing their jobs and they're not going to stop losing their homes," Scott said.

Citizens have donated heaters and other supplies to support Occupy Memphis, but their encampment is located on top of plaza water fountains. It's unclear what will happen when it's time for the fountains to be reactivated in the summer.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.