Occupying the Rust Belt: In Three Deindustrialized Cities, Protesters Find Friendly Cops, Determination and Despair
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It has been a common sentiment on the trip so far. After decades of economic decline, Americans in this part of the country are beaten down. Their prospects are limited. Civic embarrassment is more prevalent than pride. They lament the end of the “American Dream,” the notion that hard work and sacrifice would be rewarded with a comfortable retirement and a better life for their children and grandkids. But in the hundreds of occupations around the country they have found a space where they can speak of their struggles, burdens and aspiration. People listen and they hear similar stories, creating a genuine sense of community. They say it is giving them dignity. And perhaps most important, it is giving them hope.