For about a month, central Iowans have joined other national Occupy movements in their protest against social and economic inequalities and corporate influence over government. The group sets up camp in Stewart Park near the Iowa Capitol. We walked down and asked if anyone wanted to join us for a drink and talk about the movement at the Locust Tap. Clarke Davidson, 29, said yes.
Q: Why are you protesting?
I think it’s clear to see that the direction society is moving in is a dead end, the direction our economy is moving in is a dead end and the direction our government is moving in is a dead end. We need to drastically change course, and we need to do it somewhat quickly.
Q: How long have you been down there?
I was down there day one, when everyone got arrested. I didn’t get arrested, but my girlfriend did. I caught some crap for that. I was videotaped, however, and the next day I was fired because I had my work ID tags on, which is apparently misrepresenting the company. I guess from that point on I had a new avenue where I could direct my skill set. It’s one I could ethically walk forward with. It’s a community forum. It’s a park, where anyone can go and speak about any issue with a lot of individuals. Anyone can come up with a proposal. We work on unanimous consensus, so everyone in the group has to agree before we make a group statement.
Q: What’s your political background?
I’m not a complete libertarian. People do accuse me of that. I’m a progressive in that I want education for everyone. No one should starve to death. If you need to go to a doctor you should be able to. I want to help everyone, and I think our society should strive to do that.
However, I’m a libertarian in that I completely agree with upholding the constitution of the United States. I believe in individual rights. The role of the federal government is to uphold the rights of the individual and uphold the constitution. I don’t think the (federal) government should be meddling in state affairs.
Q: What’s life like in the park?
We don’t have showers yet. We have a really nice kitchen building (tent), a new school. We have teach-ins out there. Last night our teach-in probably had 40 or 50 people and we had 60 or 70 at the general assembly. Day to day life in the camp is a little stressful. You have to keep moving and doing things in order to keep the camp alive. You have to post needs, have events, hang up signs, contact the media, do interviews.
Q: I have to ask about your Makers & 7 order. Is that your drink?
I studied communications and film at Ohio University, which is just north of Kentucky. A lot of kids out there drank Makers & 7. So it’s kind of gotten to be a tradition. It reminds me of college days.