Occupy Bangor protesters create human pie chart to illustrate U.S. wealth disparity

Dennis Chinoy, a Power in Community Alliance member, stands before a wooden structure erected in front of the Occupy Bangor encampment Saturday that depicts the changes in real wages for United States citizens since 1980.
Dennis Chinoy, a Power in Community Alliance member, stands before a wooden structure erected in front of the Occupy Bangor encampment Saturday that depicts the changes in real wages for United States citizens since 1980. Buy Photo
Posted Nov. 19, 2011, at 3:24 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2011, at 1:48 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Around 40 people were crammed into a small human pie chart area that represented the bottom 80 percent of “America’s financial wealth pie” and one person represented the nation’s wealthy during a demonstration noontime Saturday at the Occupy Bangor encampment.

“One person was in the 1 percent [area] and he controlled the media. He had the mic and he couldn’t hear us,” said Occupy Bangor member Nancy Minott of Bangor.

The presentation was used to illustrate the scale of current economic inequality in the United States, members said.

“The bottom 80 percent have a 7 percent slice of the pie,” fellow Occupy Bangor member Valerie Carter, also of Bangor, added.

That 80 percent have watched as their incomes have decreased since the 1980s while the nation’s wealthy have become richer, she said.

Members of Power in Community Alliances, or PICA, also erected a wooden structure in front of Peirce Park, where Occupy Bangor members have gathered for the last three weeks, to show those who walk by the “disparity between the country’s wealthy and the rest of the population,” Katherine Kates-Chinoy said in a statement.

After the gathering broke up, PICA member Dennis Chinoy explained how the country’s rich have gotten richer since 1980 thanks to changes in income taxes and the breaking up of organized labor unions.

“Those are probably the two major factors,” he said.

Occupy Bangor is following in the footsteps of similar “Occupy” gatherings organized by the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together movements, some of which have resulted in violence and arrests.

To make changes, “the first thing you have to do is get the story out,” Dennis Chinoy said, adding that is what the Occupy gatherings are designed to do. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Occupy Bangor first gathered as a short one-hour occupation on Oct. 12 in front of a downtown bank and there is another occupation happening in Portland. The Bangor group set up camp at Peirce Park on Oct. 27.

In other Occupy Bangor news, the group failed to file an application for an events permit by Friday, which was requested by city officials earlier this week and word from members hanging around the encampment’s fire on Saturday is that the group plans to file a restraining order against the city of Monday.

One issue is the makeshift structures that Occupy Bangor members erected at Peirce Park, located next to the Bangor Public Library, which have lead to complaints, and must come down when the city park closes Sunday night, City Manager Catherine Conlow said Friday afternoon.

Carter said that members do plan to remove some of the tents and canopies on Saturday.

“We’re taking these two tents down,” she said of two large canopies that have been used as storage and to protect a woodpile.

Protesters have erected tents for sleeping overnight at the library, which is adjacent to the park and is not city property.

“All we ask is they get their stuff out of the park by 10 p.m. Sunday,” Conlow said. “This isn’t about assembly. It’s about structures in the park.”

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