The young man who works as a store clerk at a neighborhood mini-mart is articulate, intelligent and new-media savvy--just the sort of person the Occupy movement, which emerged last fall to combat economic inequality, seems to attract.
Yet, he is not a part of the group.
He became one of a number of persons Patch contacted to find out why persons across the region don’t ‘occupy,” either on the encampment on the city's upper green or off.
“I don’t have the time,” said the 19-year-old East Haven resident, whose name is Robert, when asked why he didn’t ‘occupy.’
He said he logs more than 50 hours a week in his position as a store clerk, and that he repairs computers in his spare time.
With the money he has earned, the young man, who lives with his mother, recently bought a 1999 Saturn to replace the red motorcycle he had driven that, he acknowledged, does not run flawlessly in cold weather.
Robert, who said he would also need to know the direct impact the Occupy movement would have on his life before associating with it, is not alone among persons who remain apart from the group in part because of demands on their time.
“You’re talking to a guy who works all day long and, when he gets home, he just wants to relax,” said Tony, who declined to give his last name. At 23 with some college education, the East Haven resident has worked six days a week as an electronic retailer for five years. He said he has yet to research the Occupy movement.
Any visit to an Occupy meeting in New Haven will demonstrate that the Occupy New Haven Crowdinclude all age groups, with the so-called ‘baby-boomers’ among them.
One person from that generation who has not joined ONH is Richard L’Ecuyer, a 63-year-old accountant with a sole proprietorship in North Haven. L’Ecuyer acknowledged that he agrees with some of the issues to which the ONH’ers object, but he described himself as from the “old school.”
“If you have to do something, you pull up your bootstraps and do it,” said the Hamden resident who, on a recent weekday, had arrived at his office at 6:45 a.m. expecting to work well into the night.
He said he could understand the occupiers’ demonstrating against the large banks the taxpayers had bailed out only to, in many ways, turn their backs on Main Street. But he also noted that individuals must become survivors.
“You go out and work, and it may not be work you really want to do,” he said. He also said some had become accustomed to a certain income and did not want to take positions that paid less. "You have to re-invent yourself," he said.
L’Ecuyer also said he could recall working a regular job and then taking part-time work to make ends meet or, simply, not spending.
A number of persons contacted who are not ONH’ers would not go on the record with the reasons why they are not part of the group. “I want to stay under the radar on this one,” said one small businessman who declined to comment. And another person—this, a business development officer with a reputation for strong opinions—declined to comment because, he pointed out, he works for a government agency.
And then there were individuals who lack a strong interest in politics and have no idea what the movement, which has come under criticism for its lack of a coherent message, espouses.
“I don’t know what it is,” conceded Paul Mastriano, 41, who serves as an executive with the North Haven firm of Screen Tek. “I know sales, marketing and promotional products.”
Another individual, who for years owned a business in Cheshire that is now closed and today lives in an apartment because a bank recently foreclosed on his home, is battling the current economic realities in his own way. With the assistance of a friend, he is working with contractors to develop another business to which he would apply his considerable managerial skills.
“Oh, he’ll make it,” the friend, buoyed by determination, said.