"People are informed today. People are online," Burke explains. "People in Kansas do yoga, you understand. Country's different, you understand? There's no more mooks in the citizenry. We are working people and we're not getting a fair shake, so we took to the streets. It's an irrational act, an act of passion, but we need to use self-control and respect. Those who want to go down with the ship will go down with the ship. Those who will be there will be sensible people who are out here for a reason. The kids who are out here who just want to party, well, they're beautiful children and we protect them every night. I can't even tell you what's going to happen after today. The cops may sweep this when the landlord says I want them out.
"Not anti-anybody. We're pro-American citizen. Millions of Americans are getting kicked out of their house. They're losing their education, their health care. They can't take care of their parents. This is about people. Republicans are opening their bills. Democrats are opening their bills. I'll go all the way to $250,000 if you want. Everybody's opening their bills and they're thinking, 'Who's protecting me from people stealing from me?' This isn't what I agreed on when I signed this agreement with this company. You add all these hassles up in your life — your hospital, your credit card, your education, your mortgage — and you're getting nailed. And there are a couple of banks who created the instruments that made that happen. This is not a physical war. This is an oppression that's quiet, and through money, and through services, and through small print. They want you to be afraid, and not to know, and they want to bewilder you. Between you and me, I shouldn't get a credit card. But I got one. I didn't even apply for it. Why am I getting a credit card?
"This is not Tahrir Square. This is not Tompkins Square Park. This is not Yuppies against squatters. This is about minds. We need help from people who know. We need help from people in the financial industry who know. They should be here, too. He should want to see a better community. I want to see change in a systematic and legislative way. We're looking for real results. We're looking for protection for people. We're down here trying to play bills. It's serious out there, but it's quiet, because it happens at everyone's kitchen table. It's happening household-by-household. There's a sense out there, which I hope what's going on here will dissipate, that there's something wrong with me. I'm a jerk because I can't pay that bill. There are working men who will march tomorrow. It's all about people, who feel they got duped. There needs to be a systematic legislative change, so that this cannot happen any more."
Brendan Burke's head is shaved. He doesn't wear funny glasses. He doesn't beat a drum, or look like he failed an audition for a Radiohead tribute band. He is not what the smart people come down here expecting to find. He looks like the truck driver he is, and he talks like someone who works for a living. For a long time in this country, that was enough. That country is what the people have come to find in this little park, where the wind is getting colder.