An unlikely occupier

Members of the 99 percent occupying the Financial District Friday were joined by someone they might consider to be part of the one percent.

People like Warren Langley, former President of the Pacific Stock Exchange, could come to mind as being part of the problem; part of the reason the Occupy movement was born.

Generally, the contention for most Occupiers and sympathizers is not capitalism in and of itself, but our current capitalist model and its apparent choke-hold on politicians and political outcomes.

Yet, is there anything more symbolic of capitalism than a stock exchange?

Salon found Langley parked in front of the Goldman Sachs office at 555 California before dawn, holding  a sign reading “give us our city back.”

Langley was dressed in a suit, blue raincoat and floppy hat. He told Gary Kamiya what brought him over to the Occupy side:

“I was in the industry … So I played the game on the other side. But I have two grandkids and two daughters, and I became increasingly concerned that their future wouldn’t offer them the same opportunities that I had as a young man. The income inequities in our society are a huge problem.”

This isn’t Langley’s first rodeo either. In 2003, he protested the Iraq War in the Financial District. He spent years in the Air Force where he says he saw defense contractors spend on disused weapons, and he later became disgusted by the profits he reckons Halliburton made on the Iraq war.

At the end of the day, like anyone who agrees with the movement, Langley is seeking simple decency and fairness for the country. People like Langley are good for the movement, adding to its legitimacy and urgency.

Langley put it best when asked by reporters at a press conference on Tuesday where he sees the movement going:

“It needs to continue to do what it’s doing and essentially not just occupy a physical space but occupy the minds of the people.”