2011-12-22 / Front Page

Newsmakers 2011: Steve Soldan

BY TROY R. BENNETT Times Record Staff

STEVE SOLDAN of Occupy Maine is collectively part of Time magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year. 
TROY R. BENNETT / THE TIMES RECORD STEVE SOLDAN of Occupy Maine is collectively part of Time magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year. TROY R. BENNETT / THE TIMES RECORD Time magazine named “The Protester” its 2011 Person of the Year.

Steve Soldan, 27, is one of those protesters. He’s lived in a tent in Portland’s Occupy encampment at Lincoln Park for weeks. It’s getting colder now and the city’s occupiers have gone to court to try and stay.

But Soldan is leaving soon. He’s headed south, for the woods somewhere. Though he’s disappointed at the way things have turned out, he’s not giving up, he says, just moving on.

Soldan shared his thoughts with The Times Record on Dec. 13, in the park:

I’ve been here since a week past day one. I was staying in an apartment across the parking lot, over there, across from the towers, in a yellow building. I gave up living with a friend. It was great living there, but I said, “Hey I’ve got to check this thing out.”

I walked by to go sell some videos at Bull Moose Music and I saw a couple of my friends down here and they said they were finally standing up against the bull. And within two hours, I had my tent over here.

Initially, our goal, I mean me and my friends’, was the community here. We had protesters at that point, about 50 every day, going up to Monument Square, holding signs. We were trying to build up a community of protesters, so we had the day protest over there and we had the nighttime protest over here. I was running the kitchen for a little bit, helping with daytime security and whatnot.

My initial motivation was to do the right thing against those that are doing the wrong thing. Unfortunately, it was a losing battle from the beginning. All the supporters stayed the same supporters and we never grew. We never got more support from the town. People’s thoughts stayed the same thoughts.

Although, it’s really nice, what we’re doing. I like the fact that it’s not just us losing everything to pay back everything. I like that we’re finally attacking, subconsciously, the corporations — against their foul play.

We’re doing it with signs, trying to get the word out to people. Knowledge is power, right? If you get the signs out there — just the visual stimulation — it gets those thoughts into people’s brains.

We can win the mind war because we’ve got more minds.

THE ANNUAL NEWSMAKERS SERIES profiles local individuals whose circumstances reflect major stories of the year.


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