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Scott Galindez writes: "'A press release from the October2011 coalition announced that "...the People's Uprisings seen around the world and in the United States will come to Washington, DC beginning on Thursday, October 6 when thousands will converge to begin a prolonged people's occupation of Freedom Plaza.' The release claimed they were building on Arab Spring, European Summer, Madison and the Occupation of Wall Street."

Inspired by protests like the one above in Tahrir Square, a new occupation will be launched on October 6th in Washington, DC. (photo: Getty Images)
Inspired by protests like the one above in Tahrir Square, a new occupation will be launched on October 6th in Washington, DC. (photo: Getty Images)



Occupying Both Heads of the Beast

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

27 September 11


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns


ith the Occupation of Wall Street in its second week, solidarity actions are popping up around the country and the world. Cities currently supporting Occupy Wall Street are: Madrid, Spain; San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Toronto, Canada; London, England; Athens, Greece; Sydney, Australia; Stuttgart, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Milan, Italy; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Algiers, Algeria; Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois.

Cities in the process of joining Occupy Wall Street are: Phoenix, Arizona; Montreal, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Kansas City, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; and Orlando, Florida.

All of those actions were directly inspired by Occupy Wall Street.

Another occupation will begin next week in Washington, DC.

A press release from the October2011 coalition announced that "... the People's Uprisings seen around the world and in the United States will come to Washington, DC beginning on Thursday, October 6 when thousands will converge to begin a prolonged people's occupation of Freedom Plaza." The release claimed they were building on Arab Spring, European Summer, Madison and the Occupation of Wall Street.

The Freedom Plaza Occupation will demand that the government represent the people, not just the top 1%. The pledge, signed by thousands, calls for using our resources on human needs and environmental protection, not for war and exploitation. The October2011 coalition stands with the American people on seven key issues:

  • Tax the rich and corporations


  • End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending


  • Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all


  • End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests


  • Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation


  • Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages


  • Get money out of politics

Some may wonder ... why not join the Wall Street Occupation instead of opening up another front? Kevin Zeese from the October2011 coalition addressed that question: "We have both cross-endorsed our events and see them as synergistic. If you look at the October2011.org website we provide a lot of coverage to the Wall Street occupation, including urging people to attend and support it. Our core organizers attended many of their planning meetings and have been involved with the occupation. Three of our key people were interviewed Sunday, Chris Hedges, Medea Benjamin and Debra Sweet, and a bunch more were in the Plaza. We are mutually supportive of each other."

Both of these actions have their own strengths. Occupy Wall Street was more spontaneous. Nobody knew what to expect, nobody knew who would show up, or how long they would stay. The culture-jamming online magazine Adbusters issued the call, but did not organize the event.

One thing you hear often at the Wall Street protest is people saying that they were inspired by Tahrir Square, and didn't want the usual marches with the same talking heads that end with everyone going back to their normal lives and supporting the status quo.

They have established a close-knit community that is interdependent on each other. You hear talk of establishing a new way to build a movement; one that is inclusive and without powerful leaders. To say there are no leaders, however, is not the case. In all communities people step up and provide leadership. Those people become leaders by earning respect.

Decisions in Liberty Plaza are made by the "General Assembly" on a consensus basis. The result is everyone has a role in the decision and everyone can provide leadership in the implementation. While it can be tedious to reach a consensus, the result is a decision that everyone can get behind.

Occupy DC will be powerful in its own right but will have a different dynamic. Organizing and planning has been underway for months. There will be permits, a stage with a sound system, a medical tent, media tent and a shantytown. The National Park Service has already warned them that sleeping will not be allowed, but Zeese said the first Assembly on the 6th will discuss whether or not to comply.

As a veteran of large protests in Washington I hope that large numbers decide to sleep in the park. My guess is if only a few dozen or so decide to take a stand, the Park Police will enforce the camping regulation, but if hundreds "sleep in" they will likely back off.

In Washington there will be experienced protesters and organizers who sometimes get caught repeating bad habits. Let us hope they are watching Wall Street very closely and learning that there are no right or wrong ways to organize. Spontaneity, creativity, and imagination can sometimes be more effective than planning and preparation, but both have their place and can complement each other nicely.


Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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