Tents or no tents, the Occupy Movement is pushing ahead. Activists are planning bold moves in the next two weeks, and their spirits are high, despite the busting of many of their encampments.
That’s what I gathered from a Thursday conference call of activists from seven Occupy sites around the country: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, LA, Oakland, and Washington, DC.
The call -- organized by the Media Consortium -- also shed some light on police tactics. “We had 300 arrests and people are being held on $5,000 bail for failure to disburse,” said Joan Donovan of Occupy LA about the crackdown this week. “Some are getting arraigned today. City Hall has been completely cleared out. They have set up ten-foot fences with concrete barriers in order to keep us out. They basically came into the raid with 1,400 police officers and completely overwhelmed the protesters. There were a few beanbag charges and some pepper spray used. One protester got a broken wrist. Some people who were in tents had their tents slashed. Some were actively chased by the police through the downtown area.”
Sam Abrahamson of Occupy Chicago noted that protesters in the Windy City “had to adopt a different strategy, since we haven’t been able to set up tents.” The idea, he said, is to have “a mobile presence” with “events all over the place.”
Occupy Wall Street in New York is planning on Friday to host “Occupy Broadway,” a “24-hour rolling performance throughout Manhattan,” said Han Shan. “People are less focused on one piece of real estate.” He added that OWS is changing “from a moment to a movement.”
Part of that movement is help people who have been foreclosed upon.
Matt Browner-Hamilton of Occupy Our Homes announced that December 6 will be a National Day of Housing. People will refuse to leave their foreclosed homes, or will try to return to them if they’ve already been given the boot.
“We have actions happening all around the country,” he said. “The people who are going to benefit are incredibly diverse.”
And December 12 is Occupy the Ports Day, when activists from 25 occupation sites are trying to close down ports on the West Coast of the United States and Canada.
Uniting this movement is a vision of a more just society, as the newly released formal declaration from Occupy DC states: “We have been captives of corrupt economic and political systems for far too long. The concentration of wealth and the purchase of political power stifle the voices of the increasingly disenfranchised 99 percent. Corporate dominance subverts democracy, intentionally sows division, destroys the environment, obstructs the just and equitable pursuit of happiness, and violates the rights and dignity of all life.”
It asserts: “Another world is possible.”
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Police Use Excessive Force against Occupy Movement."
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