They hate us for our freedom
Occupy Wall Street
Pilots’ union members march on Wall Street. Photo via Dan Nguyen’s Flickr account
The Occupy Wall Street protest is reportedly rapidly gaining in number in lower Manhattan as unions and political action groups begin to show their support of the fledgling anti-capitalist movement. From Crains New York:
But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too—embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven’t been able to in years.
The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub. All of that has enabled them not just to sustain the action but to build momentum. And as celebrities like Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons and Cornel West have joined in, the city’s traditional activists have been forced to jump into the fray.
The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub.
“It’s become too big to ignore,” said one political consultant.
Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday’s demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.
“We’re getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.
Community groups like Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education and Community Voices Heard are also organizing for Wednesday’s action, and the labor/community coalitions United New York and Strong Economy For All are pitching in as well.
You can visit Occupy Together for more information on political manifestations in your area. If you live anywhere near the NYC metro area (that includes YOU, Philly, Jersey, Long Island, CT, etc) you might want to consider showing up yourself. If you live or work in Manhattan, for god’s sake at the very least have your lunch in Zuccotti Park… and bring some pizza for the people! (I live in Los Angeles, but will be in NYC next month for business. I plan to spend time at the protest while I am there).
As mentioned on Daily Kos and elsewhere, the pepper spray incident and the viral video of it have seen a sharp rise in Google searches for items related to the Occupy Wall Street protest. The message IS getting out there. Even Time magazine has reported on the movement—that means it’s officially mainstream news now. If unions and organized lefties start to show up in sizable numbers Zuccotti Park to voice their disapproval of the financial system, who knows what might happen next?
One thing is for sure, the numbers are rising steadily. The movement has vowed to stay throughout the winter months.
Below, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi discusses the Occupy Wall Street movement with Keith Olbermann. Interestingly, Taibbi points out near the end that there are several Tea party and Ron Paul supporters protesting in Zuccotti Park