Monday, April 16, 2012

Occupy Update

Occupy Wall Street protesters returned to Wall Street this week and have been sleeping on the sidewalk under the protection of a decision by a Manhattan judge in 2,000 that allows sleeping on the sidewalk as a form of political protest, as the New York Times reports.

Eric Michael Johnson for The New York Times
The Democratic party loyalist group, in conjunction with some unions and other activist groups, is holding massive non violent civil disobedience training sessions as a way to help move the OWS movement forward. This has caused  healthy and needed debate within OWS about how it should relate to groups who support particular candidates and parties. 

Meanwhile, many other OWS groups around the country, and around the world, continue to be active, holding training sessions, informational meetings and protest actions of various kinds. I just checked three. Occupy Albuquerque just held a general assembly meeting at the Peace and Justice Center. Occupy Brussels is posting updates and messages of support for the Palestinian activists who are flying into Ben Gurion airport en masse this weekend and attempting to get into the West Bank. Occupy Abilene is trying to find out who in town supports the May 1 general strike called for by some groups and is posting updates on a statewide organizational meeting in Texas.

Although it stopped the growing momentum of OWS, it wouldn't be accurate to say that the power structure won when it evicted the OWS groups from their many encampments late last fall, but the new face of the movement has yet to be clearly defined. The economic forces that caused the uprising are still very much in place -- banks hold more of the junk securities we bailed them out for than they did when we bailed them out, foreclosures and unemployment remain high, the same students who couldn't find work then can't find it now. Those forces lurk just below the surface of everyday life, and the OWS movement seems to be percolating, seeking a new, still peaceful, route to the surface, but one hot summer day could change everything.


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