Occupy Updates: OWSers Occupy Boiler Room to Get Tenants Heat, New Council Meets, More...
Just as new Census Data is released revealing that over 49 million Americans, particularly elderly ones, are living in poverty, Occupy movements around the country are using their power to help these most vulnerable and disenfranchised individuals.
In Harlem, a group "occupied" a boiler room in a building where elderly, underserved tenants were going without heat and hot water. They won.
After an all-day occupation on Halloween and the arrest of one protester, the landlord relented, allowing access to the boiler room. By late Friday evening, workers were clanging and banging away in the basement, dismantling the old clunker and clearing space for a new boiler, provided in part by an emergency order by the city, Blakely said.
In Atlanta, a local group did the same thing on behalf of a family threatened by foreclosure. They also won, for now.
Last week, Tawanna Rorey’s husband, a police officer based in Gwinnett County, e-mailed Occupy Atlanta to explain that his home was going to be foreclosed on and his family was in danger of being evicted on Monday. So within a few hours Occupy Atlanta developed an action plan to move to Snellville, Georgia on Monday to stop the foreclosure.
These successful mini-occupations may reveal a fabulous and meaningful new tactic for the movement at large--and a great way to interface with the communities they are fighting for.
Speaking of the movement, in New York City, the first ever "Spokes Council" meeting took place. The Council is a new way for working groups to make decisions together in a non-hierarchical way. The New York General Assembly will continue to meet in Zuccotti Park.
The inaugural meeting was brisk at first, but marred by interruptions later. Here is a description from the Village Voice's Rosie Gray, who was there:
In contrast with the General Assembly, the Spokes Council uses actual microphones, meets indoors and operates on a "spokes" system: working groups that take part sit together and groups are arranged in a circle, like spokes on a wheel. Each working group is represented by an individual, or "spoke," who rotates every meeting.
The inaugural Spokes Council proceeded apace except for a key disruption, the distracting heat and side conversations, and a tense moment with the assembled press.
About 200 people were crowded into the cafeteria of Murray Bergtraum High School. Dozens of working groups were represented and marked by handmade cardboard signs ("Sanitation," "Archives," etc).