Awesome Actions and Demonstrations Planned to Mark 1st Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street
On Monday night, September 10, in the basement of Judson Memorial Church over 100 people gathered to attend the last large “ S17” planning meeting. S17 is the shorthand for the weekend of assemblies, concerts, meetings, protests and actions that people have been planning in New York City for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. At 9:30, in the hot and crowded basement room as the meeting started to wrap up, somebody yelled, “This is going to be great, everyone!” Those who heard let out nervous laughs and smiles.
The last large planning meetings before big events are usually like this: packed, hectic, anxious, long, and with an underlying air of anticipation and excitement. But for those planning the S17 events, these feelings are all the more intense, as the movement struggles to prove that it is still very much in existence, still relevant and has accomplished a lot in the past year.
If one were at this Monday night planning meeting, or any of the planning meetings leading up to this one, or one of the many smaller outreach, action, support or services meetings there would be no question that Occupy was still in existence, albeit in a very different form than it was a year ago. Now, a year later, Occupy has transformed from, as organizer Marisa Holmes says, “A centralized body in the park to a decentralized network” that includes a broad range of projects from the Strike/Debt campaign, to Occupy Town Square, to the Free University. As Holmes says: “From debt strikes to rent strikes to free schools, to local food, Occupy has started to build a world without Wall Street.”
The events planned for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street aim to show what this world without Wall Street would look like, and in that vein include not only a day of protests and direct actions on Monday, September 17, but also a weekend of workshops, convergences and trainings on the 15th and 16th and a Free University in Madison Square Park from the 18th to the 22nd. This plan, that takes on the themes of “Education” on September 15, “Celebration” on September 16 and “Liberation" on September 17 aims to incorporate a wide range of people's interests, from the environment to debt to education and a wide range of ways to protest and come together around these shared interests.
Highlights of the schedule include thematic assemblies in Washington Square Park on Saturday, September 15th around issues such as education, debt, political repression/ anti-oppression, workers and the environment. These assemblies are aimed at plugging people into the work that is already happening around these issues, both within Occupy and within the more institutional left. As organizer Winter (who goes by one name only) says, they are also to “remind people of the power of Occupy: not just protesting and screaming at capitalism and its rotten institutions, but realizing that coming together and beginning to listen to each other, cooperate and be together in public is about the most radical thing you can do right now.”
On Sunday there will be the “99 Revolutions” concert at Foley Square, featuring a wide range of musical acts, including Tom Morello and members of Das Racist, as well as evening Rosh Hashanah services at Liberty Plaza organized by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Occupy Judaism and Jewish Voices for Peace. These services aim to show that the themes of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, resonate with those of Occupy, themes of renewal and reflection and moving forward with intention. They also aim to provide a space for people who would not normally engage with Occupy to do so and for those who choose to either come to, or stay in, New York for the weekend of actions to have a space to celebrate the holiday as a community.