Occupy Keeps Up the Momentum With an Anti-Austerity Week of Actions in NYC
Photo Credit: AnotherNYC.org
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Occupy Wall Street isn't wasting any time post- Spring Awakening and May Day. It is geared up for a full week of actions addressing different issues each day from May 10 to May 15. It is clear that Occupy is working very hard not to lose its spring momentum.
The week of action, which has the theme "Another City is Possible, Another World is Possible," arose to combat the ongoing budget cuts in New York City. With the 2013 city budget having come out the first week of May, the week of action is timely, focusing on austerity and measures directly relate to the struggles of the 99 percent. In addition, the week will be punctuated by two global days of action, on May 12 and 15, to tie the local actions into a broader international context.
An organizer of the week of action, Yotam Marom, says he wants the week to be about "creating a framework for a lot of groups and individuals to work collectively on issues they are already working on individually. We need to connect everyone because all the issues are interconnected. There are a lot of different groups with different tactics and goals, but it's a way for these groups to work together - to have autonomy while still having solidarity."
Additionally, organizers want to connect Occupy to other social change initiatives. As Marom says, "Occupy is at its best when it's part of everything else." The week of action is meant to side-step questions of affiliation and coalition building. The planners of the week are not a coalition, but rather, individuals working together on relevant issues because they care about them - not because of their affiliation.
The issues for each day were chosen based on a look at where budget cuts have been made in recent years, and also what was important to people involved in the planning process. Organizers wanted to focus on real issues that individuals can connect to, with the hope of using these issues to create radical change over the long-term.
The week kicks off on Thursday, May 10, with an opening assembly at 6pm in Union Square. This assembly will allow participants to speak out about issues that affect their lives and will offer details on each day of action.
Friday, May 11, will be all about homes, jobs, and services. Actions start at 11:30am with an anti-budget cuts action at the lighthouse at South Street Seaport, continuing with a rally on the southeast corner of Murray and West Streets at 1pm calling for good jobs, not giveaways, from big banks. Next there will be a celebration and speak-out at Rockefeller Park near Battery Park City from 2 to 6pm, and finally an action at 7pm demanding respect for workers' right to organize at Capital Grille (155 E 42nd St.).
Caroline Leader, one of the organizers helping plan actions on the 11th, discussed why she got involved. "So often the 1 percent and corporations blame lower-income people for their struggles, but we need to realize that many people start at a disadvantage," she said. "Even more encounter serious life changes - loss of a job, illness, family member's deportation, etc. - and have trouble picking themselves back up again. We live in a connected world and we all need to help each other. Basically, the 1 percent get what they want while too many of the 99 percent struggle to get what they need. We are showing up on May 11 to fight for a city where housing is a human right, for a country with good jobs for all, for a world where our basic needs are met."