Since Occupy Wall Street emerged last September, debates over its impact have roiled both liberals and conservatives confused by the fact of a (successful yet) leaderless movement lacking concrete demands.
But something seems to be working. The 99 Percent Spring is just the latest recent example of OWS’s influence. An impressive coalition of liberal-left groups and organizations, led by MoveOn.org and including the AFL-CIO, Greenpeace, the Working Families Party, 350.org, Campaign for America’s Future, United Students Against Sweatshops, CodePink, Global Exchange and Color of Change aims to recruit and train 100,000 Americans “to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.” A cross-section of the country—from carpenters and stay-at-home moms to business people, students and farmers—has signed up for hundreds of sessions so far, according to an AP report.
To me, the simple fact that the cream of the liberal-left establishment is promoting direct action trainings in the six-months before a presidential election rather than focusing all its energies on the electoral horse race is dramatic testimony to Occupy’s impact.
After the trainings, a series of actions—referred to as “Shareholder’s Spring”—are planned to disrupt the shareholder meetings of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and thirty or so other leading multinationals along with a series of student-lead actions against Sallie Mae and other corporations that have profited off the student debt crisis.
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PRESS ADVISORY – Statehouse Steps Occupied
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This evening, Occupy the MBTA, a working group of Occupy Boston, launched Camp Charlie, a ten day occupation of the State House steps to protest fare-hikes and service cutbacks on the MBTA. Having survived the depths of the recession, the 99% now faces additional taxes in the form of escalating T fares and the loss of essential transport routes. This is a further transfer of public wealth to the banks. These are the same institutions that were bailed out by the American taxpayer after being rendered insolvent by their own, criminal recklessness. The only debt in need of servicing is their debt to us. In a country that lavishes four billion dollars in subsidies on the oil companies, the relentless assault on public transport could not make less sense – ethically, environmentally, or otherwise. Camp Charlie will be a place for public debate, conversation, and outreach – a living testament to the refusal of the people to be further abused by a clutch of corporate interests, multinational banking cartels and consolidated oil interests.
Follow our liveblog for updates from today’s Day of Action for Public Transportation in Boston at the Massachusetts State House.
3pm: People’s Hearing
5pm: Rally to Save the T
8pm: MLK Remembrance
At various points throughout the day, we’ll be livestreaming:
Or, try one of these feeds from one of Occupy Boston’s frequent streamers: