With the dismantling of encampments at New York’s Zuccotti Park and elsewhere and the onset of winter, the Occupy movement dropped out of front-page headlines. But the movement against greed and economic inequality has continued unabated, supported by members of the faith community.
“It’s alive and well. I’ve never seen so much percolation going on. Just today there are four different meetings having to do with five different actions,” retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard said in a March interview with ENS.
“Actions” – from street theater to interruptions of foreclosure procedures by singing protestors to weekly Wall Street marches – occur frequently, chronicled on Occupy Wall Street’s Facebook page, website and elsewhere. Earth Day on Sunday in New York, for example, will bring a “jazz funeral for the death of Earth as we know it” and a march to the site of the proposed Spectra Pipeline in the West Village.
Faith groups in some cities led Lent or Easter events. In late March, two priests from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and the founder of Protest Chaplains in Boston traveled to Oakland, California, to participate in a national Occupy Faith gathering. And movement supporters around the country are planning a day of action, including a call for a general strike, for May 1.
“May Day is really going to kick off a whole series of actions that are going to go on this summer,” said the Rev. John Merz, priest-in-charge at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension on Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Leading up to that, every Friday or Saturday brings a march around Wall Street, he said. “There are sleeping bags in front of the [New York] Stock Exchange. There may even be attempts at various reoccupations, whether it’s Zuccotti or elsewhere. That may happen on a mass scale.”
May 1, he explained, is “traditionally a day when unions and disparate groups work together to stand up for workers’ rights and the rights of the disadvantaged in society.”
The 1st of May is International Workers’ Day. In many of the world’s cities millions of us will gather to demonstrate in defence of our rights. For thirty years now, the deconstruction of the welfare state has been underway. Each successive government has worked hand in glove with the financial markets, submitted to their will – and likewise bent us to their will. We are subjected to growing inequality, to the fear of dismissal, to the policy of maximising profits, to stress. We are egged on to compete against each other and instructed to tighten our belts. Workforces are reduced, work loses its meaning, production is offshored, jobs become more and more insecure, unemployment becomes the norm. Each day more people’s livelihoods become insecure, more workers are tormented by their jobs and occasionally even succumb to them. Our freedoms and rights are progressively encroached on, including the most crucial one: that of deciding collectively how we shall live. We no longer live in democratic societies. This predicament arises in many different countries.
Confronted by such a challenge, social movements and citizens’ initiatives have arisen and grown in various parts of the world. Citizens have gathered to organise themselves and rekindle hope. During the last few months several general strikes have broken out in Europe. International networks today summon the population to a worldwide day of protest on 15 May. They likewise call on the people to gather on 1 May in general workers’ assemblies. The same day a general strike will take place in the United States.
Organise yourselves as part of this worldwide mobilisation! Let us draw on our strength, namely that of being the majority that organises itself and mobilises. Victory is won on the streets!
ON THE 1ST OF MAY: GENERAL WORKERS’ ASSEMBLIES AFTER THE DEMONSTRATIONS.
This will be a People’s Assembly on the Steps of the Federal Hall Memorial Building, the birthplace of the Bill of Rights. It will begin with a few guest speakers (some people you may know!) and then we will open up stack for participation from the body of the assembly. We are inviting people who wish to participate to bring a 2 – 3 minute grievance. We will be using the people’s mic. Take some time, write it out, don’t worry if there are too many, we can do this every week Make a list or delve into one area more in depth.
Posted 1 year ago on April 25, 2012, 10:33 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
The next Town Square will be in Manhattan on Saturday, April 28th. On May 1st workers, students, immigrants, and the unemployed from over 120 U.S. cities will stand together for economic justice. On Saturday, April 28th join us first at 12pm in Bryant Park, where we will parade through mid- town to get word out about the General Strike. Then from 2pm in Union Sq we will prepare for the big day with many trainings, teach-ins and skill shares.