Saturday, November 19, 2011

Attention to Turn to Occupy DC

'Supercommittee' moment awaits DC occupiers

19 Nov 2011 - As Occupy Wall Street struggles to get back on its feet in New York after police stormed its Manhattan encampment, its two Washington offshoots are poised for their moment at the vanguard

A bipartisan but deeply divided "supercommittee" on Capitol Hill is under the gun to meet a Wednesday deadline to outline $1.2 trillion in public spending cuts over 10 years to rein in the galloping US deficit.

For the occupiers of Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, it is a perfect opportunity to drive home their core demands for greater social equality and less corporate influence over US politics, organizers said Friday.

"There's going to be a series of protests" around the report, said Kevin Zeese of Occupy Washington DC in wind-swept Freedom Plaza, where protesters living in 75-odd tents enjoy a postcard view of the Capitol down the avenue.

"We see the supercommittee as a really great opportunity to highlight the disconnect between the government and the people, and what the people want and what the government is doing," the seasoned activist from Maryland told AFP.


"Every lobbyist on K Street is working overtime here right now, trying to defend their turf" as the supercommittee finalizes its work, Patterson told AFP from behind an "Ask An Occupier" desk he set up to engage passers-by.

Occupy DC popped up spontaneously on October 1, nearly a fortnight after Occupy Wall Street began, while its near-namesake grew out of an anti-war protest that started October 6 after several months of preparation.

Unlike their counterparts in New York and elsewhere, however, both have largely avoided serious confrontations with the police, enabling them to deepen their respective roots and establish themselves as winter sets in.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray signaled Wednesday that both occupations -- in public space that belongs to the National Park Service -- will be tolerated, so long as they do not threaten public order. read more>>>

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