Photo: Twitter via @toryhoke
If you thought this weekend’s arrests and demonstrations were out of this world, wait until you hear what Occupy Wall Street has waiting for you this week.In short, thousands of more people and more protests.
We talked to Jon Westin the organising director of New York Communities for Change, one of the groups that voiced their support for the protestors earlier this week. The group is rallying people for what promises to be a big demonstration this Wednesday at 4 PM. They’ll be joined by the Working Families Party, and powerful unions like SEIU1199- the United Healthcare workers and the United Federation of Teachers.
Westin told us that when the protests started, they had the support of more establishment progressive advocacy groups. The people behind Occupy Wall Street had been involved with the 25,000 person strong demonstrations on May 12th, in which a wide range of organisations took part. But no one was sure how big Occupy Wall Street would get, so involvement was kept rather informal.
Now they’re really joining.
“As it became clear that the demonstrations were growing,” said Westin, “we knew we had to be more public about our support…”
And so are others.
“You’re going to start seeing community organisations getting involved in a larger way.”
That was clear on Sunday, when The Coalition For A New Village Hospital, a city organisation of mostly West Village residents hoping to keep St. Vincent’s Hospital open, announced their support for protestors.
And as the movement grows bigger, politicians have an incentive to get behind their cause.
This is a huge boost for Occupy Wall Street’s momentum.
The downside of many disparate participants is that the protest is made up of a variety of goals, rather than one clear one. This has hurt the protestor’s agenda, simply because there are so many. (But then again, a protest that accomplishes nothing is not unlike most of them.)
The Teachers Union wants to make sure the New York state millionaires tax doesn’t expire later this year. New York Communities for Change advocates for low-income families dealing with foreclosure, so they’ll want to see changes that help Americans with their mortgages.
All of this could make it difficult for the Occupy Wall Street to pinpoint concrete demands when the time comes. Especially since, according to Westin, the protests springing up across the country aren’t completely connected either. For example, right now, the Occupy Chicago is deliberating as to whether or not they will adopt the grievances laid out by Occupy Wall Street.
But they’re all gathering steam.
In Boston over 1,000 people demonstrated in Dewey Square this weekend, and 24 were arrested. In Los Angeles, several hundred protestors have set up camp outside City Hall after demonstrations launched this weekend. Washington DC demonstrators also set up their occupation this weekend, in McPhereson Square.
So get ready. Some of the protestors told reporters that they wouldn’t leave until it gets “really cold out.”
Update: The Wednesday protestors in NYC will also be joined by “virtual protestors” organised by MoveOn.org, We’ll let you know what that means when we learn ourselves.