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The Occupy Wall Street movement taking place in Manhattan’s Financial District and spreading throughout the country with copycats popping up in cities nationwide has now established a “political action group.”The PAG is a subcommittee of one of the movement’s “working groups” called the People of colour Occupy Wall Street — a working group that was established “to build a racially conscious and inclusive movement.”
“The PAG started because no one wanted to do the politics,” said Ted Actie, who’s been at Occupy Wall Street since day 2.
Since the protests inception, Occupy Wall Streeters have avoided defining it by a specific political association.
“People don’t want to make it political, but you have to change because politically we are starting to crackdown.”
Actie, a 35-year-old man from Brooklyn who works for a production company, serves as the facilitator for the political group.
Actie first garnered the protester’s attention when he ignored the “people’s mic” and gave a passionate speech on September 30 at the Occupy Wall Street’s “General Assembly.” During it he called out the lack of diversity and emphasised the importance of speaking the communities around them.
“You do so much social networking, you forget how to socialize,” he told the General Assembly that night.
Actie, who became enamoured by politics when his father ran for office in his home country of St. Lucia, said it’s important for the Occupy Wall Streeters to understand politics at a local level.
“These are the people who make direct changes,” he said. “It’s important to understand locally first.”
Actie said the Occupy Wall Streeters can’t just protest.
“It doesn’t work that way,” he said.”I’m not all for ‘occupy,’ but you do it for attention.”
Actie said next year will be an election year for many and he said the politicians will be looking at what’s happening. This is why it’s important for the protesters to understand what’s going on a local politics level so they can articulate what they want to see changed.
One of the group’s most recent achievements was lobbying the unions to come out and support them.
On October 5, thousands of people from dozens of union and community groups joined forces with the Occupy Wall Streeters embarked on a massive march.
While that certainly caught people’s attention, some Occupy Wall Streeters have raised concerns about the unions. The PAG has been working to deal with that issue.
“Most people are worried that the unions will co-op the situation, but what we do is have a union representative work with a point person in the working group.”
What’s more is for the past few weeks, people have been attempting to label the movement politically with some calling it the left-wing version of the Tea Party.
However, the PAG is not trying to form a new political party, Actie told us.
“We never established a box,” he said. “It’s a collection, a mixture of people. What I’d call a ‘movement of movements.'”
He said the group is devised of people from all walks of life reflecting different viewpoints.
However, the No. 1 goal of the PAG is to hold people accountable.
Here’s what the group talks about:
- Who the local politicians are
- Education of the political process
- What’s going on in the neighbourhood
The PAG meets on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m.
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