Activists hope to expand Occupy Madison movement

Activists hope to expand Occupy Madison movement

“Occupy UW” protestors hold a demonstration on Monday, Oct. 24, that started at Union South and ended at Memorial Union.

Morgan Engels, Clarion Staff Writer

Just as a single blog post inspired the Arab Spring uprisings from which the inspiration for it derives the same can be said for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

A series of demonstrations that were prompted by a call to action from Adbusters, a Canadian based anti-establishment organization whom in there July 13 post called for “20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.”

The message was heard and on Sept. 17 tens of thousands of people converged on Wall Street starting a movement that would inspire protests and demonstrations throughout the country and world-over including one here in Madison.

The Occupy Madison Movement began on Friday, Oct. 7, when roughly 200 demonstrators congregated at Reynolds Park near Brees Stevens for what would be a peaceful demonstration. The event was held with cooperation from city of Madison officials who set restrictions on the event.  Despite such restrictions as no food vending, fires or tents, participants camped out at the park.  Police were eventually sent in to ask the demonstrators to vacate the area after what was supposed to be a weekend-long demonstration carried on into Monday.

Since the Reynolds Park demonstrations, the movement has moved to Veterans Plaza, where they currently have camp set up.  The decision to move to Veterans Plaza came after an Oct. 10 general assembly meeting lead by local activist CJ Terell who described the leadership structure of the movement as “round robin.” He stated that this is done in an effort to avoid control of the movement being dispersed to just a couple of people. Terrell went on to express his feelings about the movement, saying “we are the ninety-nine percent” is a message that means “we are everyone.”

“It’s time the ninety-nine percent start taking their stuff back,” Terrell said. “The one percent is nothing without us … we are doing it all.”

Terrell also urged that it’s time we become “self-aware in the might of the people” and that we must realize “how much really is us.”

Terrell concluded by stressing the importance of seeing the demonstrations for oneself and actually being there because “information comes from the people.”

More recently they have held demonstrations at the UW campus calling it “Occupy UW.” The demonstrations were held on Monday, Oct. 24, starting at Union South. Participants marched up Charlie Street and finished at the Memorial Union.  Organizers in the event hoped that it would increase student outreach, something they attribute to the small size of the movement.  There was also another general assembly meeting to discuss where to move camp next. The meeting comes after demonstrators were told they have till noon on Wednesday, Oct. 26, to move to allow for Freak Fest preparation.

Since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began, people all over the world have been inspired to take to the streets and protests.  Demonstrations linked to the Occupy Wall Street protests have occurred in 82 countries throughout the world with protests occurring throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.  As it stands, Madison is one of 70 cities in the country and 951 throughout the world where such protests have occurred.