Occupy Toledo encourages debateWritten by Priscilla Esquivel | | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Oct. 10, Occupy Toledo will set up camp and hold its first general assembly meeting in Levis Square on the corner of Madison Avenue and St. Clair Street in Downtown Toledo. If you aren’t yet familiar with Occupy Toledo, its website describes the group as a “nonviolent assembly of individuals from all walks of life who stand in solidarity with the occupation of Wall Street in New York City and with the overarching Occupy movement across our nation and the world.” Items on the agenda for the first general assembly meeting include discussion and debate concerning the issues and demands of the occupation. Occupy Toledo, which claims to have no hierarchy or set leadership, intends to devise a working plan and manifesto with the consensus of all individuals who choose to participate.
The Occupy movement, which is gaining momentum in cities all across the United States (including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Memphis, Minneapolis, Detroit and Washington, D.C.), began on Sept. 17 in New York. Adbusters Editor in Chief Kalle Lasn reportedly put an ad in the July edition of Adbusters calling for people to occupy Wall Street and to “bring a tent.” Several weeks later Occupy Wall Street is still going strong and has attracted the support and participation of military veterans, Continental and United airlines pilots, labor unions, college students and presidential hopefuls. The mantra for the movement has become “We are the 99 percent.” This in reference to 2007 census data showing that the top 1 percent of households in the U.S. hold 43 percent of the nation’s financial wealth, while the bottom 99 percent share the rest. Several videos depicting police brutality by the NYPD against peaceful protesters and the arrests of hundreds of protesters marching on the Brooklyn Bridge have only further fanned the flames of revolution. Occupy Wall Street responded by encouraging the police department to join rather than beat the protesters, as they were likely to encounter union strikes and layoffs again in the near future.
Despite raging popularity, Occupy Wall Street has been met with hostile and dismissive treatment by the mainstream media. You won’t see much coverage, if any, by major news outlets. You can find videos and photos posted by protesters on YouTube and the Occupy movements various Facebook pages.
The Occupy movement has refused to support or endorse a candidate for office, a political party or any specific political agenda, and is resisting efforts to be co-opted by any political organizations or affiliations. Occupy Toledo intends to include anyone and everyone who wants to address the pressing concerns of the average citizen — unemployment, the disappearing middle class, foreclosures, bank bailouts, crushing student loan and personal debt, Wall Street corruption, dependency on foreign oil, etc. Those interested in more information are encouraged to attend the general assembly meeting or take part in the online community discussions at occupytoledo.org.