Untimely storm tests the resolve of Occupy Wall Street

Walking through Liberty Plaza Park (Zuccotti Park) Sunday, October 30, the day after an untimely winter storm, gave proof that Occupy Wall Street is here to stay until our representatives who were sworn to serve the people fulfill their obligation.

Plastic bags, filled with clothes and piled high, were prepared to be taken for cleaning. Many more tents were in place than previously, in spite of a possible challenge by Mayor Bloomberg to have them removed. The spirit of resolve was amazing.

I’ve been here for 38 days said Orlando Nieves. “I want them to hear my voice. I’m disabled and I need affordable housing; they said I make too much money. My wife was laid off, her program was cut. She worked with disabled kids. We are living on my disability and we have to decide whether to eat, pay rent or buy my medication.”

The United Federation of Teachers and Amalgamated Bank have opened their doors to Occupy Wall Street by accepting drop offs of warm clothing and sleeping bags. Inside, the back of the bank looked like a warehouse chock full of needed winter goods.

Vince Taylor, who lives in Mendocino, Calif., came here to support the protesters for the weekend. “I came here because it’s very important that if they shut down Zoccotti Park it will cut out the whole center of what is keeping us moving forward. Our country is in dire straights. It’s completely controlled by the ultra-rich, especially the bankers and financial institutions, and they are so selfish that they don’t want to help anyone else, and we have to change that.”

Ironworker Paul Armstrong of Local 433, Los Angeles, came to New York for work. He talked about why he was with Occupy Wall Street. “I’ve been out here for several days. If I could have only one wish to come out of this it would be for electoral finance reform. Get private and corporate money out of our election system so someone of my financial stature could actually run for office and be elected to represent me instead of being beholden to big money that got them elected.”

A call was made for a march at 6 p.m. to Gracie Mansion where billionaire Mayor Bloomberg was hosting some of the Super Committee members. The mayor is calling for further cuts to the Federal budget to the tune of four trillion dollars. The marchers assembled for a bit of street theater at 89 street and East End Ave. Marie Antoinette and King Louis the Sixteenth hosted the “peasantry.” As the marchers chanted “no more cuts” and “tax the rich,” the king and queen offered cake.

As the marchers moved closer to the Mansion the police prevented them from exercising their right to move freely and stopped them from crossing the street to where the Mansion was located. A circular line was formed between 88thth and 89th streets so the people could continue marching and chanting. One person was arrested for reasons unclear at this writing.

Photo: Gabe Falsetta/PW



Gabe Falsetta
Gabe Falsetta

Long-time social justice activist Gabe Falsetta writes from New York City.