I was pleased to see the Brooklyn Borough President break with many of his mainline Democratic Party brethren in greeting this Saturday's debut of the Occupy Wall Street movement with open arms.
The voluble Marty Markowitz isn't sure whether he'll be showing up at the 11 a.m. rally at Grand Army Plaza but he told the Brooklyn Paper that "It was only a matter of time before the … rallies made their way to Brooklyn. There is no doubt that Americans — those in the '99 percent’ — are hurting, and we can all agree that some of the issues being raised by these protests are concerns we can all rally around."
Six weeks ago, on September 17, the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting economic injustice began, with little attention, derisive media coverage and scant expectation that it would light a spark where others had not. Now, in its fourth week, Occupy Wall Street has generated enormous attention and hope among progressive and liberal-minded folks and has, to quote my boss Katrina vanden Heuvel, the "quality of an exploding star: It is gathering energy in enormous and potent quantities, and propelling it outward to all corners of the country."
The movement, fueled by the passion and energy of young people, is animated by the increasingly poor state of the economy coupled with the unceasing enrichment of a tiny economic elite. Joblessness, punishing student-loan debt, mass evictions and foreclosures and the rampant abuse of corporate tax loopholes are all prime issues of importance cited regularly by protesters. New Yorkers are especially incensed that the state's millionaire's tax is being allowed to expire this December.
Occupy Wall Street has quickly spread well beyond New York City's financial district to more than 400 cities and towns in the US and dozens of solidarity movements around the globe.
On Saturday, the movement will reach Brooklyn with a morning event at Grand Army Plaza. OccupyBrooklyn has a Twitter feed, a blog, and a Facebook page to spread the word. Details on what to expect are slowly coming together but this event looks to be less an actual occupation, as in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, and more of a solidarity action. Organizers are holding an open meeting on Thursday night, October 14, at 7 p.m. at the Commons Brooklyn to discuss, among other things, whether the movement should attempt to take up indefinite residence in the borough.
Any nominees for Brooklyn's Zuccotti Park?