Occupy Atlanta

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Protestors at the Occupy Atlanta demonstration

The Occupy Atlanta demonstration is a part of the Occupy Movement which began on Sept. 17, 2011 with the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City. The demonstration is located at Woodruff Park - unoffically renamed Troy Davis Park by the demonstrators.


Support

Support from Elected Officials

  • State Senator Nan Orrock - said of the Oct. 26 arrests, "I can't believe that today [the Mayor's office] can't come up with anything better. [The arrests] will polarize the city."[1]
  • City Councilman Michael Julian Bond (son of Julian Bond, NAACP) - "withdrew his support for Occupy Atlanta's encampment after only a few days." (but not Occupy Atlanta as a whole)[2]
  • U.S. Representative John Lewis, Georgia - Occupy Atlanta refused to allow him to address the General Assembly because they were "wary of establishment politicians"[2]

DSA Involvement

DSAers at Occupy Atlanta

The following members of Democratic Socialists of America have participated in the demonstration:[3]

Barbara Joye who attended the protest wrote,[3]

"Atlanta DSA members Daniel Hanley and Roger Sikes were among those arrested when Mayor Kasim Reed ordered the park swept of occupiers in the early morning on Wednesday October 26. The occupiers have determined to retake the park on Saturday November 5."

On November 20 Barbara Joye reported;[4]

Occupy Atlanta is endeavoring to find its focus for the winter months ahead.Some participants are "camping" indoors in the downtown homeless shelter that is under siege by the city government and business interests (excuse the redundancy). Others have been camping in other locations. Most meetings continue to be held in "Troy Davis Park" downtown. Actions are taking place against various targets around the city, from Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo to the public transit system (which recently hiked its already steep fares), but participation is smaller than when there was an encampment in a central location. Several people were arrested in a bridge action adjacent to the state university on Nov. 17.

A couple of weeks ago the protests in metro Atlanta went to a new level when a policeman and his family who had been foreclosed on when they fell behind in payments as directed by their mortgage lender, supposedly in order to be processed for a loan modification (a common trap), asked Occupy Atlanta for help. The sheriff was able to persuade the family to ask the occupiers to leave after a couple of days by threatening to arrest them for trespassing and have the policeman fired.
A week later, four Atlanta DSA members attended the first meeting of a new Labor/Occupy coordinating committee designed to strengthen solidarity between the occupiers and the more progressive unions in town -- and, I hope, provide some substance that will help the stronger organizers in Occupy Atlanta to keep the movement focused on the issues rather than on turf battles. The plan so far is to find another foreclosed family willing to let Occupy intervene in a threatened eviction, with better preparation. Two days later, about 25 occupiers joined CWA and Teamster members in an action at Home Depot and Verizon stores that are near each other in a popular shopping strip.

Other Supporters

On the evening of Oct. 25, the General Assembly announced a meeting with clergy and representatives from Mayor Kasim Reed's office at Big Bethel church to take place Thursday, Oct. 27 to discuss the reasons why OA was occupying the park. Everyone at that time thought this was a good development for better understanding between OA and the Mayor's office. On two occasions Rev. Dr. Richard Cobble, President of Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta, talked at the General Assembly and gave his support to the OA group.[1]

The following are individual supporters (and possibly participants):[5]

Arrests

Lawyer Mawuli Mel Davis announces that arrestees are to be released

After three previous threats of evictions from the Mayor's office and a continued build-up of police presence, Atlanta Police arrested fifty-two members of Occupy Atlanta at around 1am, Wednesday morning, October 26, 2011.[1]

The arrestees included seasoned activists such as:

Other arrestees included:

Subsequent to the arrests, "community activist" Lawyer Mawuli Mel Davis announced to a crowd of OA participants and supporters gathered outside Atlanta Municipal Court that all members of Occupy Atlanta arrested during overnight raid on park were to be released from jail.[6]

Participants

  • Wesley Morris from Decatur who, with his wife, and two small children have visited OA six times to support the movement stated,[1]
"Everyone knows the economic system is broken. I have been in China the last eight years and when I returned I could really see the difference coming back. People have lost jobs and more people are homeless. It is good for the children to see how people can stand up to an unjust system."
  • Sergies Flournoy has camped at the park for eleven days and is on the legal team. He stated,[1]
"Big business is getting into politics and controlling what's going on with the 99% and this needs to end. They are contributing to right-wing organizations that are not looking out for the 99 percent and this is offensive."
  • Nadine Boado works full-time and comes to the park after work to support OA. She stated,[1]
"The Koch Brothers spend lots of money funding right wing think tanks and politicians that I believe are destroying our economy. People don't realize that the Koch Brothers are libertarians who have co-opted a lot of 'family value' issues to distract the people from talking about important economic issues. If you are able to get people of faith to talk about the defense of marriage act instead of how our government and corporations are taking away our basis rights then you can deceive people into voting against their own interests."

Effort to "Recall Mayor Reed"

Joe Beasley, an Occupy Atlanta participant and veteran activist of the Civil Rights Movement, is organizing an effort to recall Mayor Kasim Reed, after several heated exchanges yesterday between Reed and the Occupy Atlanta Movement. Beasley said his grounds for recalling Reed is "malfeasance in office."[5]

References