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A few people who are supportive of the Occupy Wall Street group recently appeared at the Bayside Long Island Rail Road station and temporarily held signs which read, “Tax Fairness Now,” “Robin Hood Tax,” “Tax Wall Street Speculation” and “Jobs, Not Cuts.”
Some later went to U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-Bayside) office to ask him to reintroduce a bill which would tax Wall Street speculations.
The actual Wall Street occupation continues. I went down there in early October when I attended a retired teacher’s meeting in the United Federation of Teachers headquarters at 52 Broadway, which is about three blocks from Zuccotti Park. At the UFT meeting, the OWS demonstration was mentioned and people were urged to go see what was going on. I did.
The reason UFT headquarters is in lower Manhattan is because after 9/11 the UFT decided to buy a building in there to show support for the revitalization of the area. The mayor was there when the building was opened to show his approval of the support the UFT was giving to Lower Manhattan.
Speaking of reality, Lower Manhattan has a police checkpoint on Broadway at Cedar Street at the southeast corner of Zuccotti Park, where box trucks are stopped and inspected as they drive down toward Wall Street.
I spent about a half hour walking through and around Zuccotti Park. I noticed blue tarps covering possessions of some of the “99 percent” people who were there. The same ethnic food carts were on the south part of the area, but I also saw a vegetable cart there.
The occupiers have their own food distribution area. The city and owners of the park had been making threats of moving in to clean the area because they claimed it was dirty. I actually saw several people with brooms and containers cleaning the ground.
It was mild when I was there and I saw a few youngsters without shirts who seemed to be acting as if this was Woodstock, but there were older people with signs saying “Enough Already,” “Corporations are Not People,” “Money is Not Speech” and “This is Oligarchy Not Democracy.”
Other signs I saw were “Stop the Redistribution of Wealth to the Rich,” “Labor Creates all Wealth,” Every cop is one of the 99%,” “Tax Wall Street Transactions” and “Arab Spring, European Summer, American Fall, and Chinese Winter.” Drummers kept up a steady beat at the western edge of the park. I have received an e-mail telling me that faith leaders are now giving sermons on Sundays at 3:30 p.m.
The group even has a library, which I read is not as elaborate as the library in Boston because Boston permits tents at the Occupy Boston rally in Dewey Square. This movement has libraries in Los Angeles and Portland, Ore.
I mention the libraries because they lend a sense of intellectualism to a movement which some people would like to portray as made up of a bunch of hippies. It will be interesting to see how much the Occupy movement spreads and how it progresses. From now on the area will have a special meaning for me.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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