Occupy Albany gains traction
By Amy Cutler
ALBANY — The Occupy Wall Street movement is spreading across the country with one group emerging in Albany. Occupy Albany held is second General Assembly meeting Sunday, attracting more than two hundred people.
“Some people are talking to other people, the word is spreading, next thing we knew there was a facebook page. Everyone is taking a role in making this happen,” Shanna Goldman, a member said.
The grassroots movement, which started a month ago in NYC has quickly gained traction. While their demands are unclear, their causes include a variety of issues from corporate greed to jobs, global warming and even, gas prices. The shared theme is anger that the wealthy have profited at the expense of the middle class and less fortunate.
“Any movement or revolution is a process and its an organizing process and we’re at the early stages of it but I think its going to be a long standing movement,” Laurel Young, a member and Albany social worker said.
Over the last week, several unions have thrown their support behind Occupy Wall Street. Bill Huyben, a member of the Communications Workers of America in Ballston Spa said he searched the internet and was glad to see Occupy Albany had formed.
“Just trying to find a voice for ourselves and our frustrations with corporate America,” Bill Huyben said.
Occupy Albany plans hold another General Assembly meeting next Sunday at 5pm at the Grand Street Community Arts Center.
Wall Street protest group takes root in Albany
More than 100 people attend the first meeting of a local version of Occupy Wall Street
By Larry Rulison
ALBANY — The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon that materialized in New York City in response to what its organizers view as rampant corporate and political greed and corruption is also taking root in Albany.
A new group called Occupy Albany held its first meeting Sunday evening with more than 100 people crammed into Townsend Park at the intersection of Central Avenue and Henry Johnson Boulevard.
Reyes said the meeting was put together after local people started organizing independently on Facebook and Twitter in response to Occupy Wall Street’s efforts.
“It just grew from there,” Reyes said.
Separately, the Labor Relations Coalition of New York State is organizing a bus trip on Wednesday to New York City for a Occupy Wall Street walk from City Hall to Wall Street.
Sara Niccoli, director of the statewide coalition, said a bus will leave Albany at 11 a.m. to get people to City Hall in time for the 4:30 p.m. start.
Niccoli would like to see the tax structure changed so that the richest pay more, especially because she believes that much of the wealth of the rich never gets put back into the economy but sits in banks.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, she said, is about the 98 or 99 percent of Americans who are not part of the privileged business or political class and have been shut out of access to the government. She said the group does not advocate violence, although there were arrests over the weekend when some of the marchers stopped traffic from going over the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Some folks have been engaging in civil disobedience,” Niccoli said.
Niccoli said she has been involved in community organizing for 14 years, but she sees something different in Occupy Albany, which she said has been supported by labor groups, which is unusual.
“It’s really something special,” Niccoli said.
Occupy Albany is still working on its core issues, says Gianni Ortiz, a farm and food activist who was at Sunday’s meeting. She said many who passed the group thought that it was part of a protest. But for the group, which has no organizational structure and must approve everything by consensus (90 percent of the vote), it may take a while to get a clear vision on the economic and social issues it wants to tackle.