The October 2011 Coalition — a group which started planning the occupation of Freedom Plaza long before Occupy Wall Street was even heard of — has called together representatives of various occupations across the country for a National Occupation of Washington DC that begins today with a protest march leaving DC’s Franklin Square Park at noon and heading to the EPA with an environmental focus.
The march’s demands are clear:
1. Stop the war on whistleblowers – those who report corruption in our federal agencies experience secere retaliation. We believe federal employees should be able to work with dignity and integrity and not succomb to coercion to ignore fraud and corruption.
2. Protect the civil rights of workers – workers are the victims of race and gender discrimination and sexual harrassment. The EPA currently protects the abusers instead of the victims.
3. Protect people and the planet, not corporate profits – big business is determining public policy at the EPA instead of scientists. Recentlty scientists at the EPA called for stricter smog regulations which would save 7,100 lives every year in the US. The White House was told by big business that they did not favor stricter smog regulations. Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, was ordered not to create stricter regulations and she complied. This is not acceptable. We need serious discussions about and action on climate change and moving to a carbon-free nuclear-free green energy future!
Today’s not the last day of the National Occupation — ideally, it’s the first. As people gather from around the nation, they will caucus and conference at the NOW-DC Social Forum from April 3-5. Ideally, people will roll out from the forum in rejuvenated action that’s being referred to as The American Spring.
Although the attention of Big Media has largely evaporated, the Occupy movement has not gone away — the continuing arrests of people at Occupy protests is a testament to that. With the call for a national occupation having gone out far in advance, and with people gathering from across the country, what goes down in the days to come will be an indication of the movement’s strength.