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Activist Communiqué: Occupy Wall Street gears up for May Day

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As of Wednesday April 11, 2012, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrators have been sleeping on the sidewalk as a new phase in the Occupy movement. The sleep-out tactic was first employed earlier this week as activists slept outside of banks near Union Square - a highly popular OWS site that gets shut down and barricaded nightly by the New York City police.

More than 60 people slept on Wall Street Thursday night just north of Wall Street on Nassau Street, in close proximity to the New York Stock Exchange in preparation for major day of action May Day 2012.

Nearby Zucotti Park sat empty and also guarded by the police.

Over 1,000 OWS activists took Zucotti Park on Saturday March 17, 2012, for the six-month anniversary of the Occupy movement.

Near midnight, New York City police raided and cleared the park. There were numerous reports of police brutality during the raid and the subsequent snake march by the evicted activists; including two New York police officers who smashed a medic's head into a glass door, cracking the glass.

Manhattan District Attorney's office stated 74 people were detained or arrested the night of the sixth anniversary.

The new sleep-out tactic is first time Occupy Wall Street activists have set up an encampment in the Financial District since New York police raided Zuccotti Park five months ago to removed the first Occupy encampment. "This is Wall Street. This is where-for people, where the heart of all this economic injustice in the world comes from and exists," said protester George Machado.

A decision by a federal court in Manhattan arising from a 2000 lawsuit permits activists to sleep on sidewalks as a form of political expression so long as they did not block doorways or take up more than half of the sidewalk and the activists staking camp on the streets now are hopeful more will join them as May Day approaches.

Occupy activists in New York - along with Occupy cities across the world - are gearing up for Occupy May Day General Strike -- the global call out is: No work. No school. No banking. No trading. No shopping. No housework.

There is a lot of hope riding on May Day's General Strike and the hope for a North American Spring and I would like to direct you to an opinion piece posted on Znet where Jeremy Brecher writes, "May Day can provide a teachable moment. It is an opportunity for millions of people to contemplate the power that arises from collectively withdrawing cooperation and consent. It can propagate the idea of self-organization, for example through general assemblies. If it truly draws together a wide range of working people, ranging from the most impoverished to professionals, from urban to suburban to rural, and including African Americans, Latinos, whites, and immigrants, it can embody the ability of the 99% to act as a group.

It can demonstrate the idea of solidarity, for example by the movement as a whole supporting the needs of some particular groups. And because May Day is a global working class holiday which will be celebrated all over the world, it can reveal a rarely seen vision of a global working class of which we are as individuals and as members of diverse groups are part."

Follow rabble.ca's Occupy coverage for the latest updates.


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